Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2018

My Great-Grandfather, Barney Newmark, celebrated his birthday on March 17th, and claimed to have been born in Dublin, Ireland. It's significantly more likely that he was born in Warka, Poland - on the outskirts of Warsaw. The dates of March 25th and April 14th also appear on some documents as his date of birth, but no birth records have been uncovered, so anything is possible. There may be some significance to the fact that there are 20 days between March 25th and April 14th. (12 days adjustment between the Gregorian and Julian calendar, and 8 days between birth and circumcision.) There are also 8 days between March 17th and March 25th.

To the left, he is with his sister, Nellie, likely in 1907 or 1908.

While my Irish ancestry may be somewhat mythological, my wife's isn't. According to some sources, her 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Muldoon, was born in Ireland in 1817, in County Fermanagh.

After a holiday post in 2007, a friend introduced me to online genealogy, and the rest is family history.

Past St. Patrick's Day Posts
2017: Happy St. Patrick's Day 2017
2016: Corned Beef on Rye
2015: Corned Beef on Rye
2014: Happy St. Patrick's Day 2014
2013: Happy St. Patrick's Day
2012: Happy 126th Birthday to my Great Grandfather
2011: Happy St. Patrick's Day
2010: Barney's Birthday and Birthplace
2009: On St. Patrick's Day Everyone is Irish
2008: My 'Irish' Great Grandfather
2007: Corned Beef and Cabbage on Rye

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I Know Jack! The Identification of my Maternal Grandmother's First Husband

Ockham's Razor is the problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions. The idea is attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian. (source)
Nine years ago I asked the question, "Do you know Jack?"

I knew that my grandmother had received letters in 1919 from her parents consoling her on her divorce from a man named, Jack.

Looking back, I know that I knew back then that Jack was a ubiquitous nickname that any man could use. I also knew back then that divorces take awhile between filing and finalization. How did I conclude there was another marriage in such a short span of time? My grandmother's marriage to Dale Bowlby Ridgely in 1927 only lasted three months, but her first marriage could have lasted longer.

I have found several pieces of evidence recently strongly suggesting Alfred Connevey was Jack.

From the 1919 El Paso City Directory. My grandmother is already using the address 'Miss,' even though she is still using the surname, Connevey. (It is interesting that Alfred Connevey is working at the same address, though for a different company. I am positive this is my grandmother, as she provided a letter of recommendation from China Palace to the St. Louis Post Office when she applied after her divorce was final in 1920.)

From the June 5, 1918 El Paso Herald - my grandmother is listed as Myrtle Connevey, and enrolling in the summer session of high school. She was 18 years old. I know from her application to the St. Louis Post Office that she had attended El Paso High School.

And the clincher: The 1910 Census record for a Jack Connevey residing as a boarder with a Diebel family. I am fairly certain Elsie Deibel was married to my grandmother's brother, Samuel O Van Every, for a period of time. I have not been able to find dates, however, an Elsa Diebel is listed as a wife in the family history notes left by one of my great grandfather's sisters. 

This census record indicates that Jack Connevey was born in 1889. My grandmother was born in 1900. If they were married in 1918, he would have been 29, and my grandmother 18. There is a possibility the marriage may have been in 1917. If Jack was boarding with the Diebels in 1910, there is a question of the ages of him and my grandmother when they first met. My grandmother's brother, Samuel, was born in 1886.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Returning to the question of a Vanevery Surname Non-Paternity Event

Back in 2016 I blogged about the possibility of a Van Every Surname Non-Paternity Event. Several researchers have questioned the parentage of McGregor Van Every (1723-1786). One theory being Martin Van Iveren and an unnamed McGregor mother. One theory being a McGregor father and an unnamed Van Iveren/Vanevery mother.

Either way, there would be Van Every DNA in the descent, so the only way to prove the theories would be through a Y-surname test of a multitude of Van Every male descendants. Which I am not one.

Back in 2016 I noted that in all of my matches, I had 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, 4th cousins, and 5th cousins, all sharing a Van Every common ancestor. Nothing higher than 5th cousins. All descendants of McGregor's son, David. If there was no Non-Paternity-Event, or even if there was, and one of the prevailing theories was true, one would expect more distant Van Every cousins.

A Shared Ancestor Hint popped up at AncestryDNA recently. (Excerpt below)
This provided a lot of excitement. Though I knew even with the two prevailing theories, I should have a match with someone descended from Martin Van Iveren. So even though our Family Trees matched up, it didn't prove anything. It was nice to see.

And then I checked the individual's Shared Matches.

As I said above, I have DNA matches who are 2nd through 5th cousins, all descended from David Van Every. Not one of them is a shared match with this individual.

Martin Van Iveren is in both of our online family trees. I think I am fairly sure that's not where our shared DNA resides. All of our shared matches have Eastern European Jewish DNA. That's the 75% of my ancestry that doesn't come from my maternal grandmother, Myrtle Van Every Deutsch. [It is fun to see a cousin from that 75% also has Van Iveren/Van Every ancestry.]

Which raises the question again. If neither I, nor any of my Van Every DNA cousins, share any Van Every DNA with this descendant of Martin Van it possible there was a Non-Paternity Event that completely broke the DNA trail. (Like an adoption?) It's certainly possible. Of course, the lack of evidence isn't proof of anything. It just continues to raise the question.  

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Etymology of the Surname Dudelsack/Dudelczak/Dudelzak

When I began researching, all I could find on my ancestral surname, Dudelsack, was the German bagpipe.

Later, once I realized 'Dudel' was a Yiddish diminutive for 'David,' I realized the surname was likely 'Dudelczak' or 'Dudelzak,' and patronymic in origin.

A different etymology is provided in Dictionary of Jewish Surnames From the Russian Empire, by Alexander Bieder, Avotaynu, 1993.

Dudel'zak (Pinsk, Lutsk, Ostrog, Odessa, Rovno) O: from 'nudlzak' [Southeastern Yiddish] needle packing. 

This would make it an occupational surname. Needle packing is probably related to the profession of tailor. The entry also provides some locations where the surname could be found.

It's worth noting that there are several surnames in the dictionary that are based on the Yiddish diminutive, 'Dudel.'

Monday, February 19, 2018

Anna Yetta Babchik Blufston - 1873-1930

I wrote most of the below in 2016, but I put it aside, confused by the information I had. Now I know more. 

Several years ago I shared a passenger manifest from the TSS New Amsterdam, October 28, 1891.

The Feinsteins included Nechama (my 2nd great grandmother), Gitel (my 3rd great grandmother), and Nechama's children Hersch, Chaim (my great grandfather), Berl, and Pearl. There was also an 18 year old woman named Yetta Feinstein traveling with them. Who was she? I didn't know then. I know a lot more about her now, but I'm not really any closer to figuring out what I want to know. [I wrote that in 2016. I'm a lot closer now.]

My second great grandfather, Selig Dudelczak, immigrated a year earlier. Gitel was his mother. It was always known that the family changed their name to Feinstein in America. The popular story was that the person ahead of them in line at Ellis Island was named Feinstein. Of course, Ellis Island wasn't open yet. And beyond that, Selig traveled under the name Dudelczak, and nobody named Feinstein arrived at Castle Garden at the same time. (Or at least there are no Feinsteins in the Castle Garden database for that date.) Five years ago my first thought was that perhaps Yetta was the mystery Feinstein. It was just Nechama who changed the name, not Selig.

Recently, I believe, I have uncovered documents for Yetta.

In August of 1894 she married Samuel Blufstein in the City of St. Louis. (I have found the marriage certificate that confirms they did get married.) 

In the 1910 census, Samuel and Anna Y Blufston are residing in St. Louis

How do I know that Anna Y is Yetta, and Samuel Blufston is Samuel Blufstein?

Anna Y was born in 1873, which matches an 18 year old woman in 1891. She also immigrated in 1891 from Russia. It could be a coincidence. There's also the daughter Etta.

On June 9, 1929, Samuel Blufston's obituary appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch

This obituary suggests, if Anna Y was the passenger on the manifest, her real name wasn't Feinstein either. It was Babchik.  (Her death certificate states her father was Jacob Babchik.)

How was Yetta related to Sylvia Dudelczak Babchik Blufston, sister of my second great grandfather? She was born at about the same time as Sylvia. 

Her obituary (something I hadn't yet found in 2016) provides a possible answer. From the Aug 6, 1930 St. Louis Post Dispatch

The obituary states she is a sister of Bertha Rovin, Goldie Klein, Harry, Leo and Etta Buflston. These are the children of Sylvia. However, she is the same age as Sylvia, so Sylvia can't be her mother.

However, Sylvia's first husband could have had a prior wife, and a daughter. Having a significantly younger second wife isn't uncommon at that time. This would make Sylvia a step-mother of Anna Yetta, and Anna Yetta would be a step sister to Sylvia's children. While none of the obituaries for Bertha, Goldie, Harry, Leo or Etta mention Anna, this is the most likely solution to all the documents I have uncovered to date. More documents might suggest a different answer.

This theory still doesn't explain why the Feinstein surname was chosen, by the Dudelczaks, or Anna Yetta Babchik.

This is my last blog post related to the Dudelczak immigrants - until I discover more.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bessie or Rebecca (Bella) Dudelczak Portnoy 1871-1916

Below is the 1900 census record for my second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein. He is actually recorded as Samuel Feinstein. In a city directory, his name appears one year as Salem Feinstein. However, on most records he used his Yiddish name, Selig. He lived at 1122 North 8th. This is part of the Carr Square tenement district I've written about several times. The Feinsteins were in the front of the building, and several families were in the rear. The census also indicates (in a column that isn't in the image below) that the Feinsteins were owners, and everyone else at the address rented. 

Others at the address: Sarah Freeman, the Finkelsteins, the Buchanans, the Shparbergs, and Ruben and Bessie Portnoy. I've had this census page downloaded since 2007, when I began my research. It didn't occur to me back then to research all the names of the people living at the same address as my ancestor. Now I know that Bessie Portnoy was Selig's sister.

Other things to note: Almost everyone on this page was from Russia. Ruben Portnoy is recorded as having filed his first papers, so I will have to see if I can find them. Ruben and Bessie are recorded as having immigrated in 1896, so hopefully that will help with locating their passenger manifests. In 1900 they've been in the US for 4 years, and have been married for 8 years. They have no children.

Bessie died on November 2, 1916. Her death certificate (PDF), under the name Rebecca Portnoy, records her father as Samuel Feinstein. I have no doubt that it is actually Shmuel Hirsch Dudelczak, but the informant (R Portnoy, likely her husband) used the surname my second great grandfather chose.

Related Posts:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sylvia Dudelczak Blufston Babchick 1874-1930

A great great aunt wrote down the family information years ago. Selig Dudelczak, son of Samuel Harry (Schmuel Hersh) Dudelczak and Gertrude (Gitel) Slupsky, immigrated to America and changed his surname to Feinstein. He had two siblings who also immigrated, Julius and Tillie. We didn't have surnames for either one. Four siblings remained in Russia: Bella, Gershon, Selma, and Sprinsa.
That is how I began the post I wrote last month, where I described how I discovered Selig's sister Lottie (Ylota) Getz Goldstein. The 1900 census indicates Gitel/Gertrude had seven living children. The census doesn't indicate how many are living in the US. Since last month's post, I have learned at least six of the seven children immigrated.

Below is Lottie's obituary from The Modern View, June 22, 1939, page 10

GOLDSTEIN, LOTTIE - On Sunday, June 18, beloved mother of Mrs. Sarah Goodman of Tulsa, Okla., and Sam Getz, dear sister of the late Zelik Feinstein, Udil Odelsohn, Sprintza Babchick, Toba Oberman and Baila Portnoy, our dear aunt, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother. 
Funeral from the Jewish Old Folks' Home on Monday, June 19. Oxenhandler service.
I'm working my way backwards through the Modern View microfilm at the library. When I discovered Lottie mentioned in Tillie's 1935 obituary, I had already scanned the 1939 microfilm for surnames I recognized. I should have seen and recognized Zelik, Udil, and Toba - right? Browsing pages and pages of newspapers on microfilm searching for surnames isn't an easy task. And I will admit that in the obituary section, my eyes are attracted to the deceased's name more quickly than all the names mentioned in the obituary. So I missed it.

Lottie's obituary mentions five pre-deceased siblings, including Sprintza Babchick and Baila Portnoy. Two surnames that were new for me. However, in this case, the given names were names my great great aunt had mentioned.  Had they immigrated, or had they stayed in the Old Country, and Lottie had just remained in contact with them? The first obvious place for me to research was the Missouri digitized death certificates.

Here's Sprinza Babchick's death certificate (PDF). Under 'Name of Father' it says: Shmeel Hersch Doodelock. The name of the mother is unknown. The informant is Jake Rovin, who research suggests was a son-in-law.

It seems the father's name was passed down in every branch of the family, even though the spelling became fuzzy. The given name of the mother appears on the death certificate of only two of her children, and her maiden name on none. Our family records suggest it was Slupsky, but I have found no supporting documentation.

Here's Sylvia's obituary from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 2, 1930, p. 29

On Monday, June 3, 1930, dear mother of Mrs. Bertha Rovin, Mrs. Goldie Klein, Harry, Leo and Etta Blufston, dear grandmother and mother-in-law.  
Funeral from residence, 1285A Amherst place. Notice of time later. Oxenhandler service. Omit flowers.
Bertha and Goldie, research suggests, were Blufstons as well. There is no evidence, yet, that either of Sylvia's husbands immigrated, or that any of the children were born in the US. Though I have not yet uncovered the passenger manifests.

What about Baila Portnoy?
I've found her, too, and she will get her own post.