Sunday, August 9, 2020

Belle Wyman Korn and Cary Grant - 1972

Belle Wyman Korn (1914-2015) was my grandmother's first cousin. They were the same age, and were best of friends. The Wymans moved to California in the 1930s, and this is Belle at her pool in 1972. That is Cary Grant standing next to her. I am not sure, yet, about the story behind the picture. For comparison, I've included a photograph I found online of Grant and Ingrid Bergman from 1972. It's definitely him.
 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Two Affidavits of Birth - One Person - Two Dates

My maternal grandmother, Myrtle Vanevery Deutsch, had her sister sign an affidavit of birth for her twice. In 1942, and again in 1945.

In 1942 my grandmother was living in Clayton, Missouri (part of St. Louis County). In 1945 she was in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 1945 my grandfather was returning to the states after serving in Africa and the Middle East during WWII. My grandmother took the kids to Florida to join him for the remainder of the war.

In 1942 my great aunt declared my grandmother was born on March 21, 1900. In 1945 she declared my grandmother was born on March 21, 1905. In both she states she was present at the birth. She provides several more details in 1942, such as the attending physician. In 1945 she simply states she was present. (I suspect she wasn't all too happy about filling out the affidavit in 1945, but was willing to do it for her sister. I suspect my grandmother was looking for a job and wanted to be five years younger.)

There is no question as to which is the correct affidavit. My grandmother is on the 1900 census, and is mentioned in the testimony given to the Dawes Commission in 1901 on the family's alleged Choctaw ancestry.

I have had a copy of the 1945 affidavit in my records for several years, having uncovered it in some folders at my parent's house over a decade ago. My parents gave me 20 boxes of family photos and documents this week, and in one I found the 1942 affidavit.

Update: I’ve been given another explanation for the second affidavit. My grandmother didn’t want anyone at the army base to know she was 7 years older than my grandfather. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Days of Love - 2020

Tu b'Av is a relatively obscure Jewish holiday that falls on the fifteenth day of the month of Av (sundown Tuesday Aug 4 to sundown Wednesday Aug 5 this year).

The fifteenth day of each month on the Hebrew calendar falls on a full moon, and the holiday was observed as a sort of fertility festival during the period of the Second Temple. After the destruction of the Second Temple, it was forgotten for the most part in the Diaspora, only to be revived in modern times as a Jewish alternative to St. Valentine's Day.

To some, St. Valentine's Day, or Tu B'Av, may feel manufactured for greeting card companies, florists, and chocolatiers. However, most couples have their own personal "Days of Love." Whether the annual date commemorates a first date, an engagement, a marriage, or another anniversary, it's significant only to the individual couple. The memories connected with these dates are often stronger than the ones associated with the annual religious or societal holidays. Still, any reason for two people to celebrate their love for one another is a good reason.

To A Lady
by Victor Hugo,
From Les Feuilles D'Automne

Child, were I king, I'd yield my royal rule,
     My chariot, sceptre, vassal-service due,
My crown, my porphyry-basined waters cool,
My fleets, whereto the sea is but a pool,
     For a glance from you!

Love, were I God, the earth and its heaving airs,
     Angels, the demons abject under me,
Vast chaos with its teeming womby lairs,
Time, space, all would I give--aye, upper spheres,
     For a kiss from thee!

translation by Thomas Hardy
photogravure by Goupil et Cie, from a drawing by Deveria, appears in a collection of Hugo's poetry published by Estes and Lauriat in the late 1800s.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

1913 Benton Basketball Team - Robert Lee Gober - Genealogy and Algebra


Robert Lee Gober (1895-1971) is on the far left in the photograph below, holding the basketball. He is my wife's great grandfather. Benton is the County Seat for Scott County, in Southeastern Missouri. 

Born in 1895, Robert Lee Gober would have been 18 in 1913. We know as an adult he was 6'4" tall, though we do not know if he had stopped growing by the time of this photograph. I don't know the identities of any of the other young men, but I was curious how much they varied in height. Let's assume he was 6'4" tall. Can we estimate the height of the shortest teammate? Definitely. 

Examining the photograph in my photo-editor, RL Gober is 1,775 pixels in height, and the shortest teammate is 1,515. (I measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the foot, choosing the back foot for both individuals)

76 inches / 1775 pixels = X inches / 1,515 pixels
Solving for X, he is 64.87 inches tall. Or 5'5. Almost a full foot shorter than Robert.
Naturally, there is some room for error in how I calculated the pixels.

(You didn't realize algebra would come in handy for genealogy, did you?)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Memorial Day Weekend 2020

Below is my annual post for Memorial Day.

A post on what Memorial Day is for, besides barbecues.

The above image comes from a past version of the Memorial Day page at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, explaining that Memorial Day is a day for remembering those who died in the service of their country.  [Read the full text of the poem.]
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action. [source]
[More on the history of Memorial Day]


Unnamed Remains the Bravest Soldier - by Walt Whitman (From 'Specimen Days')

OF scenes like these, I say, who writes—whoe’er can write the story? Of many a score—aye, thousands, north and south, of unwrit heroes, unknown heroisms, incredible, impromptu, first-class desperations—who tells? No history ever—no poem sings, no music sounds, those bravest men of all—those deeds. No formal general’s report, nor book in the library, nor column in the paper, embalms the bravest, north or south, east or west. Unnamed, unknown, remain, and still remain, the bravest soldiers. Our manliest—our boys—our hardy darlings; no picture gives them. Likely, the typic one of them (standing, no doubt, for hundreds, thousands,) crawls aside to some bush-clump, or ferny tuft, on receiving his death-shot—there sheltering a little while, soaking roots, grass and soil, with red blood—the battle advances, retreats, flits from the scene, sweeps by—and there, haply with pain and suffering (yet less, far less, than is supposed,) the last lethargy winds like a serpent round him—the eyes glaze in death—none recks—perhaps the burial-squads, in truce, a week afterwards, search not the secluded spot—and there, at last, the Bravest Soldier crumbles in mother earth, unburied and unknown.

The cartoon above is by John T. McCutcheon - published circa 1900

I have many ancestors and kin who served in their nation's armed forces during war-time. I honor them on Veterans Day.

However, the closest relative who was killed in action was my grandfather's brother, my great-uncle, Mandell Newmark.

Mandell was born Jan 31, 1923. He was almost certainly named after his great-grandfather Mandell Mojsabovski. He enlisted in the army on Feb 22, 1943, and served as a Sgt. Technician Fifth Grade, in the 163rd infantry. He was killed in action on April 15, 1945. Less than a month prior to VE day

My grandfather also had a second cousin, Arnold Kruvant, who was killed in action during the D-Day invasion.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Ancestry’s Indexing of Newspapers.com Obituaries

Here’s a research tip that probably should go without saying, but sometimes as humans we get tired or sloppy, and forget. Indexes made by humans have errors in them. Indexes made by computers do too. Perhaps more.

Ancestry’s indexing of their obituaries from Newspapers.com should not be trusted without looking at the actual obituary. A computer has done the indexing, and not a human. The algorithms are good, but not perfect. This is a great illustration. Patrick Swayze never resided in a town called “Ghost,” and he didn’t marry “Jennifer Grey.” While these mistakes are humorous, and obvious to any fan of the actor, consider what other mistakes the computer algorithms may be making with the obituaries of those in your tree. (I have distant Swayze ancestors, and Patrick is possibly a 9th cousin.)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

MyHeritage InColor App

Through April 22nd, MyHeritage is making their new InColor app, free for everyone to use for an unlimited number of photographs. You need to create an account (which is free), but then you can upload as many black and white photos as you wish and see what they look like in color.

Of course, I wanted this 1947 photograph of my paternal great grandparents in Miami. The story goes that they had enough difficulty with Miami hotels, as they were Jewish, but as their vacation lengthened, their difficulties grew, because my great grandfather Herman Feinstein had a very dark tan.

Here is my maternal grandmother at the Grand Canyon in 1925 - age 25.

And my paternal grandparents on their honeymoon. My grandfather's leg illustrates that the inColor app sometimes has difficulty with parts of photographs that are in shadow. But I really don't mind the small colorization errors. The results overall are outstanding.


Here are my maternal great grandparents Samuel and Helen Lichtman Deutsch, and all their children, early 1920s. 
(Their youngest was born in 1914.)