Monday, August 18, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Death Certificate of Moshe Leyb Cruvant - 1911

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009. Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

***
This week I transcribe the death certificate of my second great grandfather, Moshe Leyb (Morris Louis) Cruvant.

Certificate And Record of Death Register No: 31532
1. Full Name: Morris L. Cruvant
2. (a) Sex: M (b) Color: W. (c) Married
3. (a) Birthplace: Russia (b) Date of Birth: July 1, 1857
4. Age: 54 Years 3 Months
5. Died on the 26 Day of September 1911 at about 1125PM
6. Last Occupation: Merchant From 1900-1911
7. Previous Occupation: Tailor From 1881-1900
8. Place of Death: 1307 St. Louis Ave, East St. Louis County of St. Clair
9. How Long in State: 11 years
10. How Long in US (if Foreign Born): 35 years
11. (a) Name of Father: Aron Cruvant (b) Birthplace of Father: Russia
12. (a) Maiden Name of Mother: Unknown(b) Birthplace of Mother: Unknown
The foregoing stated personal particulars are true to the best of my knowledge and belief
13. Informant: David Cruvant Address: 1307b St. Louis Ave
14. Place of Burial: Hashaschelomus St. Louis Mo Date of Burial: Sept 27, 1911 1pm
15. Undertaker: H.B. Berger Address: St. Louis, Mo
Physician’s Certificate of Cause of Death
I hereby certify that I attended the Deceased from Aug 20 1911 to Sept 26 1911; that I last saw alive on the 26 day of September 1911. That death occurred on the date stated above, at about 1125pm and that to the best of my knowledge and belief the cause of his death was as Hereunder Written
(If Under One Year Old, State How Fed.)
(a) Cause of Death: Carcinoma of Liver
(b) Contributory (secondary) [blank]
Witness my hand (signature) illegible Address: (illegible) Bldg, East. St. Louis, Ill.

Notes:
1) The first thing I do when looking at a certificate is look for obvious errors.

He was born in Lithuania, though from 1795-1918 it was under control of Russia, so Russia is accurate for his birthplace.

Though there is a place on the form where indicating age to include number of days, his age was rounded up to the next month. It should say 54 years, 2 months, 26 days.

It's questionable whether he had been in the US for 35 years. That would mean an immigration year of 1876 at age 19, which isn't impossible, but his eldest son who was born about 1883 is believed to have been born in Lithuania. It is believed they were in the US by 1886/7 when my great grandmother was born. Perhaps 35 should be 25.

2) I like that there was a question for both Occupation and Previous Occupation. I don't see that on many death certificates, and it provides a year for when he changed professions. Of course, the accuracy of the years is completely dependent upon the memory of the informant, his second eldest child. In this case, the city directories confirm the dates.

3) The place of burial isn't a truly horrible spelling for what I am sure whoever wrote it down heard. They probably didn't ask the informant how to spell it, because I suspect he could have done a better job. It should say: Chesed Shel Emeth.

4) The only facts on a death certificate for which I consider the death certificate a primary source is the Date/Time of Death, Place of Death, Cause of Death, and Place of Burial. That is, I trust the recordings of the doctor and undertaker. For the rest of the information I take into consideration who the informant was, and how much they are likely to know. In this case, the informant being his son, 26 years old at the time, the reliability is pretty good.

5) Since he died on the 26th of September, 1911, after sunset, that converts to the 5th of Tishrei, 5672, which corresponds with what is inscribed on his tombstone.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Differing Reactions to Historical Figures

My wife and I were watching the Who Do You Think You Are episode with Valerie Bertinelli.
 
Ms. Bertinelli learned she had King Edward I for an ancestor.
 
As the historian was telling her all about the great things King Edward, or Longshanks, did for parliamentary democracy, my wife had a very different reaction.
 
Another nickname for King Edward, besides Longshanks, was Hammer of the Scots. My wife's maiden name is Wallace.

Some historical figures have both positive and negative associations - depending upon who you are. People will react differently to discovering they have a particular US President in their family tree. There are Romanians who count Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, aka Vlad the Impaler, as a national folk hero.
 
I'm sure my wife hopes Valerie Bertinelli, and her family, are able to focus on the good things King Edward did, but she is happy we haven't found Edwardian ancestry for either of us.
 
(The image is of a portrait in Westminster Abbey thought to be of Edward I)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday to my grandmother - Belle "Sissie" (Feinstein) Newmark (1914-2002)

 
Belle "Sissie" (Feinstein) Newmark - August 14, 1914 - Oct 11, 2002
 
Today my grandmother would have turned 100. Below are some photographs.
 
-
Top L-R: With her brother, Ben; With her brother, Seymour (Babe); With her parents, Herman and Annie, and her brother, Seymour.

Bottom L-R: With me (1995); with her husband, my grandfather, Melvin - two photographs; high school graduation. (And, of course, the baby photo, and newspaper engagement notice.)

Below: As a young girl, and two photographs of her and my grandfather on their honeymoon

Monday, August 4, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary of Caroline Mathilde G Schrock - July 23, 1915

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009. Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

***
This week I transcribe two obituaries for my wife's 3rd great grandmother, Caroline Mathilde (Ruffert) Schrock.


The Weekly Tribune and Cape County Herald, Friday, July 23, 1915, page 4
Mrs. C.M.G. SCHROCK IS DEAD AT 97 YEARS OF AGE

Well-Known Woman, Born in Germany, Lived in Missouri 55 Years.

Mrs. Caroline Mathilde G. Schrock died at the home of her son, Berthold Schrock, at Scopus, Mo., on July 17, at the age of 97 years.

Mrs. Schrock was the wife of Anton F.J. Schrock who died at their residence near Marble Hill on the 8th day of June, 1900. After the death of her husband she made her home with her oldest son, near Scopus.

She was born Nov. 14, 1817 at Neurode, Silesia, Germany. She was married on Feb. 7, 1843, and emigrated to America in 1852. They came to Missouri in 1860 and located on a homestead near Marble Hill, Bollinger County.

Seven children were born to their marriage, all of whom survive their parents. The children are: Berthold Schrock, of Scopus, age 71 years; Charles Schrock of Cape Girardeau, age 69 years; Cecilia Brodtman, of Cape Girardeau, age 65 years; Mary Kamp, of Burfordville, age 63 years; John Schrock, of Morley, age 61 years; Hedwig Schwartz, Lentna [?Lentner], Shelby County, age 59 years; Albert Schrock, of Marble Hill, 55 years.

She is also survived by 36 grandchildren and 67 great grandchildren.

The Scott County Kicker had a much shorter obituary on July 31, basically summarizing the information in the earlier obituary. [Morley, Missouri - where her son, John, lived - is in Scott County.]

Mrs. Caroline Schrock died at Scopus, Bollinger county last week in her 98th year. She was born in Germany and settled where Marble Hill now is in 1860. Seven children survive her, the oldest being 71 and the youngest 55. There are 36 grand children and 67 great grandchildren.






Notes

1) Some obituaries contain more information in them than others. It's hard to imagine an obituary, though, that was better crafted for the genealogist than the first one above. Birth date, Place of Birth, Death Date, Date and Place of Death for spouse, Marriage Date, Year of Emigration. Names and Ages of all children - from which one can figure out whether or not they were born in Germany, or the US. (Assuming all the numbers are accurate, two children were born in the same year they changed locations - Mary may have been born in Germany or the US, Albert may have been born in Missouri, or wherever they were beforehand.)

2) A simple internet search leads me to the immigration date October 3, 1853, on the ship, Marianne.
So the obituary appears to have been off by a year.

The death certificate for John Schrock, my wife's great-grandfather, says he was born in Baltimore, Maryland.  However, the manifest transcription states they were headed for Cincinnati, and Albert Schrock's death certificate states he was born in Cincinnati. So it appears they spent time in both Maryland and Ohio before moving to Missouri.

Mary isn't listed on the manifest, however, her death certificate states she was born in July of 1852 in Germany. If the date of birth is correct, it's possible children under a certain age weren't listed on the manifest. It's also possible the date of birth on her death certificate is wrong, and perhaps she was named after the ship.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Letter from Ted to Martin - Feb 7, 1943 - Of War and Citizenship

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009.  (Recently the posts have been sporadic, but for a few years it was weekly.) Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

***
This week I transcribe a letter my great uncle, Ted, sent to his brother, my maternal grandfather, Martin, while Martin was stationed in Africa during World War II. Ted had both a law practice and worked at a Chicago newspaper. I haven't edited any of the typographical errors. In the days of mechanical typewriters if you made a mistake, you kept on typing, as the only other option was to start over. You could backspace and X out, but I'm sure Ted didn't feel a need to do so when he was typing a letter to his brother.

CHICAGO, ILL.
FEB 7, 1943.

DEAR MARTIN:

It’s just 5 o’clock in the morning here and everything is quiet so having nothing to do I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and linotype a few lines. I am on what they call the “dog watch” on the sheet and only get busy when things happen. Ihave been “watching” now for a year and a half and nothing has yet happened on the shift.

Your letter came in vedy handily and I felt relieved as I thought maybe you have forgotten about me. The inclosed post card was a big bust. Now I know what they meant by the second front in Africa. I have shown it to many of my friends and they sure got a kick out of it.

Things are going along smoothly at home. Too smoothly infact for there isn’t many of us at home now. Mother lives mostly by herself as only Jean and Lee are stying with her and Jean Works while Lee goes to high school. Wally is now in the service at Fort Sheridan and Ed is also in being stationed in Fort Beale California. He is with a medical detachment. You may think California is a swell place for him to be but no so from the letters a get from him. He says its been raining there ever since Nov. 30 the day he got there and now its nothing but a mud hole. Betwixt the rain and his sore feet he is having one hell of a time. His last letter said the Major gave him a polite hint to apply for a discharge as he is over 38 years and the outfit could move along much faster without him. I sent him a written request from the employer and am now waiting for him to be discharge.

Allen was stationed in Missouri for awhile and he went to see Myrtle while he was there. He said she was angry with me for not writing her. If she’d know all the letters I am writing every week she’d probably forgive me. I have to do all the family correspondence as Frances is not so well and does not write to any one. Her school keeps her very busy and saps all her strength. I thing she would be much better off if she’d quit and stay home and raise a family. But she won’t hear of it.

Today I met Mother and went with her to the Customs house where she made proof of her citizen ship and received a derivative citizenship certificate. Boy was she happy. I saw Myrtle Howell the other day she has two girls of her own and told me that Emil her brother who is a captain became the father of twins. What a man!

The law business has kept up well for me. Three men from our office are in the Navy and left me to take care of all their business. In January after 15 years of practice I took in the fabulous sum of $1,200. I hope I don’t have to wait another 15 years to duplicate it. Well, it’s getting toward quitting time. The phone (damn it) is ringing somebody must have had a baby or something so I’ll say thirty and close.

TED

Notes:

1) I previously transcribed a letter Ted wrote a few weeks later, on March 8th, 1943. At that time he said he'd keep writing when he found the time, but these are the only two surviving letters that he wrote my grandfather during the war.

2) We don't have the postcard my grandfather sent Ted, but from the obvious puns Ted uses, it's not difficult to get a rough idea.

3) Allen and Ed are additional brothers of my grandfather, and Jean is a sister. Wally is Jean's son, and Lee a daughter. Myrtle is Martin's wife, and Frances is Ted's wife. I'm unsure who Myrtle and Emil Howell are.

4) My great grandfather, Samuel/Salomon Deutsch, filed his Petition for Naturalization in 1921.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: July 4, 1943 - Africa

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009.  (Recently the posts have been sporadic, but for a few years it was weekly.) Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe and share their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

***

This week I transcribe a letter my maternal grandfather sent home while he was stationed in Africa during World War II.

APO 606
July 6, 1943

Dear Sweetheart:

It had been raining very heavily for almost a week here until today, and finally the sun has come out in all its glory. Maybe it was the rain that caused it, the muggy weather, but my spirits have been just about as low as the clouds, which were touching the ground. And when I’m that way I just don’t care to write. You may have noticed an absence of mail for several days, and lack of enthusiasm, which you’ve noted before. I write in circles and don’t make sense. In reading you can tell that I’m very impatient to get to the bottom of the page and then stop. I don’t feel more like writing right now, but I will carry on.

We had a very good program on for the 4th of July but the rain cancelled most of the things planned. The program was put off until the 5th because of rain, but on the 5th it was no better. However, I went to the movie in the evening and stayed through the rain with hundreds of others. We saw Robert Taylor in some Navy picture the name of which I don’t know. The weather just seemed to fit with the picture because it showed a lot of rough weather and rain on the seas and you could get the effect very noticeably. I had my slicker on this time and thought I was well protected. A puddle or pool of water collected in my lap on the slicker and when I moved once it went through and made me all wet underneath, so that it wasn’t so comfortable after that.

Just prior to the movie I was in a gathering celebrating the birth of a new star, Col. Earl Hoag was just promoted from Executive Officer to Commanding General AMEW. Gen. Fitzgerald, our previous commanding officer, has gone back to the States on a new assignment. Gen. Hoag is well-liked and seems to have things on the ball. The CG AMEW is also CG of USAFICA of which I’m a member, as you know.

Christie, my roommate, had a mishap that was very funny. One evening a few days ago, he saw me leave the room and thought I went into the washroom adjoining. A few minutes later, after undressing, he went into the washroom to take a shower, and he saw me washing my face, bending over the washbowl. He thought he was being funny and gave a hard kick on the rear end, and when “I” straightened out and looked at him, he was very much surprised to find that it wasn’t I but Col. Sampey the Inspector General. Christie hardly knows Col. Sampey and he’s very much embarrassed, to say the least. After all, a major can’t go around kicking inspector generals in the rear end and get away with it without some embarrassment. Col. Sampey took it good naturedly and said he merely owes one to Christie.

Your letter of June 30th was handed to me just this minute. I’m writing this at the office at 1645 GMT.
I think too that you’re fortunate in having such good neighbors as the Franeys. I get a letter from Frank occasionally, but I put off responding as I can’t make any palaver after such a long absence. However, I finally got around to sending him a short letter.

Thanks very much for your efforts in getting a wallet for me. I’ll just hang on to the one I have until you send a new one. You probably can have it sent as official mail if it’s given by the I in C.
I’m glad to hear that ___ is interested in skating. She’ll probably learn to skate expertly by the time I get back. I hope she doesn’t get scuffed up too much. Youngsters learning to skate usually wear out their clothes very quickly, so you’ll no doubt have a job there. Ernie Pyle stayed around here quite a while and I had meals with him frequently. He certainly deserves that writeup that Time gave him. Everyone thinks he’s #1.

I have to mail this right away to get it into our outgoing pouch for the day. Most Love.

Martin

Notes:

1) I continue my habit of editing out the names of living individuals. Though depending upon their age at the time, it is possible some of his fellow servicemen are still alive.
2) During the war, those in the service were often not allowed to include their location in letters home -- they were only allowed to indicate their Army Post Office. The identification of those post offices has since been released. APO 606 was Accra, Gold Coast. [Source: Numerical Listing of APOs January 1942-November 1947 - I originally found this pdf at the 7th Armored Division website]
3) AMEW – Africa Middle East Wing
4) USAFICA – United States Armed Forces in Central Africa
5) I in C – Inspector in Charge (I think)
6) My grandfather doesn't provide a lot of identifying information for the film he saw, and I don’t know how soon films were shown to troops after release date. Bataan, starring Robert Taylor and George Murphy, and including Desi Arnaz, was released in June of 1943. Stand By For Action, starring Robert Taylor and Charles Laughton, was released in December of 1942.
7) I grew up in the house my grandparents lived in at that time. I never knew Frank Franey, as he passed away a year before I was born, but I did know his widow, Adele. Mrs. Franey would often let my siblings and me play in her backyard.
8) I have many of the letters my grandmother and grandfather sent each other, however, the letter my grandmother wrote on June 30, 1943, is not in the collection.
9) Ernie Pyle was a well-known journalist.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Toast to the First and the Fourth of July (repost)

A Toast to the First and the Fourth of July
for David Van Every (1757-1820)
©July 2009 - John Newmark

For two years my fourth great fought
for the creation of our nation
then in seventeen seventy seven
he deemed his disloyalty a disservice
and joined the other side.
Finally, he and his family fled to Canada.

His motivations are unrecorded.
Beyond his appearance on muster rolls,
a few brief mentions elsewhere,
we have nothing. No inkling
of the wherefores behind his decision
either in seventy five, or seventy seven.

In July’s opening barrage
of national celebrations
I honor both of his decisions -
whatever the reasons, and his willingness
to fight for what he believed
even when those beliefs changed.

***
July 1 is Canada Day
July 4 is Independence Day

This poem was based on information I'd found on the web, citing The Records of the Van Every Family, by Mary Blackadar Piersol, 1947.  After writing this poem, I discovered the muster rolls for David Van Every on Footnote that put the information somewhat in doubt.

The muster rolls suggest he enlisted on July 4, 1775, and deserted on Sept 12 (or Sept / 2) 1775. And re-enlisted on May 23, 1777, and redeserted in June of 1777. So in total it would have been for three months, not two years.

Also, since writing the poem, I obtained a copy of The Records of the Van Every Family, by Mary Blackadar Piersol. She only mentions David joining and deserting in 1777. So she didn't know about the 1775 muster roll. Somebody else must have found documentation that he joined in 1775, and an incorrect interpretation was made that he remained in service between 1775 and 1777.

It's impossible to assign motivation to the enlistments and desertions. David was 18 and 20 years old in 1775 and 1777. He may have just been a very confused young man.

While McGregory Van Every and his children ultimately joined the Loyalist camp, and fled to Canada, there were many Van Everys who fought as Patriots throughout the war.  They just aren't my ancestors.  As one researcher notes concerning David and his brother, Benjamin:
David and Benjamin Van Every perhaps had decided to join the New York Militia, as it was in this Regiment that the cousins of their father, McGregory Van Every had been serving: Martin as a Lieutenant, Cornelius (1730 - 1815) as an Ensign and later as a Lieutenant, and Rynier as a Captain. However, soon after deserting from the New York Militia, both David and Benjamin transferred themselves to Butler's Rangers, within which they fought for the duration of the American Revolution, David as a Sergeant and Benjamin as a regular soldier.

---
 "Warner Cemetery: an important piece of Canada's heritage worth preserving," Robert Collins McBride, The Loyalist Gazette, March 22, 2000.