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.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Lottie Dudelczak Getz Goldstein - 1861-1939

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: Belle, Gershon, Selma, and Sprinsa.

In my early research I confirmed all the information except for the four who remained. Julius changed his surname to Odelson, and moved to Chicago. Tillie had married an Aaron Oberman, and they remained in St. Louis. Recently I was going through the library microfilm of The Modern View (a St. Louis Jewish weekly newspaper), and I came across Tillie's 1935 obituary.

Oberman, Tillie - On Thursday, August 8, beloved mother of Mrs. Minnie Felman, Ben Joe and Oscar Oberman, dear sister of Mrs. Lottie Goldstein of Tulsa, Okla., our dear aunt, mother-in-law and grandmother. Funeral from Oxenhandler Chapel.

My first thought was: This has to be a sister-in-law. That happens often in obituaries - spousal siblings being described as 'brother' or 'sister.' Even if my great great aunt had been unaware of one of the other siblings immigrating, "Lottie" bore no resemblance to "Belle" "Selma" or "Sprinsa." She had been correct on the other names. "I bet this is a sister-in-law," I thought to myself.

I lost the bet.

The tombstone on the left is at Chesed Shel Emeth. She is not far from her brother, Selig, and her sister, Tillie.

Getz Goldstein

Daughter of Reb Shmuel Zvi 
Died on the second day of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz in the year 5699

Below, from left to right:

1) Lottie's parents, according to her death certificate. The informant was her son, Sam Getz.
Father: Schmuel Hersh Dudelczak (I've edited the spelling to my preference. Hersh is Yiddish, and Zvi is Hebrew. Both mean 'deer.')
Mother: Gitel

2) Sam Getz's parents according to his death certificate. The informant was the nursing home.
Father: Aaron Getz
Mother: Lottie Feinstein

3) Sarah Getz Goodman's parents, according to her registration for Social Security.
Father: Harry Getz
Mother: Lottie Ohtalson (Odelson)

It appears that Lottie (like her sister) never changed her 'maiden' name. Both sisters were married in Russia, and their father appears with a variant spelling of the Dudelczak surname on their death certificates. However, both of Lottie's children, at some point, changed Lottie's maiden name in their minds, choosing between the two different surnames their uncles had chosen. Proving that they at least were aware of them.

In a fashion, these documents provide a nice wraparound, incorporating all of the surnames.

I have found no evidence that either of Lottie's husbands made the trip to America. I have no way to judge which document is more likely correct with the first name of their father. (Both could be correct. His Hebrew name could have been Aaron, and Sarah may only have been Anglicizing it with Harry.)

(I've updated this chart outlining the Dudelczak descendants for three generations.)

Here's some of the new names I've added:

Children of Lottie and Aaron/Harry Getz: Samuel, Sarah
Children of Frank and Sarah (Getz) Goodman: Harry Goodman, Gertrude (Goodman) Naron, Frances Goodman, Edrea Ann (Goodman) Appleton

Monday, January 1, 2018

This Week in Family History

Happy New Year!

In 1942 Woody Guthrie wrote these 33 New Year Rulin's.
For those stuck on writing resolutions, there are some good ones in the list.

My Selections:
#19: Keep Hoping Machine Running
#20: Dream Good
#31: Love Everyone
#33: Wake Up and Fight

Selected events from my family history databases

Jan 1
  • Henry Dexheimer (1831-1884) – d. Jan 1 1884 (wife's 3rd great grandfather)
  • Sol Cruvant (1893-1972) – b. Jan 1, 1893 (brother of great grandmother, Bertha Cruvant Newmark)
Jan 2
  • Ida Elizabeth Sammie Denyer (1859-1899) – b. Jan 2 1859 (1st cousin of great grandmother, Margaret Jane Denyer Van Every. She wrote this poem, about her mother.)
Jan 3
  • Benjamin Cruvant (1882-1960) – b.m. Jan 3 1883 (Brit Milah for brother of great grandmother, Bertha Cruvant Newmark) [Three dates have been given for his birth, but they can all be explained with the Gregorian and Julian calendar, and a confirmed Polish/Lithuanian Jewish custom of of observing the Brit Milah anniversary instead of the birthday.]
Jan 5
  • Marvyn Stern (1914-1993) – b. Jan 5 1914 (1st cousin of grandfather, Melvin Newmark)
Jan 6
  • Louis Pleas Gober and Annie May Taylor – m. Jan 6, 1891 (wife's 2nd great grandparents)
Jan 7
  • Sol Cruvand (1877-1942) – d. Jan 7, 1942 (1st cousin of great grandmother, Bertha Cruvant Newmark)
  • Aaron Cruvant Stern (1908-1981) – d. Jan 7 1981 (1st cousin of grandfather, Melvin Newmark)
  • Louis Mayer Wyman (1905-1997) – d. Jan 7 1997 (1st cousin of grandmother, Belle "Sissie" Feinstein Newmark)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Marriage Certificate for Myrtle Vanevery and Dale Bowlby Ridgely - April 1927

Several years ago I discovered the divorce complaint from my grandmother's second or third husband. The marriage lasted less than three months. I made the comment then that if my grandmother hadn't kept a copy of the complaint, it would never have occurred to me to look in California records for a marriage or divorce.

However, as records get digitized, such things matter less. The record to the left turned up for me on Ancestry this past week. It is the marriage license and certificate for my grandmother, Myrtle Vanevery, and her second husband, Dale Bowlby Ridgely.

It's a legible and quite detailed certificate, with names of parents for both bride and groom, as well as occupations for bride and groom.

I was most intrigued by the surname of the minister, and two witnesses. It matched my grandmother's. However, I was unfamiliar with these relatives.

Some quick research in Ancestry's family trees suggest that the minister, John M Vanevery, was the son of a John Vanevery and Louise Bartlett, and grandson of my third great grandparents, Andrew Vanevery and Nancy Lucinda Vansellas. (I'd have to do some research to truly verify the family trees, but it seems likely.) That would mean the minister was first cousins with the bride's father. The two witnesses were the minister's wife, Fanny, and their daughter, Irene.

I still suspect the marriage was in California primarily because the groom was stationed in the army in San Francisco, but my grandmother did have 'family' in the Bay Area. She returned to St. Louis after the marriage ended.

The certificate states that it was my grandmother's second marriage. I have records of one prior divorce from an Alfred Connevey in 1920. Letters from her parents imply an earlier marriage with a man named, Jack, that ended in 1919.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Poetry

Below are several poems for the holiday

Gratitude - by Edgar A. Guest (©1917)

Be grateful for the kindly friends that walk along your way;
Be grateful for the skies of blue that smile from day to day;
Be grateful for the health you own, the work you find to do,
For round about you there are men less fortunate than you.

Be grateful for the growing trees, the roses soon to bloom,
The tenderness of kindly hearts that shared your days of gloom;
Be grateful for the morning dew, the grass beneath your feet,
The soft caresses of your babes and all their laughter sweet.

Acquire the grateful habit, learn to see how blest you are,
How much there is to gladden life, how little life to mar!
And what if rain shall fall to-day and you with grief are sad;
Be grateful that you can recall the joys that you have had.

Thanksgiving - by Edgar A. Guest (©1917)

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

Looking Back - by Edgar Guest (©1921)

I might have been rich if I'd wanted the gold instead of the friendships I've made.
I might have had fame if I'd sought for renown in the hours when I purposely played.
Now I'm standing to-day on the far edge of life, and I'm just looking backward to see
What I've done with the years and the days that were mine, and all that has happened to me.

I haven't built much of a fortune to leave to those who shall carry my name,
And nothing I've done shall entitle me now to a place on the tablets of fame.
But I've loved the great sky and its spaces of blue; I've lived with the birds and the trees;
I've turned from the splendor of silver and gold to share in such pleasures as these.

I've given my time to the children who came; together we've romped and we've played,
And I wouldn't exchange the glad hours spent with them for the money that I might have made.
I chose to be known and be loved by the few, and was deaf to the plaudits of men;
And I'd make the same choice should the chance come to me to live my life over again.

I've lived with my friends and I've shared in their joys, known sorrow with all of its tears;
I have harvested much from my acres of life, though some say I've squandered my years.
For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy, and I think I have lived to my best,
And I have no regret, as I'm nearing the end, for the gold that I might have possessed.

A Song of Thanks - by Edward Smyth Jones (©1922)

FOR the sun that shone at the dawn of spring,
For the flowers which bloom and the birds that sing,
For the verdant robe of the gray old earth,
For her coffers filled with their countless worth,
For the flocks which feed on a thousand hills,
For the rippling streams which turn the mills,
For the lowing herds in the lovely vale,
For the songs of gladness on the gale,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the farmer reaping his whitened fields,
For the bounty which the rich soil yields,
For the cooling dews and refreshing rains,
For the sun which ripens the golden grains,
For the bearded wheat and the fattened swine,
For the stalled ox and the fruitful vine,
For the tubers large and cotton white,
For the kid and the lambkin frisk and blithe,
For the swan which floats near the river-banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks

For the pumpkin sweet and the yellow yam,
For the corn and beans and the sugared ham,
For the plum and the peach and the apple red,
For the dear old press where the wine is tread,
For the cock which crows at the breaking dawn,
And the proud old “turk” of the farmer’s barn,
For the fish which swim in the babbling brooks,
For the game which hide in the shady nooks,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the sturdy oaks and the stately pines,
For the lead and the coal from the deep,
dark mines, For the silver ores of a thousand fold,
For the diamond bright and the yellow gold,
For the river boat and the flying train,
For the fleecy sail of the rolling main,
For the velvet sponge and the glossy pearl,
For the flag of peace which we now unfurl,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the lowly cot and the mansion fair,
For the peace and plenty together share,
For the Hand which guides us from above,
For Thy tender mercies, abiding love,
For the blessed home with its children gay,
For returnings of Thanksgiving Day,
For the bearing toils and the sharing cares,
We lift up our hearts in our songs and our prayers,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!