Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Grandmas

Below are two timelines, interwoven. These are the lives of my two grandmothers, mostly defined by the births, marriages, and deaths of themselves, and their close family. Though other important events in their lives are included. As is my habit, I have obscured some of the information on living relatives. [The timeline for Myrtle Van Every is an update of one I created back in March of 2008.]

While timelines in general are useful to visualize the order of events in someone's life, I thought interweaving these in this fashion might help visualize some parallels and differences.

While there are generic forms for creating timelines, I avoided them, because most of the forms I saw only allowed one line to enter the 'event' and as you will see below, I have a tendency to write more than that.

21 Mar 1900 – Myrtle Ethel Van Every is born in Maxwell, Texas, the eighth and final child of Melvin Van Every and Margaret Jane McAlpin Monteroy Denyer. (Three of those eight died as infants, so Myrtle grows up as the youngest of five children.)
21 Nov 1900 - Melvin Van Every appears in front of Dawes Commission testifying about the Denyer family Choctaw roots. He explains he is there in Margaret's stead, as she is home with a sick baby - Myrtle.
11 July 1902 - Hartley/Denyer application is rejected by the Dawes Commission for lack of evidence
08 Nov 1905 – Myrtle’s sister, Minnie Ray, at age 19, marries August Benold.
09 Jan 1909 - Myrtle's sister, Willa Ann, at age 19, marries Lexington Roberts
05 Dec 1912 - Myrtle's sister, Evelyn Syvela, at age 20, marries William Campbell
14 Aug 1914 – Belle "Sissie" Feinstein is born in St. Louis City, Missouri, the second child of Herman Max Feinstein and Anna (Blatt) Feinstein.
05 Mar 1915 – Sissie's grandfather, Selig Feinstein, dies of Chronic Interstitial Nephritis, a kidney disorder usually caused by a reaction to pain medication.
08 Jan 1916 – Myrtle’s sister, Willa Ann Van Every Roberts dies at age 26, leaving behind a daughter, Agnes, age 5.
16 Dec 1917 – Sissie's younger brother, Seymour “Babe” Feinstein, is born.
1917 - The Van Every Family moves to Fabens, TX, just south of El Paso. Melvin Van Every, obtains a job as El Paso County Apiary Inspector (two events are likely related)
1918 - Myrtle's probable graduation from high school. Personnel records indicate she had a high school degree, and two years of post-secondary education.
1919 - Letters from Myrtle's parents indicate she married and divorced a man named "Jack." Last name yet to be determined.
12 Aug 1919 - Myrtle begins working as a clerk at the QuarterMasterCorps in El Paso TX.
1920 – According to the US Census, Myrtle may be residing at Fort Bliss, in El Paso TX, at the QuarterMasterCorps. (Surname on census is illegible.)
20 Nov 1920 - Myrtle begins working for the US Post Office in St. Louis according to her personnel records. Myrtle’s brother, Samuel, is working towards a degree in Optometry in St. Louis.
02 May 1923 – In Hudspeth, TX, at the age of 55, Myrtle’s mother dies of Chronic Interstitial Nephritis, a kidney disorder usually caused by a reaction to pain medication.
1926 – Sometime between 1926 and 1930 Myrtle’s brother, Samuel, moves to Kansas City.
13 Apr 1926 – Sissie's grandfather, Morris Blatt, dies.
30 Apr 1927 – Myrtle marries Dale B Ridgely in San Francisco.
12 Aug 1927 - Divorce proceedings between Myrtle and Dale begin
26 Sept 1927 - Myrtle returns to work in St. Louis, Missouri
14 Oct 1927 - Divorce decreed.
1928 - By 1928 the Feinstein family have moved to San Bonita Avenue, in Clayton, St. Louis County, Missouri.
26 May 1929 – Myrtle’s father dies at the age of 66 in Garfield, New Mexico. At some point in the past 6 years he has remarried. Myrtle also changes her surname back to Van Every.
10 Aug 1932 – Sissie's grandmother, Annie (Perlik) Feinstein, dies.
1933 – Sisse is graduated from Clayton High School
18 Sept 1933 – Myrtle’s brother, Samuel, dies in Kansas City, MO of cirrhosis of the liver, caused by alcohol. Myrtle was the informant on the death certificate. There are indications her sisters may not have been there with her. Family would later tell Myrtle’s daughters that he died in a flu epidemic. If Myrtle was the only one there, it's not clear if she was the only one who knew the truth. [At age 33, both of Myrtle’s parents are deceased, and only two sisters remain alive.]
08 June 1934 - Myrtle's future husband, Martin Deutsch, accepts transfer to the St. Louis Post Office HDQ as Postal Inspector.
01 July 1935 - Myrtle transfers to St. Louis Division Hdq
10 May 1936 - Sissie secretly marries Melvin Lester Newmark; Waterloo, Monroe County, Illinois
31 Dec 1936 – Myrtle marries Martin Joel Deutsch in Springfield, IL. They are driving to Chicago to see Martin’s sister, Berta, get married to Herman Freed.
01 Nov 1936 - Sissie's brother, "Benny", marries Belle Hoffman
10 Jan 1937 - Sissie and Melvin are married in front of their families at United Hebrew Temple in St. Louis, the ceremony conducted by Rabbi Samuel Thurman. No one learns about the earlier secret marriage for many years.
14 Feb 1937 – Myrtle resigns from the Post Office. (effective date)
1938 - Myrtle and Martin have a daughter. Sissie and Melvin have a son.
1940 – Myrtle and Martin have a second daughter.
1941 - Myrtle and Martin move to Oakley Drive, in Clayton, St. Louis County, MO
Mar 1942 – Myrtle’s husband Martin, already an Army reserve officer, enters active service, most of it spent in Africa. Not long after, Myrtle retuns to work at the St. Louis Post Office.
29 Apr 1942 - Sissie's brother, "Babe", marries Leonore Miller
15 Oct 1942 - Sissie and Melvin have a second son, Stevan J Newmark
1943 - Sissie's husband, Melvin joins up with the American Red Cross, most of it he is stationed in Australia
1945 – Myrtle and daughters move temporarily to West Palm Beach, FL. (House in Clayton not sold)
04 Oct 1945 - Myrtle files an affidavit that her birthdate was March 21, 1905. Her sister, Minnie, testifies in support of this statement, declaring she was present at the birth. (1905 was the year Minnie was married, so it is highly doubtful she misremembered Myrtle having been born in that year.) It is unknown why they did this. Maybe Myrtle was searching for a job and felt being five years younger would be beneficial.
1945 – November, Myrtle’s husband Martin returns home from active duty.
1945 - Sissie's husband, Melvin, returns from the war.
1946 – Deutsch Family returns to St. Louis
1947 – Myrtle takes family on vacation to Texas to visit her sisters Minnie and Eva, and their families.
11 Sept 1951 – Myrtle dies of colon cancer at the age of 51.
1952 - Sissie and Melvin have a third son
1955 - Newmark family moves to Payson Drive in Olivette, St. Louis County, Missouri.
08 Nov 1963 - Sissie's father Herman Max Feinstein dies.
09 Dec 1965 - Sissie's mother Anna (Blatt) Feinstein dies.
30 Mar 1968 – Sissie's older brother, Bernard “Benny” Feinstein dies.
22 Jan 1992 - Sissie's husband Melvin Lester Newmark, dies while vacationing in Palm Springs, California
04 Oct 1997 - Sissie's middle son, Stevan J Newmark dies.
06 Dec 1999 – Sissie's younger brother, Seymour “Babe” Feinstein dies.
11 Oct 2002 – Belle "Sissie" (Feinstein) Newmark dies from emphysema and pneumonia, at the age of 88.

I knew before I began that the two timelines would interweave well in the 1930s and 1940s with the marriages and the War. However, what this did highlight for me was that the date of both marriages appear to have been influenced by the marriage of a sibling.

Myrtle and Martin were married by a Justice of the Peace in transit to celebrate the wedding of Martin's sister. It wasn't a complete spur of the moment decision, as they had announced they were engaged at least a month earlier. I suspect since both her parents were gone, and she had already been married twice, albeit briefly both times, Myrtle had no interest in a family wedding.

While I knew Sissie and Melvin had been impatient to get married, I didn't know why the Feinstein and Newmark families had set the date as they had. If it had been in 1935, I would have guessed it was waiting for Sissie to turn 21, but she turned 22 in August of 1936. While I'm not certain, it appears the Feinsteins may have wanted Sissie's marriage to be after her older brother's. However, Sissie and Melvin were impatient, so they too were married by a Justice of the Peace.

1 comment:

Diana Ritchie said...

I really love this idea of merging more than one timeline like this. Sometimes I tend to think of my ancestors in isolation, but this would show me what several of them were doing at a specific time. Can't wait to go try it!!