Monday, November 19, 2012

The Mystery of the Secondhand Shop

I'm not always adept at adding or subtracting years from a face and judging whether two photos are a possible match. However, since composing this morning's Amanuensis Monday, I've been looking back and forth between the photograph of the secondhand shop, and some photographs I have of members of the Cruvant family. As I mentioned in my notes, while I'd like the photograph to be of Selig Feinstein and his family, for whom I don't have photographs to compare, my second great grandfather Moshe Leyb Cruvant also owned a secondhand shop in 1900.

On the top left is the secondhand shop from the news article.

On the right is my second great grandmother, Minnie (Mojsabovski) Cruvant, and my great grandmother, Bertha (Cruvant) Newmark. To the immediate left of this text is my second great grandfather, Moshe Leyb Cruvant.

In 1900, Bertha would have been about 13. Her older brother, Ben, would have been 15. And her younger brother, Sol, would have been 7.  I do see vague facial similarities between the photos I have of Bertha, Minnie and Moshe Leyb and the individuals in the photograph from the St. Louis Republic. I don't believe I have any photos of Sol.

I don't know when the photograph of Moshe Leyb was taken, but he passed away in 1911, so if we assume ten years had passed, he would still have had to age significantly. However, he would have been 43 in the 1900 photo, which looks about right. He only lived to age 54 - he looks older in that photograph by today's standards than he really is.

Their shop on Morgan Street was within the boundaries of Little Jerusalem as defined in the article, though not as close to the location on Seventh street as the Feinstein shop.

If this is the Cruvant family, the baby is a complete mystery.  Sol is the youngest child of Moshe Leyb and Minnie we know about. However, Moshe Leyb had some kin in St. Louis, and perhaps that's a nephew or niece that happened to show up in a photo.

The facial resemblances are tantalizing, but I really need a known photograph of one of them from much closer to 1900 to make a comparison.


This photograph of my great grandmother, Bertha, I believe comes from a few years prior to the one above. She is on the right. (It is her sister, Stella, on the left.) I think the resemblance remains, though the girl in the newspaper's photo isn't looking straight at the camera, and is partially hiding her face with her hand, making it difficult.

This is the earliest photograph I can find of Sol, dated 1930.

I have looked at the known Cruvant births in St. Louis, and none of Moshe Leyb's kin had babies who would be under a year old in August of 1900. The closest was born in October of 1898. The presence of that baby throws the greatest wringer in the theory of a match.

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