Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28, 1914

100 Years ago today, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot by Gavrilo Princip.

Where were my ancestors on June 28, 1914?

Newmarks/Cruvants - St. Louis, Missouri

  • My grandfather, Melvin Newmark, was born in 1912
  • His father, Barney Newmark, had immigrated in 1909
  • His mother, Bertha (Cruvant) Newmark, was likely born in Missouri in 1886. (The Cruvant family was definitely in the US at the time.)
  • Three out of four of Melvin's grandparents were alive in 1914 - all living in the greater St. Louis area.

Blatts/Feinsteins - St. Louis, Missouri

  • My grandmother, Belle "Sissie" Newmark was born August 14, 1914, so she wasn't quite born yet.
  • Her father, Herman Feinstein, had immigrated in 1890
  • Her mother, Anna (Blatt) Feinstein, had immigrated, I believe, in the late 1890s
  • Three out of four of Sissie's grandparents were alive in 1914 - all living in the greater St. Louis area.

Van Everys/Denyer - Caldwell County, Texas

  • My grandmother, Myrtle Van Every, was born in 1900
  • Her father, Melvin Van Every, and mother, Margaret (Denyer) Van Every, were both alive in 1914 and living in Texas
  • None of Myrtle's grandparents were alive in 1914

Deutsches/Lichtmans - Chicago, IL

  • My grandfather, Martin Deutsch, was born in 1907 in Nagyalmas, Hungary (Almasu, Romania)
  • The Deutsch family had immigrated to Chicago from Hungary between 1912-1913.
  • They were the last of my ancestors to arrive in the US.
  • Both of Martin's parents were alive in 1914, and living in Chicago
  • All four of Martin's grandparents remained in Hungary. Their dates of death are unknown.

On our honeymoon in 2012, my wife and I visited the jail cell where Gavrilo Princip spent the years 1914-1918. It was Cell #1 at Terezin, which was renamed Theresienstadt by the Nazis during WWII. [Not Your Usual Honeymoon Destination]

Several ancestors and kin registered for the draft during WWI, but I am not aware of any who actually served.

Friday, June 27, 2014

How do I find out if they're dead or alive?

A relative my mother has been in contact with for a few years hasn't responded to emails recently. When she tried the phone number she had, it was disconnected.

A year ago, I would have simply gone to one of the several websites that provided access to the Social Security Death Index, and checked if the relative was there. However, Congress closed that method at the end of last year, creating a waiting period of three years before someone's information is accessible on private websites. Their rationale was that the SSDI permitted people to steal the Social Security numbers of dead people for fraudulent purposes. Of course, the SSDI was created to prevent such fraud. If anyone was getting away with using the SS#s of the recently deceased, it was not the fault of the SSDI being easily accessible, it was the fault of those who were supposed to be checking the numbers against the database not doing so.

Now if you have a "legitimate fraud prevention interest, or have a legitimate business purpose pursuant to a law, governmental rule, regulation, or fiduciary duty", while you are entitled to access the database, you have to pay for a certification program, which I am sure will encourage everyone who should be using it to do so, right? Sigh. That battle was lost last year, but it is still upsetting, because there was no good reason for Congress to do what it did.

So, without the SSDI, I checked Legacy. No obituary published within the last year for the relative, and Legacy does include the primary newspapers for the city and county of residence. However, the relative's spouse is deceased, and there are no children. Someone has to write the obituary.

I checked the online news archives at the local newspapers on both the city and county level without finding any information one way or another.

The relative was an amateur radio operator. I was able to find out that their license was renewed in February of last year, and it's a ten year license. QRZ provides online logging. The last time somebody logged that they had spoken with our relative via amateur radio was in December of last year. But that's meaningless since there are logs from the 1990s on the list of 'most recent' logs. Our relative didn't log their calls on this website, so it would be pretty random who logged on their end.

1) Can anybody think of any other resource I can check. (The state of last known residence is California.)

2) Is there anybody reading this who has paid for the certification program, has access to recent deaths in the SSDI, and would be willing, and legally allowed, to check the database for me? I don't know what the restrictions are for those who do go through the certification program, and I don't want anyone entering any gray areas for me. (If the relative is deceased, I wouldn't be interested in any information from the database beyond their date of death.)

Websites/Search Engines I've checked
California Digital Newspaper Collection

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my father, grandfathers, great grandfathers, great great grandfathers, etc

LtoR: Melvin L. Newmark, Barney Newmark, Herman M. Feinstein, Samuel J. Newmark, Moshe Leyb Cruvant, Morris Blatt, Martin Deutsch, Melvin E. Van Every, Samuel Deutsch, Samuel Van Every.

Unpictured: my father, Selig Feinstein, Abraham Deutsch, Israel Lichtman, Ebenezer Denyer, etc.

For Father's Day my sons created some art for me. (Pretty good handwriting for 15 months! I think they may have had some help.)