Monday, April 30, 2018

Amanuensis Monday: The Wedding of Harry Feinstein and Dora Serwinsky

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.

Below I transcribe an article on the wedding of my great grandfather's brother, found at

St. Louis Republic, 16 Aug 1905, page 4.


Harry S Feinstein Weds Miss Dora Serwinsky With Elaborate Ritual, at Westminster Hall Last Night.

Gayety characterized the wedding of Miss Dora Serwinsky of No. 826 Carr street and Harry S. Feinstein of No. 1122 North Eighth street, who were married last night at 8 o’clock at Westminster Hall, No. 3906 Olive street.

Rabbis Z. Rosenfeld and S. Rosenberg of Tpherish Israel Temple, Ninth and Wash streets, jointly performed the ceremony. More than 1,000 guests were present.

One hundred candles were burned during the ceremony, in accordance with the orthodox custom.

The hall was decorated for the event. Weil’s orchestra furnished the music and rendered the wedding march. The attendants were H.M. Feinstein, brother of the groom, best man; Miss Lillian Serwinsky, sister of the bride, maid of honor; the Misses Sarah Raskas, Jennie Masta and Anna Seigel, bridesmaids; M. L. Serwinsky, Louis Kaufman of Elizabeth, N.J., and Mose Kaufman, groomsmen.

After the wedding a reception and banquet were tendered to the bridal party at Westminster Hall, followed by dancing. In the festivities the entire membership of Tpherish Israel Congregation participated.

Miss Serwinsky is a daughter of A. Serwinsky and is an elocutionist. Mr. Feinstein is a young business man.

The couple were the recipients of many presents and several hundred telegrams. A present of $250 was given to them by the various lodges of which the groom’s father is a member. Among the guests were officials of the Franklin Bank and teachers from the faculty of the Jefferson and Shields schools. Mr. and Mrs. Feinstein departed at 2 a.m. for the East on their wedding trip. They will live at No. 5606 Garfield avenue.


1. The photograph above is from the wedding. Some family members had identified the five men as the five Feinstein brothers. I've known for awhile this isn't the case as the youngest Feinstein brother would have only been 7 years old in 1905. The Bridal Party was a complete unknown.

But now I have a list of the Groomsmen and Bridal Party. Harry Feinstein, the groom, is most likely in the center, behind his bride, Dora Serwinsky. I believe Herman Max Feinstein, my great grandfather, and Harry's best man, is to Harry's right (our left). The other three men are M.L Serwinsky, and Louis and Mose Kaufman. My suspicion is that Dora's sister, Lillian, the bridesmaid, is to her right. The other three women being Sarah Raskas, Jennie Masta, and Anna Sigel. The two young girls aren't identified in the news article.

2. "Weil's Orchestra" refers to an orchestra conducted by William Weil. There are references to the orchestra performing at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, as well as being the house orchestra for the St. Louis Browns baseball team in the late 1890s.

3. My second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein, father of the groom, was elected President of the Tpheris Israel congregation in 1903, which could explain why the entire congregation showed up at his son's wedding. Or it's possible the entire congregation showed up at the wedding of every congregant.

4. "Elocutionist," is a surprising, and impressive job for the daughter of an immigrant family. Dora was born in Poland in 1884, but was only three when the family immigrated.

5. I was unaware that my second great grandfather was a member of any fraternal lodges. I will need to see if I can find out which ones, and check if there are any records. My great-grandfather's application for the Moolah Shrine Temple in 1927 is where I discovered his alleged birthplace. The most likely fraternal organizations for Selig Feinstein are B'nai B'rith (which still exists), Order of B'rith Abraham, and Progressive Order of the West.  Progressive Order of the West was headquartered in St. Louis.

6. Harry's address is given as 1122 North Eighth. The Feinsteins hadn't yet moved out of the tenements in the Carr Square/Little Jerusalem neighborhood. 826 Carr, the address of the bride, is also in the same neighborhood.

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