Saturday, April 24, 2021

Researching Nathan Sandler (1853-1931)

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently found an entry at FindaGrave for a Nathan Sandler (1853-1931). Is he the father of Sarah Sandler/Sarah Nathan - the wife of Sol Newmark, and sister-in-law of my great grandfather Barney Newmark?

1901 and 1911 London census records suggest the Nathan Sandler I am looking for was born in 1856, but census records can be off by a few years. So can death records. All records depend upon the accuracy of the informants. I requested a photograph of the tombstone through FindaGrave's volunteer network. This is what was found. (The photographer took four photographs, which all can be viewed at the link above.)

Not much is left of the surface. This is surprising for a 1931 tombstone. Being in London, I wonder if the damage was related to WW2 bombing. Nearby tombstones don't appear to be similarly effected.

That said, there is a fragment of Hebrew left. What does that fragment tell us.

Here Lies

Reb (Mr.) N......Moshe the Levite.

One of the genealogically wonderful things about the standard format of Hebrew tombstones is that the name of the father is usually provided and easy to spot. For almost the entire surface to be gone, but for the father's name to remain, is incredible. There is a lot of space between where Nathan's name begins and his father's name begins, suggesting Nathan's last name was probably engraved (this is often skipped, especially when English is also on the tombstone, but we don't know if this was the case or not.) Nathan's father may have also had two Hebrew names engraved. The tombstone also indicates that the family believed themselves to be members of the Tribe of Levi. (This does not indicate they were Cohenim/Priests. Cohenim are a subset of Levites, and would be specified.)

The tombstone provides no information for me to base any decision on whether this is Sarah's father. So I ordered the death certificate from the UK General Records Office. Back in 2007 I ordered Sarah and Sol's marriage certificate and the birth records for my great grandfather's younger siblings who were born in London, and not Poland. Back then it cost 7 pounds, and the rate of exchange was 2:1, costing $14 each. Today the cost is 11 pounds, but the rate of exchange still comes out to about $14. If one wants a paper certificate. However, if one is happy with an electronic PDF, they only charge 7 pounds, which is slightly under $10.

This certificate provides an address I could compare against the 1921 census when it is released next year, and the 1931 census in 10 years, but I don't want to wait that long. The occupation says he was a Street Trader. The 1911 census states Sarah's father was a Green Grocer. But someone who sells food on the street could be described in both ways. And perhaps a store in 1911 no longer existed in 1931. The Great Depression impacted the United Kingdom as well. The informant wasn't his wife, but a daughter named B. Rubenstein. The 1901 and 1911 census records mention a daughter Bessie. Some online family trees indicate that the Nathan Sandler in my tree had a daughter Bessie who married a Rubenstein. But if there are two Nathan Sandlers it would be easy for that mistake to be made. The obituary for Sarah's brother Lewis, who also immigrated to St. Louis, mentions a sister Bessie Robbins. Robbins would be a likely Americanization of Rubenstein. (I wonder if she immigrated after 1931?) It's not definitive proof, but I think it is very likely that this is Sarah's father. Unfortunately, the UK death certificate doesn't provide a place for parent names, so I am unable to confirm my reading of the tombstone. That leaves the marriage record for Nathan and his wife Fannie to be the most likely place to find it. Unfortunately, that would be in Kaunas, Lithuania. I've researched Kaunas Lithuania records before. That is where my Cruvant ancestors come from, though I think the Sandlers were from the actual city, and my ancestors were from the rural outlying area. My initial searches at JewishGen have not been fruitful.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Amanuensis Monday - Heirlooms Taken July 31, 1969

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.

Today I share a memo my grandfather wrote on July 31, 1969 and saved in his files.

From Melvin L. Newmark

Heirlooms taken from residence of Melvin L. Newmark, 701 Payson, Olivette, Mo. on 7/31/69, 7:00 to 10:00 P.M.

Gold locket about size of silver dollar - initials B.N. on one side and B/C on the other side in old English script on gold necklace chain.

Gold watch presented to Herman Feinstein by Flint Laundry 1937 on double strand antique necklace c hain.

Love bird charm on gold necklace chain - 50th Anniversary - Herman & Annie Feinstein.

Gold charm bracelet with 7 gold charms - one says SIS - 50th Birthday - one has pictures of ___, Steve, __ & Mel in little gold book, others commemorate special occasions.

[I edit out names of living individuals]


1) My assumption is that there was a burglary while my grandparents were out, as opposed to a burglary while they were home. It was a Thursday night. The heirlooms taken were a gold locket belonging to his parents (my great grandparents) Barney Newmark and Bertha Cruvant Newmark; a gold watch belonging to my grandmother's father, Herman Feinstein; A love bird charm, possibly belonging to my grandmother's mother, Annie Feinstein; and I assume my grandmother's gold charm bracelet, with a charm I'm guessing my grandfather gave to her on her 50th birthday (1964), and with pictures of my grandfather and their kids.

I don't believe these heirlooms were ever found. While it's painful to consider what was lost, we treasure what remains.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

1911 UK Census for Nathan and Fanny Sandler

I've written before about Sarah Nathan who married Sol, the brother of my great grandfather in London in 1902. Her parents were Nathan and Fanny Sandler. On many documents Sarah went by Sarah Nathan, following the Jewish naming convention of using her father's given name as her surname, but without using the Bat/Ben Daughter/Son prefix. On other documents she used Sandler. Sarah, Sol, and their children immigrated to America with the rest of the Newmark family in 1909. In the 1910 census, one of Sarah's brothers, Sam Nathan, is  in the same household as Sarah and Sol. It appears he, too, was using his father's given name as a surname, but if Sarah was the informant on the census, she may have given him the surname. I have not been able to track him later than 1910 under either possible surname.

In the 1901 UK Census, Sam, born in 1891, is indicated as having been the first Sandler child born in the UK, though I have not yet located the family in the 1891 census, or his birth record. I have also found the Sandler family in the 1911 UK Census. I find the 1911 UK census interesting in that each household seems to have gotten their own page.

Census of England and Wales - 1911

  • Nathan Sandler - Head - Age 55 - Married - 30 years married - 9 children - 7 still living - 2 dead - Green Grocer - Working at Home - Birthplace Russia - Nationality Russian
  • Fanny Sandler - Wife - Age 50 - Married - Birthplace Russia - Nationality Russian
  • Joseph Sandler - Son - Age 18 - Single - Birthplace London
  • Rebecca Sandler - Daughter - Age 11 - Single - Birthplace London
  • Leon Sandler - Son - Age 7 - School - Birthplace London
I'm not sure how a green grocer works at home, but they may have lived above the grocery. I have possibly located Nathan Sandler on FindaGrave. The 1901 and 1911 census records suggest a birth year of 1856, and not 1853 as the FindaGrave profile suggests, but it's close. I've submitted a request for a researcher to photograph the tombstone, as well as to check if Fanny is buried nearby. Fanny is very possibly a nickname. If I can find some birth records of the younger children they might contain a given name I can use to find her death record.

There are two pages to the 1911 UK Census, which might be easy for some to miss. But of course, whenever looking at records online (or offline), it is always important to page forward and backwards just to make certain you aren't missing anything. The primary piece of information on this page is the address. It appears to be 1 Genter Street N, though I am unable to identify a street with that name. There appears to have been multiple families residing at that address in the census.

I'm looking forward to next year's release of the UK 1921 Census, as well as the 1950 US Census.