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.

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