Sunday, February 20, 2022

Timeline for Moshe Leyb Cruvant - 1858-1911

Timeline for my 2nd great grandfather, Moshe Leyb Cruvant
  • June 12, 1858 (*) - Moshe Leyb Cruvant was born in Ceki┼íke, Kauno, Lithuania, to Mina and David Aron Orel Kruvant.
  • Before 1877 - Father David Aron Orel dies. 
  • 1881 - Moshe Leyb Cruvant married Minnie Mojsabovsky in 1881 when he was 24 years old. 
  • Dec 11, 1882 (*) - Son, Benjamin born in Pereyaslav, Lithuania 
  • March 17, 1885 - Son, David, born in Pereyaslav, Lithuania 
  • 1885 - Immigrates to US 
  • Sept 29, 1886 - Daughter Bertha born in either St. Louis Missouri or East St. Louis, Illinois 
  • May 8, 1889 - Daughter Stella born in St. Louis, Missouri 
  • March 1892 - Daughter Flora born in St. Louis, Missouri 
  • Jan 1, 1893 - Son Solomon born in St. Louis, Missouri 
  • April 7, 1895 - Brother Simon dies in St. Louis 
  • 1895 - Resides at 1128 North Eighth Street, St. Louis
  • 1900 - Resides at 1111 Morgan Street, St. Louis
  • 1903 - Seeks work in Chicago with son, Ben 
  • 1904 Returns to St. Louis 
  • May 26, 1904 - Son Ben marries Lillian Goldian White in Chicago Illinois 
  • July 19, 1904 - Grandson Clifford Edward born to Ben & Goldie in Chicago 
  • July 22, 1905 - Granddaughter Sarah Ruth born to Ben & Goldie in Chicago 
  • April 1907 - Ben leaves Goldie 
  • May 2, 1907 - Daughter Stella marries Louis Stern in St. Louis, Missouri 
  • June 1908 - Ben & Goldie divorced in East St. Louis, Illinois (appears in newspaper June 20) 
  • Oct 29, 1908 - Grandson Aaron Stern born to Stella and Louis in East St. Louis, Illinois 
  • June 27, 1909 - Son David marries Anna Rubin 
  • Aug 2, 1909 - Brother Girsh dies in Cekiske, Lithuania 
  • Before 1910 - Brother Notka dies in Lithuania or Ukraine.
  • 1910 - Resides at 435 Collinsville Ave, East St. Louis, Illinois
  • Feb 14, 1911 - Grandson Bernard Alan born to David & Anna 
  • Aug 27, 1911 - Daughter Bertha marries Barney Newmark in East St. Louis, Illinois 
  • Sept 26, 1911 - Moshe Leyb dies in East St. Louis, Illinois
(*) These dates are based on Lithuanian records and are Julian calendar dates. In both cases the individuals observed their birthdays about 20 days later. 12 days to adjust to the Gregorian calendar, and they were probably observing the anniversary of their Brit Milah at 8 days.


1) By noting the vital records of his children and grandchildren, kernels appear of the story of Ben and Goldie, which I have written several blog posts about. What I don't know is whether Moshe Leyb knew about the relationship when he left Chicago, and what he thought about it. I do know that when Ben and Goldie returned to St. Louis, all heck broke loose, because Goldie wasn't Jewish, and Ben was given an ultimatum. Ben chose his parents over his wife and children. (Though divorce records indicate he tried and failed to gain custody of one child.)

2) The exact date of daughter Bertha's birth is uncertain. She always observed her birthday on the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShana, and wasn't certain whether she was born in 1886 or 1887. The date given in the timeline is Rosh HaShana 1886.

3) Moshe Leyb's brother, Notka, married a woman from Kiev, Ukraine - and family lore isn't certain where they resided and where he died.

4) Moshe Leyb died of liver cancer. His death certificate indicates the doctor began seeing him about a week before his daughter, Bertha's, marriage.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Timeline for Moshe (Morris) Blatt 1862-1926

Timeline for 2nd great grandfather, Moshe (Morris) Blatt

1862 - Morris Blatt was born on May 1, 1862, in Losice, Mazowieckie, Poland, to Perl Kipersztok, age 26, and Yankiel Blatyta, age 25. 
1865 - Brother Yitzhak born 
1867 - Brother Nuta born 
1869 - Brother Nathan born 
1871 - Brother Aaron born 
1885 - Marries Chaia Bella Boksern 
1886 - Daughter Bryna Blanche born 
1888 - Daughter Channa/Anna born 
1890 - Immigrates to St. Louis, Missouri 
1892 - Chaia Bella dies in Poland 
1893 - Marries Mala Mollie Kellner Katz (Note: Her brother Nathan Kellner lived next door to Selig Feinstein in 1900. Selig & Morris’s children Herman and Anna would marry.) 
1894 - Son Joseph born 
1895 - Son Joseph died. 
1897 - Dry goods store burglarized 3 times 
1898 - Wife Mala files for a Passport- reason unknown 
1898 - Son Henry born 
1903 - Daughter Pearl born 
1903 - Daughter Blanche married Jacob Wyman 
1904 - Grandson Joseph Wyman born 
1905 -Grandson Louis Wyman born 
1908 - Grandson David Wyman born 
1907-1909 Residing in Mineral Wells, Texas with wife. (In 1907 Anna is with them.) 
1909 - Grandson David Wyman died 
1910 - Morris and Mala have returned to St. Louis
1910 - Grandson Sidney Wyman born 
1912 - Daughter Anna marries Herman Feinstein 
 1913 - Grandson Bernard Feinstein is born 
 1914 - Granddaughter Belle Feinstein is born 
 1914 - Granddaughter Belle Wyman is born 
 1917 - Grandson Seymour Feinstein is born 
 1926 - Morris dies on April 23, 1926.


1) I am accepting that the Moshe Blatyta born on May 1, 1862 to Yankiel & Perl was my 2nd great grandfather. Many in the Blatyta family changed their surname to Blatt. There is a small chance there were two Moshe sons of Yankiel born at a similar time. (A blog post on the records I have found.

2) Similarly I am accepting that Chaia Bella Boksern was his first wife, and my 2nd great grandmother. Though I am leaving open the possibility that a different Moshe Blatyta/Blatt married someone else. This potential second Blatt family would still somehow be related to the other Blatytas in Losice at the time, as DNA evidence confirms.

3) Besides vital records, I have not uncovered a lot of information about his life. I don't know why his wife filed for a passport (and he didn't) in 1898 - and I don't know what impact the birth of their son had on her plans. I don't know why they were living in Mineral Wells Texas in 1907-1909. In a family history interview conducted in the 1980s, my grandmother talked about her grandparents having lived in Mineral Wells for a period of time. She wasn't very clear on when it happened, but there is no question that the Blatts in the Mineral Wells City Directory is them. I don't know what impact the death of their infant grandson had on Morris and Mala's decision to return to St. Louis from Mineral Wells. However, putting all these events in the timeline does create possible hypotheses.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Amanuensis Monday: 1910 Tax Assessment for Selig & Annie Feinstein

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 the Tax Assessment for my second great grandparents, Selig and Anna Feinstein. A Tax Assessment being the total value of the property owned upon which property tax is calculated. The local newspaper in 1910 listed the tax assessments for every individual or company above $5,000. (Over 12,000 people.) While theoretically property value is still public information, one would not expect a list like this to appear in a newspaper today.

As I mentioned in some recent posts, Selig and Annie were living in the tenement section in 1900, though according to the census, they owned the tenement. I have not been able to verify this yet by finding the deed, though I have looked in microfilm for it. They went into the real estate business between 1900 and 1910. Family lore has said that Selig was moderately successful, but somehow lost a lot of his money.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, St. Louis, Missouri, 23 May 1910, Page 14

ASSESSMENTS GO UP $28,508,000 

St. Louis 1910 Valuation, Including State Board Estimate, Will Reach $568,000,000 


Many New Names Get Into List of Big Taxpayers This Year — James Campbell Has the Largest Individual Figure on List, with Daniel Catlin and D.R. Francis Next — Rate Remains Unchanged, but City Will Get $632,000 More in $12,610,000 of Revenue — More Than 12,000 Owners Rated at $5,000 and Over — Eighty-Seven Corporations, Estates and Citizens Hold $132,296,000, or Nearly One-Fourth of the Grand Total.

Combining the individual assessment for my second great grandfather, with the joint assessment with his wife, the total is $29,860. 

1) The CPI Inflation Calculator begins with January 1913. $29,860 in January of 1913 is equivalent to $849,492.62 in December of 2021. I do not know how many pieces of property they owned, or the difference between the property Selig owned individually, and what they owned jointly. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Melvin Newmark at age 1

Scanning a box of family photos. 

The back of the photograph reads, "Melvin, 1 Year 1912"
My grandfather, Melvin Newmark, was born on Aug 27, 1912
My great grandparents Bertha Cruvant and Barney Newmark were married on Aug 27, 1911

If that were a newborn child, I would assume the note was an indication of their 1 year anniversary. But that is no newborn. A year old looks about right, and the year would be 1913.

According to the St. Louis City Directories they lived at 6135A Plymouth Ave, which is in the current city of Wellston, in St. Louis County. (Unincorporated in 1913)That may be their yard in the photograph.