The Legacy of Rebecca Rosenzweig: Her Son, Irwin Elkins

Iriwin Elkins 1960

Iriwin Elkins 1960

I recently connected with Richard Elkins, the grandson of Rebecca Rosenzweig Elkin.  Rebecca died in 1921 at age 27, when her son Irving was less than two years old.  Irving grew up to be Irwin Elkins, who married Muriel, with whom he had two sons, Michael and Richard.  Richard was kind enough to share with me some stories about Irwin’s life.  With his permission, I am including some of what he shared with me in his own words.

First, some background.  Rebecca Rosenzweig, my grandfather’s first cousin and the daughter of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig, married Frank Elkin in 1914.  Her son Irving was born in 1919.  After Rebecca died in 1921, Frank married Frances Reiner in 1922 and moved to Boston. Frank and Frances had a son named Stanley, who was born in 1925.  In 1930 Frank was back in Brooklyn with Frances and the boys, but sometime thereafter they returned to the Boston area, where they settled permanently.  I had assumed that Irving had stayed with Frank and his new wife during the 1920s, but Richard informed me otherwise.

“When Rebecca Rosenzweig passed away in 1921, Irwin Elkin moved into the home of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig, where he resided for eight years until 1929.  Irving adored his Grandma Rosenzweig, and Grandma Rosenzweig adored my Dad. My Dad thought of Gussie as his mother. My Dad said Gussie was a fabulous cook.   My Dad never spoke about Gustave.”

Perhaps the reason that Irwin never spoke about Gustave was that by 1921, Gustave and Gussie were divorced or at least no longer living together.  If Irwin’s years with his grandmother were from 1921 to 1929, he was living with just Gussie, Ray, and Lizzie.

One of Irwin’s favorite stories about his years living with his grandmother was this one, according to Richard:  “There was a large family gathering at Gustave and Gussie’s home, and Gussie discovered that she did not have enough food to feed the entire clan.  Gussie pulled my Dad aside and told him to tell all the other children that when Gussie asked who wanted chicken for dinner, all the children were to say, ”No, thank you,” because they were not hungry.  That way there would be enough food for the adults. When everyone sat down at the table, Gussie asked who wants chicken for dinner?  All the children dutifully said no thank they were not hungry and were excused from the table.  After the dinner was served and completed, Gussie then announced, ‘Any child who did not eat my chicken dinner will get no dessert!’ “

Richard also shared this story about his uncle, Jack Rosenzweig: “The only other story I recall about my Dad growing up in the Rosenzweig household is someone my Dad referred to as Uncle Jack who had a wild sense of humor.  Jack worked behind the counter in the post office.  One day my Dad walked into the post office to see Jack and Jack told my Dad he went to Yankee Stadium and met with legend Babe Ruth.  Jack then tossed to my Dad a baseball with Babe Ruth’s autograph on it.  There was just one problem.  The autograph was written in purple indelible ink that was the same color ink that Jack used to address packages for postal customers.”

Irwin’s time with the Rosenzweig family ended in 1929.  Richard wrote: “In 1929 Irwin was told to pack up his belongings. Frank arrived from Boston, picked up Irwin, and they went back to Boston on the train. My Dad was aware that Frank had remarried and had met Frances (Fan) Reiner. What my Dad did not know, until he arrived at his new home, is that he had a kid brother named Stanley who was six years younger than he was. That fact had been withheld from him while Irwin was living in the Rosenzweig household.”

I asked Richard if he knew why Frank and Frances had moved to Boston rather than stay in NYC.  He wrote:

“Although Francis Fan Reiner was born in New Jersey, her extended family lived in Boston. … The second move back to Boston occurred because Frank changed professions. He met a couple who were twenty years younger than he was named Joseph Cohen and his wife Rene Cohen.  They opened up a business called Debonair Frocks located on Kneeland Street that was in the high rent fashion district in Boston.  Frank was the salesman who traveled throughout New England.”

Richard also told me that his father graduated from Boston English High School and was accepted into the MIT School of Engineering.  He could not afford the $600 per year tuition and instead went to Northeastern University, which had awarded him a football and baseball scholarship and the opportunity to work on a paid co-op job.  According to Richard, “Frank and Fanny Elkins were very unhappy that Irwin wanted to study engineering in college. They believed it was a useless profession. They would invite family and friends over to convince my Dad that the future was in clothing, not engineering.  People need things to wear, they don’t need mechanical engineers.”

Irwin soon proved them wrong.  Richard wrote:

“When World War II broke out with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, my Dad had just graduated Northeastern and tried to enlist as a fighter pilot.  He was rejected for two reasons.  He stood 6’4 and weighed 200 pounds which made him too large to fly.  He also had his degree in mechanical and aeronautical engineering that made him too valuable to serve in the armed forces. My Dad was assigned to be a civilian contractor working for Bethlehem Steel at the Fore River Ship Yard in Quincy, Massachusetts.  His responsibility was to oversee the construction of light cruisers and destroyers, take them to sea on shakedown cruises, and sign off on their seaworthiness before turning over the ships to the War Department.

“It was my Dad’s crew of engineers at the Fore River Shipyard who perfected the “Davit” that was first invented in 1928.  It’s the device that holds a ship’s lifeboats in place that would lower the lifeboat by hand cranking the boat down into the water.  My Dad was the lead engineer who re-designed the Davit into a fully automated self-contained hydraulic system that would first lower the two arms holding the lifeboat from their vertical position – while keeping the lifeboat level – into a horizontal position for boarding. The Davit hydraulics would then resume lowering the lifeboat into a fully locked horizontal position at which point a second set of hydraulics would automatically lower the lifeboat while maintaining its level stability even if the weight distribution in the boat was not balanced. The end result was an automated steady descent onto the water regardless of the surf conditions or high winds. 

“If you want to see first-hand the engineering legacy of Irwin “Tiny” Elkins, then take a vacation cruise on a Princess, Carnival, Disney, or Royal Caribbean ship.  Look closely at the hydraulics on the Davit’s holding up the lifeboats. Nothing has changed in the past seventy years. The survivors of cruise ship disasters like the Concordia in Italy can thank the Rosenzweig family genes for that innovated engineering solution.”

Irwin Elkins with Piper Cub 1958

Irwin Elkins with Piper Cub 1958

Richard also shared these recollections of his father:

“My Dad was physically a large man and a wonderful athlete.  Growing up we skied together, played tennis, and golfed.  In a batting cage he could outdo me with little effort.   Whenever anyone asked my Dad why such a large person like him was called “Tiny,” his standard response was “I was an incubator baby, and the nurse in charge turned the heat up too high.”  Whenever he was asked why he did not have a middle name, his standard response was, “My parents were so poor they could not afford one for me.” Whenever someone asked him why he was so tall, his standard response was “So if I cut off my legs, will it make you feel any better?” In his business dealings he often told his customers, “It will be done my way and don’t worry about it. If I’m wrong, I’ll deal with it after I’m dead.” If someone did something that my Dad considered to be stupid, my Dad would point to his head and say “That’s using your toukis.”

Finally, I asked Richard whether his father ever reconnected with the Rosenzweig family.  He shared this story:

“In 1969 a woman and her son walk into my Dad’s office in Brattleboro.  When my Dad asks if he can help her, she introduces her son named Steven Rosenthal who will be a student at Windham College in nearby Putney. My Dad replies, why is that of interest to me? She informs my Dad that her name is Rebecca Kurtz Rosenthal. She was named after my Dad’s mother Rebecca Rosenzweig. Her mother was Sarah Rosenzweig, the sister of Rebecca Rosenzweig.  To say that my Dad was completely stunned at this unannounced visit is an understatement.”

Irwin Elkins reunited with his cousins Rebecca Kurtz and Ben Kurtz and others in Florida 1992

Irwin Elkins reunited with his cousins Rebecca Kurtz and Ben Kurtz and others in Florida 1992

The following year Richard himself met the Rosenzweig family:

“In 1970 at a family reunion in Long Island, New York, at the home of Rebecca Kurtz Rosenthal and her husband Sam Rosenthal, I arrived with my parents.  Other than Rebecca and her husband Sam, none of the Rosenzweig family knew that my Dad would be attending the reunion.  When we walked into the backyard Rebecca introduced my Dad to all of her family.  I distinctly remember a flood of tears because the entire Rosenzweig clan had not seen Irwin in over forty years.”

“Rebecca’s and Sam’s son, Steven, introduced me to a woman he called “My Great Aunt Lizzie.” She must have been Lizzie Rosenzweig. She knew the name of the cemetery where Rebecca was buried. When my Dad asked her what his mother died from, Lizzie replied that she succumbed to a flu pandemic in 1921 that devastated NYC. Lizzie also informed my Dad that he had two older brothers named Milton and David who also died from the same pandemic that took his mother’s life. “

“When the emotions settled down several hours later, Lizzie told my Dad a comical story about when Frank showed up at the Rosenzweig household to court Rebecca, Lizzie’s parents would lock all the other sisters into their parent’s bedroom.  However, they were allowed to put their ear to the door and listen.”

Rebecca’s death certificate indicates that Rebecca in fact died from tuberculosis at a sanitarium in Liberty, New York, where she had been a patient for a little over a month before her death. rebecca elkin death certificate I also found the death certificates for Rebecca and Frank’s two other sons.  The first born was Milton, born on December 14, 1914, just nine months after Rebecca and Frank were married.  He died just five months later on May 16, 1915.  It seems he had been sick for two months, in other words, since he was really just an infant.

Milton Elkin death certificate

Milton Elkin death certificate

The second child was Daniel (not David).  He was born October 31, 1916, and died December 16, 1917, when he was just over a year old, from broncho pneumonia.

Daniel Elkin death certificate

Daniel Elkin death certificate

Although the family lore was that Rebecca and the two boys died during the flu pandemic of 1921, that appears not to be true.  It would appear instead that Milton died over a year before Daniel was even born, and that Daniel died two years before Irving was born and four years before Rebecca died.  Maybe the family remembered it differently because it was just too painful to imagine Rebecca and Frank losing one child after another and then Frank losing Rebecca when Irving was not yet two years old.  It is too painful to imagine.

I am deeply appreciative of Richard’s willingness to share his family stories.  They preserve not only the memory of his grandmother Rebecca, who never saw her son grow up; they also preserve the memory of that son, Richard’s father, Irwin Elkins, who despite losing his mother at such a young age, grew up to be a man with a great sense of humor, a wonderful father, a successful businessperson, and an inspired engineer.  The resilience of the human spirit is remarkable.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Passover Post-Script

Passover - Shalom

Passover – Shalom (Photo credit: paurian)

 

Our first seder is over and done, the rented table has been returned, the food has been eaten or put away,  and the house is (somewhat) back in order and far too quiet now that the guests are gone.  We have the second seder tonight at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s house, so now I get to be the guest and sit back a bit.  But before I move on from last night, I wanted to share my thoughts as a follow-up to my original Passover post.

 

I wrote in that post, based on last year’s seder, that Nate was too young to understand the story of Passover.  What a difference a year makes! He not only understood the story of Passover—he taught it to all of us.  He told us about how the “pharaoh guy, the bad guy” made all the people work too hard and how they never had a break.  He told us that Moses asked pharaoh to let his people go, but pharaoh said “No, no, no,” and so God sent frogs and locusts to punish him.  “The sky was so thick that the people could not see.”  He described how the people were in a hurry and had to carry the dough on their backs and how “the ocean snapped open so they could get on the island, and then it snapped closed so the soldiers could not get to the island.” And he closed the story by telling us that the people opened their backpacks once they were safe on the island.

 

Horsemen of Pharaoh

Horsemen of Pharaoh (Photo credit: Nick in exsilio)

Sure, a few details are missing and a few geographical facts are slightly off, but he got it.  He got the idea that the people were unfairly treated and that they wanted to be free.  He understood how important freedom is and how we have to stand up to the bad guys when they deprive us of that freedom.  He knows that the journey may be dangerous, but that you can cross the ocean and reach a place where you are free to open your backpacks and live in peace.

 

Isn’t that exactly the right lesson to learn from the Passover story? To cherish freedom, to stand up to evil, and to take steps, even dangerous steps, to ensure that you and your loved ones can live in peace?  My ancestors must have been smiling down on my three year old grandson with such pride.  As was I.  As were we all.

 

 

 

 

 

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Passover wishes and thoughts

 

Passover Seder Plate

Passover Seder Plate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As we approach the first night of Passover on Monday evening, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, as I usually am this time of year.  There is the cleaning, shopping, cooking, and all the other details that go into preparing the house for Passover and for the seder.  I am also feeling torn because there are so many things I want to do in connection with my research and the blog.  I have lots of photos to scan and post, both from my Brotman relatives and my Rosenzweig relatives, stories that need to be written, documents to request, people to contact.  But I do not have time.  So while the kugel is baking and before I start turning over the dishes and pots and pans for the holiday, I thought I’d take a few minutes to ponder what Passover means to me this year.

 

Passover was once my favorite holiday of the year.  I loved the seder because as a child, it was my only formal exposure to Jewish history and Jewish rituals.  I grew up in a secular home.  We did not belong to a synagogue, I did not go to Hebrew school, and there were no bar or bat mitzvahs celebrated in our family when we were children.  It was just fine with me, but I was also very curious about what it meant to be Jewish.  Passover gave me a taste of what being Jewish meant and could mean.  My Uncle Phil, my Aunt Elaine’s husband, had grown up in a traditional Jewish home, and although he was not terribly religious either, he wanted to have a seder.

 

So every year we had a seder, first only at my aunt’s house, and then my mother started doing a second seder at our house.  My uncle, the only one who knew Hebrew, would chant all the blessings and sing all the songs, and the rest we would read in English from the Haggadah for the American Family (not Maxwell House).  I was enchanted—I loved the music, the stories and all the rituals. I looked forward to it every year.

 

 

As an adult, I began my own exploration of what it means to be Jewish.  I married a man from a traditional family, and he wanted to keep the traditions and rituals that were part of his childhood.  I also wanted to learn more and do more.  I took classes, I read, I got involved with the synagogue, and over time the Jewish holidays and rituals and prayers and services became second nature to me and provided me with meaning and comfort and joy.

Passover has become just one small part of my Jewish life and identity now, and over time, it has lost its magic.  It no longer is my favorite holiday of the year.  The matzoh gives me indigestion, the chore of changing the dishes and pots and pans has become tiresome, and the seder is so familiar that it no longer feels fresh and new and exciting.

 

If I look at it through my grandson’s eyes, I can feel some of that old excitement, but he is still too young to ask questions or to understand the stories.  He just likes the songs and looking for the afikomen and being with his family, which is more than enough for now.  This picture, one of my favorite pictures ever, captures some of that feeling.  From generation to generation, traditions are being preserved.

L'dor v'dor  Harvey and Nate

L’dor v’dor Harvey and Nate

 

But this Passover I will try to take the time to think about things a little differently.  I will think not just about Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea and going from slavery to freedom.  I will think about all my maternal ancestors who made their own Exodus by leaving poverty and oppression and prejudice and war in Romania and Galicia to come to the place where they hoped to find streets lined with gold.

 

I will think of my grandfather Isadore, the first Goldschlager to come, leading the way for his father, his mother, his sister and his brother.  I will think of how he traveled under his brother David’s name to escape from the army and come to America.

 

I will think of his aunt, Zusi Rosenzweig, who met him at the boat at Ellis Island.  I will think of his uncle Gustave Rosenzweig, who was the first Rosenzweig to come to the United States back in about 1888, with his wife Gussie and infant daughter Lillie, a man who stood up for his extended family on several occasions. And I will think of his aunt Tillie Rosenzweig Strolowitz, who came to the US with her husband and her children, who lost her husband shortly after they arrived in the US.  I will remember how she took in my grandfather and his sister Betty when their father, Moritz, died, and their own mother and brother David had not yet arrived.

 

And I will think about my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman, who came here alone in about 1888 from Galicia, whose sons Abraham and David from his first marriage came next, and whose son Max as just a ten year old boy may have traveled to America all alone.  I will think of Bessie, my great-grandmother for whom I am named, who brought two small children, Hyman and Tillie, on that same trip a few years later, and who had three more children with Joseph between 1891 when she arrived and 1901, when Joseph died.  The first of those three children was my grandmother Gussie Brotman, who married my grandfather Isadore Goldschlager after he spotted her on Pacific Street while visiting his Rosenzweig cousins who lived there as well.

 

All of these brave people, like the Israelites in Egypt before them, pulled up their stakes, left their homes behind, carrying only what they could carry, to seek a better life.  I don’t know how religious any of them were or whether they saw themselves as brave, as crossing a Red Sea of their own.  But when I sit and listen to the blessings and the traditional Passover songs this year, I will focus on my grandson and see in him all the courage and determination his ancestors had to have so that he could be here, free to live as he wants to live and able to ask us, “Ma Nish Ta Na Ha Leila Ha Zeh?” Why is this night different?

 

Why is this night different from all other nights? It isn’t because we are free; it’s because on Passover we remember what it was like not to be free and to be grateful for the gifts of those who enabled us to be free.

Happy Passover to all, and thank you to all my  Brotman, Goldschlager and Rosenzweig relatives for making this such an exciting journey for me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Max and Irving: The Sons of Abraham Rosenzweig

Abraham Rosenzweig was the oldest son of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig and my grandfather Isadore’s first cousin.  He was born in New York City on February 12, 1889, apparently the first of their children born in the US.  He served in the Navy before and during World War I, and he worked for a bakery after the war and thereafter.

Although I do not have any documentation for Abraham’s marriage, it seems that he probably married in Pennsylvania.  Rebecca Fagles, his wife, was born in Pennsylvania, and Abraham was stationed on the USS Georgia in Philadelphia in 1910.

Abraham Rosenzweig 1910 census US Navy

I assume that that was when and where they met and that they married around 1915 because although Abraham was living with his family and single as of the 1915 census, his first son Maxwell was born April 2, 1916.  Abraham and Rebecca’s second son Irving was born April 26, 1919, and in 1920, they were all living in Brooklyn, according to the 1920 US census.

UPDATE: I was able to find the marriage of Reba Fagles and Abraham Rosenzweig in 1915 on the Philadelphia marriage index.  I am assuming that that is the record for Abraham and Rebecca.

Abraham Rosenzweig and family 1920 census

Abraham Rosenzweig and family 1920 census

Abraham and Rebecca, known as Abe and Beck, lived in Brooklyn for the rest of their lives, where they raised their two sons, Max and Irving.  Max married Sylvia Herrick and had two sons, Joseph and Gerald.

Max and Sylvia Ross

Max and Sylvia Ross

Irving married Irene Rubenstein/Robbins and had two daughters, Jane and Arlene.  Gerry remembers his grandparents very well since he grew up in Brooklyn where they lived.  He remembers that his grandmother Beck served untoasted English muffins and used memorial candle holders as glasses.  Gerry named his two children for his grandparents, his son for Abe and his daughter for Beck.  Abe died in 1961, and Beck died in 1970.

Abe, Sylvia, Ray (Abe's sister) and Beck

Abe, Sylvia, Ray (Abe’s sister) and Beck

Here are some photographs of Max and Irving and one with their aunt Ray, an aunt I’ve otherwise been unable to locate.

Max and Irving Rosenzweig/Ross

Max and Irving Rosenzweig/Ross

Max and Irving with their aunt Ray

Max and Irving with their aunt Ray

I was able to get some background information about the lives of Max and Irving from Gerry and Arlene.

Max and Sylvia settled in Brooklyn, where Max first was in the egg and poultry business and then in the business of reconditioning steel drums for storing oil.  At some time after World War II while doing business with the army, Max changed his last name from Rosenzweig to Ross, believing that he would have more success with a name that was not obviously Jewish.  Sometime thereafter Irving also changed his last name to Ross for similar reasons and also because their mother Beck did not like the idea of the two brothers having different last names.

Arlene told me that her father Irving had met her mother Irene when her uncle Max went to Sylvia’s house while they were dating and brought his younger brother Irving with him.  One of Sylvia’s friends was there and arranged for Irving to meet her younger sister Irene.  For Irving, it was love at first sight, but not for Irene.  For a year, Irving pursued her.  Irene had joined the Navy, one of the first ten women to become a WAVE, and Irving, himself in the US Army, placed an ad in the Stars and Stripes to find her and to get her attention.  Eventually, Irene agreed to date him and fell in love with him as well.

They were married in 1945, and according to Arlene, to his dying day, her father would do anything to make Irene happy.  Irving and Irene started their married life in Brooklyn, where their two daughters were born, and Irving owned a share in a successful hardware business.  One year around 1957, Irving and Irene and their daughters went to visit Irene’s parents, who had moved to the Miami, FL, area.  Irene was so taken with life in South Florida that within days after returning to Brooklyn, Irving sold his share in the hardware business and bought three tickets to Miami for Irene and his daughters, coming down a few months later himself once his business matters were resolved.  He was, as Arlene said, determined to make Irene as happy as possible.

Within five years, Irving, a man who never graduated from high school, had obtained a license to sell insurance and had established a very successful insurance brokerage business.  He was able to provide his family with a large, custom-built house and a comfortable lifestyle.  Irving and Irene remained in the Miami area thereafter and only occasionally would they return to the New York area.

Sadly, their lives would be marked by tragedy.  In 1968, Irving was admitted to the hospital for congestive heart failure.  While he was being admitted, Irene and Arlene went to get something to eat, and while driving down the street in front of the hospital, their car was hit head on by an oncoming car that had defective brakes and skidded across the median.  Both Irene and Arlene suffered severe injuries, and Arlene underwent numerous surgeries and was laid up for a substantial time after the accident.  For some period of time all three members of the family shared one hospital room.

Arlene and Irving Ross August1968

Arlene and Irving Ross August1968

Not long after the accident, Irving was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and died at age 51 on August 5, 1970.  Irene was only 49 when he died.  She had to go to work to support herself and her children and became a purchasing agent at Florida International University, where she worked for many years.  She died January 16, 2009, at age 88.

Irene Ross in 2006

Irene Ross in 2006

Arlene Ross

Arlene Ross

Max also died at a prematurely young age.  His wife Sylvia had a number of medical problems, and while accompanying her for treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital in November, 1975, Max had an aneurysm and died.  He was only 59 years old. Sylvia lived more than twenty years after Max died.

Sylvia Ross

Sylvia Ross

The two sons of Abraham and Rebecca, Max and Irving, thus had many parallels in their lives.  Both were big strong men over six feet tall, both had changed their name to Ross, both had had two children and long marriages to women to whom they were devoted, and both had died before they were sixty years old. Gerry said he speaks to his father daily and has every day since he died in 1975; Arlene also spoke adoringly of her father.  I could tell in speaking with both Gerry and Arlene that each of them loved their fathers dearly and want their memories preserved.   I hope this blog will help to do that.

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Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose

I have had some incredible luck  following my hunches when ordering vital records about people who I think are my family members—finding Frieda Brotman’s death certificate and marriage certificates, for example, or finding Susie Mintz and Gustave Rosenzweig and Tillie Strolowitz and their relatives.  But lest anyone think that all my hunches have worked out, I want to give you three recent examples where I just guessed wrong.

The first example involves Gussie Rosenzweig, Gustave’s wife.  Recently I was able to obtain her death certificate and saw that her son Jack had listed her as a widow with a husband named Ben.  I was very puzzled by this as Gussie had not been listed as living with any man in the most recent census reports before she died.  Had she married sometime in the 1920s or 1930s and been widowed in between census reports?  I did a search and found only one Gussie Rosenzweig who had married a man named Benjamin.  I ordered that certificate, and this is what I received:

Rosenzweig - Rosenberg Marriage page 1

Clearly, this is not the right Gussie.  This Gussie was only 27 in 1934, whereas our Gussie would have been in her 70s; this Gussie had different parents who had come from Hungary.  So I still have no idea whether there ever was a Ben who married Gussie after she and Gustave split up.  Strike one.

The next bad guess involved a search for the other children of Gussie and Gustave who did not survive infancy.  I had seen on Rebecca’s birth certificate in 1893 that Gussie and Gustave had had five children, four living at Rebecca’s birth.  Somehow I miscounted and thought there was a missing child, although now when I go back and re-read my blog post, it seems pretty obvious that I had found all four living children (Lillie, Sarah, Abraham, and Rebecca) and the one deceased child (David).  But I thought I had found another—Samuel Rosenzweig—and sent for that death certificate.  Not surprisingly, he was not the child of Gustave and Gussie, as you can see below.  Strike two.

Rosenzweig, Samuel Death

The last example of my bad hunches involved a man named Paskel Rosenzweig who came from Iasi in 1900.  I thought that he might be another Rosenzweig sibling and decided to research his life in the US.  I was able to determine that he had changed his name to Charles and ordered a death certificate, hoping it would show that he was the sibling of Gustave, Tillie, Ghitla and Zusi, but as you can see below, he was not.  Strike three.

Rosenzweig, Charles Death page 1

Perhaps he was a cousin, but it would require some further digging into Romanian documents to see if Charles’ father was related to my great-great grandfather David Rosenzweig.  For now I will accept that my hunch is unproven, if not yet proven wrong.

There are other examples of times I made a bad guess.  Fortunately for the most part these bad guesses are not costly, as the documents usually came for free from the Family History Library.  But even so, every time I open a document, either electronically or in hard copy, my heart is beating, hoping it will provide an important clue or confirm a hunch.  When it does not, it is very disappointing.  Inevitable—what are the odds I will always find the right person?—but nevertheless, disappointing.

 

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Family Photo Album:  Joe and Sadie and Their Daughters Irene and Mildred

Joe and Sadie and their daughters

Joe and Sadie and their daughters

Photographs can capture so much—a moment in time, a relationship, the style of an era, a mood, an emotion.  Even family snapshots can reveal a lot.  These pictures of Joe and Sadie and their daughters capture a family.  Thank you to the next generation for sharing these pictures of their mothers and grandparents.

These pictures from the early 1940s  of Irene, in her early 20s, and Mildred, a teenager, are so touching.  They show two beautiful sisters who seem close to each other and to their parents.  They both look like they have so much ahead of them.

Ariela described her mother Irene as very outgoing and social like her father Joe, someone who would strike up conversations with total strangers.    Ariela said that Irene loved to dance and ski and sail as a young woman and that she loved jewelry and clothes and other beautiful objects.  She loved dressing up and attending parties, and you can see that love of life and people in her face in these pictures of her as a young woman.

Irene 1941 Rockaway Pkwy

Irene 1941 Rockaway Pkwy

Irene, Joe and Mildred 1941

Irene, Joe and Mildred 1941

Tragically, Mildred’s life was cut short when she died in 1951 at only 25 years old, leaving behind her young husband and fifteen-month old child.  I am hoping to learn more about her, but from these pictures it looks like she was also a young woman who loved life and people and was adored by her sister and her parents.

Mildred

Mildred

Sadie and Mildred 1942

Sadie and Mildred 1942

Mildred 1941

Mildred 1941

Mildred and friend 1943

Mildred and friend 1943

Mildred Rosenzweig and Seymour Sundick 1947

Mildred Rosenzweig and Seymour Sundick 1947

 

Ron and his mother MIldred Sundick at his first birthday, a few months before she died

Ron and his mother MIldred Sundick at his first birthday, a few months before she died

This is one of my favorite pictures in this group of photos.  It shows both Mildred and Irene surrounding a baby carriage.  Although we cannot see the baby, the descendants of Mildred and Irene and I thought that it is likely that the baby is Ariela, based on the hairstyles dating it in the 1940s and the adoring look on Irene’s face, looking down at what must be her baby.

Mildred and Irene looking at Ariela 1947

Mildred and Irene looking at Ariela 1947

You can also see that same adoring look on Irene’s face many years later as she looks lovingly at her daughter Ariela.

Irene and Ariela

Irene and Ariela

And here is one of Irene with her grandson Aron.  Same loving look—on both of their faces.

Aron and his grandmother Irene

Aron and his grandmother Irene

Here are some photos of Joe and Sadie in the 1940s:

Sadie in cloth coat Joe on boat dock Lake 1942 Joe and Sadie on Chair 1942 Joe and Sadie in Lake 1942 Joe 1941

Here are some from the 1950s and after of Joe, Sadie and Irene:

Irene Joe Sadie in color Sadie and Irene Sadie

 

This photo  is of Irene and her husband Leo Kohl with her parents Joe and Sadie.

Leo Joe Sadie and Irene

Leo Joe Sadie and Irene

Ariela told me that her mother was madly in love with Leo and missed him dearly until the day she died.  Irene died less than a year and a half ago at age 91.

As I said, photographs capture so much.  These capture a family over time, a family where children adored their parents and vice versa, a family that endured a terrible tragedy, but that survived and thrived and found love and joy in their lives again

Blog Update

The family tree chart for David and Esther Rosenzweig’s descendants was growing to a point where it became illegible unless you had a microscope.  I have now broken the tree into its various branches based on David and Esther’s children and sometimes their grandchildren to make these charts more readable.  I have also placed the charts on a separate page that is password protected to protect the identity of any living descendants.

If you are a member of the family and would like the password, just email me, and I will provide it to you.

I hope this makes the trees more readable and also more secure.

Amy