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Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland

Brick Walls
Are you up against a genealogical “brick wall”? Let JGSMD members help you break it down! If you have a perplexing research problem and desire some guidance on where to look next or how to proceed, maybe our group members can point you in the right direction. See instructions for presenting your brick wall problem here. Submitted Brick Wall problems will be posted on this web page.

JGSMD group members are invited to contribute suggestions and pointers for resolving the problem—but should not do the research themselves. If you’d like to offer a research suggestion, please see instructions here.

When responses are received, they will be forwarded to the person who submitted the problem. Questions and responses will also be edited for publication in the next edition of our quarterly newsletter, L’DOR V’DOR, so that we can all share the learning experience. Contributors’ email addresses will not be published.

[For those who would prefer to receive help in a more personal and private setting, please consider our Mentoring program as an alternative. Contact Arlynne Brown (arbrown2@gmail.com) for details.]

Submitted Brick Walls--Can You Help?

MONSON in Katerburg

Selene Scherr

I am researching my mother’s parents. Esther MONSON, my mother, came from Katerburg, Russia or Poland, as an 8-year-old child with her cousins and aunt after her mother was killed by the Bolsheviks during a pogrom between 1918 and 1920. I found out about the murder through a family member, just a few months ago. Previously, I thought my grandmother died of an illness. I’d like to find a death record or perhaps an account of the pogrom in the area. I do not know what happened to my grandfather. I think his name was Frayim.

I do not have Esther MONSON’s Petition for Naturalization, but I have her Certificate of Citizenship. I also found the Petition of her aunt, Bessie (Pesya) FIRESTEIN, on Ancestry.com. Bessie and family, including my mother, Esther, arrived in New York on September 20, 1920, on the ship Oscar II. The family moved to Baltimore and settled there. I cannot locate any record of Esther MONSON in Poland or Russia or in the immigration records. Perhaps she had a different name in Poland. I am hoping that the new records from Ron Doctor’s Kremenets project will uncover something, and I plan to look through those records soon.

I have been trying to locate Bessie FIRESTEIN’s obituary in the Baltimore Sun to learn her maiden name; her date of death is documented as August 5, 1950. My great-aunt’s maiden name would be the same as my grandmother’s.

I’ve consulted Jewish Records Indexing-Poland and thought I found the family listed under FAYERSHTEJN/FAYERSHTEYN in Katerinovka, Poland, but I’m not sure that is the right family because the birth dates in that record do not coincide with the dates of birth on the Petition for Naturalization.

Any help or tips would be much appreciated.

Who Is Barbara or Eve Vanderslice?

Amber Hennessey

Here is my dilemma on finding my ancestor: I am trying to find a woman (or, possibly, two women) named Barbara/Barbary or Eve. According to census records, her husband, Moses VANDERSLICE, was born about 1801 in Holland. I already have some information about her. I have combed through Ancestry.com and many Google and Jewish genealogy society sites.

In records of Mikveh Israel Jewish Congregation in Philadelphia, her name is given as Eve, the wife of Moses Vanderslice and the mother of Elsey (b. 1835), Isaac (b. 1837), Rachel (b. 1840), and Aaron (b. 1842). It is possible that, if Eve and Barbara are two different women, Eve died around 1842.

A marriage record for Moses Vanderslice indicates that he married Zibaure/Zibora ___ in 1843 in Philadelphia at Rodeph Shalom Congregation. In the 1850 census, Moses Vanderslice’s wife is listed as Barbara, and in the 1860 U.S. census and 1865 Massachusetts state census, she is Barbary. In 1860, two other children, Ann (b. 1842; possibly written mistakenly for Aaron) and Joseph (b. 1845), are living in their household. Barbara was born in Baltimore in 1804 or 1805, a time when there were only about 15-20 Jewish families in Baltimore. Barbara Vanderslice died on 1/12/1880 in Philadelphia and was buried by Congregation Rodeph Shalom.

My questions are: How can I determine whether Eve changed her name to Barbara, or whether Eve died and Barbara was the second wife of Moses? Also, how can I find her birth name? Who were her parents, and where were they from?

I thank you kindly for all your effort and help.

Morris (Moshe) Levin or Levine, Early 1900s Shochet In Baltimore

Jane Alpert

Can anyone help me trace the early history of my ancestor Morris (Moshe) LEVIN or LEVINE in Baltimore? My family believes he was well known and established in the Jewish community from the early 1900s. He was a shochet, had a shop in Lexington Market, and was a scholarly man who affiliated with Shaarei Zion shul and was close with their long-time leader, Rabbi Israel Tabak. Eventually, he owned a number of rental properties that made him and family fairly well off. Yet, none of his descendants has any details on his background in Europe, other than that he came from Novogrodek in Russia (now Belarus) and his parents were named Lazar and Leah. I am interested to know what brought him to Baltimore, how he became successful here, and whether he maintained any ties with the family in Novogrodek.

My research so far has turned up a 1904 Baltimore City Directory, listing him at 213 Pearl St. Also, the 1910 U.S. Census has him at this address with his wife, Lena, and three children, Ida, Rebecca, and Louis. I have also found a 1910 passenger manifest for my great-grandmother, Bella LEVINE (“LEWIN” on the passenger manifest), showing that she and the children were coming to live with my great-grandfather Samuel at the same 213 Pearl St address. Samuel and Bella eventually settled with their children at 774 Saratoga St.

There is a family legend that the name in Russia was ELETZKY (phonetic spelling) and was changed by Morris after he came to Baltimore, when a signmaker told him it was too long for a sign on his schochet shop. The family has told this story for years, but no one has been able to document the original family name.

I need to know my family’s original surname to make progress tracing back the family in the old country. I would also love any additional information or insights into their lives and work in Baltimore in the early 1900s. I have not found passenger manifests for Morris or Samuel, only for Bella, who was the last of the family to arrive.

I would be grateful for recollections, hints, or advice.

What Ever Happened to Dreske/Dora/Thelma?

George Rothstein

I am looking for a first cousin once removed on my father’s mother’s side. She immigrated as ‘Dreske,’ appears in census reports as ‘Dora’ and has always been known to her family as ‘Thelma.’

Here is what I already know about her:

Probable match on ship`s manifest shows Eva Leah (Chava Leie Lewin) arriving on the Netherlands-American Line Obdam from Rotterdam on November 11, 1897. Accompanying her are Josef Elie (Albert?) aged 10, Dreske (Dora/Thelma?) age 8 and Mendel (Victor Emanuel) aged 6. If Dreske is Thelma her age and Mendel`s age may have been switched.

1900 US Census shows her name as Dora living with parents, Israel and Eva and brothers Albert, Emanuel and Samuel at a rented apartment at 423 Delancy Street, New York City. Shows her date of birth as December 1885, shows she immigrated in 1897, that she can read, write and speak English and that she is in school.

1905 NY State Census shows Dora living with her parents and 4 brothers and my grandmother, Lena Levine, at 60 E. 98th Street in NYC. Her age is given as 19 and her occupation, milliner.

[From Barbara Levine, her niece] Struck and killed as a young woman in a car accident. Was always known to the family as Thelma. "When Dad [Irving (Abraham Levine) Levine) - b.NYC 1902] moved to Baltimore he told me this story: He was a kid living in New York. Previously he had told me they lived on the Lower East Side. He was coming home from school and other kids yelled at him "Hey Levine, Your sister`s dead". He then found that she had been struck by a car near their place. Information from the Ivy Dall Family Tree

1910 US Census shows Dora's parents and two youngest brothers (including Irving/Abraham) living at Lincoln Park and Boonton Turnpike in Pequannock, NJ. Dora is not

1920 US Census shows parents and Irving/Abraham living at 390 Berraman Street in

Possible match: Dora Levine, died 28 October 1915, age 26, buried in Bayside Cemetery,

Possible match: Washington Cemetery, 5400 Bay Parkway,Brooklyn, NY, 11230, 718-377-8690. Dora Levine, died 12/30/1918 on Grant Street in Manhattan, Cemetery 1, Post 19, Row 7, Grave 5. Sent for photograph 6/7/13. NO this Dora was 54 years old per death record.

I have done the following research:

Looked at Italian Gen for deaths of all Dreske/Dora/Thelmas (regardless of last name) who died between 1905 and 1930. Obtained death certificates for any candidates born around 1885.

Looked at all Jewish cemeteries in NY area that had location finders.

Looked at Brooklyn Eagle and NY Times data bases for reports of a car accident involving a Dreske, Dora, Thelma or Levine.

Questions: Could Thelma have lived separated from her parents as a single Orthodox Jewish woman? Could she have living in NY with a relative or at a boarding house when her family lived in NJ? Could Irving have remembered incorrectly and his sister actually died in NJ? I haven’t been able to search local NJ papers for the accident. Irving was born in 1902. If he was coming home from school he must have been at least 6 years old. But sometime between 1905 and 1910 he was living in NJ. Could he have remembered incorrectly where he was living when his sister died?

I would appreciate any suggestions you can make to track down this elusive relative. Thanks!

Bessie Klivansky – Great-grandmother

Minna Culiner

Bessie Klivansky was born around 1866 in Russia to Samuel Klivansky and Frada (or Freda) Levine. I believe she arrived in the U.S. around 1886 or 1887, but I am not sure what city or port she arrived in. I have a feeling she lived with a cousin when she first arrived in Baltimore; however, I have no information to confirm this theory.

She lived in Baltimore around 1887 and married my great-grandfather, Morris Friedlander, about the same time. They had four children between 1887 and 1895. Her children are as follows: Rose Friedlander, born May 1887; Minnie Friedlander, born July 1889; Bessie Friedlander, born July 1891; and Israel Friedlander, born June 1895.

I found an 1897 death certificate for her. The certificate had no information about her spouse or parents. She died in childbirth at 1144 East Lombard Street and was buried in the Mikro Kodesh Synagogue Cemetery on Philadelphia Road. The undertaker was J. Gittlesohn of 800 East Lombard Street. The gravestone no longer exists, and there is only an empty plot, per Beth Israel.

She is not listed on any census or city directory from 1887 to 1897. Unfortunately, there is no 1890 census, either. I did find her brother, Jacob Kline, in Raleigh, Wake Co., NC.

His obituary in 1925 did not mention his parents’ names or his deceased siblings’ names.

I am trying to find out: 1) what country she came from, 2) when she arrived in Baltimore, MD, 3) the ship she arrived on, and 4) if she has any living family members who were told any stories about her. Where would you research next?
Instructions for Posting Problems

Instructions for Posting Research Suggestions

  • Write a brief, focused response, giving a research suggestion or pointer to help resolve the problem.
  • Be sure to mention the title of the problem to which you are responding, and provide your full name at the end of your response.
  • If possible, supply links to suggested databases or web sites, and provide reference information for printed resources.
  • Send your response to Susan Steeble at ssteeble@gmail.com. Please put the words “BRICK WALL RESPONSE” in your email subject line.

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