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Sun, Dec. 28th, 2014, 10:15 am
Jennie, my great-great-aunt

It's been a while since I blogged about any genealogical findings. I'm hoping to get back into that habit... and where better to start than with a nice, juicy sex scandal?

Back on Thanksgiving Eve, I decided to systematically search various old New York newspaper sites for combinations of ancestors' names and known addresses. When I searched for the combination of "Ida Green" (my great-grandmother) and "99 Clinton" I struck gold.

I found an article from the New York Times of 5 March 1893, reporting that "Mrs. Ida Green of 99 Clinton Street and her husband had her sister, Jennie Leivne, arrested yesterday ... as a refractory and wayward girl." I had never heard of Jennie before.

Long story short, Jennie had come over from Russia four months previously and lived with Ida and Barnett, had run away two months later and taken up with Joseph Rosenberg. Other newspapers assert that she knew Joseph from the old country and that between running off and settling down with Joseph, she had spent time in "various disorderly houses". Ida had Jennie arrested, claiming she was underage, and Joseph was arrested for abducting her. (I don't see how Ida could have it both ways, but there you go.)

The couple agreed to marry. Ida said that would satisfy her, and so they wed and Ida dropped the charges.

The marriage certificate is somewhat helpful: It lists Jennie's father as Joseph T. Levine (which is consistent with the "Yosef Tuvia" on Ida's gravestone and the "Fannie Levine" listed in the 1905 NY census as her mother) and Jennie's mother as Fanny Rabinowitz (which again is consistent with the "Fannie Levine" in the census, but adds Fannie's birth name to my database.) It is also worth noting that the officiant is "Louis Klein, Rev. of Cong. Tiferes Achim Ancei Dinaburg", who is the same rabbi who officiated at many of my grandfather's older siblings' marriages a decade or two later. This gives a much earlier date for my great-grandparents' affiliation with the Dinaburg Landsmanschaft.

And that's all I've been able to find about Jennie and Joseph. No luck looking in NYC birth records, censuses, or passenger lists. Just a scandal-of-the-day in several newspapers. Although this does make my great-grandmother the earliest member of my family to have her name in the Times.

Sun, Dec. 28th, 2014 05:18 pm (UTC)
mabfan

I love this story.

Thu, Jan. 1st, 2015 03:34 am (UTC)
vettecat

Wow. That's pretty wild!