So I'm starting over, and documenting each step along the way, so that (as with a logic puzzle) when I discover a contradiction, I know how to unwind to a known safe checkpoint.
The start of most of my work on my grandmother's side is what I jokingly call the "gold ticket" -- two pages of handwritten notes in which she listed her aunts, uncles, and cousins.
So for Herschel, I have this:
Herschel (Herman) + Pearl had kids Kelly (m. ---) Leo and Sarah (had William and Ruth) Rose (single)
Of these, there is one line which is wonderfully useful: There is one and only one family that I could find in the census where there was a Leo Wertheim married to Sarah with children named William and Ruth. They appear in the following census records:
US 1910 - Middletown NY NY 1915 - Fallsburg, Sullivan NY US 1920 - Fallsburg, Sullivan NY US 1930 - Fallsburg, Sullivan NY
He was apparently a doctor, and also on the board of a bank in upstate New York. He died in March 1956, per an article in the New York Times that June about how the village was trying to get the Army to provide them with a doctor after his passing.
I went back and found his marriage to Sarah Silverman on 28 Jan 1906. His parents are listed as Hyman and Pearl; Pearl's maiden name is not clearly written -- it might be Horn or it might be Horau or it might be Howu. (Well, probably not Howu, but that's what it looks like to me.) His address on the marriage certificate is 66 S. 9 St., Brooklyn. That matches the passport application for Herman. (See below)
His WWI draft card (which lists Sarah as his closest relative and Sullivan, NY as his draft board) gives his date of birth as 11 April 1883 and his full name as Leopold Leo Wertheim.
According to the census records, his children were
William George Wertheim, b. 1909 Edwin C Wertheim, b. 1914 Ruth C Wertheim, b. 1919
I had little trouble finding them in the Ancestry.com databases.
William married Josephine Dixon and died in 1957. I have found some children, but I don't think I've found all of them. Since some are still alive, I'm not going to go into more detail here.
Edwin married Ebba Swenson and died in 1965. I did not find any children.
Ruth married a man named David. I do not know if they had children. I think she is still alive, so I'm not going to provide her married name. I definitely found her listed on a 2010 synagogue bulletin that was posted online in which she made a donation in memory of her father.
I decided next to search for Kelly. I was coming up empty-handed; then I decided to widen my search. I looked for all Wertheim births in NY with the first initial K. And I finally got lucky.
I found Kalman Wertheim, born 29 Oct 1890 in Manhattan; according to the FamilySearch index his parents are listed as Hyman Wertheim and Gappie Horn. Tentatively looking good. ("Gappie" is certainly a transcription error; remember that I'm seeing someone's transcribed index and not yet the original records.)
I searched on FamilySearch for any other Wertheim-Horn children, and found:
Hanna Wertheimer, b. 19 Sep 1893 in Brooklyn to Hyman Wertheimer and Peppie Horn Wertheimer Levy Wertheimer, b. 21 Sep 1886 in Manhattan to Hyman Wertheimer and Poppy Horn Katie Wertheimer, b. 13 Dec 1894 in Brooklyn to Herman Wertheimer and Peppie Horn Wertheimer Rachel Wertheimer, b. 16 July 1892 in Brooklyn to Herman Wertheimer and Peppie Horn Sehaja [sic] Wertheimer, b. 14 June 1881 in Manhattan to Hery Wirtheim and Peril Horn Wirtheim
Interestingly, L Leo does *not* show up in this search; who else might be missing?
Anyway, let's try correlating these with the Steve Morse / IGG search results. I have to be creative because the transcriptions here are wilder for the last name, but I have dates of birth which helps me find them:
Wertheim Kalman Oct 29 1890 38427 (1890) Manhattan 1322238 Wertheimer Hanna Sep 19 1893 12471 (1893) Kings 1324415 Wertheimer Levy Sep 11 1886 467951 (1886) Manhattan 1322214 Wertheiner Katie Dec 13 1894 18463 (1894) Kings 1373916 Wertheimer Rachel Jul 16 1892 8119 (1892) Kings 1324410 Werthein S Jun 14 1881 314000 (1881) Manhattan 1322163
I also found
Wertheim Rose Dec 8 1895 51719 (1895) Manhattan 1322326
Still no L. Leo. Perhaps his birth was not registered with the city? According to the census records he was born in New York, and he had at least one elder sibling.
Comparing to my grandmother's notes, we now have a good match for Leo, a possible match for Kelly (Kalman), and no match for Rose. On the other hand, we have cousins Hanna, Levy, Katie, Rachel, and "Sahaja" unaccounted for.
The assumption is that these other cousins died in childhood, before my grandmother knew them. Searching for death records on Steve Morse's and the IGG's site, I found these likely matches:
Wertheimer Hannah 1 y Feb 24 1894 6872 (1894) Manhattan 1892 - 1893 1322873 Wertheim Levy 8 m Apr 10 1887 597995 (1887) Manhattan 1886 - 1887 1412486 Wertheim Carrie 8 m Aug 4 1895 13617 (1895) Kings 1894 - 1895 1323936
That last one is probably Katie. No matches for Rose, Rachel, or S---
So in summary, we have the following potential siblings.
Name Nana? Born Died Spouse+Children ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- S??? --- 6/1881 ? L Leo Leo 4/1883* 3/1956 Sarah: William, Edwin, Ruth (per Nana and Census records) Levy --- 9/1886 4/1887 Kalman Kelly 10/1890 1/1975 Married, spouse unknown (per Nana) Rachel --- 7/1892 ? Hanna --- 9/1893 2/1894 Katie/Carrie --- 12/1894 8/1895 Rose Rose 12/1895 ? None (per Nana) * = birthdate derived from record OTHER than NYC index
This looks promising as a match for what I started with.
I found a passport application:
- Dated August 1904
- Name is "Herman Wertheim"
- Born 18 April 1859 in Tarnopol
- Arrived on Cymbria 10 July 1879
- Naturalized Superior Court of City of New York 16 Oct 1886
- Lives at 66 South 9 St, Brooklyn
Based on that, I can find his naturalization paperwork. It's beautfillu preserved, but tells me nothing new besides his current street address in Oct 1886, which was 160 E 109 St.
When I made my "Werdesheim" breakthrough, I found that JRI-Poland lists a Tevel Hersch, born in Mielec to Moses and Pesl (Falk) Wertheim in 1859. "Tevel" may be a mistranscription of "Tzvi", a common pair-name with Hersch. That is from the 1879 draft listings, and marks him as desceased, but I don't know how reliable those records are.
Let's follow Kalman for a while.
Remember that 1910 census that showed L Leo, his wife Sarah, and their son William in Fallsburg? Well it also listed brother Coleman, age 18. And based on census and other records, we can track him further.
1910 US - with L Leo's family, Fallsburg NY, age 18 (should be 20) 1915 NY - boarding with a family at 329 Ocean Parkway -- in the same household as Lina Rickert, sister of head-of-household Justin Wolfe 1917 WWI - DOB 3 Nov 1889 in NYC living at 327 Oceam Parkway 1917 - married in NY to Eleanor Louise Brauer on 1 Oct 1917 1920 US - in Brooklyn, with wife Eleanor and child Dorothy, and parents-in-law Arnold M Brauer and Jennie C Brauer 1930 US - in Brooklyn, with wife Eleanor and children Dorothy and Carolyn, and m-i-l Jennie Brauer 1940 US - in LA, with wife Eleanor and children Dorothy and Carolyn 1942 WWII - DOB 4 Nov 1893; "person who will always know your address" and "employer" are both given as L Rickert, 327 Ocean Parkway SSDI - born 29 Oct 1890, died Jan 1975 in Staten Island?
Some inconsistencies with the date of birth, so there's a small chance that we're talking about two different people, but since they never both show up in the same record set I'm betting he just lied to the army (and didn't keep his story exactly straight).
Also, there was an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of 1 July 1908 that reports on the arrest of 18-year-old Coleman Wertheim for stealing a bicycle. The age is right for this to be Kalman.
Meanwhile, I'm also finding another family whose mother is Peppy Wertheim. For example, in the 1920 census she is aged 57 (birth year abt 1863) and has children Rose (age 34, born abt. 1886), May (age 26, born abt. 1894; married to William Carroll with daughter Elenore), and Charles (age 38, born abt. 1882; married to Bertie). Is this the same woman? She's listed as widowed... but that is inconsistent with death certificate evidence. Was she separated from Hyman and didn't want to admit it to the census taker? If so, where is Hyman, or whatever name he has now?
In the 1910 census, I see Pepe, Rose, and Rachel Wertheimer (ages 47, 23, and 17 ==> born 1863, 1887, 1893) at 1359 East New York Ave. Pepe is marked as naturalized in 1890. Again, where is Hyman et al? -- she's not listed as widowed.
In 1925 and 1930, the census just has Peppi with Rose (yes, Rose, not Rachel) and Eleanor. Eleanor's last name is listed as Carrol in 1925 but Wertheim in 1930.
Using Charles as a proxy for this family, I see the following:
I can find Charles's marriage to Berdie Weil in the IGG index: it was either 30 Nov 1908 or 31 Dec 1908; the indexes to the same record are inconcistent.
I can find Charles's WWI and WWI draft cards; his wife's name is Bertha in one and Babette in the other.
In all census records, Charles's parents are listed as being born in Austria.
1920 US - in Brooklyn, with family as described above 1930 US - in Queens, with wife Babette 1940 US - in Queens, with wife Babette and lodger Jenny Levits
Looking for Charles in the IGG birth index, I find this:
Wertheimer Charles Jun 18 1882 340614 (1882) Manhattan 1322172
And I also stumbled on a birth record in the FamilySearch database:
"Selina" Wertheimer married Max Grimm on 21 Mar 1909; her parents were listed as Charles and Babette Wertheimer. Now, this Charles and Babette had only been married for 3 or 4 months at this point, but what if "Selina" is what "Sehaja" was supposed to be, and she listed her brother and sister-in-law as her parents for some reason? That holds together.... But "Selma" is a much more likely name
And then I find this.
An application for a passport by Peppye Wertheim, dated 8 Jul 1911. She gives her birth vitals as: born in Tzergova, Dulcar, Austria 28 July 1863. Her husband Herman Wertheim came to the US on the Zimbiar from Hamburg on 29 Sept 1880; Herman was naturalized by the Superior Court of NYC 16 Oct 1886 -- "see application 92465, 6 Aug 1904" -- and "that the reason no certificate of naturalization is sent herewith is that I am living apart from my husband and cannot obtain the same, nor any information as to the same." It's signed in Hebrew.
That would explain why Hyman doesn't show up on any of the later census records. It does not explain why I can't find the family in any of the earlier ones.
Zimbiar is the Cimbria; I'm certain of it.
I also see a passenger record of her departing Hamburg to return to the States on 25 Nov 1911, where her hometown is listed as Dukla.
Moving on to the deaths of Herman and Peppi. I had previously obtained death certificates of likely matches.
Let's start with Peppi Wertheim, d. 23 Jan 1933.
Her husband, Herman, is still alive (per the undretaker's portion of the cerificate). She was born 29 Nov 1866 in Austria, and has been in New York for 55 years (thus since abt. 1878). Her father's name is listed as Joseph Horau (or maybe Horon?) and her mother as Esther Friedmann. Her address is listed as 42 Howard Ave. She is buried in Mount Lebanon Cemetery.
It's a plausible match.
Next, let's look at Herman Wertheim, d. 3 Dec 1942.
He's listed as the widower of Pepi. He was born 1 Dec 1858. His father is listed as Jacob and his mother as Rose Stern.
WHOA! Here's the sticking point. If I'm tracking the brother of my great-uncle Leo, his parents should be Moses and Pearl (Falk) Wertheim!
But let's ignore that for now and continue to consider them my candidate family.
The signature of informant is "Coleman Wertheim", son of the deceased. The burial is also at Mount Lebanon.
Doing a grave search at Mount Lebanon's website gives four Wertheims buried together:
WERTHEIM, BABETTE D-115-REAR-8 10/4/1943 WERTHEIM, CHARLES D-115-REAR-7 12/29/1947 WERTHEIM, HERMAN D-115-REAR-3 12/3/1942 WERTHEIM, PEPPI D-115-REAR-2 1/23/1933
The information for Peppi and Herman match my candidates. The presence of Charles and Babette indicates a relationship with the family in the 1920 census.
Searching for who else is in D-115 yields:
CARROL, RACHEL D-115-REAR-1 2/6/1920 CARROLL, ELEANOR D-115-FRONT-4 11/14/1936
which makes me think that Rachel is the same as May in the 1920 Census (perhaps that should be have been "Rae"?), and explains why she's not with Peppi, Rose, and Eleanor in the 1930 census. And also explains why Rachel isn't in Nana's notes.
The chart, updated with some tentative guesses, looks like this:
Name Nana? Born Died Married Spouse+Children ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Selma --- 6/1881 ? 3/1909 Max Grimm ?Charles --- 6/1882 12/1947 11/1908 Babette L Leo Leo 4/1883* 3/1956 1/1906 Sarah: William, Edwin, Ruth (per Nana and Census records) Levy --- 9/1886 4/1887 ?Rose-2 --- ~1886* ? Kalman/Coleman Kelly 10/1890 1/1975 10/1917 Eleanor: Dorothy and Carolyn (per Census) Rachel/?May --- 7/1892 2/1920 William Carroll: Eleanor Hanna --- 9/1893 2/1894 Katie/Carrie --- 12/1894 8/1895 Rose Rose 12/1895 ? None (per Nana) * = birthdate derived from record OTHER than NYC index
So now we look back at Nana's notes. She listed
Herschel (Herman) + Pearl had kids Kelly (m. ---) Leo and Sarah (had William and Ruth) Rose (single)
By 1950, of Herschel and Pearl's kids (or Hyman and Peppi), the only three to survive were Rose, Leo, and Kalman. Not only was Rachel gone, so was her daughter. (I'm assuming the same about Selma.)
This story is internally consistent, and matches up very nicely with the small information I started with from my grandmother's notes.
The only problem is that if Herman/Hyman is supposed to be Leo's older brother, we have a contradiction where we should have confirmation: the crucial details of Hyman's parents listed on his death certificate, and his place of birth listed on his passport application. (Although Tarnopol and Mielec are not terribly close, they are both in Galicia, so I'm willing to overlook this.)
I can see three possible resolutions to the parents' names problem:
The death certificate may be wrong. Perhaps Coleman was mistaken. Or, given the family dynamic, lied. Or maybe the undertaker mixed up Hyman's parents with the paperwork for someone else filing that day. Death certificates are notoriously unreliable for this sort of information.
Or perhaps my grandmother was incorrect in believing that Hyman was her uncle and his kids were her first cousins; perhaps Hyman was her father's cousin, and Hyman's kids were my grandmother's second cousins.
Or perhaps it's have the wrong family. I think that's very unlikely, but must admit the possibility.
Where to go from here?
Perhaps there's something on JRI-Poland that can help me prove more definitively that Hyman was, in fact, the son of Moses and Pesl (Falk) Wertheim; or, alternatively, that would provide an alternate explanation.
Or perhaps one of Leo's or Coleman's descendants can help me sort this out. I have been exchanging messages on Ancestry with one such descendant.
Perhaps I can track down their passenger manifests based on the passport applications.
Perhaps if I can find Hyman in the census it will clarify things.