Tag Archives: Wolfe

Maine – Summer 2018 Trip, Part 1

It seems to be time for me to begin catching up with my blogging. Here I am, settled into my hotel for the night in Kalisz, Poland, and I haven’t posted much of anything online about what I’ve been doing. With the other conference bloggers already on their way, I decided I’d get started.

This year’s summer trip is a big one. Just like the IAJGS conference in Paris set me on a trip a month long in Europe, so did the IAJGS conference in Warsaw.

To begin my trip to Europe, I went to Maine. Yes, the state. I began my trip to Europe in Maine.

My cousin Bonnie threw a smallish reunion. The Wolfe family was based in Portland, Maine for a while, where she still lives, so she invited a bunch of cousins to see where their ancestors lived, where they worshipped, and generally to walk in their footsteps.

I arrived earlier than most and spent a couple nights at Bonnie’s home. She drove me around and pointed things out along the way, most of which we revisited for the official reunion or I saw again on a trolley tour. We visited the two Portland area Jewish cemeteries where relatives and almost relatives were buried. And we visited four lighthouses.

Then the other cousins started showing up. I ended up rooming with Cheryl and hanging out with sisters Stacey and Sydney. As it turned out, these were the only people at the reunion who are not my cousins, but they were a lot of fun.

How are they not my cousins at a family reunion? Bonnie invited mostly people that she knew in the Wolfe branch of the family, and a few outside of it. It was supposed to be a Szleper/Shemper reunion: Moses Wolfe married Ida Shemper then Ruchel Szleper, who later went by Rose Bornstein. While a few non-Wolfes were supposed to be there, in the end, it was just me and the Wolfe pack (and spouses and significant others).

Bonnie arranged for a little walking tour, starting at the active synagogue, going to the house where Moses and Rose lived, and going to the ex-synagogue that they helped to found. The next day, we had a big meal farther south and went to Old Orchard Beach Pier. We finished off with a brunch at the community room at Bonnie’s home. Each day had a few more people join in and she left us plenty of time for touring and touristing.

It was a blast. I got to meet a pack of Wolfe cousins all in one place. I’d already met a few, but there were so many more I was already in contact with mostly via Facebook. Plus, there were a few surprise attendees too.

Besides weddings and such where a bunch of family show up and it’s sort of a reunion, this was only my second family reunion. (The first was five people, so this was really different.) I do hope that more of my relatives plan things like this. I wouldn’t be able to decide which branch of the family to do first, how big to make it, where to go, or what to do. But I’d be happy to try to help in the planning and the finding of relatives to invite.

Update: It has been pointed out to me that 50 people is not a “smallish” reunion. While I have seen pictures and heard of reunions of 100 people, I can agree that 50 was probably at least medium sized. Also that five generations of Wolfes have lived in Portland, which means, I’ve had relatives living there for over 100 years.

1940 US Census – Second Success

While the NARA site is still dragging along (and word on Twitter is they just took it down to make some changes to try to improve performance), I’ve been watching Ancestry and FamilySearch. FS is uploading states that are of no use to me in 1940. Even if I have a few stray entries in my database who might be there, I would need the index to find them.

Ancestry, on the other hand, is keeping me happy today. One of their earliest states to be uploaded was Maine. I have people from Maine. Unfortunately, by 1940, most of them had left for California. But I did find Bernard Wolfe in 1942 still in Maine. I looked up the ED but didn’t find him. Using their 1930-1950 records, I found that he was in Boston from 1930-1939. His trail ran out in the Boston directory for 1940. Was he back in Maine? I searched about six EDs around the one and still didn’t find him.

Onward… they were adding New York. I saw Bronx county and checked my database. Noticing some people in the Bronx around the right time, I switched over to the NYPL 1940 phone directories and found one address among the surnames. I had one other 1941 document for Rose Tabashnick with an address, so I took those over to Steve Morse’s ED Finder, then headed back to Ancestry. But the EDs weren’t listed. And so I waited and refreshed as they added more. Eventually one showed up, and I found the listing that matched the phone book, but he didn’t match my person.

Finally the other ED showed up. I started scanning the pages for Tabashnick. I found Miller. Pesach Miller, with wife Rebecca, daughter Rose, daughter Larry (daughter?), son Eddie, daughter Bella Blumenfeld, and her husband Joe. Also notable is that this is a rare family where no one is marked as having given the census information. So who was the informant?

Pesach Miller Family
Family, Page 2

Of interest is that in 1941, Rose was married. This certainly narrows down her date of marriage, which I don’t have. Also, this saves me from searching for several of Pesach’s kids, as they are still living with him, including one married daughter.

Other things I noticed included that everyone had only an eighth grade education, save for Eddie, and an interesting mix of aliens, naturalized citizens, and those with papers. This entire family was born in Poland.

It also further reinforces that the birth order I had for the kids was wrong. Though I had an order, I didn’t even have estimated dates for many. By the way, Pesach is the brother of my great-grandfather, so we’re getting a bit distant.

I will likely keep looking for people this way, but I don’t have that many 1940 addresses. I’ll see who I can find in the NYC phone directories, and look for them bit by bit as I can get the images, but beyond that, I think I’d be more productive indexing. I just saw on Twitter that indexing should get going around 10pm tonight. I hope Ancestry keeps working on New York until then.

Did you find anyone yet? Or are you waiting to index?

The URL of this article is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/04/02/1940-us-census-second-success/.

Seeking Sidney Wolfe

I’d been looking for the birth record of Sidney Wolfe. His father, Moses, was married twice, to Ida then to Rose. Rose’s sister Bertha was my great-grandmother. The story that was passed down through our family said that Moses’s first wife was Rose’s half sister, and when she died, he sent for Rose. I have never found any evidence of this yet, and some documents I’ve found more recently are leading me to believe otherwise. I’m still looking.

Moses had four children with Ida and six with Rose. I had the birth records for all of them except for Sarah, the first born in Russia; Joseph, the second born in Massachusetts; Hilda and Frank, the last two born in Maine which were too recent for me to order copies; and Sidney, from the middle of the family. From census records, I knew he was born around 1904 or 1905 in New York. I checked the New York City birth index for anyone named Sidney Wolfe and Wolf (as they were usually spelled back then) and did not find him. I didn’t pursue it much, figuring he could have been born anywhere in the state.

Another document I came across stated he was born in New York City. That gave me more of a puzzle since I had already looked there for his birth.

More recently, I was organizing all the photos I’ve scanned from relatives over the years. From Ron Wolfe, one of the things I scanned were the pages of a calendar kept by Rose Wolfe (in Yiddish), then her daughter Hilda added some items (in English). While organizing the photos, I didn’t actually organize those images yet, but I did flip through them again.

Rose's Calendar

The entry for April 1st noted Sidney’s birth date in New York City. I finally had more to go on. I checked the index again, finding only two male Wolfs born on that date: Naftalis and Louis. As soon as I saw that first one, I somehow knew it was him. Visiting the FHL, I scanned the record and proved it.

Birth of Naftolis Wolfe - Sidney Wolfe

So maybe Sidney finally¬†does want to be found now. I’m so glad.

Another Reason Why You Need To Organize Your Genealogy Files

I started by cleaning up my sources; I left off in the middle of the job. My cousin asked for access to the new web site, quickly asking, “where are the photos?” Uh oh, the new web site didn’t have photos on it yet. So I switched to organizing those.

I decided to retry an organization method similar to what Philip Trauring proposed on his blog, Blood and Frogs. The first time I tried that, my first folder name was too long for Windows, so I gave up quickly.

I tried again anyway, with less information in the folder names. Also, I didn’t necessarily use the furthest back ancestor to start since I knew I wouldn’t have pictures. The trouble came when I got closer to my own family and people were in two different folder structures. I still haven’t really straightened those out yet. Also, as I got to more recent generations, my file names became too long (in addition to all the folder names) and I had to adjust them. So I’m still not thrilled, but for now, I’m leaving it until I come up with something better.

Once I started setting up those folders, I started organizing. I had scanned pictures from relatives going back to 1999 and still hadn’t completely organized them. I did a lot of cropping and renaming files. I figured out who was in all the group pictures and set up text files to match each group photo with all the names. I created a “source” folder, to keep photos scanned from each source together. Then I duplicated the photos. Each person (or each couple) has a folder and every time I saw them in a photo, I put a copy there. Some of my photos have 20 copies on my hard drive now.

The more I did, the more trouble I had with file names that were too long. I had to adjust them, but I didn’t completely wreck my naming scheme, so like I said, I’m leaving it until a better idea comes along.

A cool thing happened while I was doing this. I found duplicates.

I had actually seen this phenomenon before. I was scanning cousin Barbara Sands’s photos which her daughter Debra Rudolph (now Berman) inherited. Barbara was interested in genealogy, though she didn’t get much into the research part of it. However, she had the forethought to label the group photos.

So, in 1999, I scanned this photo from Debra.

Miller Family Photo, Scanned from Debra Rudolph

[left to right, back row] Lila Raifman, Florence Karansky, ??, Marilyn Brick, Louis Miller
[front row] Frank Rosenzweig, Myra, Nettie Brick, Sorka and Zyskind Mularzewicz/Miller, Ruth Brick, Nettie Karansky

Nice big tear in the corner, right? But the important part is that Barbara labeled it — not perfectly, but enough for me to figure out what she meant, leaving only two mystery people. (One person was unlabeled and another could possibly be Frank’s daughter, sitting on his lap, but I don’t know more about that family.) In 2003, visiting Stephen and Sharon Koons, I scanned this one.

Miller Family, Passover 1936ish, Scanned from Stephen Koons

Looks familiar, right? Luckily, I had several photos of Morris Rosenzweig (top left), so he was easily recognizable though missing from Debra’s picture. Also, between the two, not only did I have a picture with a lot of kids identified (they’re the hardest for me to figure out), but I got more information from Stephen’s copy, namely the event and date (Passover, 1936-ish).

I discovered that duplicate years ago, but in this new organization project, I found another one that I hadn’t noticed. In 2006, Bonnie Chait shared a few photos with me, including this photo of the Wolfe family before the youngest two were born.

Wolfe Family, Scanned from Bonnie Chait

[left to right] Sidney, Rose, Nathan, Julius, Moses, Bernard Wolfe

In 2010, visiting Ron Wolfe, I scanned something familiar.

Wolfe Family, 1914, Scanned from Ron Wolfe

Bonnie had given me the names of the kids, but Ron’s had a date. I could have guessed a date by which kids were in the picture, but two of the kids look about the same age, so Bonnie made their identifications easier. But only when I was trying to figure out those two kids from Ron’s scan did I look in their photo folders to see that I already had a better version of the photo. I stopped and emailed the better version to Ron.

The best part is, now that I’ve got the photos organized (I’m finished with scanned-from-relatives photos and almost finished with everything), the next time I visit a relative and scan old photos, I can see what I’ve already got. If I have something better, or labeled, or not labeled, we can compare with what they have while I’m there.

So how is your photo organization going?