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This week's post will continue the story of the Greenes, my paternal grandfather's nuclear family, bringing it up to the passing of Barnett and Ida.

Before I begin this installment, I should share with you the photo that we have of Barnett and Ida:

Last time we focused on the births of my grandfather and his siblings. We know from the birth records that the family moved from Boston to New York in 1892. Today, we're mostly going to look at census records and a few ancillary sources.

The first census after they moved to New York was 1900, and here they are, living at 33 Goerck St. on Manhattan's Lower East Side:

Since the 1890 census was lost, and since the New York mid-decade census was actually in 1892, apparently before they moved to New York, this is the earliest census on which any of the Greene relatives appear.

Now, in my previous post, you may have noticed that Barnett's occupation was variously given as "cutter" and "tailor". (It wasn't obvious to me when I first saw "cutter" out of context, so I'll explain that in this context, a "cutter" is simply the assistant to the tailor whose job is to cut the fabric.)

Later I plan to devote a post to how Google Books has been extremely useful. For now, I'll just mention that I've been using it, and I decided to see what I'd find if I searched Google Books for "Barnett Green" "tailor" "Goerck St." (which, you'll recall, was his address in the 1900 census). And I found a listing in The Trow (formerly Wilson's) Copartnership and Corporation Directory of New York City, Volume 49, from 1901:

Interestingly, when I first started doing this research, my uncle told me that his father had told him at some point that when we started to look for family in the old country, the name Ginsburg would come up. But my uncle wasn't clear on what my grandfather had meant by that. So now I have a bunch of new questions: Was this Isaac Ginsburg a relative? A cousin, perhaps, or even a brother who hadn't changed his name? Was Isaac Ginsburg the reason that Barnett and Ida decamped from Boston and moved to New York? Or was he just a business partner? These questions remain unresolved at this point.

It's also worth noting that in that 1900 census, Barnett's occupation is not listed as "tailor" or "cutter" but as "Builder". And by the 1905 census, at 15-17 Lewis St., Barnett had moved into the construction business:

And in 1910, more specifically into house wrecking:

For those who don't know my family, my grandfather Abe co-founded a construction company; my uncle and father both got degrees in civil engineering and joined the family company. And my grandfather would joke that he got his start in the construction business "as a homewrecker --- I mean, house wrecker."

Looking at the occupations of others in the family is also interesting: Gerson (my great-uncle) is also listed as a house wrecker, while Simon is a clerk in a warehouse, Jennie is an operator in a gowns shop, Rachel is a bookkeeper in a company having to do with sewing machines, and Dora is working in a millinery store.

Five years later, the family had moved to Brooklyn: 91 South 9 St., to be exact:

Fanny Levine is gone; although I have not found a death record for her yet, it's probable that she passed away between 1910 and 1915. There are two likely matches on the Italian Genealogical Group website, and I'll need to follow up on those.

Several of the siblings have moved out. Barnett and Gerson (here, "Joseph") are again listed as house wreckers.

Then, on 22 Feb. 1917, Barnett died. My original source for that information was the Italian Genealogical Group website that I referred to last time:

Barnett's youngest son, my grandfather Abe, was only 11 years old, and so the two oldest brothers, Simon and Gerson, got deferments from the World War I draft to take care of him and their mother Ida. (Simon was married and had children of his own as well.)

It appears that Barnett had life insurance, which surprised me when I discovered it. Again, using Google Books to search for Barnett Greene Brooklyn and restricting the date range to 1917, I found this tidbit:

Two years later, on 28 June 1919, Ida died. On FamilySearch.org, I found the paperwork from her probate hearing, in which Simon waived his rights as heir and Gerson took custody of Abe:

This is another source of addresses, and it has some new information: Jennie apparently was married and her last name was Perkoff!

The dates of death that I found through these online databases match the information on my grandfather's "aliyah card." Here's what that means, for those who don't know: Most synagogues keep an index-card file for each member, with the person's Hebrew name, so they can be called by name for the honor of an "aliyah" (reciting the blessings over the Torah reading during services). These cards usually also contain the names and yahrzeit dates of their parents or other close relatives. (A Jew who is marking the yahrzeit, the anniversary of the death, of a close relative, has priority for being called to the honor of an aliyah.)

Here's my grandfather's card:

A. Greene -- Avraham ben Mona Dov ha-Levi
Wife: Raizl bat Yehuda Leib (bat Chanah)
Sons: Gershon,

Parents Memorial Dates -- L'Zeicher Nishmat [In memory of the soul of...]
1st Adar - Father - Mona Dov ben Todros ha-Levi
1st Tammuz - Mother - Chayah Grunne bat Josef Tuvyah ha-Levi
Brother - Gershon ben Mona Dov ha-Levi (erev Purim - Day before Purim)

Using the data from the Italian Genalogical Group website, I ordered copies of their death certificates from the New York City Municipal Archives.

I learned their causes of death. Barnett died of "Erysipelas, following infection of the scalp due to boil, not due to accident" with a contributory cause of "chronic parenchymatous nephritis." Also, he died at 9 PM, which is consistent with the Hebrew date of 1 Adar, being after sunset. Ida died of "Arterial sclerosis, angina pectoris, pulmonary edema, abititis" with a duration of "2 years, 4 months, 6 days" (which works out to Feb. 22, 1917 -- the exact date of Barnett's death). Her death was recorded at 1:45 AM.

I confirmed that Ida's mother was Fanny Levine and I learned that her father was named Joseph (which I should have realized from the aliyah card, where she's listed as "Chaya Grunne, daughter of Joseph Tuvyah the Levite"); I learned that Barnett's parents were Davis (?) Green and Frieda Lesser. ("Davis" isn't clearly written on the death certificate, but it doesn't look like "David", and Barnett's patronym on Abe's aliyah card is "son of Todros the Levite". I had never heard the name Todros before, but in searching for it I have learned that (1) it probably originally arose as a transcription of Theodore; (2) there was a family of famous Spanish rabbis, the Abulafias, who were Levites and one of whom was named Todros.)

Barnett's certificate lists his address as 450 Bedford Ave., but Ida's lists 137 South 9 St. Ida's also gives me an exact date of birth: 1 Feb 1865; Barnett's lists his date of birth as "unknown."

Barnett's was filed by his son Gerson; Ida's was filed by her son "Bunny" which I know to be a nickname for Simon.

Finally, I also found out where Barnett and Ida are buried: Mount Neboh Cemetery, which is on the Queens/Brooklyn border. Last week I sent the cemetery a letter asking for information about the plot numbers where my great-grandparents are buried, but I have not yet received a reply.

Next time, we'll see what happened to Barnett and Ida's children in the 1920s.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-10-29 03:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] violetcheetah.livejournal.com
My thought when I saw the portraits was, wow, you look a lot like Ida.


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Andrew M. Greene

January 2013


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