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In this installment, we'll look at what happened to Ida and Barnett's children. For clarity, I'll tell each one's story in birth order.

Simon Elliot Greene

We've seen Simon's birth record from 14 Jan 1888 in Boston, Mass.; we saw him listed in the 1905 census as an "Office boy" at age 17 and in the 1910 census as a "Clerk." But in the 1915 census he was not listed in the Green household, and in the 1917 World War I draft card he listed as his dependents "Wife and mother and 2 children".

I had found a likely death record in the IGG index, for 23 May 1934. I ordered a copy of his death certificate from the NYC municipal archives, and it contained some key information: His wife's name was "Birdie" and his address when he died was 320 Riverside Drive. Also of interest was that his occupation was listed as "Retired salesman" and his cause of death was "Artherosclerosis, Coronart Artery Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes" of four years' duration. He is buried in Mount Neboh cemetery, same as his parents. I still haven't heard back from them on my inquiry of a few weeks ago, at this point I am going to give them another few weeks before re-inquiring.

Using "Birdie" as his wife's name, I did an Ancestry.com search. And I found a 1940 census record for Birdie Green, widow, and her son Irving.

Searching now for Irving as a possible son of Simon, I found a 1930 census record for 320 Riverside Drive for Simon and Bertie Greene and their son Erving, age 18:

As of this writing, I haven't found him in the 1915, 1920, or 1925 censuses. Nor have I found Erving's birth records; the IGG index only goes up to 1909.

So I have an open end here. I don't know what ever became of Birdie or Irving.

Here's the only picture I have of Simon:

Gerson "Joseph" Greene

Again, we have a great paper trail here: Gerson's birth records in Boston, census records up through 1920 -- albeit under a different name each time: Harris, AUgust, Gerson, Gershen, and Joseph. And through the IGG website, I'd determined that his date of death was 24 March 1929.

From the paperwork surrounding Ida's death (see previous post) I'd determined that Gerson obtained custody of his eleven-year-old brother Abe when their mother died, and took on the role of head of household of the siblings still living at home in the 1920 census.

So I thought I had the story pretty well covered. It was even clear that this is whom my father was named for: My father was Gerson Elliot Greene, born in 1936 and named in memory of the two oldest brothers who had served as father figures to my orphaned grandfather, and who had died in the years preceding his birth.

Imagine my shock, then, when I received a copy of great-uncle Gerson's death certificate from the NYC Municipal Archives and it listed him as married.

Unfortunately, the archives had made a mistake and they sent me the back of the preceding certificate in the book! So I had no clue for Gerson's wife's name!

But I did have a cemetery listing. Gerson was buried at Mount Carmel, which is one of the cemeteries whose records are searchable. I had searched for him before without luck, but this time I thought to search for all burials named Green* in March 1929, and there he was:

Of course. Yet another spelling: Gershon Greene. But now I knew his grave location, and I did a reverse search on that to find out who was buried with him:

Most of these names were familiar. Jean, Hattye, and Marion were three of his sisters (and more about them, in turn.) But who was Selma Greene?

Back to the IGG website. I now had some pretty specific parameters. I was looking for a marriage between Gerson (in some spelling) Greene (maybe without the final 'e') to a woman named Selma no earler than the 1920 census and no later then 1929.

and there in the middle was

Clicking through to the bride gave

and there we are: Selma Berkowitz.

Next, I went to the New York Times. In particular, I went to the advanced search, and searched for "Greene, Selma" in the timeframe of the week after her death, 19 Feb 1955. I downloaded the PDFs of all the "Obituary" articles in that time frame, and found this:

No mention at all of her late husband's family, and yet she is buried along with him and his sisters. What must the family dynamic have been?

And based on this, can I assume that they had no children of their own?

And why can't I find them in the 1925 New York census?

And this picture, which my grandmother labeled "Gerson and Dottie" (his sister) --- is it really Gerson and Selma? He died before she and Abe were married; how trustrworthy is her annotation written who knows how many years later?

Jennie / Jean Greene

Until a week ago, I had her story all worked out. Boston-born, so birth record was in hand. Lots of census evidence, a photo of her in later years, no indication that she'd ever been married.

Then, as I posted last week, I noticed that her last name was listed as Perkoff in her mother's probate paperwork, and I found that she'd been married for thirteen years before being widowed on her anniversary. I have no evidence that she ever had children, and as seen above, she's buried under her maiden name with her siblings, and not with her husband.

All I have left to add to this summary, then, is this photo of her:

Rachel (Ray) Greene

I'm going to beg off on details here, because this morning I had brunch with Ray's grandson, my second cousin, and he's going to send me updates. I will merely note the following: Ray was the first sibling born in New York, on 19 July 1892, and as I noted last week, her birth record has the unusual spelling Reitshell. She married David Joseph Sundel and they had two daughters.

One of their daughters, Mona, married Isidore "Cappy" Klein. Mona and Cappy couldn't make it to my bar mitzvah, but they did come by earlier that week to give me my present: my first Merriam-Webster's Collegiate dictionary. Those of you who know me can imagine how much I have valued this gift over the decades.

And as I said, until I get the rest of the story straight, I'm not going to include more in this posting. Suffice it to say that this branch of cousins we have been in contact with in an on-again-off-again way, and now I'm delighted that we're in touch again.

Dora (Dottye) Greene

Dora was born in 1894, according to the census estimates, but there's an IGG index listing for 28 Aug 1895, which is possible as well. She married Benjamin Tropp sometime between 1920 and 1925, based on the census listings, but I haven't found them in the IGG yet.

In the 1930 census they are listed as married, living in the Bronx, and hosting Dottye's sisters Jean and Hattye, but by 1940 they are living by themselves again.

Dottye died on 4 Jan 1948 and is buried with her siblings in section 2-1-6 of Mount Carmel cemetery. As far as I can tell, she and Ben never had any children; there are none mentioned in her New York Times death notice, which does enumerate which of the siblings survived her: Jean, Hattye, Ray, and Abe.

Ben lived until April 1977, and I do not know where he is buried.

This picture is marked "Ben Tropp and Jean Greene". Is it Jean, or is it Dottye?

Gussie Green

All I know about Gussie is that she was listed in the census records. The 1900 census listed her birth as July 1896, and she shows up all the way through the 1915 census. But she's not in the enumeration of children in Ida's probate paperwork in 1919, and I have not been able to find a death record for her.

Perhaps she married and died during that interval, and that's why I have nothing? Perhaps she's buried at Mount Neboh, and when I find the graves of Barnett (1917), Ida (1919), and Simon (1929) there, I'll find Gussie as well?

Until I learn more, though, she's just a cipher on the census ledgers.

Marion Greene

Ah, the mysterious and glamourous Marion. She was apparently a dancer (perhaps ballet?) who according to family lore was fairly successful in show business, although I haven't found any press clippings. Perhaps she performed under a stage name?

Here are two of the pictures we have of her:

She never married or had children. Family lore, again, claims she was head over heels in love with Eddie Fisher --- but I have no way to know if that was because she knew him or not.

"Family lore" also has it that she suffered from TB and was a patient at Saranac Lake; that is a subject for further research.

Marion died on 9 Nov 1947, based on the cemetery records, and is buried with her siblings in Mount Carmel cemetery. I have not found any other records of her death, such as a newspaper notice.

Hattye (Hannah?) Greene

Hattye is a bit of a mystery to me. She may have been born around 1905, if the later census records can be believed. But she may also be the same as Hannah, who was born in 1898. She may even be the same as "Henry", who appears in some of the census records with a birth year of 1898 or 1899.

She died on 17 May 1962 and is buried with her siblings at Mount Carmel cemetery.

As far as I know, she never married or had children. We have a couple of pictures of her labelled "Hattye with 'friend'" but I don't know how to interpret the scare quotes around "friend":

Sarah Greene

Born in Jan 1900, according to the 1900 census, but not findable in the IGG index. Listed in the 1905 census as age 5. Still alive when Abe was born, based on the number of surviving older siblings entered on his birth certificate. And then gone after that.

Abraham Greene

Finally, the baby of the family, my grandfather, Abe. Born 4 Feb 1906 in Manhattan, you've seen his early paper trail already: the birth certificate, the census records, the custody paperwork when Ida died.

In 1929, Abe married my grandmother, Rosalie Wertheim. They had two sons, my uncle (whom they named after Abe's father) and my father (who, as I showed above, was named for Abe's two eldest brothers).

Abe passed away in 1975. I'll have a lot more to say about his and Rosalie's life later on in this narrative.


Here's a summary of the vital statistics for this generation:

NAME           BORN        DIED        YAHRZEIT   SPOUSE            CHILDREN
Simon Elliot   1888.01.14  1934.05.23   9 Sivan   Birdie            Irving
Gerson Joseph  1889.02.15  1929.03.24  13 Adar    Selma Berkovitz   ---
Jean           1890.02     1957.07.21  22 Tamuz   Morris Perkoff    ---
Rachel         1892.07.19  ????                   David Sundel      Iris, Mona
Dottye         1895.08.28? 1948.01.04  22 Tevet   Benjamin Tropp    ---
Gussie         1896.07     1915-1919?             ---               ---
Marion         1898.01.12  1947.11.09  26 Heshvan ---               ---
Hattye         1905?       1962.05.17  13 Iyar    ---               ---
Sarah          1900.01     1906-1910?             ---               ---
Abraham        1906.02.04  1975.09.11   6 Tishre  Rosalie Wertheim  Barry, Gerson


This is the last part of "Chapter One", the story of the Green(e) family from their arrival on these shores, with the exception of what happened to my grandfather after he married my grandmother.

There are still some gaps in my knowledge. There are some small onese listed in these four posts, but the biggest one remains: What was my family's name in the "old country"? For that matter, what was the old country?

Some paperwork that might help to shed light on these questions would be Barnett's naturalization paperwork. I've found a few "Barnett Green"s so far, but none seem to be the right one. I'm hoping that the naturalization paperwork, or just some more sleuthing, might help me find their passenger list, or at least what port they arrived at.

If I can't find that for Barnett and Ida, might I be able to find it for Fanny Levin, Ida's mother? Another open issue with great-great-grandmother Fannie is when did she die and where is she buried?

And who was Ginsberg?

Next time, we'll set my father's lineage aside for a while and take up the story of my mother's family.
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Andrew M. Greene

January 2013


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