On JewishGen.org I found a record for an unnamed baby born to Hirsch and Jetta. How could I find out who this baby was? The baby was born on August 10, 1874 and the birth was registerd in Jelgava.
Luckily, I was able to find the original record and after it was translated, I learned the importance of always searching for the original sources. The original birth record was recorded in both German and Hebrew.
From the German side we learn that the baby’s name is Shimon and he was the son of Hirsch Leib Abramowitz who was a butcher.
He was born on 6 Av and circumcised on 13 Av. The Mohel was named Leib.
Note that accordining to the index it looks like Hirsch’s father was named Leib. This is not correct when you read the actual record. Hirsch’s middle name was Leib.
According to the column labeled “Where was he born”, it says Shimon was born in Wellmezis or Wedmezis in Livland (Livonia). However, the birth was registered in Jelgava. (1) (2)
We have no idea what his early life was like, but in 1904 he decided to join his brother, Max, in New York.
He sailed from Hamburg on the ship S.S. Blucher. He left on March 4th and arrived at Ellis Island on March 15th.
On the ship manifest he is listed with the name Simon, age 28. He said he was a tinnsmith. He listed his last residence as Mitau (Jelgava) and said he was going to his brother’s at 34 Chrystie Street. He had $7 in his possession.
In the 1905 New York State Census, he is living at 34 Chrystie Street with his brother. Max, and his 2 sisters, Gussie and Sarah. He is listed as a 26 year old peddler. Note that he is now going by the name of Sam.
On April 2, 1916, he married Sarah Geffen. They had one daughter, Beatrice.
In the 1920 US Census, he is listed as a dry goods peddler. Living with him are his wife, baby daughter, and his brother-in-law, Joseph Geffen. They are living at East 112th Street in Manhattan.
Sam was naturalized on September 22, 1922. We learn this from his wife’s naturalization papers from 1935.
Note that on the naturalization papers, he is listed as Samuel Simon Abramowitz.
By 1930 he had moved to 618 West 177 Street in Manhattan. His brother-in-law had moved out and he was living with just his wife and daughter. He was an “inside” salesman of men’s clothing.
Sam died on January 22, 1933. He was only 52 years old.
Family lore said that Samuel died from a heart attack after police raided a neighborhood poker game he was in.
He is buried in Mt. Judah Cemetery in Queens, New York, in the Royal Lodge section. (3)
Beatrice Murial Abramowitz, was born on June 20, 1918, to Sam Abramowitz and Sarah Geffen Abramowitz. When I knew her, she had changed her name to Bea Ames.
Bea devoted her life to taking care of her mother, Sarah, after her father suddenly passed away at age. 52.
In 1940, she is living with her mother at 618 West 177 Street in Manhattan. This is the same address they had in the 1930 Census. Her uncle, her father’s brother, Max Abramowitz, is living with them. Bea is now 21 years old and is listed as a worker. Neither her mother nor Max were working. Max was now 65 years old.
It was only after her mother passed away, that Bea had her own life.
She married Larry White late in 1969 when she was 51 years old. Aunt Lois Blieden and I attended the wedding as it was a morning ceremony mid-week and most of the family was working. It was a lovely affair.
Before she was married, she often attended the family Passover Seders at my Aunt Lois’ and Uncle Arthur’s home and that is where I got to know her. Arthur was her first cousin.
Bea and Larry attend my cousin Hali’s wedding in 1974.
Here they are at the Abramowitz table. Bea is seated second from the left and Larry is on her right.
We also saw Bea and Larry at my sister Avra’s wedding in 1985.
Ben attended in a wheel chair as she had suffered a massive stroke.
She is seated on the right in the red blouse. Larry is standing behind her.
She passed away in 1989 after being married for 20 years.
- (1) The birth register of Shimon Abramowitz was found in the Raudraski database.
- (2) Translation of the birth register was done by people on the Facebook group Tracing the Tribe in a post dated August 1, 2020.
- (3) FindAGrave.com entry for Sam’s gravestone