One of the first mysteries I encountered when first starting my research into my family history has still not been solved. Maybe you can help by looking at the facts and sharing your thoughts, interpreting the incomplete documentation, or seeing if you find something I’ve missed. Continue reading “The Landes cousin who may or may not have existed”
Moses Landes, my second great grandfather, migrated from Romania to North America, and his sons also followed a similar path at different times. While Moses traveled through Liverpool, my great grandfather, Joseph Landes, traveled through Hamburg. Within a few years, they were reunited in Montréal first, then New York City. I’ve written more details about the Landes family history here.
Using Google Maps, I’ve highlighted the important locations — residences and ports — for these Landes ancestors. Because I still haven’t determined some city and town details prior to immigration, when only a country name has been confirmed, the location in the map is Google’s center marker for that country.
The timeline extends from the birth of my second great grandfather to the death of my grandfather, Herbert Landes.
The map is fully interactive. Note: this map will not be visible in email or on other sites. If you don’t see the map included in this article, visit the article on its home on the Landes Family Tree Research website.
National Library Week is celebrated across the country from April 13 through 19, 2014, and ProQuest has been providing free access to several of their popular databases. I still have access to ProQuest through my former graduate program’s website, but I found ProQuest’s own tools to be much more successful.
In particular, ProQuest’s obituary database, which includes more than 10.5 million obituaries and death notices, has helped me quickly find information about my relatives without searching through thousands of pages on microfilm. The search facility seems to be much better than what I’ve previously used, as the results for similar searchers were much more plentiful and relevant through ProQuest’s own interface.
Most notably, I found obituaries for my grandfather, Herbert Landes, and great grandfather, Joseph Landes. Although these notices appeared in the easily-searchable New York Times, I hadn’t come across them until now.
Note that the New York Times obituary for Joseph Landes includes yet another, different, mistake regarding the name of the landsmanschaft with which he was involved. The Practical Druggist and Pharmaceutical Review of Reviews called the organization “First Berauer, K. N. V.” in its announcement of Joseph’s death; the New York Times gets farther from accuracy with “First Berzuer K. N. V.” The organization should be listed as “First Bacauer K.N.V.” I imagine type typesetters and typists were not very familiar with these organizations.
In order to access the free ProQuest obituaries database, visit ProQuest’s National Library Week feature, scroll to the bottom, and activate the link says, “Access ProQuest Obituaries.”
These newspapers are included in the free search:
- Atlanta Constitution (1868-1922)
- Boston Globe (1872-1922)
- Chicago Defender (1921-1975)
- Chicago Tribune (1852-1984)
- Los Angeles Times (1881-1984)
- New York Times (1851-1994)
- Washington Post (1877-1950)
If you try to visit this link directly, without viewing the National Library Week page first, you will be required to log-in using your ProQuest access credentials. The only way to view the database for free this week is through the National Library Week page.
So far, I have found more than 25 death notices and obituaries using this free database, many of which I wasn’t able to find using my regular ProQuest account. The obituaries that I’ve found for potential relatives have been helpful in identifying more of their family members, and might someday be helpful in connecting the dots between my confirmed relatives and others who I suspect are closely related.
With so much of my family history throughout the last century and a half having taken place in Brooklyn, New York, the Brooklyn Eagle, the borough’s hometown newspaper, has been a valuable source for me as I try to piece history together.
And technology has made research so much easier. If I were taking on this project a decade ago, I’m sure it would require long nights at a library, shuffling the pages of newspapers, or scrolling through microfilm. Luckily, I’ve been aided in my research through the Fulton History website, a collection of New York newspapers. The collection includes the Brooklyn Eagle and other newspapers that would be relevant to New York researchers. The pages of the newspapers have been scanned and run through optical recognition software, and that makes the text of the paper searchable.
The search functions on the Fulton History website are fairly robust, but the interface isn’t the easiest to use. It does, however, provide close match results, and that’s important when dealing with scanned and machine-interpreted text. That means I can use “Sturmwald” as a search term, and the Fulton History website will provide results that are almost Sturmwald.
I prefer using Google to search the Fulton History website. This makes the results easier to view, but because this method of searching will provide different results than the search form on the site itself, I usually do both.
Now, however, there is a new collection of old Brooklyn Daily Eagle issues. The Brooklyn Public Library has teamed up with Newspapers.com to offer the archives of the Brooklyn Eagle for free. The library’s scans seem to be much cleaner than those on the Fulton History website, making the searchable index somewhat more accurate, and the Newspapers.com website is a lot faster and more responsive than the other.
This doesn’t replace the Fulton History website. First of all, Fulton History has more newspapers in the website’s database than he Brooklyn Daily Eagle, including other newspapers that cover issues in Brooklyn. The Newspapers.com search form does not allow close matches, so if I were looking for “Sturmwald,” I’d also have to construct queries that include “Sturnwald,” “Strumwald,” Strunwald,” “Sturmwalt,” and an infinite number of varieties just to try to ensure I’m getting everything I’d like to see.
The Daily Eagle archives from the Brooklyn Public Library seem to be more complete. I was able to find this photograph of my grandfather, Herbert Landes, using the new, free site.
In the photo, readers get a view of part of Herbert’s face, and not much else. But the caption says those in the picture are signing a petition in a drug store at the corner of 41st St. and 5th Ave., and in 1931, that would just happen to be the location of the Landes Pharmacy, operated by Herbert’s widowed mother at that time.
While an item like this is interesting, it doesn’t add much to my family tree. But the Brooklyn Daily Eagle has still been very helpful in identifying vital records, with death notices, as well as birth and marriage announcements.
For saving these articles as newspaper clippings to my personal finance tree, I generally copy the screenshot of the article. With Newspapers.com, I can continue to do this, but the site also offers a “save to Ancestry.com” option, which saves a link to the newspaper page as a genealogical source.
Thanks to the Brooklyn Public Library and Newspapers.com for providing this feature for free; I’m hoping it remains free for the foreseeable future.
On December 3, the Canadian Jewish Review published a death notice or obituary for my second great grandfather, Moses Landes. Moses found his way from Iași, Romania to Montréal, Canada to New York City. And although he was living in New York City when he died in 1926, he still had family ties to Montréal, where his son Martin was working as a salesperson. A month after Moses’s death, Martin was naturalized in the United States.
The Canadian Jewish Review often shared the social comings and goings of the community. It was the Facebook of its day, where everyone in society would let the rest of the community know about their travels, their parties, and their major life events. Here is the death notice published about Moses Landes.
The death occurred Wednesday, November 24, of Moses Landes, of New York City, after an illness of several years. Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, Martin of Detroit, Mich.; Charlie, of New York; nine grandchildren, one great grand-child, and his one daughter, Mrs. Adolphe Goldenberg, of New York City; and one sister, Mrs. Cohen, of St. Louis, Mo.
My great grandfather, Joseph Landes, died in 1925; Bertha Brauna Yeruslavitz Landes, my second great grandmother and wife of Moses, died in 1927. I still have not been able to determine the identity of the sister of Moses Landes. I’ve searched through all of the publicly-available St. Louis city and county death certificates after 1926 for women with the last name Cohen, and I haven’t found one that is definitively a daughter of Joseph Hersh Landes and Perla Leah.
I work on two separate family trees. The first is my official tree, maintained on Ancestry.com and in Family Tree Maker, that contains all confirmed relationships. Everyone in this tree is somehow related to me, although some relationships are through marriage to a blood relative. And in very few cases, there are some branches who I am sure (at about a 95% level of confidence) that there is a relationship — someone is noted as being a “cousin” — but I haven’t found the missing piece to tie that household into the larger picture.
The second tree is also maintained on Ancestry.com, but this is a tree where I record other individuals and families. I have a much lower level of confidence that there is a relationship in recent times, and it includes many families unconnected to each other thus far. Because Ancestry.com shares at least some of the information stored on their servers, even if you mark a tree “Private,” I label this tree as “for research only.”
I use this tree to store information that might eventually lead me to discovering a connection.
Here is one example. It is family lore that my paternal ancestors — the Landes family — emigrated out of Romania in the late 19th century, traveled across Europe, made their way to England, and departed over the Atlantic Ocean to North America. Along the way, some Landes family members settled in locations throughout Europe. Two Landes family members from Romania appeared in the London area around the same time that my second great grandfather, Moses Landes, was passing through on his way to Canada and New York.
Jean Landes (1860-1943) married Bertha Reicher in about 1887 in England. Jean was born in Iași, Romania. They had three children, Henry, Frederick, and Ruth. The family moved to New York, but Frederick returned and married Mildred (Minnie) Surfin. Also in London, the Sufrin family. According to Jean’s death certificate, his father’s name was Abraham and his mother’s name was Natalie. Natalie is not a likely Jewish name at the time — maybe it was Nettie or Ethel.
Before Jean Landes’s family moved to the United States, they lived close to another Landes family from Romania, headed by Max Hersch Landes (c1852-1922) Max Hersch married Rachel Finestone, while Max’s sister Netty married Rachel’s brother Julius. Max and Rachel did not appear to have any children; Julius and Netty had a daughter, Gertrude Finestone, who died unmarried in 1927.
I have two segments of Landes families living in London at the turn of the 20th century, and because records from Romania are not online, I haven’t been able to whether and how these pieces fit together. But at some point, more records from Iași will be online. By keeping track of my findings so far, even though there’s no confirmed relationship yet, will save me a significant amount of time later on if I can eventually find a connection to the various Landes branches leaving Romania.
In addition to Jean and Max Hersch, there have been other Landes households from Romania or Russia living in New York.
Samuel Landes (1883-1964), the son of Abraham Landes and Scheine Leah, was born in Iași and married Frieda Schatz. They had seven children: Alfred, Augusta Theresa, Edith, Mae, Isadora, Esther, and Joseph. They lived in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Could Samuel be a brother or half-brother of Jean Landes, whose father was also named Abraham? Could Samuel be the Sam Landes who was listed on Moses Landes’s ship manifests from England to Montreal?
Joseph Landes (1873-1945), the son of Yitzchak Yehuda Landes, was born in Russia or Romania (most likely the Bessarabia region) and married Frieda Feuerstein. They had ten children: Harry, Joseph, Isadore, Meyer, Rebecca, Nathan, Sidney, Fanny, Abraham, and Isaac. The family resided in and around New York City before several of the children moved away from the family center. For another interesting connection with this family, two of these Landes children, Isadore and Rebecca, married two Hershenovs, Minnie and Joseph.
My great grandfather and third great grandfather were also named Joseph Landes, as were many other Landeses in New York.
Lena Hershenov — perhaps a different branch of this Hershenov family, but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet — married Jacob Margareten. Jacob appears in my confirmed family tree as the father-in-law of the stepson of the stepdaughter of my second great grandmother. It’s not a real family connection to me, but if Lena is related to Rebecca and Joseph, it would bring Joseph Landes’s branch of the Landes family into my family tree in one location.
There are other Landes households who lived in Romania in the latter half of the 19th century, and I’m passively tracking them in my “research only” tree. I’m doing the same for the Kashowitz families that lived in New York in the 20th century as I try to find a connection between them and Rebecca Kashowitz, my second great grandmother.
The drawback is that there is not enough time in one person’s life to research all of these tenuous but somewhat likely family connections. Normally, the research I’ve done is from the inside out — I start with confirmed relatives and expand the families outward as I find new information. This process of researching from the outside in — starting with likely relatives and using new information to, I hope, get closer to my confirmed relatives is more difficult and time-consuming, but it can be rewarding in the few cases where I do find that missing link.
Otherwise, reverse research can be a huge waste of time. At least I can share information I’ve found with other researchers who are in fact related to these individuals, and someone might be able to benefit from the time and money I spend looking through information and purchasing copies of records.
According to his naturalization documents, my paternal great grandfather, Joseph Landes, arrived in the United States on 1 Sep 1899.
A search on Ancestry.com revealed a Josef Landes, a 21-year-old Romanian student born in Iași, who departed Hamburg on 20 Aug 1899 on the ship Palatia. This must have been a recently indexed document because the search result did not look familiar to me. The Hamburg passenger lists do not contain many details, but everything presented makes it likely that this record pertains to my great grandfather.
By April 1901, Joseph was living with his parents and siblings in Montréal, Canada. But he lived there for only a short time; by November that same year, he had a residence in New York and was declaring his intention to become an American citizen. Until now, I had not found an Ellis Island immigration record for Joseph, but now potentially with the name of his vessel, I could browse through the images on Ancestry.com. Many of these immigration records have not been indexed, so research requires looking through the manifest page by page.
After some browsing, I found the record for the Joseph Landes who arrived in New York on 1 Sep 1899 on the ship Palatia.
The record obviously pertains to my great grandfather. It indicates Joseph is a medical student heading to Montréal, where his brother Martin Landes is waiting for him. Everything adds up. As a result, I have some more thoughts about the experience of my Landes ancestors.
I noted previously that Joseph was a pharmacist and that he was an organizer for the landsmanshaft First Bacauer, K.U.V. It seems likely that Joseph, now confirmed to have been born in Iași like his siblings, studied pharmacy in Bacău until he was 21. At that point, he joined the rest of his family in North America.
Joseph Landes’s immigration details were missing from my records, so this find is particularly satisfying. I still have many questions about my ancestors, and after this discovery, I may find myself spending more time looking for missing immigration records by browsing the images of the record books page by page.
With the indexing of the Canadian Census of 1920 now complete on Ancestry.com, I was able to find the family of Martin Landes, my great grand uncle. He was a traveling salesman who split his time between Detroit and Montreal, eventually moving to Detroit permanently and gaining his U.S. naturalization.
The 1921 census raised more questions. I’ve already identified children of Martin who were not included in the oral family history eventually written down by my grand uncle Mortimer and his sister Edith.
I wrote last year about finding a birth record for Isack Landes in a collection of synagogue birth records from Montreal, the Drouin Collection on Ancestry.com. Since then I’ve also found a birth record for Lillie Landes in the same collection. Because the birth records list the parents’ names, I can be sure these are the children of Martin Landes.
Lillie shows up in the Canadian Census of 1911, as does another son of Martin, Isadore. Does Isadore refer to Isaac (Isack) or Irving, a known son of Martin? The ages in the census don’t help. In 1921, the Canadian Census includes listings for Isidore, Urbain, and Ruthy in addition to the other known children of Martin, Clara, Grace (Grada) and Molly. If Urbain is simply a mishearing of Irving, that would mean Isadore refers to Isaac. Ruthie could refer to Lillie.
Now, it’s likely that Isaac and Lillie died young because those names were never known to Mortimer. Furthermore, there is an interesting Jewish tradition where the names of sick children are changed, superstitiously, to try to avoid death’s arrival — to trick death. Isadore could be the boy born Isaac and Ruthie could be the girl born Lillie. But that presents a new question: where is Irving in the Canadian Census in 1911?
With the assumption that Ruthie refers to the girl born with the name Lillie, there is a Ruthie Landes buried at Back River Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Montreal, with a reference to the Beth David synagogue, which is the same synagogue that holds many of the Landes children’s birth records. This same cemetery is the home to other, more distant relatives. There is no date on this record, so it might be worth a call to the cemetery to find more information.
I have not yet found a birth record for Irving Landes, but on at least one occasion, Irving’s birth date is listed as the actual birth date that’s is confirmed for Isack. In other sources, Irving’s birth date is only a few months after Isaac’s, which would be impossible.
The birth dates of Isaac and Irving aren’t consistent — in fact the birth dates of all of Martin’s children are mostly inconsistent throughout their lives — so it is even more difficult to make sense of this family.
Thanks to the work by dedicated volunteers — a community in which I don’t have the linguistic experience to participate — remote vital records, like births, marriages, and deaths, are newly available online. Volunteers traveled to Romania (or coordinated with locals in Eastern Europe) to retrieve, photograph, transcribe, and translate documents found in the national and city archives. Over the summer, these records were added to databases connected to the JewishGen website, the home of the primary collection of databases for worldwide Jewish genealogical research.
Thanks particularly to the Romanian Special Interest Group (ROM-SIG) project coordinator, Bob Wascou.
And it looks like I’ve had some personal success with the updated records. I’ve discovered what appears to be a marriage record for my second great grandparents on my direct paternal line, Moses Landes and Bertha Brauna Yeruslavitz.
The information in the record doesn’t precisely match existing information I have. Over the last year of my genealogy research, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are going to be times when one piece of information conflicts with another piece of information. I have to make judgment calls frequently not only to determine whether the newly-found record pertains to the individuals I believe it does, but to determine which might be more accurate.
The only information I truly have 100% confidence in is information pertaining to myself; every other piece of data carries at least some level of doubt.
There are some problems with this marriage record.
The groom and bride names are not accurate compared to my knowledge. Moses Landes is listed as Moisi Lande. Moses and Moisi are both common versions of the name משה from biblical Hebrew. Lande could just be a misinterepretation of handwriting on the actual record, or it could be the actual surname used at the time. The bride is listed as Brana Serislavitz, and I’d be willing to wager that the handwritten record starts the name with a J, and this is just a misreading.
The couple’s parents’ names are different than my records. With so few records in the United States referring with any consistency to my third great grandparents, I’d be more inclined to accept this new information as correct. Moses’s parents here are Hers and Perla Leea. On Moses’s gravestone, his father is listed in Hebrew was Joseph Chaim, and on Moses’s death certificate, his father’s name is recorded as Joseph. Hers (or Herș or Hirsch) are not normally substitutions for Joseph, but on Moses’s headstone, his fill name is inscribed as משה צבי ב״ר יוסף חיים. Herș is the Romanian spelling of the Yiddish הירש, the equivalent of the Hebrew צבי. Maybe his father’s name as listed on this marriage record is actually a reference to Moses’s full name
On Moses’s death certificate, his mother’s name is listed as Pauline Leon. I’ve seen Pauline as a frequent replacement for Pearl (or Perl or Berl), and Leon, which I thought might have been Moses’s mother’s surname, might be Leah (Leea), part of her given name.
The bride’s parents are listed as Meer and Eidil. The only information I had previously for her parents were too conflicted to prove worthwhile; this may be the best clue I have so far. Eidil could very well be Edith Yeruslavitz that traveled to Canada with the family but disappeared soon after immigration. Edith’s birth year would be 1842 according to the passenger manifest, and with Bertha’s birth year described below, it’s possible that the Edith who traveled to North America is the Eidil listed on this record. The name Meer matches Bertha Brauna’s father’s Hebrew name on her headstone.
The dates don’t match. My records indicate Moses was born in December 1852 (or less likely, 1854). The new record indicates he was born in 1845, which would have made him 81 at the time of his death. My records indicate Bertha Brauna was born in 1860; the marriage record indicates she was born in 1857 and was 18 years old.
Despite all of the discrepancies, I’m leaning strongly towards including this. The names, location, and marriage date (not long before the birth of their first child) give me enough confidence that this record represents my second great grandparents.
It helps to continue checking resources that receive occasional updates to the database. And if you can contribute to projects that endeavor to retrieve mostly inaccessible genealogical records and make them available to the world, particularly in support of a non-profit organization like JewishGen, do so.
Over the next few hours, I’ll be updating my tree on Ancestry.com to include the new details. It might take longer for me to update the local, free copy of my family tree on landesfamilytree.com.
At least two generations of the Landes family were involved in the pharmacy industry in New York City. When Moses Landes settled in Manhattan after passing through Canada on the way from England and initially Romania, he noted his occupation has a stand keeper, and on his death certificate, he was listed as having worked at a candy store. But just a couple of years after he was living in New York, his son Joseph was moving forward with his career.
Joseph’s work continued with his son Herbert, and for a time, with his other son Mortimer.
On May 21, 1902 at Brooklyn College, Joseph Landes passed the examination given by the Eastern Branch of the (New York) State Board of Pharmacy for the degree of licensed pharmacist and received his pharmaceutical certificate.
By March 1910, Joseph, living in Manhattan, was working as a pharmacist at 11 First Avenue, also in Manhattan. He was operating his store under the registered trade name Alo-Lax Chemical Company. He was also later a director and vice president of Sealeaf Emulsion Company, which was, probably after Joseph’s involvement, fined $50 for advertising unproven health benefits of a chocolate cod-liver oil product.
Before his death, Joseph had moved his operations to 4024 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, under the name Landes Pharmacy. When Joseph died, his obituary was printed in Volume 43 of Practical Druggist and Pharmaceutical Review of Reviews:
Joseph Landes who conducted a drug store at 41st Street and Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, died recently aged forty-five years. He was well and favorably known to the drug trade as treasurer of the Bay Ridge Retail Druggists Association and as member of the New York Retail Druggists Association. He was also a member and organizer of the First Berauer, K. N. V. [sic] He is survived by a widow and three sons.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the printing of “First Berauer, K. N. V.” was probably a misreading of First Bacauer, K.U.V., the organization (landsmanshaft) that supported — or was intended to support — immigrants from Bacău, Romania, as well as relatives still living there. K.U.V. is an abbreviation for the Yiddish that translates roughly to “sick and benevolent association.” This would therefore mean that Joseph considered himself to be from the town of Bacău in Romania, and possibly that he and his siblings lived there before emigrating to North America by way of England.
It’s likely he was born in Iași like his brothers and sister, but perhaps he identified his childhood with Bacău. First Bacauer K.U.V. did not pay for his burial or the burial of any other Landes, but at first glance, the organization did not seem to have any money.
Joseph’s widow, Sadie Lustig Landes, was the proprietor of the store after Joseph’s death, and Herbert and Mortimer later operated or worked at the store.
After Sadie passed away in 1964, it appears that the family sold the business.
The store that contained the pharmacy became known as Bi-Rite Drugs after the new owners filed for incorporation with New York State on 17 May 1965. Bi-Rite moved between 1997 and 2007 to its final location at 4013 Fifth Avenue, and today, Bi-Rite Drugs is out of business.
Towards the top of this post is a page from the prescription pad from the Landes Pharmacy, provided by Joan Landes Norton who discovered the paper deep in a file cabinet. You can see the store’s phone number is GE 6-8239, the same number (718-436-8239) that stayed with the store for at least fifty years, even after the store changed locations and owners following the death of Sadie Lustig Landes.
The photograph here is how the storefront appeared in 2013, courtesy of Google Maps Street View. Even in this photograph, if you look at the bottom of the sign noting the storefront is available for rent, you can see the last few digits of the same phone number that stayed with the store since the Landes family arrived in Brooklyn.
This is the first article in which I take one of my ancestral families and attempt to reconstruct a narrative history.
The Landes family was located in Romania in the second half of the nineteenth century. The family’s emigration trek would take them through Europe to England, and in North America, they lived in Montréal for some time before their final destinations in Detroit and New York City.
The first branch of the Landes family to arrive in North America included Martin Landes (1876-1951) and Paulina “Pearl” Yeruslavitz (1881-1966). They arrived in Canada in 1898 and married that same year. Martin was a traveling salesperson and frequently traveled between Montréal and Detroit.
Other Landeses followed Martin to Canada. Martin’s brothers, Joseph and Charles Landes, and his sister, Fannie Landes, arrived in 1898 or 1899. His father and mother, Moses Landes and Bertha “Brauna” Yeruslavitz, who married in Iași, Romania in 1875, arrived in 1900. All Landeses other than Martin’s family came to reside permanently in Manhattan and Brooklyn within a few years.
When they arrived in Canada in 1900, they traveled with a few other individuals. One seems to be listed as Sam Landes, and I haven’t been able to identify him. Another is Edith Yeruslavitz, who I believe to be Bertha’s mother, Eidil (as listed on Moses’s marriage certificate).
I haven’t found a direct connection to Moses’s wife Bertha Yeruslavitz and Martin’s wife Paulina Yeruslavitz. There is a potential connection. Bertha had a brother named Moses Yeruslavitz, and this is also the name of Paulina’s father. The ages and the fact that both are listed as having lived in Valleyfield, Quebec make it likely these are the same individuals, but Bertha’s brother married Becky and Rosa, while Paulina’s mother’s name was Clara.
Could Clara be Bertha’s brother’s third wife?
While all the Landeses of this generation were born in Romania, there are some questions about where in Romania they lived. Martin, Joseph, Fannie, and Charles have documented that they were born in Iași, and thanks to the administrators of the JewishGen ROM-SIG (Romania Special Interest Group) community, I now have a few birth index records translated from Romanian as confirmation.
I have no information about Moses and Bertha’s birth locations other than that they were born in Romania. Family lore indicates there may be an adoption, but that might just mean that the family arrived in Romania from Galicia and adopted the surname Landes when it became necessary to do so.
Moses’s parents are Herș Landes and Perla Leah as listed on his marriage certificate, or Joseph Landes and Pauline Leon as listed on his death certificate.
Martin’s family grew. He and Pearl had five or six children, all born in Montréal: Clara, Isaac, Irving, Grada Caroline, Molly, and Lillie.
There is some confusion about Isaac and Irving. The evidence seems to show they were born over a year apart, but there are discrepancies pertaining to official dates. Irving Landes was born in 1904 and passed away in 1981, but his military records indicate he was born in August 1903, a year before other records indicate. This birth date would be too close to the official birth date of Isaac Landes, June 1903. The 1911 Canadian Census lists an Isidore Landes with the birth date of August 1903.
Martin’s final child, Lillie, has a birth record and a listing in the 1901 Canadian Census, but no records pertaining exist beyond 1901. I expect that during sickness, the family began calling her Ruthie, which would then line up with the 1921 census and a cemetery record. Martin passed away in 1951 and Pearl passed away in 1966.
Grada passed away in 1971, having never married. Irving, as already mentioned above, passed away in 1981. Clara Landes married Misha John Spiegel and passed away in 1996. Molly Landes married Israel Jack Cook and passed away in 2000.
Before arriving in New York, Joseph studied pharmacology and/or medicine in Romania, possibly in Bacău. After settling in New York, Joseph Landes married Sadie Lustig (daughter of David Sturmwald) and had three children: Mortimer, Herbert, and Edith.
Moses and Bertha continued to live in New York among their children until their deaths in 1926 and 1927 respectively.
Mortimer (Morty) married Pearl Blush and Herbert married Marcia Kerstman. Joseph was a pharmacist in Manhattan, and the family business, including the ownership of a corner pharmacy in Brooklyn, was carried on by his wife and his sons Herbert and Mortimer.
Charles was a salesman in a drug store. Herbert passed away in 1964, Edith passed away in 1986, and Morty passed away in 1993.
Fannie Landes married Albert Paltiel. They had two children, Joseph and Harry, and Albert passed away. Fannie remarried, to Adolph Goldenberg, and they brought up the two children. Joseph married Hannah Paltiel and passed away in 1995, and Harry married Isabel Jackson and passed away in 1986.
Charles Landes married Clara Schier (or Shear), and they had no children.
Many people with the last name of Landes, some with alternative spellings, lived in New York after coming from Romania. At this point, I haven’t found any relationship between any other Landeses and my family.
There are a number of unidentified family members. Moses’s obituary indicates he had a sister in Saint Louis, Missouri, who married a man named Cohen. When Moses and Bertha immigrated to Canada, they traveled with a Sam Landes, born about 1882, as mentioned above.
In the last month, Ancestry.com has made available to the public lists of passengers departing from United Kingdom’s shores between 1890 and 1960. The information was available to the public previously, but only through The National Archives in Surrey, England, and not online in any format. The records are now fully indexed.
My first search of this database revealed great results. I immediately found departure documentation of my second great grandparents, Moses Landes and Bertha (Brauna) Yeruslavitz Landes, on the ship S.S. Vancouver. The couple, born in Romania, traveled from Liverpool to Montréal, and later settled in New York City.
The record shows that Moses and Bertha traveled with two companions. The first looks like it may be Sam Landes, though this document indicates the traveler is female, with an unreadable age (indexed as 22). The second is Edith Yeruslavitz, a housekeeper, age 58. Could this be Bertha’s mother? Or perhaps her aunt? Or (or and) maybe the mother of Martin Landes’s wife Pearl Yeruslavitz Landes. She is listed as married, so my assumption is that she married into the Yeruslavitz family, and is thus unlikely to be Bertha’s sister.
The departure date on the record is incorrectly listed on Ancestry.com as 30 April 1900; it’s actually 30 August 1900. With this information, I was able to browse the Library and Archives Canada collection of immigration records, and I found the corresponding arrival records on 9 September 1900.
The scan isn’t at a very high resolution, but the only illegible piece of information is the street address of the Landes family’s destination. This record, when compared to the United Kingdom departure list, provides a different age for the companion Sam Landes, listed here as a farmer rather than a servant; Edith Yeruslavitz is listed as a servant rather than a housekeeper. The group’s destination is Moses Landes’s son, living on a street I can’t read.
I’d like to tie Sam Landes and Edith Yeruslavitz into the family, but I don’t know exactly where they fit yet. I have found a Samuel Landes in New York, and although records for this Samuel Landes indicate he was also born in Romania, his birth year is not the same as what is listed in either of these documents and his date of immigration would have been prior to this travel in 1900.
Finding immigration records further back for Moses and Bertha might prove to be impossible. If they traveled on foot from Romania to England, there’s unlikely to be any kind of documentation, available online or not, of their travels.
The following photographs were provided by Joel Landes and Shari Berman Landes. Continue reading “Kerstman family photographs”
The photographs below are courtesy of Joel Landes and Shari Berman Landes. Continue reading “Landes family photographs, page 2”
These photographs came to me from Naomi Paltiel Lowi through Bob Paltiel. The initial thought was that the subject is Fannie Landes Paltiel Goldenberg, but both Bob and I believe that is not the case. Unfortunately, all my other photographs of Fannie are incredibly low resolution, and it’s difficult to identify.
I thought I’d open up these photographs to other family members in the hope of identifying the two women and two children. The photograph were unmarked, so there are no names and no dates. Judging from the clothing, I would date these photographs in the 1920s, but I could be wrong. Continue reading “Can you identify these photographs?”
An index of naturalization records pointed me to a potential record number for Pearl Jaruslawitz/Jereslawitz Landes’s naturalization in the United States. I ordered the naturalization documents from the National Archives regional center in Chicago, and received the package in seven days. The information included confirms that the record pertains to the Pearl Landes who would be my great grand aunt.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I re-evaluated some handwriting which led me to a different conclusion about Pearl’s children with Martin Landes, but these documents helped clarify even more details. I previously determined that a Canadian birth record indicated Pearl had a son on 1 June 1903 named Isack or Isaac. I was already familiar with a son born around 1904 with the name Isadore, Irwin, or Irving. I assumed that Isaac was yet another alternative name for the same child.
The naturalization documentation is the first piece of evidence to provide a specific date of birth for this child (listed in Pearl’s Petition for Naturalization as Irving). This date of 13 August 1904 is too far removed from the Isaac’s recorded birth of 1 June 1903. If I can trust these dates of birth, Isaac and Irving are two separate individuals, but I’m still not sure. The document lists only four surviving children, which excludes both Isaac and Lillie, the two children whose only evidence I’ve found so far are the Montréal birth records. A Michigan death record for Irwin Landes, recorded in 1981, also offers a birth date of 1 June 1903, which would have been Isaac’s birth date. A census record indicates Isadore was born in August 1903. It’s a confusing mess.
The documents indicate Pearl arrived in Detroit via the C.N.N.R. — Canadian National Rail Road. Prior to moving to Detroit, she and her family lived in Montréal, Canada, and before that, they immigrated from Romania. The Petition for Naturalization also pinned down Pearl’s date of marriage to Martin.
Looking for more clues to my family’s past, I decided to visit Old Mount Carmel Cemetery in Queens, New York, where a number of my ancestors on the Landes side are resting. Last weekend, I ventured into Queens with my camera to document, headstones, footstones, and overall gravesites, and it was a hot day to walk around with a large camera around my neck.
The location was easy to find, and the relatives were buried in proximity to each other. I first came upon the stone indicating the burial of my great grandparents Joseph Landes and Sadie Lustig Landes. Directly behind their graves were Joseph’s parents, Moses Landes and Bertha Jereslawitz Landes. Across the path were the graves of Joseph’s sister, Sadie Landes Paltiel Goldenberg, and her husband Adolph Goldenberg. Behind the resting place of Moses was Joseph’s brother, Charles Landes, and Charles’ wife Clara.
I wasn’t able to gain much new knowledge from this trip other than Hebrew names in some instances, but it was an opportunity for me to solemnly contemplate the life of an immigrant in the late nineteenth century and ask some questions with the hope that somehow they might be listening. The inscription for Bertha confirmed the death certificate I had, though it listed her parents’ last name as Goldenberg, is the correct certificate.
I still have many questions about the travels of Moses, Bertha, and their family, presumably from Romania throughout Europe, making their way to England, then Canada, and finally arriving in New York City by the early twentieth century. There is still so much I don’t know.
That day, I also visited New Montefiore Cemetery on Long Island. My grandmother passed away just over three years ago, and I attended the burial here. I came back to visit her, Marcia Kerstman Landes and my grandfather, Herbert Landes, whom I had never met. I am named after Herbert; we share the same Hebrew name.
Also buried in New Montefiore Cemetery is my cousin, Alan, who died of HIV/AIDS at the age of 34. After some searching, I was able to find his resting place.
New Montefiore is located near a number of cemeteries, and on my way there, I passed Beth Moses Cemetery. I confirmed this was the cemetery where my maternal grandfather, Seymour Berman, was resting, so I stopped there as well. Seymour’s grave was easy to find. It appears that his Hebrew name isn’t correct on the stone, or if not incorrect, doesn’t match my previous information. I haven’t studied the language since high school, but his ketubah clearly indicates his name is יהושע בר שמואל (Yehoshua bar Shmuel), while the engraving offers the alternative ישעיה בר שאול װאלף (Isaiah bar Shaol Volf). This is the first confirmation I’ve found that Seymour’s father’s given name was Samuel Wolff, not just Samuel.
If I find myself with more time of exploring, I will visit Samuel Wolff Berman’s resting place at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, New York, and I’d like to visit the New York addresses of my ancestors, particularly where the buildings and houses in which they lived are still standing.
Lillie Landes handwritten birth record [Drouin Collection]In researching the Landes family in Montréal and Detroit, I came across birth records for the children of Martin Landes — my great grand uncle — and his wife, Paulina (Pearl) Jaruslavitz. The records are handwritten, and they are contained in the “Drouin Collection” on Ancestry.com. The discoveries have helped me support the written history that passed from Mortimer (Morty) Landes to my father. Like almost all discoveries, the birth records introduced more questions.
I discovered a birth record for Lillie Landes, born to Martin Landes and Paulina Jaruslavitch on 7 May 1910 in Montréal. I was unaware of Lillie previously, and have not found any further records. You can see the handwritten acknowledgment of Lillie’s birth here.
During my search, I uncovered another birth record for a son of Martin and Paulina in Montréal. Through the work of volunteers, this record was indexed under the name “Track Landes.” Volunteers take the time to interpret handwritten records in order to make them searchable, and these volunteers should be able to make the best judgments when handwriting can be confusing, so I trusted this index was accurate.
“Track” did not sound like it was a name that someone in my family was likely to have, however. I didn’t recognize it as a name, at all, until I remembered that a certain former governor of Alaska had a son named Track. Although unlikely, I decided to take the index for its face value and add an entry to my family tree for Track Landes. His birth date was 1 Jun 1903, close to his would-be brother, Irwin or Irving, who was born around 1904 according to the census information I had found by that point.
My research continued in different directions, and I didn’t come back to the mystery of Track and Lillie Landes until the other day. With fresh eyes, I took another look at the handwritten birth record for “Track” Landes and decided it just didn’t look right.
The handwriting throughout the record is consistent, and capital “T” is written consistently. It does not look like what is included in the above graphic. The first letter of the name, when compared to other words more easily identified, is certainly a capital “I.” The loop at the the top right of the letter gives its identity away.
It looks like the name as written in this birth record is most likely Isack, not Track. The spelling is non-standard, but that isn’t surprising, considering misspelled words and names are frequent throughout the records from this synagogue. At first, I tried to see if I could somehow justify the handwriting as saying “Irwen,” but I’m relatively sure it was written as Isack. Isaac could be an alternative name for Irwin. Probably most famously, Israel Isidore Baline adopted the Americanized/Anglicized name Irving Berlin; it’s not unlikely that Irwin and Irving were nicknames for Isaac.
As a result, I’ve removed Track Landes from the family tree and applied this birth record to Irwin Landes. I have found travel records for Irwin between Canada and the United States, and I’ll still continue looking for more evidence of Irwin’s existence. The mystery of Lillie Landes, however, continues. It will be important for me to keep in mind that the indices that rely on people’s interpretation of handwriting can often be incorrect.
Here are more handwriting samples that identify the capital “I” and capital “T.” The “I” seems to be drawn with one stroke, while the “T” seems to be drawn with two.
What do you think? Does this handwriting indicate “Isack?”
Fannie Landes, daughter of Moses and Bertha, married Albert Paltiel from Canada in 1907. Fannie and Albert had two children, Joseph and Harry, before Albert passed away in 1909. Five years after Albert passed away, Fannie remarried, and her new husband, Adolph Goldenberg, helped raise the children. The information I have about the Paltiels of this generation came from the family history written by my grandfather’s brother, Mortimer (“Morty”) Landes, as well as a family tree document provided to me by my father.
The information led to census listings and a search for likely marriage certificates. The certificates for Fannie’s two marriages arrived earlier this week, and I’m relatively confident the certificates pertain to the Fannie Landes who is my great grandfather’s sister. Yet, there is still some confusion surrounding Fannie’s mother’s maiden name.
I mentioned that on the death certificate for Bertha Landes, her father and mother are listed as Martin Goldenberg and Bertha Goldenberg. Goldenberg is the last name of Bertha’s son-in-law, Adolph, the second husband of Fannie, so my first assumption was that Adolph might have reported the information incorrectly. I previously had information indicating Bertha’s maiden name is Jereslawitz. Both marriage certificates received this week for Fannie Landes, like Bertha’s death certificate, contradict what I thought I had known.
The first marriage certificate, for Albert Paltiel and Fannie Landes pictured above, lists Fannie’s parents as Moses Landes and Birth (I’m assuming this should be Bertha) Goldenberg. The second marriage certificate, for Adolph Goldenberg and Fannie (Landes) Paltiel pictured below, indicates Fannie’s parents’ names are Moses Landes and Bertha Goldberg.
About the certificate for Paltiel/Landes:
I’ve been writing about the last three death certificates I’ve received in decreasing order of confidence. The latest as of today is the death certificate registered by the Department of Health of The City of New York for Bertha Landes. Bertha, whose maiden name is Jereslawitz according to the marriage certificate for her son Joseph Landes and Sadie Lustig, died on 26 November 1927 at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan, where she had been for 17 days, and the doctors did not identify a cause of death.
Let’s look at each fact and determine whether it helps or hurts the likelihood that this death certificate pertains to my second great grandmother.
Female, white, widowed. Check, check, and check. Three points.
Age 68. This puts her birth year at around 1859. The 1901 Census of Canada puts her birth date around 1857. The 1905 New York Census would place Bertha’s birthyear at about 1860. I have not discovered a 1910 U.S. Census record for her or her husband. Her birthyear according to the 1920 U.S. Census would be 1860. One point for the birth year.
Occupation: housewife. This matches all other documentation for Bertha, but I’m not awarding any points for this being correct.
Birthplace: Romania. It’s well-documented that the Landes family immigrated from Romania to the United States and Canada. Census records all list Romania as the birthplace for Landeses who were not born here. One point.
Has been living in the Untied States and New York for 28 years. Despite being listed in the Canadian census as living in Montréal in 1901, later census records indicate her family considers themselves to have immigrated to the United States in 1899 or 1900. I’ll give half a point for this only because it’s somewhat confusing when they were living in Canada and when they were living in the United States.
Former or usual address: 761 Trinity Avenue. This is in the Bronx, and I have no evidence of any of the Landes family living at this address at any time. Without a 1925 New York Census record for Moses, Bertha, and their son Charles, I looked at 761 Trinity Avenue in that database, browsing the images. The Landes family was not enumerated at that address in 1925. With this curiosity, I’ll take away one point.
Place of burial: Mount Carmel Cemetery. Other members of the Landes family are buried at this cemetery: Fannie Landes (Paltiel) Goldenberg and her second husband Adolph (although there’s a possibility this grave is a different Adolph and Fannie Goldenberg with a Romanian background), Joseph Landes and his wife Sadie, and Charles Landes and his wife Clara. According to his death certificate, Bertha’s husband Moses is buried there, as well. Neither Moses nor Bertha show up in the Mount Carmel Cemetery interment search. A visit in person is required to verify the burial location. I’ll award a point for this burial information.
Names of parents: Martin Goldenberg and Bertha Goldenberg. First of all, it’s unlikely that Bertha Jereslawitz Landes’s father has a different last name than her own maiden name. Secondly, it also seems unlikely that the daughter shared the same given name as the mother. Finally, the last name matches the last name of Fannie Landes’s second husband, Adolph. I can’t give any points for this information, because no other information I have proves or disproves it, and because Bertha’s father’s last name of Goldenberg doesn’t make any sense at the moment.
Like the other death certificates I’ve received recently, perhaps this is just the case of bad information. According to the second page of the death certificate, the undertaker was employed by “Mr. Landes,” Bertha’s son. I expect it would be Charles, who lived with Moses and Bertha the longest, but the first name is not specified. Of Bertha’s other two sons, Joseph died two years prior and Martin was likely living in Detroit at the time. Perhaps the informer was Bertha’s son-in-law, Adolph Goldenberg. If Adolph was the person providing this information, perhaps he gave the names of his own parents when asked, explaining why Martin Goldenberg and Bertha Goldenberg were listed as the deceased’s parents.
The death certificate’s score is five and a half points. The points don’t mean anything, so they don’t determine whether this certificate represents the Bertha Landes in my family. There are other Bertha Landeses living in New York, but not at the right time or at the right age, according to census record indexes. I will accept this into the family tree, but I won’t add Bertha’s parents as listed on the certificate.
In record-setting fashion, the New York City Department of Records sent copies of death certificates for my great grandfather and second great grandfather, Joseph and Moses Landes, arriving a mere twelve days after placing the order. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for a marriage certificate for Samuel Herman placed over a month ago. Perhaps I was working on a misguided assumption, but I expected most records requests would take four to six weeks anyway.
I originally used the resources on Steve Morse’s website to locate potential ancestral records. I didn’t have precise dates of death for either Joseph or Moses Landes, but census records helped me pinpoint a likely range, and I had confidence that both lived in New York City when they passed away. Turning to Steve Morse, I pinpointed the most likely candidates and placed the order.
The names of relatives on Joseph’s death certificate and the address listed on Moses’s death certificate confirm I have the correct records. I added the information to my family tree on Ancestry.com, including complete dates of death, the causes of death, and in the case of Moses, parents’ names. Moses’s parents, my third great grandparents, were Joseph Landes and Pauline Leon. Pauline or its variations Paulina and Pearl have been common names in my family over the course of the last 150 years. Joseph and Pauline were born in Romania according to the document, but Leon does not sound like a common Romanian surname.
Is it possible I have some Spanish ancestry?
When I first started using Ancestry.com to search historical records for my ancestors, I came across naturalization index records for Moses Landes. The only pieces of comparable information were an approximate birth date and the occupation listed as “standkeeper.” These didn’t match closely enough to any other information I had in order for me to conclusively say that the index records pertained to my second great grandfather. I made a note of the index and moved on.
Now with access to Fold3, I searched that site for additional naturalization records for Moses. Fold3 has digitized more full naturalization records, whereas in many cases for New York City, Ancestry.com only offers indices. The full petition for naturalization included a familiar address, but it was off by one house, and it would be Moses’s children who lived there several years later. The declaration of intention, however, filed a few years before the petition for naturalization included yet another address, 541 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
Realizing I hadn’t yet tracked down the 1905 New York state census record for Moses and his children, I used the Family History Library’s familysearch.org to try again to find this record. I found the family indexed under “Landers,” a common misspelling. The address on the census record from 1905 matched the address on the declaration of intention for 1903.
Putting all of the above together, I’m confident the naturalization records pertain to my second great grandfather, and I’ve added the information as sources to my family tree on Ancestry.com. This has given me a more accurate birth date (Dec 1852 rather than about 1851), the date of naturalization, and definitive residential addresses for Moses and the rest of his family. It has also provided the date on which he arrived in New York, 20 Oct 1900, but according to the 1901 Census of Canada, he is later living in Montréal. The Canadian immigration records state Moses immigrated to Canada in 1900. The question remains about whether Moses, and possibly part of his family, lived in both Canada and the United States at the same time.
The next marriage certificate arrived recently from the New York City Department of Records. It’s convenient having most of my recent ancestors residing in New York City — but ordering records is not cheap. With some time to spare, I might visit the department in person to discover and copy these items personally, but at the moment, time is at a premium for me. I prefer the convenience of online ordering. At some point, research will not be possible without visiting locations in person, so I’m taking advantage of convenience for as long as possible.
The latest document to arrive is the marriage certificate for my paternal great grandparents, Joseph Landes and Sadie Lustig. Joseph married Sadie when he was 28 and she was 18 according to the document, but other sources put Joseph’s age at 30 at the time of the marriage in 1909. The date of birth I have comes from a World War I draft registration card, and this is the only documentation I have of Joseph’s full birth date. Census records list Joseph’s age inconsistently.
The marriage certificate offers Joseph’s parents’ names: Moses Landes and Bertha Jereslawitz. This is the first indication I’ve had of Bertha’s maiden name. I should also point out that oral family history had previously indicated that Moses’s wife’s name was Brenda, but I’ve found no evidence of the name Brenda so far. All records, and I have a high level of confidence that the records that I’ve found do pertain to my family, list my second great grandmother’s name as Bertha. Incidentally, I have also discovered a related record indicating Moses’s other son Martin married Pauline Jeruslavitz. The last names are close enough, and I suspect that Bertha and Pauline were related somehow before marrying their respective Landeses, but I have no information yet regarding that relationship.
The Landes/Lustig marriage certificate provides names for Sadie’s parents: Rübin Lustig and Lisa Strümwald. My other information, namely Federal Census records, identify Sadie’s father as Joseph Lustig, so there seems to be conflicting information. This is the first time Sadie’s mother’s name is listed as Lisa; in all other records, the name is spelled Eliza, Louisa, or Louesa. I’m relatively confident that Lisa is either another nickname variation or a misspelling. Also, in all other cases, Eliza’s last name is spelled Sturmwald. Oral history indicates the Sturmwalds originated in Germany, and if this the case, Sturmwald — with or without the umlaut — would most likely be the correct spelling. Stürmwald translates to “raging forest,” and that’s a relatively exciting surname.
With every answer, more questions.
Continue reading to see the marriage certificate for Joseph Landes and Sadie Lustig. Perhaps you can help me decipher Sadie’s middle initial. It appears to be a “C.”