Monday, July 13, 2015
Found Another Julius
It's been a little over a week since I decided to celebrate Independence Day by gathering my own set of documents linking me back to that Revolution. As I mentioned, my long-postponed D.A.R. application needed some attention, and the July 4 holiday seemed just the time to complete it.
As sometimes happens, after I submitted my documentation to the local chapter's registrar, it turned out I needed just one more death certificate.
Now...where did I put that thing?
So began a week-long merry chase for one scant slip of paper that I just knew had to be "in here, somewhere."
At the close of the week, I still hadn't located the item.
In the meantime, however, I had found a whole bunch of other papers which turned out to come in handy.
You know how it is: you start down the trail, intending to head to one destination. And then, along comes The Bright Shiny—that innocuous Thing with the irresistible pull—and snatches you right off your feet and away from The Trail of Good Intentions.
What's a disciplined genealogical researcher to do? Well, in my case, take a look; one never knows whether the Thing found might be what I was looking for the last time I went through this ordeal.
In my defense, there are boxes and boxes of files, accumulated over years of research, now needing my attention. You have to remember, I've been at this stuff for decades. I'm not kidding when I say I was born wanting to know about my family history. That's quite a few years of filing away documents, research notes, photographs, memos and letters.
As it turns out, there was one document which I was quite pleased to find. I had sent for it years ago—likely before the advent of online research, for I clearly remember getting this one via the stamped-self-addressed, snail mail route. Besides, it was a record from New York City—that Black Hole of document requests which tries the patience of genealogical souls. On top of that, since I didn't know what surname to file the long-awaited resultant document under, I had simply stuck it in my father's file. His old file. Like, tucked away in one of those storage boxes.
If you recall my attempt once again, a few months ago, to figure out the origin of my paternal grandfather's family, you may have guessed—correctly—that this misplaced document has to do with my grandfather's sister Rose. When we last discussed her, I had just discovered that her unfortunate mother's name, rather than Anna Kraus, might have been Kusharvska.
Rose, herself, had not been much of a help to me in discerning her maiden name. The best I could do was locate her in the New York State census under the name Rose Miller. That was the earliest record I could find for Rose. Later, I found ample evidence of her marriage to New York City resident George Washington Kober. But then, hoping to send for Rose's death certificate to identify both her parents' true names, I once again ran into a stumbling block: Rose had married again.
Rose's new husband was a man with a name the local newspaper editors just couldn't seem to spell consistently. Sometimes, he was identified as Julius Hasinger. Other times, it was Julius Hessinger. All that, however, was superfluous in the face of one other little detail: no matter how it was spelled, it didn't lead me to Rose's date of death, and thus, neither did it lead to a way to locate her own death certificate.
Finding this one slip of paper last week, though, may have put that whole question to rest. For conveniently, I had sent away for the "Certificate and Record of Marriage" of one George Washington Kober and Rose Miller, married in New York City on the seventeenth of November, 1915.
The record included several details which handily fill in the blanks for my father's Aunt Rose. First, at the time of her marriage to Mr. Kober, she had been divorced. Thus the source of her surname in the 1915 census as Miller.
Notwithstanding that answer, on the next line, requesting "Maiden name, if a widow," she answered, "Krauss."
If that leads you to believe that, having been told that Rose's mother Anna's married name was Krauss, it must have been Anna's maiden name that was Kusharvska, think again. The marriage record then asked for the mother's maiden name—in this case, Rose's mother's maiden name was given as Anna Zegar.
Zegar! That added a new name to my list of surnames to pursue. And it effectively removed the sting—at least partially—of getting that death certificate for Anna and seeing the entry "unknown" for both Anna's parents. At least now I had a lead for Anna's father's surname.
There was one more useful detail on Rose's marriage license application: that of her own father's given name. In now being able to read his name on her marriage record, I wonder if, years later in meeting the man who was to become her third husband, Rose felt some affinity to him through something as introductory as his name. Have you ever noticed how often ancestors seem to marry someone having a name just like their sibling or their parent? I've seen it so many times, yet never hear anyone remark on that. And once again, Rose provides another example of that trivial detail, for the given name of her father—the elusive Mr. Krauss I have yet to find in any documents—was Julius.