Posted in Genealogy, Jewish Gen, Pearlman

Pearlmans – From Russia to New Jersey to Pennsylvania

Meyer and Anna Pearlman 

Meyer Pearlman is J’s Great Grandfather.  He is the Pearlman immigrant who came over to America from Minsk, Belarus (then Russia) abt 1900.  Things I would like to know about Meyer:

  • Where in Minsk did he come from?
  • Information on his family in Belarus

Here is what I know now of Meyer [Myer, Max].  Myer was born on January 10, 1880 in Minsk Russia to Julius Yuna [Jacob] Pearlman and Ida Woodinski. [1] [2][3][4]I believe he came over between 1898 and 1900 when he was about 20 years old.[5] He was naturalised in 1915. [4]

His sisters and brothers were the following who also came over – Hannah Pearlman Margolin, Sam, Harry, Louis, Charles, Carl and Henry (unconfirmed).

He was married to Anna [Hannah, Annie].  Who also came over between 1897 before Meyer according to the 1910 census or with him in 1898 and was naturalised in 1915 according to the 1920 census.[4] Meyer and Anna married around 1903 – that year he was 23 years old and she was 20.[5] She was 15 years old in 1898 when she arrived, therefore I am making the assumption she came over with her family and was married to Meyer in the USA.[6]

Meyer and Anna had four children:  James Max Pearlman Stacey (1904-1961), Pearl Pearlman Epstein (1906-1994), Sidney Pearlman, J’s Grandfather (1910-1988), and Florence Pearlman Vitale (1917-19884).  Their first 4 children were born in Newark, NJ and Florence was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

In 1910, Meyer lived in Newark City, New Jersey where there was a community of 80,000 Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. He was 31 and lived with his wife Anna, 28. He was a laborer working in the Spring Beds industry and his wife stayed home.  They lived with their children Max, 6, Pearl, 4 and Celia, 3 months. They rented a house on Somerset Street. Meyer and Anna’s native tongue was Yiddish but they both spoke English.  Meyer most likely had family or community connections from Minsk in Newark and went there first before moving on to Wilkes-Barre.  It’s possible they attended one of the immigrant synagogues started in the rented quarters and he visited the Young Men’s Hebrew Association at some point. [7]  

meyeranna1910census-newark
1910 Federal Census Newark

By 1914, the Pearlmans moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where they lived until 1942. In 1905 there was around a total population of 1,800 jewish residents  in Wilkes-Barre with 4 synagogues and a number of education and social institutions.[8] In 1914, they lived on 58 North Sherman Street when the Wilkes-Barre Record reported that there was a case of Scarlet Fever in the Pearlman Household.[9]

scarlet-fever-reported-in-house

By 1918, Meyer was living on 241 East Market Street.  He was 39 years old and was working as a Mechanic at Nelson Brothers.  Meyer was 5’4” and had blue eyes and dark hair according to his WWI draft card:[10]

myerpearlmandraft-wwii

In 1920, Meyer and Anna, 42 and 38,  still lived at 241 East Market Street with Max, 15, Pearl, 13, Sidney, 9 and Florence, 2.  They were naturalised citizens at this time.  The children were in school, Anna stayed home and Meyer worked as a Laborer in a Silk Mill.[11] He is also listed in the 1921 Wilkes-Barre City Directory as a grocer and in 1923 as a Laborer. [ 12]

meyeranna1920
1920 Federal Census Wilkes-Barre, PA
1921citydir-mpearlman
1921 Wilkes-Barre City Directory
mpearlmancitydirectory-1923
1923 Wilkes-Barre City Directory

In 1922 it appears that Meyer bought 236 East Market Street which they lived in by 1925 when Meyer was 45 years old and was the Department Superintendent at Nelson Brothers, where his son Sidney, at 14 also worked at that time [13][14]

1925-city-directory
1925 Wilkes-Barre City Directory

legal-dispute-over-property

nelson-brothers

By 1942, Meyer at 62 and Anna at 59 moved to Brooklyn, Kings, New York where their daughter Pearl Epstein lived with her family.  Meyer and Anna lived with Pearl at 567 Monroe Street, Brooklyn the same address that Martin Epstein and his parents (who also immigrated from Minsk)  lived at for over 30 years since about 1925 (according to census records under the Epstein family tree). [15] Meyer passed away in 1951 at 71 and Anna Pearlman died in 1950 at Sixty-seven. They are both buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queen’s New York.[16]

Notes

  1. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [Database online, ancestry.com] – note his WWI card has 15th January 1979
  2. Samson, Robert  Genealogy Research: Meyer Pearlman Genealogy Family Sheet’ Manhasset Hills, New York. 23 August 1992
  3. US Social Security Application. Meyer Pearlman. 10th January 1980
  4. 1920 Federal Census [Database online, ancestry.com]
  5. 1910 Federal Census [Database online, ancestry.com]
  6. The information I have from Robert Samson’s genealogy is that Anna and Family are from ‘Starin, Russia’ – I have not yet done any research on her family
  7. http://www.jewishmag.com/113mag/newark/newark.htm
  8. History of the Jews in Pennsylvania
  9. History of the Jews in Pennsylvania 2
  10. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. [online database ancestry.com]
  11. 1920 Federal Census [Online database, ancestry.com]
  12. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 1921 WIlkes Barre, PA; 1923 Wilkes Barre PA (both copied inserts)
  13. Newspapers.com – The Wilkes-Barre Record – 22 Feb 1922, Wed – Page 8
  14. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995: 1925, Wilkes Barre, PA
  15. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [Database online, ancestry.com] – note his WWI card has 15th January 1979
  16. Meyer Pearlman Find a Grave
  17. Further Information to Confirm: There is another name for a child in the 1910 – Celia who was 3 months old during the 1910 Federal Census completed in April – putting her birth in February 1910 (is this Sidney?
  18. Currently looking for Naturalization Records
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Posted in Belarus Genealogy, Genealogy, Jewish Gen, Pearlman

Finding an Elusive Maiden Name Through Social Security Documents

I got an amazing genealogical gift through the mail – a new surname for the family from Minsk, Belarus! I received the Social Security Application for J’s Great Grandfather, Meyer Pearlman, in the mail which gave me the maiden name of his mother, Ida Woodinski.  We believe Meyer (1880-1951), our immigrant ancestor, came over without his parents, Julius [Jacob] and Ida Pearlman who stayed in Minsk (then Russia) where they were born around 1845 and died between 1900-1910.[1]  I had requested the application from the Social Security Administration about 5 weeks ago. It was incredibly exciting to open and see new information, because I wasn’t keeping track of when it would come and I wasn’t sure if they would even be able to find it.[2]

The record was signed by Meyer Pearlman on December 1, 1936.  It gave me information on his address during that time, his employer and employer’s address, his birthdate, his place of birth (listed as Minsk, Russia), his father’s name and his mother’s maiden name.  We had seen most of this information before, but Woodinski was new! Woodinski could also be a variation of of Yiddish Budinsky, or Budensky. [3]  This find gives us a whole new line to look at and another possible way to link us to somewhere in Minsk.

The other interesting piece I found on this document to explore was Meyer’s father’s first name, Jacob.  I had his name as Julius Yuna Pearlman until we saw this document.  His name Julius came from genealogical research done by J’s Great Uncle 20 years ago so I will need to do some more digging and cross checking with both of the names.

pearlmanssa

US Social Security Applications – What is it and how to get it

The Social Security Administration grew out of the period after the depression in the 1930s – which began a call for change to support the Americans in times of economic shock, leading to the signing of the Social Security Act in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Social Security Act included several provisions for general social welfare as well as a continuing income for retired workers, aged 65 and older (a major issue of the depression being our elderly population was living on complete dependency and unable to work).[4]

social-security
Social Security poster; FDR Library Photo Collection [5]

I found my ancestors’ Social Security Application through two steps;  1) Searching for the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) where you might a social security number and then 2) Send in a request for their Application for a Social Security Number, Form SS-5 – which has all of this information I listed above!

You can search for a deceased person’s Social Security Death Index (SSDI) if they passed after 1962 on familysearch or ancestry sites.  The Social Security Act was passed in 1935, so any person alive after 1935 could have a SSDI and/or an application record.  The SSDI has limited information (it can be used as a proof of death) but you can take the Social Security Number listed on the SSDI and send away for the original Social Security Application that was most likely completed and signed by your ancestor.  A request for this document can be done through the Social Security Administration using a Form SSA-771 under the Freedom of Information Act.  This can be done online if you are sure you do not need a proof of death with your application.  The Social Security Administration is only able to send you documents for persons who are at least 100 years old along with proof of death and/or they are more than 120 years old.

Here are a few links that helped me::

Family Search  Summary of US Social Security Records for Genealogists

Social Security Administration Online Request for Deceased Individual’s Social Security Record

Notes

  1. Various census records of children who mother and father from Minsk Russia: 1910 Federal Census [Database online, ancestry.com]
  2. Social Security Application, 1936.  United States Social Security Administration Archives
  3. JewishGen search for potential matches
  4. History of Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html
  5. FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 53-227(1733).(picture)
Posted in Genealogy, Jewish Gen, Pearlman

Planning a visit to Mount Hebron Jewish Cemetery – Queen’s, New York

I am hoping to take the first research trip for J’s family genealogy to the cemetery where his great grandparents, Meyer and Anna Pearlman are buried.  Meyer and Anna immigrated from Russia and I’m hoping that exploring their grave plot might give us some more detailed clues as to their ancestral shtetl (or maybe some names of their siblings).  FindAGrave.com has given me the cemetery and plot information but there hasn’t been a picture posted yet.  Here is what I know of their burial place:
plotspearlman

Mount Hebron Cemetery is located in Flushing, Queens in New York City.  Meyer and Anna came through New York from Russia around 1900 but they settled in Pennsylvania for the majority of their adult lives.  Around 1942 they moved to Brooklyn to live with their older daughter Pearl Epstein in the home of her husband’s family (also from Minsk, Russia) and were later buried in Queens.  What is interesting though is that Pearl is buried with her husband and his family in Montefiore Cemetery.  Which raises the question of why Meyer and Anna are in Mount Hebron if no known children are buried there as well.  Are there other family members in Mount Hebron?

Mount Hebron Cemetery opened to the Jewish community in New York City with its first burial in 1909.  There have been over 217,000 burials since then.  Apparently it is a very large cemetery so we might need a full day to navigate and explore (I have no idea how I will convince J to take a day trip to NY to hang out in a cemetery all day)!  I believe there are also memorial sites for communities lost during the Holocaust which we will want to visit as well.

Through further Mount Hebron research, I learned about society’s that Jewish immigrants formed at the turn of the century to support each other in the New World.  These society’s were formed around shared houses, neighborhoods, synagogues, professions and/or places of origin and not only provided a social life they also supported their members with certain social welfare benefits.  This included health insurance type of benefits and also burial support.  Some of the societies bought large tracts of land in Jewish cemeteries for their members – including in Mount Hebron where 80% of the land was sold to local Jewish societies in the first years.  I looked at the list and it looks like there are 100s maybe even 1,000s of different society plots in Mount Hebron.

The internment search I did on the website for Meyer showed me that he is buried in the Workmen’s Circle Society plot.  Whats interesting here for me is that Meyer lived and worked his adult life in Wilkes-Barre, PA only moving to NY to live with his daughter in his later years – I wonder why, how and if he was a member of this society.  The cemetery website says the Workmen’s Circle plots are in blocks 14, 113, 75, 63, FCIR.   Meyer’s record shows he is in 113, line 13. He is in grave 26 and Anna in 27.

I found website for the Workmen’s Circle Society – today it is a non profit that promotes social justice and Jewish education, including Yiddish!  I emailed them through their contact page to see if they had any information on Meyer’s membership.  They emailed me back within a day and had checked their burial lists and confirmed that both Meyer and Anna were at Mount Hebron, buried next to each other, in the Workmen’s Circle plot.   I also found that genealogists can access paper based records from the Workmen’s circle in English and Yiddish at American Jewish Historical Society in New York.

mt-hebronmap

I guess the next step in this trail is a visit to New York! I’m noting the links below to save in the case that one day we plan this trip.   Any tips on Mount Hebron Cemetery and/or general cemetery visits?

Relevant Links and Sources:

Mount Hebron Cemetery Web Page

Guide to Workmen’s Circle Records

American Jewish Historical Society

Workmen’s Circle

Montefiore Cemetery