It was back in March that I started a series of posts on my newest Lipschitz Family DNA connection. A match with a 2nd cousin 1x removed had opened up a flood gate of information on the siblings of my great grandfather Benjamin which had long been lost to our family branch.
My great grandfather Benjamin Lipschitz (1883 Slutsk, Belarus) was the son of David Lipschitz/Lipshitz and Yetta/Edith/Gittel Palley/Paley/Pallai, depending on what document you are looking at. The spelling of the last name also took on many variants. His siblings would go on to use the spelling of the last name with an f; Lifschitz/Lifshitz.
Benjamin was born hearing but became deaf from a childhood illness. I am not clear if this happened in New York or in his home town of Slutsk. I tend to believe it was oversea’s arriving here in N.Y. shortly before his arranged marriage to Kate Rosen, also deaf from a childhood illness. Just recently I was sent a picture of Kate. The picture is from 1966 at the wedding of Kate’s granddaughter Rochelle, my aunt. Kate, 77 years old, went on to live another 7 years before passing away in 1973. I have no picture or know of any picture for Benjamin.
Kate Lipschitz nee Rosen
Benjamin’s oldest sister was Fanny Lipshitz (abt 1867). Her death certificate revealed her parents as David Lipshitz and Yetta Palley (which further confirmed our DNA connection and her connection to Benjamin)
Israel and Fanny were the parents of 5 children. Esther/Estelle/Stella (1890 Slutsk), Jacob/Jack (1894 NYC), Samuel (1895 NYC), Benjamin/Barnett (1900 NYC) and Dora/Dorothy (1906 NYC)
I’d like to concentrate on their first and oldest son Jacob/Jack Louis Lifshitz. (this branch of the family spelled the name with the ‘f’)
The first of his siblings to be born in New York, I found Jacob (6), in the 1910 census living at 58 Monroe St, N.Y.C. along with his parents and sister listed as Esta (12) and Samuel (4). The spelling on this census was recorded as Libshitz, with brother-in-law Ruben Cohen (1864) living with them. His name of Cohen had and continues to cause some confusion as Fanny was clearly confirmed a Lipschitz. (I wonder if he could be the husband of a sister of Israel? Possible. Just another mystery that deserves some time and research) By 1915 I located them living at 59 102nd St, N.Y.C.. Father Israel (50) was no longer working as a tailor but was an usher in a theatre Fanny (50) listed housework. The 3 oldest, Stella, Jacob now using Jack and Samuel were all working as bookkeepers, Benjamin and Dorothy were still in school. Ida (70) was living with them recorded as sister-in-law. This listing as sister-in-law raises the question, was this possibly a census error and in fact this was his mother-in-law? I know that Ida was alive and present at her son Isaac/Ike’s wedding to Rebecca Leff in 1903 (from wedding invitation) Ida’s estimated birth year has been 1850. Ida listed as 70 years old would give her a birth year of 1845. It’s very feasible that this is Fanny and Ike’s mother as her actual birth year in not accurate. I have also not located her death information.
WWI was on the horizon and Jack was inducted on May 25, 1918. He was 24.
Jacob Louis Lifschitz
Photo courtesy of the family of Dorothy Lifshitz
New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919, Ancestry.com
Unable to find the 1920 census, I picked up the family in 1925 living at 1330 Franklin Ave, Bronx where they would remain up until and including 1940. Jack’s (31) profession was listed as actor. All of the family was still living together. His father Israel had listed his profession as advertisor, Stella (31) stenographer, Samuel (27) salesman, Ben (25) salesman and Dora (20) also actor.
Jacob Louis Lifschitz
Photo Courtesy of the Family of Dorothy Lifshitz
I like to think of this photo as possibly one of his professional industry pictures. I also learned from the family of Dorothy, that he was opera singer too.
On January 25, 1926, in the Bronx, Jack’s sister Stella, under her formal name of Estelle married Joseph Puchkoff. In 1928 they would welcome their only child, a daughter named Myra.
By 1930, still at the 1330 Franklin Bronx address, Stella no longer at home left the other 4 siblings. Father Israel (64) was again listed as usher – theatrical, Jack (36) actor – theatrical, Samuel (32) manager clothing, Benjamin (29) usher, and Dorothy/Dotty (24) actress – theatrical.
The Palace Theatre in New York City was the most popular vaudeville venue but it closed it’s doors to vaudeville on Nov. 6th 1932
Both images Image via MCNY’s Digital Collection
Jacob would lose both his parents almost within 2 full years of each other. Israel passed away on Jan. 20, 1936 and Fanny passed on Dec 29th, 1937. Both are buried at Washington Cemetery
On June 25th, 1936 Jack boarded the “Munargo’ cruise ship for Havana, Cuba. He would return on July, 7th. I could identify any other passenger traveling with Jack by matching up his address which was the 1330 Franklin address. The Munargo was a ship owned by the Munson Steamship Line. It set sail in 1922 equipped to transport 295 passengers. It was commissioned for Caribbean service and Eastern Cuba. This ship was later purchased by the Army and became a hospital ship, renamed The Thistle.
Stella along with her husband George Puchkoff and daughter Myra had moved into the home at 1330 Franklin Ave, Bronx, owned by her parents. The 1940 census had this family now listed with George (48) as the head, lived in that same house in 1935, working as an auctioneer with Estelle (48) and Myra (12) Recorded as brother-in-law’s, Jack (44) actor – vaudeville, Samuel (41) and Benjamin (39) both usher’s – theatre. Even though The Palace had stopped showcasing vaudeville acts, Jack referring to himself as ‘in vaudeville’ seems to be telling of what he was doing, however on his 1942 WWll registration card it appears he was out of work, still unmarried with his sister Estelle as his contact person. Notice the address also. It is not the the 1330 Franklin, Bronx address.
Below is a photo of Jack with his wife. This photo has no identification on who she was. This photo was shared by the family of Dorothy Lifschitz. She is mentioned as unknown.
Photo courtesy of the family of Dorothy Lifshitz
Looking at the city index for the year 1931 for something else, I spotted a Rebecca Lifshitz living at the 1330 Franklin Ave address; looking further I found our Jack, Dotty (Dorothy), Samuel, and Israel also at the address. Is it possible that this was Jack’s wife? We do know that by 1940 Jack was listed on the census as single with out a Rebecca and that his 1942 WWll registration listed his sister Estelle. Had he divorced/annulled and claimed single?Had the photo been mislabeled? If not his wife then who was Rebecca living at the address with the rest of the family? Little more is known by me of Jack in the years following 1942.
Jack outlived both his sister’s, Dorothy (1955) and Estelle (1971) before passing away on Feb 19th, 1974. He is buried at Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens, New York.