Although this information will mainly be of interest to my family, it also might provide insights into researching your own family roots.
As you may know I am writing a book about my grandfather, Karl Kalman Schwartz. Herman and Anna are his parents. My great-grandparents were born in Hungary and emigrated to the U.S. in 1907. Their children were also born in Hungary and emigrated between 1904 and 1910.
herman and anna’s ship manifest from ellis island.
Please read the text under the photos which my mother wrote in a letter many years ago to my niece who was doing a family history project. My mother had no memories of Anna (aka Chia or Chaya) but remembered Herman since she was 9 when he died.
Anna Schwartz, born Chaya Lieberman (1852—1918)
Chia, his wife, bore him 10 children (7 of whom lived.) Chia was a strong, clever woman who ruled the family with an iron hand. Grandpa Carl adored her.
~ Sylvia Feinberg
Herman was a watchmaker who preferred to study and read and talk philosophy.
~ Sylvia Feinberg
Connecting with Cousins
To increase the likelihood of finding cousins, I am on three DNA sites. I began with familytreedna and immediately hit the jackpot! Then I joined ancestrydna where I found several more second and third cousins. 23andme has not been as helpful.
All the cousins I have connected with are descendants of Anna and Herman. I immediately began communicating with my second cousin once removed, Chana Frid who is an attorney and an amazing researcher. Together we have solved a few family mysteries. Chana’s mother Deb Hirschorn is my second cousin.
I have also met several wonderful cousins who live in Las Vegas who shared with me their memories and photos.
Here is a bit of the family tree with children of Anna and Herman.
Shortly after we began corresponding, Chana sent me a photo of a framed tribute to Herman and Anna which hangs on her mother’s wall. It contains photos which I believe were the references for the beautiful oil paintings at the top of this post. Chana transcribed and translated the Hebrew as follows. Although I have no documentation, I believe my grandfather commissioned this memorial and likely gave copies to each of his siblings. I know he paid for the oil paintings which are now in my brother’s home.
The line on top is a verse from the Book of Lamentations:
“Over these I cry, my eyes, my eyes, water pours down.”
The verse is on top of both of their paragraphs, so beneath Herman it reads:
“My father my teacher, Yehoshua Tzvi son of Mr. Yitzchak” and the date of death.
Beneath Chaya it says:
“My mother my teacher, Chaya, daughter of Mr. Avraham Benyamin the Levite, followed by her date of death.”
memorial photos of anna and herman. courtesy deb hirschorn.
Visiting the Ancestors
When I told cousin Chana that I was visiting New York this month, she suggested we go to Washington Cemetery to find Herman and Anna’s headstones. Washington Cemetery has an interesting history. There are over 200,000 interred in 100 acres. They ran out of land in 2010. So I took the “F” train to Brooklyn, where I had lived in the early 1970s, and met Chana and Deb.
“Consecrating a Jewish Burial Ground.” Brooklyn Eagle, December 30, 1857.
This 1857 article records the consecration of the Jewish burial ground and the first burial of a child.
Judson, Selden C. The Cemeteries of New York, and How to Reach Them. 1881.
An 1881 guide to New York cemetaries says that even in that year “a large majority of the interments are Hebrews.”
washington cemetery plot map
The system for finding graves is completely manual. Chana called the office and then a few minutes later after looking through a card file, the attendant gave us this map.
We Find the Headstones
After searching through several rows, (thankfully it was warm and sunny) we found them. Deb suggested we offer prayers. We used excerpts from the Book of Psalms, Deb reciting in Hebrew while I spoke the corresponding words in English. It was a beautiful honoring of our ancestors whose descendants in the U.S. now number over 100.
Sander and Herman Schwartz
invoice for headstone found in carl schwartz papers
Here’s Chana’s transcription and translation of Anna’s headstone:
“Chen v’chavod matz’ah b’einei kol ro’eha;
yagon v’anacha nishar b’lev baalah achare’ha;
Hoy! l’da’avon nefesh azva bone’ha u’vnose’ha.”
“She found favor (charm) and honor in the eyes of all who saw her;
Pain and groaning (suffering) remain in the heart of her husband after her; Oh! She left her sons and daughters with sorrowful spirits.”
In Hebrew it reads poetically. Also, the 3 Hebrew lines are an acrostic of her name, Chaya, each line beginning with the letters ches, yud and hei, which spells Chaya.
Herman’s is simpler. It reads:
Ish tam v’yashar”
“Our special father, a man of purity and integrity (in Hebrew it rhymes).”
Chana and Anna Schwartz
Read about my upcoming book
Beginning with a trip to my grandfather’s ancestral home of Sárospatak, Hungary in 2007, I have been on the hunt for more information about Carl Schwartz aka Kalman Marki. It has been, in some cases, like searching for six needles in six separate haystacks.
What I can say now is my grandfather’s influence was more important than I knew and his connections reached the highest level of the Hungarian government. Perhaps my Mom and Dad knew more. However I believe I have uncovered some information which even they did not know. They certainly did not share it with my sister and brother and me