Saturday, March 26, 2016

Finding Little Lena - how to read a census

Little Lena Snyder was only 7 years old when she arrived in Cotopaxi.  Until now, I had not located her in any records after the resolution of the Colony.  I found her this week!  In order to make this rather difficult research a little easier, I'm going to start with the results, then share how I got there.

The Snyder family:

Abraham Snyder, born 1827.  
Married to Alta Greenspan.  She was also known as Zeesy or Zisel.  Born 1824, died 1910.

their children were:

Sarah 1857 - 1937.  Sarah came to America as a widow and I believe her first husband's surname was Friedman.  Then she married Morris Menkowsky at Cotopaxi.  And then she died before 1890 and is buried in Denver.

Sarah had a daughter, Lena Friedman, by her first marriage.  Lena was age 7 at Cotopaxi.  She married JJ Barnett and their son, Kallman S. Barnett married Helen Gumbiner.  At some point, Lena was "adopted" by Abraham and Alta (her grandparents) and was living with them as their adopted daughter.

Fanny 1865 - 1953 married to Max Shuteran.  They had Sarah and Solomon (Sam).  They quickly divorced and Fanny remarried Sam Friedman who adopted Sarah and Solomon.  They had 3 more children.  Fanny was also known as Hannah.

Reina.  She was married to Samuel Newman before coming to America.  The surname was also spelled Nieman and Namen.  

Samuel 1867 - 1929.  He married Hattie Frieden about 1895.   Their children were Libbie, Reina, Arthur, Sara Reeve and Cecilia. 

When I started, I did not know this!  So now, let's go back to the beginning and I'll share my research hints on finding Leah.

Flora Satt wrote in her thesis in a footnote 
Samuel Schneider, 48, with his wife Alta. 
Abrahan Newman, son-in-law of Schneider, with his wife Nechama.   
Berel Morris, son-in-law of Schneider, with his wife Sarah and daughter Helen. 
Elizabeth Roberts wrote this about the family (which came from the 1925 Spivak Interview):
Schneider, a tailor, his wife, Alta, and his two daughters,Nechama, age 20, and Sarah, age 30. The latter was a widow and had a daughter, Helen, who is the wife of K. S. Barnett, residing in Denver.Newman, son-in-law to Schneider, and his wife.A brother-in-law of Newman and his wife. Morris, a son-in-law to Schneider. 

Neither Satt or Roberts had access to the ships manifest which I was able to locate.  The Snyders arrived on the Assryian Monarch on Apr 10, 1882.

Abraham Snyders age 50
Zisel Snyders, age 50
Solomon Snyders, age 14
Sarah Snyders, age 25
Leah Snyders, age 7
Hannah Snyders, age 17
Solomon Nyman, age 24
Reina Nyman, age 20
a few passengers later I found: 
Moses Mankonsky, age 28
Do you see the differences in the lists?  Sarah's daughter is Lena, not Helen.  But there is a problem with all of this - Sarah was a widow, so her surname probably wasn't "Snyder".

Next, I found a marriage certificate  showing Sarah Snyder married Moses Menkowsky at Cotopaxi.  That totally confused me.  But it clarified that Abraham Snyders daughter, Reina (Nechema) was married to Solomon Nyman....which later became Newman and then Namen.

I found Sarah married to Bendal Morris, living in Chicago with their children


A couple of notes on this.  There is no daughter "Helen" and Lena is not listed.  Yet we know she is Sarah's daughter.

I contacted the descendants of this family (above image) and they can prove to me that this Sarah was not Sarah Snyder, but rather Sarah Epstein.  So I removed this family from my Snyder tree.

I knew that Abraham and Alta lived in Omaha NE.  I had found them in the 1900 census with no children.  So I hunted for them in the 1885 state census.  I found this:


I think you can read this just fine.  F. Lukeman - could that be Fanny Shuteran.  Look at the handwriting...it could well be Luterman.

When I teach genealogy, I explain to my students that you have to think how it might have been in 1882.  Probably a white, Western European, English speaking gentleman came to the door to take a census.  He would arrive at the house of a Jewish immigrant who came here from Russia, and perhaps was born in Germany.  The immigrant spoke German and Yiddish....and probably broken or heavily accented English.  I can easily see that Lukeman could easily have been Shuteran.  So I would transcribe this list as:

Abram Sneyder, age 54
Zesel Sneyder, age 54
Fanny Shuteran, age 22, daughter
Sarah Shuteran, age 1/3, granddaughter
Solomon Shuteran, age 2, grandson
Lena Friedman, age 11, adopted

all living in the same household.

Lena’s age lines up that she is the 7 year old daughter  Sarah Snyder (see ship's manifest above.)  

Where Flora has said “Helen” - I’m certain this is incorrect.  

Next, I decided to see who "Helen" married to K. S. Barnett was.  I found their marriage certificate and an announcement in the newspaper.  She was Helen Ruth Gumbiner.  Which left me even more puzzled.  How was this Helen related to Sarah?

My next step was to find the parents of K. S. Barnett.  Not too difficult with Jewish burial records, census records, etc.  His parents were J. J. Barnett and Lena.

Once I found that, it all fell into place.  Lena Friedman, Sarah's daughter, married J. J. Barnett and their son, K. S. Barnett was married to Helen.  

So now we know that those meeting in 1925 had this wrong.  But I can't blame them.  That meeting was 40+ years after the colony and I certainly can't remember the names and relationships of my neighbors 40 years ago!

I wonder if Sarah’s first husband was related to Sam Friedman.  Richard Friedman wrote a family history book in which he tells us that Sam Friedman was brought over from Russia to marry Fanny as she was single with 2 young children.  It makes sense that he was perhaps a brother or other relative of Sarah's first husband since the family knew him.

Additionally,  Lena Friedman Barnett’s death record says her mother was Snyder and her father was Friedman.

My software puts the person in each time they are married, so here is a view of what the tree looks like - color coded for each generation.  I've only used the first 3 generations so Helen and Kallman Barnett do not show up in this particular view.  So far, I have 121 people in this tree.  I'm sure there are more and I will continue to add them as I find them.



My lesson is to check those mid-decade census records.  A lot of states had them.  Check death records.  SSA records now list parents surnames.  Jewish burial records often give us the father's name.  Think about how the census taker might have spelled the name as he heard it.  Snyders, Snyder, Sneyder, Schneider - I've found their surname spelled like this so far.  

I was reading last night in some of the 1882/83 newspaper articles from Denver and found an article that states by Feb, 1883, Abraham Snyder had gone to Denver to find work as a tailor and took his daughter, Fanny Shuteran with him.  This tends then to corroborate my thoughts that the Snyders went to Denver for a few months before moving to the Council Bluffs/Omaha area.  My theory then is that Sarah and Morris Menkowsky also went to Denver where Sarah must have passed away.

I emailed my research friend, Terry Lasky, to see if he had information on a possible burial and here's what he sent back:

Sarah Menkowsky died before Fairmount Cemetery was formed (which was about 1890) and was buried in the Hebrew Cemetery Association (which was the Capitol Hill Cemetery that was later disbanded).  She was moved to Fairmount with the other Jewish burials when they closed Capitol Hill which was in 1923.  Problem is there was no gravestone for her so there is no record. 
Sarah's daughter, Lena, was adopted by her parents by 1885. So it would stand to reason that Sarah died sometime after early 1883 and before 1885.  Lena moved with her grandparents to Nebraska.  I do not know what happened to Morris Menkowsky.

I am also thinking that many Jewish men were called "Baer" or had that added to their names.  Could Morris Menkowsky have been known as Baer Morris.....and this then became Berel Morris?

Finally, let's take a moment to see what we know about Little Lena.  Her father died.  She and her mother come to America and are sent to Cotopaxi when she is but 7 years old.  Her mom remarries at Cotopaxi.  Her grandfather, Abraham, and Aunt Fanny leave a few months later and move to Denver.  She and her mom, Sarah, and new step-father Morris follow them.  Her mom dies.  Her grandparents adopt her and they all move to Nebraska sometime in 1883 where we find Lena as an adopted child of her grandparents in the 1885 census.  Wow!  What a lot of changes by the time she was 10 years old!  

Lena married in 1888 and had a very stable life after that.  She had 3 sons and a daughter and stayed married until her death in 1946.  I can only imagine the hardships of the first 10 years of her life, but I'd like to think that it ended up being a good life after that.  It was definitely worth finding Little Lena!  We can now add her descendants as members of the Cotopaxi Colony!



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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Meat and Potatoes

I probably didn't fully realize how important genealogy is to understanding who I am as a human being until 2004.  I went to Diersheim, Germany, to meet my mom's 6th cousin.  She was 79 years old then.  Twelve years later (yes, she's 91 now!) we still email and she tells me that she still rides a bicycle every day!



A SIXTH cousin!   She and I started writing letters back in the 70s long before computers were around.   We shared much of our family research over the years.  She translated family letters from German to English and explained to me that previous translations were incorrect because they didn't take into consideration local word meaning. That was an interesting lesson - you can't just have a letter translated, you need to find someone who knows the local dialect.

Diersheim is on the Rhine River and used to be an island where the river split.  Sometimes France owned the village, other times Germany owned it.  Until finally, Germany blocked off the river and made it part of their country.

In 1817, my ancestors left and took the journey across the Atlantic.   Her ancestors stayed.  This cousin is a retired history teacher who studies genealogy and speaks and writes English - one of 2 or 3 people in the village who know English.  Her nephew, one of the only car owners in the village of 700 people, took the day off work and the 2 of them took us to all the local "family" spots.  It is too expensive to own a car so everyone just rides a bicycle.



We saw where our ancestors stepped foot on the small boat that took them up the Rhine River to Amsterdam where they boarded a ship.  I wouldn't exactly call it a "river", but she did! The area around Diersheim looks so much like the area in Indiana where this family settled.  It must have made them feel at home and comfortable in their surroundings.  I would never have made that connection had I not traveled to Germany to see where they came from.



 We saw their house - they had enough money that they did not need to sell if before they left.  These are known as "half-timber houses" and I have read that the placement of the timbers could identify that a Jewish family lived there.  I saw a book at the Strasbourg Jewish museum that showed such placements.



 We went into their church and climbed into the belfry to see where they helped install a bell.   That bell, the alter, the pews, everything inside the church looked much like many rural Indiana churches.



 We participated in a "wedding supper" where the traditions have not changed in the 200+ years since our ancestors parted ways.  I actually see resemblances in these distant cousins to my close cousins, aunts and uncles....



We toured the only cemetery which has been there since before 1515 and I learned that each family has a plot.  Every 25 years they merely bury on top of the last person.  So no headstones to view...just a family name.



Perhaps the greatest experience was the family dinner. Meat and potatoes.  Cooked exactly like my grandmother fixed them.  Exactly.  With fresh cooked green beans.  I will never forget this meal because I thought I was sitting at my Grandmother's table once again.

How could this meal, this tradition of cooking, remain the same for over 200 years?   The seasonings used were identical.  The cooking style - identical.  I think I "woke up" at that moment and truly started looking for other "traditions" that were the same.  It was an amazing experience.

This tiny village has remained intact and much unchanged since the Lutherans invaded Germany about 1515.  These Lutherans decided that you had a couple of options.  You could convert to Lutheranism, leave, or be killed.  They destroyed every record at the tiny church prior to 1520.  Absolutely nothing remains.  100% of the residents are Lutheran.  The population has never grown - always remaining between 700 and 1000 residents (mostly due to the geographical limitations.)  Strasbourg, just across the Rhine River, once had a huge Jewish population.  Surely, when this village was owned by France, there were Jews living there.   Yet if you were seeking Jewish ancestry, all of that information would have been destroyed about 1515.  Good to know.



My suggestion is that you do enough of your family tree to find a distant cousin who still lives in a quaint, unpopulated village in a remote part of the country your ancestors came from.  Go visit.  You will learn where your traditions came from.  All of us would like to think that we are very "modern", but my trip to Germany taught me just how tied to traditions my family is!

If your ancestors lived in Cotopaxi, come on down!  We'll be happy to show you all the "family" spots and perhaps it will give you a better understanding of where your traditions came from.  Sorry, I won't be fixing you "meat and potatoes"!  However, I can almost guarantee you that you will walk away with a new understanding of what their life was like in 1882 when they tried hard to farm the Rocky Mountains in a time when Indians, cow rustlers, and hunting gold was a way of life!

I do believe that genealogy is the "meat and potatoes" of who we are.  The more you know about the past, the more you know about yourself and who you really are.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How far do you go with your genealogy research?

I mentioned in the last blog that I couldn't find Saul Ber Milstein in the 1900 census.  Not sure, but I may have to give up on this one.

Business are not listed in the census.  That should be clue number one.

In the 1900s, a lot of people rented small rooms in the rear of a business.  Cheap rent.  And the census takers may well have missed these tiny apartments.  Just something to keep in the back of your mind.

I found this early map of Denver:



And with a bit of research, I learned that Walnut street on this map was also Market Street.  I was looking for 137 Market street which would be in the 100 block - where the red 61 is.  I was also looking for Colfax Street between Bryant and Clay St....which we can see just to the west of the 100 block of Market street.



This whole are is now gone...buried under the I-25/Colfa intersection.  But it shows you right where the Colfax viaduct was!

In the 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1900 city directories, Suel B Milstein lived at 137 Market Street.  His meat market was between Bryant and Clay.

In the 1901 city directory, S. B. Milstein lived at 2532 W Colfax

So while S B Milstein is not listed in the 1900 census, I can still go to that census and find these streets and go house to house looking to see if I can find a surname that was incorrectly transcribed.  Trust me, I have found many such errors over the years.

However, when I tracked down 137 Market Street....here's the page from the census:



The street is written down the left side of the margin.  The first number is the house number.  There is no 137 Market street.  I checked several pages before and after this just to make sure it wasn't put on the wrong page.  I did the same thing for everything on Byrant and Clay streets and the cross streets. And the same for the 1901 address on W Colfax....which was where they had moved their butcher shop to.  Nothing.

So I can only assume that they were missed in the census count since they were there in the city directories.  The other possibility is that they were moving during the 2 week period the census was being taken.  That's always a possibility.

I'm sharing this for 3 reasons.

1)  My research is pretty thorough.  I don't trust ancestry or familysearch to have correctly digitized or transcribed names.  I believe in human errors.  We all make them!

2)  You can do the very same thing in an attempt to find your family.  Sadly, the streets have not been indexed and 1900 is tough to do.  You can find an enumeration district and from there, get a description of the boundaries of each section.  Comparing that to a map of the same timeframe, you can almost figure out which precinct to look at.  Most are between 20 and 50 pages.  You sit and scan each page one by one.  There is no map that matches precincts to this census.  Fortunately, we do have great maps for the 1930 and 1940 census.




3).  Some of the microfilmed scans have complete areas of black.  When that happens within a neighborhood I am searching, I can assume my family might have been blacked out with the scan.  But there were no such areas in the neighborhood where the Milsteins were living.

The great news is that when you are searching for one family, you very likely will find another that you are searching for.  I possibly located the Grupitsky's and the Shutter's while searching this precinct and I had not perviously found them in the 1900 census.  Their surnames were horribly transcribed, but the dates of birth line up with the children in the families.

It takes time.  It's not easy.  But those old city directories give us a house number and a street name and they can and do often line up with what is in the census.

Now - you won't have this luck with Cotopaxi!  There were no street names written in the margins.  No house numbers assigned.  I don't think there were any in 1900.  It simply was the McCoy double house, The Hendricks house....they were called by the owners name.  But then, Cotopaxi didn't have quite the population that Denver had!!!

I have concluded that the Saul Ber Milstein family was missed in the 1900 census.  But who knows, maybe one day I will find them!  They did have a farm in Golden (but I didn't find them in the Golden Census) until at least 1897.  I have found all of their children in the 1900 census and did not find them within several ages of each child.   Lots of families back then lived close to children, so there's another place you can hunt for someone.

How thorough is your research?  How in-depth do you go?  To what length do you try to find someone before you put that aspect on hold?  And like I've said before, keep returning to the subject because new records are always being added to the digitized collections, new records are being found, and fellow researchers might have found exactly what you are looking for!

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Nettie & Jacob - a true love story with a few problems!

Nettie and Jacob Muhlstein (was Milstein) were first cousins who fell in love.....and stayed in love. Of the 3 weddings that happened to the Cotopaxi Colonists, theirs is the only marriage that survived.  And survive, it did!

I consider Flora Satt's thesis to contain some of the best material written about the Colony.  Here's what she wrote about Nettie & Jacob:

Thus it was that in 1878 Jacob Milstein left Brest Litovsk to seek out land for members of his family and those others who wished to emigrate with them.  He was to act as "advance scout" and to send back all the information on homesteading to his uncle, the leader of the proposed 'colony'.  Was the American government really as tolerant of Jews as they had been led to believe?  No special taxes?  Freedom of worship?  While he was learning these things, as well as the English language, his uncle Saul Baer would send him a monthly allowance to cover his living and travelling expenses.  But within a year of his departure from Russia Jacob had incurred the wrath of his uncle.  He received no more money and for a time the gravity of his offense threatened the plans for the entire group's migration.  Jacob's "sin" had been to persuade Nettie Milstein, Saul Baer's eldest child, with whom he had been in love for some time, to run away and join him in America where they could be married.  Nettie was her father's favorite child, and he had lavished on her all his affection and material wealth.  He had educated her as thoroughly as any of his sons and had taken her with him on business trips throughout Europe.  By the time she was twenty years old, in 1878, a confirmed spinster by Jewish standards, she was able to relieve her father of many of his duties at the commission house, in order that he might devote more time to his studies and pupils, as she preferred a business career to marriage, having refused to accept any of the suitors offered her by the "shadchens".  She was in love with Jacob, her first cousin, and since her father naturally opposed such a union, Nettie simply rejected marriage with anyone else, but when Jacob left Russia and the all-pervasive influence of his patriarchal uncle, Saul Baer, Nettie was impelled to flee and disregard convention, religion and social ostracism by going to Jacob in America.  Leaving Brest Litovsk in November of 1879, Nettie journeyed to the home of relatives in Hamburg, Germany, where she awaited passage money from her fiance.  Cut off from his uncle's support, Jacob Milstein took a job in a tin factory in New York City.  He learned English rapidly and also earned enough to put some aside as 'capital' with which to prospect for a colony site as well as passage money for his bride-to-be from Germany.  But he had worked little more than a year when an industrial accident deprived him of the sight of one eye.  It is noteworthy for those days that the owner of the factory recognized his responsibility in the matter of the accident and made arrangements for a pension to be paid his young employee-victim.  Jacob was thus able to afford proper medical care and rest without resorting to charity.  While recuperating, he became acquainted with the work being done by the well-know American Jew, Michael Heilprin.

Now, I think that's a pretty good story.  UNTIL....I found Nettie and Jacob's marriage certificate in Cotopaxi and UNTIL I found the ship's manifest for Nettie.

Let's review the ship's manifest first.  Yes, Nettie did come to America on a ship with her Uncle, Isaac Shames.  But she did not arrive her until July, 1882 - AFTER the Colonists were already in Cotopaxi!!!



Starting near the top and coming down, let me type the names with today's knowledge of who these people were.  About 9 lines down at the bottom of the crosslines:

Schammes, Itzig  49  (Isaac Shames)
Schammes, Riwke 47 (his wife, said not to have been in Cotopaxi, but was on the ship)
Schammes, Judel  17
Schammes, Chane  9 (Hanna)
Schammes, Rachel 5
Wassitzer, Scheick 18 (Joe Washer)
Wassitzer, Jente 18 (Nettie Washer became Nettie Altman, a daughter of Isaac Shames)
Breisand, Zattel 28 (Charles Perzant)
Breisand, Kele 26 (Clare Prezant - she had 2 sisters in Cotopaxi:  Freida Shames and Hanna Milstein)
Breisand, Itzig 8 (we think this is Joseph Presant)
Breisand, Hirsch 0 (we do not know what happened to him)
Milstein, Jente 18 (Nettie, daughter of Saul Ber, niece of Isaac Shames)
Milstein, Jankel 9 (Jacob, Nettie's brother, son of Saul Ber, nephew of Isaac Shames)
Schames, Freida 22 (wife of Michael Shames who is Isaac's son.  Michael was already at Cotopaxi    Sister of Clare Present above)
Schames, Ester 2 (daughter of Michael and Freida Shames)
Schames, Sara 0 (daughter of Michael and Freida Shames)

So, we can verify that it was true that Nettie Milstein came to America with her uncle, Isaac Shames.

BUT (and this is a rather significant note) the ship did not arrive here until July 16, 1882!!!

So when her daughter, Rose Ornstein, wrote in her diary that her parents were married in Central City in January 1882 - I don't think that actually happened!

Flora gave us these footnotes:

2. Jacob Millstein, 19, with his wife Nettie, 20. (The spelling of the name was changed on the
marriage license issued at Blackhawk, 1882)
37. In Novembver, 1881, Jacob Milstein left New York to survey the prospects in Colorado, and to look up Julius Schwartz. He never found Schwartz. From Blackhawk, Jacob sent for Nettie, his fiancee. They were married at the Gilpin County Courthouse in January, 1882. Jacob was then engaged in the mule trade. Perhaps to conceal the fact that he and his bride were first cousins, Jacob changed the spelling of his name to Millstein on the marriage certificate. Their children later changed the spelling still further. (Muhlstein)
But there is nothing in the records in Blackhawk, Central City or Gilpin County.   I went to the court house, the clerk & recorders office and there is no record of Nettie or Jacob being there, being married there, or applying for a marriage license application.   I have searched all possible spellings from 1878 to 1883.  Doesn't mean it's not there....I just can't find it.

We also now know that Nettie wasn't 20 years old in 1978, if she was 18 years old in 1882.  Yes, I know people put down the wrong age for a variety of reasons....but hold on, more on that in a minute!

We have found their marriage certificate in Cotopaxi:




It's the marriage license application that provides us with more information:





Nettie was 17 when she applied to be married.  She needed a guardian's permission to get married.  That was her uncle Isaac Shames.  They completed their marriage license application on 8/31/1882 and were married on 9/10/1882 and it was filed 9/27/1882.

If Jacob came to this country in 1878, then Nettie was only 13 years old at that time?  And in love with him?  You know, I have searched numerous ships manifests and cannot find a Jacob Milstein (using every possible spelling of those names) in 1878.  But I can find a possibility in 1880 coming from Breman, being from Russia, being Hebrew.

So, in the marriage license, Jacob is over 21, Nettie is 17.  But in the 1910 census, there is only a 2 year difference in their ages.  In the 1920 and 1930 census, they claim to be the same age.  And I think their ages are important to the overall timeline.

Next, we have to look at her parents and his parents and the ages they have given us.  I put it into a handy spreadsheet:


This leaves a lot to be desired!  Annie was 11 when Jacob Milstein was born?  Probably not!  If you give some thought to these dates, you can start to see the problems that we have.  I cannot find Nettie's parents in the 1900 census, and they were deceased by the 1920 census, as was Benjamin Milstein.

I worked at Social Security back in the 1970s - when absolutely no one born 65 years prior to that had a birth certificate (nor could they obtain one).  We used a process called "best evidence" to establish a date of birth for Medicare entitlement.  It was an interesting aspect of my job to say the least!  But based on that experience, here is what I come up with (look at the far right column).


I started with the best evidence which is Nettie's marriage license application.  Age 17 in 1882.  She would not have lied because if she were older than 18, why get your uncle to act as your guardian?

From there, we know that Jacob said he was over 21.  Was he?  Both of them (and the uncle) all stated that Nettie and Jacob were not related to each other.  I wonder how they ever explained the same surname?  Before I determined Jacob's possible birth dates, I needed to look at his parents.

Annie Milstein was consistent at claiming her date of birth as 1850.  Until her burial.  A 6 year difference.

Benjamin went from 1845 to 1847.  If Jacob was born in 1860, his mother was 10 and his father was 13?  So you have to build a "picture" of parent-to-child possibilities.

I have no problems with Nettie's parents as they were older and their dates work.

This is how I came up with my conclusions on the far right.  And when I find more evidence to support something different - I'll change them.

This, then, significantly changes the love story of Nettie and Jacob.  If she was 17 when she married Jacob, she was not 20 in 1878 as Flora Satt claimed.  But it does work with the fact that Ed Grimes was 17 when he arrived at the Colony.  The family stories tell us that Ed was in love with Nettie and while he knew she was in love with Jacob, he still followed her to Cotopaxi in the hopes that she might change her mind.  When he realized that wasn't going to happen, he walked all the way to Denver!
   
Interesting note is that Ed Grimes did marry into the Milstein family at a later date.

What if the story was rewritten for this timeline?  Jacob was sent to America as a scout about 1880.  Nettie, then 15, was working for her father, yet in love with Jacob, her cousin.  She left her parents and came to this country with her Uncle, Isaac Shames, in July, 1882.  Her younger brother, also named Jacob, came with her as did many other relatives.  Nettie's parents, Saul and Mira Milstein and the rest of her sibling arrived in December 1884, after the colonists had left Cotopaxi, and more than 2 years after Nettie and her brother Jacob, had arrived.

Then we have the story that Saul Milstein had been sending Jacob a stipend and that stopped when the elder Milstein realized that his nephew wasn't going to stop pursuing his daughter.  Jacob went to work in a factory and lost the sight of his eye in a boiler accident.  Again, I cannot find any newspaper reference to this accident, although there were many such accidents in New York City at that time.

It is interesting that Jacob still pursued working with his Uncle to find a place for his family to farm....even after his stipend was cut off.  Was this due to his great love for Nettie?  It's the only logical explanation.

Jacob came to Colorado in 1881 looking for Julius Schwartz.  When he did not find him, he took work in Central City.  Nettie joined him there, probably in July, 1882.  And while I can find no documentation that they were married there....maybe they were.  At any rate, we next find them in Cotopaxi in August and they were married in September, 1882.

Changes the date somewhat, but the story remains intact.  And their love must have been great because it survived her father, it survived both of them immigrating to America 2 or more years apart, it survived Cotopaxi, and it went on.  They farmed north of Denver.  They had TEN children.  Jacob lived until 1924 and Nettie lived until 1933.  A great romance....even with a few problems!

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Shames - ha Levi?

I have seen numerous family trees on ancestry that state Isaac Shames, a Colonist, was Levite.

So my curiosity was aroused.....mostly because his 2 brothers never show that indicator.  His headstone on his grave does not say that he is, nor does it have the Levite symbol.

Could he be of the tribe of Levi?  Could he be Kohane - a descendant of Aaron?

Isaac Leib M Shames - his parents are Menashe Milstein and Ester Baer.   Flora Satt's thesis gives us this genealogy about Esther's relationship to Isaac Baer Levinsohn:


9. German Jew, author of Nathan der Wiese, leader of 18th Century Enlightenment. Although more famous for his literary and educational ideas than for his social or political theories, Baer Levinsohn is considered the fount of the Russian Neo-Hebraic Renaissance and the figurehead of the 19th century Jewish enlightenment. One of his nieces, Esther Baer, married Menashe Milstein of Brest Litovsk and proved to be a great influence in her husband's home city, a center of Hasidism. In turn, their son Jacob married Malka, the daughter of Rabbi Zalman of Zhitomir, 

So, going up from Isaac Shames we have:

Jacob Milstein (died 1861)
   married to Malta Zalman

Jacob's parents were:

Menace Milstein and Esther Baer

from there, I began googling books on Isaac Baer Levinsohn.  Also spelled Lowensohn.  He was a known as the "father of Haskala" - a form of Judaism.

I found this:

Isaac Baer Levinsohn was born September 2, 1788, in Kremenets, Volhynia into a well-to-do, prominent family.  His father Jehudah Levin, who carried on extensive business with the Polish landowners, knew Polish quite well.
So now, we know that Esther Baer is his niece and Jehudah (Judah) Levin is his father.   And I start filling in a blank family tree....sort of like a story board.  I use pink and blue stickies, write the names on them, and arrange them on a foam core board.  Then I plug it into a tree just like any gentile genealogist would do:



The same book tells me that Jehudah had a brother, Hayyim.

In another book, I find this:

Jekuthiel Solomon, the great-grandfather of Isaac Bar Levinsohn, who acquired considerable weath was a native of Kremenetz.  Levinsohn's grandfather, Isaac, his father-in-law, the wealthy and learned Zalman Cohen, and his father, Judah Levin, who also was a wealthy merchant and was equally popular among Jews and Gentiles, likewise lived there.

But I have a problem with how this is worded.  Levinsohn's father is Judah.

His grandfather is Isaac, who's father-in-law is Zalman Cohen.  But I need to verify that!

Found this at Wikipedia:

His father, Judah Levin, was a grandson of Jekuthiel Solomon, who settled in Kremenetz and acquired considerable wealth, and a son of Isaac, who had married the daughter of Zalman Cohen, famed for his wealth and scholarship. 
which shows us that Levinsohn's father is Judah Levin.

Judah Levin is the grandson of Jekuthiel Solomon.

Judah Levin's father is Isaac and Isaac married the daughter of Zalman Cohen.

This then becomes even more frustrating!  You only have 2 male grandparents and if his mother is the daughter of Zalman Cohen....that is one of his male grandparents.

Thus, his father's father would be Jekuthial Solomon - different surname from his father, Isaac.

And this does happen in Jewish genealogy.  Now, my stickies have been moved, and my "tree" looks like this:




The only way to make Esther Baer a niece of Isaac Baer Levinsohn is that he had a sister.  We don't know her given name and we will assume her maiden name is Levinsohn, so here is her ancestry, tying her into Isaac Baer Levinsohn's father, Judah Levin:



Thus we see that Isaac Lieb Milstein Shames descends from Judah Levin who descends from Isaac Levin, married to a Cohen.....and could well be a Levite.

But it would also mean that Saul Baruch Milstein and Benjamin Z Milstein also descend from the Levites and Cohens as well.  Right now, DNA can only test for Kohane...and there are many questions about the accuracy of the results.

This is how you put together a "family tree" when you don't have all the names.  And while this is perhaps not enough to say that this family is Kohane....I think we can safely say that "ha-Levi" is correct!

Sometime down the line, we'll look at Isaac Baer Levinsohn and his religious views and the possible impact on the Cotopaxi Colonists.  But I needed to do the family tree before I take a look at his influence on their beliefs.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

maps can tell the best story!

I'm publishing this "unfinished" map....as the beginning of what may be a never-ending story.  I found documents that show the Nudelmans and the Chuterans (Jewish colonists) sold their "attached" house to E. S. Hart who then sold it to Susan McCoy.  I'm so curious....where was this "attached" house?  Thus this "working" map with all my notes on it.

In later documents, I find the sale of the "McCoy double house".  Has to be the same place.  Most of the early documents show the property as being measured in feet, east of the center of the county line.  So this map is just that....showing the property possibilities in the last 134 years based on feet from the center line.  I'm inserting it as full size, so those who are interested can see the details.  Ignore the "state highway department" location.  The orange line going up and down the center is CR 12.  Plum street is CR 51, and off to the left is CR 52.

So, starting at the intersection of CR12 and CR51,   0' to 30' marked Hendricks is where we think the ES Hart store/PO were.  In 1882.   Go to the right to 601' to 651' and thats where I think the Nudelman/Chuteran house was.  But I still have more to research.

Much of this is after the Colonists left....but it's a good start for my research as it combines ownership from the 70s, today, and the 30s.  I get a broad spectrum of names to connect as I look for records on each piece of property.  Can you start to see why I created family trees for the Cotopaxi residents?

Saltiel lived on the west end of CR52 where it says "Bailey".  Baily died in 1936, so that gives us a starting point to date the printed portion of the original map.  His house was a boarding house and probably became the Cotopaxi Hotel.  It was later purchased by JDHylton.  The livery and saloons were not there in 1882.  But the McCoys were in the area in 1882.  Susan McCoy was the mother of the "McCoy" gang - known for cattle rustling and killing.



this map is subject to much change as I continue to find new documents - or pay closer attention to documents I've already found.  And this map is a bit off when you look at the Dyer/Gilbert properties...they were moved south, closer to the river, when CR 52 was "drawn" on the books.  That's why I have "now old Yarmark" and "now McNew" written in.

It's interesting to note the addition and separation of lots on Plum street over the past 134 years.  I've shown that with dashes....when it was combined and when it was separated will come later.  But of note, there were a few houses close to CR12, then an open space known as the McCoy lower orchard, then more houses.  And we know that Saltiel had an orchard on his place.  New trees?  or did they produce fruit?

We think the shul was right north of the Hendricks place (Zero to 30') but may never be able to prove that.

Mom lived in a little cottage that began at 397'.  Most of the documents for that house since the time it was built show it as being at 397'.  Perhaps one of the easiest houses I've researched thus far!  However, the back section of her property has changed much over the years.  Finding where that was, who owned it and how it got merged has been interesting to say the least!

If you read this and have any clues you can share, I'd love to hear them!  Maps can be so much fun!

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Make your own story

Sometimes, I think that’s just what other people have done.  Just write anything!  Fill in the blanks however you want….and someone, somewhere is going to believe you!

Not me!!!  I either want facts….or I will leave it blank and let you write your own story!

Family history books are just that…..books that someone writes about their family history.  It is their story.  And I use them as hints and leads….but not as facts.

Moshe Shaltiel-Gracian published such a book in 2005 about the Shaltiel/Saltiel family.  It’s not a bad book, in fact - quite interesting.  He wrote this about Emanuel Saltiel’s wife:

Soon after her arrival in Cotopaxi, Elizabeth, 36-years-old and the mother of three small children aged two, four, and six, fell in love with Frank W. Woods, an employee, in his early twenties, at the Cotopaxi Post Office, which Emanuel owned.

Let’s stop there for a moment.  Census records and other documents, including birth certificates show us that the children were:

John Tammany Saltiel, born 1871, age 9 in 1880 (I have his actual birth certificate)
Henry Clarence Saltiel, born 1873, age 7 in 1880
Adelaide Rachel (Lucy) Saltiel, born 1877, age 3 in 1880

Elizabeth Wolfe Saltiel, born 1845, age 35 in 1880

Continuing on with Moshe’s writing:

While Emanuel was crisscrossing the country, negotiating deals to build expensive furnaces and a new railroad depot, the two began an affair, and exchanged rather simple-minded letters……The lovers did not consider that, since Emanuel owned the post office, it was inevitable that one of these letters would find its way to him. 
Elizabeth was quickly shipped back east; the children remained with Emanuel…..on the same day that she wrote her aunt (5/1/1881), she was hand-delivered, at her residence at 40 East 126th Street in New York City, a summons to divorce court.  The divorce did not take effect, for legal reasons, for a year…..Elizabeth remained in New York and made her living teaching music.

Later on in the book, Moshe writes:

A year after his divorce, on Valentine’s Day, 1883, in Pueblo, Colorado, he married a second time, to Fannie Shelveson, who managed his real estate……unfortunately, seven years later, in December 1890, Fannie followed in Elizabeth’s footsteps, and began an affair with Jerry B. McLene, who lived in the Broadway, a Denver hotel owned by Emanuel.  Once more, Emanuel filed for divorce and, like Elizabeth, Fannie did not appear in court.  Unlike Elizabeth, however, Fannie married her lover on 14 July 1891, three weeks after the divorce was granted.

We find Emanuel and Fannie living on Watsoon St in Denver in the 1885 census.  No children in the household.

Let’s look at this marriage/divorce timeline in relationship to the children’s ages.  


1880 moved to Cotopaxi 1882 parents divorce 1883 father remarries Fannie Shelveson 1885 father moves to Denver 1891 father divorces Fannie
John
9
11
12
14
20
Henry
7
9
10
12
18
Adelaide
3
5
6
8
14










So even if Elizabeth left the children with Emanuel in 1881 when she left, they were not living with him in Denver in 1885.  I have not been able to locate Elizabeth in the 1885 census in NYC.

There is an Elizabeth M.  Saltiel living at 343 E 117th St in the 1886 New York City directory - doing “washing”.  She was not in the 1885 directory.  Directories do not list children.

Elizabeth and her son, Henry, were in the 1895 New Jersey Census.  Newark NJ.  This makes sense as her daughter, Adelaide, married Francis Henry Lovekin in 1895 in Newark NJ.

Did the court give custody to Emanuel in the divorce?  I don’t know as I haven’t located the divorce records.  But it is obvious that 3 short years later, they are not living with him.

I cannot locate Fannie in any city directory in Pueblo.  What brought her there?  

So why not put this perspective into a timeline looking at Saltiel and the arrival of the Colonists at Cotopaxi…..makes it even more interesting!


  • 1879 - the earliest I can find Saltiel in Fremont County
  • 1880 - his family arrives, a house has already been built
  • 1881 - his wife has an affair and he sends her off to NYC.  One writer says the children (I believe they were ages 4, 8, & 10) stay in Cotopaxi
  • 1881 - I have a document that shows Saltiel sold his house to Hart.  Where did he (and the children - if they were there) reside?
  • 1882 - February, Saltiel gets a divorce
  • 1882 - May, the Jewish colonists arrive
  • 1883 - February, Saltiel remarries (when did he have time to court this woman?)
  • 1883 - some of the colonists relocate away from Cotopaxi
  • 1883 - lawsuits against Saltiel for not paying miners who worked for him
  • 1884 - May, the colony disbands 
  • 1884 - 1887 Saltiel involved in multiple lawsuits against his mining claims.  He lost all of his property in Fremount county as a result of these lawsuits
  • 1884 - May 31, Gold Tom shot and killed
  • 1885 - June, Saltiel and wife are in Denver in the 1885 census, children are not with them

Questions - 
  1. did Fannie ever live in Cotopaxi?  I can find no evidence of that.
  2. when did Emanuel move to Denver?  If he sold his residence in 1881, where did he stay when he was in Cotopaxi?
  3. where were the 3 children after their mother was sent to NYC?
  4. if the children were in Cotopaxi, where did they live and who cared for them?

Saltiel was a very busy man!  One of these days I will create a month-by-month timeline of Saltiel’s activities…..but in the meantime, I can tell you, he was so tied up in Arapahoe County courts, in Denver, in NYC, and now we find out how busy he was with his own personal life….I do not see him as a custodial parent and it would explain his often lengthy absences from the Colonists at Cotopaxi.  

No wonder it has been written that the colonists said they got no answers or support from him and they turned to the Denver Jewish community.

I do understand why many writers “fill in the blanks” with what they think happened.  I think my “job” is to ask the questions about the blanks.  As more and more records become digitized and/or available for public research, hopefully we may find more answers.  


In the meantime, be careful what you read about Cotopaxi.  Is it just someone’s conjecture?  Is it even probable?  Is it just a “story” that someone made up?  Makes you wonder!!!

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