The earliest photos of Braunhart babies and children are from 1900 on. Just for fun, here is a selection of some of them:
One of the Memorable Seventeen - Hattie Bernstein, has had her photos surface. Her granddaughter Renee made these available recently and here they are! Hattie is on the left, and she is in some of the photos below along with her husband William Fried. Also shown is her daughter-in law Alva Sara Kaul, who was the wife of Leo Fried, Hattie and William's only child.
Thank you so much, Renee
Some families are quite open about talking about all of their relatives and ancestors. Unfortunately on my father's side of the family - they were not. I do not have any idea why that was the case. For example, of my 4 great grandparents on that side, when I started my family history research, I only knew the name of one of my great grandparents - Isidor Heyman. I do not recall at all the mention of any of the other three.
However, I do recall the mention of my grandmother's cousin - Eric Brock. All I remember from the few short verbal snippets is that he was an attorney living in New York.
So for this inaugural edition of "Ancestor of the Month" we will salute Eric Brock. Fortunately, because of successful genealogy research, a bit about Eric's life has been discovered in the past 10 years.
Elkan Eric Brock was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 27,1906. Eric as he was called, was the son of William Broch and Amalie (Molly) Bernstein Broch. Amalie was a younger sister of my great grandmother - Ernestine Bernstein Heyman, Isidor's wife.
The surname Broch was sometimes spelled Brock and after the early 1900s it appears that the family settled on the latter version. Eric was named after William Broch's father Elkan Broch from Austria. Both William and Amalie immigrated to America in the late 1890s, and married in New York City in 1899. From census records we find that William was a translator, language teacher, magazine writer, and calligrapher. Family lore states that Amalie was also a magazine writer, yet there is no proof of that yet.
Eric graduated from Brooklyn Law School in the late 1920s. He is cited as a lawyer in the 1930 and 1940 censuses; his older sister Regina a shoe designer, and oldest sister Teresa a stenographer in a bond house.
He married later in his life and was devoted to his mother, caring for her in her later years at their home at 780 Riverside Drive in Manhattan, a place where they resided for many many years. The senior Brock, William it appears was estranged from the family as he is not living with the family in neither the 1930 or 1940 censuses, choosing a different residence. William died in 1943. Amalie passed in 1965 in Manhattan. William is buried at Beth El Cemetery in Westwood, New Jersey. Coexisting in Westwood is the Cedar Park Cemetery, where Amalie and Eric are buried side by side.
Eric was the one and only of the New York Braunharts and Bernsteins who traveled to Northern California frequently to visit his relatives. The bulk of the family had moved to the San Francisco area, starting in the 1860s when Bernhard and Samuel Braunhart had initially located after immigrating. The Heyman families and Bernstein families moved to Oakland starting in 1910, and others made the move over the next 30 years.
Here is Eric with some of his cousins and other relatives in the late 1930s while he was visiting them in Oakland. Eric is the balding man with the suit and tie just behind the older woman in the center - his Aunt Ernestine.
Eric focused primarily on estate law. We know from the will of his first cousin, once removed - Selma Braunhart Gandel, that he was the attorney of record.
Eric met his wife Edith Sternberg Walker in a law office. Twelve years Eric's junior, she was a Holocaust survivor and was divorced from her first husband, with one son and one daughter, who provided me with the information about Eric's last twenty years of life, as well as details about his marriage to Edith. Edith was quite interested in getting married, however Eric, in his 60s, was reluctant. Eventually love won out and they were married in Maryland. Unfortunately the specific location and exact date have not been discovered as yet.
They lived happily together for about 15 years. He retired from his law practice in the mid-1970s.
Eric's final days were traumatic for he and his wife. Suffering from dementia and other mental problems, sadly Eric became abusive, which was not his nature. He had to be institutionalized. Eric died at Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital at age 77 on April 9, 1984. Edith survived for another 24 years.
Today is a banner day! While searching through a new database for Surrendered Aliens who migrated from Hawaii to San Francisco (I had 3 possible ancestors who may have passed through Hawaii from the Shanghai Ghetto), I discovered three new Braunhart gravestones.
They are for Sara Braunhart and her husband Aaron Bernstein, who were my great great grandparents. They are buried at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Colma, California. Aaron died in 1898 in Germany, and wife Sara brought his ashes to America when she immigrated with her daughter Hattie later in 1898. Sara died in 1930 in Oakland.
Sara and Aaron's bachelor son Max Bernstein is also buried at the same cemetery, two plots away. He died in 1932.
And between Sara, Aaron and Max is Sara's younger brother Samuel Braunhart - the San Francisco Supervisor, State Assemblyman, and State Senator. He died a month after the Great Earthquake and Fire in 1906.
Below are photos of their gravestones. And thank you to the volunteers at Find-a-Grave (dot) com!
Isidore went to his room and didn't reappear to the family for three days. At that time in the late 1940s he was living with his daughter Mynette Heyman and her husband Henry Pound and their son Clyde. When Isidor came out of his room with a huge grin on his face, he displayed for the family a necktie with an exchangeable knot that could be easily changed out as the wearer wished. The clip-on tie was invented in Clinton, Iowa in 1928 - but this may have been the first exchangeable knot-based tie. Who knows?
Isidore Heyman was my great grandfather. He was the only one of my great grandparents who was alive when I was. I do not remember him at all, except for a vague memory that he smelled funny. He died when I was only eight years old.
For some reason, for the past few years as I have been researching his history and stories, I have come to call him "Izzie," so as a nickname that he probably either never heard or didn't like, I will use that moniker fondly throughout his story.
Izzie was born in Posen, Prussia in 1866. Unfortunately I have not been able to pinpoint the exact city or town of his birth. According to a marriage record, his father's name was Hyman Heyman, and his mother was Caroline. The marriage record states that her last name was "Bufsky" but I believe that it was a phonetic spelling. For some reason, yet to be proven, I suspect that her last name was Jacobowsky.
He immigrated to America in 1882 as a 16 year old young man. There is a very fuzzy story that his family were furriers, but there is no evidence of that as yet.
Ernestine Bernstein became Izzie's wife on July 19, 1893 in Manhattan. Ernestine was the very first female Braunhart to have immigrated to America. She did so at age 17, unaccompanied and unmet at the Port of New York in 1888.
Ernestine and Izzie had six children - Robert, for whom my father is named, died as a youngster from tuberculosis prior to 1910. Celia Heyman, my grandmother, was the oldest, followed by Martha, Arthur, Leo and Wilhelmine (who changed her name to Mynette because she hated her first name - and wasn't too fond of Minnie either).
Izzie was a very creative sort and had many interesting occupations. Early in his life in New York, he was a pocketbook manufacturer and registered a patent in 1887 for a leather coin purse. Throughout his life he was involved with leather goods manufacturing.
He sued the Eastern Brewing Company in 1898. He drove their horse drawn "beer wagons," and stopped another beer wagon with its horses out of control from running over a family. He was dragged for quite a distance and suffered many scratches and scrapes, as well as needing surgery on his skull. He carried the large indent in his head for the rest of his life.
Various other occupations included owning and operating a fish market, as well as operating a nickelodeon theater, where his daughter played the piano during the screening of silent movies.
The Heyman family moved to Oakland, California in 1910. Ernestine's mother, Sara Braunhart Bernstein, and Ernestine's brother Max had previously moved to California in 1906, shortly after the death of Samuel Braunhart, the politician.
Izzie owned a pool hall initially after moving to California, and then his creativity took over. He invented the metal stairs that came out of the trains as steps for passengers to embark or disembark. Unfortunately, he was not a great businessman and after showing his invention to Southern Pacific, they promptly had someone else manufacture them, and Izzie received nothing.
Back to his roots, Izzie formed the Bay Cities Bag Company. He invented the valise hinge that was used in doctor's bags, and was also used for many years in men's grooming kits. Below is a photo of the hinge, patented in 1921:
Izzie ran the Bay Cities Bag Company for nearly two decades, manufacturing leather purses, Boston bags and other miscellaneous leather items. He retired in the late 1930s and his leather goods business soon became a new business founded by his son-in-law Mervyn Marks. That company, California Optical Leather Company, existed for another 40 years under the tutelage of my grandfather Mervyn and his two sons, Robert and Merv Jr.
Izzie's sweet wife Ernestine died in 1944. Izzie became an excellent whist card player and probably spent the last 11 years of his life dreaming up new ideas.
The Braunhart family patriarch and matriarch Lewin Jacob Braunhart and Wilhelmine Zadek Braunhart had four children, Bernhard, Samuel, Sara and Alexander. Between these four - twenty one grandchildren were born, and 17 lived to adulthood.
What are some facts about the 17?
Their names, in order of birth date (from 1870 to 1902):
Every one of these 17 matters. Every one of these 17 deserves to be remembered.
Documenting their lives and their stories is why family history research is so important - in EVERY family. If we don't, who will?
I have never met any of my Braunhart ancestors. The only person older than my grandmother Celia Heyman Marks who I met, was Celia's father Isidor Heyman, who was married to a "Braunhart" - Ernestine Bernstein. Ernestine died in 1944, two years before I was born. She was the granddaughter of the Braunhart patriarch and matriarch Lewin Braunhart and Wilhelmine Zadek Braunhart. I was too young to make much sense of what Isidor had to say and I didn't see enough of him to develop much of a relationship.
All I know about these ancestors are the stories that have been told and the letters that are nearly a hundred years old that we have had translated.
I have posted often about my great great great uncle Samuel Braunhart, who was beyond feisty, and his convictions coupled with his "loud mouth" often got him in trouble. But he was an honorable man who cared for the "little people." If anyone happened to know both Sam and myself, it would be quite easy to make a connection between our two personalities. So I am quite drawn to his story and his exploits.
Yet, there is one more Braunhart (of many) that I would loved to have met - and that is Lilly Braunhart. Lilly was the daughter of Julius Braunhart and his wife Dorka Asch Braunhart. Julius has been identified as brilliant, but also a gambler who deserted his family. Dorka, Lilly, and Lilly's younger brother Lothar, escaped from Germany and were refugees in Shanghai. After ten years, they left Shanghai, then spent part of their time in New York City, but soon moved to San Francisco, the place of my birth. The unfortunate thing is that I was alive for over 20 years that Lilly and I were both in the San Francisco area. And we never met, since I didn't know anything about the Braunhart family.
Lilly was a very smart lady. She left New York City, because her relatives did not understand that she wanted to use her brain in any chosen vocation. I do not know if her brother Lothar and her mother Doris (as she was known) were already in San Francisco when Lilly moved there but they lived together until Lilly married her second husband.
Lilly was married twice - first to a journalist, Alexander Hoorin, who was in Shanghai with her, until Alexander was captured by the Japanese during World War II. Nothing is known about the circumstances of their divorce, but it appears that they were married less than five years. Lilly was also not married for very long to her second husband Jack Rains - it appears that it was less than three years.
Lilly was quite involved with the group of Shanghai survivors who met often. She was educated as a statistician, a rare occupation for a woman in the 1950s. She worked primarily for non-profit and charity organizations, such as the Jewish Relief organization and the United Bay Area Crusade (a precursor to the United Way). From a letter that Lilly wrote in 1984 about her career - "I was able to always make a good living in my field of statistical analysis. That is with the exception of the time after I arrived in New York, when several of my relatives pushed me into jobs which were underpaid. When I started out in San Francisco, my first salary was more than double of the one with which I ended up in New York. Aside from good money, these jobs I held (there were only two over a period of 23 years) offered prestige. Well, the time I lived in New York wasn't one I like to think about. Being an independent person, I hated to be told what to do, but some of the relatives never gave up to do just that."
Lilly was one of the few "Braunharts" that kept in touch with Theodor's widow Lucie Braunhart, who remained in Germany after the war and after her husband died in 1951. From a letter that Lilly wrote in 1983 - "As to Aunt Lucie, I am truly the only one who seems to care about her. Aunt Selma had been the other one. The rest of the family behaved badly and never showed any appreciation for the many sacrifices she made on behalf of the old father and all the Jewish relatives who stayed and later were killed in Germany. She was separated from her husband for 10 years, so that someone stayed behind to look after the old father. When he died, she could no longer leave Germany. This is quite a story and cannot be told in a letter."
She owned a home quite near the ocean near the Presidio and lived there until she passed in 1997. Lilly was a smart, independent woman, who lived her own life. Definitely a woman I would have loved to have known.
Max Bernstein, my great great uncle, had a number of mishaps in his life. Born in Schubin, Germany in 1873, he came to America in 1890 and settled in New York City. After his uncle Samuel Braunhart, the San Francisco politician, died shortly after being injured in the Great Earthquake and Fire, he moved, along with his mother Sara Braunhart Bernstein to California.
First of all, Max, who was one of the two executors of his Uncle Samuel's will, was so eager to take charge of his uncle's body, that he forgot to check if Sam was indeed....dead! The newspaper article below describes the embarrassing situation:
After settling in Oakland (actually in what today is Emeryville), Max bought a pool hall and ran it for several years. His first brush with trouble was in 1913, when he was arrested for allowing underage boys to partake in the entertainment found in early 1900s pool halls.
Although trained as a barber, Max hung in there with his pool hall until he decided to sell it in 1916. The new owners ended up not being too happy with the terms of the sale, as the wife of the new owner took matters into her own hands and attempted to murder Max.
This is where the surprise ending comes into this story. The woman, Ellen Stewart, shot at Max four times and wounded him. When the Police chased her, she then took a vial of poison in the street and dropped dead on the spot. Here's the article describing the traumatic events of the day - but keep reading. Wait until the husband finds out!
When the husband, Horatio Stewart found out about the goings on, he, with great deliberation and planning, took his own life the next day.
Max retired to his barbering, lived with his mother Sara until her death in 1930, and passed away suddenly in Lakeport, California in 1932. He never married. And so ends Max's saga.
On this Father's Day we remember our deceased Braunhart fathers. Some of us knew you and all of us wish we had met you.
Alexander Braunhart - Father of Moritz, Jakob, Anna, Martha, Theodor, Carl, Selma, Cecelia, Julius, Philipp, Frieda, Caesar, and one unknown
Harry Tulman (Husband of Anna Braunhart) - Father of Mildred, Muriel, Stanley, and Helene
Bernard Sternbach (Husband of Martha Braunhart) - Father of Leo, Harold, and Regina
Carl Braunhart - Father of Hanna and Heinz
Jacob Braunhart - Father of Erna, Margaret, and Herbert
Philipp Braunhart - Father of Horst, Gisela, and Bernhard
Salo Brunn - (Husband of Frieda Braunhart) - Father of Henry and Miriam
Max Markheim (Husband of Cecelia Bernstein) - Father of Arthur, Robert, Minnie, Pauline, Leo, and Edith
Isidor Heyman (Husband of Ernestine Bernstein) - Father of Celia, Martha, Arthur, Robert, Leo, and Mynette
Julius Braunhart - Father of Lilly and Lothar
Unfortunately we do not have photos of the following Braunhart fathers:
Bernhard Braunhart – Father of Harry
Aaron Bernstein (Husband of Sara Braunhart ) - Father of Amalie, Ernestine, Cecelia, Hattie, Max and 2 others unknown
William Fried (Husband of Hattie) - Father of Leo
William Brock (Husband of Amalie) - Father of Teresa, Regina, and Eric
On this Mother's Day we remember our deceased Braunhart mothers. Some of us knew you and all of us wish we had met you.
Sara Braunhart Bernstein - Mother of Amalie, Ernestine, Cecelia, Hattie, Max and 2 others unknown
Helene Baszynska Braunhart - Mother of Moritz, Jakob, Anna, Martha, Theodor, Carl, Selma, Cecelia, Julius, Philipp, Frieda, Caesar, and one unknown
Anna Braunhart Tulman - Mother of Mildred, Muriel, Stanley, and Helene
Martha Braunhart Sternbach - Mother of Leo, Harold, and Regina
Hedwig Bukofzer Braunhart (Wife of Carl) - Mother of Hanna and Heinz
Ilse Gass Hart (Wife of Jacob) - Mother of Erna, Margaret, and Herbert
Else Schmalenbach (Wife of Phillip) - Mother of Horst, Gisela, and Bernhard
Frieda Braunhart Brunn - Mother of Henry and Miriam
Cecelia Bernstein Markheim - Mother of Arthur, Robert, Minnie, Pauline, Leo, and Edith
Hedwig (Hattie) Bernstein Fried - Mother of Leo
Ernestine Bernstein Heyman - Mother of Celia, Martha, Arthur, Robert, Leo, and Mynette
Dorka Asch Braunhart (Wife of Julius) - Mother of Lothar and Lilly
Unfortunately we do not have photos of the following Braunhart mothers:
Rosa Levison Braunhart – Mother of Harry
Amalie Bernstein Brock - Mother of Teresa, Regina, and Eric
If you think you might be related, even remotely - email Kenneth R Marks firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't be shy!!!
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Letters from Germany Series
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