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How did this place escape me until now?

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I’d never even heard of the Cold Spring Tavern until a friend mentioned it a few weeks ago as without a doubt the best barbeque he’d ever eaten. He described to me where it was—in San Marcos Pass, which is in the mountains just east of Santa Barbara—and that it has been continuously in business for more than a century and a half.

In Italy or Greece, that wouldn’t be such a big deal. But in California, where things seem to get the “historic” designation if they were around since the 1950s, that was saying something.

IMG_2039 copy I couldn’t understand how I’d never heard of the place. I went to school in Santa Barbara. Although that was a long time ago, it was well within the arc of the tavern’s history. I’ve been over San Marcos Pass a few times in my life. Make that a few hundred times. Never even heard a rumor about the place.

It was easy enough to find on the web. I punched it into the GPS, and a couple hours later, I was parking the car by the stream on a road off a road off of San Marcos Pass. The creek, I guessed, was Cold Spring. And I hadn’t seen a single sign along the way for the place.

The restaurant itself was rustic. I’m not talking southern California faux rustic. I’m talking real wood construction from the century before the last one, with a real stone fireplace that consumed a whole wall.

I ordered the tri-tip sandwich. Tri-tip is a big deal in central California. It’s a cut of beef that for some reason you see only on the central coast. It’s sometimes called Santa Maria barbeque. Although it’s served a number of ways, I like it on a sandwich.

IMG_2041My friend was right. The slices were about an eighth of an inch thick, the baguette was crisp on the outside and lightly toasted on the inside. It came with three sauces—a homemade barbeque sauce, which was pleasantly tangy; a salsa, that had a hint of spice and a lot of fresh tomato; and an apple horseradish sauce, that to my taste had more horseradish than apple but was still very good.

Although I’ve worked at it for several years, I’m not very good at tri-tip at home… and I can’t figure out why. I’ve used oak, which is plentiful on the central coast. I’ve seared it on all sides and then moved it to the cooler side of the grill. Whatever I’ve tried, the tri-tip has been tough.

I asked my server how they do it at the Cold Spring Tavern. She said the meat is cooked on an oak fire to medium-rare, then placed in a steamer over beer and onions to be kept warm until it’s sliced and served.

Hmmm. Maybe it’s the beer I’ve been missing!

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Where does this piece of the puzzle fit?

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strauber screen grabI stumbled on this little item today in an online database of Jewish vital statistics and government documents from the Galicia area of Austria-Hungary. It may be an enormous breakthrough in our genealogical research… or it may be nothing at all. (Interesting range of possibilities, don’t you think?)

So here’s why it might be significant. Abraham Strober, best known to his descendants like me as Abraham Aaron Strober, is what we call the “common progenitor.” He is the guy all the rest of the 1,400 or so names on the family tree stem from. Maybe that’s just a tad overly broad. There are several branches of the family that may descend from Abraham Aaron’s brothers, or possibly cousins. But however you dice it, Abraham Aaron is the guy at the top of our chart. He’s the oldest known ancestor.

We think, based upon information that amounts to less-than-scant evidence, that Abraham Aaron was born between 1797 and 1808. We know he had at least one son, Yoinus Folic, who is my great-great-grandfather. We think he may have had other sons. But we had never heard before this mention that he had a daughter.

The strongest part of this item is that it mentions someone by the name of Abraham Strober (or, in an alternate spelling still in use by a broad segment of his descendants, Strauber).

The weakest parts of this item are many:

It says Jute died in a hospital in Lviv, which was the biggest city in that part of the world (sometimes known by its name in German, Lemberg). Abraham Aaron lived in a tiny shtetl called Jazlowiec about thirty miles to the southeast. That doesn’t seem far to us today, but it would have been a long ride on horseback or by wagon. It says she was two and a half years old. Had he taken her to Lviv for medical treatment that he couldn’t get elsewhere? Did he live during that time in Lviv? There’s no way to know. And if this is our Abraham Strober, how far off are the ages. It’s doubtful (if we assume he was born in 1797) that he had a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter when he was 14 years old. So which date is in error? And what does it do to the rest of our family tree to make his birthdate earlier.

Clearly, from the information here, we can’t know the answers to any of these questions. But perhaps this document can lead us in the direction of other documents that will help us piece this puzzle together.

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The broader Strauber family*

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One of the unexpected surprises of Dale Leshaw’s photo collection was that it included pictures of quite a few descendants of Israel “Sruel” Strauber and Milke (Weisler) Strauber than we’d previously seen. Remember that the Strauber-Strober-Struber family is massive. It really does take a scorecard! My great-grandmother Surah Henya (Strober) Schkolnik (1851-1928) was the only daughter of Yoinas Folic Strober and, we believe, was the second-born of her family. Israel “Sruel” Strauber (1867-1940) was the fifth born, the baby of the family.

Sruel, as he was known to the family (a common Yiddish nickname for the given name Israel), and Milke had eight children. Annette (Dale Leshaw’s grandmother) was the second oldest.

Here’s Sruel’s branch of the family tree.

ISRAEL_(SRUEL)_STRAUBER_descendants

Click to enlarge the graphic

So if we count the descendants of Sruel and Milke, we’re talking about a lot of people. Notice that a good many of the lines stop short of the current generation. That indicates we haven’t (yet) been in touch with people in those direct lines to fill them in for us. Basically, there may be two or three times the number of descendants, but we just don’t know about them.

Among the amazing pictures from Dale’s collection is this one.

Lenore Strauber, left, with her father, Jerry Strauber, at an unknown time (possibly sometime around 1950) in an unknown location.

Lenore Strauber, left, with her father, Jerry Strauber, at an unknown time (possibly sometime around 1950) in an unknown location.

Gary had told me that his mother had corresponded with her cousin Lenore, who was known by a different name. She was Sister Grace, a nun somewhere on the eastern seaboard. I spent a little time playing with search engines and came up with this article. She is indeed a nun named Sister Grace Frances Strauber, SFP. And a nurse. And the former CEO of a major Catholic hospital in Hoboken, NJ.  The article explains that her father was Jewish and her mother Episcopalian, and that after a brief childhood illness and care in a Catholic hospital, she converted. This was the first picture I’d seen of Lenore/Sister Grace. There are some from 2011 at the link.

Wedding photo of Sharon and Gilbert Strauber, unknown time and place.

Wedding photo of Sharon and Gilbert Strauber, unknown time and place.

Gilbert Strauber is a son of Lenore “Lee” and Michael “Mitch” Strauber, and thus a nephew of Dale’s grandmother Annette, and Dale’s mother’s first cousin. We have been in touch with his son Warren, but somehow never filled in some of the vital statistics about his parents. But now we have a wonderful photo of them to prompt us into collecting the vitals.

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Joan Strauber and Eric Corringham at their wedding, unknown date and place.

Joan Strauber was the daughter of Henry E. and Mildred Strauber. Henry was another of Annette Strauber’s younger brothers. He became a county commissioner in Pasco County, FL and died in office in the 1970s. There’s now a street named after him on Florida’s Gulf Coast, which I wrote about last year.

Among the photos were a number of Strauber cousins playing together when they were small children.

Edmund Strauber and Pearl Schekman, 1933

Edmund Strauber and Pearl Schekman, 1933

Pearl Schekman is the second daughter of Annette (Strauber) and Saul Schekman. She was born in 1932, so it’s entirely this is not her but her older sister Ruth. Edmund Strauber is the older son of Lenore “Lee” and Michael “Mitch” Strauber.

Edmund Strauber, Ruth Schekman, and Wallace Dunchelman in about 1940.

Edmund Strauber, Ruth Schekman, and Wallace Dunckelman in about 1940.

Another picture of Strauber first-cousins at play. This is from about 1940, we think, and shows Edmund Strauber, the second son of Lenore “Lee” and Michael “Mitch” Strauber, Ruth Schekman, the first daughter of Annette (Strauber) and Saul Schekman, and Wallace Dunckelman, the younger son of Sylvia “Kitty” (Strauber) and Carl Dunckelman.

We have not been in contact with any members of the Corringham or Dunckelman branches of the family, and thus have no anecdotal information about succeeding generations.

The Noble family. From left to right, Maurice Noble, Ellen Noble, Pearl (Schekman) Noble, Andy Noble, and Michael Noble, probably in the mid-60s.

The Noble family. From left to right, Maurice Noble, Ellen Noble, Pearl (Schekman) Noble, Andy Noble, and Michael Noble, probably in the mid-60s.

Pearl (Schekman) Noble is the second daughter of Annette (Strauber) and Saul Schekman. She married Maurice Noble and had three children, Ellen, Andy, and Michael Noble.

First cousins Wallace "Wally" Dunckelman and Ruth Schekman in 1933 on Long Island.

First cousins Wallace “Wally” Dunckelman and Ruth Schekman in 1933 on Long Island.

SIBLINGS AND SPOUSES -- From left to right, unknown woman, unknown woman, Michael "Mitch" Strauber, Lenore "Lee" Strauber, Lay Leshaw, Ruth (Schekman) Leshaw.

STRAUBER SIBLINGS AND SPOUSES — From left to right, unknown woman, unknown woman, Michael “Mitch” Strauber, Lenore “Lee” Strauber, Saul Sheckman, Annette (Strauber) Schekman in Miami, FL on November 22, 1967.

Sean and Lesley Stout, grandchildren of Sylvia "Kitty" (Strauber) Dunckelman, probably in the mid-60s.

Sean and Leslie Stout, grandchildren of Sylvia “Kitty” (Strauber) Dunckelman, probably in the early 1970s.

Sean Stout and Leslie Stout with their grandmother, Sylvia "Kitty" (Strauber) Dunckelman in unknown location in October 1969.

Sean Stout and Leslie Stout with their grandmother, Sylvia “Kitty” (Strauber) Dunckelman in unknown location in October 1969.

* – IDs in the seventh photo have been changed. (5/31/2015 – 5:10p PT)

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My lunch with Dale Leshaw*

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I had lunch a few months back with Dale Leshaw, a distant cousin of mine who also happens to live in the Los Angeles area. My great-grandmother Surah Henya (Schkolnik) Strober was the sister of Dale’s great-grandfather, Israel (Sruel) Strauber. Put another way, Dale and I share a great-great grandfather, Yoinaton Folic Strauber. Put still another way, Dale and I are third cousins. Put in the simplest way, we’re really distant cousins who didn’t know the other existed until this genealogy stuff came up several years ago.

In the days after our lunch, Dale scanned a number of family photos from his collection and shared them with me so I could post them here.

Israel (Sruel) and Milke (Weisler) Strober on rooftop, presumably in Brooklyn, NY, in 1927.

Israel (Sruel) and Milke (Weisler) Strober on rooftop, presumably in Brooklyn, NY, in 1927.

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Annette Strauber, probably in 1916, when she would have been about 18 years old. Location unknown.

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Sylvia “Kitty” Strauber with her niece Ruth Schekman, daughter of Kitty’s sister Annette, in 1926. Location unknown.

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Left to right: Saul Schekman, Ruth Schekman, Pearl Schekman, Annette (Strauber) Schekman, in Atlantic City, NJ, in 1936.

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The Schekmans at Roton Point (presumably CT) in 1928. The Schekmans seated on running board of car, left to right: unknown person, Saul Schekman, Ruth Schekman, Annette (Strauber) Schekman. Others in photo unidentified.

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Annette Strauber on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY in 1924.

* – ID’s on the fourth and fifth photos have been changed to correct errors. (9:10pm PT)

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The curious case of Clara (Skolnick) Rosenblum’s U.S. citizenship

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0121

Clara (Skolnick) Rosenblum, with husband Jacob Rosenblum, in the “old country,” probably Buchach, Galicia, Austria-Hungary, sometime around 1912. (Collection of Jim Ostroff)

Sometimes documents create questions rather than answer them. That’s the case with this set of papers from 1943-44. They concern the naturalization of my great-aunt, Tante Clara (Skolnick) Rosenblum.

Here’s what’s so curious: her application for U.S. citizenship came 29 years after she arrived in New York aboard the SS George Washington.

Why the delay?

Clara was the youngest child of Chaim Shulem Schkolnik and Surah Henya (Strober) Schkolnik. That makes her my grandfather’s younger sister. But the connectedness gets a little more complicated. Through her marriage to Jacob Rosenblum, she was a  sister-in-law to Bobscha (Tepper) Rosenblum. She became close friends with one of Bobscha’s younger sisters, Esther Tepper—such close friends, in fact, that she introduced Esther to Clara’s brother Paul. Esther and Paul married. That made Clara and Esther sisters-in-law through my grandfather Paul and sisters-in-law through Esther’s sister Bobscha. And besides that double connection, Clara and Esther remained best friends for the rest of their lives.

Because of their closeness, it’s not at all surprising that Clara and Esther would be witnesses at each other’s naturalization. Who better to vouch for you than your best friend/sister-in-law?

My best guess about why it took almost three decades after Clara arrived at Ellis Island to become a citizen is that there really wasn’t a reason to… until her husband died in 1943. And while the application of Social Security laws in the mid-40s is a complete mystery to me, I’m guessing that the naturalization was necessary for Clara to collect her husband Jacob’s benefits after his death.

It’s the only thing that makes any sense.

Jacob Rosenblum, Clara’s husband, died in August 1943. It’s the only event I can think of that could have prompted the rush toward naturalization. A month later, Clara obtained documentation that she had arrived in the United States on April 14, 1913 aboard the SS George Washington sailing from Bremen, Germany.

rosenblum klara cert of arrival 19430928The Certificate of Arrival, issued under the European spelling of her name, would have been a necessary document for naturalization. It showed that she had been in the country as a permanent resident for the requisite time to be naturalized.

But if collecting her late husband’s benefits was the goal, why wait a month? I suspect Clara didn’t. I think the gap was the result of how long things took in those days, especially in the middle of World War II. Getting the Certificate of Arrival would have taken time for the request to be transmitted to immigration authorities, for a search of the ship’s manifest and the immigration documents, which had to have taken time to retrieve, and for the the certificate itself to be prepared, signed and delivered to her.

rosenblum clara natural pet 19430000

(Click to enlarge)

The Petition for Naturalization is not dated, but my guess is that it came hard on the heels of the Certificate of Arrival being issued. And with the Petition is the Affidavit of Witnesses.

rosenblum clara affidavit of witnesses

The Affidavit of Witnesses is dated November 10, 1943. Virginia Altman, the first witness, was Clara’s oldest daughter. Esther Skolnick, the second witness, is my grandmother and Clara’s best friend/sister-in-law.

rosenblum clara nat card 19440202Even with the great push to get it done, it took three more months before the Naturalization was finalized. That happened on February 2, 1944.

All of these documents were retrieved a few years ago by researcher extraordinaire and cousin Kristie Weiland Cohen, when she went digging through uncatalogued paperwork in a storeroom archive in a government basement in Manhattan. It’s four pretty simple pieces of paper that no one in the family had ever seen before. But those four pieces of paper tell a remarkable story of a new widow trying to work her way through the bureaucracy to find a way to support her family.

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Four years ago today

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grab_skewedYup, it’s been four years since I launched this blog. Just about this time of day on Halloween 2010, I finished four weeks of programming, uploading and coding—things which were then foreign to me—and thought that it worked. Well, it mostly all worked. The truth is, some of it worked. But throwing caution to the wind, I pulled down the construction page and let the world in.

The first post, in which I set some lofty goals, is still here. I’ve achieved some of the goals. Others I’m keeping up with. And then there are those that are still on the to-do list.

Gauging the subjects I’ve written about from the cloud in the right sidebar, the most common one is Rebecca. She’s tagged in 17 posts. And that is as it should be. My daughter is close to my heart. And to be completely candid, she drives the traffic. There are a few visitors when I post something here, and hundreds of visitors when I post something about Rebecca.

Since the construction page came down, there have been 31,362 pageviews, which averages out to more than 650 per month, or just over 20 a day. Inasmuch as I tend to post in bursts—from a height of 12 in November 2010 to lows in many months where I didn’t post at all—I’m fine with the averages. Another stat from Google Analytics: there have been 9,190 users, which is Google’s word for unique visitors. That works out to 6.38 per day. That sounds low, until you consider that if I met more than 6 new people a day in person, it would be beyond belief. Nearly 200 new and different people each month have read my musings, sloshed through some of the genealogy archives that are posted here, looked at my photos, or otherwise engaged with what’s here.

I’m not going anywhere, and neither is the site. I re-upped the subscription with the service provider and plan to stick around for a long, long time. I hope you’ve enjoyed the site—and that you’ll continue to enjoy it.

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A walk in the park

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I got a chance Sunday to snap a few pictures. My pal Bryan Frank had asked if I wanted to shoot this weekend. He proposed a late-night excursion to Hollywood. I declined on the grounds that I’m a lot older than Bryan and less interested in wandering those mean streets til the wee hours. I countered with a visit to Recreation Park in El Segundo. I won, primarily because it seemed so low-impact, even to a dynamo like Bryan.

DSC_0076I’ve written quite a bit about El Segundo. Forget for a moment (as everybody who lives there seems to) that it is surrounded by a sewage treatment plant, an international airport, an oil refinery, and a freeway. When you’re in El Segundo, you’re essentially in a small town in the middle of one of the world’s biggest urban areas. I was hoping to see what photographic vestiges we’d find of that small-town life on a warm weekend afternoon at the end of summer.

DSC_0051I guess you can’t go wrong with lacrosse, especially since the best vantage point of the game was about ten paces from where I’d snapped the water tower. Some might call it laziness. I prefer to call it economy of motion.

DSC_0080About ten more paces down the trial was a pick-up basketball game. Two on one. These guys had a whole lot more energy than I did that afternoon. And they seemed to be having fun.

DSC_0146We switched into street-photography mode when we saw this little guy with his mom. They were headed for the sandbox. The mom kept trying to carry the kid’s sand toys, but the kid was having none of it. He insisted on carrying the bucket himself.

DSC_0176But these were without a doubt the busiest guys we saw at the park. They were working away like there was no tomorrow.

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The power of pictures

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For David Schendlinger, a great-grandson of Nellie (Becker) Struber, here are the other photos I have of her in the database.

The Strubers, handwritten note on the photo indicates it was taken in Oct. 1891.  L to R: Mendel "Max" Struber, his sons Bill Struber, Sam Struber, his wife Nellie (Becker) Struber, his son Jack Struber, his daughter Annie Struber, and his brother Sruel "Israel" Strauber. (Collection of Victor R. Struber)

The Strubers, handwritten note on the photo indicates it was taken in Oct. 1891. L to R: Mendel “Max” Struber, his sons Bill Struber, Sam Struber, his wife Nellie (Becker) Struber, his son Jack Struber, his daughter Annie Struber, and his brother Sruel “Israel” Strauber. (Collection of Victor R. Struber)

Nellie (Becker) Struber, note on back indicates photo taken in 1912, unknown place. (Collection of Victor R. Struber)

Nellie (Becker) Struber, note on back indicates photo taken in 1912, unknown place. (Collection of Victor R. Struber)

And that’s why these photos are so valuable. Each of us holds a piece of the family history. It could be that others in disparate branches of the family tree have never seen a particular piece. So let’s share them here.

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Ask and ye shall receive

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I’d hardly hit the publish button on yesterday’s post about building a comprehensive photographic database of my genealogy project when Vic Struber emailed a photo I’d never before seen.

The Struber family at the beach, probably sometime in 1914, probably at Brighton Beach or Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. (Collection of Victor R. Struber)

The Struber family at the beach, probably sometime in 1914, probably at Brighton Beach or Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. (Collection of Victor R. Struber)

From left to right, the people in the picture are: (unidentified woman in bow hat, Michael “Mike” Struber, Mike’s sister Libbie Struber holding her niece Frieda Schendlinger, Annie (Struber) Schedlinger (sister of Libbie and Mike and mother of Frieda), and Nellie (Becker) Struber (mother of Mike, Libbie, and Annie; grandmother of Frieda).

This is exactly the kind of picture that tells us much about the lives of our ancestors. It’s not a dramatic moment in a family, and yet it gives us a window into what people’s lives were like. Their smiles speak volumes. The setting—a day at the beach—speaks volumes. Everyone, with the possible exception of Mike, who appears to have on a tank top that was standard beach-wear in those days, is in street clothes (which may well have been standard beach-wear for women in those days).

The database is growing, and with it our understanding of how our ancestors lived.

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The photographic record

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photo_mosaicFor as long as I’ve been keeping track of genealogy, I’ve been building a database of family photos. The idea was that the genealogy factoids would become the text, and the photos would be the pictures of this centuries-long family saga.

I have done okay. Several family members have taken me up on my offer to pay the freight on any pictures they cared to send me. Some sent hundreds of pictures that took weeks for me to scan.

The goal was to have a repository of family photos that we could display online. That way, everyone in the family would have equal access to the family history. It could be an online scrapbook that everyone can share.

Now, with more than a thousand images in the database, I’m set to begin the work of getting the whole thing online. It won’t be immediate because of how much technical effort is involved.

Step 1 is to migrate the photo database—the list of each image that includes a description of the picture, who contributed it, when it was taken, who is in it—to the photos themselves. It seems a whole lot more sensible to store all of the information in one file than to have it spread across multiple files with some tricky proprietary formats. This process requires some tricky computer scripting that is at the moment a little beyond my skillset, but I’ve learned that if I don’t push, I don’t make progress.

Step 2 is to find an online utility capable of reading the embedded information directly from the photo files and displaying it online. That may be a lot easier than Step 1, but it’s still not without complexities.

So the whole thing is underway. I’m hoping to have something for you to look at soon.

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