The parcel landed with a thud, all 2 pounds 3.4 ounces of it. I hadn’t been expecting a package, so out of a habit developed more than a decade ago, when it was a good idea to look for a sender’s name, I checked for a return address. It was from Vic Struber.
I know Vic Struber. He’s a cousin. He is one of the pioneers of researching the Strauber/Strober/Struber line of my family, that huge intertwined tree that now includes more than 1,500 names. I attach to that tree through my great-grandmother, Surah Henya (Schkolnik) Strober, who was the sister of Vic’s grandfather, Mendel “Max” Struber.
That makes Vic and me second cousins, once removed. And that, I figured, is hardly enough reason to spend $15 postage sending something.
The “mystery file” that Vic Struber sent.
Vic started working on genealogy in the 1970s. He was trained as an engineer and worked in the field for decades, which means he notates items with terse comments, the relevance of which are immediately obvious. He also does it legibly.
Inside the package, a bundle of correspondence and documents relating (primarily) to the Strauber branch of the family.
A quick word of clarification: there was one family that lived in a couple of villages in what is now the western part of Ukraine. Their name, probably adopted by edict of the Emperor Franz Josef of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 18th Century, was Strober. But in the alphabet soup of history, as different countries took over the area my ancestors came from and those countries had different languages and, in the case of Ukrainians and Russians, whole different alphabets, the spelling of the family name developed variants.
They probably would have pronounced the name SHTRAW’-burr, and today, it is variously spelled Strauber, Strober, and Struber. In records at Yad Vashem in Israel, the surname of family members lost in the Holocaust is frequently spelled Sztrauber. And that doesn’t even bring into consideration what they did to the name at Ellis Island!
The treasure trove of correspondence, documents, and notes that Vic Struber developed over decades of genealogical research.
But what to do with all of this information? Vic invited me to toss it, but I knew it had taken hard work to accumulate it and it was of great value in understanding this group of people from whom I (and Vic) descend. I could have placed it into one of the milk crates I use for filing papers. But it struck me that the best use of these documents was to share with other family members, so they could learn, as Vic had and as I have, exactly who the family members are.
Susan Strober’s letter to Vic Struber, undated, conveying a few family documents.
I had to do a little research, but Vic’s notation that Susan Strober was somehow related to George Strober makes me think she is a great-granddaughter of Chaim Groinem Strober (person #50 on our family tree), a granddaughter of Morris Strober (person #395), and a daughter of George Strober (person #401). Interestingly, Susan Strober does not appear on the family tree. She’s one of the many generations we have yet to file in.
Stapled to Susan’s letter were three New York City death certificates, reproduced below. They are for her great-grandfather, Chaim Groinem Strober, her great-grandmother Taube (Held) Strober, and her grandfather, Morris Strober.
Death certificate of Chaim Groinem Strober, identified as Hyman Strober.
Death certificate of Taube (Held) Strober.
Death certificate of Morris Strober.
When I emailed Vic to thank him for keeping the file alive, he told me he has two more headed for me. So look at this as the beginning of an online repository of Strauber-Strober-Struber family documents.