Monday, December 24, 2007

About my Lutsky family

My gg-grandparents were Solomon and Rebecca (nee Kantorowitz) Lutsky. They were 1st cousins who supposedly lived on neighboring farms in the region south of Kiev, Ukraine. They were both 14 years old when they married. I have pictures of them in their later years in Brooklyn. Rebecca with her round face reminds me of my grandmother. Solomon was thin with a long face. The family referred to them as Zaida and Bubbe. Even though I never knew them, I use these names too, mainly to distinguish one Solomon from another.

Their oldest son Nathan was the first to come to America. I haven't found his ship manifest yet but he would have arrived in Manhattan in late 1904 or early 1905. I didn't expect to find much information on Nathan since the family had told me that he "died young". They were surprised to find out he came to America. He went on to marry Annie Saffir and they had 4 children, 3 boys and a girl. Nathan was a furrier. The family started out in NY but lived in Hartford, CT for several years. They moved back to Brooklyn sometime after the 1920 census. This is where Nathan died in 1924 at the age of 40 due to complications following ulcer surgery. After Nathan's death, Annie opened a nail salon in Brooklyn. I haven't been able to track down any living relatives for this branch of the family. It would be nice if there is a living direct male descendant who would like to submit a Y-DNA sample to FamilyTreeDNA.

Solomon sailed from Southampton, England for NY in July, 1905. I'm not sure of his profession before coming to America. The ship manifests show him as a bookbinder and as a dyer. In America, he took in laundry to make a living. Solomon died in 1944 in his mid-70s. My uncle Lenny remembers that his mother didn't want him to miss school for the funeral. He was able to see the funeral procession from the school yard but his friends didn't believe that it was for his g-grandfather.

Second oldest son Louis (my g-grandfather) arrived in NY in September, 1905, at the age of about 19. According to his ship manifests he was a cap maker. In the US, first he took in laundry to earn a living and later worked in a garment factory. He and his 1st wife Lena had 2 children, Israel/Irving and Ida/Irene, my grandmother. 3 months after Lena died (suicide, 1912), he married again and had 3 more daughters. Louis outlived this wife too and married for a 3rd time. He died in 1947 at the age of about 61. I can't mention Louis' name without some saying he was a bastard for locking my grandmother in a closet to punish her. I don't know the circumstances behind her needing to be punished but it was a different time. If a child needed a time-out and they lived in a small apartment with 5 other people, I don't see any harm in 15-30 minutes in the closet. Hours in the closet is a whole other story.

Rebecca came to the US in December 1906 with the other 5 children, Bertha, Yetta, Olga, Israel, and Jack. Her mother Rachel Kantorowitz, a widow, sailed with them. Rebecca died in 1941. My uncle Lenny remembers a sad Passover Seder in 1941 when Rebecca was too ill to come to the Seder table and everyone was crying during the meal because she was close to death.

Bertha went on to marry Barnett Berland. They had 1 daughter and 3 sons. Other surnames in this branch of the family tree are Kramer, Zimmerman, Wayne, and Love.

Yetta married Jack Rotheim. They had 1 son and 2 daughters. Other surnames in this branch of the family tree are Tucker and Ceperano.

Olga married in her late 20s (that's old for this generation) but she married well, a pharmacist named Boris Haykin. They had 2 daughters and a son. Other surnames in this branch of the family tree are Weiss and Charney.

Next comes Uncle Israel. Everyone calls him this whether he's their uncle or not. Officially, he is C. Israel Lutsky. The "C" stands for cantor. He was a child cantor. From the 1930s to the 1960s he had his own show on Yiddish radio called The Jewish Philosopher. For more information, see I've heard a lot of stories about Uncle Israel. He doted on and spoiled his little niece Linda but was strict with the nephews. He married 3 times but had no children. Supposedly he had a professional family lineage report done ( I assume in the 1950s or so) that traced the Lutsky family line to Minsk, Belarus. No one knows what happened to the report. Under Soviet rule, I find it unlikely that this researcher he hired was able to trace on actual ancestors. It's more likely that the report traced the origin of the name only. He was the unofficial head of the family after Zaide Solomon died. As of the about 1870, my Lutsky ancestors are in central Ukraine with no hint of having come from Minsk.

The youngest child was Jack. He was my grandmother's uncle but only 7 years older than her and they were very close. For quite a while when my dad was a little boy, Jack and his wife Beattie lived with them. Jack and Beattie didn't have any children so they doted on my dad and his siblings. Jack was known as "3-finger Jack" but no one seems to know the story about his missing fingers. After Beattie died in 1968, Jack married again but died a few years later.

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