Sunday, June 10, 2018

Finding Liba/Elizabeth/Lizzy (A Bit More Than Before)

My great-great-great grandmother Mira Halperin Lefand Marienhoff was married twice and had at least eleven children (in addition to a number of stepchildren).  Five years ago, I did a series of posts about most of those children and what I knew about them at that point.  I'd managed to trace descendants of all of Mira's children who came to America--with the exception of one.  I simply could not find any trace of Liba Marienhoff (who became Elizabeth in America) after the 1910 census, when she was living in Pittsburgh.  You can click here to see what I knew at that point (and until about a week ago).

But now I've found her--and how I did this highlights how spelling of names, especially among immigrants, was simply not important to them.  So try as many possibilities as possible to try to find your family.  Sometimes it's the key to solving a long-time mystery. 
The "Levants" and Tolchinskys in the 1910 Census, Pittsburgh, PA

In 1910, Elizabeth was 18 years old and was enumerated along with her mother (Mary) and siblings (Harry, David and Emma).  Although Mira's first husband was Yehoshua Zev Lefand and all of the children living with her in 1910 were children with her second husband (Yitzchok Marienhoff), the whole group is enumerated as the "Levant" family.

[Also living in the house were Hillel and Isadore Tolchinsky; Hillel was Elizabeth's half brother-in-law and Isadore her half nephew (husband and son of Elizabeth's half sister, Pesha-Riva).  They were also my great-great grandfather and great grandfather.]
Thanks, Facebook, for reminding me that I was asking about Elizabeth five years ago today.

As I blogged back in 2013, I had assumed that Elizabeth disappeared before the 1920 census because she had gotten married at some point between 1910 and 1920.  I've been looking for her for years (and in fact, Facebook reminded me this morning that I asked about her exactly five years ago today--see above).  But I couldn't find any evidence of that--until very recently.

When Mira's oldest child Leib/Louis naturalized, he used the spelling "Lyffand" for his surname; later in his life, he used "Leiffand."  I have used both spellings in searches, and just over a week ago I found the following:
Pittsburgh Daily Post; July 28, 1912
Although she was born a Marienhoff (which is also the name of her father on her death certificate), Elizabeth's sister Emma/Nechama received her marriage license under the surname Lyffand.  But unfortunately I couldn't find anything about Elizabeth using this spelling.

I mulled this over--if the family went by Levant in 1910, and Emma married under Lyffand in 1912, perhaps I should search under Lyffant.  And I found Elizabeth.
Pittsburgh Daily Post; January 15, 1915
Lizzie Lyffant applied for a marriage license with Frank Trochtenberg in January 1915.  I was then able to use the Trochtenberg name to find them in the 1920 census.
1920 United States Census, Scottdale Borough, Pennsylvania
In January 1920, Frank and Lizzie Trachtenberg were living in Scottdale Borough, Pennsylvania, just southeast of Pittsburgh.  Their two children were Margery (aged 3 years, 4 months) and Edward (aged 1 year, 8 months).  Margery was likely named for Mira, who had died in 1913.

But then the trail goes cold again.  I've tried finding them using just first names, wildcards and more.  (There is an Edward Trachtenberg in Philadelphia, but he was born in 1920, after this census was taken.)  The family seems to have vanished into thin air.  I'd welcome any help finding them later than 1920!  Anyone?

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Could Frank have died and Lizzie remarried with her and the children all listed under the name of the new husband/stepfather?

  2. Gave it a try on FamilySearch and, but nothing yet....