Monday, June 11, 2018

Finding Liba/Elizabeth/Lizzy--Found!

Yesterday, I wrote about how I'd finally found a post-1910 mention of my great-great grandmother's half sister.  This sister emigrated to America as Liba, was enumerated in the 1910 census as Elizabeth and then was married and was enumerated in 1920 as Lizzy.  In 1920, she was married to Frank Trachtenberg, and they had two children: Margery and Edward.  And then I couldn't find them again.

I'd searched for the family using wildcards in the surname to try to find them if Trachtenberg had been horribly mis-transcribed.  I tried just searching for them as a family group without a surname as well--but I found no family with a Frank, Elizabeth/Lizzy, Margery/Marjorie and Edward/Eddie/Ted.

I'd asked for readers to help.  And Kira Dolcimascolo came through.  She pointed out that Frank and Elizabeth's grandson had posted on an Ancestry message board back in 2008.

The family had changed its surname from Trachtenberg to Berg!  But why couldn't I find them as a family unit in the 1930 census?  Well, here's why:
Marjorie & Edward Berg, 1930 Census, Pittsburgh

Marjorie and Edward Berg were "inmates" in Pittsburgh's J.M. Gusky Hebrew Orphanage & Home in the 1930 census.  At the same time, Frank was living as a boarder with a family and said he was divorced.

And where was Elizabeth in 1930?  Well, she was enumerated in the Somerset County Home and Hospital for the Insane (later the Somerset State Hospital).  She was living there in 1940 as well--and it was even her place of residence when she died in 1965.
Elizabeth Berg's Death Certificate

I have (in addition to several other documents) the obituary for Edward's widow which lists three children and a bunch of grandchildren.  Now I'll just need to get in touch with them and see if there is more to this story.  And if someone wants to take a DNA test. :)

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

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  1. How sad, but I am glad you found the answer. Always better to know.

  2. Lara, Though you're very breezy in your description of what you have found and your next move, the tale you are telling is already terribly, terribly sad. You might appreciate this blog entry by my friend Julie Mangin, who is also researching her genealogy – which is French-Canadian in her case.

  3. There seems to have been continuity of some sort with his family as there are a dozen Tractenbergs in Beth Abraham, where found rest.

  4. Wow just wow and yes DNA testing is next. So happy for you and your new probable cousins.