Sunday, December 10, 2023

A Diamond Cousin? Searching by Address, Steve Morse, and More.

Diamant/Diamond is a very common name.  Most Diamonds (and variants) are not related to me, as many distinct families took the same surname.  But I’m always on the hunt for Diamonds who are related.

Schloma Diment Manifest; June 5, 1911

Results from's Gold Form

Recently I did a search using Steve Morse’s Gold Form to look at Diamants (and variants) that arrived in Ellis Island, and I sorted the results by town.  One of the results looked intriguing.

Schloma Diment was from "Torezin, Russia."  Torchin (and various spellings) is a larger town near the villages where my Dimant family lived.  While that didn’t definitely mean that Schloma is a relative, it was worth investigating further. 

Schloma Diment Manifest; June 5, 1911--Who's He Joining in America?

Schloma’s manifest lists him as a 26-year-old single joiner.  He left behind Josip Diment (unfortunately no relationship given) in Torezin, and he was joining a brother-in-law at 36 Graham Avenue in Brooklyn.  So I started to investigate the brother-in-law.  It looked like his name was Moische Schwar, so I started looking for Max and Morris Schwar and Schwartz in Brooklyn.  But I didn’t find them.  Since Schloma was coming to join Moische in 1911, I decided to look at who was living at 36 Graham Avenue in the 1910 census.  I used Steve Morse’s tools to determine the enumeration district, and I quickly found 36 Graham Street—and I gasped out loud.

Residents of 36 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn.  1910 US Census

I’d seen this precise census page before, and I even blogged about it here.  Samuel Halper was the relative that my grandfather’s Uncle Leibish was joining when he had emigrated to America 6 years earlier; I still haven’t figured out precisely how we are related.  But here is a Diment from the same geographic vicinity going to a relative at the same address.  But that (Schwar?) relative wasn’t living at 36 Graham (yet) in 1910.  So who is he?

Since New York State had a census in 1915, I wanted to see who was living at 36 Graham Street at that point in time.  Ancestry hasn’t indexed street names for the 1915 census, and I was having issues connecting to Steve Morse’s site then (now fixed, and I could have also used his site to find the entry I wanted).  So I looked at other families living in/near 36 Graham Avenue and searched for them in the 1915 NYS Census, hoping they hadn’t moved during that 5-year gap.  I chose to look for Louis and Ray Saltzman, who were the entry right before the Halper family in 1910.  And there they were in 1915—in the same location!  And a few entries above the Saltzmans in 1915 was 36 Graham Street, inhabited by a family headed by Milton Gewertz!  Moische became Milton, and what I thought said Schwar on the manifest actually said Gehwar.

Residents of 36 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn; 1915 New York State Census

Okay, so Moische/Milton was supposedly Schloma’s brother-in-law (Milton's grave confirms his Hebrew name was Moshe).  Perhaps if I trace Milton's family (and his wife Sarah’s) I can discover the connection.

After some trial and error (thanks to some very creative spellings of names), I found the marriage certificate for (all spellings as on the certificate) Moris Gewertz and Serra Salowoon (Social Security records for their children have Sarah’s maiden name as Salovin).  So it seems this is Milton and Sarah.

Marriage of Moris Gewertz and Serra Salowoon; Brooklyn; 1907

Both Morris/Milton/Moische and Sarah had immigrated as children with their families, and I was able to find the Gewertz and Salawin (sic) families in the 1900 and 1905 censuses.  Sarah’s brother Morris’s WWII Draft Registration Card says that he is from Bialystok, Poland, so likely the relationship wasn't from time together in Europe.  But take a look at Sarah's brother's Morris’ Brooklyn marriage certificate:

Marriage of Morris Salovin (brother of Sarah Salovin Gewertz) and Lillie Diamond; Brooklyn; 1911

That got me excited.  Except that Lillian Diamond Salovin consistently states that she’s from Austria in this record as well as subsequent censuses—unlike Schloma Diment, who was from Russia.  So this may just be a function of how I started this blog—“Diamant/Diamond is a very common name.”

Milton’s father, Namon Gewertz naturalized in 1890, and on that paperwork he said that he was from the very-generic “Kiev, Russia.”  My family was from nowhere near Kyiv, but Kiev was also often used as a generic place for Jews who lived in parts of the Russian Empire now in Ukraine.  But then I discovered a page on JewishGen that mentioned that Namon was very involved in Brooklyn’s First Pogrebisht Benevolent Society—and in fact, JewishGen has many Gewertzes listed records from the society’s associated town of Pohrebyshche—which is more than 200 miles from where my Diamants lived.  So there's likely no European connection between the Gewertz family and my Diamond family.

So it seems that any brother-in-law relationship had to have happened in the US, given the geographic distance that Torchin was from either of the Salovin/Gewertz families' origins.  But besides Morris and Lillie, I can't find another Gewertz or Salovin sibling who married a Diamond, at least in New York City.  (I still have not found marriages for Gussie--an unsourced tree has her marrying a Miller--or Samuel Gewertz.)  I'd love to find out who Schloma's parents were to see if I can figure out how (or if) he's related to me.  And I can't find a Diamond who looks like he might be Schloma to help me find a marriage &/or death certificate to try to learn his parents' names as well.  If there weren't that Halper 36 Grant Avenue link, I might even have questioned if this was all just a dead end anyways.

I've followed a bunch of trails on this one, but I've (so far) come up empty.  I'd love any suggestions from readers as well!  And hopefully the strategies I took to get this far will help some readers with their own research.

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  1. I have an ancestor in-law relationship with Samuel Gevirtz, who married Helen Klein in NYC on 3 Sept 1916, can share actual marriage cert with you. Samuel's father was Irving, mother was Leni.

    1. Thanks! I've actually seen that certificate; the one I'm looking for though has parents Namon (various spellings) and Anna.