Toni met Annmarie at the hairdressers

What happens when you go to your hairdressers

The year was 1908 as the story started.

July 2015 – Ann Marie came to work and asked if I heard from Toni? I said no, who is Toni? Ann Marie said she was at her hairdressers the other day and heard the story of Toni trying to do her personal family research project that has been going on for years. So Ann Marie told her to call me.

On July 6th I did hear from Toni, she told me the story of her mother that started in 1908 and has never been resolved. Her mother had died in 2005 and Toni was determined to solve the this family mystery. So she gave me a little background and I asked that she put in writing what she knows, what has been done. The known information, Mary E was born February 23, 1908 in New York.

Toni asked the following questions. Who were her parents ? Why did they abandon her?

Information provided:

Report of foundling in place of a birth certificate showing November 06, 1911 as the date placed in St Agatha’s home and on November 28, 1911 placed in a foster home. Mary was placed with a Mr. and Mrs. Kiley but was never legally adopted.

Disposition of child – Woman ( name crossed out ) address 168 Brook Ave, Bronx ( noted on the certificate of Foundling report )  took the child to board April 1909. Mother paid for 3 months then disappeared. Efforts to locate her unsuccessful.

Letter to Mary Dated July 5, 1977 – From Catholic Home Bureau -it is noted that Mary’s mother ( name not known ) had paid Alice $ 2.00 a week for her care. So from April 1909 to February 1911 Alice cared for Mary before she contacted the authorities ?? This states 3 months, it was almost 3 years.

1978 – Toni, her sister and her mother wanted to know the nationality of the last name E, so they started calling all E’s in the New York City area. There were a few people that told them that they had received a letter from a lawyer from the Rockerfeller Center looking for a E who may be related to their client. Their client had lost his daughter and had been searching for her. Toni, her sister and mother went to see the lawyer but were told there was no proof of their relationship in this matter.

May 2015 Toni had a DNA test and discovered she was 23 % Jewish. She did not tell me the rest of her discovery. However the topic did surface down the road with great surprise.

So begins my venture in discovering who Mary was and who were her parents. The first thing I did confirm was the date of birth Of Mary E. I had spent many hours in the Manhattan public library back in the 1990’s working on a project so I knew that now on Ancestry those records ( the indexes ) were on-line. That confirmed the date of birth. February 23, 1908. Then I went looking to see who else with the same last name might show up. There were not any that were close. Then I looked at the list of families with the same last name that had children in the same span and  narrowed it down to about 8 families that I would focus on. Then I started tracking them.

There was a Henry E , with a wife named Alice. My first thought was, the known name of Alice as the person of interest, that had given the child named Mary to the system and had created the story of being given Mary, which she kept for close to 3 years. Then I started looking at other families and settled on another family that had a son of about the same age as Mary.

John and Elsie E with a son ( Leslie ). So, I chose to follow the son. I tracked the son to see what happened to him. Leslie F. E died in 1957 however he had a military interment record that was also on-line. To my surprise the record showed a date of birth as February 23, 1908. Then someone penciled in above the 23rd ( 28 ). I went backwards to try to find his date of birth in the birth index, it was not here? Leslie married Rita and they had 2 children, Barbara A, born May 9, 1943, John L., born May 19, 1946.

Although I had the 1910, 1920 and 1930 census showing his ( Leslie ) parents I ordered a copy of the original application for a Social Security card for Leslie. When that arrived this confirmed the date of birth ( February 23, 108 )and the parents names. With that I went backwards to see who the parents were. I found the date of their marriage ( this was John’s second wife )which then gave me his parents names as well. John was of German ancestry, Father Albert E, Mother Mary Miller. Elise’s father , John Hukery , mother, Wihelemina Harvester. Elise  was born about 1882 in Birnburg, Finland.

( known information is, Mary was given up to the system by Alice in February 1911 )

( John and Elsie show up on public record in 1912 in Massachusetts )

Then I went looking to see what could be found on John E’. What I turned up was that John and his wife Elsie turned up in Massachusetts in 1912. He as a Master Mason, Occupation cabinet maker, born in Germany July 12, 1866. John and Elise had a daughter ( Evelyn V E ) born in Massachusetts April 15, 1915. Evelyn V married Edmund G. Cook . They had 2 children, Marilyn D. Cook, born November 04, 1949, Robert G. Cook, born November 12, 1953. Evelyn V E Cook died in California 1992. Edmund G. cook died 1994.

John and Elise were then back in New York by the 1920 census, 1925, 1930, 1940. John died after 1940 however I have not found any records of either John or Elsie after 1940. I would think the children of Barbara or her brothers family may know where the grandparents were buried. That would be another story should we go in that direction.

Once I had all of the above pieced together I contacted Toni to bring her up to date. The only thing that makes sense to me is that there were twin’s born February 23, 1908 and the family could not handle 2 baby’s for whatever the reason. There was nothing else to prove this, so when I contacted Toni I told her what I had found. Basically I found that I believe Mary’s father was a German Jew and her mother was from Finland. When I said this there was silence and a loud cry. Once she settled down she told me that although she had told me of the DNA and the 23 % Jewish , what she had not told me was of the Finnish ancestry.  We settled on what we now know and that has resolved her search for her grandparents that was both her mothers and her goal.

Since then, I have spoken to Marilyn Cook in California, who spoke of her mother and that she thought that her mother had a copy of her ‘s ( Elsie ) death certificate. To date I have not seen it, although I asked for a copy. I know Toni has had some conversations as well.

A letter was sent to John E of New York City as well in August 2015. To date there has been no response.

I believe that there were twins and Mary and Leslie were brother and sister. Alice 0f 168 Brook Ave, Bronx if I were to guess was the unknown Alice. I do think that at least now Toni resolve her question of nationality based on John and Elsie’s history.