Monthly Archives: March, 2013

What Ever Happened to Harry, Part II.

Back in January, I wrote about Harry Morris & his disappearance.  You can see the earlier post published on January 13, 2013.  His grandson Joe & I have spent many hours searching online for Harry & have never found anything.  He simply disappeared from Kansas City — leaving his wife, Flora (Blume Kremer) Morris, with six children to care for.  Because a person can’t completely vanish in today’s world, I have had a hard time accepting that he just walked out.  I understand divorce and separation, but I can’t imagine never coming back to see your children. Thanks to Flora’s other recent immigrant family members from Russia and Lithuania, she somehow managed to keep her family together. And she eventually remarried and lived to be 81 years old, living from 1890 to 1971. Flora (Blume Kremer) was a resourceful and resilient woman.
Flora Kramer

Now with better communication, computers, DNA tests, etc., it is a rare occurrence that a man (or woman) can go to the corner store for a pack of cigarettes & never return.  Harry’s grandson, Joe, has had his DNA tested on familytreedna.com and maybe some day, someone will be a good DNA match and the pieces can be put together.

My interest in Harry Morris started when I began trying to help my daughter’s Russian & Eastern European side of her family create a family tree.  Over the last weeks, I have read many articles about the difficulties that these new immigrants had in adjusting to their lives in America.  I bought a used book titled “Mid-America’s Promise: A Profile of Kansas City Jewry” that was edited by Joseph D. Schultz & published in 1982.

Mid-America's promise
I bought this book hoping that it might contain some references to my daughter’s family members. Unfortunately, there aren’t any with the one exception of a photo of Robert “Bob” Bernstein who invented the McDonald’s Happy Meal. But, from this wonderful book I have learned how these Russian & Eastern European immigrants, at the turn of the 20th Century, ended up in Kansas City, MO.

I will try to keep this short, but a brilliant man named Jacob Billikopf was instrumental in the Kansas City immigration story. He was a recent immigrant from Lithuania who worked with other Jewish leaders to try and remedy the situation in New York. The wave of immigrants had begun to overwhelm New York’s resources and the city leader’s were quickly becoming desperate. The book explains how Jacob created the “Billikopf Route”. Many representatives of American Jewish charities traveled to Hamburg & Bremerhaven to try and convince the immigrants to land and move further west from NYC. Jacob Billikopf basically created the Galveston, TX route in order to help the immigrants find a “more assured future”. He managed Kansas City’s Jewish social services and found jobs and housing for the people willing to travel further west.

That said, it doesn’t explain what happened to Harry Morris. While many Eastern European immigrants were able to quickly assimilate, some were not. The ones who landed in NYC could hold onto their old ways, Yiddish language, and customs longer than the immigrants who moved further west. There was more pressure on those who took the “Billikopf Route” and some felt very isolated in their new country. There were also social and cultural rifts between the older German Jewish population and the new poorer Eastern European immigrants.

Desertion, the poor man’s “divorce”, happened so often among the Eastern Europeans that a National Desertion Bureau was formed to help locate the wayward Jewish husbands and fathers. Jacob Billikopf became very disturbed by the problems created by desertion and death. He and Judge Edward Porterfield wrote and passed a bill in 1911 that established a “Mothers’ Assistance Fund” in Kansas City. This bill was a forerunner to the Aid to Dependent Children programs across the country.

The problems caused by desertion didn’t occur only in Kansas City. The situation was so bad that the Jewish Daily Forward, the largest-circulation Yiddish daily in the world, began running the “Gallery of Missing Men,” a page full of mug shots of these husbands. It was published to shame them into returning to their families. Or maybe to warn other women about these scoundrels.
gallery of missing men

Today’s Post is in Honor of the DNA Bequeathed to me by all of my Irish Ancestors. A big Shout Out to my 3rd Great Great Grandpa Chester Lamb . . .who was probably really fun until he died of cirrhosis.

I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy reading old newspaper articles, especially those from New York, New Jersey & Pennsylvania.  The majority of my ancestors lived in those three states.  Journalism must have been really fun back then — you could print the most slanderous personal accounts without any repercussions.  I’ve used genealogybank.com to search for a variety of old articles —  some funny & some tragic — involving intoxication, medicinal use of spirits, mayhem and a few mentions of the Irish.

1340076741284_5398583
cat
wild scene
knock your pants off
willie
dysentery
Duffy's
recollected nothing
MjAxMy1hNzA0MmFhNzFmNGFjNWJk
mother and child
death by rum
MjAxMy03NzAwNzU2NmRiYTU0Mzcx_5144b06760d3b
Irish Insanity

And some more of Daddy Ray’s Slides. . .

Jan with Amy

Jan with Amy

Granny

My First Birthday Party. Granny Kelley is standing next to me and beautiful Aunt Pat is to the right of the photo.

Jan & Gretle

Before attending our Flapper party. My dog’s name was Gretel.

jan & mike

Mike helping me with a birthday cake. I don’t know which birthday this was, but there are a plethora of candles!

jan & roscoe

My beloved long haired German Shepherd, Roscoe P. Lashley. He was brilliant.

Jan studying

Actually doing homework. This studying trait ended by adolescence.

And now for more family photos from Daddy Ray’s Slides!

uncle bob5

Cousin Susan and Uncle Bob. (and Gretel)

edna

Great Aunt Edna Romick, Aunt Helen and Mom

marissa

Marissa, Mom and me. Taken in Coral Gables, FL

Marissa Jan Mom

Grandma Florence, baby Marissa and me

aunt edna

Mom meeting Aunt Edna on the tarmac. Remember Braniff? Remember meeting a plane? This is obviously a very old photo.

Uncle Bob

Uncle Bob down at the Winfield Farm. Don’t know the gentleman on the right. Maybe Farmer Brown?

uncle bob1

Uncle Bob looking very serious. He actually loved to tell jokes and laughed a lot.

uncle bob 3

Dr. Bob performing surgery on the turkey with Joe and Susan.

kelley kitchen

The Kelleys and the Pages with Aunt Edna (with the bright red hair)

kelley residene

Kelley residence in St. Louis

peter & Harriett

Mom and Pete at the farm.

coral gables

Dinner party in Coral Gables with Tim & Helen, Mary & Karl, Val, Marissa and Mom

Newspaper Articles from Scranton, Pennsylvania about various people with the Surname Engle

I love finding old newspaper articles about ancestors. I can’t promise that these articles pertain to my ancestors, but I can prove that each of the articles are about people who have the same Engle surname and a first name of one of my ancestors. But Engle was a very common surname in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

engle1

engle3

engle5

engle2

engle4

Posts About Dead Relatives

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Your Genetic Genealogist

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Unclaimed Ancestors

Connecting old photos with the families searching for them.

notsofancynancy

How the hell did I get here?

V.L. Brunskill

writer, reunited adoptee, former music journalist

Ephemeral New York

Chronicling an ever-changing city through faded and forgotten artifacts

Posts About Dead Relatives

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Chips Off the Old Block

A blog devoted to genealogical wanderings - dedicated to family near and far, through distance and time

openSNP

crowdsourcing genome wide association studies