Sunday, January 27, 2013

My collection of cigarettes

Smoking Dog

This photo was taken by my Great Grandfather, Abraham Gunzendorfer, who was a professional photographer. I have a box of photos that are marked on the back with “Photographer, Gunzendorfer, Monterey, California” which on one hand is cool because he took them but also makes it difficult because I’m never certain if the photos were of his family or some other random people. But this photo has intrigued me, especially since the next page of the scrapbook is cigarette based.

So as I turned the page of my Grandmother's scrapbook, I came across this.

Yes, that’s right – my grandmother had a collection of cigarettes!  Why on earth I’ll never know but it is interesting that she not only saved the cigarettes but she marked them with whose brand it was.  I wonder if Carleton was a special friend since she kept two of his cigarettes – his ‘regular’ brand (St. Francis) and his ‘cheap’ brand (John Bollman Imperials).  And maybe Meyrl was another favorite since she also has two of his brands.  I think Meyrl is probably J. Meyrl Pugh, one of her classmates that I see in her high school yearbook.

Meyrl Pugh
J. Meyrl Pugh
Monterey High School Yearbook
El Susurro 1915

It amazes me that these cigarettes are still here after nearly 100 years, although if you look in the crease of the page on the left side you can see the tobacco piled up. 

And next to the page was this.

And closer up.

Cig Box 2 

Frank Ordway gave me this box the night he, Hallie, Neil & I went to the “movies” together, a week before the boys went away.  We had an awfully good time.

I know Hallie was her friend Hallie Hitchcock but who were Frank and Neil?  They don’t appear to be classmates.  One thing I’ve learned about Grandma – she had a lot of friends!

I’m guessing the other ‘treasure’ is the inside of the box.

And a close up of the outside of the box.

Philip Morris

I don’t see that any of the cigarettes were Philip Morris & Co. although I don’t see Frank Ordway’s brand, either.

Oh Grandma, why did you save these?  Did you ever imagine that your granddaughter would be looking at these nearly 100 years later? 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy birthday, Grandma!

Loraine in pot
Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer

I’ve learned a lot about my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, over the past year but I have no idea why she’s posing in a wash basin for this photo!

Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer was born in Santa Cruz on January 20, 1896 in Santa Cruz, California.  And I have this to prove it!

Affidavit of Birth

A few years ago I requested her birth certificate from Santa Cruz County and the response was “no record found”.  So between that response and this document, I’m assuming she was born at home and my guess is that her mother, Birdie Schwartz, came home to her mother’s house to give birth.  Which would mean that Birdie and her daughter were born in the same house, the home of her parents, Louis and Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz which was built in about 1870.

Schwartz House
Louis Schwartz home
Santa Cruz, California

Louis Schwartz is standing on the grass in the front yard but I’m not sure who the kids in front are.  If you enlarge the photo you can see an adult and a baby peering out of the window on the left!

Loraine grew up in Monterey and I’ve written a lot about her over the last year as I’ve gone through her scrapbook.  I like to think about her being a young girl and what life was like for her over 100 years ago.  This letter gives me a glimpse into what she was like.

Loraine Letter Page 1 Loraine Letter Page 2

San Francisco
Monday, Oct 10, 1905
My dear papa
I am feeling alright to-day except I have a swollen glands but I am allright otherwise brother sends his love to you Papa I herd you shaved off your moustache I think you look funny are you busy in the store in Monterey I am lonesone. for you papa brother says his lonesone for you to we are having a good time here.
Mama is writing to to you.  We are both writing to you papa I am writing any-old thing.
I dont know any more things to tell you.
but I am going to close my letter.
but I have to say good-by.
Your loving daughter
Loraine & Wilton Gunzendorfer

What a sweet letter!  And even sweeter that her father, Abe Gunzendorfer, made a note at the end to “answer this letter”.

I was fortunate to have my grandmother in my life until my late 20’s and it seems like just yesterday that she was here with us.  How can 30 years have passed so quickly?  Here’s some things I remember about her:

She was always dressed very stylish, as evidenced in this picture.  

Loraine 2

I remember the last time I saw her she was sitting in her wheelchair at the nursing home dressed in a beautiful silk suit from Saks Fifth Avenue with bright red lipstick fresh on her lips.

Grandma had a lot of sayings that I still think about today.  When she wasn’t particularly impressed with something she’d say “I couldn’t give it much” and if something didn’t work out the way she liked she’d proclaim “that was bunk!”.

Grandma wasn’t the best driver, as I recall, and even as a young child it was a little unnerving to ride in the car with her.  She must have realized she wasn’t a great driver – as she approached an intersection she’d always beep her horn to let others know she was coming through.  Even today if I hear a little beep while a car goes through an intersection I think of Loraine and smile.

Loraine’s mind was sharp as a tack and she loved to hear my oldest daughter, and her only great-grandchild at the time, say her name.  The two of them would be together and she’d say to my 3 year old daughter “who am I?” and she would exclaim “Great Grandma Loraine”.  Grandma would beam and then after a few minutes she’d ask again “who am I?” and the answer would be repeated.  One day my daughter said to me “doesn’t she know her own name?”  Ah, Grandma, you were one of a kind.

Loraine 1969

Grandma loved to go out to dinner and she was only too happy to pay.  We still laugh at the memory of her telling us to order whatever we like and as we each placed our order she’d immediately look at the menu as she said “where’s that?” so she could check out the price.  And when we’d go to the Country Club with my parents, Dad had to sign for the bill and it would be added to his monthly total.  Of course Grandma wanted to pay so right there in the restaurant she’d get out her checkbook and write Dad a check to reimburse him for the total.  It must have made quite an impact on me because I even took a picture of the event.

Loraine writing check
Mildred Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy
Gordon Levy
approximately 1981

Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy died on my oldest daughter’s 7th birthday, which was Mother’s Day that year, May 8, 1982, in Santa Clara County.  She joined her husband of nearly 50 years in Fresno, their home for their entire married life, at Chapel of the Light.


While I feel so fortunate to have so many of her belongings which helps me learn more about her, I sure wish she were here so we could share in this journey of her life together.

Happy 117th birthday, Grandma!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


It seems I’ve been nominated for two awards this week!

Liebster Award

The first nomination was Laura Aenonson at where2look4ancestors who nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award.  This award isn’t a “real” award but a chance to be recognized and to recognize others.   Rules for this award vary but I’m going to forego any rules and just thank Laura for the award.

Wonderfull Team Member Readership Award

I’ve also been nominated for the World Team Readership Award by Jana Last at Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, Cindy Freed at Cindy Freed’s Genealogy Circle, and Andrea Kelleher at How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey.  The rules of this award are…

Thank the nominator and link back to their site as well;
Display the award logo on your blog;
Nominate no more than fourteen readers of your blog you appreciate and leave a comment on their blogs to let them know about the award;
Finish this sentence: “A great reader is…”

My nominees are:

Wendy from Jollett etc.
Elizabeth from A Jewish Genealogy Journey
Jo at Images Past
Heather from Leaves for Trees
Nancy from My Ancestors and Me

I’m sorry for any duplications and I don’t mean to forget anyone – I really appreciate everyone who stops by my blog whether they leave a comment or not.  A great reader is someone who reads my blog – it helps me remember that I’m not talking to myself. 

Thanks for these awards!

Drop a Penny, we need many

Back to the scrapbook, where the next page has this…..

Drop a Penny

Apparently this was a World War I slogan but were they really going to buy milk for Belgium babies with the money???

I guess they were still looking for more slogans.  The winning entry received either $2 or $3 – these days I don’t think anyone would enter unless the prize was at least $10,000.  My grandfather was a judge – wonder what they winning entry was?

National Slogan

Another newspaper article.  Hmmm, I wonder if I’ll run across this photo in my stash.

Fresno Boys Train

“Fresno has many proud sons in the service of Uncle Sam, but above is shown seven Fresnans who are in training for the aviation service at Camp Wasco, Texas.  The picture was received her yesterday by Sig Levy, who has recommended for the officers’ training school for aviators, from Dick Crawford, who recently enlisted in the aviation service.  The boys report that they like the life.  In the picture reading from left to right they are:  (Upper row): Dick Crawford, Fritz Prather, Hollis Pierson, Heitzig, Bouden, Kellogg, Owen, all of Fresno; and Wikarens of San Diego.”

I’ve heard about Dick Crawford in the letters between my grandparents but the other names are all new to me.  Might need to study up on them.

Looks like someone participated in the auto caravan to the State Fair at Sacramento.  At about 175 miles, that caravan must have been hard to keep together.  Especially at 25-30 miles per hours!

Auto Caravan

And last but not least, news that my grandfather, Sig Levy, had a flu attack.  I first learned that Sig had the flu when Loraine’s parents wrote to him about their engagement so I’m guessing this newspaper article must have been from late 1918.

Sig Flu Attack

Glad he recovered or I wouldn’t be here today!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Where Were They 100 Years Ago?

It’s Saturday night, time for some genealogy fun. This week’s mission, thanks to Randy Seaver at GeneaMusings:

1) Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 January 1913 - 100 years ago.

2) List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible). Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

My great grandparents, Edward Fitzgerald (b. 1879) and Mabel McAboy Fitzgerald (b. 1883), were living in Fresno on what looks to be Butte Avenue.  Also in the household were their three children, Clara (my grandmother, born 1903), Viola (b. 1905), and Stanley (b. 1908).  I don’t know much about this house but I do remember their home later in life.

Mabel’s parents and my second great grandparents, William McAboy (b. 1842) and Rebecca Waller McAboy (b. 1845) were living in Fresno but I’m not sure exactly where.  In 1920 they were living at 2904 Olive Avenue, which is interesting since their granddaughter and my grandmother, Clara Fitzgerald Martin Hunter, was living on Olive Avenue years later.

My great grandparents, Robert Martin (b. 1855) and Frances “Fannie” Brooks Martin (b. 1860) were living in Fresno on what looks to be Rebon Avenue.  Also in the house were 6 of their 8 children:  Lillie (b. 1885), Pearl (b. 1889), Nellie (b. 1891), Dessie (b. 1893), Ethel (b. 1898) and my grandfather, Earle Martin (b. 1900).  I don’t know anything about the house they were living in.  In 1920 my second great grandmother, Sarah Miller Brooks Anderson (b. 1836) was living with the family since she was widowed in 1904 – I have about a 20 year gap where she’s ‘missing’.

My great grandparents, Abraham Gunzendorfer (b. 1896) and Bertha Schwartz Gunzendorfer (b. 1872), lived at 430 Pacific, Monterey, California with their children, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer (my grandmother, born in 1896) and Wilton Gunzendorfer (1899).  I have lots of photographs of homes but I haven’t been able to identify this one, yet.  The residence no longer exists – the Monterey Institute of International Studies is located there now. 

Bertha’s mother, my 2nd great grandmother Rebecca Steen Schwartz (b. 1848), was living at 1595 Harrison Street, Oakland, California.  She was listed as a “boarder” in the home of her brother, Samuel Steen (b. 1855), his wife, Rachel Letter Steen (b. 1860), and their daughter Hazel (b. 1884).  Also in the home were Rebecca’s youngest sons, Milton Schwartz (b. 1878) and his wife Charlotte Haley Schwartz (b. 1878), and Colman Schwartz (b. 1884).  Others in the household were Julius Oppenheim, Ida Oppenheim, Isabel Oppenheim, Emilie Frank, Julietta Sevy (or could that be Levy, my birth name?) and the servant, Yasuki Kurati.  I know that about 5 years later my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, was living with Samuel, Rachel, and Hazel at 1933 Harrison Street.  It appears that the house at 1595 Harrison Street is no longer in existence.

My great grandparents, Herman Levy (b. 1856) and Goldie Benas Levy (b. 1864), were living at 946 K Street in Fresno.  Also in the home were their four sons – Herbert (b. 1884), Leon (b. 1886), my grandfather Sigmund (b. 1888) and Benjamin (b. 1892).  Finally, I have a photo of the house!

Levy Home 1890

This photo was taken in 1890 and the three little kids in front are the oldest three boys – Herb, Leon, and Sig (my grandfather).  If I had to guess I’d say Leon is on the left, Herb in the middle, and Sig in the dress on the right.  I can’t be certain but I believe that is Herman standing with them.  I’m not sure who the women are but it could be possible that the woman standing behind the middle child is Goldie.

The youngest son, Ben, wrote an autobiography sometime between 1962 and 1968 and I’ve learned quite a bit about the family this way.  Here’s what he had to say about their home:
Our home was then located at 946 “K” Street (now Van Ness Avenue) across the street from the present Hotel Californian.  We had a very well built home, as the picture will show.  The home still stands in a different neighborhood.

We lived in this home for over twenty-five years.  I have fond memories of every nook and crook in this home, and how I slid down the banister staircase, and of rummaging in the unfinished attic where the water storage tank was located.  The barn was big to house the horse and buggy and firewood and hayloft.  We staged amateur shows in the loft.  The proceeds went for the Spanish-American War veterans.  We had a good-sized garden which us boys took care of.  We also had from one to three dogs at all times.  We never forgot the dogs and their names, and when a dog died, we were deeply grieved, as a dog is man’s best friend, and more of a friend to a boy.
It was interesting to check everyone at the same time frame and see where they were.  Thanks for the prompt, Randy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

And now #10.5

I recently wrote about my top 10 genealogical finds of 2012 and was reminded of one that I omitted – and it’s too good to forget so I need post an addendum.  So here is my #10.5 top genealogical find of 2012!

Early in 2012 I found myself on the phone participating in a very lengthy hold.  What to do while I wait?  My favorite activitiy - type “Gunzendorfer” into google and see what comes up!  I’ve done this so many times yet often times something new still pops up that piques my interest.  On this day, up came an obituary for Gustave George Gunzendorfer in Reno, Nevada!  Reno?  Gustave, also known as Gus or George, was the eldest brother of my great grandfather, Abraham Gunzendorfer, and was born in Monterey on September 26, 1864.  And until that moment, I thought he’d spent his entire life in Monterey or San Francisco.  The obituary stated that the burial was to take place at Masonic Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Reno so I found an e-mail address and sent off a message.  I really didn’t expect a response but within minutes I had the answer I was looking for – Gustave was buried there!  Not just him, but a Katherine Shuster Gunzendorfer who, it turns out, was his wife.  Now that might not seem odd except that the only wife I knew about was Minnie Dauterman!

Gustave Gunzendorfer
Gustave George Gunzendorfer

Hmmm, what to do?  I really wanted a photo of the grave as I thought that might provide some clues.  Wait!  My dear friend, Bev, lives in Reno so I sent her a quick message and asked if she wanted to play genealogist for the day.  The answer?  Yes, we’ll go out to the cemetery first thing tomorrow morning!  The Bev and Pam Detective Service was on it!

And here’s what they found.

Right there in a lovely setting below the mountains was my Great Grand Uncle, Gustave George Gunzendorfer!  And with a new wife, no less!


Not only did Bev and Pam take photos for me, they went to the funeral home that handled both of their services when they died.  And a few weeks later, I had some documentation in my hands detailing their funerals.

As you can see, Gustave was known as George when he passed in 1939. After his death, Katherine returned to Delaware where she lived until her death in 1957. Her body was then returned to Reno for burial with George.

The paperwork shows the names of the pallbearers for Gustave’s funeral, none of whom were his brothers.  Nowhere on the paperwork is another Gunzendorfer even mentioned.  And when his first wife, Minnie, died in 1946 she had apparently changed her name from Gunzendorfer back to Dauterman which I’m guessing was not all to common in those days.  There’s a mystery in all of this information that I need to solve!

So add this to the list of my top 10.5 genealogical finds of 2012.  And thanks again to Bev and Pam for helping me with this quest!