Sunday, January 4, 2015

More Details About a Wedding

I just can’t get enough of reading newspaper accounts of my ancestors’ weddings,  There is always so much to learn, especially when the article is filled with names of the bridal party, parents and guests.  And if there is enough detail, you can almost picture exactly what it looked like.  Or as my dad would have said “now I can visualize it”. 

So even though I've previously read and blogged about the engagement and wedding of my great grandparents, Bertha “Birdie” Schwartz and Abraham “Abe” Gunzendorfer, I couldn't get over the amount of information in this article from a Santa Cruz newspaper (Santa Cruz Sentinel?) on or about 9 Sep 1894 that I found stashed in the boxes of stuff my grandmother held on to all these years.

Stylish Wedding 9 Sep 1894 page 1
Stylish Wedding 9 Sep 1894 page 2

How ‘bout that – it was A Stylish Wedding!  Not just stylish but also filled with so many interesting facts.

I’d read about the bridal party in another article but this had new information.  Where before I only knew the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer were her niece and nephew, this goes on to say that they were Hazel Steen, daughter of Samuel and Rachel (Letter) Steen, and Colemann (Colman) Schwartz, the son of Louis and Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz.  Samuel was the brother of Rebecca Schwartz, Birdie’s mother, and Colman was Birdie’s brother.  Both children would have been about 10 at the time of the wedding. 

Colman Schwartz 1890
Colman Schwartz
c. 1890

I knew that the bridesmaids were Dena Steen (sister of Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz and Birdie’s aunt), and Jennie and Bella Steen (daughters of Jacob and Pauline (Jacobson) Steen and Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz’ cousins), but the mention of Grace Barnet is new information.  Grace graduated with Birdie from Santa Cruz High School in 1890.  I’ve tried to find ancestors of Grace but from what I can tell, she never married so doesn’t seem to have left too many ancestors behind.  I need to ramp up my search.

The groomsmen were Chas. Berg (not sure who this is), M. A. Steen (Meyer Steen, brother of Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz and Birdie’s Uncle), Adolf Gunzendorfer (Abe’s brother), and Milton Schwartz (Birdie’s brother).

Schwartz Milton 2_28_1894
Milton Harry Schwartz
28 Feb 1894

Rabbi Jacob Nieto was a well known Rabbi in the area and much has been written about him and his importance to the Jewish community at the time.

Rabbi Nieto
Rabbi Jacob Nieto
photo courtesy of Magnes Museum

Many toasts and telegrams were read, a few of which seem so very sentimental based on the author.

“Cause and effect, responsibility of the cause; we desire his apologies for bringing us here, F. Gunzendorfer”  I’m not quite sure what this means but this was Ferdinand Gunzendorfer, Abe’s father and my 2nd great grandfather.

Our Birdie, she has flown into a cage; let us hope that she will be an exception to the rule that those who are in want to get out, Joe Schwartz”  Joe was Birdie’s older brother.

“Present at her birth, witness of her childhood, participant at her festivities, J. Steen”  I would like to think J. Steen was Joseph Steen, Birdie’s maternal grandfather, but since he died in 1866 this can’t be him.  So I’m guess it is Jacob Steen, Joseph’s brother.

Steen Jacob c 1880
Jacob Steen
c. 1880

Another uncle, thoughtful and humorous, Sam Steen”  Samuel was Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz’ brother and Birdie’s uncle.

A good example well set should be followed, J. Guzendorfer”.  “The only bachelor left, may he soon join the Benedicts, Adolph Gunzendorfer”  These were two of Abe’s brothers, Adolph and Jacob.  No mention of his oldest brother, Gustave Gunzendorfer.  Was he there?

Several Barnet family members were mentioned.  S. Barnet (Grace’s father, Samuel), Z. Barnet (Grace’s brother, Zacharius), Bertha and Emma Barnet (Grace’s sisters), H. Barnet (Herman, Grace’s brother).  It makes me think that the Barnet family must have been very close to Birdie and, perhaps, the entire Schwartz family.  Santa Cruz was a pretty small town back then and since the Jewish population was probably quite small, it makes sense that everyone worshipped together and were close friends.

Whenever I think of this beautiful affair, it saddens me to know that Birdie’s father, Louis Schwartz, died in 1893 so wasn't able to see his only daughter marry.  I wonder if her older brother, Joseph, walked her down the aisle or maybe one of her many uncles.  No matter who it was, I can imagine Birdie had an emptiness without her father.

I’m so thankful I ran across this article - I think it’s becoming apparent that I come from a very, very long line of packrats.


  1. Interesting that Abe and Birdie had a Spanish (Sephardic) rabbi perform the wedding ceremony.

  2. Debi, this is an amazing detailed wedding account!

  3. That was indeed a fancy schmancy wedding. And they started dancing at midnight?? Party Animals!

    Love Colman's little velvet suit and lace collar.