Sunday, November 23, 2014

Newspaper clippings

My family collected newspaper clippings.  Lots and lots of newspaper clippings.  And they were always called clippings – never articles, never stories, ALWAYS clippings.

So what do you do with a bunch of little clippings?  You paste them on to a piece of your family business paper, of course.

White House page 1

This single sheet of paper has quite a bit of information on it.  First of all, is the top section which shows The White House, the Gunzendorfer family business.

White House Logo

It’s hard to read but here’s what it tells us:

The White House, F. Gunzendorfer & Sons – check, we knew that.

The address of 110-112 Alvarado Street, Monterey – got it.

The Hollenbeck Block, Pacific Grove – now that’s interesting.  Was that a separate store in Pacific Grove?

San Francisco Office, 19 Battery Street – another interesting fact.  What was that?  I did a little research and found that this location was different businesses over the years for clothing/hats.  In 1884, S.L., Leszynsky & Company was established and had the largest and most extensive variety of ladies’, misses’, and children’s cloaks, wraps, and jackets.  By 1894, the store was owned by Geo M. Franks and was known as Judd & Dunning Hat Company.  And in 1906, the store sold men’s wear.  Definitely something I need to research further.

And in the top right corner, very hard to read, it tells us that The White House is the sole agent for Eskey Kid Gloves, every pair warranted.  A quick search didn’t give me much additional information on that.

And then below it says Pacific Grove, Cal……..189   Wonder what that means?

But what’s really interesting about the clippings is that they all describe the engagement of my great grandparents, Birdie Schwartz and Abraham Gunzendorfer!

On the left side are clippings from many different papers.  Sounds like this was quite an announcement!


And on the right side was this:

The Examiner

Look at that – they horned in on the wedding of Birdie’s brother, Joseph Schwartz, to announce their engagement.

And on the back were more clippings!

White House page 2

This is hard to (and long) to read so I’ve “clipped” a few important facts.
The guests at the wedding.


A few interesting facts here.

I know the ceremony was performed by Rabbis M.S. Levy and M.F. Friedlander – did they call Rabbis Rev. then?

Look at some of the guests – Mr. & Mrs. S. Steen (Samuel Steen was the brother of my 2nd great grandmother), Mrs. R. Schwartz (my 2nd great grandmother who was widowed by 1894), Mrs. H. Brownstone (Mr. Brownstone was a business associate of my 2nd great grandfather, Louis Schwartz), Mrs. H. Steen, Mrs. A. Leszynsky – WAIT!  There’s the name Leszynsky from the clothier at 19 Battery Street – Mrs. Gunsendorfer (spelled wrong but which Mrs. Gunzendorfer was this?), Mrs. Lobliner (Henry Lobliner/Loobliner was a cousin and business associate of Louis Schwartz).  And other guests were more Steens and Leszynskys and an important one, Kolman Schwartz.  I’ve been trying to confirm that Kolman Schwartz was the brother of Louis Schwartz and I’m pretty close to saying that he was.

This was a cute tidbit.

Birdie_Abe engaged


One single piece of paper thrown into a box 120 years ago and here we are today reading all about a very special engagement!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Another little gem

A few months ago I wrote about discovering a photo of my Great Grandmother’s, Birdie Schwartz, high school graduation from Santa Cruz High School in 1890.  You can read about it here.  I love the photo so much that I just have to post it again.

High School Graduation
Santa Cruz High School
Graduating class – 1890
Bertha Schwartz – standing, far right
And now I’ve discovered this.

Bertha Schwartz 2A
Bertha Schwartz

It looks to me like Birdie’s portrait from that very special day.  I just love all of the flowers and decorations around her – sure not something you’d see today.  I’ll bet there is some significance to it all but I’m not sure I’ll ever know what that might be.

I have so many photos of Birdie over the years.  This is probably the earliest one I’ve found of her.  I think she looks to be about 3.

Bertha Schwartz1 c1876
Birdie Schwartz
c. 1875

It looked like this before I cropped it – could it have been a little Christmas ornament or something?

Bertha Schwartz

My parents kept this photo on a table in the living room and always said I looked just like her.  I sure would have loved wearing those clothes as a young girl!

Bertha Schwartz c 1878

And here is Birdie as a young woman.  Look at that beautiful blouse!

Bertha Schwartz 3

And this is Birdie near the end of her life.

BerthaSchwartz2 cropped

What a treasure to be able to see my great grandmother throughout her lifetime.  Once again, I have to thank my grandmother for being such a packrat!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Speaking of houses

Several years ago I wrote about an important home in my family – the home of my paternal grandparents, Sig and Loraine Levy, in Fresno, California.  You can read about it here.  But I’ve found some new photos recently that prompts me to revisit this very special home.

The home was built by Taylor-Wheeler Builders in 1934 for Sig and Loraine in what is known as the Wilson Island historic district.  The name “Wilson Island” is a local term that refers to the initial plan for the neighborhood where Wilson and Echo Avenue were designed to dead-end at Carmen Avenue, which formed a backward “P” shape or “island”.  The district qualifies for Fresno’s Local Register of Historic Resources (  The home is a Spanish revival home with a Monterey influence, which is interesting since Loraine was raised in Monterey, California.

Sig and Loraine were, obviously, quite taken with their new home and took these photos on July 4, 1934 to remember what it looked like as they moved their young family in.

Front 7_4_1934
Front of house
1549 Echo Avenue
Fresno, California

If you look closely (and with help from the zoom tool), you can see the sign that shows it was built by Taylor Wheeler Builders.  I wonder if they’d moved in yet or were just getting ready.

And another angle with more of a view from the side of the house.

Front_side 7_4_1934

The room upstairs with the balcony was my Uncle’s bedroom with windows both on the balcony and on the side of the house.  My dad’s bedroom was upstairs on the corner in the back.  What’s interesting is that the three corner windows on the first floor on the side corner were about where the den would have been.  And I always remember that den being very dark without any windows on that side – did they remodel at some point and cover those windows up?  I do remember that was the wall where the cuckoo clock hung (that bird was NOISY!) and there were no windows there.  Maybe my cousin who knows the people who own the house today can confirm that for me.

And a view from the back.

Back 7_4_1934

The upstairs windows on the left were my dad’s bedroom – and the windows on the right were my grandmother’s room.  The little window to the left of my grandmother’s room was the bathroom but I don’t remember what the other little window was – maybe there were two windows in the master bath. 

My grandmother was good at labeling these photos – here’s what she wrote on the back of that photo.

Back Description

I find it interesting that even in 1934 when she had been married for only 15 years, she called out that it was “her” room.  I remember that it was her room and Grandpa had his own room but I’m surprised that they weren’t sharing a bedroom back then.

And there are even photos of the kitchen!  These photos were taken by Laval Commercial Photography on August 1, 1934.  I wonder why they had a professional photographer take photos of their kitchen?

Kitchen 8_1_1934

Looks like they had new fangled contraptions in the kitchen – a phone and a mixer.  I’ll bet those were hot items in 1934!  This is pretty much how I remember the kitchen and there never seemed to be much out of place as Grandma didn't do much cooking.  I do remember arriving for the weekend and she’d bring out the ice cream and make us a milk shake.

Kitchen_hall 8_1_1934

This is another angle of the kitchen.  Check out the washer and dryer in the hallway!  To the right of the washer and dryer was the side entrance door and to the left was a bedroom that was used by the maid in the early days.

I don’t know why but when we went to help clean out the house in 1982 after Grandma died, I took pictures.  I guess even then I was interested in my family history and wanted to remember forever the home my dad grew up in.  Things had changed just a bit in almost 50 years!

Front 1982

Front_side 1982

And the back of the house – you can’t even see the windows in Dad’s bedroom anymore.

Back 1982

The house was in disarray that day, but I’m glad I snapped a few photos.

Loraine Piano
Living room
Dad learned to play on that piano

Dining Room 1982
Dining Room

Hall 1982
Hallway with Grandma’s bedroom in the background
Loved the banisters!

And a very special photo of my two daughters in the backyard in front of the citrus ‘orchard’ – I’ll never forget those cheesy flamingos! 

Back yard 1982

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The house built for Louis Schwartz

I last wrote here about the home of my 2nd great grandparents, Ferdinand and Fannie (Goldstein) Gunzendorfer.  What fun it is to see the homes our ancestors lived in and imagine what life was like for them.

So to continue on with the house theme, here is the home of another set of 2nd great grandparents, Louis and Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz. 

Schwartz House

The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture, by John Leighton Chase, described the house in Santa Cruz in about 1970:  “Schwartz lived in the symmetrical clapboarded, story-and-a-half house at 222 Mission Street.  The main feature of the design is a steep central gable, containing a pedimented window inset with carving, and a crisp sawn-wood Gothic bargeboard.  The original portico has been removed.  The front door is similar to that of 207 Mission Street, and there are box cornices above the windows.”

Sounds like the house!  If you look closely at the house above, you can see Louis standing in the front behind the fence.  And I’m fairly certain the girl on the left is my great grandmother, Bertha “Birdie” Schwartz Gunzendorfer. 

Schwartz House close up

Again from The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture, I also learned a little bit about the two houses next door.  “214 and 218 Mission Street are two clapboarded, storey-and-a-half cottages built for Louis Schwartz in 1867.  They have Chinese-railed porches across the front and sawn-wood brackets in their gables.” 

And look at this, I have pictures of those houses, too!  I believe one or more of the three sons lived in those houses at one time.

Schwartz Tuttle Mathews House

And a close up to see Louis and the kids again.

Schwartz Tuttle Mathews House close up

This home had some special moments throughout the years, many of which I know about for certain and some that I can only assume.

In 1872, Birdie was born and since the family was living in the home at that time, I would bet she was born in that home.  Several, if not all, of the other children were also probably born in that home.

In 1880, Louis and Rebecca celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary and just four years later, they held a party celebrating Birdie’s 12th birthday.

By 1888, the house was enlarged when two rooms were added.

Another anniversary party for Louis and Rebecca was held in 1890 – this time for their silver wedding anniversary.

After Louis’ death in 1893, Rebecca lived alone while the youngest children completed high school at Santa Cruz High School.  And a year later, the grand event of the marriage of Birdie Schwartz and Abraham Gunzendorfer was held.  I sure wish there were some photos of that day!

The December 29, 1895 edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel describes Birdie traveling from Monterey to Santa Cruz to visit her mother.  Since my grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer, was born on January 20, 1896  in Santa Cruz, I like to think that Birdie was visiting while she waited for the birth of her first child and that my grandmother was also born in that home.  It seems like it would make sense that Birdie would want her mother to be with her to help.

By 1897, Rebecca had moved to Oakland and the house on Mission Street was rented and later sold. 

Fortunately, the house still stands today.  During a trip to Santa Cruz a few years ago, we were able to take a drive down busy Mission Street and so that I could see it for myself!

222 Mission Street

My mother was with us and had always remembered that there was a little studio in the back of the house where Birdie did her art work.  I wish I’d had the guts to knock on the door that day.  

Last year I finally got up my courage and sent a letter to the current occupants of the   house - imagine my surprise when an e-mail arrived from them just a few days later!  They told me that the lot had been subdivided into four smaller lots and modern homes had been built on the lots in 1990.  And, sadly, the little art studio was no longer standing.  I shared the photos above and they graciously shared some photos with me of the painting project they had recently completed.

It is so much fun to see where our ancestors lived, especially when the homes are still standing.  I still have a few more to share – stay tuned!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The house that Ferdinand built?

Four boys

I’ll never know who actually built this home but one thing I’m almost certain of is that this was the home of my 2nd great grandparents, Ferdinand and Fannie (Goldstein) Gunzendorfer.  I ran across this photo several months ago and while I suspected it was their home, I had no way of knowing and figured I never would.  But my recent connection with my cousins, which I talked about here, has provided me with some clues that have helped solve some puzzles for me.  The first of which is this home. (Note in the bottom left corner it reads “Abe Gunzy, Monterey”)

My cousin graciously sent me a copy of some family history research another cousin had done about 20 years ago.  It was great to see my family in print and I poured over the information.  And pictures – there were pictures!  One of which was this.

Residence of F Gunzendorfer

Not a very good picture, and she apologized for the quality, but the caption underneath was all I needed.  Residence of Ferdinand Gunzendorfer.  Pretty home in it’s own right but spectacular when I compared it to the photo above.  I’m about as certain as I can be that they are one in the same!  Let’s look at them side by side.

Gunzendorfer home Residence of F Gunzendorfer close up

A few things are slightly different but for the most part, these are the same! 

I’m not sure of the time frame but if those four children are the four Gunzendorfer boys, I would guess the photo on the left to be from the late 1870’s.  In the 1870 census, the family was enumerated in Gilroy, California but no address was listed.  In 1880 they were again enumerated in Gilroy, this time in Enumeration District 254.  They are shown on Fifth but the house number of 125 may actually be the family number.  And by 1900 the family was in Monterey, at either 121 or 132 Webster.

Let’s look closely at the boys just in case it is them.

Four boys closeup

By height and age, these boys could be Jacob, Adolph, Gustave, and Abraham (my great grandfather) Gunzendorfer.  Since Adolph and Abraham were only two years apart, I suppose those two could be switched.  Are these not the cutest boys ever?

Another puzzle piece is in place!  Thanks, Gunzendorfer cousins!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Photo by Maret

As I looked through some of my Great Grandfather’s, Abe Gunzendorfer, photos today, I came across a few which are important to the history of the Monterey Fire Department.  As I learned from Abe’s obituary, “in 1891, he organized the first hook and ladder company in Monterey and was later made a member for life of the Monterey fire department, an honor of which he was very proud.”  [Monterey Peninsula Herald, May 4, 1944].  What a great honor – I can imagine he was proud!

On March 4, 1915, a twenty fifth anniversary celebration was held and Abe took a photo to commemorate the day.

Monterey Fire Dept 25 anniversary 3_4_1915

I just love that he wrote on the back of the photo so I knew what the the event was!

Monterey Fire Dept back

I think it says that A.B. Gunzendorfer (Abe) and M.S. Perry fostered and managed the celebration.  Fostered?  Is that right?

A few things to note in the picture.

Monterey Fire Dept 25 anniversary 3_4_1915 Gunzendorfer Parker

The flag on the wall is backwards.  Is that because of the film?  The flags to the left on poles seem to be correct.

William E. Parker is circled in green.  I’m pretty sure that’s Ferdinand Gunzendorfer (my 2nd great grandfather, Abe’s father) circled in lavender.  What do you think?

Monterey Fire Dept 25 anniversary Gunzendorfer Gunzendorfer Ferdinand cropped
Close up of photo above
Ferdinand Gunzendorfer

The Monterey Fire Department began serving the citizens of Monterey in 1882 when the first brigade was established by a group of citizens.  William E. Parker, born January 17 1865, joined the fire department in 1888 in Hose Company No. 1.  On March 4, 1890, he was named chief of the department – so the anniversary celebration was held exactly 25 years later.  Chief Parker was recognized as the nation’s longest actively serving chief with 52 years of service [Monterey Fire Department, by Mike Ventimiglia] – he didn’t retire until 1942!

The July 7, 1892 edition of the Monterey New Era reported…
At a meeting of the fire department Sunday night, to make final arrangements for a parade, Chief W.E. Parker was treated to a most enjoyable surprise.  A.B. Gunzendorfer, foreman of the Monterey Hook and Ladder company No. 1, presented him, on behalf of the fire department, with a beautiful silver trumpet of the most elegant design.

I sure would love to see that trumpet!

And here’s a fun photo that Abe took.

Juvenile Fire Engine
Conquer we Must.  Our Cause is Just.
J.D. Brower’s Juvenile Fire Engine Co. No. 36
A.B. Gunzendorfer, Photographer, Monterey, Cal.

Who knew the Monterey Fire Department would be so important in my family?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fannie Goldstein Gunzendorfer

Goldstein Fannie

I don’t know a lot about my 2nd great grandmother, Fannie Goldstein Gunzendorfer, but my interest in all things Gunzendorfer has been piqued this week due to connecting with not one but TWO Gunzendorfer cousins.  I wrote last week about my first connection here and through her, I’ve connected with her first cousin – both are descendants of Jacob Gunzendorfer, younger brother of my great grandfather, Abraham Gunzendorfer.  Their grandmother, Irene Gunzendorfer Sherwin, was my grandmother’s (Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy) first cousin.  I remember hearing about Irene and her daughters (and even met the daughters) but I never paid too much attention to how they were related.  But that’s changed now!

Our direct ancestors are Fannie Goldstein and Ferdinand Gunzendorfer, our 2nd great grandparents.  One of my first blog posts was about Ferdinand (here) so now it’s time to add Fannie to the mix.

I’ve seen quite a few birth dates and places for Fannie but I’m going to go with 6 March 1848 in Poland since that’s what it shows on her death certificate and grave.  I’ve also seen 1846 and 1847 and Prussia and Germany.  According to the Memorial and Biographical History of the Coast Counties of Central California (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1893), Fannie was united in marriage with Ferdinand Gunzendorfer in 1863, which means she was somewhere between 15 and 17 years old.  And then there’s a big gap of Fannie on her own – just census records and City Directories showing her with Ferdinand.  Which isn’t really nothing since she was with her husband and children but it doesn’t really tell me much about her

While sharing photos with my new-found cousins, I came across this.

Gunzendorfer Ferdinand Fannie Buggy

Look closely –that’s Fannie and Ferdinand in the buggy!  Fannie is driving and Ferdinand is sitting in the back seat - could he be giving her a driving lesson?  I love thinking about them out for a Sunday “drive” and wonder where they might have gone.

Gunzendorfer Ferdinand Fannie Buggy cropped

Uh-oh, Fannie had a bit of a checkered past.  What would have made her dump the contents of a slop jar (ewwww) on Miss Johnson’s trunk?  It would be interesting to know THAT story!

Gunzendorfer Lawsuit SC Sentinenel May 30 1897 page 3
Santa Cruz Sentinel
30 May 1897, page 3

A few months later, Fannie’s mother, Sarah Frankel Goldstein, died.  It is this obituary from the San Francisco Call that helped me determine that Sarah’s maiden name was Frankel.  I also find it interesting that the Goldstein’s had daughters by the names of Fannie and Francis – I can imagine that got confusing.

Sarah Frankel Goldstein Obit SF Call 27 Dec 1897 First Edition
San Francisco Call
27 December 1897

By 1907, Fannie was on her own after Ferdinand’s sudden death on 20 October 1907 in Monterey.  Fannie left Monterey for San Francisco, maybe because it was too painful for her to stay in Monterey and several of her sons were in San Francisco.  It looks like she bought property on Clay Street from Mr. and Mrs. Warren G. Bailey.

Fannie Gunzendorfer property SF Call 23 Jun 1908 First Edition
San Francisco Call
23 June 1908, First Edition

And by 1910, she was listed in the City Directory at 3126 Clay Street.  I haven’t been able to find her (or the house) in the 1910 census enumerated on 15 April 1910 – the census page lists 3124 Clay Street and then skips to 3126.  Was the house empty so no one stopped?  Where was Fannie?

A few months later, 22 July 1910, Fannie Goldstein Gunzendorfer died at Mt. Zion Hospital from an Incarcerated Hernia with a contributory cause of death of Peritonitis.  I’m sure today a patient with that type of diagnosis would be rushed into surgery but I’m guessing that option wasn’t available in 1910.  What’s interesting to note, and this if for my new-found cousin, is that in that time period Mt. Zion Hospital was strictly a Jewish hospital.  The hospital had been formed in 1887 by 43 members of the San Francisco Jewish Community and remained a Jewish hospital for nearly 100 years.  Which makes me believe that Fannie was a practicing Jew at the time of her death, although I don’t know if she was Jewish by birth or marriage.

Fannie is interred in the Gunzendorfer plot at Hills of Eternity Cemetery in Colma, California.

Gunzendorfer Plot