Ricki L. Zunk <rickiz@...>
First, I want to thank ALL of you who wrote to tell me how to find my
maternal ggparents in Philly. Unfortunately, I've tried just about
everything you have all suggested.
On Thursday, I spent 9 hours straight in the Miami-Dade Public Library,
going through the Philadelphia City Directories >from 1890 thru 1928 --
looking for anything that could help me with locating Ida Raizel
Levinsky COHAN and her husband Hyman/Haskell COHAN. I tried to glean as
much info as possible >from those directories. Here's what I found:
The family spelled their name C-O-H-A-N, but in every directory, it was
spelled C-O-H-E-N. No once was it spelled with an "A" in any of the
There were lots of Hyman Cohans there, but usually spelled H-Y-M-E-N.
I'm not sure what that meant.
In the 1910 directory, I found a listing for "COHEN, Ida widow, 523
Kater St., Phila., PA. THAT was my mggm! FINALLY, I thought that my
years of frustration were at an end. Immediately, I located the
enumeration district number for the 1910 census, and went directly to
the listing for 523 Kater St. My hand was shaking as I reeled through
the film. I just was so excited. And then... and then... and then I
got to the page with 523 Kater St. and found a HUGE family of Italians
living at that address. Not one COHAN or COHEN to be found anywhere.
The census data was recorded on April 15, 1910. Ida and her three
children were not living there when the census folks dropped by. I felt
totally crushed. My first real lead in more than two decades, and when
I get to the listing in the census they weren't there.
In the 1918 directory, I found a listing for George COHEN at 317 Cross
St. in Philly. George was my mgm's middle brother. In 1917 Louis, the
oldest child died, leaving George to head the family. Great!
Unfortunately, there were no census people around then to fill in the
blanks. Again, I crashed head first into a brick wall. Always just in
sight, but never quite getting there.
The only other bit of information I have is my mgm's marriage license
application. At that time (April 1924) she listed 917 Cross St. as her
home address. Right! Still no more information than that.
YES, I've written to every cemetery in business in by 1900. YES, I got
negative responses >from all of them. YES, I'd love to find a synagogue
with "life cycle" records >from that era, but I have no idea which one,
if any, my mggm belonged to. YES, I have thought about looking for
naturalization records, but I don't believe that my mggf lived in the
USA long enough to have applied. I know that his wife never did. YES,
I checked the information >from the death certificates of both of my
mgm's brothers, but nothing of help is found there. NO, the family did
not change their names in Philly -- only the City Directories have the
surname misspelled but all other records I have found >from my mgm and on
her oldest brother's death certificate and tombstone are correctly
NOW WHAT????????? I'm feeling pretty well punched out! I wouldn't be
asking for help if I hadn't used ALL of the resources you all have
mentioned to me. In 20+ years, I've tried some pretty strange stuff,
believe me. If I lived in Philly, I'd probably spend weeks at the Balch
and many of the other locations where poor Jewish immigrants would have
gone for help in the 1890s thru 1920s. But I live in the suburbs of
Miami, FL, and the commute would cost a bit more than I can afford.
IF ANYONE has a NEW suggestions, please write to me privately.
Ricki Randall Zunk