Impossible Brick Wall Next Steps DRAY? #usa

Dorann Cafaro

Hi Community:
I have tried for years to find/confirm the maiden name (and any additional information) for my 2nd great-grandmother. 
What I know:
  • name Hannah/Anna ???
  • b Austria/Germany 6 Jun 1821
  • died in Baltimore MD 29 Dec 1885
  • buried Har Sinai Cemetery Baltimore MD (Jewish)
  • married about 1852 to Sauel Samuel Grauer b 2 May 1814 Raudnitz an der Elbe Czech Rep as 1st child/son Leon born 1853
  • NO MARRIAGE OR DEATH CERTIFICATES ANYWHERE ON FILE including no death certificates for her children as MD did not start keeping records till much later & Har Sinai said they have no records
What I believe but can’t document:
  • surname DRAY - this is a confirmed family surname and it is in my grandmother’s name plus I have identified all other surnames of her family
  • she may be from Alsace as the surname Dray is often found there and my father had to have french speaking governess when a child with his grandmother living in the house
  • I have looked at DNA connections without success
Love any ideas where to go from here.
Regards Dorann Cafaro
Jewish research Grauer, Dray, May, Marcus, Fischer

Ian Rothman

If your relative applied for U.S. citizenship, there may be a record of her application for citizenship with the federal government. Have you considered going down that avenue?

Ian Rothman
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Sherri Bobish


Try searching for obituaries in old newspapers.  Hannah's maiden name may have been mentioned.

Many are digitized and searchable.  Try this site (newspapers are arranged geographically):


Also, check if either Hannah or Samuel left a will (probate record.)  If so, pay attention to any name mentioned in the will, you may potentially find a clue there.  I have seen wills where money was left to family back in Europe.

Look for vital records (birth, marriage, death) of Hannah's children, as her maiden name may be listed.

Good luck in your search,

Sherri Bobish

Searching: RATOWSKY / CHAIMSON (Ariogala / Ragola, Lith.)
WALTZMAN / WALZMAN (Ustrzyki Dolne / Istryker, Pol.)
LEVY (Tyrawa Woloska, Pol.)
LEFFENFELD / LEFENFELD / FINK, KALTER (Daliowa/ Posada Jasliska, Pol.)
BOJDA / BERGER (Tarnobrzeg, Pol.)
SOKALSKY / SOLON / SOLAN / FINGER(MAN) (Grodek, Bialystok, Pol.)
BOBISH / APPEL (Odessa?)

Michele Lock

You could contact the Baltimore County Genealogical Society, to find out what vital records are available for Baltimore city, and how to go about ordering them. You could also try emailing the Maryland State archives, to see what holdings they have for Baltimore; when I've emailed them, I've always gotten a reply in 2-3 days.

I do have a question for you - if you haven't been able to find any vital records for the 2nd great grandmother, how do you have the exact dates for her birth and death? Do you have some sort of record for these, or are they from family trees that others have put together.

In a related vein - if this woman had children born in the US in the 1850s and later, then there should be death certificates for those children, who I would assume died after 1900 or so. Those certificates should be obtainable, though you may have to order them for a fee from a state archive or other government agency. 
Michele Lock

Lak/Lok/Liak/Lock and Kalon/Kolon in Zagare/Joniskis/Gruzdziai, Lithuania
Lak/Lok/Liak/Lock in Plunge/Telsiai in Lithuania
Trisinsky/Trushinsky/Sturisky and Leybman in Dotnuva, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine/Lev/Lew in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Vilna gub., Belarus