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Sunday
Jan052014

52 Ancestors, no. 1: Morris Klein

Note of explanation: This is a different blogging direction for me – if a person who went a year and a half without posting can be said to have a blogging direction! Genealogy blogger Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small posted a challenge for 2014: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. I'm in! I'm going to aim to post briefly about a different ancestor each Sunday night, choosing more or less at random from my family tree. If you'd like to play along, check out Amy's post for the original challenge, list your blog at Tangled Roots and Trees, and follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #52Ancestors.

"I've got FIVE DAUGHTERS!" Thus Tevye lamented, and my great-grandfather Morris Klein would probably have sympathized.

A cheery lot those five daughters were, too. Here they are with their mother, Ida:

The middle sister, Margaret, at left, (aka Maggie Carson) was my paternal grandmother. All five sisters turned out to be formidable women, none of them easy to get along with – but those are stories for another week.

Morris was born in Nagy-Begany, Hungary, in 1880, and emigrated to the US in 1900. He died in 1943, so even my father had no real memory of him. According to a 1913 passport application, Morris became a naturalized citizen in 1910, in Salt Lake City. For some portion of his first years in the US, he lived in Scranton, PA. When his daughters were very young, Morris had a store in Salt Lake City, just off Temple Square, at 120 W. South Temple.

Morris and Ida were married in Salt Lake in 1907, though it's not clear how Ida found her way there. (As I write this, I am realizing where the blanks in the story are. Ida's background is a bit of a brick wall, so I'll have to come back to her.) After a few years, according to my great aunt Ruth, Ida became homesick for her family, who were in Toledo, OH, and she convinced Morris to move the family (back?) there. Toledo is where my grandmother Maggie spent her formative years, and where the core of the Klein family stayed. They were certainly in Toledo by 1923, when the youngest daughter, Ruth, was born.

I have notes in my files telling me that Nagy Begany is now Velyka Byihan', in western Ukraine, near the Hungarian border. The Kleins were certainly primarily Hungarian-speaking and Hungarian-identified. Ruth told me that when they lived in Toledo, they were very active members of Hungarian social organizations. I'd be very curious to learn more about the Jewish community in Nagy Begany and in Salt Lake City. I've dipped into the latter just enough to learn that there's a lot more to learn about Jews in Utah.

That's it for this week! Next week I'll choose somebody from a completely different branch of the tree.

 

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