Thankful for Family

John Broida Family at Frank & Seder Picnic
John Broida Family at Frank & Seder Picnic

Thanksgiving was not a holiday when our ancestors took photos- at least, not until small personal cameras were readily available and film and developing it inexpensive. So despite having a large family photo collection, I have no Thanksgiving photos from days long past. This photo, originally thought to be a family reunion, is like a Thanksgiving get-together: lots of loved ones, lots of food, lots of fun, lots of laughter.  Stories are exchanged, children run and play with cousins, and all feel the same fullness of belly and soul after a big day together. Family reunions, like holiday get-togethers, help us to know our place within the family tree, and within time and place.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Frank & Seder picnic in the Frank’s yard. Frank & Seder was a clothing store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, plus they had branches in other cities. Many Broidas worked at the Pittsburgh store, and Mr. Seder was a cousin, so their get-togethers had some hints of a family reunion. The man standing in the back in the suit, looking at the camera is John Broida. His oldest son Joseph Broida is on his right, with Joseph’s elbow resting on his brother Philip Broida’s shoulder. The second woman to John’s left, in the dark dress, is Bess Dorothy (Green) Broida (Philip’s wife). Fanny Broida is on Bessie’s left- we think she is John’s second wife, but there are a lot of women named Fanny in the family. The time period may have been the late 1920s or early 1930s.

2) Frank & Seder store information, plus photographs: Seder Family Photographs, c. 1900-1940, PSS#31, Rauh Jewish Archives, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center. Accessed 11-27-2013.

3) Family oral and written history notes.


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Copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Mystery Monday- Gitel/Gertude (Frank) Broida

Sarah Gitel Frank holding baby- possibly Theodore? Son Philip standing to the right of her, husband John sitting. The other 3 boys are probably Joseph standing, Louis in center, and Max sitting on right.
Sarah Gitel Frank holding baby- possibly Theodore? Son Philip standing to the right of her, husband John sitting. The other 3 boys are probably Joseph standing, Louis in center, and Max sitting on right.

Broida Family-

The lack of knowledge concerning the death date, place, and final resting place of  a woman who bore 10 children and now has countless great-great-grandchildren has always puzzled me. Gitel, as she was called by the family, seemed to have just faded away. I have searched on and off through the years, hoping that more would be available to help find this dear woman. Finally, there is, though not all questions are answered- yet.

One big clue was a transcription from The Jewish Criterion of 1 May 1936, page 22:

J. J. Broida for two sets Chumoshim and Machseirim in memory of his mother,
Sarah Gitel Broida and wife, Fannie Broida.


“J. J.” would be Joseph Jacob Broida (1882-1958), who married Fannie Glick. This notice told me that Gitel’s formal first name was “Sarah.”

Then I started thinking about information I had found for a ‘Sarah G. Broida”- I had not known who that was until I started comparing what I knew about Gitel and what I was seeing about Sarah. They were the same person!

Family oral history was that Gitel died at age 39 of tuberculosis, so I had surmised her death year as being 1898. We knew she had passed away sometime between the birth of their last son, Harold (25 Dec 1897), and the time that John “Zelig” remarried in 1904. The date given for Sarah G’s death on was 14 Apr 1901, so it fit within the parameters. Sarah G. was buried in Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Cemetery in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, as was the Broida’s little son Samuel who died at just 2 years of age. (See Samuel Broida- An Unknown Son of John (Zelig) Broida and Gitel Frank?) Hmmm, the evidence is increasing…

A most intriguing part of this search was that we found “Gussie”, John, their oldest son Joseph J., and youngest son Harold (See Harold and Leah (Schreiber) Broida of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), in Denver Colorado for the 07 Jun 1900 US Federal Census. They were not just visiting, as John was employed as a merchant in dry goods, and Joseph was working as a clerk in a clothing house; they also had a husband, his wife, and the couple’s two children boarding with them in their rented home. As John’s wife was listed as “Gussie,” I initially thought maybe he had already remarried. Checking the census entry further revealed that he had been married to his wife “Gussie” for 19 years, so the woman had to be Gitel. The census also listed that “Gussie” had borne 10 children but only 7 were still living, which lends credence to the find about baby Samuel. The family was listed as living at 1655 Eliot in the 1900 Denver City Directory, and again in 1901, same residence, but John was working in men’s furnishing goods at a business at 1628 Latimer.

Why were they in Denver, Colorado??? John and family had always worked in the clothing business, and had lived in or near the city. As one family member put it, “… I can’t picture Zelig out on the wild frontier.” But cool, pure mountain air was considered a cure-all at the turn of the 20th century. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, hundreds of ‘sanitariums’ and hospitals were started in the mountains, touting all sort sof health benefits in their advertising throughout newspapers and magazines. Maybe Zelig and Gitel had moved out to Colorado to ‘find the cure’ for the cough that Gitel had that eventually became tuberculosis. They would probably have taken their oldest son to help the family with income and caring for the youngest son and Gitel, if she was already ill.

Did Gitel die in Colorado? Death certificates were not required in Colorado until 1900, but that was not enforced until 1925. Denver was in Arapahoe County until 1902, so if Gitel died in 1901, her death may be recorded in Arapahoe rather than Denver County; I have a query out to the Vital Records Department. Or did she choose to go home to see her other children, once she knew she was not getting better in Colorado, and then die in Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh did not start recording deaths until 1906, so we cannot learn the answer there. Jewish customs dictate that it is important to honor the dead by burying them as quickly as possible, so this seems to me the more likely scenario. What do you think? Any cousins out there who can help us answer these remaining questions?


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) 1900 US Federal census for Gussie and John Broida: Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Roll: 120; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0126; FHL microfilm: 1240122. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Accessed 11-19-2013.

2) Denver, CO City Directory, 1900 and 1910: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

3) Lest one think that genealogy is just a matter of entering a few names and shaky leaves will tell you everything else, here is just a partial list of records reviewed in one afternoon of searching for Gitel’s death date and burial place (Indexes & websites searched for Gitel’s grave, all accessed 11-25-2013.):

Find A Grave:

Denver Obituary Indexes 1900-2000

Denver Area cemeteries:

Riverside in Denver: and

All Adams Co. Cemeteries listed at (contains a portion of Riverside cem, and was part of Arapahoe Co. prior to 1902)

Fairmount Cemetery @ Removals from the Hebrew Burying and Prayer Ground were re-interred in the Emanuel Sections of Fairmount. Their website does not indicate any Broidas buried there, but I have a query out to them.

Denver Public Library Digital Collections:

4) PA Dept of Health death Indices:


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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

“FANs”- Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher

Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher, and Their Dog
Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher, and Their Dog


“FAN” is an acronym for Friends, Associates, and Neighbors– people to look to when doing genealogy to help learn more about your primary subjects.

Annie Fletcher and Albert Hunniball were close Friends to my grandparents, Associates, as the two women attended the same church, and Neighbors too- they lived just a couple of houses around the corner from Edith and Alfred Luck. The Hunniballs were very British, as was Alfred- all three immigrated to the US between 1903-1912. As a child we would go visit Mrs. Hunniball- she was mostly blind and stayed at home, so enjoyed any bit of company. Mrs. Hunniball- I never knew her first or maiden name until just recently- was tall and slender to me as a child, and wore dresses reminiscent of the cotton shirtwaists of an earlier time. Her white hair was piled high on her head in a bun or a wrapped braid, and she had an air of elegant grace even though she was slightly stooped in her 80s. She taught us how to make tea the English way and would tell stories of working in the Queen of England’s castle when she was a young girl. It all seemed so romantic, as did her love for Albert- he passed away in 1965 so it would not have been very long that she had been widowed. She had a photograph of him on the wall that she looked at, and though she probably could not actually see the image in the photo, it was obvious that she could still see Albert with her heart as the young man she fell in love with 50 years before. As she touched his portrait she would smile a sweet smile of long, deep, true love.

I had never seen a picture of the two of them together, young, until recent years when I found some family of theirs online. I just love this photograph- so quintessentially British with the wicker chair and their dog, his paw on Albert’s knee. They never had children, so I wanted to share a bit of their story so their legacy can live on.

Eliza Ann Fletcher was born in Timworth, Suffolk, England on 18 Dec 1880 to Edward and Maria Fletcher. She was listed in the 1881 census in Culford with her parents, and then in 1891, at age 11, in Ampton, both in Suffolk, this time with her parents, four sisters and a brother. Although her father was an agricultural laborer, she and two siblings were listed as “Scholars” as they did attend school. By 1905, when she was 25, she was working in one of the palaces in England- when the “Royal Household Staff” listings became available, I was excited to search for her name to see how the story I remembered fit reality. I had to learn her maiden name first though!

Annie immigrated to the US in 1911 or 1912. She married Albert John Hunniball on 30 Mar 1912 in Newton, Jasper, Iowa.

Albert had been born 07 Apr 1877 in Thetford District, Norfolk, England to George W. and Anna Simmons Hunniball. Albert was listed as a “Plumber & Painter” in the 1891 England census when he was 23 and still living with his family. Albert decided to emigrate to the United States, and sailed on the ship Campania, from Liverpool, England, to New York City, USA, arriving March 26, 1911, at the age of 33. The ship’s manifest listed him as single, his occupation “Decorator,” and it stated he was going to Colfax, Iowa to settle.

Albert and Annie lived the rest of their lives in Newton, Iowa. He worked as a painter and paperhanger. He had a heart attack and died 15 Mar 1965 at age 87. Annie lived for almost six more years, dying at 90 years of age on 26 Jan 1971, in Newton, Iowa. They are buried together in Newton Union Cemetery, Sec. 01 Lot 106 Block 18.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) 1881 England- census for Eliza Ann Fletcher: Source Citation: Class: RG11; Piece: 1838; Folio: 41; Page: 19; GSU roll: 1341445. Source Information: and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

2) Royal Household Staff 1526-1924 at Fee-based records accessed 2012.

3) Annie Fletcher Hunniball- Find A Grave: Accessed 11/22/13.

4) 1881, 1891, 1901 England census for Albert John Hunniball,

5) New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Source Citation: Year: 1911; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 1646; Line: 28; Page Number: 102.

6) US Federal Censuses for Albert and Annie Hunniball for 1920, 1930, 1940, on

7) 1925 Iowa State Census for Annie and Albert: Source Information: Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.

8) Albert John Hunniball- Find A Grave:


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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Art in Artifacts: Mortar and Pestle from the Rose Brafe Green Family

Brafe-Green Family Mortar & Pestle
Brafe-Green Family Mortar & Pestle

“The hand hammered brass mortar and pestle given … Dec. 1967 by Aunt Mary Green- who inherited it from her Mother Rose Brafe Green Jan. 1935.”

Written by Aunt Mary Green about the Brafe-Green Family Mortar & Pestle.
Written by Aunt Mary Green about the Brafe-Green Family Mortar & Pestle.

Transcription: “Rose Brafe Green’s Mother Sarah Brafe who owned it for many years brot [sic] it to the United States in Mar. 1888- We do not Know if she inherited it or purchased it before coming here to live- but its origin we believe was Kovna (Kaunas) a state in Russia near the German border.”

Brafe-Green Family Mortar and Pestle.
Brafe-Green Family Mortar and Pestle.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) The family name has also been spelled “Braef” or “Brave.”

2) Family oral and written history.

3) Kovna/ Kovno was the Yiddish form of Kaunas, which is in Lithuania. The Russians controlled the country at the time the Brafe-Green family immigrated to the US.


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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm/jrw.

Samuel Broida- An Unknown Son of John (Zelig) Broida and Gitel Frank?

Samuel Broida death record, 02 Oct 1891, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Samuel Broida Death Record, 02 Oct 1891, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Broida Family

Phillip Broida

(Zelig) Broida and Gertrude (Gitel) Frank had seven sons that were known in the family, and there is a wonderful photo of them all with their father when they were grown men. (Another post…) A recent query of FamilySearch, however, revealed this death record for a Samuel Broida who was unknown by Broida researchers. It states the parents were J. Broida and G. Broida, and the child was buried at McKees Rock, which had a Jewish Cemetery where other Broidas are buried. Samuel was just 2 yrs, 9 months old at his death on 02 Oct 1891, so would have been born about January, 1889. There is a break in the years of the births of Zelig and Gitel’s sons- one of the known sons, Philip, was born in 1887; the next documented was born in 1893, so this makes Samuel as another child plausible. Is this a preponderance of evidence? Probably not yet. New memorials on Find A Grave may help to solve the mystery, as photos have been requested and may give us more clues.

This record adds another story to the Broida family…how sad to have a child die young, and to watch helplessly as it happens. Samuel died of “membranous croup.” Any of this current generation who has been up all night with a child with the croup- that includes me- will know the terror that stabs at the heart with that first hint of a soft barking cough – that soft cough is a living nightmare that can wake up a parent in the midst of a deep sleep. You know the croup is coming- how can you minimize it? You know, if the cold damp outside air or running a shower does not work, that you can go to the emergency room where medications and oxygen can help your child live through it, though not all do, even today. How horrible for previous generations who did not have the drugs, and must hold their ill child close, rocking and cooing, trying to soothe a precious child, and knowing that the odds are not good that the child will survive.

These types of stories connect us closer to our ancestors, and make them more than just names, dates, and places- these family stories become written in our hearts.

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Find A Grave Memorial #120538146, Created and accessed 11-19-2013.

2) “Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905,” index and images, FamilySearch: Accessed 18 Nov 2013.

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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm/jrw.