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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Fredericka Feinstein (or OMG!: how passenger records and newspapers can lead to new connections)

The Daily News, Lebanon, Pennsylvania · Friday, March 17, 1933, p. 10.

My aim in doing a one-name study of all the Feinsteins in the world is to find any that I can connect to my family. I’ve recently been analysing passenger records of relations who emigrated to America to see if I can find any clues in the names and addresses of the people that the emigrants give as the person they are going to join in the US.

I was able to move Fredericka Feinstein into my tree because of the passenger record for Golda Feinstein (later Olga), who arrived in Boston in 1905, saying that her nearest relative was her sister:

The National Archives in Washington, DC; Washington, DC; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving At Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 082.

This is very hard to read, but I eventually worked it out! Fredericka (Frida) was born in Liepaja, Latvia, on 15 April 1860. On 13 June 1880, she married Simon Bontzer or Bankser:

Simon was a shoemaker. They had five sons in Liepaja before emigrating to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in 1892, where a daughter was born.

Frida set up in business as a milliner at 24 North 6th Street, and she was advertising in the local papers and business directories from 1899 onwards.

The Daily News, Lebanon, Pennsylvania · Friday, April 15, 1904, p. 6.

In 1902, Frida applied for a passport:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, 1795-1905; Roll #: 599; Volume #: Roll 599 - 09 May 1902-16 May 1902

The Daily News in Lebanon, which liked to report on people’s comings and goings, announced in June that she had gone to New York to sail for Europe, where she would remain for some time.

In 1909, an article on how “millinery openings are the rage these days … and the female population is in a furore of excitement” devotes a paragraph to Fredericka’s shop:

The Daily News, Lebanon, Pennsylvania · Monday, November 22, 1909, p. 1.

Simon Bangser died in 1922. In 1930 Fredericka travelled to Europe, returning from Hamburg to New York on the SS George Washington on 4 October. Fredericka died in 1942:

The Daily News, Lebanon, Pennsylvania · Thursday, October 22, 1942, p. 14.

I have just discovered, while writing this post, a newspaper report from 1905 saying that Fredericka’s brother, J. Feinstein, of St Joseph, Missouri, was visiting with his son George:

The Daily News, Lebanon, Pennsylvania · Wednesday, June 28, 1905, p. 1.

This is new information! Which brother was this? Fredericka did have a brother Yakov, who would have become Jacob in America, but I had no information about him. But his son George was easy to find in Missouri, and he turned out to be George Leon Feinstein, born in Chicago in 1896. His parents were Jacob (Jake) and Minnie. Jacob had emigrated the year before Fredericka, in 1891.

He died in St Joseph, Missouri, in 1939:

St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Missouri · Tuesday, February 14, 1939, p. 5.

So again, I can now move him into the Feinstein family tree, and there are plenty of descendants to follow up on!

And one more exciting find! The Lebanon Daily News reported that Fredericka’s mother, Minna, had visited her from Liepaja:

Lebanon Daily News, Lebanon, Pennsylvania · Wednesday, July 22, 1896, p. 1.

So now we know that she was still alive in 1896.

Golda, Fredericka, and Jacob Feinstein are Ari’s first cousins 5x removed. They are descendants of four of Ari’s ancestors. (Their father, Leib Feinstein, married Minna Brenner, while Leib’s brother Isaac married Minna’s sister Sheva.)

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