My great-great-grandfather David Yorker, paternal grandfather of my beloved grandmom, Dorothy Davis, was born 4/15/1858 in Russia.
His wife, Lillie Zeitzer, was born about around 1863.
They got married in 1880. Probably this all happened in Kanev.
On March 13, 1881, about a year after they were married, Czar Alexander was assassinated, which spurred a wave of pogroms across Russia. Kanev was one of the many towns victimized.
Over the next two decades they had 10 children, 5 of whom survived.
There was another pogrom in Kanev on 10/23/1904 in which Russian army reservists destroyed many shops and houses.
Perhaps this tragedy spurred them to immigrate. David’s brother, Lilly’s brother, and maybe other relatives were already in America by then.
Six months after that pogrom, the first to make the trip was the eldest child, Cirel.
She arrived in Philadelphia May 1905 by way of Liverpool to meet her Uncle, M. Jaroker, who came 7 years prior. Did she go because at 20 she was the only one old enough to leave home?
Because within the year of her arrival, she was married to Leib Bobrizki, who arrived 10 months prior, on 7/24/1904, from somewhere in Russia….
…which we know because when our Avrom, the second-oldest child, arrived in June 1906, a year after Cirel, with his father in tow, the ship manifest says they were met by Dowed’s son-in-law, Leib Bobowski!
And he purchased their tickets, too, from Rosenbaum Bank, one of a number of immigrant banks then in Philadelphia founded by established German Jews, where recent arrivals saved money to arrange to purchase tickets to bring their families over. Great sucking up by a new son-in-law!
The presence of David here so early surprises me, since as you will see below, David will come again. Was he checking out his daughter’s new husband to make sure he was good enough? Was he evaluating this strange, new world of Philadelphia to see if he and the rest of his family could find happiness here? Whatever the reason, it was most unexpected, as I didn’t think the family had the kind of disposable income required to send its patriarch back-and-forth. Upon arrival I believe Abe moved in with the Bobrows, as it was their address he put as his own a few years later.
Next up was the third child, Golde Jaroker.
Her ticket was purchased by her brother, Abraham Jaroker, on 12/8/1907.
She arrived in Philadelphia on 3/1/1908.
Her ship record says she was meeting her brother Abraham and left behind her father David, who clearly went back sometime in the year-and-a-half before then.
Now fast forward a couple years to March 1910.
We have three Jaroker children living in Philadelphia for 1.5-4.5 years.
Of the three Jaroker children in Philadelphia, Golde is not yet married, but her older siblings are. (Her younger sibings (still with her parents in Kanev) are likewise unmarried.)
Tzirel and Leib Bobrowski became Celia and Louis Bobrow and now have two children, Eva and Michael.
Abraham married Fanny Skversky eight months earlier, and they share a house with another family on Wharton between 6th an 7th opposite John Hay Public School.
Fanny is seven months pregnant with their first child, Sarah.
At some point prior to their 8/2/1909 wedding Abraham changed their last name to Yorker, though perhaps he is following the lead of the other related or unrelated Jarokers who made the break earlier.
Meanwhile, we have the last children and the parents yet to immigrate.
Their tickets were purchased on 9/23/09 from Rosenbaum Bank by somebody Lewin.
On March 23, 1910, the last of the Yorkers set sail.
As the ship record states, they left behind David’s brother M--- Jarocker to meet his son, Abram, and his two daughters, who were waiting for them.
The 1910 census, which came by a month later, records Celia living with Leib and their two children…
…newly-wed Abe living with Fanny and working as a shirtmaker…
…while David and Lily settled down with their three youngest children, Goldie, Mendel, and Celia, in a building they shared with other families that looked into the back of a synagogue on Bainbridge.
Twenty year-old Goldie, who had been here since 1908, gave her occupation as “Operator – pants.” Her newly-arrived younger brother, Mendel, 15, was an “Operator – skirts.” Lily was not working, nor was the younger Celia, then eleven, who also hadn’t started school yet.
And that is how the Yorkers came to live in Philadelphia!
(Who are all of these people? Well, Abraham Yorker is Grandpa Abe, my mother's grandfather!)
To tie everything together, let’s now turn to what happened to Grandpa Abe and Grandma Fanny, the parents of Dorothy Yorker, my beloved grandmother.
When we last left them, Fanny was 8 months pregnant…
On 5/7/1910, their first child, Sarah, our Aunt Syd, was born.
A little over four years later on 9/18/1914, Sam was born.
Shortly thereafter, on 4/30/1915, Abe became a US citizen!
The 1920 census catches us up on what they were all doing.
Abe was still working in the garment industry as a tailor for ladies’ clothing. The children were 10, 5, and 1.5.
Four years after Sam, on 1/6/1919, came Edward, better known to us as Sheikie.
And last but not least, two years after Sheikie, came our beloved grammy, Dorothy, whom they called Dvade, on 1/19/21.
Grammy got married at 20 to our crazy Pop-pop.
When I asked her why she loved him, she said, “because he was a nut.”
And then, of course, they had their kids -- my uncle and mother -- who arrived four decades after their Grandpa Abe arrived in Philadelphia!