Genealogy has been my passion for twenty years, a way to reach out to generations not yet born, to enable them to take pride in our forefathers, to answer the questions and understand the sacrifices they made for their families.
The death of first cousin Jerry Kramer was the impetus to collect and publish; life is so short, so fragile.
I would like this to be a collective Kramer Family project, hoping each of you will add the stories that are meaningful to you. This is a first draft; what I collect will become our collaborative effort. And then we’ll all have something to be proud of and pass down.
Phyllis Kramer, October 2013
This is the story of Jacob Kramer, a Galician immigrant who came to the United States in the early 1900s. Jacob was born in Jasienica Rosielna to Abraham Mechel Kramer and his wife Heni Wisner.
And this is the patriarch…Abraham Mechel Kramer, who was a peddler living in “Yashnitz”, in Galicia.
Peddling was a common occupation in those days; the men travelled to nearby towns and markets to sell their goods. What a fabulous photograph! Abraham lived quite a long time by the standards of his day, from around 1853 to 1937. He is said to have had four wives, although I can document only three.
Two of his children (Jakob and Ella) immigrated to the US; in this document you will see their families. I am sure there were other children, but no record survives.
The Kramer Family Timeline:
1884: Jacob Kramer born to Abraham M Kramer
1905: Jacob Kramer arrives in NYC
1908: Jacob Kramer and Annie Lindner marry
1916: Half sister Ella Kramer arrives
1926: Jacob Kramer becomes a citizen, Bronx NY
The TimeLine - continued
1933: Jacob Kramer dies, Annie moves to Hull Avenue, Bronx NY
1936: Daniel Kramer marries Beatrice Lipshitz
1942: Caroline Kramer marries Morris zabo>Sobel
1948: Manuel Kramer marries Doris Schwartz
Emigration: The First Step
It began in October of 1905 when Jacob KRAMER embarked on the Steamship Kroonland in Antwerp. According to daughter Carrie, it was on this voyage that Jacob, the rabbinical student, met Annie LINDNER, coming home from school in Budapest. Although we have found the manifests for Annie in 1904 and 1905 (below), we have never located Jacob on any ship. I have often suspected Jacob took the ship arrival information from Annie so he could naturalize.
Jakob and Hene most likely had the same travel experience, to Antwerp in 1905. We have no information about their route but most likely it was by train. We do know that they probably stayed close to the train station or the quays until they could leave. Their tickets were not for a particular boat, but for a steamship line.
However they met, they married in 1908. Chana or Henne became Annie. Jakob became Jak. This was consistent with most other immigrants who Americanized their names, to feel more “at home” in their new country. The marriage Certificate reads:
Annie’s age and birthplace were never pinned down. In those days it was acceptable to manage these “facts”. A genealogical bit of humor claims that although the Federal Census was taken every ten years, the average woman only aged 7 years.
Jacob was a dreamer; by occupation he was a tailor. In the 1917 draft he noted that he was unemployed.
Daughter Carrie said: They loved the theater, had many friends; they would meet their brothers and sisters in grandma’s house.
Annie Lindner Kramer: Carrie said: “My mother was good but very strict. Stiff. She had fine hair; went to beauty parlor every week. She had hair she could sit on. Cried when they cut it. (Mom: Carrie didn’t like living with & fought with her mother).
Carrie: Annie was tough; a cold fish; the no sayer. Dora (Dora Lindner, Annie’s mother) had 6 kids; all went to school in Vienna, with maid to take care of them. Annie met Jacob on boat after she graduated, and was returning to NY. Annie kept a kosher house.
The children went there every weekend; the women played cards, the men played craps against the radiator. Grandma had a big bowl of Arbis (chickpeas). Went to Lakewood; didn’t want to go to the Catskills because children made too much noise.
Carrie Kramer Sobel: I idolized him; not a day goes by I don’t think of him. "Mashed potatoes", so good, wonderful. Annie met Jacob on boat after she graduated, and was returning to NY.
Jeff Sobel: rumor of business failure; Carrie said he owned a dress factory, called him "pie face"
Gert Lindner: he fell asleep on night and never woke up. He was young.
Kramer Jacob 1904 Madison140 tailor
Kramer Jacob 1908 AveD-7 tailor 327 E 8
Kramer Jacob 1912-3 AveD-88 cloaks 48 cannon
Kramer Jacob 1915-6 Wash1102 Altman & Kramer
Kramer Jacob 1931 Hull3506 +Rubin 1917
The Naturalization Process: Becoming a Citizen
Naturalization, a voluntary process, enables an Alien to become an American Citizen. In 1790 Congress passed the first Naturalization law. An alien living in the United States for 3 years could file a Declaration of Intent (also known as “first papers”); in 1893 the waiting period was shortened to two years.
Three years after filing the Declaration of Intent the alien could file a Petition for Naturalization; if granted, he became a citizen and received a certificate. These papers can be found online at Ancestry and Familysearch.org.
Naturalization: Jacob became a citizen in the Bronx Superior Court in 1926. The naturalization petition reads:
1915 New York State Census: Jacob KRAMER, tailor, Jewish, alien, 12 years US (e.1904); Annie 26(1889), 12 years US(1903), Jewish, Alien, children born in the US: Rubie 6, Daniel 5, Caroline 1, 1103 Washington Avenue, Bronx, NY
Jacob & Annie: Final Notes
Jacob died of a heart attack in 1933 when he was only 49. Leaving Annie a widow supported by her children. Annie died in 1951.
Judy Katz: the story went that Jacob died of indigestion before a surprise party planned for him which was why Daddy would never talk about surprise parties. Carrie: Annie died of cancer. It was a long and painful death. She called me from country, said Rubie should pick her up, she’s bleeding; didn’t believe in doctors, wanted to die in her own house. The "three of us" shared the expense of her round the clock nurses.
Barbara Kramer remembers her apartment and pain (she was 4). Also cherry candies in bowl.
(Judy Kramer Katz)· Nanny Annie died 2 months before my Bat Mitzvah, April 1951; gave me her ring and her watch; had to go to see her to get it. That was the beginning of real dissension in the family; daddy paid rent on apartment but his siblings wanted the contents.
It was in that apartment that my mother took the one thing she valued, the photograph of Annie Lindner and her family. The original hangs in a place of honor in my room. More about the Lindners later.
In those days, folks bought a gravesite in one of the Benevolent Associations; until the 1950s, the sites were the next available and folks were not buried with their kin. In fact, Annie and Jacob are not even in the same cemetery, as the Mt. Zion plot had no more gravesites.
Jacob Kramer: Death Cert: #10560 angina pectoris. Mt. Zion Cemetery, Progressive Workmen's Benevolent Assn b. 2/2/84, age 49, Austria, clothing designer; e.28 years ago(1905); parents Abraham Kramer and Carrie x, Austria; Tombstone reads: Yitzhauk (son of) Avraham
Jacob Kramer was a Talmudic student; his father was a peddler.
Annie Eichel came from a more distinguished family; her father was Reuven Lindner, her mother Dvorsha Eichel (1862-1927NY). These families came from Rohatyn and environs.
The Eichels were well-known in the community, paid taxes and owned their own homes. Dvorsha’s father Anschel Eichel, like his father before him, was a tailor who specialized in making uniforms for the Pravoslav priests and monks in Rohatyn. Reuven Mechel Lindner (1854-1904) we were told was a Dayan. Ronna Lindner: I remember hearing that Reuven was a traveling lay rabbi who went from town to town to settle disputes.
The photo at the left, taken around 1892, somewhere in Austria-Hungary, possibly in Budapest, shows Dvorsha Eichel Lindner and Reuven Lindner, with children Nachman (Mark ), Annie (who married Jacob Kramer), Anschel (Charles) and Izzie. They had six children born in Rohatyn and Burstyn (only 4 survived) and three more born in the US.
Reuven (1854-1904) and Dora (Dvorsha) (1885-1951) travelled a great deal; they came to the US early, in the 1890s. Here he was a ladies tailor in Patterson New Jersey (1893-4) and New York City; although granddaughter Gert claimed he was “in the textiles, silks and/or importing business; returned to Europe several times for business.
Dora believed “everyone should be in business”. Reuven and Dora returned to Europe in 1903 or 1904, we were told to find a cure for his illness. He never returned. As a widow Dora returned to the United States March 14, 1906 with the children
Annie Lindner Kramer (lower right) and her siblings (Mark, Jack, Izzie, Charlie, Pauline, Sadie and Annie) at a family wedding in 1944. Mark was a famous playwright and actor, Jack was a successful producer and talent agent, Izzie owned a haberdashery and Charlie was the “patriarch”, becoming successful in the silk business. Markwrote and Jack produced “Diamond Lil” with Mae West and Jack produced a TV show “The Bowery”, in 1951
The Lindner family is buried in the Rohatyn landsmanshaften (neighborhood association) in Mt. Hebron.