Some Background on Leo Krant and Family
My mother, Seretha Dora Rice, initially married one Leo Kraut/Krant in Montreal in 1926. Leo died suddenly in Albany, NY in 1933 and his death left my mother and their three young children in dire straights in the middle of the Depression. Seretha Dora, who in her adult life went by Dora or S Dora, made her way to Detroit, MI from Albany, where the family had been living, and stayed with her sister Ethel for several months before she relocated her family back to Nova Scotia and “home”. Seretha Dora was always reluctant to provide details of that first phase of her life, even to her grown children, and our combined understanding consisted of collected snippets of information derived from Seretha Dora’s odd remark, and some few memories carried by her two daughters, Shirley and Thelma Krant. These snippets eventually were translated into a bit of a story line c 2005 which involved Seretha Dora’s marriage to Leo Krant, (supposedly a widower of the orthodox Jewish persuasion with a large Montreal-based family, and twice Seretha Dora’s age), in Montreal in 1926; subsequent immigration to the US and the birth of the three children between 1927 and 1930 in Albany and Rochester, NY; Leo’s untimely demise in 1933; and Seretha Dora’s trial in being abandoned yet being able to make her way to Detroit and eventually back to Nova Scotia.
However, the above story line was based wholly on sketchy oral history. In the fall of 2010 the opportunity was pursued to look at the available records and see what they might do to support or debunk the existing story line. The results follow:
1. FOLLOWING LEO KRAUT/KRANT THROUGH THE RECORDS:
· The first piece of evidence that made an appearance was a record of the Krant-Rice marriage in Westmount, Montreal on May 27, 1926 by Minister Arthur E Runnels. The record was unexpectedly found in “The Drouin Collection” of Catholic Records from Quebec in a file of handwritten vital statistics of the Westmount Park United Church in Montreal which had been microfilmed by Drouin. Leo’s last name was given as Kraut, his parents’ names as Mark Krant and Pauline Korn. Seretha Dora’s parents were listed as Forman Rice and Hannah Sherriffs. Witnesses were L G Hart and Sadie Yolaberg.
· A subsequent general sweep through Canadian censes provided a 1911 census record for Leo Krant showing he and family living in South York at 1373 Dundas, Toronto. Leo was listed therein as Krant, his birth was given as April 1880 in Germany, his immigration date (to Canada) was given as 1905, his citizenship was given as Canadian, his religion as Anglican, and his occupation as “traveller on the road”. Leo’s wife was given as Louisa Krant, born in Canada in July 1880, English, Canadian, Anglican. Living with the couple was one son, Roland M Krant, b July 1907, Canadian, and Anglican. Both parents were listed as being able to read and write.
· Leo, at 24, and Louisa, at a reported 25, were married on July 19, 1905 at St. Luke’s Anglican in Peterborough, ON. Leo’s residence was given as New York, his religion as Lutheran, his occupation as salesman and his parents as Marcus Krant and Pauline Korn. Louisa’s name was given as Emma Louisa Scott, her place of residence as Peterborough, her religion Anglican and her parents as John R Scott and Eliza Gaskins.
· Emma Louise Kraut died on February 27, 1926 in Peterborough, ON at 47 years and 6 months of age and was buried in local Little Lake Cemetery. The record noted she had been born July 14, 1880 in Peterborough and that she had lived 44 of her 46 years in Peterborough. The death record, for which husband Leo of 114 Maria St. had been the informant, noted the cause of death to have been diabetes; it also noted her parents to have been both born in England. Of interest, a 1914 Peterborough tax assessment record shows the 114 Maria St. residence to have been owned by Louisa’s father John R. Scott.
· Of interest is the fact that the above death record was typed and the spelling of Leo’s last name as given therein is Kraut. In all the above records except the census (poorly handwritten) the name is readily interpreted as Kraut, as it is with older records of other family members as noted below and is the name held by one of Leo’s great nephews whose self-identified name appears in an on-line genealogical message board. While both Kraut and Krant are not common in US censes the name Kraut appears to be more frequently present.
· Leo and family are recorded as living in Saint John, NB in the 1921 census. Additionally, there are border crossing records for 1919 and 1920 showing Leo crossing into the US with a NY City destination; in one instance he was going by train via Montreal. There is also a 1914 list of passengers boarding the SS Florigal on Jul 18, 1914 in Saint John destined for Halifax which shows one L Kraut, 33, commercial traveler, with a final destination of Peterboro, ON. It would appear that Leo moved his family to Saint John in the late teens because of the improved access to NYC where he seems to have been doing business.
· It is probably reasonable to assume that Seretha Dora made initial contact with the Krant family in Saint John, NB. If she entered school at age 6 in 1912, and attended until she finished Grade 11 then she would have graduated in the spring of 1923 at 17. If indeed she did proceed to Saint John to take up the seamstress trade, as reported by her daughter Thelma, she could have been there by fall 1923. She would have needed part time work to provide income in Saint John and it seems reasonable that a part time “nanny” position would have fit that bill. Given the remarkable short time between Louisa Krant’s Peterborough, ON death and Leo’s Montreal marriage to Seretha Dora (3 months) it becomes reasonable to assume that Leo and Seretha Dora had been previously known to each other.
· Leo and Seretha Dora may have spent some months in Montreal before moving south into New York State. Leo was listed in Lovell’s 1926 edition of the Montreal Directory as manager of Robinson National Clearing Co. located at apartment 18, 48 Crescent Street. Seretha Dora is elsewhere listed as having immigrated into the US in 1926.
· The couple appears to have made their way to Albany, New York where eldest daughter Shirley was born in May of 1927. The 1927 and 1928 editions of the Albany, NY directory lists Leo as Special Representative working out of room 45 at 24 James St. and his residence at 62 Dove; the 1928 directory also shows the couple living in Clinton Heights with Leo involved in insurance as does the 1929 directory (for the year ending July 1930).
· The April 1930 census places the family in Albany at 39 Hollywood Avenue, notes they paid rent of $60 month and that the family did not have a radio. Leo’s name is given as Krant, his age is given as 48 years, his birthplace as Germany, his date of immigration to the US as 1893, and his occupation as an insurance salesman. S. Dora Krant is listed as 24, married at 20, of English extraction with parents born in Canada. Eldest daughter Shirley was noted at age 2 years, 6months, son Clyde at 1 year 8 months, and youngest daughter Thelma at 2 months.
· While Seretha Dora's youngest daughter Thelma advised that her brother Clyde was born in Rochester, NY and she and sister Shirley in Albany, a recently recovered letter written by Seretha Dora written in support of Clyde's application to join the RCAF in the late 1940s places his birth location in East Greenbush Township, NY, a township in Rensselaer County and immediately south of Albany.
2. SOME FURTHER DETAIL ON THE CHILDREN FROM LEO’S FIRST FAMILY
· Son Roland M was born in the County of York (Toronto area), ON, on July 7, 1906 to Leo Kraut and Emma Louise Scott. A daughter Muriel Scott was born to the couple in Peterborough in 1914.
· Obituaries and cemetery records show that Roland married one Mary Amelia Thornton of Peterborough and the couple appeared to live in that community for their lifetime. No children were listed in their obituaries. The obituary would suggest that Masonry played a major part in Roland’s life as he was Past Master of Corinthian Lodge #101 and a member of the Scottish Rite 32nd degree as well as a member of a number of associated societies. Wife Mary died in Peterborough in February 1979; Roland likewise died in Peterborough in February, 1990. The couple is buried in Peterborough’s Little Lake Cemetery. The headstone shared with her husband gives Mary’s year of birth as 1905.
3. THE KRAUT FAMILY AND THE EARLY DAYS IN NEW YORK:
· Leo Krant’s name did not immediately jump out looking further back in the census records, nor did those of his parents Marcus and Pauline. A check for a known older sister, Flora Rosenfeld and husband Julius, proved more rewarding in the 1900 census record and the icing on the cake was the presence of mother Pauline and the rest of the family in the same apartment building listed under Kraut.
· The 1900 census record for the family at 2171 Third Avenue in Manhattan shows a family make-up of widow Pauline Kraut, born October 1847 in Germany, 52 years of age, and the mother of 5 children with five still living; and without fluency in spoken English. Oldest son Sigmund Kraut was born May 1875 in Germany, was 25 years of age, single, could speak English, was employed as a cutter, and was assigned an immigration date of 1888. Son Joseph Kraut was born in Germany in April of 1827, was 23 years old, could speak English, was listed as a salesman. Son Leo was born in Germany in April of 1881, was 19 years of age, was occupied as a clerk, and could speak English. Finally, daughter Selma Kraut was born in Germany in August of 1879, was 20 years of age, single, was a housekeeper, and could speak English. The immigration date given for all the family members except Sigmund was 1893.
· Daughter Flora Kraut had likewise immigrated in 1893. However, she had married one Julius Rosenfeld on December 25, 1899 and the couple was separately listed in the 1900 census. Julius birth was recorded as April 1867 in Germany, his immigration year was given as 1891, his occupation as clerk, and he could speak English. Flora was noted to have been born in Germany in February 1873, immigrated in 1893, no occupation, and could speak English
· The Kraut family is listed in both Hamburg and New York passenger lists. Sigmund is noted to have departed Germany on July 24, 1889, arriving New York August 10, 1889. The remainder of the family is recorded as departing Germany on March 19, 1893 and arriving New York on April 1, 1893. The New York list records Pauline as Caroline; however, she is correctly identified as Pauline in the Hamburg records.
· Of interest, Marcus Kraut is not listed with the family in 1893. However, one Marcus Krant is noted to have arrived New York from Bremen on June 1, 1893. It has been assumed that this is our Marcus Kraut who shipped out a few weeks later after cleaning up family and business matters before setting sail.
· Marcus Krant died prior to the 1900 declaration of “widow” by Pauline in the census; however, Pauline’s identification as a “wife” in the 1893 New York passenger list suggests that Markus was likely still alive at that point in time. A definitive date of death for Marcus Kraut has not been yet discovered. However, there is an August 12, 1895 death in Manhattan for one Marcus Kraus, 49; the death falls within the 1893-1900 period and the reported age would be consistent with Pauline’s stated age.
· One last item of interest of this early period of the family in New York City was the following item in the New York Times, August 12, 1900: Drowned at Bathing Beach – Edward Faust, a clerk, of 56 East One Hundred and Eighteenth Street, went swimming yesterday afternoon at Washington Heights Bathing Beech, foot of West One Hundred and Fifty-sixth Street. He could not swim well, and he went out into too deep water, and becoming exhausted, was drowned before help reached him. He went in with Leo Kraut of 2171 Third Ave. Several men saw his peril, and swam out toward him. He was almost in midstream, and they could not reach him in time and he sank. They secured his body.
4. FOLLOWING PAULINE AND THE ROSENFELD FAMILY THROUGH THE 1905 TO 1930 CENSUS AND OTHER RECORDS:
· The record shows that Pauline and her daughter Flora maintained close familial contact in New York City. In 1905 Pauline (51), accompanied by Selma (24), an office worker, and Leo (23), a salesman, was living at 929 152nd Street in the Bronx. Daughter Flora and husband Julius, a clerk, and eldest son Seymour (4) were living in a separate apartment in the same building.
· By 1910 Pauline and Selma, still single and working in a clerking position, were living with Flora and Julius, now a clerk in children’s clothing, at 1503 Charlotte St in the Bronx. In addition to now 9 year old Seymour, Julius and Flora had a second son whose name was given as Zyrel (Cyril?) and whose age was given as 4.
· In 1916 Pauline Kraut was listed in the 1916 NYC directory as the widow of Marcus, living at 2134 Hughes Ave.
· By 1920 both Pauline (72) and Flora (46)/Julius (52 and a clerk in dresses) were living in rented accommodation at 1446 Bryant Avenue in the Bronx; they were listed as separate households and this may reflect separate apartments. The two Rosenfeld children were listed as Seymour (18 and a clerk in neck-ware) and Zyrel (14 and in school).
· In 1930 the extended family was again combined at 1779 Monroe Ave, the Bronx, as Pauline (81) was listed as part of the Rosenfeld family. Julius was by this point in time a clerk in pocketbooks, Seymour (single and 29) was listed as ‘accountant for self’, and Albert (single and 24) (appears to have changed name from the unfamiliar Zyrel) was listed as a ‘clerk in pocket books’. Also living in the same household was Julius’ brother-in-law Sol Waldorf (56) and his son Julian Waldorf (17).
· In December 2010 Thelma (Krant) Kelly recollected being in the Rosenfeld residence in New York before her father Leo died and recalled being amazed how her “blind” grandmother could navigate the residence. Additionally, she relayed she had been in occasional contact into the 1950’s with “Robert”, one of Julius and Flora’s sons, and wife Rose. Since the available record would militate against a third son in that family ‘Robert’ was likely one of the two sons identified above who had taken on a new name.
· The 1940 census shows a Rose Rosenfeld, 38 (b c 1902, NY) married to a Seymour M Rosenfeld, 39 (b c 1901, NY), head, accountant. The couple was living in an apartment at 680 West 204th St, Manhattan (sheet 61A), NY. Rose was listed as being employed in newspaper advertising. In 1940 Albert Rosenfeld, 34 (b c 1906 in NY) and wife Eleanor, 26 (b c 1914 in NY) were living in an apartment at 2824 Norrie Ave in the Bronx. Albert was employed as a clerk for a shirt manufacturer; Eleanor was ascribed no occupation. Living with the couple was Eleanor’s 58 year old mother Lillie Weller, b Austria, widowed, no occupation.
· According to available New York City death records Julius Rosenfeld died in Kings County, NY, in June of 1936 at 74; Pauline Kraut died in the Bronx in November of 1938 at 86; and Pauline’s daughter Flora Rosenfeld died in Manhattan in June of 1947. Robert Rosenfeld may have passed away in New York in October of 1983 at 77, and his wife Rose may have passed away in New York in October of 1990 at 84.
5. FOLLOWING THE SIGMUND KRAUT FAMILY THROUGH THE RECORDS:
· In 1905 Leo’s oldest brother Sigmund Kraut (30) was living at 70E 110 Street in Manhattan and was occupied as a ladies tailor. His wife, the former Rose Bendix (25) had been born in the US and was the mother of the couples’ two children, daughter Marion (3) and son Leo (1) b August 1904. The couple had been married in Manhattan in March of 1902.
· By 1910 the family had moved to 1503 Charlot Street in the Bronx and Sigmund was working as a cutter in a clothing house, and the family had added a third child, a daughter Helen (4).
· Sigmund was listed in the 1916 New York City directory living at 759 Jennings and occupied as a cutter. It was from this address that Sigmund (“Seigsmund”) completed his WWI draft registration on September 12, 1918. He was described in that record as being: short of height, stout of build, eyes brown, hair black ?, and no scars/distinguishing features.
· In 1920 the family was still living in the Bronx at 939 Jennings Street, Sigmund was still occupied as a cutter in the clothing business and a child, daughter Eilleen (8) had been added to the family.
· By 1930 the couple, without their children, had again moved within the Bronx to 1470 Morris Avenue. Sigmund continued to be occupied as a cutter in ladies dresses and wife Rose had assumed the superintendent-ship of the apartment building in which they were living.
· In 1940 Sigmund, 65, b Germany, and Rose, 59, b NYC were living with their daughter Marion Held (43, b NY) and her husband William (48, b NY) and two granddaughters Selma (9) and Diane (7), both b NYC, on Riverside Drive in NYC (sheet 6A). Sigmund appeared to be retired while William was employed as an accountant.
· Sigmund appears to have died in Manhattan, in November of 1941 at 66 years. Rose is reported by her grandson Ken Kraut, in a 2005 posting to the Bendix message board, to have died in 1940.
· In 1930 Leonard Kraut (27) was married to a Katherine ??? (28) and living at 595 St. Ann’s Ave in the Bronx. The couple had two daughters Dorothy (8) and Katherine (1 year, 8 months). Leonard appears to have been involved in shoeing horses. He appears to have died in the Bronx in June of 1967 at 63 years.
6. FOLLOWING THE JOSEPH KRAUT FAMILY THROUGH THE RECORDS:
· Joseph Kraut, reportedly born in Breslau, Germany, married May Doering in Manhattan in June of 1904. In 1910 the couple, Joseph 30 and May 26 and born New York, was living in Brooklyn at 35 15th Street with three children – Palmyra (5), Grace (3), and Irving (1). Joseph was employed as a clerk in a clothing house. The 1915 NY State census shows the family living at 263 9th Ave in Kings, NY. Joseph is listed as a 37 year old tailor (employee) b Germany; his wife Mary is listed as a 23 year old (sic) b US; Palmyra is given an age of 8 (sic), Grace an age of 10 (sic), and Irving an age of 6; all in school.
· In the 1916 NYC directory our Joseph may have been identified as an 'operator' (of a machine in a factory) and living at 240 Riverington.
· By the time of the 1920 census the family was living at 141 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. Joseph was listed as a 41 year old buyer in a clothing house, May as a 33 year old music teacher; Palmyra was 14, Grace was 13, Irving was 11.
· The family, without Palmyra, had moved to 592 Prospect Ave in the Bronx by 1930. Joseph by that time was a buyer for a factory, May was unemployed, Grace (23) had been married and divorced and was working as a stenographer, Irving at 21 was single and still in school. Also in the household was a grandson, likely Grace’s offspring, Ralph Jones (5) and May’s sister Ida Goering (51).
· There is a reported naturalization by the US District Court, Brooklyn, NY on July 23, 1901 of a Joseph Kraut of 85 Willet St, NYC, tailor, b Jun 1875 in Austria Hungary, immigrated to NYC in Mar 1891.However, while this could be our Joseph there is not to date a direct connection in this record to the Pauline Kraut family.
· Joseph’s 1918 WWI draft registration had him living at 141 Windsor Pl, Brooklyn, Kings, NY, age 41, b in Germany on May 30, 1877, and a buyer for Henlua? & Greentree of 1333 Broadway, NY. He listed his nearest relative as May Augusta Kraut of the same address. His physical description was given as medium weight, medium build, brown eyes, brown hair, and no scars or distinguishing features.
· The NYC Death Index provides for the death of two Joseph Krauts as follows: i) Joseph M Kraut, 62y, d Feb 2, 1940, Kings Co, NY, cert. 275, and ii) Joseph Kraut, 60y, d Feb 14, 1936 in Manhattan, cert. 4104. It is not known which one represents the son of Pauline, if either.
· Joseph’s daughter Palmyra is listed in The New York City Births Index as Palmyra Kraut, b Mar 27, 1905, Kings County, certificate 8167. The 1930 census lists Palmyra (25) and b NY and with parents born respectively Germany and NY living in Brooklyn at 2028 E 13th St. and married to one NY born James Doyle Jr, (28), an area manager for a telephone company. James Sr, also living with his family in the same residence, was in Insurance.
· Data from a Doyle family tree posted on Ancestry.com in Dec 6, 2010 by mthomas381 confirms that Palmyra Kraut, dau of Joseph, married James Doyle (b Jan 28, 1901- d Jan 1975 in Baldwin, NY-SSDI ). It also provides that the Doyles had three children, two of whom were still living and consequently were lacking detail. The Ancestry file indicates that Palmyra died in 1934 at 29 years of age. It also gives James parents as James F Doyle (1880-1972) and Mary Wernerspach (1882-1920) (another file suggests her last name may have been Sweeney).
· Palmyra’s sister Grace Kraut is listed in the above Doyle family tree as without spouse and children but that may reflect a lack of research.
· The SSDI records provide that Irving Kraut was born in October, 1908 and died in May 1972. The Doyle family tree confirmed the available information for Irving and noted he had neither spouse nor children; again that may be simply a matter of no research.