Short post with an update. A new piece of paper arrived, and set off a whole slew of revelations.
My request for the SS-5 Social Security Application of Abram Kuna came through:
Several interesting pieces of fallout here. First of all, Abram lists his parents as Jacob KUNA and Bessie ZABAKLITZKY. His mother’s listed maiden name makes sense, as there are a lot of members of that family listed in Kaluszyn. Sister Dora’s death record – likely informed by her daughter Libbis, as Dora’s husband had predeceased her – was significantly off. Alas, the existing Polish records which have been indexed do not include a Bessie (or Basia, or similar) ZABAKLITZKY of the right age. There is a record for a Jankiel KUNA, born 1840. Jankiel is a variant on Jacob, but no way of knowing (yet?) if this is the correct man.
The second critical piece of information is the address. Although no alias is provided on this form, 248 Harrison in Paterson, NJ was the home of someone calling himself Abram (sometimes Abraham) COHEN, so we have our man. The earlier censuses I can find list his wife as Rachel (1915 New Jersey State Census) or Rose (1920 US Census). Rose arrived in 1907, and could be Rachel ICEKSON, Abram’s wife from the Polish records, even though Abram was listed as “single” when he arrived in 1905. Finding her ship manifest could help determine if Rose is a first or second wife.
In 1930, Abram is married to “Gussie”, and from information available in on the 1930 and 1940 censuses, she was a divorcee or, more likely, a widow. Rose probably died in the 1920s.
US Censuses after 1940 are not yet available to the public, but a careful perusal of the Paterson city directories indicates that Abram spent his whole life as a weaver in the silk mills of Paterson. Not long after he retired, the couple moved into new low-income housing called the Alexander Hamilton Projects (presumably not working on a Broadway musical), and Abram died on 11 May 1958.
However… Abram and Rachel had another child, Benjamin, born in 1913. Although Benjamin was the second cousin to my great-grandmother, he was actually two years younger than my grandmother. Quirk of birth order and the range of time over which our ancestors continued to bear children. Again relying primarily on the Paterson city directories, I find that Benjamin married Esther PELTA around 1939. I have found both of their obituaries (1997 and 1993, respectively), which do not name any family. Fortunately, PELTA is an unusual enough surname that I’ve managed to track down living descendants, whom I am now attempting to contact.
THERE ARE LIVING COUSINS ON THE KUNA LINE! Very exciting!!