Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Ancestor Highlights - Great Grandfather Jack Ecoff

This is the first of a new series which will coincide with videos from the GeneaVlogger youtube channel. Watch the corresponding video -

My Great-Grandfather Jack Ecoff was born on September 30th, 1895 in Alliance, New Jersey to Marcus Ecoff and Fannie Dudis. His birthdate is different in almost all of the documentation I have found, often placing it in October, but his actual birth record in New Jersey shows September 30th. I really enjoy this fact because my own birthday is September 29th and I am also named after my Great-Grandfather Jack, so it seems interesting that we have birthdays just one day apart. 

The Paterson Morning Call Thursday December 9th, 1909 page 10
Jack's full name is Jacob Joseph Ecoff and was named after his grandfather Jacob Ecoff. Jack's father Marcus and paternal Grandparents were one of the first 43 families to settle in The Alliance Colony in 1882. Jack was the youngest of 4 children and when he was 14 years old his brother Raphael Israel Ecoff died after his tooth was pulled and an infection set in. When I found this information I told my grandmother, who knew about this as it seems to have made a big impact on my great-grandfather which makes sense since he and Israel were the closest in age.

Jack's other brother Isaac Martin Ecoff, who was the oldest child, married a few times but had no known children. He went mostly by Martin and seems to have been somewhat of a character. He shows up in a few news articles, including an odd story about him and his wife Fannie teaching children how to be pickpockets in an almost Oliver-Twist like scheme. Jack's only sister Lena, who was the 2nd oldest, married twice but had no children.

Jack and Mary in Alliance
Jack met his future wife Mary Kaseno when she would come to Alliance with her family to vacation and would stay with the Ecoff family. The only pictures of the Ecoff family farm in Alliance come from Kaseno family vacation photos I found in a box of old photographs. The family story goes that Mary's father Harris Kaseno, who owned a clothing store on Main St. in Manayunk, was not very fond of her marrying Jack because Jack was a farm-boy and there was another man who he wanted Mary to marry. Jack moved to Philadelphia sometime in his late teens/early twenties and began working with his cousins Jack Mills and Irving Mills in the music publishing business. Jack and Mary were wed in 1921, not long after Jack joined the Mills Music Inc. By the 1940s they had moved to New York City and were living in Rockville Center.

Jack Ecoff running his booth at a conference
My Great-Grandfather worked mostly as a salesman for Mills Music and would often travel the country going to conferences to display all the works of Mills Music Publishing. When he wasn't on the road he was in the office at the infamous Brill Building and I imagine he had a big impact on the American Music Industry, even if just in subtle ways. He is noted in Billboard magazine often and seems to have been a revered figure in the industry. A few years back I spoke with my cousin Stanley Mills, Jack Mills' son and a famous music publisher in his own right. Stanley had traveled with my great-grandfather and indicated that he learned a lot from working with my great-grandfather. He had a lot of insight into my great-grandfather I had never heard, including some funny stories of my great-grandfather joking around with people. This information was especially nice to receive because my mother was young when Jack passed and getting information from my Grandmother can be difficult at times, so I have never known a whole lot about him outside of my research.

My Great-Grandfather Jack Ecoff passed away July 3rd, 1963 at the age of 67 and his obituary showed up in Newspapers and Magazines all across the country, including on the front page of Billboard Magazine.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Advancing My Professional Genealogy Career

When I decided to start my career as a professional genealogist in 2017 I had a great grasp on how to do genealogy research but I had a lot to learn about being a professional. I read what was available online about becoming a professional genealogist and reviewed available reports. Joining professional genealogy groups and attending continuing education has been very helpful as well. Yet the biggest help overall have been two books; Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards and Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

I had bought Genealogy Standards before I decided to go professional, which gave a great baseline on how to conduct research, but didn't really go into anything about the in-and-outs of the actual profession. I first decided to get Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (ProGen) after reading an article by Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist,  about the release of the newest version. I had heard about the book but had gone a little over a year without it. The reports I prepared for clients went over well and the information was conveyed nicely but I just always felt like they could be better. I had built them based on the reports I could see through samples from BCG and my membership through APGen but there wasn't a lot of explanation as to why everything was done as it was.

Once I received the book I went through it and began to redo the reports I was currently working. To say it was helpful is a huge understatement. Not only did the book explain what choices were available for different situations but it also gave great examples. I have felt much more confident with the reports I have been writing and they look much more professional. Besides help with reports ProGen also goes into all sorts of information on having a career in genealogy; legal information, ethics, career management, and much more.

I bought Evidence Explained a little later after being contacted by a genealogy company interested in working with me. They suggested I look into the book as they preferred to use specific citations which are defined in the book. I got a sample of it on the kindle app and was instantly blown away at how detailed it was on how to build citations. I quickly got online and bought the book. The hardest part of doing citations in genealogy is the fact that there are so many types of documents from so many types of sources, so using guides online are difficult because there are lots of situations they don't take into account. Evidence Explained goes into a bunch different types of situations, gives multiple examples for most situations, and has a great index and chapter listing that allows for quick lookups when you have something you need to find. It has made creating citations much easier all around.

For anyone who is looking to become a professional genealogist or who is looking to advance your career, I highly suggest getting these books. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Ninth Waxman

In researching my Waxman family from Tulchin, Ukraine I have been able to connect almost all of the family, including connecting with the living generations of my Great-Grandmother's siblings. Yet there is one missing piece that is still unknown...the ninth sibling.

Isaac Waxman and Sarah Remer arrived in Philadelphia with most of their children in 1904 and almost all of them were still living in the same house by 1910. Of the children of Isaac and Sarah I knew about eight of them; Zisel Artzis, Katie Shore, Samuel Waxman, Hyman Waxman, Charles Waxman, Pearl Ross, David Waxman, and Fannie Shubert. Yet the 1910 census clearly states that Isaac and Sarah had 11 children with 9 living, so there is a ninth sibling unaccounted for in my research. I have yet to find the immigration documents for Isaac or Sarah, which would hopefully give more information, although the Census records seem to indicate neither naturalized.

There are a few possibilities as to where this unknown sibling was living. They may have stayed back in Tulchin, they may have immigrated later, or they may have even been the first to immigrate. The oldest known sibling, Zisel, immigrated with her husband and children a few years after the rest of the family, so we already know the family hadn't all travelled together.

One clue is the death record for Isaac Waxman, which lists the informant on the record as an M. Waxman. Looking at the tree around the time Isaac died there are no adults in the family who would have been an M. Waxman (including the wives of Isaac's sons), so it is my belief that this M. Waxman may be the 9th sibling. I have since looked at many searches for Waxmans living in Philadelphia with a first name starting with M, both male and female, but have yet to turn up anything fruitful. Over time this mystery may become resolved, especially if we can find more records of the family from Ukraine.