The responsible genealogist will always check records to make sure of the facts.
Why? Nowadays, the family history researcher can’t rely on online reports because they often have subtle mistakes.
Take our recent focus on Larry David, the comedian, writer and now actor who will be appearing on Broadway beginning this month.
Some online reports have his paternal grandmother’s father listed as Gabriel Levy. But from the close inspection of the exact records, this genealogist has found that is a mistake. Carrie H. Levy David’s father was George. Not Gabriel. And once this genealogist got going on the records, we found out a lot about Larry David’s paternal grandmother and her family. In fact, some of the same trends that we saw throughout Larry David’s other family tree branches, happen to occur in his Native American Levy side of the family. There are also new pieces of information such as his Levy relatives being in the USA early, in the 1860s and 1870s and that they were lawyers. Such smarties!
This genealogist will begin at a time and place of sooner than later.
To begin: In the New York State Census of 1925, Fred G. David and his wife Carrie H. were living in the Bronx (Block 20-21, Election District 91, Assembly District 8). All were U.S. Citizens.
Here is the listing:
- Fred G. age 42 salesman/Linings (note this as it is hard to read)
- Carrie H. age 32
- Gabrielle age 10
- Mortimer age 9
Their house number was 6128. A genealogist will need to look in the Bronx’s Block and lot books to find the exact address. Or if we look at Fred’s World War II draft registration card from April 1942, we can find lots of answers, too. On draft card with the Serial No. 1370 we find they are still at 6128 and we locate the street name, too. Here are the details:
- Age at time of registration: 58 years
- Birthdate: June 5, 1883
- Birthplace: New York.
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 188 lbs.
- Features: Brown eyes, Brown hair and light complexion.
- Employer: Brand & Oppenheimer, 229-4th Avenue
- Address: 6128 Liebig Avenue, Bronx, NY.
(As it turns out, they were living near a relative of this genealogist, a cousin of my paternal grandfather I believe, who the census a few lines up says was living at 6140: Meyer Littman, age 35, who’d come over 25 years before from Russia. But we transgress…as a family history researcher sometimes does.)
Back to the Davids of the Bronx. Eleven years before that, there is a marriage record for Fred G. David and Carrie H. from January 25, 1914 (certificate #2969) which confirms their marriage in New York. The from the 1915 New York Census, it appears they had a child right away. But do notice the age difference that is listed on the New York census as having 8 years in the 1915 census and later, on the 1925 census as ten years between them.
In the 1915 New York Census, they are living at 629–138 Street in Manhattan. On the record is:
- Fred age 32
- Carrie age 24
- Gabriel (sic) age 1
Gabriel is listed as a Female, so we know that it is their daughter who is later correctly identified in census records as Gabrielle. But, in the Jewish tradition, new babies are often named for those who have recently died, so hold this thought…
Let’s just digress a tiny bit once more and look at Fred G. David’s 1918 draft registration for WWI, Serial No. 3628. Here we see he is:
- Age at time of registration: 35 years
- Birthdate: June 5, 1883
- Citizen: Native Born
- Height: Tall
- Build: Slender
- Features: Brown eyes, Black hair and light complexion.
- Present Occupation: Salesman
- Employer: Sylvester and Levy
- Employer Address: 23 Waverly Place
- Nearest relative: Wife
- Wife’s Address: 450 W. 152 Street
This genealogist is curious, so we look into Fairchild’s Daily News Record and Women’s Wear National Directory from 1920, the industry report lists his employer as:
SYLVESTER and LEVY INCORPORATED
21 WAVERLY PLACE New York City NEW YORK New York City
specializing in clothier’s silk and cotton linings.
So in 1918, he is working at the same place he continues to work at into the 1925 census time period. The genealogist needs to remember the names on this company, one of which is the same as Fred G. David’s wife’s maiden name—Levy. Which relative of hers was he working for? More to be revealed by looking at New York City business records and incorporation documents.
Back to the family of Larry David. This genealogist next looked at the 1910 census and finds Carrie H levy living with her family in Manhattan at #121, the street of which would have to be referenced to the Ward/District listed on the Census. In the 1910 census listing, the genealogy researcher will find:
- George Levy age 50 born USA father German mother German Real Estate Broker-Indp
- Mary Levy age 45 born USA father German mother German
- Pauline Levy age 11 born NY
- Florence Levy age 20 born NY
- Carrie H age 18 born NY 1892
The 1915 New York Census confirms all the people and their residence at 121 East 123rd Street at Lexington Avenue.
Going back to the 1900 census, a genealogist sees that the family is still at #121, we find a handwritten added note on the document that lists the street as East 123d Street at Lexington Avenue. The members are noted as:
- George age 39 1861 married 1884 16 years Broker
- Mary age 36
- Pauline age 15 Feb 1885
- Florence age12 November 1887
- Carrie age 11 June 1888 (there is mistake on the brief synopsis that says 10)
- Josephine Harkeller
- age 20 is a servant living with the family. She came from Russia and has been in the USA for 2 months.
The genealogist finds confirmation from these records that the father of Carrie H. Levy David was George David, not Gabriel David. To verify this further, this genealogist looked even further back and found in the Census from 1870, the Levy family is living at 334 in the 12 East District, 20 Ward. The family history researcher has found verification of Carrie Levy’s father and a brother Gabriel here:
- P Levy age 40 male Germany Lawyer
- Berthe age 21 female 1849 Germany
- Jacob age 2 male
- H Levy 6 months male
- unclear age 13 female
- Gabriel age 10 male
- George age 9 male
The online recap card indicates that Berthe is from Bavaria, but the actual census says Germany. That is another correction to be made. Once again, note the age difference. P Levy is 40 and his wife is 21…
When this genealogist happened to take a peek at the 1860 Federal census, there was the reason for the big age difference. Philip Levy had a first wife Mena, who was the mother of Gabriel and Sarah, the two older children.
In the 1860 census the genealogist finds:
- Philip Levy age 31 1829 from Prussia /real estate val.$ 5000/personal estate val.$500
- Mena Levy age 28 from Prussia
- Sarah Levy age 3
- Gabriel Levy age 1
By the time of the 1870 census, this genealogist has found that Mena is no longer in the picture and Phillip has a new younger wife Berthe. Most likely Mena has died but the genealogist will have to find the death records to make sure of this. From the 1870 census where George is 9 and Gabriel is 10, it looks like Philip found his new wife shortly after the death of first wife because his sons are so close in age. For a man who lost his wife in those days, it was essential to have someone take care of his two young children. Berthe/Bertha, young, fertile and a Landsman from Europe, seems to have stepped right in.
In the Federal Census of 1880, the blended family may be living at 104th Street or 4th Street it isn’t clear to this genealogist from the handwritten records on the census documents. They continue to be:
- Philip Levy age 51 from Prussia Lawyer
- Bertha age 30
- Gabriel age 23 (Mistake?)
- Sarah age 22 (Mistake?)
- Jacob age 12
- Henry age 10
- George age 18
Let’s look at wife Berthe/Bertha Levy who is Larry David’s paternal great great grandmother. She is Larry’s father Mortimer’s mother, Carrie H. Levy David’s father George’s mother. Whew—got that?
Berthe/Bertha Levy, the matriarch of this Levy family headed by a lawyer in the 1905 New York State census is living with Jacob (the son who was 2 in the 1870 census) and his family. The page happens to have been copied with an accidental blank page in front of it so the details are not fully visible. When the genealogist looks at the 1910 census, Berthe/Bertha Levy is still living with Jacob and his family. She is age 61. Jacob is age 41 and a lawyer.
In the 1920 Federal census, Berthe is found still living with Jacob.
- Jacob Levy age 52 Lawyer-general practice
- Pauline age 48 wife (born in Connecticut)
- Louis age 28 son mother born in CT Clerical/City Clerk
- Estelle age 25 daughter
- Berthe age 72 widow immigration yr 1870
From these records, this genealogist has found out a few things and has these questions:
- Carrie’s grandfather Philip has likely died sometime between 1870 and 1905 because Berthe is living with her younger son Jacob by then.
- George’s youngest brother Jacob marries a Pauline from Connecticut who was born in 1875.
- She is not to be confused with George’s daughter named Pauline born in 1888 who is a sister of Carrie H. Levy David.
- Carrie’s father George was a Real Estate Broker
- This genealogist would next research what buildings he was involved with and if he owned any. The January 2015 article in New York Magazine mentions that Larry David was living in a building owned by his father after graduating from college. Did his father Mortimer inherit any real estate from his mother Carrie via her father George, the Real Estate broker?
- Did George’s older step-brother Gabriel die near the time of Carrie’s first child (Mortimer’s older sister) Gabrielle’s birth in 1915?
Even with all of these questions, we see the trends we established in earlier blogs. Large age differences between spouses, children close in age, and lots of relatives living together.
Larry David’s family lived the traditional immigrant American experience. But, not all immigrants were in real estate or lawyers. Seems Larry David has a history of successful business in his blood. His TV experience and, hopefully, his new play, will continue that tradition even further.
When you want thorough exploration of your family history, hire a genealogist from RecordClick. We are thorough, creative and we find and confirm the correct facts for you.