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Looking for Fraider connections

by Jeff Miller

I live in Maryland and started out with the usual beginning steps in searching for my family connections. Although I live near all the big research libraries, I was having no success in searching for my paternal grandmother’s Fraider family. Having nowhere to turn, on a whim, I decided to try the Internet. To my great surprise, when I went online to a search engine and entered FRAIDER, I got about a dozen hits.

Not knowing who was out there, or even if they were Jewish, I sent E-mails to all Fraiders with listed addresses.

Dear Cousin...a response began. Yes, I am related to your grandmother...

I was elated at this unimaginable success. I nearly jumped out of my chair. Thus, an incredible journey of many small steps began.

I learned from Steve Fraider and other newfound California cousins that his grandfather, Frank Fraider, had left New York at the age of 15. Apparently, after all these years, no one of my family knew of the California connection. They had lost track of this branch of the family. This was not to be the only family dis-connect that my research would begin to unravel.

A flurry of E-mails and telephone calls followed. I learned that the family had originally come to the United States from the area in Eastern Europe known as Bessarabia, part of the modern countries of Ukraine and Romania, not far from Moldova. The Fraiders, in particular, originated from Ukraine.

Armed with bits of knowledge and family lore gained from communicating with the family, I searched for information about my grandmother Jenny’s siblings and parents. Frank Fraider proved to be one of the more elusive members of the family, as verified by Steve Fraider in the following E-mail message.

"Hello Jeff, Good to hear from you. I am not surprised you couldn’t find anything on Frank Fraider. He seems to have been a pretty slippery guy. I remember hearing, at some time many years ago, that Frank came to this country with a passport he purchased in the name of Schoenfeld or something similar. Seems since he had not yet served in the military, he was unable to emigrate under his own name. I believe he did arrive in New York, but who knows under what name? Sorry I don’t have more. Steve "

One of my most exciting times in my search for information about my California connections was in 2001. I walked down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills with my "new" cousin, and had a dinner with my new Los Angeles family.

Establishing the actual facts in genealogical research is difficult. It demands a constant checking between the family story and the documented facts. Based on family lore, Frank (the second eldest child of Chaya Sura and Yankoff Yussif Fraider) came to New York first and moved to Los Angeles about 1915 However, there are no corroborating records of his presence in New York. His first son, Maurice was born in New York. That was established, in 1911, by various documents. Based on these records we can assume he was married in New York, too.

Based on records located in Salt Lake City, Frank’s younger brother Harry (Hersch) Fraider came to New York on the SS Carmania, departing from the port of Liverpool on 20 August 1908, and arriving on 27 August 1908. (To confirm this and to extend my knowledge, I located and examined Harry’s naturalization, ship manifest, and World War I Draft records while in SLC in 2000). I also found records on other Fraider siblings, on the patriarch, Yankoff Yussif (Joseph), and matriarch, Chaya Sura (Sarah). Expanding my picture of the family, I received another letter: This is Ros from San Luis Obispo. I just read your letter of 5/16/02. A bit of history to share. Grandma Sadie (Trachtenbroit Fraider) told me that when she married Frank, they lived in New York. Uncle Morris was born there. Then they moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana. (where he made cigars and called himself "Fraider the Turk"). Frances’ was born in Chicago. (Frank and Sadie were the parents of Maurice, Frances, and Jack). Grandpa Frank was not a healthy man, and somewhere before 1915 he developed bleeding ulcers...The doctors thought a move to California would be good for his health. So they moved from New York (by way of Indiana and Illinois) to Boyle Heights.

My dad, Jack, was born there in 1926. This bit of family lore, I have on an oral history interview I did with Sadie several years before she died. Take care and thanks for the information...

Cousin Ros

To further deepen my knowledge of the California Fraiders, I went to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC to see what I could learn about Frank Fraider while he was in Los Angeles between 1915 and 1955, the year of his death. In various Los Angeles City Directories, I found:

• 1921, he resided at 426 1/2 Beaudry Avenue. His occupation: milliner.

• 1922 he moved to 2421 Folsom. Occupation: hat worker and Sadie: garment finisher.

• 1926 he was listed as a hatter at 2421 1/2 Folsom.

• 1928 he was listed as a hatmaker at "rear 2421 1/2 Folsom."

• 1929 he was listed as a hat cleaner at 2421 Folsom.

• 1931 (with Sadie in parentheses as his spouse) hat cleaner. Work address: 2130 W. Pico. Residence: 2421Folsom.

• 1934 (with Sadie) hatter. Residence address: 2421 1/2 Folsom.

• 1937 Residence: 7207 Willoughby Avenue.

• 1942 Residence: 7207 Willoughby Avenue Frank (Sadie) clothing presser, Jack: clerk, and Maurice D: agent US Internal Revenue.

I have tried, without success, to find Frank Fraider’s naturalization records, either in California or New York.

Like all amateur genealogists, I am always making up likely scenarios and then trying to check the original records for information. In this way, lots of false leads gives me new ideas to search. An example of this kind of supposition and its later correction occured when I surmised that at some point, prior to his death in 1955, Frank moved the family to Beverly Hills. At the time, I based this supposition on Sadie’s Social Security Death Index listing.

Steve later corrected me:

Hello Jeff,

Thanks for the info. To help clear things up a bit, I can tell you that the Folsom Street address is in East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, which was the major Jewish neighborhood at the time, although it has always been quite multi-cultural in that area. My father grew up there and so did Frances. Jack was born there but, being significantly younger than his siblings, went to junior and senior high school at the Willoughby address. (Last night I went to see a show in which one of my nephews has a leading part. The show is at a small theatre in Hollywood. I drove right by the Willoughby address, although it has been condos for many years now.) Frank’s residence was Willoughby Ave when he passed away in 1955. Sadie stayed in the house for a short time, but soon moved to a smaller apartment. Neither of them ever lived in Beverly Hills. That was my father, Maurice D.—but known as Cal or Morrie—who handled his mother/my grandmother Sadie’s business and legal affairs and used our address for her "official" papers. In 1942 he was, indeed, a "revenooer", an agent for the IRS, the agent-in-charge for the then-territory of Alaska. He got the nickname Cal from his earlier, similar work for the state of California. He expressed frustration that the government would not allow him to join the Navy during W.W.II because his work for the IRS was considered critical to the war effort. He "hadda" find the money to pay for those planes and tanks! I’m not certain that Sadie actually ever worked despite the descriptions you found. It is possible she may have taken piecework home, but it is also possible that she was given an occupation for other reasons. Frances Cohan in Chicago would be able to resolve that one. Thanks for the update. I am always interested in your findings.

Best, Steve

This gives me a better picture of the Boyle Heights scene. I am interested in more than a list of names on my family tree. I want to know how people lived their lives. In response to my interest in learning more about this first Jewish neighborhood, my cousin Steve generously contributed the following note.

My father was raised in Boyle Heights between 1920-35, and had many stories. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1989. Good luck,

Steve Fraider