“A New Market”

As I continue to explore my paternal grandmother’s lineage, I am constantly learning new aspects of American history. It began by learning that my French grandmother’s mother was born in San Francisco, California in 1862. While she married, bore my grandmother and died in Paris, Flora Alexandre started out in the United States. Of course I pondered why this might have been.

Some people do genealogy the way some people do bird watching. In each case, some people try to have the most family members on their tree or the most birds on their “life count.” I use genealogy the same way I enjoy bird watching. I want to know as much as I can find out about each individual person or variety of bird. I clearly needed to understand why a French family (which by now I knew to be Jewish) would have born a daughter in California in 1862.

The pursuit led me to reading about the European Jewish merchants, including her family, who went to the towns and cities of the booming California gold rush and set up shop. Correspondence with a record keeper of the first synagogue in San Francisco (established in 1849) let me know that my great grandmother’s family had worshiped there. I was able to find her extended family in the San Francisco census records of 1870 and 1880. And as I read further I learned of another prominent Jewish merchant living and worshiping in Congregation Emanu-El—-Levi Strauss.

Such a gold mine of information. As you can see I couldn’t resist a parting pun.

21 thoughts on ““A New Market”

  1. Love the pun, love the research, and love what you are uncovering. This is really exciting, Elizabeth. Please keep this story and your research going. Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂 In all seriousness, this is truly important.


  2. I can see the question “why” would dome up quite often when it comes to genealogy. I think a person has to be prepared to find some disturbing things when you go down this path.


  3. I wonder if Levi ever realised that his hard-wearing working clothes for men would one day become the garment of choice for untold millions?
    Did you also discover that ‘Denim’ is a word derived from the French, ‘De Nimes’?
    Best wishes, Pete.


    1. I appreciate that. I did not know that about the cloth. I was able to locate Nimes and put it in relationship to Lyons where some of my family did business. My relatives dealt in fabric, so they probably knew Strauss.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Elizabeth, I love the offshoot stories. I research so much and have learned so much more than just my family history. When I have spare time, I also enjoy transcribing documents for future researchers. It is the most interesting type of puzzle.


    1. The census also says that my great great grandmother was born in the “Cape of Good Hope.” I am guessing that she was actually born in Capetown since there was always a small Jewish merchant presence there. Thought you would enjoy the South African connection.


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