Benjamin

At the same time that I was doing genealogical research on my great-uncle, Abe, I was also researching another child. My grandmother, Celia and grandfather, Albert got married in October, 1918. My mother was born in August, 1921. However, I always knew they had had a son before my mother and that he died when he was a baby.

I didn’t know when the boy was born or how long he lived. This made searching for him very difficult. The window between his birth and my mother’s appeared to be between 2 and 3 years, if he was premature. The short life of the child  put him between census years.

At various times I thought I had found the baby but it turned out the dates were wrong or the infant wasn’t Jewish. I kept looking in the cemeteries where I knew my other relatives were buried but nothing panned out. Finally, after having rejected a baby named Benjamin, that child turned up in Ancestry with workable dates and a burial in the Hebrew Free Burial Association section of Mount Richmond Cemetery in Staten Island.

The records from the cemetery showed the baby lived at the same address as my grandparents. The only question was why did the record show him as being born in Russia? This turned out to be a scribners error. The name Benjamin made perfect sense since I was sure Celia would name her first child after her mother, Bessie.

When Benjamin died my grandmother worried she might never have another child. In August 1921, when my mother was born, Celia named her Beatrice, probably to honor both Benjamin and Bessie.

Benjamin’s death certificate confirmed he was my grandparent’s child. He was born Aug. 11 1919 and died four months later on Dec. 16, 1919. Benjamin died  from bronchopneumonia which seems to indicate his death was part of the flu pandemic. I plan to visit Benjamin’s grave in Staten Island so I will keep you posted.

It must have been so sad for my grandparents when Benjamin died. I feel very badly for them. I am glad that they weren’t victims of the flu since if they hadn’t I wouldn’t be here. My grandparents were wonderful people and terrific grandparents.  May their memories be for blessings.