Estelle Byk – My paternal great-grandmother

Nanny and Alan (my dad)
February 24, 1933

Estelle Byk was my father’s beloved grandmother. He loved her so much that, when he was just three years old he boarded a train in Long Island and headed for Nanny’s house in Brooklyn!

Later in life, he wrote a wonderful tribute to her titled “A Grandmother’s Love.” My sister, Elizabeth, is the main recipient of our father’s love of his grandmother. She has twomiddle names, “Rose” after our maternal grandmother and “Byk” in honor of Estelle.

Estelle Byk was born on December 1, 1885 in Brooklyn, New York.  Her parents, both immigrants from Germany, were Moritz “Morris” Byk and Pauline Falk. According to the 1900 US Census, Estelle’s mother had borne 16 children, 9 of whom were alive in 1900. My research has definitively determined names and birthdates of 9 children born between 1870 and 1892; 4 boys and 5 girls.

1900 US Census for Morris Byk and Family
Estelle Byk – Date Unknown

Estelle lived with her family at 501 Hancock Street in Brooklyn, New York, United States in 1900. Estelle attended Grammar School No. 44 in Brooklyn and graduated “by examination” in 1901. Following grammar school, Estelle attended Girls’ High School.
She was an accomplished musician (violin and vocals) and was described as a “real beauty” in her newspaper engagement announcement.

On November 5, 1905, Estelle announced her engagement to Harry G. Kesner. The couple married on March 18, 1906 at Temple Israel in Brooklyn. The wedding was a major social event and gained some notoriety when Harry lost the pin given to him by Estelle on their wedding day. In her scrapbook Estelle had pasted a clipping from the newspaper. Unfortunately, she didn’t
cut out the entire article. You know I’ll be searching for that! Note that her husband’s name was incorrectly listed as Henry George. That’s not the first time I’ve seen that error. Harry was also listed as “Henry” on the 1880 US Census. 

From Estelle’s scrapbook

Estelle and Harry had two girls, Hortense (my paternal grandmother) in 1907 and Constance in 1911.

My grandmother, Hortense with her parents, Estelle and Harry

Estelle Byk Kesner – December 3, 1928
 By 1920, Estelle and her family had moved to 450 St. Johns Street then to 277 Eastern Parkway (1930) finally settling at 115 Eastern Parkway (1940) all in Brooklyn, New York.

Estelle was on the board of directors of the Manhattan Chapter, National Children’s Cardiac Home and was also active in a number of other charitable enterprises.

March 1946 – Harry and Estelle
on their 40th wedding anniversary.

On October 23, 1948 Estelle died at the Park East Hospital in New York after a brief illness.
Estelle was buried on October 28, 1948 in Glendale, NY at Mt. Neboh Cemetery on Cypress Hills St

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