52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #2 – Rosa Marcovici

Here is my second post for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, a challenge posed by Amy Johnson Crow.

Rosa would be my first cousin  – twice removed. Our common ancestor is Joseph Spiegel, Rosa’s grandfather and my second great-grandfather.

<!–[if supportFields]>xe “MARCOVICI:Rosa (b. 1900) ” \f A<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]>xe “Jassy-Moldova- Romania ” \f B<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Rosa Marcovici was born on January 1, 1900* in Iasi, Romania to Chuna Marcovici and Gitel “Gisella” Spiegel. In Iasi the first baby born in the New Year was given lots of gifts, etc. and written up in the newspapers. However, since Rosa was Jewish, the city didn’t want a Jew to be their first New Year (and turn of the century) baby. So they made her birth certificate read that she was born at the end of 1899. Gisella said that as she was giving birth to Rosa, she heard the bells chiming in the New Year.

1903 – Iasi, Romania       Rosa looks older than 3 to me in this picture.
* Some of my information has been provided by Rosa’s daughter-in-law, Sandy Klapper.

I am stating that the birth year of 1900 is accurate for Rosa but I have no true confirmation. Other than the entry on her daughter-in-law’s Geni tree, the only other place that indicates the 1900 birth year is the 1940 US Census. Rosa’s 1912 immigration age is listed as 16, which makes 1896 her birth year. The 1915 NY Census and the 1920 US Census also list ages that confirm a birth year of 1896. The 1925 NY Census states 1898. I have been unable to find Rosa and her family in any 1930 Census which is strange. It would be interesting to find what she put on her marriage certificate as I would bet that might be the accurate date. Looking at pictures of her at various ages, I would be more inclined to go with the birth year of 1896.

This picture was dated 1911 making Rosa 11 years old if we use the birth year 1900..
She appears older than that, so I am truly questioning her birth-date.

In 1912, the family left Romania for America. They sailed on the ship “Nieuw Amsterdam.”
The Nieuw Amsterdam. Ship image courtesy of Ancestry.com
According to New York Passenger lists, their trip was paid for by Leon Feldman (listed as a brother-in-law). Their destination was listed as 321 Pleasant Avenue NYC, Leon Feldman’s residence. Upon their arrival, Chuna Marcovici changed his first name to Henry. All three changed their last name to Markowitz. Henry’s occupation was listed as “salesman”, Gisella’s occupation was listed as “housewife”, and Rosa’s occupation was listed as “seamstress.” Rosa’s age was listed as 16. Would she have been working as a seamstress if she was only 12? This makes me wonder yet again about her true age.
1912 Passenger list
By 1920, Rosa was living with her parents at 229 East 118th Street in Manhattan. In 1920 she was working as a dressmaker in Manhattan. Rosa spoke Romanian, Yiddish and English. It appears that she is now going by the name “Rose”.

1920 US Census

Rose married Sam Klapper on June 14, 1922. 

1922 Wedding of Sam and Rose

Sam owned his own grocery store.By 1925, Rose and Sam were living in the Bronx (NY) at 1055 College Avenue.

In 1928, the couple had their only child, a son they named Harold.

L-to-R: Gisella “Gussie” Markowitz, Harold, Sam, Rose

Rose with son, Harold and mother, Gussie
Rose – date unknown

According to the 1940 US Census, the Klappers returned to Manhattan, living at 295 Wadsworth Avenue.

1940 US Census

1941 – Harold’s Bar Mitzvah

Rosa suffered from Diabetes which affected her vision and in her 50’s she started going blind. By the time she was in her 70’s, she was totally blind. When her husband, Sam, died in 1971, she moved to Baltimore and lived alone in an apartment. With the help of a teacher for the blind, she was able to cook for herself, get around her apartment, give herself the insulin needle, etc.

Rose Klapper 1972

At the time of her death (from a heart attack) in February, 1982, Rose was living in Baltimore, Maryland with her son and daughter-in-law Sandy. Rose died as a result of a heart attack in February 1982 at the age of 82 in Baltimore, MD.<!–[if supportFields]>xe “MD:Baltimore ” \f B<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>


2 thoughts on “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #2 – Rosa Marcovici

  1. You have a wonderful collection of photographs of Rosa. Have you had any luck finding records for Iasi, Romania? That is where my husband's maternal grandfather was born. The story is that he changed his name from Yancu to Goldstein before immigrating to America in 1914.


  2. There are some good records on jewishgen.org. On January 19, I am attending a program held by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut (http://www.jgsct.org/) One of the members recently traveled through Romania and will be discussing what she learned. i'm hoping to learn some good things there.


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