This page is part of Family history documents: Joseph Black & family.
-- Margaret Fulford

Overview of family history (with links to selected documents)

Joseph Black (1915-1984) was the son of Samuel (Sam) Black and Anna [Finkelstein] Black.

Joseph's father, Samuel (Sam) Black was born Schmuel (Shmil) Blech (Blaikh / Bleich) on December 18, 1887 in Ukraine -- specifically in Kruti, which is near Balta, in the province of Podolia. He was the second of six children. His father Abram (Abraham / Bernard) Blech immigrated to Philadelphia around 1900, and Samuel's older brother immigrated around 1903. In 1905 Samuel, his mother Leia (Leah / Lizzie / Lillian) [Schandeles] Blech, and Samuel's four other siblings joined Abraham in the United States. First, Schmuel sailed from Liverpool to Philadelphia at age sixteen with his younger sisters Etel (age twelve) and Perl (age seven), arriving May 23, 1905. As unaccompanied minors with no money, they had to go before a Special Board of Inquiry to determine whether they would be deported; Schmuel explained that his father was living in Philadelphia, his older brother was living in New York City, and his mother had for now remained in England because Schmuel's younger sibling was ill. Then on July 3 his mother Leia arrived from Liverpool with Schmuel's brother Chaim (age fourteen) and sister Beile (age ten). We do not know when the family moved to New York from Philadelphia -- possibly right away, given that Leia's July 1905 passenger manifest records a Manhattan address for her husband.

Joseph's mother, Anna (Annie) [Finkelstein] Black, was born September 17, 1894 in Romania. Anna's father was Joseph Finkelstein; he must have died by 1904, which is when ten-year-old Anna and her widowed mother Sarah (Sura) [Siegel] Finkelstein left Romania and sailed from Liverpool to New York City, arriving July 8, 1904. Anna had an older brother (Bernard or Barnard or Bennett Finkelstein), who worked as a tailor in Boston and probably moved to New York around the time that Anna and her mother joined him at 177 East Houston, on the Lower East Side, one block from Katz's Delicatessen.

Sam Black and Anna Finkelstein were married June 7, 1914 in Manhattan. Sam worked as a tailor, making men's neckties (his employers included the Royal Neckware Company and Trucraft Cravat). Anna was mainly a homemaker, but we know that in 1940 she was working in millinery (hat making).

Their son Joseph (Joe) Black was born April 17, 1915 in New York City and grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Joe's younger sister Lillian Black, who was born April 28, 1920, died when she was only three years old (on July 3, 1923, of rheumatic endocarditis). Joseph's grandmother Sarah [Siegel] Finkelstein lived with the family until her death in 1930. The family's address as of 1915, and until at least 1925, was 246 East Houston St., two blocks from Katz's Delicatessen. By 1930 they had moved to the Bronx. Joseph studied accounting at City College of New York.

On October 23, 1938, Joseph married Ruth Schwartz (born Aug 14, 1912); they had three children and six grandchildren. Joe and Ruth began their married life in the Bronx, where as of 1940 Joe was working as a clerk and Ruth as a stenographer. Joe later became senior auditor for New York City's Department of Highways. In 1954 they moved with their children to Flushing, Queens. Joe's father Sam died on March 24, 1948; Sam's widow Anna lived with Joe, Ruth, and their children in Flushing; she died around 1971. Ruth and Joe moved to Enfield, Connecticut, where Joe died on August 28, 1984. Ruth lived until January 6, 2005.