I am looking for birth records for the children of David Nechemias and Etta Ehrensaal. From census records, I have Beatrice (b. abt 1897), Helen (b. abt 1904), Sidney (b. about 1907) and Roselyn (b. abt 1911). The first three children should be indexed in the NYC birth index but I cannot find any of them. In particular, I have an estimate of Sidney's birth date from other records as 19 Jun 1906, but I could not find any plausible matches for him even without constraining his last name much.

From the city directory and census records, I am reasonably sure that the family actually did live in New York, at least starting in 1904, because the NYC directory shows a David Nechemias (drygds) at 133 Harrison Ave, and the 1910 census shows David Nechemias's occupation as "dry goods / own store." I have not found this family's 1900 census record.

I suppose the two obvious causes for my lack of success are a mis-spelled name or the possibility that they had children elsewhere. I've tried as many wild-card and spelling variants for the name as I could think of. I've tried doing searches unconstrained by geography. What am I missing? What should I do next?

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    Might the mother have gone out of town to give birth, to a female relative? It happened in England and Wales, most often with the earliest children, but I don't know whether it would be likely and possible for this couple.
    – user104
    Nov 20, 2012 at 19:33
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    It seems unlikely, but I cannot rule it out, of course. And I did search broadly, not just in New York, for those records. Of course if the kids were born in a location that was not indexed by familysearch or ancestry, that might explain why I did not find any records. Nov 20, 2012 at 19:48
  • Sidney was my wife's grandfather, born 6/16/06. The spelling is correct (Nechemias).
    – user604
    Jan 12, 2013 at 15:25
  • Cool! He is the brother of Roselyn, who was married to Samuel Axel. I am related to Samuel's mother. How much do you know about Sidney's family and the Axels? Jan 12, 2013 at 18:08
  • Quite a bit about Nechemias, nothing about Axel. Sidney had a daughter Davida and son Charles. Davida is my mother-in-law. Sidney was a family doctor in Far Rockaway, NY and passed away in 1972.
    – user604
    Jan 12, 2013 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


As well as not constraining the last name too much, you could leave the first name blank or with just a few letters.

For example, searching your NYC birth index for a first name starting with "he" and a last name starting with "ne" produces:

Nechemia Hellen Oct 21 1903 24053 (1903) Kings 1991337

I'd consider that a strong candidate, if you have anything else to confirm the birth year or month/day.

Another approach is to look at "maybes" and try to eliminate them:

Nechemius Issie Jun 19 1906 30121 (1906) Manhattan 1984963

That on first glance is a pretty good match for Sidney's birth date, except it's a girls name (possibly a transcription error). Maybe there is some way to find the original image?

You've likely already followed Sidney forward to see he's consistent on his birthplace, but I've had ancestors who were that consistent because that's what they were told by their parents, or it's the first place they remember.


The parents say they were naturalised around the same year that Beatrice was born, so if you could find where that naturalisation took place it may be a clue. There is no real evidence they were in New York before 1903 1901/2 (he's in the 1902 directory), yet.

  • Thanks Rob, I did try searches with partial or missing names, but apparently had not hit on the right combination of misspellings! Nov 21, 2012 at 0:16
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    I am thinking that "Issie" is actually "Izzie" and that Sidney was "Sidney Isaac" or some such. The date is consistent with the only other birth date I have for him, and that birth date comes from several different records (although it may well be from the same source). Nov 21, 2012 at 1:44
  • This leaves the mystery of the missing Beatrice... Nov 21, 2012 at 1:45
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    I realized later that the birthday was off by 3 days. I suppose ordering thatvfilm would resolve the issue. I still have a gut feeling that Issie is the same as Izzy, which was a common variant of Isaac. Nov 24, 2012 at 6:29
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    Issie/Isie/Izzie/Izzy -- spelling doesn't matter, it's a common nickname for Isidore, and I've seen Isidore and Isaac used interchangeably. Jewish immigrants used all sorts of name variations, including their middle name, as their given name after immigration. Gene, if you can find Sidney's gravestone, perhaps the Hebrew will shed light on his full name. The SSDI lists his birthdate as 19-Jun-1906, and his death in Feb-1972, last residence in Queens, NY. So he's probably in one of the NYC Jewish cemeteries, or perhaps a northern NJ cemetery.
    – efgen
    Nov 24, 2012 at 19:01

Rob found Helen and Sidney... let's look further for Beatrice....

New York had a state census in 1905, 1915, 1925 -- those records are now online at FamilySearch.

I was able to easily find the family's 1905 census record. This record says that David and Yetta immigrated 12 years earlier (~1893) and were naturalized citizens, Beatrice was 9 years old (born ~1896) and born in the United States; Helen was 2 years old (born ~1903) and born in the United States.

In the New York City Brides index, I found that Beatrice married Harry Wind in Manhattan on May 19, 1917. You can follow them forward in the census records if you don't have info about their descendants yet.

Having Beatrice's married name now, I tried to locate her in the SSDI, but didn't find one born around 1896-1897.

So going forward didn't help this time... let's go back to the beginning...

I decided to try the NYC Birth index with a different spelling/name variation -- last name starting with "Nach" (rather than Nech) and first initial B. Look who I found:

Nachennia Bertha Sep-22-1896 Cert # 41710 Manhattan, FHL Film # 1322341

That's probably your Beatrice. My grandmother was also born Bertha and changed her name to Beatrice.

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    Good idea to change the vowel! That's where a wildcard search, which could have a ? for the vowel, would be more useful than the search they have. I didn't know that Bertha and Beatrice were that interchangable, but I see there are quite a few well-known people that have become Beatrice after starting as Bertha.
    – Rob Hoare
    Nov 25, 2012 at 18:41
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    @RobHoare: If you go directly to Italiangen.org, you can search using wildcards.
    – efgen
    Nov 26, 2012 at 20:52

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