Finding community in Kansas City: Where we lived ...
After our ancestors arrived in the United States, they participated in various local communities---as renters, homeowners, merchants, employees, employers, synagogue members, parents, children. Sometimes they lived apart, sometimes shared homes and sometimes clustered separate residences near each other, drawn together by family ties and other factors such as availability of inexpensive housing, and access to jobs, schools, recreational facilities and religious institutions.
Starting as early as the 1880s, various members of diverse Jewish families that would come to be related to one another over time settled in the western town of Kansas City, Mo.
Probably the first to arrive were Michel Mayer Gordon and his wife, Golda Leah Gordon (nee Krewiansky), who are believed to have arrived in Kansas City from Courland (Latvia) in circa 1882-84. Next came Herman Landman from Romania in about 1888. Then came Abraham Nathan Marks from Russia in 1893. And Herman Landman's younger brother Joseph arrived in Kansas City from Romania in about 1898. Spouses and other families immigrated later.
This page has links to a series of interactive maps showing where some of our ancestors lived in Kansas City from 1897 to 1929. Location information is derived from perusing an incomplete collection of city directories and from viewing U.S. census records. The base maps are current Google maps, so some of the street configurations have changed since our 19th Century ancestors lived there. The Map Builder software used to create these maps is still under development, so, depending on the kind and version of browser used to view them, they may not always display properly.
Jennie Gordon Marks (Michel Mayer Gordon and Golda Leah Gordon's daughter) and her husband, Abraham N. Marks, who had married the previous year, and Herman and Adella Landman, who had married in 1894, were both living in homes along the 18th Street corridor in the heart of the city.
Golda Leah Gordon and her daughter Rebecca operated a dry goods store at the east end of the 18th Street corridor, while Abraham N. Marks and his wife, Jennie Gordon Marks, ran the same type of business at the west end of the corridor. Herman Landman, an optician, lived to the north, near Independence Ave.
Golda Leah Gordon's daughter Rebecca married Joseph Landman in 1903; the newlyweds moved in with Golda, and the dry goods business was renamed Gordon & Landman. Also in this period, Abraham N. Marks' family separated their residence from their dry goods business, moving to a home less than a mile away. Herman Landman switched occupations, becoming a jewelry store operator.
Little changed from 1903-05 to this year, but Herman Landman again became an optician, the occupation he had pursued in 1900.
Joseph Landman had died in 1914, so his mother-in-law, Golda Leah Gordon, and his widow, Golda's daughter Rebecca Gordon Landman, operated the dry goods store on Southwest Boulevard. Abraham N. Marks and his family now lived next door to their dry goods store on Independence Avenue.
Golda Leah Gordon's half-brother Jacob Krohn, who had immigrated in 1911 or 1912, moved in with her and her daughter Rebecca Landman, and Jacob worked in their dry goods store. Also by this time, Jacob Bernstein, a tailor, and his family had arrived in Kansas City. By the 1920 census, Herman Landman's wife, Adella, had been committed to State Hospital No. 2, in St. Joseph, Mo., so Herman was living without her.
By this time, the family of Ephraim (Edward) Dennis, a waste paper dealer who had immigrated in 1900, had established themselves in Kansas City. Conicidentally, the Dennis, Jacob Krohn and Abraham N. Marks families and Robert Bernstein all lived in a corridor along Independence Avenue in 1924.
On the eve of the onset of the Great Depression, the next generation had for the most part entered their own various occupations. The Bernstein brothers had a pawn shop, Sol Dennis was a salesman for a biscuit company, the sisters Marie and Besse Marks were clerks for a rubber company, the siblings Ruth and Barnard Marks were teachers, and Harold Marks was a chemist.
NOTE: To see historical maps of Kansas City with the original street names and configurations, see http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/us_states/missouri/KC.html
Experienced amateur genealogist Martin Fischer is available to conduct freelance family history projects including searching online databases, creating family trees, editing memoirs and developing genealogical Web sites. For more information, go to http://www.the-efa.org/, click on find a freelancer, and type Martin Fischer in the search box, or go to http://www.apgen.org/, click on search by name, and type Fischer and Martin in the search boxes.