John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Name’s the Same

PROMPT: Is there a name that keeps popping up in your family tree? Have you had to sort out multiple people with the same name?
Romeo’s surname mattered not to his beloved Juliet.

A mention of “Uncle Dave and Aunt Rose” in any conversation between my spouse and his sisters never fails to elicit giggles. That’s because their paternal grandfather had a sister Rose whose spouse was named David, and their paternal grandmother had a brother David whose spouse was named Rose. For these siblings, their father referring to “Uncle Dave and Aunt Rose” could result in confusion akin–pun intended–to that of trying to calculate how many “times removed” one’s distant cousins are.

But before delving into the Spector family plural “Uncle Dave and Aunt Rose” phenomenon, it first bears noting that my father-in-law’s parents were first cousins. This in and of itself has made for some thorny connections in his family tree.

And some good-natured jokes, as might be expected.

The generally held view—at least in the United States—on the practice of first cousins marrying is made reference to in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs:

Recent studies actually debunk the general wisdom that inbreeding of this sort results in considerably more birth defects in the offspring, for what it’s worth. However, marrying one’s first cousin remains illegal in 25 states.

Let’s look at one generation before the Spector family first cousins who married.

Jacob and Lena Spector Silverman with great grandson Mark “Chick” Levine.

Yankel “Jacob” Spector was born in Eastern Europe in 1873.

Lena Evelyn Silverman was born “Leika Weintrobe” in Eastern Europe in 1878.

Each of them immigrated with their families to the United States in 1895 and 1897 respectively.

Jacob and Lena were married in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1898.

Jacob and Lena had four boys and one girl. The oldest son was Moses “Morris” Abraham Spector (1899-1974). Morris is my husband’s paternal grandfather.

Now, let’s go back to Lena Silverman Spector’s generation.

Lena had an older brother, Nathan Silverman (1873-1928).

Lena’s brother Nathan Silverman married Tziporah (“Sarah” or “Selah”) Fox (originally Fuchs.)

Nathan and Sarah Fox Silverman had one son and five daughters, including Annie Mildred Silverman (1899-1986.)

Lena and Jacob Spector’s son, the aforementioned Morris Spector, married Annie Silverman.


Lena Silverman Spector’s son married her brother’s daughter.

Nathan Silverman’s daughter married his sister’s son.

My father-in-law’s paternal grandmother and his maternal grandfather were brother and sister.

His parents were first cousins.

This week’s prompt brought to mind this popular children’s song, often learned in Scouts or at summer camp.

Now, let’s examine the “name’s the same” issue.

A marriage involving a sibling of Annie Silverman and another marriage involving a sibling of her spouse Morris Spector resulted in there being two different couples whom my late father-in-law correctly referred to as his “Uncle Dave and Aunt Rose.”

My father-in-law’s mother—Annie Silverman had one brother–*David Silverman (1901-1993)–who married Rose Datz (1905-1989) in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1924.

The Silverman Sisters and the wife of their brother David:
L-R: Lena, Susie, Annie, and Ruthie Silverman,
their sister-in-law Rose Datz Silverman (one of two women my father-in-law called “Aunt Rose”), and Sarah Silverman.

My father-in-law’s father—Morris Spector—had a sister Rose Spector (1902-1993) who married *David Shack (1902-1984) in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1927.

*My father-in-law’s two “Uncle Daves.”

The children of Jacob and Lena Silverman Spector in 1957.
L-R: Twins Louie and Oscar Spector, Rose Spector Shack (the “other” “Aunt Rose”), Max, and Morris Spector.

According to my husband, one of his sisters only half-jokingly suggested that this was all a ruse and that, in fact, only one “Uncle Dave and Aunt Rose” existed. She went on to ask, “Has anyone actually ever seen them together in the same place at the same time?!

Considering the meme above, the Spector family “Uncle Dave and Aunt Rose” curiosity might well have led to further confusion had the parties involved lived in the late twentieth/early twenty-first century, depending upon how my father-in-law might have set up his email contacts!

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