Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Begecher Family History, Part 3

The story of the Begecher Family, who lived at 103 Orchard Street in the early 20th century, continues below. Read parts one and two. Research and writing by Alan Kurtz. Special thanks to Bowery Boogie.

On December 14th of 1904, five years after his arrival (the minimum time required by law), Marcus became an American citizen, taking the oath at the United States Eastern District Court. His Petition for Naturalization described him as a peddler living at 103 Orchard Street and noted that he could not read or write English but could “read and write the Hebrew language intelligently.” It wasn’t until 1906 that prospective citizens were required to know English.

Marcus Begecher’s Petition for Naturalization: his address is 103 Orchard Street

Though much of the 1905 New York State Census has been lost, a hand-copied facsimile dating to the 1940s records the family as Max, Sarah, Ida, Lena, Rosa, Mendel, Sam, and Jackel Bulchecher. Max listed his occupation as peddler, Ida and Lena worked in “ladies wear,” while Sam and Jackel attended elementary school. Rosa and Mandel’s given occupations are not legible.

Five years later, at the time of the 1910 Federal Census, the family still resided on Orchard Street and were enumerated on April 16th under the names Marcus, Sabra, Ida, Max, Rose, Samuel, and Jacob Buchacher. Lilly was living elsewhere. Marcus was recorded as a salesman in a dry goods store, Ida and Rose as operators in a tailor shop, Max as a truck driver, and Sam an office boy. Unfortunately, their apartment number was not recorded. Whether Marcus, Ida, and Rose were still working for their more well-off Bralower relations is not known.

1910 Federal Census record for 103 Orchard Street; the family is listed in the middle.

Two months later, on June 8, 1910 Ida Buchesser, age 23, married Max Katz, a 30 year old widower with a young son, and moved to the far reaches of the Bronx.

At some juncture during the early to mid 1910s, possibly when the building underwent extensive renovation in 1913, the family moved from 103 Orchard Street around the corner to 247 Broome Street. The family surname continued to evolve: Sam would retain the name Begecher, Max and Lilly would adopt the name Schesser, while Jack would somehow morph into Jack Schwartz.

Jack and Lilly

Marcus and Sarah died within one year of each other: Marcus on May 22, 1923 and Sarah on May 12, 1924. They are buried in Acacia Cemetery in Ozone Park, Queens. Though their Death Certificates carry the surname of "Schesser," their headstones are inscribed "Betchesser."

Ida Begecher Katz died on January 24, 1961, having outlived her husband Max by almost 28 years.

Eventually all surviving family members would leave the Lower East Side.

My wife is the granddaughter of Ida Begecher Katz and great-granddaughter of Marcus and Sarah Begecher.

Do you have any information about 103 or 97 Orchard Street? Any memories of the people who lived there? Share them with us! Email press-inquiry (at) tenement . org.

- Posted by Kate


  1. I have been working on indexing, and was working on the 1905 New York State Census when I came across Max, Sarah, Ida, Lena, Rosa, Mandel, Sam, and Jackel. The spell-check did not like their last name, so decided to look for it on Google, and that's when I stumbled upon this post.
    To add to what is already here, It looks like Mandel's occupation is listed as "Shawels Mfg" and for Rosa it appears to say "White goods oper." (White goods referencing linens.) At that time, the family was listed as having been in the US for 4 years with the exception of Sarah, who had been in the US for 3. Also, it lists their "Nativity" as "Romania"
    At that point in time there were 18 different surnames listed at 103 Orchard Street with a total of 76 individuals listed at the address.
    It is pretty neat getting to learn a little more about the people names I have been indexing.

  2. Neat!! Thanks for the extra info. Where are you doing indexing?


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