A bit more on my meshugge relatives

As I wrote yesterday, I continue to find out more about my relatives on my father’s side, and whether I have any gentile genes from Ireland remains a mystery. So does the source of the name “Coyne”, which apparently goes back in that form to the early 19th century—in Ireland.

But I now have several relevant newspaper articles found by a friend who subscribes to Newspapers.com, where apparently you can find nearly any clipping. From these I discovered that my father, his father, and his father’s mother were in a car crash on the Pittsburgh-Monongahela road on August 6, 1929; my dad was 11 and sustained “head injuries”, but nobody was seriously hurt.

Here are two items of interest—to me (I promise I won’t bore you with many of these). In this one, my paternal grandfather, Joseph C. Coyne of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, seems to have sued one of his relatives (Zoffer was his mother’s maiden name) for pecuniary reasons. This clipping, from the Pittsburgh Press on August 1, 1928, will surely raise the Jewish stereotypes:

And the wedding of Aunt Mannie, my father’s sister. I remember her well. Uncle Emil, her husband, died fairly young of a heart attack, and she spent her final years in Florida—the end of the line for all Jewish people. Before that she was the secretary of the famous and racist anthropologist Carleton S. Coon. Note that my dad and my future mom (Lillian Frank, not yet married to my dad) were in attendance at the wedding, and my aunt is described as “attractive daughter of Joseph Coyne”! Also, it was a Jewish wedding—I’m not sure if Uncle Emil was Jewish—and the bride didn’t wear white.  This was published in the Morning Herald of Uniontown, Pennsylvania on June 23, 1939. Both bride and groom apparently worked at Joseph Coyne’s auto parts store.

I think our family has a penchant for outbreeding. My great-grandfather Peter Coyne (who married a Jewish woman) might himself have been a goy, my uncle Bernie took a shicksa for his second wife, much to my grandmother Sadie’s chagrin, and I’ve dated only two Jewish girls my entire life. Grandmother Sadie Frank was a piece of work: when I was in high school in Virginia, and she was visiting, she once gave me $5 to take a girl to the movies. When she found out the girl wasn’t Jewish, she took the money back. I am not making this up.

Oh, here’s my grandfather’s radio store (I didn’t know he had one along with the tire store and other stores); this was in the Evening Standard of Uniontown Pennsylvania on May 2, 1929, just a few months before the stock market crash that bankrupted Joseph Coyne:

34 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I love that you’re regaining us with family tales (tails!), Jerry. I had a Grandma Sadie too. Well, Sadie was a nickname; her real name was Cira; she was Sicilian…

    • BobTerrace
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      My grandmother (father’s mother) had Sadie as her real and only name.

      • GBJames
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        That’s terrible. They could have given her a surname at least!

        • BobTerrace
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          lol
          correction …and only FIRST name.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      I’m enjoying it too. Very interesting.

      We had a neighbour named Sadie when I was a baby. She rang the radio for a competition one time, and was asked her name. She didn’t want to say Sadie because the song ‘Sadie the Cleaning Lady’ had just been playing, so she said: “Mrs Lewis,” instead.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 3:19 am | Permalink

        Funny story!

      • Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        I just had to Google that song, Heather 😂

  2. GBJames
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    lol (re: the $5)

  3. Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    shicksa ???

    • BobTerrace
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Shiksa (Yiddish: שיקסע‎, translit. shikse) is an often disparaging term for a non-Jewish woman or girl

      • Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        I didn’t mean it disparagingly; as I said, most of my girlfriends have been under that aegis. Most of my Jewish friends don’t use it as a pejorative term, either.

        • BobTerrace
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          I agree, I don’t use is disparagingly and don’t know many who do.
          That came from Wikipedia.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Welcome to outbreeder club, Jerry! I think it’s a thing with the Celts. It just takes one Celt in the family and bingo outbreeding! My Jewish ancestor married a Welsh guy. I have Jewish friends who have Scottish dads. It happens a lot I think.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Well…it’s not suppose to be a breeder’s club. I mean, they don’t hold a show on this anywhere do they? Sorry you lost the $5 bucks.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Those are beauty pageants. 😃

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    “my meshugge relatives” — Blame it on the mick blood; that’s what my old man used to do to get my mom’s goat when we kids were running around like banshees.

  7. BobTerrace
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    The bridesmaid wore a chartreuse frock. Even then the bridesmaids were punished. 🙂

  8. Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    My mom used to pay me to go out, period. Slipping the money under my door. I would just spend it on music.

  9. boggy
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Only the present generation of British Royals have practiced outbreeding. Previously there was strong inbreeding among European royals, for instance Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were first cousins and the present Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are second cousins.

    • Posted February 5, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      “Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were first cousins…”

      So, if the hemophilia mutation had occurred earlier, the royal couple could have produced a rare female with hemophilia.

      • boggy
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 1:26 am | Permalink

        Quite possibly. King George V, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and Tsar Nicolas of Russia were all first cousins. The classic example of royal inbreeding was the Hapsburgs, the last king of which was sterile and whose death resulted in the War of Spanish Succession.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    “Louis Zoffer, of Cleveland, O.”

    That’s my hometown, boss; you know anything else about the Zoffers of NE Ohio?

    My spinster aunt was the head bookkeeper for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland for about three decades. (It was a point of pride in my mom’s clan that they’d let an Irish gal from the South Side, with no advanced degree, handle the books.) She was great with numbers. Taught me to play penny-ante poker as a kid.

  11. jhs
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    “I’ve dated only two Jewish girls my entire life.”

    Hehehe. Is this supposed to be an expression of regret? Only Two. There is still time to increase the number.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      There is still time, but it depends on your definition of girl. PCCE dating of a girl could be creepy 🙂

    • Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Well, if Sarah Silverman were game. . .

  12. Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Dated only two jewish girls!? Jeez, I dated more than that.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    … she spent her final years in Florida—the end of the line for all Jewish people.

    Had a Jewish buddy in Boca Raton who used to call the park benches there “Yahweh’s waiting room.”

  14. Historian
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    The radio store must have catered to the well heeled. The $265 radio would cost $3823 in today’s dollars per the inflation calculator.

    http://www.in2013dollars.com/inflation-rate-in-1929

    Presumably, after the crash many fewer people could afford such a luxury, which could have contributed to the bankruptcy.

  15. Historian
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The Morning Herald of Uniontown on May 10, 1940 reports Joe Coyne’s death in Florida. You will have to get a free trial to see the image full size.

    https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/63676630/

    • Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      I got that from my friend; I have the whole page. Also my birth announcement four days after I was born.

  16. EliHershkovitz
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    This post was worth two full scrolls. Particularly enjoyed “my future mom” and Bubbie Sadie (family penchant for ‘diluting the juice’…not so much). One should also listen to their Bubbie. 🙂

  17. Steven in Tokyo
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    This is fascinating stuff.
    Being Australian by birth, and with a background of miscellaneous Europeans until a couple of generations ago, I’m not sure the Ancestry site would tell me much about my family, but I’m tempted to give it a try.

  18. Wayne Y Hoskisson
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Family histories fascinate me. They add a personal dimension to history. Reading about people impacted by immigration or the Crash of ’29 add to the meaning of historic events.


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