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  • Max Heffler
    One of the helpful databases on Ancestry.com is the U.S. Consular Registration Certificates, 1907-1918. This is where American citizens abroad registered at
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 21, 2013
      One of the helpful databases on Ancestry.com is the U.S. Consular
      Registration Certificates, 1907-1918. This is where American citizens
      abroad registered at the consular or legation office where they were either
      visiting, studying or living.
      Details such as the name of the registrant; consulate where registered; date
      and place of birth; general travel data; names, places of birth; and
      residences of spouse and children; and registrant's current place of
      residence; were amongst those on the Registration Certificates according to

      Quite a number of those registered, many of whom were women, who had
      returned to Europe to visit their families, expressed a desire to return
      home to America as soon as possible as they were caught in the turmoil of a
      world at war. Many stated that they had lost their passports, run out of
      money and their relatives had none either, and other indigent circumstances.

      Several examples of registrations taken at the Riga American Consulate are

      Mrs. Pauline Rabinowitz, born August 22, 1891, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
      who left America on March 10, 1914 and arrived in Riga on March 29, 1914.
      Pauline had no children and was visiting relatives. She resided at
      Schwimstrasse 24, Riga, Latvia, care of Mrs. Bettie Kohen. Contacts in case
      of emergency were her husband Harry Rabinowitz or Mrs. Becky Harrison, 862
      Jennings Street, New York, NY.

      Her husband Harry was born in Kelme, and was temporarily residing in
      South Africa, because of business. There was also a statement by Pauline
      she was going to join her husband in South Africa or return home as soon as
      possible after visiting her relatives. The only pertinent fact missing was
      her maiden name.

      Another registration in Riga was:

      Mrs. Adele Clarson, born June 23, 1886, in Talsen, Latvia, who left her
      residence at 260 Sydney Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, on June 25, 1914,
      and arrived in Latvia on July 10, 1914, with the intent of visiting her
      parents. Her address where she was staying was Grossestrasse, Sassmaken,
      pr. Talsen, Kurland, Russia.

      She was married to Albert Clarson, who had been born in Riga and she was
      traveling with her young children: Elvira Clarson, born April 4, 1909,
      Somerville, MA; Beatrice Clarson, born June 24, 1910, South Boston, MA; and
      Adelia Clarson, born July 12, 1912, South Boston, MA. Imagine traveling
      with three children all under five years of age!

      Yet another Riga registration was:

      Mrs. Albert Sulzberger (maiden name Mamie Caro), who was born March 27,
      1889, in Riga, Latvia, and who was visiting her relatives. Traveling with
      her was her daughter Lottie Sulzberger, who was born January 31, 1909, in
      Philipsburg, NJ.
      She was residing at Kleine Munzstrasse 16, Q4, care of Mrs. Press. Her
      husband Albert was born in Lodz, Poland. They lived in Paterson, NJ, at 18
      Lane Street.

      Apart from the registrations from Europe there were also ones from other
      parts of the world such as those of Jewish students studying in yeshivas in
      Mea Shearim such as Mordechai Rabinowitz, and those in Melbourne, Australia,
      such as Isard Zeltner, studying oil skin and waterproof manufacturing, and
      other such pursuits.

      There was also those individuals who left America to find work such as Jack
      Zemel who went to Vancouver, Canada, to work as a signwriter. And others,
      who went on business such as Joseph Zimmelman, who was born in Poland and
      went to Buenos Aires to sell diamonds for Weinberg Brothers in NYC. His
      wife and six children also lived in Argentina.

      If you wish to delve further into documents of this period, there are also
      Consular Registration Applications, 1916-1925, for those who wished to
      extend their stays abroad. These applications are just as interesting as
      the Registration Certificates. One, in particular, was for a Charles R.
      Cantor, the son of Abraham Cantor, born Kurland, December 1, 1876, who was a
      major hotel, saloon and cabaret owner in the Panama Canal Zone. He left
      America in 1913 and was married to Celia Frank.

      The documents in his file provided not only a fascinating business history,
      but one of his charitable endeavors as well. As the consul wrote in one
      document, Charles R. Cantor "was known by every soldier and sailor on the
      Isthmus and there is not one that would not do almost anything for him."

      Ann Rabinowitz
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