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B'nai Spotlight - Becker Family

Abraham and Kreinde, circa 1910

The Becker family figures prominently in the archives of B'nai Israel. Different Becker family members appear in the Chevra Kadisha ledgers, Mishna Pinkas, the yahrzeit board for those learning Talmud, and the synagogue's Diamond Jubilee.

Abraham and Kreinde, 1910

Abraham Dov and Kreinde (née Blacher) brought their family to the United States aboard the Karlsruh.  The ship was owned by Norddeutscher Lloyd and was a pretty modern vessel for the time, having been built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1889.  The family arrived in the port of Baltimore on 8 June 1892 from Bremen, Germany. Neither of their families were from Bremen. Bremen was a popular point of departure from northern Europe. Both of their families appear to have been from Kriukai, Siauliai, Kaunas, in modern day northern Lithuania. At that time Lithuania was part of the Russian Empire and sometimes records show them as being from Kovno, Russia.

By the time of the 1900 Federal Census we find the family renting a house at 1014 East Lombard Street. Abraham is a butcher. Three of their children live at home: Ellen, Bertha, and Lena.  Ellen is a dressmaker. Both Bertha and Lena are listed as "Tailoress - Coats".

The family prospered, and by the 1910 census the couple has bought a house at 1036 E. Lombard Street. Bertha is still at home, but Ellen and Lena have married. However, their son, Herman, has returned home, along with his four-year-old son, William. 
Herman is identified in the 1910 census as working as a sign painter, but that designation doesn't show how well that went for Herman. In fact, he was one of Baltimore's first commercial sign painters, and opened Becker Signs at 801 E. Baltimore Street
Herman Becker in front of Becker Signs at 801 E. Baltimore Street
The census records show 1866 as the year Abraham and Kreinde married, but we know it was 1860 because on the 27th of March 1910, the couple extended an invitation to friends to come to their home for a celebration of their Golden
From the records of the Jewish Museum of Maryland we have the above Yiddish poem composed for their golden anniversary by Wolf Becker.
Their eldest child, Wolf, and his wife, Sarah, celebrated their silver anniversary that same year. We know this because Wolf and Sarah held a party at their home at 1511 E. Baltimore Street to celebrate Wolf's 51st birthday.  The notice that appeared in a newspaper about the affair includes those golden and silver anniversaries. It's also revealing of the families that made up their closest friendships and relationships.  Members of the Speert, Cohen, Feld, and Kurland families all married Becker siblings.
From archives of the Jewish Museum of Maryland
Becker family group photograph.
Several of the young women are wearing the young men's bowler hats.

It's probable that these are the ten children of Abraham and Krainde Becker: Minnie, Wolf, Moses, Belle, David, Isaac, Ella, Bertha, Herman, and Lena, born between 1860 and 1884. If taken around 1900 - not a bad match for their outfits - then the youngest, Lena, would be around 16. Several of the men could be brothers, and they resemble the photos of Herman Becker.
One final interesting note: the modernist artist Herman Maril was the grandson of Abraham and Kreinde. He was born to in 1908 to Issac and Celia (nee Maril) Becker at 106 Aisquith Street.

City Street by Herman Maril
Sun, June 16 2024 10 Sivan 5784