Joe Liebman and family come to America

Joe Liebman and family come to America

In the midst of making of all my discoveries on Google, the New York Times and elsewhere, I got an email prompt from to check out some of its latest hints. There are quite a lot of those lately with the recent availability of the 1940 census data.

The hints concerned other sides of my family, but I ran some manual searches on Joseph and Hilda Liebman. Sometimes in genealogy you knock your head against a wall trying to find things out, but at other times it is amazing the things that pop right out. Here was one of those times.

This record is the ship manifest for a refugee ship arriving in New York from Lisbon on August 19, 1940. On board is Joseph Liebman, listed as a 49-year-old jeweler, French-speaking, born in Kiev, a stateless person of Hebrew race. He is traveling with what must be his family, a wife Sophie, 46, born in Antwerp, and two children Helene, a student, 23, born in London and a British citizen, and Arnow (sic), student, 19, born in Brussels, stateless.

Arnow? You mean, that Arnaud? Why, yes, that could make sense. Plus, there is a Helene and a Sophie. We have not heard about them.

More searches for Joe turned up a number of interesting hits, which I will mention here but not necessarily post the images of: a 1942 U.S. draft registration, three late 1940 ship arrivals in New York from Le Havre and Cherbourg, some accompanied by Hilda Liebman, and a March 1968 U.S. social security death record.

For Arnaud Liebman, I don't find anything, but when I tried Arnaud Clerc there is a goldmine.

• First, he appears in seven New York City telephone directories between 1942 and 1953, living the entire time at 465 West End Ave. in Manhattan. His phone number was TRafalgar 7-7378.

• He enlisted in the U.S. army as a not-yet-naturalized citizen on Sept. 7, 1945. The enlistment is for the duration of the war plus six months.

• On March 4, 1946, he was admitted as a U.S. citizen.

• He appears on two passenger lists, arriving in New York from Cherbourg in Nov. 1948 and by air on TWA in Sept. 1955.

• He appears in a marriage index for August 1968 in Palm Beach, Florida, though the name of the wife is not given.

• Finally, there is a social security death record for an A. Clerc, died April 15, 1989. I'm not sure this is the right one though, as Walter Ruby recalls meeting him in 1991. Walter could be wrong about the date, I suppose.

The obvious conclusion is that Arnaud is, as we always thought, Joe's son, but that he began using the name Clerc on his arrival in America at age 19. If that is him in the Florida marriage index, then he married at age 47. If he and his wife had a child born within a year or two after the marriage, say a son, he would be in his early 40s today. That could be Gerald Clerc.

And then I did one more search, not for Joe or Arnaud, but for Gerald Clerc. This result I will post the image for, since it seems to tie the whole story together, at least for now. This item ran in the birth announcement section of the Washington Post on October 19, 1969.