A Genealogical Study


Goldberg (En)






Goldberg (Fr)




(10 JANUARY 1945)








Jan. 10 – 1945

Glen Cove, L.I.

David S. Thomas,

48 Crescent Beach Rd.


Dear Evelyn This Letter will Equant you with My nepiew’s son Herbert Kowalsky E is a Student in College n E is stading Medical. a Doctor E is My nepiew’s son Morris Kowalsky. you may or not Remember Morris or Rader We Did Cole Em Mayshky From The Bronx. I send this Letter To Herbert and I Believe Herbert may Will write to you. I Holpe you Will Exuse me For The Liberty I am To wryte you this Letter and also For Creating For you so much more Corresponding To Relations of mine as I wel Equantet with your Busy Obligations. But as I am very Found Of Herbert. E is a Perfect Gentle young man and a College Studan E is in College Two years. But is Drafting age is Geding To Be in Next October n as you Know That Boyes at This Time n at This age Du Not Know wat To Du Weder it is The Best To Inlist or To wait Until The Draft Cole Them. It Is a Difficuld Problem For The young Boyes Of Today. I am Very in Simpaty With Evry Boy which it is hard To Tel The Cind Of Good Luck They may will Have. God Bless Evry One Of The Boyes and The Girls which are in The Faiting Line of Duties To ser This Country war. so Please you you shure will not Consider me Wrong For Giving your Address To Herbert as I must say I Lave Herbert as E is So Gentle & Good E is your a Second Cosin you Shure Will Enjoy a Letter From Herbert n So E will Enjoy a Letter From you. E is not Shure yet But E as on is mind To Enlist Before is Drafting Time Comes. My Dear Evelyn Since Im Hout From The N.C.C. Hospital Thank God I Fill Fine. Mom Looks To Be Geding Olso Impruved. She Dos Come In The Store. I Belive as soon The Warem Wether Will Begin it Will Elp Her To Ged Back on Her Fit again. & so am I also wating For The Good Old Sumer Time. you Take Good Care Of your Health & God Bless you From Father David S. Thomas


It can immediately be seen from this letter than David Thomas was very poorly educated in English, and it was almost certainly not his first language. However, beyond his liberal use of capital letters and almost non-existent spelling and punctuation, it is clear that he was a very loving man, who cared deeply for both Evelyn and Herbert. On more than one occasion, he speaks very fondly of Herbert, and seems proud of the education he is receiving.


David's underlining of the word "God" each time he uses it could be an indication that he had a pious upbringing, although he does not use the form "G-d", as many pious Jews do today, to avoid perceived inappropriate use of Hashem's Name.


David refers to Herbert as his nephew's son, and Morris Kowalski as his nephew. Morris' parents are believed to have been Dawid Szloma Kowalski (1864-1930) and Szejna Gitl Tobiaszora (1864-1925). As Dawid's brothers are known, it could be that David was a brother of Gitl's, born under the surname Tobiaszora. Certainly, Thomas is a plausible anglicisation of Tobiaszora. There is a David Thomas listed on the 1930 census in Brooklyn aged 55, who arrived in the US in 1905, who could be a candidate for this David S Thomas. His age implies a birth year of 1874/5, which is consistent with his being Gitl's brother, and certainly within his mother's fertile years. If this David is the author of this letter, he would be around 70 years old at the time he wrote it, which is consistent with his mention of his and his wife's health and recent stay in hospital.


Later in the letter, David refers to Evelyn and Herbert a second cousins, which is inconsistent with Herbert being his nephew's son. If this is the case, Evelyn and Herbert would have been first cousins, once removed. However, even today, many people are confused by the method of labelling degrees of "cousinship", so this is not to be taken too literally.


It is obvious that David is keen to introduce Evelyn to Herbert and vice versa. My instinct as a single Jewish man initially told me he was trying to make a shidduch between the two! However, if David was born c.1875, it is unlikely that Evelyn would have been a similar age to Herbert, who had not long had his 17th birthday. On the 1930 census listing, David's wife, Tillie, is aged 54. If Evelyn was even 20 at the time this letter was written, that gives her a birth date of c.1925, when Tillie would have been in her late 40s. However, ages on censuses are notoriously inaccurate, so nothing can be assumed about Evelyn's age until further evidence is collected.


In conclusion, this letter gives us a wonderful glimpse into a father's love for his daughter and brings to life the characters involved. Items such as this remind us that our ancestors were more than just names, dates and statistics on sheets of paper or in software programs; they were real people with real loves and fears, many of whom lived in a world far more dangerous than the one we live in today.


Read David's letter to his cousin Morris Kowalski of 10 February 1945


Letter donated by Robin Kavall. Transcription by Saul Marks.


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