Monday, November 12, 2007

Genealogue Challenge #90

Norman Mailer died on Saturday.

Name two of his father's siblings.


In 1920, Isaac Mailer was living with David Kessler and his wife Annie. Isaac was David's brother-in-law.
The 1958 NY Times obit for Ann Mailer Kessler lists her brother I. Barnett Mailer (Norman's father). Other siblings are:
Louis, Fannie, Babs, Biddy, Ray, Victor, Ernest, and Alex.


According to Mailer's obituary in the NY Times, his father Isaac Barnett Mailer, "Barney," was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1892.

The 1920 Census, lists an Isaac Mailer (indexed as Masler), living in Brooklyn with his brother-in-law, David Kessler, and David's wife ANNIE.

Mary Dearborn's biography of mailer also notes that his father emigrated to New York to join his sister ANNE and brother-in-law who ran a thriving candy business.

1) Anne.

Still looking for additional siblings.


an article in the New York Sun here makes reference to a Becky Shapiro, as one of Norman Mailer's aunts: "Also seen was drama critic Millicent Brower, whose grandfather owned cottages next to the Starboro hotel in Long Branch, N.J. Norman Mailer's aunt, Becky Shapiro, owned the Starboro.
" although it is not clear if she is a maternal or paternal relation.


New York Passenger Lists also record several trips by a Louis Maurice Mailer, born in Latvia in 1893.
His arrival on 5 Sep 1924 in NY lists his origin as Johannesburg, South Africa, father as B. Mailer, and occupation as stockbroker.

Possibly Isaac's brother, but no confirming information as of yet.

the NY Passenger Lists also record a John B. Mailer arriving in NY on 10 Nov 1919, occupation: accountant; origin: South Africa.
Is this a brother, or is it possibly Isaac himself? Age, origin, occupation and middle initial are consistent with this being Isaac. Dearborn's biography of Mailer also comments that his father came to America after the end of WWI.

It also states that Barney had been living with his sister Anne and her husband David Kessler, when he met Fanny Schneider in 1921.

Dearborn's biography also notes one of Fanny's sisters, as Beck, so apparently Becky Shapiro is a maternal aunt.

Isaac's obituary in the NY Times (15 Oct 1972) notes that he is survived by his wife Fanny, son Norman, daughter Barbara, four sisters, and four brothers.


Louis Maurice Mailer is confirmed as Isaac's brother, according to the 5 Sep 1924 passenger list from the Mauretania, which records Louis Mailer as going to join his sister and brother-in-law, D Keesler, 2414 Beverley Road, Brooklyn, NY. (apparently a typographical error for Keesler).

1) Anne Mailer KEESLER
2) Louis Maurice MAILER.


Sorry, Sharon, I asked for two siblings and you've given me nine. Unless I enforce the rules, this blog will descend into lawlessness.

Lacking access to the NYT obit, I found only Annie (using the census) and Louis (using Ellis Island records), the same as MFraser.


Just an aside, since all of you beat me on this one (I only found Annie), ancestry had Isaac indexed in the 1920 census as: Isaac Masler (with an alternate name of Isaac Marler), and he was indexed in their 1930 census as: Isaac Barnettmailer. [sigh] I only found him both times by searching for an Isaac who was born in South Africa. Soundex wouldn't even help us on that last one!!



I had the same experience with Isaac and the 1920 Census. Went to submit a correction to Ancestry, and received a message that the alternate name of Mailer was already attached to the record
(But apparently not posted yet!)


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