Saturday, January 26, 2008

Genealogue Challenge #114

Actress Suzanne Pleshette died last week at age 70.

What were the full names of her four grandparents?


The paternal grandparents were easy: they be Max Pleshette and Gertrude Sklarew. For extra credit I'll throw in that Gertrude's father was Morris Sklarew.

The maternal grandparents weren't so easy, at least for me they weren't. Suzanne's mother was Geraldine Kaplan, born in 1918. The trouble I have is that there are two of that name listed in the NY census, one born about 1919 and the other born about 1917. So which is correct?

Benjamin and Gussie Kaplan have a daughter Geraldine born ca 1917 present in their household in the Bronx in 1920 and 1930.

Abraham and Celia Kaplan have a daughter Geraldine born ca 1919 present in their household in Brooklyn in 1920 and 1930.

It can be determined from the California death records that Geraldine's mother's maiden name is Goldstein. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to put that tidbit to use. The NYC marriage records didn't help, though I might have overlooked something, and searching earlier census for Celia Goldstein or Gussie Goldstein reveal what a common name Celia and Gussie are; too many to quickly sort out.

Assuming I'm even close with this analysis, I'll hypothesize that Abraham and Celia are Suzanne's maternal grandparents. The age of their Geraldine feels right, and also I believe Brooklyn was the location of a major theater. Hopefully, someone else has come up with the tie-breaker evidence to clear this one up.


Obituaries for Suzanne Pleshette note that her father was Eugene Pleshette, affiliated with the Brooklyn Paramount.Her mother is reported as former dance Geraldine/Gloria Kaplan, who danced under the name Geraldine Rivers.

The bios for Eugene Pleshette note that he died in 1991. The CA Death records cross reference to a date of birth of 7 Jan 1914, in Brooklyn, and note his mother's maiden name as SKLEREW

The 1920 US Census, lists a Eugene Pleshek(commented with a correction of Pleshet) listed as 6 year old son of Max and Geraldine Pleshek (NY,Kings County, Brooklyn Assembly District 17, District 1025), Page 21B. Family is on lines 87-92.) Living with the family is 87-year-old Morris SKWAREK, noted as Max's father-in-law.

A cross-check of the NY Marriage indices at records a marriage between Max PLESHET and Gertie SKLAREW in Kings County on 26 May 1910. also notes a 27 Oct 1934 Marriage in Kings County between Eugene Pleshet and Goldie Kaplan. (Goldie/Geraldine/Gloria?)

Off to find the Kaplans!



The CA death index which notes Eugene Pleshette's death, also has a record for Geraldine Pleshette, noting a death in Los Angeles, in March 1987.

The death index records a date of birth of 10 April 1918 and gives her mother's maiden name as GOLDSTEIN.

However, the SSDI records the date of birth as 10 April 1913 .

If we accept the 1934 marriage index of Eugene Pleshek to Golde Kaplan,as being that of Suzette's parents, this gives a couple alternatives to search:
Geraldine/Goldie and 1913/1918.

With these criteria, I've come up with four possible sets of Kaplan Grandparents:
Robert/Lena, in Brooklyn with Daughter Goldie , born 1913
Sam/Lena, in Brooklyn, with daughter Goldie, born 1913.
Hyman/Rebecca, in Brooklyn, with daughter Goldie, born 1918.
Abraham/Celia, in Brooklyn, with daughter Geraldine, born about 1919.

Now to see I can find marriage records for any of these couples, to see if there is a Goldstein maiden name.


Max Pleshet and Gertrude Sklarew

Hyman Kaplan and Rebecca Wasschawsky

That was a good one. (Assuming I'm right). Marriage records were key.

Drew Smith

According to Wikipedia, Suzanne Pleshette was born in Brooklyn on 31 January 1937, and her parents were Eugene Pleshette and Geraldine Kaplan, although other sources give Geraldine's first name as Gloria (and see their marriage record below for yet another first name).

Depending upon the source, Eugene Pleshette is described as either a bellhop or the manager of the Paramount and Brooklyn Paramount theaters. Kaplan is described as a dancer or ballerina.

First, Eugene:

Eugene Pleshette appears in the California Death Index, born 7 January 1914, died 11 Sep 1991 in Los Angeles County, with his mother's maiden name given as Sklarew.

In the 1930 census for Brooklyn, we find the household of Max and Getrude Pleshet, with children Arnold (19), Eugene (16), and Manual (14). The family is a little harder to find in the 1920 census, as they have been misindexed as "Pleshek". Here, the mother is listed as Gertrude.

Again using, we find the marriage of Max Pleshet and Gertie Sklarew on 26 May 1910.

This establishes Suzanne Pleshette's paternal grandparents as Max Pleshet and Gertrude "Gertie" Sklarew.

Now for Geraldine (aka Gloria aka Goldie):

The New York marriage indexes available through show two marriage records for Eugene Pleshette and Goldie (or Golde G) Kaplan.

The names Eugene Pleshette and Geraldine Pleshette appear on the ship's passenger list for the S.S. Santa Rose on 2 May 1956.

Geraldine (Kaplan) Pleshette appears in the California Death Index, born 10 April 1918, died 19 March 1987 in Los Angeles County, with her mother's maiden name given as Goldstein. The SSDI gives her birth year as 1913.

A search of the 1930 census for New York City turns up at least 3 different Goldie Kaplans born either around 1913 or around 1918, and at least 2 different Geraldine Kaplans. Unfortunately, so far I've been unable to find a Kaplan married to a Goldstein that fits any of these families.


Can anyone confirm the names of her maternal grandparents?

I always kind of assumed that "Pleshette" was French. In fact, "Pleshet" is the Hebrew name for Palestine--"Land of the Philistines." Go figure.


No confirmation here. As has already been noted, the paternal ones were fairly easy. I believe mother Geraldine's mother may have been Gussie Goldstein, but I cannot nail it down. Too many Kaplans and Geraldine's birthdate is an issue.


I'm leaning more toward one of the 1913-born Goldie Kaplans. The 1934 marriage record to Max Pleshette does call her Goldie, and a 1913 birth would make her twenty-one at the time of marriage, not sixteen as a 1918 birth would suggest. It also puts her closer to Max's age. Maybe we'll have to wait till the 1940 is released to know for sure.


Make that a 1934 marriage to Eugene, not Max

Drew Smith

OK, here's a possibility. The 1920 census for Manhattan shows a Samuel Kaplan with wife Ida and 7-year-old daughter Goldie.

The New York City marriage index shows an Isidor Kaplan married to an Ida Goldstein on 18 May 1908 in Brooklyn.

Could Isidor be Samuel?


Drew, it looks like Isadore and Ida are listed in Brooklyn in 1910, married two years with sons Louis and Ike. I can't match them to any family with a Goldie or Geraldine in 1920 or 1930.


The Isidore and Ida with sons Louis and Ike are in Brooklyn in 1920 as Israel and Ida with Lewis and Ike. No daughter.


Drew Smith

Thanks for ruling out that option! OK, I'll throw out a new one:

Could Goldie Kaplan be the 7-year-old in the 1920 census in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York?


Here it is:

1930 Census - Brooklyn
Samuel Kaplan -52
Lena Kaplan -48
Harry - 21
Lily - 19
Goldie - 17
Morris - 13
Laurence - 9

NYT Obituary June 1, 1971

KAPLAN--Harry, beloved husband of Rose Barbara. Dear brother of Belle Jachter, Rose Alper, Lilyan Feldman, Gerrie Pleshette, Muarice L. Kaplan and Lawrence Kaplan. Adored grandfather of Helene Gall, Richard Scott and Laura Jill. Services Wednesda, 11:30 A.M. "The RIverside" Brooklyn, Ocean Parkway at Prospect Park.

I believe the 1920 census for this family had Belle and Rose accounted for as well.


Yup - 1920 census (indexed on Ancestry as Raplan, corrected as Kaplan)

Sam - 42
Lena - 37
Belle - 18
Rose - 12
Harry - 11
Lilly - 9
Goldie - 7
Morris - 2

Need to find them in 1910 to be sure Lena was Samuel's wife at the time of Goldie's birth.


I found them in Brooklyn in 1910, indexed at Ancestry as "Coplon." Samuel and Lena had been married for 13 years.


It looks like Lena (Leie) and eldest daughter Bella (Beile) arrived in New York from the old country in August 1906.


I saw the ship record too ... thought I had posted it but it must have been eaten by blogger. The 1920 census indicates Lena and Belle came in 1906 and Sam in 1903. The 1906 ship record shows Lena was released to husband Sam of "Bkln".


A couple more tidbits: looks like Samuel made two passages in 1902 (occupation shoemaker and approximate date of birth match the 1910 census.) His last residence is listed on both manifests but I can't make out the name of the city. In one of the two, he was released to brother-in-law Max Meyer.


There is a site called Find a Grave. There you can see information on Suzanne's and her parents grave including pictures. Her parents share a grave under the name of Eugene and Geraldine Kaplan LOVERS (you can see Suzanne's touch in the inscription). As of her mom:
Geraldine Kaplan Pleshette

Birth: Apr. 10, 1913
Death: Mar., 1987

Dancer, Artist. She married Eugene Pleshette and had a daughter the actress Suzanne Pleshette.

Hillside Memorial Park
Culver City
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Garden of Abraham, Block 12, Space 7

Record added: Feb 15 2008
By: Jared Walker


I would like to join your research.
I am also researching Kaplan family.
Isidore Kaplan a professional actor (age 31) arrived to NYC with his young pregnant wife Pessia (age 19). They had a son Aby I. Kaplan born 1907.
In the time distance from 1907 to 1911 Isidore and Pessia had a falling out. Isidore hides documents from his wife and taking his 4 year old son leaves USA for Europe to publish and stage the Yiddish plays he has written.
Mean while his wife has another child a daughter. I think she might have taken that child wit her to follow Isidore and Aby, or most probably she stayed in USA. They got a divorce. Isidore travelled the world over with his plays. The WWI starts. And the laws change.
He left without any papers, now he needs papers to go anywhere. Aby and Isidore get stuck in China. In Shanghai Isidore meets a young actress, Rachael Broido, from Minsk. They probably have a daughter Raya, whom they leave in the orphanage in Novozibkov... Or Pessia, Isidore's first wife brought Raya with her to follow Isidore and Aby... That child Raya is never going to be reunited with her parents again. Raya I my husband's grandmother.
Isidore wrote in the emergency passport for his son Aby, that Any has a younger sister born in NYC.
I do not know if that younger sister is our Raya or another little girl...
No names were mentioned...
There are no birth certificates of any kind. I have searched 3 countries...
Maybe this story is somehow connected with your research???


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