Finding Aunt Lottie

Thi is the story of how Aunt Lottie was found and welcomed to the Marks family.

I had found Louis Marks early on, but knew nothing of his siblings, parents etc. As is often the case - Louis was the one who immigrated to America and so his parentage became significantly more difficult to discover. And also was identifying his brothers and sisters. Louis is my great great grandfather.

I began to get some hints and clues that he had a brother Emil. About 5 years ago I had found a newspaper clipping about an Emil Marks, who had been hit by a train and was killed in Oakland, California.

Now I had an inkling that Emil and Louis were brothers. From a naturalization log and their naturalization index cards from 1864, they were suspiciously next to each other in the log, had the same naturalization date and had the same witness at their naturalization "hearing."

And a couple of years later, I found this entry in the 1875 San Francisco City Directory, which discusses a company named "Louis Marks and Bro" and cites both Louis and Emil. Evidence, not proof, but certainly enough for me at that juncture to claim their brotherhood.

So NOW we have brothers Louis and Emil.

A few years later I received an email from Scott Harris, a descendant of Fanny Lust (love that name). He had found a newspaper article that stated that Fanny was suing the railroad company, as she was handling the estate of Emil Marks. Scott had surmised that maybe he and I were related and asked me if I thought that possibly Emil and Fanny were brother and sister. He had heretofore not known anything about Emil or Louis.

So through a bit more research, including California Death Index research, where that index states the name of the deceased's parents as well as the maiden name of the mother - it was discovered that Fanny's maiden name was indeed "Marks" and thus it was likely that Emil and Fanny were brother and sister. Now they could have been cousins as opposed to siblings. Fanny's Death Certificate was acquired by Scott and it showed that her maiden name WAS Marks and that her father's name was Isaac Marks.

We have a lot of clues and what some might call evidence, but nothing really that ties Emil, Louis and Fanny together a little more tightly. Until I found in the past week - an obituary in the newspaper and it was for Emil. 

Now - this obituary confirms the brotherhood of Emil and Louis - but who are Mrs. S Lust and Mrs. I Schudmack, their sisters? Well we know from many types of records that have been accumulated - that Fanny was married to Simon Lust, who coincidentally was also killed by a train. And oh, by the way - Emil and Simon were business partners in the 1860s as we later discovered.

So now Scott Harris and I are definitely cousins! Yippee! But who is Mrs I Schudmack?

The last few days have been filled with research and discoveries about Mrs I Schudmack - is that Lottie Schudmack, who had 7 children, who was married to Isaac Schudmack - and whose children when they died and were cited in the California Death Index had their Mother's maiden name as "Marks"? Oh and the Hebrew inscription on her gravestone translates to her father being named as Isaac Marks?

Yes indeed!
Here is my great great great Aunt Lottie's gravestone, followed by the translation from Hebrew to English.

The translation is as follows:

Here is interred

The woman Leah
the daughter of Reb Aizik
who passed away on the 25th of Adar 2
in the year 5651 from the creation of the world (that's 1891)
May her soul be bound up in the eternal bond of life.

Her Hebrew name was Leah, given name Lottie and father's name Isaac.

Welcome Aunt Lottie Marks Schudmack!

Fanny Lust (What a Name!) is my Great Great Great Aunt! Finally!

Years ago, I was contacted by a gentleman, Scott Harris, who thought that we might be related. He had turned up a newspaper article stating that his ancestor, Fanny Lust (what a name!) was possibly related to Louis Marks, my great great grandfather. You see, his brother Emil was drunk and was run over by a train in Oakland, California in 1889, and Fanny handled his estate. I had already accumulated evidence that Emil and Louis were brothers, but had nothing to show that they were indeed related to Fanny.

Later, Scott produced documents that showed that Fanny's maiden name was "Marks" so we were getting closer.

Years past and nothing new had been discovered - until today.

Today I found the obituary for Emil Marks, and in it is shown that Emil and Louis were indeed brothers, AND that his sisters were Mrs. S. Lust and Mrs. I Schudmack.

Well, sports fans - Fanny was indeed married to Simon Lust who was a colleague of Emil throughout the years.

So... we now "know" that Fanny is indeed Louis and Emil's sister, and even better - we have another sister - Mrs. Schudmack to research!

Here is the obituary for your viewing pleasure.

4 Generations of Fathers to Thank on Fathers Day

I have been blessed with 4 pretty good men to emulate as fathers in the Marks' line of my family tree. Here they are in succession:

This is my Dad, Robert Joseph Marks (1921 - 1992).  He served in the Marines in World War II in the Pacific.  Although he traveled a lot in his business, he was a terrific role model.  He was a great baseball player, created several designs which were patented, loved fishing, always wanted to help people succeed, and was adored by both of his wives.
And this is my Grandfather, Mervyn Raphael Marks (1896 - 1966).  He started the family business and was an extremely hard worker. He was devoted to his wife, my Grandmother.  He had a terrific sense of humor, loved to fish and was one of the kindest men I have ever known.  I never ever saw him get angry.
My great grandfather, Joseph Marks, was born in 1867 and died in 1919.  He was a bit of a dreamer, and ran vaudeville shows, was a stockbroker, and ran a plumbing company. I am not sure, but as a father/husband, let's say that his son Mervyn excelled where Joseph may have not been as attentive. But that is just conjecture
.Great Great Grandfather Louis Marks was the immigrant who started the Marks family in America.  He was born in 1835 and died in 1888. He originally lived in New York City but spent the majority of his life in San Francisco.  He was a gasfitter and was responsible for several interesting inventions and patents.

Thanks to all four of you for setting such a good example of fatherhood and manhood.

Happy Father's Day!

A Poem to a Dead Civil War Soldier in Andersonville, from His Father - 1865

Joseph Humphrey Griffith, my Great Great Uncle, was born at Cae Clyd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales on June 23, 1847. With his family, he immigrated to America in 1851, landing in Vermont, then to Wisconsin, and finally settling in Iowa City, Iowa.  Like many young men of that era, he enlisted to fight for his chosen "side" in the Civil War. He was in the Fifth Iowa Regiment of Volunteer Cavalry, enlisting in early 1864.

He was only 16.

His military career was not long at all.  By all accounts, he was captured in 1864 and sent to Andersonville Prison, Georgia in later 1864.

He died there on January 31, 1865.

After many months, his father, my great great grandfather, Humphrey Griffiths, summoned the courage to write a poem in memory of his beloved son:




For many a month, I have intended sending these verses, but starting out anew I feel bound to express my feelings even though I dread [criticism] from the poets. These verses are my sentiments and are not poetry and I implore all the bards to forgive me for publishing them.

Sad tidings come every now and then
To all of us where we tread,
And now 'tis us who are in grief
Whose hearts afflicted are.

What wonder is it, pray,
That tribulation wrecks our souls
When news came of Joseph's death
Who suffered so, in bonds did starve.

Atlanta in Georgia was the land
Whereon his watch foe did strike,
In terror was he quickly seized
While guarding thus the copse of wood.

Incarcerated was our son
For guarding true his land
Encaptured there the lad did lay
Denied of bread and water een withheld.

In jail for months he rotted
Wasting away for want of food,
Compassion, there was none
All hastened on his death.

For long did we, your parents dear,
Beholding all the wrongs you had
Dread that the next we'd hear
Would be that death had come to you.

Barbarians, lowest of our world
If told they were of thy lament
Would scream in fright, aloud and clear
For fear of nearing Davis or Lee.

Farewell my son, now resting safe,
Away from reach of lance or sword
Away from prison, away from toil,
You suffered so in youthful days.

Our wish to have you beside your sister dear
In honor laid to rest is not to be.
For thy remains, alas, are mingled
With those of thy comrades bold.

In grief, his father

Humphrey Griffith
Iowa City, June 30, 1865

Translated from the Welsh by a Blaenau Ffestiniog journalist/historian for Ifan Williams, Cae Clyd.
March 1977.

With thanks to Joan Huff, "Griffith Evans and Gwen Joseph Family History," 1990

Letters from Germany - 1920 - Ailing Theo Begs for Help

Theodor Braunhart was the youngest son of Alexander and Helene Braunhart. Born in 1898 in Schubin, Germany, our earliest evidence of him in adulthood is a postcard sent from the Ukraine, where Theo as he was called, served as a member of the German Army. After his stint in the Army, it appears that he and his brother Phlipp were together in Berlin.

Below is a letter that Theo wrote to his sister Anna, who was living with her husband Harry and daughter Mildred in Brooklyn, New York.

In the letter, written in 1920, Theo states that he has been quite ill for three years, which would suggest that he became ill while serving as a soldier.

Theo, it seems was ill the majority of his life. He spent many years in the Shanghai Ghetto, and later in Palestine. He contracted tuberculosis later in life, and in his return to Germany after World War 2, was unsuccessful in reconnecting with his wife Lucie.

Below are the 4 pages of the original letter, followed by the English translation.

Translation of above letter. Again, thanks to Matthias Steinke for the excellent translation!

Berlin January 20, 1920

Dear sister Anna!

Luckily, I already received the little package, although it was heavily torn, but I have it.

The package contains:
2 cans fat
2 tins of milk
1 glass of fruit
1 package rice
1 package of coffee (torn)
1 can sardines
1 piece of chocolate

All beautiful things I haven’t seen for already 5 years. So a thousand, thousand thanks for everything. I have everything honestly shared with Philly. Now my dear sister I have to tell you that the box is already in Hamburg, already since the 5th of January, as it was reported to me, but I haven’t it yet, although I already wrote 2 times to the Hamburg-America Line. But finally, it will get it.

Unfortunately, the money which Philly and I really need didn't arrive yet.

I hope you, beloved sister, Harry and your little daughter are alright. You see, I can speak English.

Dear sister, as I wrote in my last letter I do not know how to begin. A job is not available and for 250 per month, I can starve due to the situation here. Now comes something that's hard to write for me because you will probably think, I am unashamed, but that’s not the case. It is not easy for me to write it. I thought if it would be possible, that you and Martha loan me a small asset, so that I can start here a small business, as I already had one with my saved money, but my illness in the summer took everything.

Now my dear Sister so help me God, if you help me, I will work and pay every penny back you give me and already had given. If its not possible what I asking for, the I have to go away from Germany, maybe to Russia or Brazil, because such a life like now I can't and won't continue. I would love to go home, again to the beloved parents and siblings. I haven't seen them for so long. If I go, who knows if I see our dear parents again, because they are no longer young and the time does not stand still.

Dear Anna, I'm broken from all the concerns in the past 3 years, with 22 years ill, maybe forever. My nerves are like twines. so thin from the constant fever, and concern for the daily bread. With the money from you, which I now get, I have to pay my debts at the doctor, pharmacist and others, and then I was sick again.

If you can help me, I maybe will recover. Tomorrow I go to Ben ... Bru ....

God knows I do not like begging, but what should I do?

If the 25 dollars arrive, Philly will get half, as you wanted, and then he went home, I cannot, because I have to play Soldier and I got fed with it.

When I get the box and the money I will write to you.

From Cilly I had a letter in which she wrote that she received a letter from you. Carl, Hedwig and the children are well.

So, I don’t know what else to write.

Again many thanks for everything, greetings to Harry, your child, Martha, Bernard and their children, you yourself also receive warm greetings and kisses from you brother


Don’t be angry because of the letter.

World War I Vet Saved by the Measles

Leo Metzner
Leo Metzner, the father of my dad's first cousin, was in the U. S. Army in World War I. The following article was written as a tribute to him at age 88. It was written in 1983 and published in the Las Vegas Sun newspaper on Veteran's Day.

The article describes some of his adventures while in England and France in 1917 and 1918.

Let's just say that a case of the measles, contracted while being shipped over seas - saved his life.

Thank you Leo, for your service.

Leo Metzner

Leo Metzner

Letters from Germany - 1939 - Philipp Denied Escape

Below is a letter from Philipp Braunhart and his family, wife Else, children Horst, Bernhard, and Gisela, as well as Else's brother Theodor to Philipp's sister Selma Braunhart, who had previously escaped Germany to reside in England. The letter refers to Philipp's escape via the Japanese steamship Kasima Maru, which had a planned voyage from Naples, Italy departing on October 8 of 1939. Apparently, according to the letter, Philipp had booked passage on that ship, which was bound for New York City.

I researched that particular voyage, and it did arrive in America on October 16 1939. However all the passengers were Japanese refugees, who were fleeing Europe as the war had already started. Sadly, Philipp was denied boarding on the ship, and as we know and have written about, Philipp was later killed in a Nazi concentration camp at Sachsenhausen.

Below are the three pages from Philipp and family to his sister Selma, followed by the English translation.

The following is the German to English translation. Even in tragically harsh times, the mood seemed happy.

Sammy - Calm Down Before You Kill Somebody

My favorite ancestor, Samuel Braunhart, who was my great great great Uncle, was known for his scrappy, feisty, and often obnoxious behavior. A spokesman for the every man while in the State Senate and State Assembly of California or the Board of Supervisors for San Francisco, he was often getting into trouble with his colleagues.

This demeanor served him well, I guess, in that he was often able to get his principled stances on various issues articulated, but he didn't make too many friends along the way.

He almost got into a physical altercation in more than one instance at a Board of Supervisors meeting and was arrested for perjury in a meeting of the State Assembly. He was exonerated and after three days, returned to his fervent oratories in the assembly hall.

Just recently, while searching old newspapers, my favorite family history research activity, I discovered the article below, which was published in the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper on August 31, 1870. While living in Santa Barbara, California, apparently he got into a dispute with a physician.

The clipping below describes the altercation. Sam, who was not an imposing fellow at all, resorted to pulling a pistol to make his point:

Letters from Germany - 1919 - What Happened to Moritz?

Moritz Braunhart was the oldest child of Alexander Braunhart and Helene Baszynska Braunhart - at least that is what we think. There is no absolute proof that he was the oldest but it sure seems the case.

This is what we do know about Moritz. He was a soldier in the German army in World War 1. When he returned it appears that he was living in Leipzig and we have no reason to believe that he left there and likely lived the rest of his life there. From letters he mentions (or his relatives mention) his wife - although we do not know her name. There is no mention of children. But we have a binder full of untranslated letters from his sister Anna, who immigrated to America in 1909 and lived her life in Brooklyn, New York. So possibly there will be some clues in those letters. Let's hope so!

Furthermore, we know from family stories, that Moritz was a morose individual and likely suffered from depression. In any case, rumor has it that there was a divorce and that he committed suicide. Let's hope that we can present some positive stories about Moritz and that further information can be found.

Below is a gallery of some photos of Moritz - in the army, with his fellow work colleagues, with 2 photos with his wife on vacation (at least we think that it is his wife.) And more importantly, below the photo gallery is a letter that he wrote to his parents in 1919 - the original and the translation.

And very many thanks to my new friend in Germany - Matthias - who was kind enough to translate the letter.

Moritz - Back Row - 3rd from Right - 1917

Moritz - Front Row - 3rd from Right - 1915

Moritz - Front (Above X) - Leipzig - 1921

Mortiz on left - with parents and brother Jacob

Mortiz and wife

Mortiz and wife

Translation of above letter. Again, thanks to Matthias for the excellent translation!

Leipzig, the 17th September 1919

My beloved!

I got your last letter, dated the 8th of this month a few days ago.
To your reassurance I can inform you, that your assumptions
about my well-being are irrelevant. I don’t know, what I have written in my letters
that you came to such conclusions. I am certainly in general
quite well and I am still in my old job at Althoff.

However, I am thinking about a change, because I want to earn more money.
I read also the other information you sent.
I also don’t hear from Berlin very often.
Maybe I'm on business next week in Berlin.

The carpet I acquired for you at that time costs today ......
each M.(Mark) 1000, - and the rugs at least 75, - each.
You can send me a copy of the certificate occasionally
and I will make inquiries then.

On this occasion, get my deepest and most sincere congratulations
for the upcoming change of the year.
May you getting the coming year and everytime only good and enjoyable things.
If it is possible for me, I want to visit you soon, only getting a passport causes many

Write again soon and be heartily greeted.

By your good son and brother


So Moritz - we know little of you and we expect you to show yourself soon - either in more letters, documents of your death and marriage, and maybe even a new photo or two.

Letters from Germany - 1919 - Before Forced Emigration

The following is a letter from Alexander Braunhart, living in Schubin, Germany to his daughter Anna, who had immigrated to America in 1909 and at the time of the letter was living in Brooklyn, New York. It was just a short time after this letter that the last Braunhart and their entire family was forced out of their ancestral home in Schubin to live in Berlin.

Alexander Braunhart
Anna Braunhart

The handwritten German version is presented first, followed by the letter translated from German to English.  The translation is limited due to the poor handwriting in Alexanders' original letter.

1919 German Letter from Alexander Braunhart to Anna Braunhart Tulman
Original Letter from Alexander Braunhart 23 September 1919 Page 1
1919 German Letter from Alexander Braunhart to Anna Braunhart Tulman
Original Letter from Alexander Braunhart 23 September 1919 Page 2

1919 German Letter from Alexander Braunhart to Anna Braunhart Tulman
English Translation of Letter from Alexander Braunhart 23 September 1919

It is obvious from this letter, that conditions in Schubin had diminished to the extent, that living there was no longer an option for the remainder of the Braunhart family.

The Most Courageous Ancestor

Philipp Braunhart was the fifth son of Alexander Braunhart and Helene Baszynzka Braunhart.  He was born in Schubin, Germany on December 19, 1891.  It is highly likely that his given name when he was young was Bernhard.  In a family photo taken in 1903 or 1904 he was labeled with the name Bernhard.   This can be seen here on the left in the young man in the back center of the family photo. Also, in his Uncle Samuel's will, there is no Philipp, but a nephew Bernhard who was left part of Samuel's estate. Alexander and Samuel's brother Bernhard Braunhart died in 1890, about a year and a half prior to Philipp's birth and it is possible that he was named after his uncle.

Not much is known of Philipp's childhood.  He married Else Schmalenbach, possibly in 1924.  His first child, a son, was born in October, 1925.  Both Philipp and Else were tailors.  When Philipp presented Else to his parents, they were not pleased, as Else was not Jewish as were the Braunhart family.  It is not known whether Philipp and Else were married in Schubin or Berlin.  Most of the Braunhart family had moved to Berlin in the 1920s or had immigrated to America.

In November, 1938, Philpp and Else's tailor shop windows were destroyed during the  Reichskristallnacht  like so many other Jewish businesses.

Philipp's greatest act of courage came a few short years later. There is much written about the Nuremberg Laws, which attempted to define who was a Jew and who wasn't.  Furthermore, there is much ambiguity about forced divorce between German non-Jews and German Jews.  Else, of course was not Jewish and Philipp was. Their children were classified as Mischling, or mixed-blood.

When confronted by the Gestapo, they were informed that if they did not divorce, then Philipp and all three of their children were to be taken to the camps. Philipp made the decision to save his children and agreed to a divorce from Else.  It is not known as to custom, whether Philipp or Else was the person agreeing to the divorce.  In either case, the decision would have been the most traumatic decision of either of their lives.

Else subsequently married Heinz Helwig, a nice and warm person, who thus took the responsibility of raising the children.  Else lived to the age of 81, passing on November 23, 1983.

Philipp and Else's courageous act tragically meant a death sentence for Philipp.  He was taken from Berlin to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, where he was murdered on July 6, 1942.  He has a burial gravestone at  Weissensee Jewish Cemetery in Berlin.

A Party for Lewin Jacob Braunhart

Our patriarch Lewin Jacob Braunhart had a long and illustrious career.  He was honored by his colleagues and friends along with his wife Wilhelmine Zadek Braunhart on the occasion of their 65th wedding anniversary, commonly known as the iron anniversary.

Below is a newspaper article written in the Die Deborah newspaper, which was the most important German-Jewish newspaper in its time.  The newspaper existed from 1855 through 1902.

This article about the Braunharts was published in January, 1901.

An English translation has just been done. In essence, the article states:

"The former teacher Braunhart, born on the 4th of February 1806 in Schubin, celebrated with his wife, who is  only a few years younger,  the rare event of the iron wedding anniversary. Friends and well-wishers formed a committee to organize a tribute for the couple. The evening of  the ceremony to honor their marriage was intended to be as nice as possible, as the couple themselves live a rather simple life. Mr. Braunhart, who initially wanted to become a rabbi, did study in Berlin for some time, where he enjoyed classes with Bunz, Eduard Gans and Heinrich Heine as a student of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Science. After some years in London, Liverpool and Bordeaux, he returned to his homeland and city of his birth, graduated as a teacher, and started to work at the Jewish school of Schubin in the year 1835. For his 50th jubilee as a teacher, he was awarded the royal eagle medal. The old man is relatively healthy, despite being completely blind for eight years."

The Surreal Photo of the Braunhart and Brunn Wedding

With complete reverence and respect for the participants in this wedding, especially Frieda Braunhart and Salo Brunn, the bride and groom, I have to say that this is quite the surreal wedding photo.  The photo was taken at their wedding in Berlin, Germany on May 12, 1926.

It reminds me somewhat if one can use their imagination, of the album cover for the Beatles' famous Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.  It almost looks like some of the photos were pasted in, as in the album cover.

Hopefully some of the activities of the day created some happiness, as the participants do not look like they are having a great time. 

So let's identify who we can.  The bride is easy to pinpoint and she is of course Frieda Braunhart.  Next to her is her groom Salo Brunn. All the way to the left is the infant Horst Braunhart, in the lap of his mother Else Schmalenbach Braunhart, and behind Else her husband Philipp Braunhart.   In the middle of the photo (next to the bald man with his eyes closed, and behind the bride), is Frieda's older sister Selma Braunhart.  The bald man with his eyes closed is Frieda's brother Carl Braunhart, and next to him is his wife Hedwig Bukofzer Braunhart.  Directly behind Hedwig is another of Frieda's brothers, Theodor Braunhart.  The gentleman who is to the left of Selma Braunhart is Salo's brother Leo Brunn, and the gentleman way to the right who also has a bowtie on is another of Salo's brothers, Maurice Brunn.  Finally, next to Salo is his mother Frieda Brunn.

With appreciation to Miriam Brunn Matranga for providing this photo, and to Stuart Matranga for scanning it.

Izzie Invented What? A Tribute to Isidore Heyman

Isidore went to his room and didn't reappear to the family for THREE days.  At that time in the late 1940s he was living with his daughter Mynette Heyman and her husband Henry Pound and their son Clyde.  When Isidor came out of his room with a huge grin on his face, he displayed for the family a necktie with an exchangeable knot that could be easily changed out as the wearer wished.  The clip-on tie was invented in Clinton, Iowa in 1928 - but this may have been the first exchangeable knot-based tie.  Who knows?

Isidore Heyman was my great grandfather. He was the only one of my great grandparents who was alive when I was. I do not remember him at all, except for a vague memory that he smelled funny. He died when I was only eight years old.

For some reason, for the past few years as I have been researching his history and stories, I have come to call him "Izzie," so as a nickname that he probably either never heard or didn't like, I will use that moniker fondly throughout his story.

Izzie was born in Posen, Prussia in 1866. Unfortunately I have not been able to pinpoint the exact city or town of his birth.  According to a marriage record, his father's name was Hyman Heyman, and his mother was Caroline. The marriage record states that her last name was "Bufsky" but I believe that it was a phonetic spelling. For some reason, yet to be proven, I suspect that her last name was Jacobowsky.

He immigrated to America in 1882 as a 16 year old young man. There is a very fuzzy story that his family were furriers, but there is no evidence of that as yet.

Ernestine Bernstein became Izzie's wife on July 19, 1893 in Manhattan.  Ernestine was the very first female Braunhart to have immigrated to America. She did so at age 17, unaccompanied and unmet at the Port of New York, in 1888.

Ernestine and Izzie had six children - Robert, for whom my father is named, died as a youngster from tuberculosis prior to 1910. Celia Heyman, my grandmother, was the oldest, followed by Martha, Arthur, Leo and Wilhelmine (who changed her name to Mynette because she hated her first name - and wasn't too fond of Minnie either).

Izzie was a very creative sort and had many interesting occupations. Early in his life in New York, he was a pocketbook manufacturer and registered a patent in 1887 for a leather coin purse. Throughout his life he was involved with leather goods manufacturing.

He sued the Eastern Brewing Company in 1898. He drove their horse drawn "beer wagons," and stopped another beer wagon with its horses out of control from running over a family. He was dragged for quite a distance and suffered many scratches and scrapes, as well as needing surgery on his skull. He carried the large indent in his head for the rest of his life.

Various other occupations included owning and operating a fish market, as well as operating a nickelodeon theater, where his daughter played the piano during the screening of silent movies.

The Heyman family moved to Oakland, California in 1910. Ernestine's mother, Sara Braunhart Bernstein, and Ernestine's brother Max had previously moved to California in 1906, shortly after the death of Samuel Braunhart, the politician.

Izzie owned a pool hall initially after moving to California, and then his creativity took over. He invented the metal stairs that came out of the trains as steps for passengers to embark or disembark. Unfortunately, he was not a great businessman and after showing his invention to Southern Pacific, they promptly had someone else manufacture them, and Izzie received nothing.

Back to his roots, Izzie formed the Bay Cities Bag Company. He invented the valise hinge that was used in doctor's bags, and was also used for many years in men's grooming kits. Below is a photo of the hinge, patented in 1921:

Izzie ran the Bay Cities Bag Company for nearly two decades, manufacturing leather purses, Boston bags and other miscellaneous leather items. He retired in the late 1930s and his leather goods business soon became a new business founded by his son-in-law Mervyn Marks. That company, California Optical Leather Company, existed for another 40 years under the tutelage of my grandfather Mervyn and his two sons, Robert and Merv Jr.

Izzie's sweet wife Ernestine died in 1944.  Izzie became an excellent whist card player and probably spent the last 11 years of his life dreaming up new ideas.