10 October 2008

The Titanic Connection

So my sister-in-law has these great ancestors and in my last post I shared a little about the Aaron Meier branch. Here's a little something more about this branch.

Aaron Meier had a son, Abraham. Abraham Meier married Wilhelmina Eising. Wilhelmina's mother is Augusta Caroline Blun. Augusta has a sister Rosalie Ida Blun. Are you with me here? Rosalie Ida Blun is SIL's 2nd great grand aunt and here the story begins.

Rosalie Ida Blun was born 6 February 1849 in Worms, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany to Nathan and Wilhelmine Blun. The next year, 1850, the Blun family packed their things and moved t0 New York City.

Rosalie Ida marries in 1871 to Isidor Strauss. Isidor and his brother Nathan had a business importing crockery. They decided to expand their business by opening departments inside of existing stores. In 1874, they took over the basement of Macy's in New York City. In 1884, the brothers became partners in Macy's and by 1894 they owned Macy's! ( Department Store ownership runs in SIL's family. ) I think the best thing Macy's ever did is the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

OK, OK back to the story.....

Rosalie Ida and Isidor were both immigrants to the United States who believed in and prospered from the "American Dream". They gave financially and physically of themselves to endless charities. One that was very near and dear to them was The Educational Alliance of New York - an organization that instructed Jewish immigrants in the need to be responsible citizens. The alliance taught vocational training as well as American history, geography and the English language. They were members of the best circles of Jewish Society in New York City.

Early in April 1912 Isidor, his wife Ida and their daughter Beatrice had travelled to Europe. For their return (Beatrice was absent) they boarded the Titanic at Southampton, England on April 10, 1912. Four days later the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

During the sinking, Titanic's officers pleaded with the 63 year old Ida to board a lifeboat and escape the disaster, but she repeatedly refused to leave her husband. Instead, she placed her maid in a lifeboat, taking her fur coat off and handing it to the maid while saying, "I won't need this anymore".

When last seen by witnesses, they were standing on deck, holding each other in a tight embrace. Their funeral drew some 6,000 mourners at Carnegie Hall.

The couple had been married for 41 years at the time of the disaster. They raised six children together, and were almost inseparable. On the rare occasion that they were apart, they wrote each other every day. They even celebrated their birthdays on the same day -February 6th.
Having shared the same birthday, it is only fitting that they left the world on the same day.


  1. I am glad you posted that on the Meier. I think I had seen a listing one time, but had failed to fall up on it. I am told we had some kind of connection to someone who passed there. But I haven't found them yet.
    Now, I no longer have to wonder about this person. We have not had any Aarons that I know of. Nor anyone from Hesse.

  2. Nice story.

    I am Ida Blun's great-great granddaughter. The Straus family has researched the male line of the family in great detail but has had less interest in the female line.

    I'd be interested in any other information you have on Ida's ancestors and am happy to hear from distant cousins. I'm also willing to share the genealogy I have.

    To see what another of the descendants is doing, visit www.benjistrausartwork.com; also the Straus Historical Society.