Moritz's mother died when he was very young. He was raised by his Grandmother.(Moritz's mother remarried, name unknown, and there were three girls of this marriage-Lottie, Elsie, and Bertha. Elsie married a Mr. Ziffer. Their son, Otto Ziffer, came to the USA at age 19 in the
early 1900's. It is believed Otto had a sister and a brother. Otto did not stay long in the Peoria area and moved to Santa Monica, California. Nothing has been heard from him since early 1930's.)
Moritz was an actor by trade and appeared in all the leading theaters of Germany and Austria-Silesia, the area in which he was born. His popularity never waned but, in 1872, he left the "old country", at the age of 25, to go on stage in New York.
It is believed he traveled on the Hamburg line to the United States (as per a letter on file by his wife, Lena, to her nephew, Joseph Johingk, in Dec. 1913.)
He won attention for his work in the Germania Theater with director Neuendorff in New York. He was the leading actor there for fourteen years. He was very talented as a charcter actor and as a singing comedian. The building was
destroyed a long time before his death. (The above was taken from his death notice in the Peoria Paper.)
It is believed that he met Lena Schafer at the German Society in New York. They were married in
Kings County, and the certificate was filed in New York County on Sep 26, 1889. He was 40 years old and she was 23 years old. They traveled together with an acting troupe doing one night stands and sometimes staying longer. At times he and Lena would travel ahead of the troupe, and prepare small children to play the parts of the Seven
Dwarfs so when the troupe arrived the children were ready to go on stage.
Moritz and Lena settled in Pekin in 1892. He entered the beer bottling business for the P. Schoenhofen Brewing Co. by cleaning,bottling and delivering the bottled beer to homes on a routine schedule. While in Pekin, IL, he was a member of the Empire Lodge of the Masons and transferred to the Schiller Lodge of Peoria in August 1896.
According to the Peoria City Directory, Moritz came to Peoria in 1895 and resided at 1519 S. Adams St. There are other residences until 1904 when the first listing for "M. Wolkenstein & Co. Junk" business at 1122 S Adams St. appeared. His residence at this time was 110 Howett St.
Birth year according to these items
1845 Passenger log
May 1, 1846 Death Cert born Belitz, Austria
1847 Grave Stone
1847 in Bielitz, Austria-Silesia per obit
1848 Passport and 1920 Census
1849 -1900 Census
1851 -1910 Census
Jewish buried in Jewish cemetery
1910 census says parents Austria born immigrated 1872 also per obit
1920 census says parents Austria born immigrated 1868, naturalized 1870
He immigrated on ship not known from “otterdam on 1869 wife application
From Hamburg per letter to Lena’s nephew, her Bermen
1870 directory Machinist, 129 mill b 4 pitt, Rochester, Washington ??? not sure him
5-2-1873 Naturalization record (no other info) Comedian From Austria
His address listed as 3rd & 1 Ave, NY city
Max Lauber, 8 Marion St, NY city, hotel keeper is witness
New York, New York
May 2, 1873
Moritz Wolkenstein was born Austria April 19, 1848
Arrival Date September 3, 1873
Port of Departure Hamburg, Germany and Le Havre, France
Ship name Fresia
Moritz Wolkenstein, 28 years old, Male, Occupation Actor, Austria 1-1?, Country in which they intend to become inhabitants United States, Cabin Passenger. Traveled here with other actors.
1878 in NY per directory comedian/actor h 206 Sixth
Sep 26, 1889 Married NY Certificate on file (no info on parents on this)
Passport Application of Lena Wolkenstein
March 20, 1922
Lena Wolkenstein was born Langenbrucken Germany on February 15, 1886.
Married to Moritz Wolkenstein born in Austria
He immigrated on ship not known from “otterdam on 1869, he resided 53 uninterruptedly in the US from 1869-1922 at New York and Peoria IL
He was Naturalized New York, New York; May 2, 1975
Lena resided uninterruptedly in the US from 1886-1922 at New York and Peoria IL
Residence is in Peoria, IL and is a house Wife.
1892 in Peoria,IL per obit
1897 directory Peoria,IL
Nephew Otto John Ziffer naturalized Sept 14, 1910
(no info on parents on this or death cert)
He was born June 7, 1881 Brunu?? Austria came here in 1903 on the Kassel
Declared to become citizen July 19, 1904in New Jersey
Moved to Peoria and M. Wolkenstein was his witness became citizen on sept 19, 1910
Death certificate says born Austria died September 18, 1962in California and was married to a Kathleen Ziffer (1920 census says parents from Austria and he from Czexksolvian)