Frank Trachtenberg

No. 13066 Frank Trachtenberg

Photograph contained in an album at the Dorchester Historical Society of about 150 photos kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester. Index catalog has entries for the individuals.

Frank Trachtenberg enlisted October 14, 1918, at the S.A.T.C. Northeastern College. Made a corporal after four weeks drill and expects to become a sergeant about Nov. 12th

Frank Trachtenberg.  By Julie Wolf

Frank Trachtenberg was born Fischel Trachtenberg in Zaslav, Russia, to Yitzchak (Isaac) Trachtenberg and Dina Dubar/Doboroon either March 15, 1899 (according to his naturalization papers and death certificate), or October 15, 1899 (according to his World War I draft and service cards). His family was part of a massive wave of Eastern European Jewish immigration to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. A manifest from the Laurentian shows that Dina Trachtenberg, nationality “Hebrew” and last residence Russia, arrived in Boston around June 17, 1906, with three children: Gitel, Moische, and 7-year-old Fischel. In America these children would become Gertrude, Morris, and Frank. They were met by a Penhus Trachtenberg, identified on the manifest as “son” and “brother.” Sixteen years Frank’s senior, Penhus (later Philip) had arrived in 1904, followed in 1905 by Abraham and Jacob. These eldest three brothers had already settled in Boston, and for the rest of their lives, the family would all call various neighborhoods in and around Boston home.

The first address we have for Frank’s family, traced through his mother (as Frank was still a child), is 73 Revere, where Dina, a widow (there’s no evidence that her husband came to America) and the six children lived together as early as 1910 and at least through 1911. By 1914, the family (minus Philip) lived at 12 Lena Park in Dorchester, which remained their home for at least another year.

On September 12, 1918, shortly before what may or may not have been his 19th birthday, Frank filed his World War I Draft Registration Card, recording his age as 18 and his birthday as October 15, 1899 (recall the discrepancy in his reported birthdates). Frank lived at 12 Lorne Street in Dorchester with his “nearest relative Diana Trachtenberg.” Lorne Street is off of Blue Hill Avenue, which was becoming a heavily Jewish area of Dorchester at the time. Described as tall and of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair, Frank provided his occupation as “Student and Farming,” stating that he was an employee of the Public Safety Committee at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. About a month later, on October 21, 1918, he enlisted at Local Board 21 in Dorchester. A private, he served at the Student Army Training Corps at Northeastern University in Boston and was honorably discharged on December 9, 1918. Frank never served overseas.

Almost exactly a year after his discharge, Frank, unmarried and still at 12 Lorne Street, filed papers declaring his intention to become a naturalized citizen. It would take five years, but on February 29, 1924, Frank Trachtenberg, with his brothers Jacob and Abraham as witnesses, signed the document that made him an American citizen.

By 1921, Frank was at the address where he would remain for the next several years with his mother and brother Jacob, and later Jacob’s wife, Sarah: 22 Deering Street. Mother and son continued to live together for the better part of a decade. In 1932, Dina and Frank lived on Hazelton Street in Mattapan, and between at least 1935 and 1937, they shared the address 682 Walk Hill in Mattapan. During this period, at least since 1921, Frank worked at Edison Electric Illumination Company (EEI, later Boston Edison). Early on he was called a “stockman,” and later he would rise to a supervisor’s role. Life for Frank was not all work and no play; in 1922, he was a chorus boy in a production of The Love Cure staged by EEI’s Employees’ Club.

In 1938, Frank married Gertrude Abrams.  They appear in the 1940 census as husband and wife, living at 715 Washington Street in Brighton, parents of daughter Miriam Trachtenberg, a 21-year-old file clerk. Miriam’s last name was recorded incorrectly, however, as Frank was her stepfather; her birth name was Miriam Savage, Gertrude’s daughter from her first marriage. Frank and Gertrude, both around 40 when they married, do not appear to have had children together.

Until 1953 or later, Frank’s work for Boston Edison was stable, but he and Gertrude relocated frequently. They moved from Brighton to Gibbs Street in Newton in 1942. 1945 found them in Jamaica Plain, where they lived at 30 Moraine Street until at least 1948. Once again, some years are unaccounted for, but from at least 1953 until 1964, Frank and Gertrude lived at 59 Craig Street in Milton.

Frank died on October 13, 1966, and was buried in Sharon Memorial Park in Sharon. Gertrude outlived Frank by nearly 23 years.

Sources: 1910, 1920, 1940 United States Federal Census Massachusetts, Marriage Massachusetts, Marriage Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950 Massachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014

Boston (Mass.) Election Dept., City of Boston List of Residents 20 Years of Age and Older. April 1922. United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Frank Trachtenberg’s Tree. 2019.

“Landsman.”Boston Globe, Aug. 20, 2006: 26. Boston Sunday Post, February 19, 1922: 70.



Posted on

April 11, 2022

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