Facts and Events
Louis (Leib Yitzchak) BRAUTMAN, son of Koppel (David ha Levi) BRAUTMAN and Rachel SPERBERG, was born in 1864 or 1865.N1 Family lore has him from Rumania, probably an only child, with his parents dying when he was only 7 years old, leaving him orphaned and without other family. He apprenticed himself to a goldsmith, learned that trade, made his way to England (not sure if he stayed for a bit or just passed through), and came to New York around 1889, where he met his wife, Bertha (Bluma) "Betty" LITTMAN.
Place of Origin
Louis' origins are a mystery. There are many records of the Brautman family in New York, but they tell an inconsistent story of Louis Brautman's origins. Some say Rumania (1892 marriage cert, 1923 daughter death cert, 1926 daughter marriage cert), some say Russia (1901 naturalization, 1910 census, 1920 census), some say Austria (daughter birth certs 1893, 1902, 1904), and his 1934 death cert says Bohemia (that may just be a mix-up with his wife's family). Adding to the puzzle, he and his wife are buried in a landsmanschaft plot associated with the shtetl of Makhnovka (near Berditchev, in modern day Ukraine). His granddaughter insists that he was not Russian (nor Galizianer), yet he's buried in an association plot with people from this Russian shtetl. (It is true that about 10% of people in landsmanschaft societies joined for social reasons, but were not from the town of origin that the society was organized around.)
Louis' immigration is a bit of a mystery too. He filed a "declaration of intention to become a citizen" in August 1899, which seems to be almost exactly ten years after when he was supposed to have arrived. In August 1901, he followed up with a petition for citizenship (which can only be filed two years after a declaration of intention), and was granted citizenship in Sept 1901. In those papers, he specifies 20 Aug 1889 as the date he entered the US and New York. However, a search of the New York Passenger List database does not find any entry for "Louis Brautman", nor does he turn up in a careful manual search of all of the seven ship's passenger lists that arrived in New York on 20 Aug 1889.