So where did our name come from, anyway?
We started with two refugees who left Tsarist Russia during the revolution of the early 1900s.
Max Avrus was born in Odessa in 1886. He immigrated to America while still in his early teens because of war, political and religious persecution, and the growing number of pogroms.
America was seen as the promised land of opportunity, attracting people from all over the world, the majority of which were Italians, Slavs, and east-European Jews. They arrived on special immigration status and were given automatic admission. Max Avrus was among them and became one of the millions that entered through Ellis Island in New York City.
The process was slow due to the sheer numbers of people involved, and many had to wait on their ships for two or three days before admission to medical exams, custom inspections, and name registration. Due to the scarcity of translators, and different hand writing styles, many names got lost in translation. Avrus was the name that received and is the source of our family’s name today.
Max Avrus settled into his new life in an area of the Bronx in New York City known as Little Russia. Because most immigrants stuck together with others of the same language and culture, Max Avrus found a home with other Russian and Slavic refugees.
Max met a Russian girl in that neighborhood, Gussie Steinwass. She was born in 1895 in Ekaterinoslav, a government hub of south Russia, and had come to America in 1911. They were married and in 1917 Gussie gave birth to a baby girl, Jean, the first of three children. Daniel was born in 1919 and Hyman in 1927. Meanwhile, Max established a neighborhood candy and newspaper stand that supported his family for many years and became a focal point of the community. Children came for candy and ice cream, and men would gather to discuss politics and other neighborhood news. Max’s son Hyman, remembers working and helping his father with customers and stocking the stand as a young teenager.
Hyman eventually met Edith Weltsch, born in 1925 of a Polish and Hungarian background. The two got married in 1951 and had two children: Steve, born in 1952 and Linda, born in 1955.
During this time, every American dreamed of living in California, as it was seen as a land of opportunity, so Hyman and Edith gathered their children and moved to California from New York City. Hyman started his own business, but eventually went into sales and through the years moved into managerial positions. His son remembers his father working many hours to provide a home for his family.