My name is Donald Cohn, age 67, and my grandparents were Abe and Mary Cohn from Syracuse and Miami. I think my Great Gandmother's first name was Bessie; her maiden name was Balaban, and yes, Henry and Barney Balaban (of Paramount Pictures fame) were her nephews, first cousins to my Grandfather Abe Cohn.
My father remembered Barney, Henry and other Balaban family members coming to Syracuse to visit elderly "relatives." One of the very old Jewish cemetery's in Syracuse has tombstones with the Balaban name.
My Grandparents retired and moved to Miami in 1944. Our family traveled from Syracuse to visit every year, and always spent time with my Grandfather's cousin, Henry and wife Marie Balaban. They lived in a wonderful Biscayne Bay waterfront home on the Venetian Causeway. Henry was practicing law when I first remember him, and later became a judge. He was then elected to the Miami City Council and served a term as president. In 1962 (approx), Henry officiated at my sister's wedding in Miami.
Abe, my Grandfather, was born in Chittenango, NY, a rural farming community 30 miles east of Syracuse. My Great Grandfather was born in Russia; Grandma Mary was born in Budapest and came to America at age 13.
My sister, Judy Cohn Bloch, may have more info on the Balaban family. I think she's talked to actor Bob Balaban, another relative, who apparently has much info on the family. If you would like to discuss further, please email me at email@example.com