November 15, 2019

Today would have been my father’s 93rd birthday. Tomorrow it will be nine months since he died on February 16, 2019. Nine months is a long time—long enough for a human baby to gestate and be ready for life outside the womb. And yet it is just a flash in a life that lasted over 92 years.

These nine months have been the hardest of my life—dealing with not only losing my father, but watching my mother decline as well. Life without my father has been just too hard for her to bear.

So today I’d like to dedicate my blog to them both, two people whose love for each other was the key to almost all of their happiness, two beautiful young people who grew to be loving parents, adoring grandparents and great-grandparents and aunt and uncle, and loyal and caring friends to people in their community and elsewhere.

Florence and John Cohen 1951

Joseph Sigmund’s Daughters: A Double Tragedy

It’s hard to imagine the nightmare that the 1910s brought to Joseph Sigmund’s daughters, Lenore and Celeste. Both had married in the prior decade. As we saw, Lenore married a doctor, Henry Isaacs, and had moved with him to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Celeste married Abe Diamond, a cigar salesman from Chicago who had relocated to Denver, where Celeste and her family were living. Celeste and Abe had a daughter Marjorie who was born December 27, 1909, in Denver.

Then tragedy ended both of these young marriages. On February 19, 1912, Lenore’s husband Henry Isaacs was killed in a collision in Denver between a firetruck and the streetcar in which he was riding. Henry and Lenore were in Denver for the winter because Lenore was in poor health. Henry was only 32 years old.

 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 21, 1912, p. 11.

Lenore remained in Denver and was at the same address as her parents in the 1913 Denver directory.1

Just four years later, fate dealt the family another cruel blow. Joseph Sigmund’s other son-in-law, Celeste’s husband Abe Diamond, was killed in a car accident in Denver on July 12, 1916. He was driving a car he had purchased just the week before. The car was traveling at a high rate of speed up a steep hill when it skidded and went over an embankment, falling 25 feet below. Abe was pinned under the car and crushed by its weight, dying instantly. A passenger in the car was thrown from the car and escaped serious injury. Abe Diamond was 37 years old when he died, and he was survived by his wife Celeste and their six-year-old daughter Marjorie.

“Abe Diamond Killed in Killed in Auto Wreck,” The Denver Post, July 10, 1916, p. 1

The Denver Rocky Mountain News also wrote about the accident:

“Abe Diamond Dies in Crash of Auto in Mountain Road,” Denver Rocky Mountain News, July 11, 1916, p. 7

Both Denver newspapers noted the terrible fact that both of Joseph Sigmund’s sons-in-law had been killed in automotive accidents in Denver. It is hard for me to fathom how the family responded to the cruelty of these events. How could two sisters both lose their young husbands in accidents like this within five years of each other?

Somehow the family survived and persisted. Both sisters eventually remarried. On September 23, 1919, Lenore married Edwin Weinberg in Denver.2 Edwin was a native of Chicago, born there on February 27, 1892, the son of Moses Weinberg and Emily Moore.3 In 1900, Edwin’s father was a bookkeeper for a wholesale meat business, and Edwin was a clerk in a wholesale hat business.4  Edwin was still living in Chicago in 1917 when he registered for the World War I draft; he was working as a salesman at that time.5 I’ve no idea how Edwin and Lenore met, but after marrying they settled in Denver, where in 1920 Edwin was working as a clerk in a clothing store. Lenore and Edwin would have one child born in the 1920s.6

Meanwhile, in 1920 Celeste was still living with her parents Joseph and Emma in Denver along with her daughter Marjorie. Joseph continued to work as an advertising writer and was supporting his wife, daughter, and granddaughter.

Joseph Sigmund and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_162; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 276
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

But Celeste remarried later that year. On December 12, 1920, she married Hugo Rothenberg in Denver.7  Hugo was born in Hamburg, Germany, on June 7, 1878, to Isaac Rothenburg and Rebecka Heymann, and immigrated to the US in 1896.8 In 1905, he was living in Denver, working as a clerk for Simon Frank & Company, a wholesale notions business.9 He was apparently quite friendly with Abe and Celeste Diamond.

Denver Jewish Outlook, April 26, 1907. p. 10

Denvery Jewish Outlook, June 12, 1908, p. 8

In 1910 he was working as the secretary of a mercantile business, Stern-Prince Importing, in Denver,10 but by 1918 Hugo had relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was a manager for Paris Fashions Co.

Hugo Rothenburg, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Wisconsin; Roll: 1674778; Draft Board: 01, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

He was still living there in 1920, and after he and Celeste married in December 1920, they lived in Milwaukee for at least the next four years.11  They would return to Denver by 1925 and remain there for many years, as we will see.

Thus, both Lenore and Celeste remarried after losing their first husbands to tragic accidents. The will to go on and to find love again is remarkable.

 


  1. Publication Title: Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1913, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Name: Lenore Isaacs, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 23 Sep 1919, Marriage Place: Colorado, USA, Spouse: Edwin Weinberg, Film Number: 001690147,
    Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006 
  3. Name: Edward Jacob Weinberg, Birth Date: 27 Feb 1892, Birth Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Ethnicity: American. Gender: Male, Race: White, Father: Moses A Weinberg, Mother: Emily Moore Weinberg, FHL Film Number: 1287929, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 
  4. Moses Weinberg and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 32, Cook, Illinois; Page: 11; Enumeration District: 1030; FHL microfilm: 1240286, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  5. Edwin Weinberg, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1439759; Draft Board: 13, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  6. Edwin Weinberg and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_162; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 237, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7. Name: Celeste Diamond, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 12 Dec 1920, Marriage Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA, Spouse: Hugo Rothenburg, Film Number: 001690129, Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006 
  8. Name: Hugo Rothenburg, Gender: männlich (Male), Birth Date: 7 Jun 1878, Birth Place: Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Hamburg 02, Father: Isaac Rothenburg, Mother: Rebecka Heymann Rothenburg, Certificate Number: 2720, Reference Number: 332-5_1932, Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Births, 1874-1901. Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 092 A; Page: 125; Microfilm No.: K_1754, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  9. Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1905, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Hugo Rothenburg, 1910 US census, Census Place: Denver Ward 9, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_116; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1374129, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census; Publication Title: Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1911, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  11. Hugo Rothenburg, 1920 US census, Census Place: Milwaukee Ward 3, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Roll: T625_1998; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 45, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census; The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 11 Jan 1924, Fri • Page 2 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s Grandchildren: Eight Weddings between 1901 and 1910

Last time we saw that Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund died in 1904 after losing her daughter/granddaughter May the day prior to her own death. Ella was survived by five of her children: Henrietta in Washington, Pennsylvania; Joseph in Denver; and Simon, Leo, and Mollie in Baltimore. She also was survived by numerous grandchildren.

By the time Ella died, some of those grandchildren were adults and beginning to marry and have families of their own. For example, Henrietta’s daughter Moynelle had married Bert Spanye on October 19, 1900, and had given birth to Ella’s first great-grandchild, Edward Spanye, on September 19, 1902, in Cleveland, Ohio.

And all five of William Sigmund’s children married between 1901 and 1910. Albert married Mae J. Kaufman on January 15, 1901, in Washington, DC.1 Mae was the daughter of Charles Kaufman, a German immigrant, and Elizabeth Wetzler, a Maryland native. Mae was born in January 1877, in DC. Her father was a clothier there.2 In 1910 Albert and Mae were living in DC where Albert was the manager of a jewelry store known as The Ashley. They had no children.3

The next of William’s children to marry was his daughter Jeanette. She married Sydney C. Kaufman on January 28, 1903, in DC.4  Their wedding got a big write-up in the DC Evening Star, including pictures of both the bride and groom:

Sydney was the younger brother of Mae Kaufman, the wife of Jeannette’s brother Albert. Sydney was born on February 18, 1881, in DC,5 and in 1900 was living with his parents and siblings and working as a clerk in a clothing store, presumably his father’s.6 In 1910 Sydney and Jeannette were living in DC, and Jeannette’s mother Addie was living with them; Sydney was working as a clothing merchant on his own account. Sadly, it appears that Sydney and Jeannette had lost two children in the seven years they’d been married.

Sydney Kaufman and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 10, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_155; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0215; FHL microfilm: 1374168
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Albert and Jeanette’s brother Abraham Sigmund was next to marry, and he did not marry another Kaufman sibling. On January 14, 1907, he married Helene Eiseman,7 a native of DC, born on November 26, 1881, to Moses Eiseman and Bertha Kann8. Moses was also a clothing merchant and was German born; Bertha was born in Maryland. In 1910, Abraham and Helene were living in DC where Abraham was a dry goods merchant; Helene’s father, now a widower, was also living with them. They did not yet have any children.9

Washington DC Evening Star, January 15, 1907, p. 5

One year after Abraham married Helene, his younger brother Goldsmith married Sadye Breslau on January 18, 1908.10 Sadye was a native of DC, born there in about 1890 to Ferdinand Breslau and Clara Gross. Sadye’s father Ferdinand had died in 1905, but had been a milk dealer before his death.11 In 1910, Goldie was a clothing merchant in business with his brothers Abraham and Howard.12 Goldie and Sadye’s son William Ferdinand Sigmund, obviously named for his two grandfathers, was born on June 26, 1910, in Washington, DC.13

The Washington Times, January 20, 1908, p. 4

The youngest of William and Addie Sigmund’s children, Howard, was the last to marry. He married Lesley Wilhoite on April 18, 1909, in DC.14 Her parents were Jeremiah McRae Wilhoite and Frances E. Stith. Her mother was a widow by 1900, and in 1909, Lesley had been living with her mother in DC and working as a stenographer.15 In 1910, Lesley and Howard were lodgers in the household of others, and Howard was working with his brothers Abraham and Goldsmith in their store.16

Thus, all of William and Adelaide Sigmund’s children were married by 1910, though only one of those children yet had a child of his or her own.

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s four other children also saw their families growing between 1901 and 1910. Simon Sigmund’s son Harold became a teenager in that decade. In 1910 he was eighteen and still living at home with his parents and not employed outside the home; Simon continued to work as a fur merchant in Baltimore.17 Leo Sigmund’s children were still quite young in this decade as Tracy Edna was born in 1900 and Albert Lloyd in 1902. In 1910, Leo was also a fur merchant in Baltimore in what had been their father Albert’s business, A. Sigmund & Son.18

Mollie and her husband Harry Goldman were also still living in Baltimore where Harry was no longer a police constable, but in the insurance business. Their children were also adults by the end of the decade. Leman Edwin was still living at home, but practicing law. He had graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1905 and from the University of Maryland Law School in 1907.

His sister Marguerite was a clerk in an insurance office, presumably her father’s. The youngest sibling Adele was still at home, not working. Also living with the family was Felix Albert Cahn, the orphaned son of Mollie’s sister/niece May, who had died in 1904 just months after her husband Gerson died, leaving three-year-old Felix Albert behind. I was glad to see that Felix was being taken care of by May’s sister/aunt Mollie.

Harry Goldman and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_558; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0250; FHL microfilm: 1374571, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Joseph, the only son who was no longer living in Baltimore, continued to live in Denver in the first decade of the twentieth century and work in the advertising business.19 His daughters both married during those years. Lenore married Henry Isaacs on January 21, 1905, in Denver; Henry was a doctor and was born in Pennsylvania to Isaac E. Isaacs and Elizabeth Sampson in September 1880. He grew up in Pittsburgh and went to college and medical school in western Pennsylvania.20 It would be interesting to know how he met Lenore, who was living in Denver. After they married, they settled in the Pittsburgh area where in 1910 Henry was a doctor at Braddock Hospital in Braddock, Pennsylvania.21

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Lenore’s younger sister Celeste married two years after her sister on November 28, 1907 in Denver. She married Abe Diamond, who was born in Chicago in 1879 to Solomon A. Diamond, a Dutch immigrant, and Henrietta Kuhn, a French immigrant. In 1900 Abe was still living in Chicago with his parents and working as a salesman, but by the early 1900s he had relocated to Denver where he was a cigar salesman.22 In 1910, Celeste and Abe and their three-month-old daughter Marjorie were living in Denver where Abe continued to work as a cigar merchant.23

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Unfortunately, the marriages of both Celeste and her sister Lenore were cut short by painfully similar events in the next decade. More on that in my next post.

 


  1. Albert Sigmund and Mae Kaufman marriage record, FHL Film Number: 2108220
    Reference ID: Itm 1 p 1-2 cn 13295, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 
  2. Charles Kaufman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 1240161, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Albert Sigmund, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 7, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_152; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 0135; FHL microfilm: 1374165, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census; Washington, District of Columbia, City Directory, 1909, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  4. Marriage of Jeannette Sigmund and Sydney Kaufman, FHL Film Number: 2108264
    Reference ID: item 1 p 466 cn 20466, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 
  5. Sydney Kaufman, passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1931; Volume #: Roll 1931 – Certificates: 155476-155849, 27 Apr 1922-27 Apr 1922, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  6. Charles Kaufman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 1240161, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  7. Marriage of Helene K, Eiseman and Abraham Sigmund, FHL Film Number: 2108440, Reference ID: Pg276 CN 35876 Fr475, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 
  8. Birth record of Helene Eiseman, FHL Film Number: 2114651, Reference ID: cn 28339, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Select Births and Christenings, 1830-1955 
  9. Abraham Sigmund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 10, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_155; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0215; FHL microfilm: 1374168, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  10. Marriage record of Goldsmith Sigmund and Sadye Breslau. FHL Film Number: 2108443, Refence ID: cn 40018, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 
  11. Ferdinand Breslau family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0096; FHL microfilm: 1240162, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; https://www.findagrave.com/mem Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current 
  12. Goldie Sigmund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 8, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_153; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1374166, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  13.  Number: 578-07-5877; Issue State: District of Columbia; Issue Date: Before 1951,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14. Washington Evening Star, January 22, 1909, p. 7. 
  15. Lesley Wilhoite, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 1240159, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  16. Howard Sigmund, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 10, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_155; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0215; FHL microfilm: 1374168, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. Title: Washington, District of Columbia, City Directory, 1909, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  17. Simon Sigmund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 14, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_557; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0236; FHL microfilm: 1374570, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  18. Leo Sigmund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_558; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0250; FHL microfilm: 1374571, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  19. Joseph Sigmund, 1910 US census, Census Place: Denver Ward 9, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_116; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1374129, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  20. “Dr. H. S. Isaacs,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb 21, 1912, p.11. 
  21. Ibid.; Henry Isaacs, 1910 US census, Census Place: Braddock Ward 1, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1293; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 0019; FHL microfilm: 1375306, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  22. Sol A. Diamond and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 11, Cook, Illinois; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0325; FHL microfilm: 1240258, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1906, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  23. Abe Diamond, 1910 census, Census Place: Denver Ward 10, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_116; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0130; FHL microfilm: 1374129, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund Did Not Have A Baby in Her Fifties: Mystery Solved

As of 1900, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund had over twenty grandchildren, but had lost her husband Albert and four of her ten children. Three of those children had died without any descendants: Jacob, Lena, and Stella.

William had left five children behind, and in 1900, all of them were still living with their mother Adelaide in Washington, DC. Albert (26) was a clerk in a jewelry store; Abraham (24) was working in men’s and women’s furnishings. Jeanette (20), Goldie (17), and Howard (13) were not working outside the home.

Adelaide Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0031; FHL microfilm: 1240159
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

There are two things to note about this census record. First, Goldie was a son, not a daughter. That threw me off until I found later records for Goldie, whose real name was Goldsmith. Second, the record reports that Adelaide had had seven children, only five of whom were still living. I knew that Herman had died in 1883, but I have not located the other child who was no longer living.

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s six surviving children were all married by 1900, and four of them were living in Baltimore.  Ella herself was living with her daughter May, May’s husband Gerson Cahn, a fur salesman, and their baby boy, Felix Albert Cahn (listed as Albert on the census).

Gerson Cahn and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Simon Sigmund was a dry goods salesman and was living with his wife Helen and son Harold in Baltimore.1 Leo Sigmund and his wife Claudia and infant daughter Tracy Edna were also living in Baltimore in 1900 where Leo was a hat merchant.2  Leo and Claudia’s second child Albert Lloyd Sigmund was born on September 17, 1902.3

The fourth of Ella’s children living in Baltimore in 1900 was her daughter Mollie, who was living with her three children and husband Harry Goldman.4 Although Harry was working as a police magistrate in 1900, his other activities are what he would become best known for. Harry Goldman, who was known as Judge, was one of the original organizers and investors in the team that would eventually become Baltimore’s American League baseball team, the Orioles, when the American League was formed in 1900. Here is the first Orioles team in 1901:

As a somewhat lapsed baseball fan, I loved reading the many articles describing how the American League was created and the obstacles it had to overcome as the older circuit, the National League, took extraordinary steps to try and prevent the creation of a league that would compete for audiences and players. For example, Harry Goldman located the land where the Baltimore’s stadium was to be built, and the National League tried to block that acquisition. Harry played such an instrumental role in the organization of the team and its league that he was named the first secretary-treasurer of Baltimore’s first American League team in 1900.5

The Baltimore Sun, November 17, 1900, p. 6.

Ella’s two remaining children were not living in Baltimore in 1900. Henrietta had long ago moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, with her husband S.J. Katzenstein. And by 1900, Joseph Sigmund had left Pittsburgh, where he had moved several years before. In 1900 he was living in Denver with his wife and children and working in advertising.

Joseph Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0059; FHL microfilm: 1240118
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Censu

Thus, in 1900, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund had four of her six surviving children living nearby in Baltimore, plus one living in Pennsylvania and one in Denver. The next four years would be terrible ones, however.

First, Ella’s son-in-law S.J. Katzenstein, Henrietta’s husband, died on December 7, 1901, at the age of 53. He left behind his wife Henrietta and six children, ranging in age from Moynelle, who was 22, to Vernon, who was only nine years old.

Then two years later on November 23, 1903, Ella lost another son-in-law when May’s husband Gerson Cahn died from pulmonary tuberculosis. He was only 31 years old.

But the family’s tragedy deepened when May herself died just four months later on March 18, 1904, at the age of 29, from pulmonary edema and heart failure. Their son Felix Albert was orphaned at just four years old.

When I recently received May’s death certificate, it answered a question I had asked in a recent post: Had Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund really had a child in her fifties?

May was not Ella and Albert’s biological child. She was the child of their daughter Lena and her husband Solomon Sigmund. Although her death certificate states that May was born on May 2, 1875, both the 1880 census record and the 1900 census record suggest that she was born in 1874, not 1875. That would mean she was just over a year old when her mother died on July 31, 1875.

So perhaps her grandparents Ella and Albert adopted her, legally or unofficially, and thus they identified her as their daughter on the 1880 census and as one of Albert’s children in his obituary. But it also explains why Ella reported only five living children on the 1900 census, not six.

Gerson Cahn and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

One question that remains unanswered is what happened to Lena’s husband and May’s father Solomon. I have not been able to find one reference or record that reveals where he was after Lena’s death. He is not listed in the Baltimore City Death Index for 1875-1880, so presumably he was still living in 1880 when May was living with her grandparents and listed as their daughter. So perhaps he had returned to Germany or just moved on to a new location in the US.6

Losing May after losing Lena as well as Jacob, Stella, and William must have been just too much for Ella to bear. She had now outlived four of her ten children as well as her husband Albert and now her granddaughter/adopted daughter May. Ella died the day after May on March 19, 1904, at the age of eighty-one from nephritis and diabetes.

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund, my first cousin, four times removed, had lived quite a challenging life. Born in Grebenstein, Germany, she was the oldest of seven children and lost her mother when she was only sixteen. Faced with financial burdens, she had taken on the responsibility of not only helping to care for those younger siblings but of earning a living as a milliner. Then when she was about twenty-one, she decided to strike out on her own and left Germany for the US, where she married Albert Sigmund and had ten children. Although Albert was a successful businessperson in Baltimore, Ella suffered far too many losses—five of her children predeceased her as well as her husband Albert. One has to wonder whether her dreams of a better life in the US were fulfilled, given how much she had endured as an adult.

But five of her children survived her as well as over twenty grandchildren, so her legacy did not end with her life, as we will see.

 


  1. Simon Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0208; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  2. Leo Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W23-G4M : 10 February 2018), Claudia Hirsch in entry for Albert Lloyd Sigmund, 24 Oct 1938; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,108,250. 
  4. Harry Goldman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  5. See, e.g., “The New Ball Club,” The Baltimore Sun, January 27, 1900, p. 6; “More Baseball War,” The Baltimore Sun, July 29, 1902, p. 6; Fred Lieb, The Baltimore Orioles: The History of a Colorful Team in Baltimore and St. Louis (SIU Press, 2005), pp. 91-95,111, 116, 147 
  6. I did find a Sol Sigmund of the same age and born in Germany on the 1900 census, living in St. Louis and married to Emma Lorber with two children, but I have no way to know if that man was the same man. If it was the same Solomon Sigmund, he never reappears with that family either. Sol Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: St Louis Ward 12, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0185; FHL microfilm: 1240894, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. By 1910 Emma was living with her sons and still listed as married, but Sol is not in the household. By 1920 Emma identified her marital status as divorced. Could this be the same Solomon Sigmund? And if so, where did he now disappear to? 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s Family in the 1890s: Years of Transition

Although the 1880s were mostly happy years for Ella and her family, William’s death in 1887 brought heartbreak to the family.

The next decade started off well for the family of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund. On January 16, 1891, Simon Sigmund married Helen Hirshberg, daughter of Henry and Mary Hirshberg, both of whom were German immigrants. Helen was born in Maryland in 1866. Her father owned a paint store in Baltimore.1 Simon and Helen had one child, a son Harold born in Baltimore one year after their marriage on January 4, 1892.2

Marriage record for Simon Sigmund and Helen Hirshberg, Maryland State Archives, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

Ella and Albert celebrated the birth of another grandchild in 1892 when Henrietta Sigmund Katzenstein gave birth to her sixth and final child a month later in Washington, Pennsylvania. Their son Vernon was born on February 8, 1892.

On December 2, 1893, Stella Sigmund married Samuel L. Goldman in Baltimore.  Does that name sound familiar? It should because Samuel Goldman was the brother of Emma Goldman, the wife of Joseph Sigmund, and of Harry Goldman, the husband of Molly Sigmund. So three Sigmund siblings married three Goldman siblings. And Samuel also was the father of Leman Poppi Goldman, husband of Flora Wolfe, my Schoenthal cousin.  Samuel was a widower when he married Stella; his first wife Amanda Kann had died on March 30, 1892, leaving him with six children ranging in age from seven to eighteen.3

Marriage record of Estella Sigmund and Samuel L Goldman, Maryland State Archives, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

But sadly Samuel was to become a widower again just a year and half after marrying Stella. She died on July 24, 1895, after being ill for several months. She was only 35 years old. Ella and Albert had outlived yet another child.  Stella was the fourth child to predecease them.

Obituary for Stella Sigmund Goldman, The Baltimore Sun,  Baltimore, Maryland
26 Jul 1895, Fri • Page 8

Meanwhile, Joseph Sigmund and his family left Baltimore in the 1890s for Pittsburgh. Joseph had run into financial problems with his business in Baltimore and had made an assignment for the benefit of creditors to a trustee in December 1891. He apparently had debts exceeding $40,000. According to the newspaper, a particularly warm winter had contributed to a drop in fur and hat sales.

The Baltimore Sun, December 30, 1891, p. 4

In 1893, lawsuits that had been filed by numerous creditors against Joseph Sigmund were settled:

Baltimore Sun, May 23, 1893, p. 8

In the aftermath of these losses and lawsuits, Joseph must have decided to leave Baltimore and get a fresh start in Pittsburgh. By 1896 he was working in the advertising business in Pittsburgh for the advertising firm Solomon & Ruben.4

Ella and her family suffered another loss on January 26, 1896 when her husband Albert died at age 77. The Baltimore Sun published this obituary the following day:

Obituary, Albert Sigmund, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland
27 Jan 1896, Mon • Page 7

But the end of the decade brought some better news as there were two more weddings. May Sigmund married Gerson Cahn in Baltimore on April 24, 1898.

Marriage record of Gerson Cahn and May Sigmund, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

Gerson was the son of Felix Cahn and Jenny Newmyer. His father was a German immigrant and was in the wholesale millinery business; his mother was born in either Maryland or DC and died when Felix was a young boy.5 Gerson and May had one child, a son born on November 6, 1899, named Felix Albert Cahn,6 who was obviously named for both of his grandfathers (though Gerson’s father was still living). In 1900, Gerson and May and their son Felix Albert (listed as Albert on the census) were living with May’s mother, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund, and two servants. Gerson was working as a fur salesman.

Gerson Cahn and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

The last of Ella and Albert Sigmund’s children to marry was their son Leo. He married Claudia Hirsch in Philadelphia in 1899.7 They would have two children born in the 1900s, Tracy Edna born in May 19008 and Albert Lloyd Sigmund, born September 17, 1902,9 the last-born grandchild of Ella and Albert, bringing the total number of grandchildren to 22.

As the 1890s drew to a close, there was one more transition in the family. Joseph Sigmund moved with his wife and daughters from Pittsburgh to Denver on the advice of his doctors:

“Joseph Sigmund Goes to Denver,” The Pittsburgh Daily Post, October 1, 1899, p. 23

Thus, as of 1900, Ella Goldschmidt was a widow and had outlived four of her ten children: Jacob, Lena, William, and Stella. The 1900 census record says she had five living children, but I count six: Henrietta, Simon, Joseph, Leo, Mollie, and May. Soon, however, there would only be five. Perhaps Ella foresaw the doom of one more of her children.

 


  1. Henry Hirshberg and family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: M593_573; Page: 72A; Family History Library Film: 552072, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  2. Harold Sigmund, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1766139; Draft Board: 120, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918  
  3. Amanda Goldman death notice, The Baltimore Sun, April 1, 1892, p. 2. 
  4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1896, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. “Advertising Man Taken by Death,” The Denver Post, October 28, 1930, p, 8. 
  5. Death certificate of Gerson Cahn. Marriage record of Felix Cahn and Jenny Newmyer, 1864, Film Number: 002079252, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Marriage Records, 1810-1953. What I have not yet been able to determine is whether Jenny Newmyer was somehow related to Adelaide Newmyer, wife of William Sigmund. I am awaiting receipt of Jenny’s death certifcate. 
  6. Maryland State Archives, Baltimore Birth Index, Certificate B5470, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/series.aspx?action=viewseries&id=cm1134 
  7. Marriage Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, Marriage Year: 1899
    Marriage License Number: 115918, Digital GSU Number: 4141922, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  8. Leo Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  9. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W23-G4M : 10 February 2018), Claudia Hirsch in entry for Albert Lloyd Sigmund, 24 Oct 1938; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,108,250. 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund and Her Family in the 1880s: Years of Growth

The 1870s were primarily years of growth for the family of Ella Goldschmidt and Albert Sigmund. Three of their children married, and several grandchildren were born. Aside from the tragic death of their daughter Lena in 1875 after a long struggle with cancer, these were primarily good years for Ella and Albert.

The 1880s also started out with more good news. Their son William and his wife Adelaide had three more children, Herman Sigmund was born on May 14, 1880,1 Goldsmith Meyer Sigmund (also known as Goldie) born October 13, 18822 and Howard Lee Sigmund, born June 21, 1886,3 all in Baltimore. William as well as his brother Joseph were working as hatters and furriers with their father Albert.

William Sigmund and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 505; Page: 477B; Enumeration District: 215
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

Joseph and his wife Emma also had children in the 1880s. Lenore was born on October 29, 1881,4 and her sister Celeste was born in Baltimore on June 12, 1886.5 And in Pennsylvania, Henrietta and S.J. Katzenstein added four more children to their family in the 1880s:  Milton (1881), Howard (1882), Ivan (1884), and Earl (1887).

In addition, one more of Ella and Albert’s children married in this decade. Their daughter Mollie married Harry Goldman on May 18, 1882, in Baltimore. Remember I warned you of more twists in the Goldman/Sigmund tree? Well, Harry Goldman was the younger brother of Emma Goldman, who’d married Mollie’s brother Joseph, and the younger brother of Samuel Goldman, whose son Leman Poppi Goldman was married to Flora Wolfe, a Schoenthal cousin. (Samuel returns in yet another twist in this tree, as you will see.) Harry was born on December 25, 1857, in Baltimore.6

Marriage record of Mollie Sigmund and Harry Goldman, Maryland State Archives, marriage registry, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

Mollie and Harry had three children in the 1880s: Leman Edwin on September 27, 1883,7 Marguerite on December 28, 1884,8 and Adele on August 28, 1887,9 all born in Baltimore. Thus, by the end of 1887, Ella and Albert Sigmund had fifteen grandchildren, most of whom were living near them in Baltimore. Life must have seemed quite grand.

But unfortunately, all that joy was tempered by tragic losses.  First, William and Adelaide’s son Herman died May 9, 1883; he was only three years old.10  Then Herman’s father, William Sigmund, died on April 30, 1887, in Baltimore from phthisis pulmonalis or what we now call tuberculosis.11

William Sigmund, 1887 death certificate 99566, Maryland State Archives

He was only forty years old and left behind his wife Adelaide, who was only 34, and five children ranging in age from Albert, who was thirteen, to Howard, who was only ten months old. Ella and Albert had outlived yet another child, having already lost their son Jacob and their daughter Lena.

And sadly, those were not the only children who would predecease them before 1900.

 


  1. Baltimore City Birth Index, found at https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagserm/cm1100/cm1134/000000/000002/pdf/msa_cm1134_000002.pdf 
  2. Goldsmith M. Sigmund World War I draft registration, Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556843; Draft Board: 08, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  3. Howard Sigmund, World War I draft registration, Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556845; Draft Board: 09, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  4. Maryland State Archives, Baltimore birth registry, https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagserm/cm1100/cm1134/000000/000003/pdf/msa_cm1134_000003.pdf 
  5. SSN: 523244049, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. See gravestone at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7890082 
  7. Leman Edwin Goldman, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Maryland; Registration County: Baltimore (Independent City); Roll: 1684137; Draft Board: 13, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  8. SSN: 216056370, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. SSN: 300400462, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  10. Baltimore death registry, Maryland State Archives, found at https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagsere/ce1/ce42/000000/000082/pdf/ce42-000082.pdf, p. 478, certificate number 66538. I have not yet received his death certificate. 
  11. Baltimore death registry, Maryland State Archives, https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagsere/ce1/ce42/000000/000082/pdf/ce42-000082.pdf, certificate number 99566. 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund, Part I: Success in Baltimore

This is the first post about Ella Goldschmidt in the US. Please read first—I posted out of order.

Ella Goldschmidt was the first child of Meyer Goldschmidt and Lea Katzenstein. She was born in about 1823 in Grebenstein, Germany, and as described by her brother Selig, she had run a millinery business in her father’s home in the years after her mother died in 1839. Selig also wrote that after several years, Ella decided to seek better opportunities elsewhere and left the family to immigrate to the United States. Although I have not located a definite ship manifest for Ella, there is a manifest showing a 21-year-old woman named “Eliza” Goldschmidt who arrived in Philadelphia on June 2, 1845, on the ship Louise, sailing from Bremen, Germany.

Eliz Goldschmidt, passenger manifest, Departure Place: Bremen, Germany
Arrival Date: 2 Jun 1845, Arrival Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 
Ship: Louise, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the United States Customs Service, 1745-1997; Record Group Number: 36; Series: M425
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962

That may have been Ella, though I can’t be sure. At any rate, I know that Ella had arrived by April 25, 1846, because on that date she married Albert Sigmund in Baltimore, Maryland. (Ella appears to have used numerous variations on Ella in the US, sometimes Helen, sometimes Elena, sometimes as here Helena.) Albert was also a German immigrant; he was born in Bavaria in 1819. According to one source, he came to Baltimore in 1841.

Marriage record of Albert Sigmund and “Helena Goldsmith.” Maryland County Marriages, 1658-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4JC-GYH : 16 March 2018), Albert Sigmond and Helena Goldsmith, 25 Apr 1846; citing Baltimore, , Maryland, United States, clerk of the circuit court from various counties; FHL microfilm 13,694.

Ella and Albert’s first child, William, was born in about 1847 as he was reported to be three years old on the 1850 census. His sister Lena was born the following year, and in 1850 the family was living in Baltimore where Albert was a customs house officer. His brother Philip was living with them, working as a cap maker. 1

Albert Sigmund and family, 1850 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 3, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_282; Page: 339B; Image: 109, Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census

Between 1851 and 1860, Ella and Albert had six more children, all born in Baltimore: Henrietta (1851),2 Simon (sometimes identified as Samuel or Solomon (1852), Jacob (about 1854), Joseph (1856), Leo(pold) (1858), and Stella (also identified as Hester and Estella) (1860).3

Also living with Ella and Albert in 1860 was Ella’s youngest sibling, Falk Goldschmidt. Falk had arrived on July 8, 1852 when he was only sixteen.

Falk Goldschmidt, passenger manifest, Source Citation
Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 116; Line: 24; List Number: 912, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Thus, Ella and Albert had a large household by 1860: eight children plus Albert’s father Herman and brother Philip and Ella’s brother Falk. Albert was working as a merchant, and he must have been doing quite well to house twelve people plus three servants.4

This advertisement from the November 23, 1858, Baltimore Daily Exchange (p.3) is for Albert’s fur business:

The Daily Exchange, Baltimore, Maryland, 23 Nov 1858, Tue • Page 3

In 1862, Ella gave birth to a ninth child, Mollie.5 Although the 1870 census lists Mollie’s (Mary here) birthplace as Maryland, every later census record reports her birthplace as New York. I’ve not found a birth record from either place to reach a conclusion as to which is right. One theory I’ve seen mentioned is that the family had moved to New York during the Civil War.

Albert and Ella thus continued to have a large household in 1870, but there were a few things on the 1870 census that confused me. This is how the census listed the children with their ages and occupations:

William (24, clerk in store),

Lena (22, at home),

Henrietta (19, at home),

Simon (10, clerk in store),

Joseph (14, at school),

Leo (12, at school),

Estella (10, at school),

Mary (presumably Mollie) (8, at school).

There were also two servants living in the household plus Albert’s father Herman and another Sigmund:

Solomon, listed as eighteen years old and working as a clerk in a store.

Albert Sigmund and family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 12, Baltimore, Maryland; Page: 248A; Family History Library Film: 552075
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

So what is confusing here? First of all, Simon should have been eighteen in 1870, not ten. Plus would a ten year old be working as a clerk when his older brothers Joseph and Leo were both in school? I chalked this up to a scrivener’s error—it should have been an 18, not a ten for his age.

But then I noticed Solomon Sigmund—eighteen years old and a clerk. Had the enumerator listed Simon twice, once as a ten year old and then as Solomon, the eighteen year old? Or was Solomon yet another member of the family? Since the 1870 census did not include relationship to the head of household as a reported fact, it’s hard to know.

UPDATE: Thanks to David Baron, I now know that Solomon Sigmund married Lena Sigmund in 1873 and thus was not one of Ella and Albert’s children, but more likely a nephew or cousin of Albert Sigmund who was living with the family.

The other troubling thing about this 1870 census record is that Ella and Albert’s son Jacob, who would have been about sixteen in 1870, is not listed at all. The 1870 Baltimore directory is consistent with this census; William and Simon are listed as clerks, living at the same address as their father, Albert, the furrier. There is no listing for Jacob, the next oldest son.

Title: Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1870, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [

So where was Jacob? Had he died? Moved away? I could not find one other record for Jacob aside from the 1860 census. I will keep digging to see if I can learn more about him, but since there do not appear to be any death records in Maryland before 1870, I am instead hoping to find a cemetery record somewhere in Baltimore.

UPDATE: Again, thank you to David Baron, who located a record of circumcisions that listed the following:

Family Name     Father     Infant       Date              No.
Siegmund          Asher      Uriel       2/4/1847         270
    ”                     Asher       Hayyim  3/8/1854         593
                                           (Henry Clay)
    ”                      Asher       Simon    7/4/1852        507
    ”                      Asher       Joseph   2/6/1856        685
David suggested that Asher was Albert Sigmund’s Hebrew name and that Uriel was William Sigmund’s Hebrew name. Simon and Joseph are obviously the sons with those names. And Hayyim (Henry Clay) could be Jacob, as the birth year lines up with Jacob’s age on the 1860 census. So now I need to search again for a child with that name.

 

Ella’s brother Falk was also no longer living with her family in 1870. In fact, Falk had returned to Germany where he had married Babette Carlebach on October 18, 1868, in Mannheim; they had their first child Meier on August 8, 1870 in Grabenhein, Germany.

Meier Falk Goldschmidt birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8845, Year Range: 1870, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Matthias Steinke of the German Genealogy group kindly translated this record as follows:

Goldschmidt, Meier
Legitimate son and first child of the salesman Falk Goldschmidt from Gräbenhein in the district Cassel (Kassel) and his wife Babette born Carlebach, married 18th October 1868 in Mannheim, was born here Bleichstreet Nr. 40, Monday the 8th August 1870 in the morning at 5:45 o’clock.
Reason for this entry was the declaration of the father.
Entered the 16th November 1870.
In fidem
Signature

Thus, much of the information about Ella’s first 25 years in the United States is based wholly on the census records. From those records, we can see that she and her husband Albert were the parents of nine children, eight of whom were still living with them in 1870. The next decade would bring many changes to the family: births, deaths, and several marriages.

 


  1. These birth years are based almost exclusively on census records; I could not locate birth records online and learned that Maryland did not require registration of births from 1800 through 1864 and that even after 1864, most births in Maryland were not recorded. Thus, I have had to rely on the census and a few death records or obituaries to infer the birth years for the children of Ella and Albert. 
  2. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PK5-9WV8?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-G6D%3A287599701%2C294514201 : 21 May 2014), 1936 > 34601-37500 > image 2425 of 3212. 
  3. Other than for Henrietta, for whom a birth date appeared on her death record, I have no records of precise birth dates for these other children. These dates are based on census records, as discussed also on Note 1. 
  4. The 1860 census record for Albert and his family is not easy to read as the writing is very faint, but the transcription and indices are FamilySearch and Ancestry are consistent. United States Census, 1860″, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M69Z-5QX : 12 December 2017), Albert Sigman, 1860. Census Place: Baltimore Ward 13, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: M653_464; Page: 101; Family History Library Film: 803464, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  5. Her gravestone says February 8, 1862. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7890080 

Ella Goldschmidt, Part II: The 1870s, Gains and A Heartbreaking Loss

As of the 1870 census, Ella Goldschmidt and her husband Albert Sigmund, a furrier, had eight children living at home, ranging in age from William, who was 24, to Mollie, who was eight. Jacob, who had been listed as six on the 1860 census, was not listed on the 1870 census, but no records have yet been found to explain what happened to him.

Twelve years after giving birth to Mollie in 1862, Ella apparently had another child, a daughter May born in 1874. As with all of Ella’s prior children, I cannot locate a birth record for May because Maryland birth records start in 1875, but am relying solely on two census records, specifically the 1880 and 1900 US census records.1 Ella would have been over fifty years old in 1874, according to her death certificate. The 1880 census lists Ella as 55 and May as 6, meaning Ella was at least 49 when May was born.  Could May really be her biological child? Or was she perhaps adopted or an out-of-wedlock child of one of Ella and Albert’s older children or another relative?

Meanwhile, Ella and Albert’s oldest child, William, had married Adelaide or Addie  Newmeyer (sometimes spelled Newmyer or Neumyer or Newmyre and even Neumeir) in September 1873 and was having children of his own by the time his baby sister May was born in 1874. Adelaide was born in about 1851 or 1852 in Pennsylvania, depending on the census record.

In 1870 Adelaide was living with her mother Fanny Newmyer and her six other children in Washington, DC. The 1871 Washington directory lists Fanny as the widow of Abraham,2 but the 1860 census includes the household of a John and Fanny Newmyre living in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, with their five oldest children. Adelaide appears to be listed as Alice on that census, but her siblings’ names match those on later census records. Since records for some of Adelaide’s siblings indicate they were born in Lock Haven, I concluded that this was Adelaide’s family on the 1860 census.3

Newmyre family, 1860 census, Census Place: Lock Haven, Clinton, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1097; Page: 274; Family History Library Film: 805097, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census

Census Place: Washington Ward 4, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: M593_124; Page: 814A; Family History Library Film: 545623, Washington Ward 4, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

I could find no other records for John Newmeyer, no matter how many wild cards or spellings I tried, but I did find a directory listing Abraham Newmeyer in Washington, DC, in 1863 as a peddler4 and a Civil War draft registration dated 1863 for Abram Newmyer, a 44 year old native of Bavaria.  I believe that Adelaide’s father was Abraham Newmeyer and that the family had left Lock Haven for Washington some time between 1860 and 1863.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 5 of 5, Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865

William and Adelaide’s first child Albert Sigmund was born on August 12, 1874, in Baltimore, according to his World War I draft registration. 4

Their second child was named Abraham, born on April 27, 1876,5 bolstering my conclusion that Abraham was the name of Adelaide’s father. William and Adelaide had a third child Jeannette born sometime between 1878 and 1879. She is listed as two on the 1880 census, but later census records have her born in June 1879 or even as late as 1881. I searched the Baltimore birth index for 1877, 1878, and 1879, and could not find her listed. The closest I could find was a child born on  October 7, 1879, to a William and Addie Smith, but I need to get the birth certificate to be sure that this is the correct couple. At any rate, Jeannette is listed on the 1880 census, so she had to have been born before that was taken.

The 1880 census lists a fourth child, one month old, named Herman living in the household. I found a listing in the 1880 Baltimore birth registry for a child born May 14, 1880, to “William and Annie Sigmon” which I assume must refer to Herman. In 1880, they were all living in Baltimore where William was working as a clerk in the tax office.

William Sigmund and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 505; Page: 477B; Enumeration District: 215, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

In 1875, Ella and Albert’s daughter Henrietta married her second cousin Scholum Joseph Katzenstein, the oldest child of my great-great-grandparents, Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt. Henrietta and Scholum Joseph were both the great-grandchildren of Jacob Falck Goldschmidt and Eva Seligmann, my four-times great-grandparents. Their mothers Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund and Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein were first cousins.

I have already written about Henrietta and Scholum Joseph when I wrote about my Katzenstein relatives. You can find their stories here, here, here, and here. Thus, I will not repeat the stories of Henrietta and her descendants in telling the story of her parents and siblings, except to point out that Henrietta had six children, a daughter Moynelle born in 1879 and five sons, all born between 1881 and 1892, and that she was living in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Thus, Ella and Albert had become grandparents during the 1870s as well as having a new child May. But not all the news was good for their family. On July 31, 1875, their oldest daughter Lena died from cancer of the neck at age 27; according to her death certificate, she had been ill for over ten years.

Her death notice paid tribute to her courage:

UPDATE: Thank you to David Baron, who pointed out to me after I’d first posted this that this death notice mentions Solomon Sigmund as Lena’s husband. Somehow I completely overlooked that. I assume that this is the same Solomon Sigmund who was eighteen years old and living with Lena’s family in 1870 and that he must have been a relative of Albert Sigmund—a nephew or cousin. Once David pointed this out to me, I also located a marriage record for Lena and Solomon:

Sol Sigmund Lena Sigmund marriage 1873 MD state archives

I was unable to find any definite record for Solomon Sigmund after Lena’s death. Perhaps he returned to Germany. There were many other men with that name, but no way for me to connect any of them to Lena’s family.

On September 22, 1880, Ella and Albert’s son Joseph married Emma Goldman (not THAT Emma Goldman) in Baltimore.

Emma Goldman was born in about 1860 in Maryland and was the daughter of Leman Goldman and Henrietta Goldschmidt.6 When I saw Emma’s parents’ names, something rang a bell. Sure enough, there was another twisted branch on my family tree.  Emma’s brother Samuel L. Goldman was the father of Leman Poppi Goldman, who married Flora Wolfe, the daughter of Amalie Schoenthal, the sister of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal.

And it gets even more twisted.  Stay tuned…

Thus, as of the end of 1880, Ella and Albert had lost one child, Lena. Three of their children, William, Henrietta, and Joseph, had married, and they had four grandchildren, William’s three children and Henrietta’s daughter. Ella and Albert were living with their remaining children, Simon (listed here as Samuel, 27), Leo (22), Stella (20), Mollie (18), and six-year-old May. Simon/Samuel and Leo were working as clerks, and Albert continued to work as a fur merchant.

Albert Sigmund and family 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 501; Page: 116C; Enumeration District: 110
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

The next twenty years would bring many changes, some good, some bad.

 

 


  1. Albert Sigmund and family, 1870 US census,  Census Place: Baltimore Ward 12, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_576; Page: 248A; Family History Library Film: 552075, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census; 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 501; Page: 116C; Enumeration District: 110, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  2. Publication Title: Washington, District of Columbia, City Directory, 1871, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Harriet Harris obituary, The Daily Record, Long Branch, New Jersey, 11 Feb 1937, Thu • Page 3 
  4. Albert Sigmund, World War I draft registration, Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556838; Draft Board: 07, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.  I find it interesting that they gave their child the same name as William’s father even though he, Albert the elder, was still living, although naming a child for someone still living is fairly common on this side of my family tree. 
  5. Abraham Newmeyer, World War I draft registration, Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556845; Draft Board: 09, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. 
  6. Leman Goldman family, 1870 census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 7, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: M593_574; Page: 117A; Family History Library Film: 552073, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 

Meyer Goldschmidt: A Man with a Pure Soul

After Meyer Goldschmidt’s wife Lea died in 1839 in Grebenstein, Germany, Meyer and his children worked together to support each other. At that time the oldest daughter Ella was about seventeen and the youngest child Falk was only three.  The two sons, Selig and Jacob, were still young boys, but went to work to help the family, and Ella ran a millinery business from their home.1

But Ella eventually decided that she had to leave Grebenstein and seek a better life in the United States. In remembering her decision to leave, her brother Selig wrote that “Ella, who had received many compliments for her beauty while she was learning her trade in Cassel had, perhaps, become a little more selfish.”2

Selig continued:3

After she had run her own little business for about a year, during which time she probably encountered many difficulties, she realized that she would have no future in Grebenstein. Conditions were bad indeed for all of us; so she quickly decided, I believe even against our father’s wishes, to emigrate to America, together with several cousins. For me it was a great shock at that time. I borrowed as much money as I could from school friends in order to help her with her travel expenses. I think it only amounted to two and a half Groschen. After she had been gone for about one hour, I told myself I had to see her just once more. I ran after for two hours, weeping softly, but did not meet her again. 

Selig’s description of his emotions about her leaving moved me and brought home the reality of the impact these departures had on a family.

Ella Goldschmidt was the only one of Meyer Goldschmidt’s six surviving children to leave Germany and settle permanently in the US. According to the 1900 US census, Ella immigrated in 1849, but that cannot be right because she married Albert Sigmund, another German immigrant, on April 26, 1846, in Baltimore, Maryland:

Marriage record of Albert Sigmund and “Helena Goldsmith.” Maryland County Marriages, 1658-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4JC-GYH : 16 March 2018), Albert Sigmond and Helena Goldsmith, 25 Apr 1846; citing Baltimore, , Maryland, United States, clerk of the circuit court from various counties; FHL microfilm 13,694.

I will be devoting many posts to Ella and her life in the US, but for now let’s return to Grebenstein and the rest of Meyer’s children.

Selig wrote that once Ella left, times were challenging for the rest of the family.4

Our dear father was very weak and sickly. His constant prayer was “G-d Almighty do not let me die before I have repaid my debts.” This constant prayer gave us an added incentive to work day and night with all our energy. The just and noble man did not realise how the future prosperity of his children would spring forth from hidden roots. 

But Meyer’s financial burdens were reduced as the children became adults and married and moved away. Sarah, or Sarchen, whom Selig described as “our angel of a sister,” married Salomon Stern on August 1, 1849. Salomon was born on May 24, 1815, in Ziegenhain, Germany, to Abraham Stern and Keile Maier.

In 1852, Falk Goldschmidt, Meyer’s youngest son, who was only sixteen at the time, traveled to the US5 and in 1860 was living with his older sister Ella and her family.6 Falk did return to Germany, however, by 1870, as we will see in a later post.

Meyer’s youngest daughter Malchen married in June, 1853, according to David Baron’s research. Malchen married Juda Callman Katzenstein of Eschwege, Germany. He was born there in 1824, the son of Callman Katzenstein and Jettchen Katzenstein. As Selig wrote in the Selig Goldschmidt book, after marrying Juda, Malchen moved to live with him in Eschwege.5

Her brother Jacob married Jettchen Cahn one month later in Frankfurt. She was the daughter of Aaron Simon Cahn and Minna Gamburg, and Jettchen was born on April 13, 1830, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Jacob Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Selig wrote that after Malchen married and moved to Eschwege, the family sold everything they had in Grebenstein, and Meyer moved to Eschwege to live with Malchen and Juda. Selig noted that they did this because Selig and his brother Jacob were traveling often for business and not able to be in Grebenstein to care for their father. Selig described the outpouring of love Meyer received when he moved away from his long-time home in Grebenstein:6

Poor and rich came to the station to see him off, and when the train departed, the sound of sobbing and weeping could be heard. Wealthy neighbours had offered to give him whatever he wanted if he would stay there. However, we did not wish him to stay in Grebenstein all by himself. 

Selig was the next child to marry. On May 27, 1857, he married Clementine Fuld in Frankfurt. She was born in Frankfurt on January 8, 1837, to Herz Fuld and Caroline Schuster.

Marriage record of Selig Goldschmidt and Clementine Fuld, Certificate Number: 30
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

After marrying, Selig and Clementine settled in Frankfurt and soon moved Meyer to Frankfurt to live with them. Selig wrote:6

I was determined to let him live with me as soon as I married, in order to brighten the days of his old age and give him joy, with G-d’s help, and in order to compensate him for all the suffering he had endured. I was enabled to do this, thanks to my good and noble wife who loved and admired by dearest father so sincerely. Clementine arranged a beautiful and comfortable room for him.  He moved in with us in Frankfurt and we, as well as he, were extremely happy together. 

Meyer was not destined to stay in Frankfurt for very long. Selig told the heartwarming story of why his father returned to Eschwege. Meyer had befriended and taken care of a blind man while living in that town, and the man wrote to Meyer, asking him to return to Eschwege. The man said that Meyer had given him comfort and restored his spirit and that without him, he was lost. Meyer was determined to move back to Eschwege so that he could help this man who needed him and asked for his help. He felt it was the most important thing he could do at that point in his life.7

But sadly Meyer did not live much longer himself. He died on November 5, 1868, in Eschwege. He was 74 years old, according to his death certificate, and was deeply mourned.

Meyer Goldschmidt death record, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 146, p. 36

His children set up a foundation to honor their parents, Meyer and Lea, and his congregation in Eschwege wrote this about Meyer in their obituary for him:8

The deceased had gained the love, respect and admiration of all members of the congregation through his exemplary way of life, his generosity and his sincere Jewish religious dedication. Hence, all of us endeavored to bring him relief on his sickbed, to cheer him up with friendly advice and, finally, to provide the last rites.

The editors of the Selig Goldschmidt book, Meyer’s descendants, wrote this about their ancestor:9

Pure was the soul of Meyer Goldschmdit when he passed away to follow the soul of his departed wife. In spite of adverse circumstances his mind had managed to attain the tranquil and unshakable repose of genuine Jewish wisdom. He realized that the pursuit of earthly comforts and physical pleasures are not the main content and aim of life. Only the acquisition of the goods which G-d desires, namely the fulfillment of the Mitzvos can bring lasting peace of mind. Thus, the existence of the village dweller had gradually become enriched and ennobled, until his life drew to a worthy end with an almost heroic act of Jewish humane love. 

From Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life, p. 15

UPDATE: One reader asked for a translation of the headstone, and Leah of the Tracing the Tribe group kindly provided this translation:

An upright man who enlightened/educated the poor
“He left behind him a legacy of blessings (?)
“He established a good thing for the poor, H”H (HaRav HaGaon)
“K”H Meir, son of K”H Yaakov
”When his days were full
“He returned to his palace? at a ripe old age
“On the even of Shabbat, the 25th, and he was buried
“In an ‘auspicious hour’/with a good name on Day 1 (Sunday), the 30th
“Of MarChesvan, on the first day of Rosh Chodesh
“[Kislev?] . . .”

Meyer Goldschmidt was clearly a good and well-loved man by his family and his community. His children and descendants carried on this legacy in Germany and in the United States, as we will see as I now examine the lives of each of them, starting with Meyer and Lea’s oldest child, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund.


  1. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.19-21 
  2. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p. 21 
  3. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), pp.21-22. 
  4. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.22. 
  5. Juda Callman Katzenstein death record, Certificate Number: 175, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1941, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life,(1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies)  p, 22. 
  6. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.23. 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. “Obituary,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.15. The use of the term “last rites” should not be confused with the Catholic tradition of giving last rites; under Jewish law there are certain rules and practices for the treatment of the deceased’s body between the time of death and burial. That must be what the obituary meant by “last rites.” 
  9. “Of Noble Origins,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.10. 

Returning to Goldschmidt Research: A Dearth of Records, but A Wealth of Information

After a long break focused on photographs shared by some of my generous cousins, I am now returning to posting about my research of my Goldschmidt/Goldsmith family, the descendants of my four-times great-grandparents Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann.

They had five children: Seligmann, my three-times great-grandfather; Levi; Meyer; Jette; and Simon. In addition, Jacob had been married twice before marrying Eva and had two children with those wives, Elieser Falcke Goldschmidt and Jude Jacobs, my half-four-times great-uncles. I have already written about Seligmann, Lehman, and Simon and their descendants.1

Now I will turn to the fourth brother, Meyer Goldschmidt. Although I had many secondary sources providing information about Meyer and his family, it was very difficult to find any primary sources, as discussed below. I was very fortunate, however, to connect with a distant cousin in the Netherlands, and he sent me a book published in Israel by Meyer Goldschmidt’s descendants in 1996, Selig Goldschmidt: A Picture of A Life, hereinafter referred to as the Selig Goldschmidt book.2

The book includes remembrances, letters, obituaries, and images that Meyer’s descendants collected and translated to English in order to preserve and honor the memory of Meyer’s son Selig Goldschmidt. It sheds light not only on Selig, but also on his parents, his siblings, and his children.

I also benefited greatly from the research and support of David Baron, husband of my cousin Roger, a descendant of both Meyer and Seligmann Goldschmidt.

There are many trees on Ancestry and other secondary sources that say that Meyer Goldschmidt was born in Oberlistingen on June 10, 1787, but none of them has a primary source for that date. Meyer’s death record says he was 74 when he died on November 5, 1858. That would mean he was born in 1784, not 1787.

Meyer Goldschmidt death record, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 146, p. 36

Unfortunately, I cannot find a birth or marriage record for Meyer, so I do not know whether the trees are accurate or whether the death record is accurate. This photograph from the Selig Goldschmidt book includes the birth date found on those family trees:

Meyer Goldschmidt on p. 7, Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies)

Since I have not located a marriage record for Meyer, I do not know when or where he married, but I do know who he married—Lea Katzenstein. I also have no birth records for Lea, but Ancestry trees and other sources show her birth date as March 20, 1794, in Grebenstein, Germany, and her parents as Jesajas ha Cohen Katzenstein and Edel Ganz.

I presume that Meyer and Lea were married by 1823 because their daughter Sarah was born on December 26, 1823, according to her marriage record.

Marriage record of Sarah Goldschmidt and Solomon Stern, Certificate Number: 225a
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Another daughter, Ella, was possibly born that same year. Ancestry trees and other sources report that Ella was born March 26, 1823. That date apparently came from her death record:

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund death certificate from David Baron

But unless her sister Sarah was conceived the day after Ella was born and was born several months prematurely, that seems impossible. I think Ella was more likely born in 1822. According to obituaries written about Ella when she died on March 19, 1904, and her death certificate, she was 81 years old when she died. That would mean that she was born between March 20, 1822, and March 19, 1823.3

At any rate, we can assume that Meyer and Ella were married by 1823, if not before.  They had seven children: Ella (1822?), Sarah (1823), Malchen (about 1827), Selig (sometimes spelled Seelig) (1828), Joseph (1830?), and Falk (1836). According to David Baron’s Goldschmidt family tree, Joseph died a month before his sixth birthday on November 27, 1836, five months after Falk was born. I am still working on finding records for some of these children and will report on what I find once I do, if I do. But given the depth of David’s research, I don’t think such records exist. All of us are relying on older family trees that include these dates.

Despite this dearth of records, I can tell quite a bit about the lives of Meyer, Lea, and their children based on the Selig Goldschmidt book and other later sources.

Three years after giving birth to her last child Falk at age 42, Lea Katzenstein Goldschmidt died on September 28, 1839. She was 45 years old and left behind her husband Meyer and six children under the age of eighteen.

Lea Katzenstein Goldschmidt death record, Sterberegister der Juden von Grebenstein 1827-1882 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 377)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 34

In the Selig Goldschmidt book, there are some translated remembrances written by Selig in 1887 about his mother Lea. Apparently the family had run into some hard times after Meyer suffered a prolonged illness and was confined to bed and unable to work for fourteen weeks. This took a toll on Lea. Selig wrote:4

My mother, who now rests with G-d, was an ideal woman, wife, and mother. She was beloved in the whole of our district, the benefactress and the support of many poor families. Everyone received ready comfort from her. Even when we were so poor that she could no longer help, people would still seek her advice and share their burdens with her.

I was only nine years old when she died. When I heard the loud sighs and groans of innumerable mourners who wept and cried out, “What shall we do, how shall we manage now that our benefactress is buried?,” I was roused from my childish grief. I asked myself how had she been able to help the needy? We are so poor ourselves that we have barely enough bread and potatoes to eat. I was a wild and carefree boy, but it was probably at this juncture that a turning point occurred in my life.

After her death, the family worked together  to provide for each other.5

Jakob and I had begun to work properly even though I was just ten years and Jakob twelve. Thus, we managed to add a little oil and fried onions to our boiled potatoes. That was quite amusing. Our good and noble sister Sarah fried small slices of onion in a little oil. This was then mixed with hot water and one had to fish out the onion. A big pot stood in the center of the table and each of us dipped his peeled potato into it. He who caught a slice of onion in this way was indeed the lucky one.

Behind our little house we had a small garden which my sister Ella tended. … My sister Ella learned millinery and ran a small millinery shop in our house. …[A]ll of us were working very diligently in order to support our dear father and little brothers and sisters.

These simple paragraphs describing the life of the family of Meyer and Lea Goldschmidt paint a picture of a tight-knit and loving family that managed to deal together with poverty and the tragic loss of their mother. I may not have all the dates and records, but I do have a sense of the values and life of Meyer Goldschmidt and his family.

More to come…


  1. For Jette, Elieser, and Jude, I have been fortunate to find the research of others, but no primary sources. I have added the names and dates to my Ancestry tree, but I do not have enough reliable information about them or their families yet to write about them on the blog. Maybe someday I will learn more, but for now I have decided that I will wait to see if any more can be learned about these distant relatives and their descendants before trying to write about them. 
  2. Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies) 
  3. US census records are also inconsistent with respect to Ella’s birth year. The 1870 census says she was then 47, giving her a birth year of 1823. But the 1880 census reports her age as 55, meaning she was born in 1825. And the 1900 census records her birth date as 1833. I think Ella’s birth date was not known by her family and perhaps even by Ella herself. 
  4.  “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p. 19.If  Selig was nine when his mother died in 1839, then he was born in 1830, not 1828. The 1828 birth date came from his marriage record, however, so perhaps he did not remember his age at the time his mother died. 
  5. Ibid., pp. 20-21.