Yesterday I decided to try and fill some of the gaps in David Goldschlager’s history. I had his birth record from Iasi, saying he was born November 4, 1889, a year after my grandfather, and the ship manifest from the Patricia saying that he had arrived on October 27, 1904. But then there was a big gap. He did not appear on the 1905 New York State census, although I had found Isadore, living alone in Manhattan. Nor did David appear on the 1910 census, although both Isadore and Betty were living with their aunt Tillie Strolovitz and her seven children. But where was David? It made no sense to me that he was not living with his family in either 1905 or 1910. He first shows up on an official census in 1915, when he was living with his mother Gittel/Gisella and his siblings Isadore and Betty.
Also, I was curious as to how and why he ended up living in Pennsylvania when Murray was born in 1922. I had not yet found a marriage record for David and Rebecca, although I knew they were married by 1917 because David so reported on his draft registration card filed that year. Also, the 1920 census had them living in Manhattan. I also knew that David had been working as a hat maker since at least 1915 because that was his occupation listed on the 1915 New York census, as it was also on his draft registration and the 1920 census and each one thereafter. So what took him to Scranton?
I thought perhaps that Rebecca was from Scranton, so I started searching for her records. I did not know her maiden name, and I could not find any record of their marriage in the NYC marriage index. I was stumped. But then I found her naturalization papers, and they were a goldmine of information. From these papers I learned that Rebecca’s maiden name was Schwar(t)z, that she was born in Berlad, Romania, on April 29, 1889, that she had arrived in March, 1903 on the SS Astoria via Glasgow, and that she had married David Goldschlager on February 20, 1916, in Newark, New Jersey. I also confirmed that their son Murray was born in Scranton, PA, and that Sidney was born in Newark, New Jersey.
From there, I was able to find Rebecca’s family on the SS Astoria ship manifest and find the names of her mother and many siblings and the name of her father Solomon Schwartz, who was meeting them and resided in Newark, New Jersey. When I followed up with census reports for the Schwartz family in Newark, I learned that Solomon was, like David, also a hat maker. Perhaps David had met Solomon in the circles of the hatmaking trade, and Solomon had then introduced David to his daughter Rebecca? It now made sense why David had gotten married and at one point lived in Newark, but why Scranton? I am still trying to figure that out.
Rebecca’s family’s story is itself worth telling, and I will in my next post. But for me personally, the bigger story comes back to David and Isadore. While reviewing Rebecca’s naturalization papers, I noticed that it said that David had himself arrived in New York on November 4, 1910, not October 27, 1904, as reported on the ship manifest for the SS Patricia. I thought either that it was a clerical mistake or a memory mistake and dismissed it. But then I looked back at a few of the census reports for David and Rebecca and noticed that on those reports as well, his arrival date was reported as 1910, not 1904. I had also earlier dismissed that as an error. But now I was starting to wonder—how likely was it that the same 1910 date was reported so many times and yet wrong?
I went back to look at the naturalization papers I had for David and saw that those also reported his arrival date as November 4, 1910. Now I was really puzzled. When I first found David’s naturalization papers, I had not focused on this, nor did I realize then that there is a second page to the naturalization papers. I turned to the next page and found this:
First thing I noticed was that my grandfather Isadore had signed David’s application with his very distinctive and florid signature; the second witness was Isidor Feuerstein, Betty Goldschlager’s husband. Then I looked more closely at the information provided on the form. It clearly said that David had arrived on the SS Pennsylvania from Hamburg on November 4, 1910. Now I was convinced that the 1904 date must be wrong.
I searched for the manifest for the SS Pennsylvania arriving in NYC on that date, and sure enough I found David’s name, indicating that he was being met in New York City by his father Moritz Goldschlager. Only then did my slow brain react and realize that this was the very same ship that Gittel/Gisella, David’s mother, sailed on when she arrived in New York. I went back to double-check, and sure enough, it was the same exact ship. I don’t know why Gittel and David were not listed together on the manifest. If they had been, I would have noticed this long ago. But clearly it makes sense that David and his mother came together, both arriving in New York, expecting to be met by Moritz, only to be met instead by Isadore, who had to tell them that Moritz had died in April, seven months before.
So then why was there a 1904 ship manifest for a sixteen year old named David Goldschlager from Jassy, Romania? Well, I see three possibilities. One, there were two David Goldschlagers about the same age in Jassy. That certainly is a possibility, although I have not found another David Goldschlager from Romania (there is one from Austria) on any of the census reports in New York. Two, David went back to Romania and then returned again with his mother in 1910. That is also possible, but would he have left so soon after arriving that he was gone by the time of the 1905 census?
Three, and the possibility that makes perhaps the most sense and that brought tears to my eyes, the David Goldschlager who arrived in 1904 was really my grandfather, Isadore Goldschlager. Isadore was 16 on October 27, 1904 (David was actually only fifteen). Isadore did arrive in 1904 according to several census reports. And Isadore was trying to avoid the draft, so very well might have had to use an assumed name to get out of Romania. And I have not been able to locate any other ship manifest that has Isadore’s name on it. He may have walked out of Romania, but he certainly did not walk across the Atlantic Ocean.
After much searching, I have just an hour ago located the index number for Isadore’s naturalization papers from 1917. I have added them to the list of documents I am ordering, and it is the document I am most anxious to see. Perhaps it will reveal when Isadore arrived and on what ship. Maybe it will reveal that Isadore did, in fact, arrive under his brother’s name.
If so, I have to rewrite some of the Goldschlager family history. It would mean that Isadore was here alone for five years before his father arrived in 1909. It would mean that he was here alone to deal with his father’s death in April, 1910, and to comfort his sister Betty, who arrived the following day. It would mean that he alone had to tell his mother and his brother that their husband and father had died when they arrived at Ellis Island in November, 1910, seven months after Moritz had died. It’s far too much pain and suffering for me to imagine one very young man enduring.
UPDATE: See my post updating the research on this page.