The Schwartz Family

As I wrote yesterday, in trying to fill the holes in David Goldschlager’s story, I ended up researching his wife Rebecca’s family and their story.  Although her family is not technically related to mine except through marriage, now that I am in touch with her grandson Richard (and now, her nephew Jon), I feel connected to this story and touched by it as well.

As I wrote in the last post, I was curious as to why David and Rebecca left New York City sometime after 1920, when David’s mother and sister were living with them, and moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Their son, Murray, was born there,[1] and they were living in Scranton as late as 1928 because that is where David was living when he filed his naturalization application.  By 1930, however, they had returned to New York and were living in the Bronx, where they lived until they retired and moved to Arizona to live near Murray and his wife Edna and their grandson Richard.

I hypothesized that Rebecca’s family lived in Scranton because I could not figure out what else would have drawn David away from his family and place of employment.  As I wrote last, I started digging around for Rebecca’s family, and after learning her maiden name was Schwar(t)z from her naturalization form, I was able to locate the ship manifest for Rebecca and her family on the SS Astoria, sailing from Glasgow, Scotland in March, 1903.

Schwarz Family on the SS Astoria 1903

Schwarz Family on the SS Astoria 1903

The family was from Romania, and Rebecca was one of seven children on the manifest, traveling with her mother Louise.  Rebecca was the oldest child, thirteen years old, followed by Etta (11), Annette (9), Rosa (7), Sophie (4), Abram (2), and Henrie (9 months old).  Henrie’s name had a line drawn through it, and in the left margin next to Henrie’s name, it looks like the word “died” followed by some other illegible words were written.  It looked like Henrie, the baby, had died on board.  Imagine being the mother of seven young children, caring for them on this long, uncomfortable voyage, and losing one of your children while at sea.[2]

The manifest also identified who was meeting the family in the United States: their husband and father S. Schwarz of Newark, New Jersey.  By searching the 1910 US census, I was able to locate the Schwartz family in Newark.  Rebecca’s father’s name was Solomon, and he was employed as a hat finisher in a hat factory.  He and Louise (Lizzie, on this census) were living with their six children who had survived the trip from Romania plus two more born in New Jersey, Meyer and Jennie.  Rebecca was now 20 and, like her father, working as a hat finisher in a hat factory.

The Schwartz Family in Newark (Rebecca standing in the rear middle)

The Schwartz Family in Newark (Rebecca standing in the rear middle)

Is this how she met David? As a hat maker? Did the factory where she and her father worked have a connection to the factory where David was working? David had been working as a hatter since at least 1915, as indicated on the 1915 NYS census. On his World War I draft registration dated June 5, 1917 (after he and Rebecca were married), David listed his employment as a hatter for Sam Burk at 419 Lafayette Street, New York.  Who knows? Maybe there was a hatmakers union meeting where Rebecca and/or her father met David.  At any rate, they were married in Newark in 1916, but lived in New York City as of the 1920 census.

Rebecca and Sidney Goldschlager

Rebecca and Sidney Goldschlager

Meanwhile, the Schwartz family had suffered another tragedy.  On the 1920 census, I noticed that although Etta, Annette, Rosie, Sophie, Abram (now Abie), and Jennie were still listed as living at home, there was no entry for Meyer, who had been only six years old in 1910.  I had to assume that something had happened to Meyer, and I learned from Jon Schwartz, one of Solomon’s grandsons, that Meyer had died from a ruptured appendix in 1913 when he was not yet nine years old.  As Jon said, his father Abram (who became Arnold) was the only son of Solomon and Louise to survive to adulthood.

In 1930, most of the Schwartz family was still living under one roof: Solomon, Louise, Annette, Sophie, Arnold (formerly Abram), and Jeanette (formerly Jennie).  I don’t know where Etta and Rosie were, perhaps they were married.  Sadly, Solomon Schwartz died three years later at age 71.  Louise died in 1948.  I have not yet traced what happened to the Schwartz children after their father died, although by 1933, even the youngest child would have been in her twenties.  I am hoping to learn more from Jon, who is Arnold’s son and who I was able to contact by finding his family tree on ancestry.

One other interesting fact that I did learn from Jon is that Solomon Schwartz had lived in Iasi before marrying Louise, who was from Berlad.  He then moved to Berlad where their first seven children were born before they emigrated to the United States.  Maybe that led to the connection between Rebecca and David? Maybe the Schwartz family in Iasi knew the Goldschlager family, and perhaps when Solomon was looking for a match for his oldest daughter Rebecca, he reached out to people from the American Iasi community and found David, a fellow hatter, newly arrived from America and the same age as his daughter. There is likely no one alive who knows how David and Rebecca met, so all we can do is speculate, creating stories to fill the gaps between the data we can find through these documents.

Meanwhile, despite all these discoveries, I still don’t know why David and Rebecca ended up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  So far all I know is that there were two hat companies in Scranton at the time, the Lackawanna Hat Company and the Keystone Hat Company.  There were also two families named Goldschlager living in Scranton at that time.  So maybe these Scranton Goldschlagers were also our relatives?

Washington Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Uni...

Washington Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The research continues….


[1] It appears that Sidney was born in Newark, NJ, in 1925, according to his mother’s naturalization form and the 1940 US census.  However, on David’s naturalization, it says both sons were born in Pennsylvania.  The 1930 census says both were born in New York, which must be wrong.  So perhaps they were living in Newark when Sidney was born and then returned to Scranton, assuming that Rebecca and the 1930 census are correct as to where Sidney was born.

[2] According to Jonathan Schwartz, one of the grandchildren of Solomon and Louise Schwartz, Henrie never left Europe, but this seems inconsistent with this manifest as well as a separate document listing passengers on the SS Astoria for this voyage.  Henrie’s name appears on both.  Maybe the family could not bear the truth and created a story that Henrie continued to live in Romania.

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3 thoughts on “The Schwartz Family

  1. Pingback: The Schwartz Family: Updates, Documents and Pictures « Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  2. Pingback: Finding the Ruby Slippers and Getting Back Home to Where It Started: The Brotmans « Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  3. Pingback: In Memory of Murray Leonard: May 4, 1922-March 27, 2016 | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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