The Genealogy Village: An Update on Maria Cohen and William Levy

Over three weeks ago, I blogged about Maria Cohen, Jacob and Sarah’s seventh child, and her life.  She had married William Levy, and they had had four sons, one of whom committed suicide as a teenager, and two others who predeceased her, Lewis, who died when he was 38 in 1915 only five years after marrying Emma Fogle, and Jacob, who died the following year when he also was only 38.  Only one son, Isaac, survived her.

At the time I wrote the blog, I could not find any records for Maria or William after 1900, except as names on their sons’ death certificates.  I did not know when either of them died.  In addition, although I had a death certificate for their son Lewis and was able to find his headstone through FindAGrave, I was confused by the fact that the headstone referred to Lewis and his wife Emma as father and mother, but I had no record of any child born to Lewis and Emma.  I put those questions aside after much searching, figuring I would return.

So I returned to Maria and William after the updates to the Pennsylvania death certificate database earlier this week.   First, I called Adath Jeshurun cemetery in Philadelphia to see if Maria and William were buried there.  Since all three of the sons who had died were buried there, I assumed that Maria and William would have been also, and that hunch paid off.  The very helpful woman at Adath Jeshurun gave me the dates that Maria and William died and were buried.

William had died September 10, 1906 when Maria was only 49 and had already lost her son Benjamin.  She would lose two more sons in the next ten years.  Maria herself died March 24, 1925.  I now had their dates of death, but still no death certificates.  Even with the new update, I could not find a death certificate for either William or Maria even though both had died before 1944.  I was bewildered.

I then searched for all people named Levy who died in 1925 and finally found Maria—spelled Mrriac in the index.  What?? Mrriac?? No wonder I couldn’t find it.  But it was clearly Maria—daughter of Jacob Cohen and “Sallie Jacob.”  She had died from diabetes and myocarditis and had been living at 5035 Funston Street in Philadelphia at the time of her death.  The informant on the certificate was Mr. S. Levy of the same address.  Since her only surviving child was her son Isaac Harry Levy, I had no idea who S. Levy was, unless he was the son of Lewis and Emma Levy.

Maria Cohen death certificate 1925

Maria Cohen death certificate 1925

I still could not find William Levy’s death certificate nor could I figure out how to find Lewis and Emma’s child.  I turned to others for help.  There is a Pennsylvania Genealogy group on Facebook and also a Tracing the Tribe group focused on Jewish genealogy.  I posted my questions on both groups, and within a few minutes, someone on the TTT group suggested I search the Pennsylvania death index by William’s date of death instead of by his name, and tada! There it was.  William also had died from diabetes.

William Levy death certificate 1906

William Levy death certificate 1906

But that still left me without an answer to the next question: who was the child of Emma and Lewis Levy?  Another half hour later I had that answer as well.  Somehow someone else with fresh eyes found Emma Levy, a widow, on the 1920 census, living with an eight year old daughter named Henrietta as well as two relatives named Fogel.  This was obviously the right Emma, and I now knew her daughter’s name.

Emma Levy 1920 census

Emma Levy 1920 census

They also appeared together on the 1930 census, but on the 1940 census, Henrietta was gone.  Now I need to find her married name.  Two kind people from the Pennsylvania group are continuing to help me.

I still do not know who Mr. S. Levy was on Maria’s death certificate, nor do I know what happened to Henrietta. I also have not found Maria on the 1920 census.  But with the help of others, I am able to put some closure on the sad life of Maria and William Levy.

2 thoughts on “The Genealogy Village: An Update on Maria Cohen and William Levy

  1. What a great idea to collaborate with TTT on FB. I changed my settings so that it wouldn’t come through my newsfeed because a genealogist went invitation happy and signed me up to numerous groups at once and it was too much! I don’t use FB for genealogy but I think I’ll change my settings on that one.


    • I just joined these groups fairly recently. I mostly read what others ask and sometimes try to help. My first post was to get help to read a headstone last week, and I did get some assistance. This was the first time I asked for some research assistance, and it really paid off! I also am in the group, which sometimes is not as civil. I decided not to post to that one!


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