In my post about the descendants of Leopold Nusbaum, one of the unanswered questions was what happened to Cora Frank Lehman and her daughter Dorothy Gattman after Cora’s second husband Joseph Lehman died in 1959. I could not find any answers—until I looked to Dayton, Ohio, for help.
First, some background: Cora Frank was the third child of Francis Nusbaum Frank, the only child of Leopold Nusbaum to survive to adulthood. Cora had married Jacques Gattman in Philadelphia in 1903 and had had one child, Dorothy, in 1905. Then in 1906, Jacques died at age 31 from a stroke. Cora had married her second husband, Joseph Lehman of Dayton, Ohio, in 1913, and then moved with him to Dayton. Dorothy grew up and went to high school in Dayton, but I had no luck finding any record for her after 1925, when she was listed in the Dayton, Ohio, directory as a student.
Cora and Joseph were still living in Dayton at the time of the 1930 census and the 1940 census and were listed in Dayton directories in the 1950s.
I was able to find Joseph Lehman’s death in 1959 on the Ohio Deaths database on ancestry.com, but I could not find his burial place. I was also unable to find any record for Cora after the 1959 Dayton directory. I thought she must have left Dayton after Joseph died, but I had no idea where she went. She was not in the Pennsylvania database for death certificates, which runs through 1963, nor was she in the Ohio Deaths database, which runs until 2007. I thus thought she had left Ohio and either lived past 1963 in Pennsylvania, where she’d been born and raised, or gone wherever her daughter Dorothy had gone.
But where had Dorothy gone? Since I had no marriage record for her, I had no surname. I tried searching every way I could to find her, but had no luck.
That’s when I decided to look for assistance in Dayton. I contacted the Jewish Genealogical Society of Dayton for some information, and two women there, Marcia and Molly, co-presidents of the society, helped me locate where Joseph and Cora were buried—in the cemetery for Temple Israel in Dayton, one of three Jewish cemeteries in Dayton. Molly also found in the cemetery records Cora’s date of death—April 14, 1967. But unfortunately they were not able to find an obituary or any other document that revealed where Cora died or what happened to her daughter Dorothy.
But Molly gave me one other piece of invaluable advice. She suggested I contact Ellen at Temple Israel. I emailed Ellen, and she emailed me back first with information about where Joseph and Cora were buried in the cemetery and, most importantly, Cora’s address when she died in 1967: the Beaux Arts Hotel in New York City. I was so excited and immediately tried locating Cora and Dorothy in New York City. But I had no luck since I still didn’t know Dorothy’s surname.
But while I was having no luck, Ellen had continued to search, and forty minutes after her first email, I received an email saying that she had found Cora Lehman’s obituary:
And there it was: Mrs. Albert Rosenstein! That had to be Dorothy. And now I knew that at least in 1967, she was living in New York City at the Beaux Art Hotel at 310 East 44th Street.
Now that I had Dorothy’s married name, I was able to find Dorothy and Albert Rosenstein on the 1930 census. This was clearly the right Dorothy—right age (27), right birthplace (Pennsylvania), and right birthplaces for her parents (Pennsylvania and Mississippi). Dorothy and Albert were living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and further research revealed that Albert was born and raised in Lancaster, had graduated from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and was in the art wares business.
Ellen at Temple Israel in Dayton was also able to find this photograph of Dorothy’s confirmation class. We could not figure out from the list of names on the back which one is Dorothy. If anyone has any clue as to whether this list is in any order that would help identify Dorothy, please let me know.
But I was not yet done. I didn’t know whether Albert and Dorothy had had any children. I had to find them on the 1940 census. Once again I hit a roadblock. I could not find them. Although I found entries for them in the Lancaster directories up through 1939, there was no 1940 directory on line, and they did not appear in the 1941 directory. Where had they gone?
Using the address listed in both the 1930 US census and the 1939 Lancaster directory, 71 Spencer Street, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I searched for that address on the 1940 census. There were Rosensteins living at that address, but not Albert and Dorothy. Instead, Albert’s parents Morris and Sara Rosenstein were living at 71 Spencer Street. Where were Albert and Dorothy? Why were his parents living in the house that Albert and Dorothy had owned in 1930 and lived in just a year earlier? Morris and Sara had lived at a different address in 1930.
Although I found an Albert Rosenstein living at 162 West 56th Street in the 1940 New York City telephone book, there was no Albert Rosenstein living at that address in the 1940 US census report. I did find one Albert Rosenstein in New York City on the 1940 census, but he was single, born in New York, about four years younger than my Albert would have been in 1940, and a dress salesman. On the other hand, he was living at 162 West 55th Street, just one digit off from the address where an Albert Rosenstein was listed in the 1940 telephone book. So…was this a different Albert Rosenstein from my Albert Rosenstein? I think so, but then where were my Albert and Dorothy Rosenstein in 1940? I still am not 100% sure.
I was, however, able to find death records for both Dorothy and Albert. Dorothy died on January 12, 1975, and Albert died on June 25, 1979. They are buried at Forest Lawn Gardens Memorial Park in Pompano Beach, Florida. I was able to locate a photograph of their headstone on FindAGrave:
I had no idea who Phyllis Rosenstein was. She was eleven years younger than Albert, five years younger than Dorothy, so clearly not their child. There was no sister named Phyllis living with Albert’s parents in 1920 or 1930, so I did not think she was his sister. His only brother, Louis, was married to a woman named Blanche. So who could Phyllis have been?
With the help of the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook, I learned that Phyllis was Albert’s second wife. He married her on February 10, 1976, when he was 77 years old. I have to say that I am not sure Dorothy would be so thrilled having Albert’s second wife buried with them under the same headstone, but maybe I am just old fashioned.
I called the cemetery to see if perhaps they had any obituaries or other relevant records, but they did not. Thus, there were still some loose ends here. Where were Dorothy and Albert between 1939 and 1975? Did they have any children?
The Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook again provided me with some great assistance. One of the TTT members found a 2014 bulletin from Congregation Shaarei Shomayim in Lancaster which listed Dorothy G. Rosenstein and Albert Rosenstein on its January yahrzeit list. (A yahrzeit is the anniversary of a death on the Jewish calendar when relatives light a candle and say kaddish in memory of the deceased.) I checked a Jewish calendar, and while Dorothy’s yahrzeit could fall in January, Albert’s would not. I emailed the synagogue, and another helpful person, Martha, responded telling me that both Albert and Dorothy had yarhzeit plaques there (though the January yahrzeit was for Albert’s uncle with the same name, there was a separate one of my Albert). Martha, however, had no record indicating who had paid for those plaques or whether there were any children or other descendants of Albert and Dorothy.
I still did not know if Albert and Dorothy had had children, though it now seemed unlikely. Then the TTT group helped me again. Since Albert was a 1922 graduate of the Naval Academy, I had thought perhaps he’d been sent overseas in 1940. Although the US had not entered World War II as of 1940, I did find a military record indicating that Albert had been activated in 1932 and was discharged in 1959. At the suggestion of a TTT member, I wrote to the US Naval Academy Alumni Association to see if they had any records. Last night I received an email from the US Naval Academy Alumni Association, Memorial Affairs representative which included two items: the obituary for Captain Albert Rosenstein and his photograph and biography from the yearbook from 1922, the year he graduated from the Academy.
It does seem that my hunch was correct—that Albert was serving in the Navy during World War II and thereafter for many years. I am now searching for more information about his military record. And the obituary also answered one more question. It does not appear that he and Dorothy had any children, or at least none who survived him.
It’s amazing to me how much I was eventually able to learn about Dorothy and Albert when just a week ago I thought I never would find out anything about her. I would never have gotten this far without the generous assistance of those three women in Dayton, Ohio: Ellen, Molly, and Marcia. Thank you all very much! And thank you as well to Timothy from the USNA Alumni Association, Martha from Congregation Shaarei Shomayim, and to my many wonderful colleagues at the Tracing the Tribe Facebook group. Once again—it took a village.
Ellen from Temple Israel in Dayton also sent me these photos of the headstones of Joseph and Cora Frank Lehman.
UPDATE: Here are the death certificates for Dorothy and Albert. Dorothy’s confirms that she was in fact the daughter of Cora Frank.