Blog Update: The Mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal of Atlantic City

Before I move on from the Schoenthal family line, I have a few updates to write about, including some newly discovered cousins and some wonderful photos.  But first an update to one mystery.   Unfortunately an update but not a solution.

Remember the mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal, the daughter of Jacob Schoenthal and Florence Truempy? She had appeared on the 1930 census as a fifteen month old child living with her parents in Atlantic City.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Then she disappears.  She does not appear on the 1940 census with her parents or elsewhere as far as I can tell, and there is no death record for her in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania, no obituary for her, no news articles that mention her.  Nothing at all.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2300; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1-9

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2300; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1-9

And she wasn’t buried with her parents.  Nor was she buried with her grandparents.  She just seemed to disappear.

Many people gave me suggestions on where else to look.  Some people thought Rose had been given up for adoption or sent to live elsewhere or institutionalized.  Others thought she was just omitted from the 1940 census and that she might have married and changed her name sometime later.  But I haven’t found any records with her birth name or her parents’ names to link her to a different name, whether she was adopted, institutionalized, or married.

Someone suggested I see if Rose was mentioned in Florence or Jacob’s will or obituary.  I wrote to the Atlantic City public library and asked them to do an obituary search.  Neither obituary mentioned a child.

Atlantic CIty Press July 5, 1967 p 5

Atlantic CIty Press July 5, 1967 p 5

 

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

 

Then I searched the online land records for Atlantic County, and found a record for a May, 1976 transfer of land owned by Jacob Schoenthal.  The transfer had been handled by the executrix of Jacob’s estate, who was not his daughter Rose, but his sister, Hettie Schoenthal Stein.   That meant that Jacob had had a will.

 

Deed of Jacob Schoenthal s land in Atlantic City-page-001

 

Deed of Jacob Schoenthal s land in Atlantic City-page-002

Transfer of Deed of Land Belonging to Jacob Schoenthal

 

 

I decided to request a copy of his will from the Atlantic County Surrogate’s Court.  That will, seen below though not easily read as reproduced, named the following people as his heirs at law and next of kin: his sister Hettie Schoenthal Stein, his sister Estella Schoenthal Klein, and his brother Sidney Schoenthal.  According to the will, there were no other surviving heirs or next of kin.  There was no mention of Rose or any other child.  (All of Jacob’s other siblings and his wife Florence had already died as of the time of his death in February, 1976.)

Jacob Schoenthal will Jacob will p 2

jacob will p 3

jacob will 4

 

Thus, Jacob’s daughter Rose either was no longer alive at the time of his death or she had been given up for adoption and thus was no longer his legal kin.  Unfortunately, I don’t know which is the case.  Next step is to check for adoption records.  I’ve contacted the appropriate office and am waiting to see if I am even eligible to request such records.  I frankly think it’s a real long shot, and I think this will remain one of those unsolved mysteries.

But I remain open to other suggestions.

 

31 thoughts on “Blog Update: The Mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal of Atlantic City

  1. You have done a great job in looking for little Rose. It amazes me how we can look and look…even for years, and then one day the “right” document pops up! Never give up, never surrender..you will find her someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the pep talk! I need it for this one as I’ve tried everything I can think of. But you’re right. Things do have a way of popping up!

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  2. Each census had a category that we liked but wasn’t carried on in other years. 1900 and 1910 had the number of children born to the mother and the number still living. This has been so helpful – when it was right. The 1940 census has an x with a circle around it for the person who gave the information. In this case it was Florence and she wouldn’t have forgotten her child (I hope). Sorry I don’t have any suggestions on how to find Baby Rose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Cathy, for pointing that out. I agree that Florence wouldn’t have forgotten her; some thought the enumerator might have forgotten to enter her. I don’t think so. I think something else happened. I just don’t know what!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I sense your frustration in wanting to find Rose and her story. I thought initially she had been adopted out for whatever reasons, and I still think this is it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder.. In my great grandmother’s family there was one sister who could not have children. So she was ‘given’ the daughter of another sister to raise. I am wondering if you should check the other members of the family to see if there is a daughter of a similar age. Perhaps they were given a daughter to raise and then the girl was retaken by her parents. Also, sometimes if the mother was ill after birth, a child was raised by a sibling for awhile as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I have in fact already checked all the siblings of both Jacob and Florence and none had a daughter that age living with them in 1940. I had also thought that perhaps she was “loaned out” to a relative for a while. I am beginning to think she was institutionalized and then forgotten. Florence was in her late 30s when Rose was born so who knows…

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  5. You have sure worked hard to turn over every possible stone. I wonder about two possibilities. One – what if she wasn’t theirs at all. What if a friend or neighbor met some sort of difficulty and they were unofficial foster parents for a time. They seem like the type of family that would just call her theirs for however long she was with them. Two – you mentioned the possibility of her having been institutionalized. What if she had some sort of struggle – down syndrome or something – and was in fact institutionalized. I wonder if you could identify the closest institutions and check with them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good thoughts. Of course, if it’s the first one, I probably won’t be able to figure out whose child she was. She wasn’t with any of their family members, and if it was a friend, who knows! As for the second possibility, that is in fact my guess—Florence was over 35 when Rose was born. Perhaps they institutionalized her at some point and she became a ward of the state? I don’t know. But I would think she’d show up on the 1940 census since even then she was only eleven. I think her name was completely changed. That’s my hunch.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You could try a very exact search of a girl with her first and middle name, exact birth year and place with no surname. Then try variations of birth year and middle name (initials, other spellings etc). You may be able to narrow the field to a few children then identify the families they live with in 1940 and go back and check other records to see if they lived close to your family or attended the same church etc. I think it’s possible, just tedious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I searched for any girl named Rose born in either NJ or PA in 1927-1930. I didn’t find any who I could then link back to Jacob and Florence. Maybe I should try again. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think that if a census record is your only source of little Rose, then you need to consider that the census taker was in error. Did he place a neighbor’s child under the wrong listing? Did the census taker obtain information from a neighbor because no one was at home, and they provided incorrect information. Those possibilities are just as valid, considering there is no other evidence of her existence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have wondered about this, especially given the relatively advanced ages of Jacob and Florence. Given that there is no death record, no burial record, and no mention of her in either the obituaries or the will, I think you may be right. But I’ve no way to know for sure, do I? (I thought also maybe she was an imaginary child, created by Florence to fill some unmet need.)

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  7. You have been so incredibly thorough with this one Amy (as with all your research). I think you’ve covered all the bases in terms of what can be searched. Perhaps one day a new clue will come to light, but it is beginning to look as though it will remain a mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Su, unfortunately. I have gotten some good suggestions, but I think it’s a lost cause. As one reader suggested, I think it’s possible that the girl entered as their daughter was not even their daughter, but a mistaken entry.

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  8. Were Jacob and Lawrence in need of charitable help about the time Baby Rose lived? If she died, she may have been buried by a charitable organization in a common plot. Sometimes the record keeping for such recipients was less than ideal. You can have a burial record but no death certificate and visa versa. I’ve encountered these situations along my paternal line.

    In New Jersey, were there any charitable organizations like the Hebrew Free Burial Society? It’s a long shot but you could try if there is some way to research their records or make a donation to have them do a look-up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Hebrew Free Burial Association is unique in that they provide a plot for each interment they take. I’m not sure about New Jersey but I’d encourage you to try to look for the organizations that did such work in New Jersey.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If I get a birth certificate establishing that she was their child, that will be on my list of to-do items! Thanks!

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    • Thanks for your thoughts, EmilyAnn. I don’t think so. Jacob worked in the cigar business for many years, a business his father had once owned. I am sure he struggled some in the Depression, but he had many siblings and family members living nearby with children and homes. I can’t imagine that the child was buried in a common plot. It’s possible, of course, but I am more inclined to think that Rose was in fact not their child at all. I am going to order the birth certificate and see. Thanks!

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  9. Hi Amy — All the best to you and your family for a good and sweet passover. I know you haven’t heard from me for quite a while, but I’ve been reading and enjoying your family blogs. Good things have intervened since our last e-mail exchanges and (I know I’ve mentioned this before) I hope to get back to our family research soon. I found your most recent blog about Baby Rose Schoenthal interesting. I may have mentioned this before, but I was raised in Atlantic City from age 5 to my marriage in 1961. I was born in Philadelphia in 1939, but moved to Atlantic City in 1944. My family remained in Atlantic City until the late 1960’s. I assume you’ve checked the cemetery records of Beth Israel Cemetery which is about 8 miles west of Atlantic City in Pleasantville, NJ. It was the final resting place of many of the Atlantic City Jewish community. My parents, however, are buried at the Alliance Cemetery in Brotmanville, NJ. However, I never came across the family which you mentioned. The Schoenthals lived in the Inlet area and I lived at the extreme opposite end of Atlantic City on the border of Ventnor. By the way, the house at 211 S. Victoria Ave. is now a vacant lot — no doubt, one of the casualties of the casino onslaught in the 1970’s. — Larry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Larry! Great to hear from you (and yes, I still am hoping you find the time to do some research!). Glad to hear good things are happening. I knew you were from South Jersey, but did not recall Atlantic City specifically. I have checked with the cemetery. Her parents are there, but she is not. I have a new theory—that she was not their child. But I need to some more checking to be sure. Have a wonderful Passover!!

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  10. Pingback: Update: Baby Rose Schoenthal—Did She Ever Exist? Do I Stop Looking for Her? | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  11. Pingback: One Mystery Laid to Rest: Baby Rose Schoenthal | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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