More Goldschmidts Become Goldsmiths in Philadelphia

In my last post we saw how my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith came to the United States and settled in Philadelphia by 1850, then married and had seven children in the 1850s and 1860s.  He also established a retail clothing business on Market Street.

But Jacob was not the only child of Seligmann and Hincka to come to the US as early as the 1850s. His younger brother Abraham was the second of Seligmann and Hincka’s children to come to the US. Abraham was born in March 13, 1832:

Birth record of Abraham Goldschmidt
Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 4

Abraham arrived in the US on August 21, 1850, listing his occupation as a merchant:

Abraham Goldschmidt passenger manifest 1850
Year: 1850; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 091; Line: 1; List Number: 951


On January 17, 1858, he married Cecelia Adler in Philadelphia.  Cecelia was the daughter of Samuel Adler and Sarah Kargau, and she was born on November 26, 1838, in Würzberg, Germany. She and her parents had immigrated to the US by 1850 and settled in Philadelphia where her father was a merchant.

Marriage record of Abraham Goldschmidt and Cecelia Adler
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 792
Organization Name: Congregation Rodeph Shalom Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013

In 1860, Abraham and Cecelia were living in Philadelphia, where Abraham was a clothier with $15,000 worth of personal property. That he amassed that much money so quickly indicates to me that he must have been either a very successful business person, or either his parents or his in-laws provided a substantial financial cushion. Note that Abraham, like his brother Jacob, had Americanized his name from Goldschmidt to Goldsmith.

Abraham and Cecelia (Adler) Goldsmith 1860 census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 13, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1163; Page: 914; Family History Library Film: 805163

Abraham and Cecelia had six children between 1861 and 1870: Milton (1861), Hildegard (1862), Edwin (1864), Rose (1866), Emily (1868), and Estelle (1870).  In 1870, Abraham now claimed he had $25,000 worth of real estate and $20,000 worth of personal property.  He continued to be in the clothing business. Cecelia’s parents were also living with Abraham and Cecelia and their six children in 1870, as well as three domestic servants [shown on the next page of the census].

Abraham Goldsmith and family 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 35, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1396; Page: 133B; Family History Library Film: 552895

Thus, like his older brother Jacob, Abraham was quite well-settled in Philadelphia by 1870.

The youngest son of Seligmann and Hincka, Meyer, was the third brother to immigrate. He was born October 25, 1834, apparently registered with the name Rafael. I still believe that this was the same child later known as Meyer, based on his age on several US records and the fact that the 1900 census says that he was born in October 1834, and there is no other birth registered to Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander for that month and year.

Birth record of Rafael/Meyer Goldschmidt 1834
Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 5

Meyer arrived in the US on July 8, 1852. He was seventeen years old.

Meier Goldschmidt passenger manifest
Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 116; Line: 1; List Number: 895

According to the 1900 census, in 1859, Meyer married Helene Hohenfels, daughter of Jordan and Adelaide Hohenfels, all of whom had emigrated from Germany to the US by 1850. Meyer and Helene’s first child Eugene was born on October 6, 1859, in Newton, New Jersey, which is about 100 miles north of Philadelphia and sixty miles west of New York City.

In 1860 Meyer, Helene, and Eugene were living in Newton; Meyer was working as a “merchant tailor” and had $4000 worth of personal property. Also living with them were a servant and a thirteen year old boy named George Stone from the Hesse region, whose relationship to the family I’ve not determined. Like Jacob and Abraham, Meyer had changed the spelling of his surname to Goldsmith.

Meyer Goldsmith and Helene Hohenfels 1860 census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Newton, Sussex, New Jersey; Roll: M653_709; Page: 605; Family History Library Film: 803709


By 1863 or so, Meyer and his family had relocated to Philadelphia where his siblings were living. On the 1870 census, you can see that while his first two children were born in New Jersey, the third, who was seven in 1870, was born in Pennsylvania.  By 1870 Meyer and Helene had five children: Eugene (1859), Heloise (1860), Maurice (1863), Samuel (1867), and Rosa (1869). Meyer was working as a wholesale clothier and claimed $2000 in personal property. (I guess all those children ate into the $4000 worth of savings they’d had in 1860!) A sixth child, Florence, would be born in 1872.

Meyer Goldsmith 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 13 District 39, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1397; Page: 465A; Family History Library Film: 552896


Levy, the second oldest son of Seligmann and Hincka, was the next to come to the US. He was born November 10, 1824. He arrived in the US on September 20, 1853, and also settled in Philadelphia.

Levy Goldschmidt passenger manifest
Year: 1853; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 132; Line: 1; List Number: 991

Two years after arriving he married Henryetta Lebenbach in Philadelphia on March 21, 1855.

Marriage record of Levy Goldschmidt and Henryette Lebenbach
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 792

In 1860, they were living in Philadelphia with two daughters, Eva (1856) and Estella (1859). He claimed $7,000 worth of personal property, and like his brothers, was now using the surname Goldsmith. Interestingly, he also seems to have changed the spelling of his first name from Levy to Levi. It looks like Henryette had also adopted a new spelling of her name—Henrietta.

Levi Goldsmith and family 1860 census

Levi was, like his three brothers, in the clothing business. A search of the Philadelphia directories for these years revealed that at least Abraham and Levi were in business together.

Title: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1862
Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Goldsmiths in the 1866 Philadelphia directory
Title: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1866
Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

I say “at least” Abraham and Levi were in business together because I think it’s possible that Jacob was also in the same business.  If you compare these two directory listings, one in 1862, one on 1866, you can see that whereas in 1862 Jacob was at 335 Market Street and Levi and Abraham at 532 Market Street, in 1866 they’d reversed—Jacob was at 532 and Levi and Abraham at 335.

By 1870, Levi (here spelled Levy) and Henrietta had seven children. After Eva and Estella came George (1861), Felix (1862), Helen (1865), Blanche (1868), and Sylvester (1869). Levy reported that he was in the wholesale clothing business and that he had $25,000 in real estate and $50,000 in personal property. He obviously was doing quite well.

Levy Goldsmith and family 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 64, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1406; Page: 293B; Family History Library Film: 552905


Although by 1853, all four sons of Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander had thus left Germany for the United States, their four sisters—Sarah, Bette, Eva, and Rose—were still in Germany at that point. But soon enough two of them also would come to the US.

In 1856 my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt arrived with her husband Gerson Katzenstein, and they, too, settled in Philadelphia, as I’ve written about previously. They came with their three oldest children: Scholum (1848), Jacob (1851), and Brendina (1853). And as noted before, traveling with them were some of the children of Gerson’s sister Hannchen Katzenstein Mansbach, who were also cousins to the children of Eva Goldschmidt’s sister Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach. As already described, Eva and Gerson would have three more children in the US: Perry (1856), Hannah (1859), and my great-grandmother Hilda (1863).

Seligmann and Hincka’s youngest child, Roschen or Rosa, was born on October 27, 1837.

Birth record of Roschen Goldschmidt
Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 9

She arrived in the US on July 9, 1860:

Roschen Goldschmidt passenger manifest
Year: 1860; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 202; Line: 1; List Number: 597


On January 20, 1864 she married Bernhardt Metz, another German immigrant. They would have four children between 1865 and 1870: Hattie (1865), Paul (1867), Emily (1869), and Bertha (1870). In 1870, they were living in Philadelphia where Bernhardt was a cloak manufacturer. He claimed $10,000 of real estate and $2000 of personal property:

Bernhardt and Rosa (Goldschmidt) Metz 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 66, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1407; Page: 438B; Family History Library Film: 552906

Thus, by 1860, all but two of  Seligmann and Hincka’s children had emigrated to the US, and by 1870, those in the US were all living in Philadelphia and married with children; all the sons were working in the clothing industry.

Only two siblings were still in Germany: Sarah, the oldest daughter, and Bette/Biele.  After 1870,  the children of Sarah Goldschmidt and her husband Abraham Mansbach II would also begin to emigrate, followed by Sarah and Abraham themselves in 1882, as discussed in my next post.

29 thoughts on “More Goldschmidts Become Goldsmiths in Philadelphia

  1. One fact stands out in your family research: all the members of the Goldschmidts emigrating from Germany were doing well within the shortest possible time. It is also obvious that the new arrivals in Philadelphia could count on financial support for a successful start in their new home country.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It does seem that they must have had quite a solid foundation to amass so much property so quickly. It would be interesting to know what they had brought with them from Germany to get started and how much help they received from their relatives on both sides of the Atlantic.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I was comparing the addresses in the directories before I even got to the next paragraph where you mention Jacob may have been in business with his brothers. I envy you that your ancestors lived in places which were large enough to have directories. But I still check on directories even though I know my West Virginia coal miners may not be listed as I see how much success you have with them.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As I was reading I began to think how profitable the clothing industry was in this time period. I never really thought about that. I was intrigued by the 1860c and Meyer with a servant/domestic listed, the wealth for this entire family. So I took a look at the census, looking for a street name, to ‘google earth the address’ I needed to scroll back from pg 60 to 49 and found ‘Hotel Anderson House’ finally, scrolling back the house numbers continued with no street and then ‘hotel’ and then back again the same. hmmmm I googled Hotel Anderson House, quite a bit is written and while I couldn’t figure out if this was actually a huge hotel, or if they did live in a private residence, I did read in one article that there were 40 shops and 21 hotels in operation. Wish I didn’t have to go to work now I want to keep digging 🙂 below is a link to a April 9, 2017 article in the New Jersey Herald

    “the 1860 land ownership map itself, the directory provides a snapshot in time. For, a perusal of the non-residential uses, it reflects the commercial and industrial entities in the county on that date. Heading the list were stores and hotels, with about 40 stores in operation and 21 hotels. Several mines were still operating, as were two furnaces, four forges, three sawmills and 11 gristmills. There was also one clover mill and one sash and blind factory. Also listed were one wheelwright shop, one carriage shop, two shoe shops, one slaughterhouse, one taylor (sic), one saloon, two tanneries, one bark mill, six foundry and machine shops, and five blacksmiths.” ~this is an article on the Anderson House

    Loved this post Amy!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Sharon, I was unable to locate the 1860 directory online, but did find the 1872 directory, and the Goldsmiths were not in there since they had already returned to Philadelphia. I also saw what you found about the hotel, but there’s no real way to know how close the Goldsmiths lived to the hotel since I assume Newton was not a big place and the hotel was eleven pages back on the census. But very interesting stuff! Thank you again!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great research, as usual. My people went from Spielmann to Spellman within a generation of arrival in the U.S.. Amy, I would love to pick your brain regarding how to find burial records. I’ve been searching for where my Spielmann great-great grandparents are buried in New York or New Jersey, but am coming up empty. I think I must be doing it wrong.


  5. Pingback: Where Are Those Missing Manifests? Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach and Family | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  6. It always amazes me how immigrants to this country during this time period made good when a combination of factors was in their favor. Not all had the degree of education we had today, but if they had a knack, like these brothers did for the clothing business, the potential could be realized much more than today. Or so it seems. There is something I find sad when a young person with a Masters has to work as a barista whereas 100+ years ago an immigrant with a sense and talent for business could take a risk with some extra funds and start a business. Of course the Goldsmith brothers had some money but still, it was a risk that paid off big time. Today’s college grads have debt to pay off and aren’t so free to try entrepreneurship unless they have an Angel investor or such.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is true that in some ways it is harder today. Modern corporate dominance makes it hard for anyone to make it in a small business like our ancestors did in the 19th century. And their timing was also fortunate—the population was exploding and spreading all over the country, railroads made it easier for goods to travel from place to place, and the Industrial Revolution was making the manufacturing of goods cheaper and faster. Many merchants started as peddlers carrying the wares on their backs until there were large enough settlements to set up stores. Today conditions are just not as advantageous for starting a small business unless it’s an internet start-up, and then most of those fail also.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a Levi Fex in my tree (an uncle who married in) whose name appears as so many variations it feels kind of ridiculous – Levi, Levy, Levye and then Fex, Lafex, Lafaix, Faix, Fox, and my personal favorite – Levyefex. Haha. He was a French speaker born in a French area in Canada who moved to an English speaking area of Canada. It always seems to cause a bit of name havoc when our family immigrates to a place that primarily speaks a different language.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it’s the same thing for me with ancestors born in Europe where they probably spoke both the local language and Yiddish and had names in both languages and then tried to Americanize them. I have one relative who went from Chaim to Hymie to Hyman to Herman.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always chuckle to myself when I hear a beginner say, “This can’t be my person because her last name was spelled Peterson not Petersen.” And then I gently try to help them understand that spellings weren’t standardized until somewhat recently and even then, mistakes have always existed, etc, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

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  9. Pingback: Estelle Goldsmith: Woman of the World | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  10. Pingback: Meyer Goldsmith: Another Clothier and More Double Cousins | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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