My last post ended by alluding to the mysterious whereabouts of my cousin Harry Goldsmith, the younger son of my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith.
As I wrote here, in the mid-1880s, Harry had been in the fishing tackle business with his father Jacob, but after 1888, Jacob was in business with his other son Philip, and it was hard to determine Harry’s whereabouts because the number of Harry Goldsmiths and their addresses and occupations on Philadelphia directories between 1889 and 1898 was completely befuddling.
In 1889 there was only one Harry Goldsmith, and he was a tobacco dealer who would be charged with fraud that same year, as I wrote about here.
The 18901 Philadelphia directory listed only one Harry Goldsmith, a clerk who was living at 1610 North 12th Street in Philadelphia. There is no Harry Goldsmith in the 1891 directory, but in 1892 there is one, in the insurance business. 2, and in 1894, there were two Harrys, one a salesman and one a clerk,3 and in 1895 there were two Harrys, one a clerk, one a boilermaker.4 Then in 1897, there were three Harrys, a printer, a paperhanger, and a salesman,5 and in 1898 there were three Harry Goldsmiths once again: a paperhanger, a tobacconist, and a salesman.6 Were any of these men my Harry? I am not sure.
In March 1898, according to the Philadelphia Times article describing Rena Rice’s wedding,7 my Harry Goldsmith attended his niece Rena’s wedding, appearing on the guest list as a married man: Mr. and Mrs. Harry Goldsmith. But I have had no luck finding a marriage record for Harry before 1898.
And I’ve had no luck finding him with any certainty on the 1900 census. I searched for any Harry Goldsmith born in Pennsylvania between 1848 and 1868 (my Harry was born in 1858), and I found only four men fitting those parameters on the 1900 census. The first was a printer living in Philadelphia, unmarried, and born in 1862 to English-born parents.8 The second was living in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and working as a house painter; he was married to a woman named Jennie and was born in 1863. His parents were both born in Pennsylvania.9
The third Harry Goldsmith also had Pennsylvania-born parents, was living in Everett, Pennsylvania, and working as a clothing merchant. He had a wife named Annie and a two-year-old son named Robert. He was born in 1868.10 The fourth Harry Goldsmith was a farmer living in Evesham, New Jersey; he was married to a woman named Marianna, and he was born in 1856. His parents were also born in Pennsylvania.11
None of those four fits my Harry, whose parents were born in Germany. And when I followed up on these four Harrys in other records, it was clear that none of them was my Harry.
But there was a fifth Harry Goldsmith on the 1900 census who might be my cousin. He was born the same year as my Harry, in July, 1858, was living on North 63rd Street in Philadelphia in 1900, was married to a woman named Florence, and had two children, a fifteen-year-old son Stanton and an eight year old daughter Janet. At first I was excited, thinking that “Janet” could have been the “Jeanette” who was the flower girl at Rena’s wedding. The matching year of birth and the fact that he lived in Philadelphia also made me think this might be my Harry. If this was my Harry, then he was the Harry Goldsmith who was in the tobacco business because in the 1899 and 1900 Philadelphia directories, the Harry Goldsmith who was a tobacconist lived on North 63rd Street, just like the Harry Goldsmith married to Florence on the 1900 census.12
But according to the above census record, the Harry Goldsmith married to Florence was born in Germany and only came to the US in 1885; he’d been married sixteen years, meaning he had immigrated with his wife whom he’d married in 1884. My Harry was most definitely born in Philadelphia in about 1858. Despite this inconsistency, I was still leaning towards thinking that this was my Harry.
The Harry Goldsmith who was married to Florence on the 1900 census was sued for divorce in 1901. Maybe this was the Harry who went bankrupt, leading to the dissolution of his marriage?
If my Harry was the one married to Florence, what happened to him, and what happened to his children, Stanton and Janet, after the divorce?
The name of his son—Stanton Goldsmith—struck me as an unusual enough name that he would be easy to find. But alas, he was not. I could not find any records for a Stanton Goldsmith other than that 1900 census record and a birth record in the Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1790-1950 database on FamilySearch, showing his birth date of March 13, 1885, and parents Harry and Florence L. Goldsmith.
So I searched for any “Stanton” born in Philadelphia in 1885, and records for a Stanton Loeb Dreifus popped up.13 A few more clicks around Ancestry and FamilySearch, and I learned that Florence, Harry’s former wife, was born Florence Loeb, daughter of Joseph and Sophie Loeb. Her father Joseph had been in the tobacco business, just as Harry had been.14
So where did the surname Dreifus come from? Why was Stanton using that name? Well, Florence remarried pretty quickly after her divorce from Harry. On July 17, 1901, she married Emanuel Dreifus in New York City.15
If you look back at the 1900 census for Harry Goldsmith above, you will notice that living with Harry, Florence, and their children was a boarder named….you guessed it….Emanuel Dreifus. And it seems that not only did Emanuel take Harry’s wife, he took his children as well and they adopted his surname.
Tragically, little Janet died from endocarditis on April 28, 1902, less than a year after her mother remarried. She was only ten years old. Her death record recorded her name as Janet Dreifus and her parents’ names as Emanuel and Florence.
The death notice in the Philadelphia Inquirer did not mention Harry Goldsmith; instead it identified Emanuel Dreifus as her father. It would appear that Harry was no longer a part of his children’s lives. Emanuel may have even adopted them.
But was this Harry Goldsmith my cousin? Was he the one married to Florence on the 1900 census? Was the 1900 census wrong in saying he was born in Germany and had just immigrated to the US in 1885? What do you think?
I think he was. I found one final clue that convinced me. I reviewed the list of those who attended Rena Rice’s 1898 wedding,16 and this time a new name jumped out at me: Mrs. Sophie Loeb. That had to be Florence Loeb’s mother, Harry Goldsmith’s mother-in-law. Florence’s father Joseph had died in 1895, so Sophie would have attended alone.16
The Harry Goldsmith who’d been married to Florence Loeb and who had had two children, Stanton and Janet, was, I believe, my cousin. In 1900, he was a married man with two children working as a tobacconist. By 1901, he was divorced, and his wife had remarried and given his children the name of her second husband, a man who had been boarding in Harry’s home in 1900.
Do you think I am right? Please let me know in the comments.
As for what happened to Harry after his divorce in 1901—well, that created a whole other set of research puzzles.
To be continued…..
UPDATE! Thank you to everyone who provided feedback and questions on this post. I am especially grateful to Renee Stern Steinig, who many of you may recall was my mentor and my inspiration when I first started doing family history research about five years ago. I shared this post on Facebook, and Randy Schoenberg saw it and suggested that I also share it on the Jewish Genealogy Portal on Facebook. So I did, and within half an hour, Renee saw it and found the article below that somehow despite all my searching, I had missed, probably because Harry is called Henry here. Now I know for sure that the Harry Goldsmith who was married to Florence Loeb was in fact my cousin. The big clue—-Rena Rice was one of the maids of honor!
- Harry Goldsmith, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1890; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1892; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1894, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1895, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1897, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1898, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- “Wedding at Mercantile Hall,” The Philadelphia Times, March 10, 1898, p. 7. ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, 1900 US census; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 10, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0180 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, 1900 US census; Census Place: Mount Pleasant Ward 1, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0119 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, 1900 US census; Census Place: Everett, Bedford, Pennsylvania; Page: 16; Enumeration District: 0013 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, 1900 US census; Census Place: Evesham, Burlington, New Jersey; Page: 9; Enumeration District: 0018 ↩
- Harry Goldsmith, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1899, 1900, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- For example, Stanton’s registration for the World War I draft. Stanton Loeb Dreifus, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907643; Draft Board: 23,Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. ↩
- Florence Loeb, 1880 US census; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1180; Page: 379B; Enumeration District: 411 ↩
- Marriage of Florence Goldsmith and Emanuel Dreifus, July 17, 1901, Certificate 12494; New York, New York, Marriage Indexes 1866-1937, Ancestry.com ↩
- Joseph Loeb, death record, July 13, 1895, Atlantic City, NJ, FHL File No. 589801, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. ↩ ↩