My Uncle Jacob Goldsmith: Final Chapter

Ordinarily, families expand with each generation. Two parents may have two or more children, and then each of those children may have two or more children, meaning there are at least four grandchildren of the first couple. If each of those grandchildren also has two or more children, then there are at least eight great-grandchildren, and so on with each successive generation. Of course, not all people have children, and even those who do don’t necessarily have more than one. In earlier times, however, before reliable birth control, it was not at all unusual for people to have six or more children with each succeeding generation continuing to multiply and expand. In my research I’ve come to expect a family tree of four generations to look like this:

But for Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith, the pattern does not hold. They had seven children, six of whom lived to adulthood. Only four of those children had children of their own. Caroline had three children, Philip had three, Harry had two, and Huldah had three, making a total of eleven grandchildren, ten of whom lived to adulthood.

Of the ten grandchildren who lived to adulthood, only five had children of their own. Jessica Rice had one child, Byron Goldsmith had one child, Stanton Loeb Dreifus had two children, Arthur Raphael had one child, and Adelaide Raphael had two children; there were thus only seven great-grandchildren of Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith, six of whom lived to adulthood.

So for Jacob and Fannie’s family, instead of a increasingly widening triangle we have something more like this:

Instead of each successive generation expanding, the fourth generation was smaller than the third. And none of the generations expanded as widely as one would ordinarily expect. This post focuses on the third and fourth generations beginning in 1940.

By then all of Jacob and Fannie’s children were gone as were four of their eleven grandchildren. Seven grandchildren were left. Caroline’s daughters Rena Rice Sternfels and Jessica Rice Sondheim, Philip’s sons Byron, Herbert, and Jerome Goldsmith, and Huldah’s son’s Herbert and Arthur Raphael. Since I already wrote about Philip’s three sons, this post will only discuss Caroline’s three surviving children and their children and Huldah’s two surviving children and their children.

In 1940, Caroline’s daughter Rena and her husband Edwin Sternfels were living in Mount Vernon, New York. Neither reported an occupation.1 Rena died five years later on September 10, 1945; she was seventy years old.2 Her husband died on December 23, 1952, when he was 87.3 They had not had children so there were no descendants.

Rena’s sister Jessica and her husband Philip Sondheim still lived in Brookline in 1940, and Philip continued to practice law.4 Philip died on March 7, 1947, at age 77.5  Jessica lived another twenty years; she died in Brookline at age 86 in March, 1967. 6 They had one daughter, Ruth, who had married Adrian Kramer in 1924.

Adrian was killed in a car accident on June 29, 1950; according to the Boston Herald, he died in a two-car collision on the Mystic Valley Parkway near the Somerville-Medford line in Massachusetts.7 I mention that because for several years in the 1970s I lived only a mile away from where that accident occurred. (There was no Whole Foods there at that time.)

Adrian’s wife Ruth died on October 12, 1987; she was 84.8 Ruth and Adrian had one daughter who survived them.

As for Huldah Goldsmith Raphael’s’s two sons, J. Herbert Raphael and his wife Matilda were living in Philadelphia in 1940; Herbert was a chemical salesman and Matilda was a clerk for a shirt company.9 Herbert died in 1960 when he was 77 years old.10 Matilda, who was 27 years younger than her husband, lived until June 12, 1997; she was 87 when she died.11 They had not had children.

Huldah’s younger son Arthur Raphael and his wife Josephine and son Ross were living in Philadelphia in 1940; Arthur was an insurance salesman and his twenty year old son Ross was a musician with an orchestra.

Arthur Raphael and family 1940 US Census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03753; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 51-2142 1940 United States Federal Census

Josephine died on January 21, 1960, from gall bladder cancer and septicemia; her husband Arthur died from heart disease exactly one month later on February 21, 1960. She was 64, he was 76. Another couple in the family whose deaths were remarkably close in time.

Josephoine Raphael death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 008251-010950 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Arthur Raphael death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 019051-021750 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Their son Ross M. Raphael led an interesting life, which I learned about from an obituary written when he died in November 2004.  Entitled “Music Was Constant Theme in Life Of Pianist, Conductor Ross Raphael,” and written by Tammie Wersinger in the November 17, 2004, Orlando Sentinel, the article states:

For nearly half a century, Ross Raphael entertained Central Florida residents with his orchestra, big band, Latin rhythm bands and soothing piano tunes.

On any given night, he could be found conducting in venues as big as Lake Eola Park and the Maitland Civic Venter or as intimate as the old Villa Nova lounge in Winter Park.

Raphael, who used his music not only to entertain concertgoers but to raise money for causes he believed in, died Sunday of cancer.  He was 84. ….

Raphael loved to play piano and, by the age of 12, he was selected as Pennsylvania’s top child music composer.  It was at that time that he became the leader of a teenage orchestra that performed on local radio.

After high school, Raphael took his show on the road, performing with entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Don Everly, Rudy Vallee and Milton Berle.

He also headlined in Las Vegas, was a conductor for musicals in Philadelphia and traveled with the From Here to Eternity movie, playing the opening music.

After leaving the big time for Central Florida in 1956, Raphael recruited many of his famous friends for local shows. …

Raphael, who was a Mason and a veteran of the Army Special Services, was a major player in the local Republican Party. The politically active musician played at the White House for three presidents—Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. ….

The obituary did not disclose much about his personal life aside from mentioning that he was survived by his wife, a daughter, stepson, and three grandchildren.

Ross Raphael   found at            Tammie Wersinger, “Music Was Constant Theme in Life Of Pianist, Conductor Ross Raphael,” November 17, 2004, Orlando Sentinel

Finally, there were the two other great-grandsons of Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith, Harry W. Hahn, Jr. and Arthur Hahn, the sons of Adelaide Raphael and Harry WIlliam Hahn, Sr.  I could not find Harry, Jr. on the 1940 census despite having two possible addresses, one in Baltimore from a Baltimore directory and one in Washington from his World War II draft registration. In 1937 he was living in Baltimore, 12 working for the family shoe business. When he registered for the draft for World War II, he was living in Washington, still working for the family shoe business.

Harry W. Hahn, Jr. World War II draft registration
Draft Registration Cards for District of Columbia, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947, Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Multiple Registrations
The National Archives. Found at Fold3,com

In 1940, his brother Arthur was living with his family in Washington, DC, where he also continued to work in the family-owned shoe store. 13 Arthur H. Hahn died on March 21, 1993, when he was 80 years old. 14 He had lived in Washington, DC, his whole life. He was survived by his three sons and his older brother, Harry W. Hahn, Jr., who died on December 19, 2001; he was 92.15  Harry, Jr had one son who survived him.

Thus ends the story of my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith and his family and descendants. He started as an immigrant coming from Germany to Philadelphia as a young man, and he and his children created comfortable lives for themselves as merchants in Philadelphia. By the generations of Jacob’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the family’s place in America was well-established with descendants who were college graduates, prominent businessmen, and a successful musician.

Next I will turn to Jacob’s siblings who followed Jacob here to America in what we now call “chain immigration.” They also would become solid citizens of their new country.






  1. Rena and Edwin Sternfels, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Mount Vernon, Westchester, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02807; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 60-167, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2.  New York Department of Health; Albany, NY; NY State Death Index; Certificate Number: 54255, Source Information New York, Death Index, 1880-1956. Original data: NY State Death Index, New York Department of Health, Albany, NY. 
  3. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965. Original data: New York City Department of Health, courtesy of Digital Images. 
  4. Jessica and Philip Sondheim, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01625; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 11-50, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990. Original data: Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons Membership Cards 1733–1990. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. 
  6. Massachusetts, Death Index, 1901-1980. Original data: Department of Public Health, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Massachusetts Vital Records Index to Deaths [1916–1970]. Volumes 66–145. Facsimile edition. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. 
  7. “Motor Crashes Kill 2, Boy, 12, Is Drowned,” The Boston Herald, June 30, 1950, p. 33. 
  8. Massachusetts, Death Index, 1970-2003. Original data: State of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003. Boston, MA, USA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health Services, 2005. 
  9. J.Herbert and Matilda Raphael, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03704; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 51-548, Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. 
  10.  Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013Original data: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 
  11.  Number: 182-05-0932; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951, Source Information U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  12.  Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1937, Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  13. Arthur Hahn, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: m-t0627-00561; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 1-251, 1940 United States Federal Census, Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. 
  14.  Number: 577-03-0537; Issue State: District of Columbia; Issue Date: Before 1951, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  15.  Number: 216-09-0360; Issue State: Maryland; Issue Date: Before 1951, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

22 thoughts on “My Uncle Jacob Goldsmith: Final Chapter

  1. In our modern Western society the population pyramid is no longer the reality of what it used to be. Fewer and fewer middle-class families can afford to have children, as housing and living expenses become too expensive. Germany with less than one child per couple is a dying nation. Have a great weekend, Amy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe there were medical reasons as to why Jacob and Fannie’s children did not all have children themselves. Regarding the population pyramid today I don’t think we can generalize. The middle-class divide is so vague and indistinct, I know a lady who has 9 children and her husband is an Academic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Could be—one never knows. And, of course, I wasn’t talking about current trends—this was all back in the late 19th, early 20th century when most people had multiple children!


  3. Totally enjoyed this post Amy. Loved the pyramid comparisons. Did you ever meet Ross Raphael or know of him as you grew up? It’s also so amazing how close you were living to Adrian’s tragic death. ‘connections’

    Liked by 1 person

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

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