Levi Goldsmith’s Family 1920-1930, Part I: More Terrible Losses

As of 1920, only four of the nine children to whom Levi Goldsmith’s wife Henrietta had given birth were still alive: Eva, the oldest daughter, George, the oldest son, and Helen and Blanche, the two youngest daughters. Estella, Felix, Isadore, and Sylvester had already died, all before they turned fifty (as well as the infant who was born prematurely and not named.) There were also seventeen grandchildren still living as well as several great-grandchildren.  This post will report on the fates of Eva and her family, George, and the descendants of Estella and Felix in the 1920s. The one to follow will cover Helen and Blanche and their families as well as the descendants of Sylvester Goldsmith.

In 1920 Eva Goldsmith Anathan was living with her daughter Helen in Philadelphia. Helen, now forty, continued to work as a probation officer. There was also a lodger living with them, Leo Isenthal, 45, a railroad promoter.

Eva Goldsmith Anathan 1920 US census. Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 1067
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Bessie Anathan was living in Philadelphia with her husband Sim Simon and their two sons, John and Robert, in 1920; Sim was a manufacturer of extracts—of what, I do not know. They were living a quarter mile away from Eva and Helen.

Sim Simon and family 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1068
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Eva and Helen were still living together in Philadelphia in 1930, and Helen continued to work as a probation officer.1 Bessie and Sim and their children were also still in Philadelphia, and Sim now identified his occupation as a candy manufacturer. 2

Eva Goldsmith Anathan, the oldest child of Levi and Henrietta, died three years later on April 27, 1933, at the age of 77; she died from hypertension and chronic myocarditis.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 029001-032000
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates

Estella Goldsmith Rothschild’s widower Solomon and their sons were also living in Philadelphia in 1920. Jerome, her son, was practicing law and was the head of household. His wife Carrie and six-year-old daughter Estelle were living with him as well as his brother Herbert (26) and father Solomon. Herbert was a clerk in a clothing store, and Solomon was the secretary of a Jewish society.

Rothschild family 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 42, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1643; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 1578
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

On December 30, 1924, Solomon was killed in a horrible train accident:

“Killed by Train,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 31, 1924, p. 3

Estella’s family suffered so unfairly. First, two of her sons died as children; then she died when she was in her forties. And then her husband met his death in such a gruesome and painful way. Their sons Jerome and Herbert had experienced far too many losses by 1924.

Fortunately, Herbert had reason to celebrate when he married Nancy Erber on June 25, 1925, six months after his father’s death.3 Nancy was born in New York on February 28, 1901, to Samuel Erber and Fannie Schusterman, who were both born in the Austrian Empire (possibly Poland) and came to the US in the 1880s. Samuel was a tailor.4 Herbert and Nancy had a child born in 1929, and in 1930 they were living in New York City where Herbert was the vice-president of a clothing factory.5 His brother Jerome continued to live in Philadelphia with his wife and daughter and to practice law.6

And then tragedy struck the family of Estella Goldsmith once again. On January 24, 1931, Nancy Erber Goldsmith died at the age of 29, from retroperitoneal abdominal neoplasm, which appears to have been a form of pancreatic cancer. It also says she was suffering from cachexia, which is defined as “a ‘wasting’ disorder that causes extreme weight loss and muscle wasting, and can include loss of body fat,” and inanition, defined as “Severe weakness and wasting as occurs from lack of food, defect in assimilation, or neoplastic disease.”  She was so terribly young to die in such an awful way. And another Goldschmidt child, not yet two years old, became motherless, and Herbert Goldsmith experienced yet another heartbreaking loss.

Those were not the only losses the extended family suffered in this period. On December 31, 1929, George Goldsmith, Levi and Henrietta’s oldest son, died from cancer of the cecum at age of 68. His wife Leah Abeles died nine years later on May 26, 1938, from pancreatic cancer;7 she was 73, according to her death certificate. George and Leah had not had any children. They are buried at Mt Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia.

That meant that as of 1933, there were only two of Levi and Henrietta’s children still alive: Helen, and Blanche.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 114001-117000
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Felix Goldsmith’s widow Bertha Umstadter Goldsmith and three of their surviving children, Hortense (32), Lee (26), and Minna (20), were living together in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1920. Hortense was working at the Navy Yard, and Minna was a stenographer for the shipping board. I cannot read what it says for Lee’s occupation on the census record, but the 1922 Norfolk, Virginia directory has him listed as the deputy US Shipping Commissioner.8

Felix and Bertha’s oldest child, Frances, was living in New York City in 1920, working as a social worker for the “National Conference of [?] Social Services.9 But in 1925 Frances was working in a lingerie shop, living in what appears to be a single room occupancy building in New York City.10 In 1930, she was still working in the lingerie business.11 Unfortunately, that was the last record I could locate for Frances, though I know from her mother’s obituary that she was still living in New York City in 1935.

Lee Goldsmith was the next member of Levi Goldsmith’s extended family to die a premature death. He had left Norfolk sometime after 1922 and moved to Los Angeles, where he was the acting US Shipping Commissioner. He had then moved to Panama in 1926, where he was a customs inspector.12 Then on November 12, 1929, he died from acute meningitis at the age of 37:

“At Post in Panama,” The Los Angeles Times, December 4, 1929, p.23

Lee had never married or had children. He was survived by his mother Bertha and his sisters Frances, Hortense, and Minna.

Felix and Bertha’s daughter Hortense also left Norfolk, Virginia, in the 1920s. Although she is listed in the 1922 Norfolk directory, in 1924 she is listed as living in Indianapolis. The 1926 directory lists her as a stenographer for the American Legion in Indianapolis.13 The 1930 census shows her living in Indianapolis and working as an executive for an unnamed national organization.14 From several newspaper articles I learned that Hortense was working for some time for the American Legion, and in 1932 she was described in one newspaper article as the chief stenographer and supervisor of stenographic employment for the American Legion.15

According to one record, Minna Goldsmith, the youngest of Felix and Bertha’s children, married Edwin Rheinstrom Goodman in 1922.16 He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on February 8, 1896, to Leopold Goodman, a German-born immigrant, and Rachel Rheinstrom, who was born in Philadelphia. Leopold was a clothing merchant in Terre Haute.17 In 1920 Edwin had been working as an office manager, living as a boarder in New York City. According to a questionnaire he filled out for the Office of Jewish War Records, he was working for the American Fence Construction Company in New York18. In 1925 Minna and Edwin were living in New York City, and Minna’s mother Bertha was living with them. After all those years living in Norfolk, Virginia, Bertha had relocated at this late point in her life to New York. Edwin was working there as a merchant.

Edwin Goodman household, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 32; Assembly District: 07; City: New York; County: New York; Page: IV
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

By 1930, however, Minna and Edwin and their child as well as Minna’s mother Bertha had relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, where Edwin was a retail merchant selling men’s clothing.19 Minna and Edwin would have a second child the following year.

Bertha died on December 23, 1935, at the age of 75. She was buried back in Norfolk where she had lived almost her entire life and where her husband Felix and son Lee were also buried.20 By that time none of their three surviving children—Frances, Hortense, and Minna—was living in Norfolk.

The more I learned about Levi’s family, the more unfair and heartbreaking it became. The next post will discuss the families of Levi’s children Helen, Blanche, and Sylvester.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Eva G. and Helen Anathan, 1930 US census,  Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0775; FHL microfilm: 2341859. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census  
  2. Simon family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0775; FHL microfilm: 2341859.  Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  3.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 7. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995. 
  4.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WV5-C2J : 10 February 2018), Nancy Rothchild, 24 Jan 1931; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,058,015. Erber Family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1021; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0531; FHL microfilm: 1375034. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  5. Herbert Rothschild and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0429; FHL microfilm: 2341289.  Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6. Jerome Rothschild and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1030; FHL microfilm: 2341867. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  7.  Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 040001-043000. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  8. Bertha Goldsmith and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Norfolk Madison Ward, Norfolk (Independent City), Virginia; Roll: T625_1902; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 100. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 1922 Norfolk, Virginia, City Directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  9. Frances Goldsmith, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 10, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1203; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 735. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  10. Frances Goldsmith, 1925 New York State census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 42; Assembly District: 10; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 2. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 
  11. Frances Goldsmith, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 1199; FHL microfilm: 2341294. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. The Los Angeles Times, September 3, 1926, p. 17. 
  13. 1922 Norfolk, Virginia city directory, 1924 and 1926 Indianapolis, Indiana city directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  14. Hortense Goldsmith, 1930 US census, Census Place: Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0091; FHL microfilm: 2340346. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  15. “Barton, Legion Aids to Head West Friday,” The Indianapolis New, September 1, 1932, p. 12. 
  16. Edwin and Minna Goodman, 1930 US census, Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0498; FHL microfilm: 2341513.  Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  17.  Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (D) Officers-Army (Boxes 11-14); Box #: 12; Folder #: 6; Box Info: (Box 12) Goldstick-Goodman.  Ancestry.com. U.S., WWI Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921. Leopold Goodman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Harrison, Vigo, Indiana; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0108; FHL microfilm: 1240409. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  18. Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (D) Officers-Army (Boxes 11-14); Box #: 12; Folder #: 6; Box Info: (Box 12) Goldstick-Goodman.  Ancestry.com. U.S., WWI Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921. 
  19. Edwin Goodman and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0498; FHL microfilm: 2341513.
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  20. Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11423101 

18 thoughts on “Levi Goldsmith’s Family 1920-1930, Part I: More Terrible Losses

  1. I began reading your post, first drawn to Leo the ‘railroad promotor’ the first time I have seen that occupation ever. It immediately drew me to thoughts on the expansion of our country. And then I heard my self out load saying ‘oh no’ with Solomon’s terrible fate by train and the oh no’s continued through out the read. Such tragedy for a family, so sad 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, the horror stories of your family history are getting worse with every new post. I am looking forward to happier times for the Goldsmith family. Perhaps stories of the families of Levi’s children Helen, Blanche, and Sylvester will be a little more up-lifting. Best wishes! Peter

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Levi Goldsmith’s Family 1920-1930, Part II: Marriages, Divorces, and Stupid Criminals | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  4. Pingback: The Fate of Levi Goldsmith’s Descendants, Part I: More Early Deaths | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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