The Final Chapter on Levi Goldsmith and His Family

When Sylvester Goldsmith, the youngest child of Levi and Henrietta Goldsmith, died at age 44 in 1914, he left behind his wife Ida and five young children: Louis (16), Harold (13), Blanchard (11), Estelle (8), and Sarah Frances (2). We saw that Ida stayed in Dubois, Pennsylvania, with Louis, Estelle, and Sarah Frances, but that Harold and Blanchard were sent to Dayton, Ohio, for some time after their father’s death. By 1930, Louis had married Helen Heckman and was working on the railroad in Dubois. Estelle and Sarah Frances were still living with their mother in Dubois, and Estelle was working as a stenographer. Harold was married and still living in Dayton, working as a polisher according to the 1933 Dayton directory, and Blanchard was working as a plasterer and living in Atlantic City.

Louis and his wife Helen were living in Dubois for much of the 1930s, but by 1940 they had moved to Little Valley, New York, where Louis was a clerk for the B&O Railroad. As of 1940, they did not have any children.

Louis Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Little Valley, Cattaraugus, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02505; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 5-31 1940 United States Federal Census

Harold and his wife Martha and their child were still living in Dayton in 1940, where Harold was working as a polisher for an electric motor company.1 They were still living in Dayton as late as 1944, but by 1946 they had relocated to Dubois, where Harold’s mother Ida was still living. Perhaps Harold moved back to help care for his mother after Louis moved to New York State. In 1948, he was working for the Vulcan Soot Blower Corporation, and in 1955 he was working as a janitor at the Dubois Deposit Bank at that time.2

By 1940 Blanchard Goldsmith had married a woman named Eleanor, and they were living in Atlantic City where Blanchard was working as a bartender. But I had a hard time finding a marriage record or birth name for Eleanor. There was also a family of three living with them as boarders and a niece, fifteen-year-old Evelyn Carson. The niece’s name was the one clue I had to learn more about Eleanor.

Blanchard Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02300; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1-26 1940 United States Federal Census

It took some digging, but I found an Evelyn Carson of the same age and birth state on a Border Crossing document traveling with two siblings, Emily and William Carson, with a father W. Carson living in Toronto.

Library and Archives Canada; 1908-1935 Border Entries; Roll: T-15368 Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935

That led me to search for Emily, William, and Evelyn Carson, and I found the two sisters living with a grandmother named Elizabeth Rourke in Philadelphia in 1940 (Evelyn seemed to be listed twice on the 1940 census).3 Searching backwards, I found that Elizabeth Rourke, born O’Neill, had married Michael Rourke, and they had several children, including an Eleanor and a Gertrude. Gertrude had married a William Carson.4 Putting it all together, I concluded that the Eleanor who married Blanchard Goldsmith must have been Eleanor Rourke, daughter of Elizabeth O’Neill and Michael Rourke. That was quite a long loop just to find a birth name for Blanchard’s first wife—especially since the marriage did not last very long.

In 1950, Blanchard was listed as a bartender in the Atlantic City directory with a different wife named Patricia.5 It also took some digging to find more about Patricia.  She was born Patricia Barry, daughter of Joseph Barry, a sheet metal contractor, and Irene Field. She was born on December 29, 1916, in Atlantic City. She had been previously married to John L. Roth, with whom she’d had one child.6 She and Blanchard would then have two children of their own.

As for Sylvester’s two surviving daughters, Estelle remained in Dubois and by 1936 was married to Harry Lindahl, a moulder for the Dubois Iron Works company, according to the Dubois directory for that year. In 1940 they were living in Dubois with their child, and Harry was still working at the foundry.7

Sarah Frances, now using Frances, also remained in Dubois, where she married her sister Estelle’s brother-in-law, John Lindahl. John and his brother Harry were the sons of Charlie Lindahl, a Swedish immigrant, and Nettie Dinger, a Pennsylvania native.8 In 1940 John was working in a print shop, Frances was working as a stenographer in a wholesale tire store, and they had one child.  Frances’ mother Ida Simms Goldsmith was also living with them.

John Lindahl and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Dubois, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03470; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 17-43 1940 United States Federal Census

Ida died on December 24, 1960, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, at the age of 86.9 And unlike her husband and so many of his siblings and nieces and nephews as well as their first child Helen, her other children all lived long lives. Louis died on December 5, 1987, at the age of 89.10 Estelle died in April 1990; she was 84. 11 Harold died on May 28, 1994, at age 93.12 Blanchard was 91 when he died December 4, 1994, six months after his brother Harold.13 And Frances, the youngest child of Sylvester Goldsmith, who was the youngest child of Levi Goldsmith, died on September 28, 2000, when she was 88.14

Thus, unlike so many of their extended family members, the five children of Sylvester Goldsmith and Ida Simms who lived to adulthood all made it past 80, and two of them made it into their 90s. They must have gotten their longevity from their mother’s DNA, not that of their father or grandfather.

Thus, I come to the end of the saga of my three-times great-uncle Levi Goldsmith and his family, one of the saddest chapters I’ve researched in a while. There were so many premature deaths that at times it seemed almost unbelievable. Why did Levi draw the short straw when his brothers Jacob, Abraham, and Meyer all seemed to find much good fortune (although each also had a fair amount of heartbreak)? I don’t know. It just shows that heartbreaking stories are not fairly distributed evenly among family members.  Some people just suffer more than their fair share.



  1. Harold Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03253; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 94-85. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Dayton, Ohio, city directory, 1944, Dubois, Pennsylvania, city directory, 1946, 1948, 1955, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  3. Evelyn Carson with Elizabeth Rourke, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03736; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 51-1599. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. Michael Rourke and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 26, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1400; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0578; FHL microfilm: 1375413. 1910 United States Federal Census. William and Gertrude Carson, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 48, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1648; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 1814. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  5. Atlantic City city directory, 1950, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  6. Patricia Roth, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02300;Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1-19. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Harry Lindahl and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Sandy, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03471; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 17-81. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. Charles Lindahl and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Sandy, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1553; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 106. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  9.  Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 114001-116700. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 114311-60 
  10. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  11. Number: 170-26-3884; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014  
  12.  Number: 288-07-3757; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014  
  13. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 
  14. Number: 200-05-3391; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

19 thoughts on “The Final Chapter on Levi Goldsmith and His Family

  1. Genetics must be part of the answer regarding longevity in a family. One could even claim that resistance to disease is also part of our genetic make-up. Why did so many young children succumb and die in their early childhood and others did not? There must be a connection in the genes. At least one branch of Ida’s family was fortunate enough to enjoy a longer life. What comes next, Amy?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As genealogists, we have an affinity for certain statistics and often wonder about the genetics of this or that side of the family. With the families, you’ve been featuring it seems they suffered more than their fair share considering all the heartbreak.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Genetic’s vs the luck of the draw – goodness. It was nice to be able to read this final chapter on a positive family note. Always enjoy your posts, always encourages me to dig deeper and I am excited to follow Levi’s sister Rose 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had an appointment yesterday in which I questioned my doctor about disease. She said a lot of it comes down to host response; one person and another can experience exactly the same event, yet one comes through with flying colors whereas the other does not. Our bodies respond differently to different threats. It does make sense. Your posts are always interesting, Amy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many of Levi’s family died from totally unrelated diseases—some were childhood diseases we no longer worry about, some died in accidents, some died from diseases like cancer or heart disease. It was rather varied. Their bad luck might not have been genetically linked, though perhaps they all had somewhat poor immune systems for fighting off diseases. Thanks so much, Karen!


  5. There’s never a completely satisfactory explanation that can tie together why some family members live on the top of the mountain and others live not even in a valley but a dark pit. Some say genetics but I think social factors also encourage or discourage the expression, actualization and full realization of any inherent talents. For example, one can have an aptitude for music and ballet. In a time that supports the arts a young person seeking to work as a dance teacher or music teacher while doing part-time appearances on the stage would be acceptable. But if the society and the family members are swept up in a time that favors material wealth and business oriented education and careers such a person might be frustrated and in that frustration make the wrong choices that have wide spread effects in the person’s life. I’m glad to read that Levi’s children lived long lives and hopefully lived those lives with the companionship of a loving spouse and the raising of children who gave them happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What you say is true, but for this family it was more about disease than talents, and although I do think bad luck and poor lifestyle choices and environment and stress can weaken one’s ability to fight off disease, I also think genetics plays a big role. I assume you meant Sylvester’s children since most of Levi’s children and his grandchildren did not live long lives at all. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I meant Sylvester’s children. There were a lot of family members to keep track of. And I agree with what you say about the family. My comments were meant to add another way of looking at genetics and environment in general.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. PS-There are and will be, in the foreseeable future, gaps in my time here at WordPress due to demands at my job and my work schedule. I won’t be able to read my friends blogs on a regular basis so that will also explain why I’m missing some details.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris
    As always, I appreciate your in depth research… it’s a fascinating avenue to explore. I tend to want to know all the whys and wherefores as to the causes of death as well… They very much tend to reflect the causes that affected the whole community at that time, as well as give hints for genetic traits.

    Liked by 1 person

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