Rosa Goldschmidt and Bernhard Metz: Two Immigrants Who Found Success and Heartbreak in America

As of September 1853, all four of the sons of Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander, my 3x-great-grandparents, had immigrated to Philadelphia: Jacob, Abraham, Meyer, and Levi. Seligmann and Hincka still had their four daughters in Germany, however: Sarah, Eva, Bette, and Rosa.

Three of those daughters eventually followed their brothers to Philadelphia. First, my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein immigrated with her husband Gerson and their three oldest children in 1856, as I wrote about here and in several other posts. Then in 1860, Seligmann and Hincka’s youngest child Rosa followed her older siblings to Philadelphia. Sarah, the oldest sibling, would be the last to arrive, coming with her husband in 1882, years after some of her children had already immigrated, as discussed previously. Of the eight siblings, only Bette never left Germany.

The next set of posts will focus on Rosa Goldschmidt and her family. If the stories about her brother Levi and his descendants were overwhelmingly sad, the search for the stories of Rosa’s family was one of the most baffling, surprising, and challenging I’ve encountered since I first started searching for my family history. Stay tuned for some  surprising research successes and discoveries. But first some background on Rosa and her early years in the US, where she experienced both great happiness and terrible sadness.

Rosa Goldschmidt was born on October 27, 1837, in Oberlistingen, Germany.

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

She left Germany when she was 22 and arrived in New York City 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: 14; List Number: 597
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

I assume she must have settled in Philadelphia where all her older siblings were living and where, on January 20, 1864, she married Bernhardt Metz.1 Bernhardt (later Bernhard) was born in Prussia in 1832 and had immigrated in the mid-1850s. He was in the “cloak and mantilla” business in 1862, according to the Philadelphia directory.2

Rosa and Bernhard’s first child, a daughter named Hattie, was born on November 23, 1864.3 A second child, a son named Paul, was born on November 1, 1866.4 Then came another daughter, Emily, born on February 9, 1868.5 A fourth child was born on October 17, 1869, a daughter named Bertha.6 On the 1870 census, they were all living together in Philadelphia. Bernhard was a cloak manufacturer, and he had $10,000 worth of real property and $2000 of personal property. There were two servants living with them also. Like Rosa’s brothers, Bernhard was doing well as a new immigrant in America.

Bernhard Metz family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 66, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1407; Page: 438B; Family History Library Film: 552906. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census.

Rosa and Bernhard had three more sons in the 1870s: Siegfried, born in about 1872 in Pennsylvania,7 Edwin Joseph, born on December 16, 1874, in New York City,8 and Joseph George Metz, born on September 14, 1878, in Philadelphia.9 Thus, it appears that at least for some part of the 1870s, Rosa and Bernhard and their children were living in New York, but then returned to Philadelphia by 1878 where their youngest child was born.

That is also consistent with what I found in the Philadelphia directories. Bernhard had been in business with his brother Joseph since at least the 1860s, and it appears from various directory listings that they must have had business in New York City because in the 1872 Philadelphia directory, Bernhard is listed as residing in New York. However, in 1878 he is listed with a Philadelphia residence.10

But their good fortune changed in 1880. On the 1880 census, Bernhard and Rosa and six of their seven children were listed as living in Philadelphia where Bernhard was working as a merchant.11 Sadly, their son Siegfried had died of cholera morbus (or what we would call gastroenteritis today) on May 19, 1880, in Philadelphia; he was only eight years old.12

Soon thereafter they must have moved back to New York City because Bernhard is listed in several New York City directories in the 1880s and 1890s.13

And the family suffered another tragic loss after moving to New York. On April 3, 1885, Rosa and Bernhard’s seventeen-year-old daughter Emily died from pneumonia [?] in New York City.  The death certificate states that she had lived in New York City for three years at the time of her death, meaning the family had moved to New York in 1882. Emily died in the family residence at 427 East 57th Street. I can’t imagine how losing the second of their seven children affected the family.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WJG-J4D : 10 February 2018), Emilie Metz, 03 Apr 1885; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,373,964.

Sadly, those were not the only losses the family suffered in the next decade or so.

On October 20, 1887, the oldest daughter Hattie married George Gattel,14 who was born in Berlin, Germany, on June 4, 1861, the son of Moritz Gattel and Ernestine Metzenberg.15 George had immigrated in 1882, and on both his naturalization index card in 1887 and his passport application in 1888, he listed his occupation as salesman.16

Roll Description: G-325; G-400, Ancestry.com. U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project)

Hattie and George had an unnamed son born on October 10, 1890;17 I have no further record of that baby, so I assume he may have died. Then Hattie and George had a second child, a daughter Emily born in August 1892,18 obviously named for Hattie’s sister Emily who had died seven years before. In a cruel twist of fate, baby Emily Gattel died less than seven months later on March 25, 1893. Like her namesake, she died from pneumonia. Hattie and her husband George Gattel did not have any more children after the death of their daughter Emily in 1893.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WVQ-KFH : 10 February 2018), Emily Gattel, 25 Mar 1893; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,412,519.

The losses did not end there. Rosa and Bernhard’s youngest daughter Bertha married Adolf Katzenstein on July 1, 1891, in New York City.19 Adolf was, like George Gattel, a German immigrant; he was born in Einbeck, Germany, on May 5, 1860, according to his passport applications. Those same documents state that he immigrated in April, 1882. Several passport applications report that he was in the import business.20

Bertha and Adolf had a daughter born on April 23, 1892, in New York City. Tragically, Bertha herself died less than two weeks later on May 4, 1892, from puerperal fever, a fever caused by a uterine infection following childbirth.  Bertha and Adolf’s daughter, also named Bertha, was yet another child destined to grow up without her mother.

Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 [

Thus, by 1900, Rosa and Bernhard had lost one of their four sons, Siegfried, two of their three daughters, Emily and Bertha, and two grandchildren, Hattie’s two babies. They were living at 209 East 61st in New York City with and their two youngest sons, Edwin and Joseph George (here listed as George J.), and with their remaining daughter Hattie and her husband George Gattel. Bernhard was still in the import-export business, and Edwin and Joseph George were merchants. Hattie was working as a saleswoman, and her husband George was a commissioner (of what, I do not know). So three of the four surviving adult Metz siblings were living with their parents in 1900.

Bernhard Metz family 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0661; FHL microfilm: 1241110
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

But where was Paul Metz, the oldest son of Rosa and Bernhard, in 1900?

That proved to be quite the mystery.


Wishing all my friends and family who observe Yom Kippur an easy and meaningful fast!

 

 


  1. Pennsylvania Marriages, 1709-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V26Y-SX9 : 6 December 2014), Bernhard Metz and Rosa Goldsmith, 20 Jan 1864; citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,765,018. 
  2. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 23969. Bernhard Metz and family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 66, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1407; Page: 438B; Family History Library Film: 552906. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census. 1862 Philadelphia directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  3. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBYP-P32 : 10 March 2018), Metz, 23 Nov 1864; citing bk 1864 p 329, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,309. 
  4. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBY8-TXS : 10 March 2018), Metz, 01 Nov 1866; citing bk 1866 p 320, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,310. 
  5. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBY8-ZHF : 10 March 2018), Metz, 09 Feb 1868; citing bk 1868 p 20, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,311. 
  6. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VB13-98Y : 10 March 2018), Metz, 17 Oct 1869; citing bk 1869 p 253, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,313. The Philadelphia birth index shows an October birthdate, but the 1900 census indicates she was born in December, 1869. I assume the birth index is more reliable. 
  7. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Non-Population Census Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1850-1880: Mortality; Archive Collection: M1838; Archive Roll Number: 11; Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 465. Ancestry.com. U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885. 
  8. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:27B5-NVH : 11 February 2018), Edwin Jos. Metz, 16 Dec 1874; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 149827 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,085. 
  9. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBBV-FMH : 9 March 2018), U Metz, 14 Sep 1878; citing p 62, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,319. 
  10. Philadelphia city directories, 1862-1878, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. Bernhard Metz and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1186;Page: 290C; Enumeration District: 589. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  12. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-623Q-33?cc=1320976&wc=9FR7-82S%3A1073111102 : 16 May 2014), 004008623 > image 181 of 488; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 
  13. New York City directories, 1880, 1884, 1886, 1889, 1894, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  14.  New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2434-KSD : 10 February 2018), George Gattel and Hattie Metz, 20 Oct 1887; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,571,009. 
  15. Ancestry.com. Prussian Provinces, Selected Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1661-1944. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24H4-BHF : 10 February 2018), George Gattel and Hattie Metz, 20 Oct 1887; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,671,683. 
  16. George Gattel, ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1727, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934. George Gattel, 1888 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 315; Volume #: Roll 315 – 01 Oct 1888-31 Oct 1888. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  17. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMB-7ZW : 11 February 2018), Gattel, 10 Oct 1890; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 31192 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,236. 
  18.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WVQ-KFH : 10 February 2018), Emily Gattel, 25 Mar 1893; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,412,519. 
  19.  New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24H2-13L : 10 February 2018), Adolf Katzenstein and Bertha Metz, 01 Jul 1891; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,452,194. 
  20. E.g, 1892 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 397; Volume #: Roll 397 – 01 Jul 1892-13 Jul 1892. 1896 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 459; Volume #: Roll 459 – 01 Feb 1896-29 Feb 1896.  Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 

30 thoughts on “Rosa Goldschmidt and Bernhard Metz: Two Immigrants Who Found Success and Heartbreak in America

  1. My Great Grandfather was Abraham, my Grandfather was Edwin Sr., my father was Edwin Jr., I am Edwin III. My son and daughter are Stephen and Lauren. Stephen’s children are Brooke, Matthew and Jane. Lauren’s children are David and Matthew.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My Great Grandfather was Abraham, my Grandfather was Edwin Sr., my father was Edwin Jr., I am Edwin III. My son and daughter are Stephen and Lauren. Stephen’s children are Brooke, Matthew and Jane. Lauren’s 77ki8children are David and Matthew.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Amy! I’m going to do my best to follow each posting in this series. We have so many wonder drugs today, antibiotics and more knowledge about treating illnesses that just a century ago were responsible for many deaths. I’ve always thought that there is a relationship between the high birth rate and the high infant, child and mother mortality rate at that time. Pregnancies occurred so close in time that the mother did not have enough time to fully recuperate and be prepared for the next. Also, because she was weak the babies may have been born with a low birth weight or some weaknesses that made them more vulnerable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We do take for granted today that pregnancy and childbirth are generally low risk, but even today, women die from childbirth all over the world, even here. I never worried too much about it when I was pregnant (though I worried about the babies’ health a lot!), but when my daughter went into labor, I was very nervous. But yes, back in those days, far too many women and babies did not survive childbirth. Thanks for your insights!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Amy, overwhelmingly sad for Rosa and Bernhard to have lost three of their children and two grandchildren. My grandparents all lost children and it resonated down the years. All the best
    for Yom Kippur.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Will there ever be an end to all the tragical events in your family history? I am pinning my hope on your next couple of posts, Amy. I am thinking of my grandmother Emma Klopp who lost only one child out the 16 children she had born. I heard that Germany around the turn of the century had a very good health care system, quite advanced for the late 1890’s. Perhaps that was the reason.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I guess the Goldschmidts may have had some genetic issues that made them more susceptible to disease. But there were so many children who died back then—they weren’t particularly unusual. On the other hand, my Cohen great-grandfather was one of fifteen, and almost all of them lived to adulthood and beyond. Maybe Germany did have better health care, or maybe your Klopp grandmother had good genes and good luck!

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Through the post I kept echoing OMG under my breath…I was also wondering if there may be a connection between Ernestine “Metzenberg’ and Bernhard “Metz” name shortened once arriving here? Ok I know, another rabbit hole to investigate possibly. Reflective day today and well wishes to you and the family ~ Sharon

    Liked by 1 person

    • I assume the married couple didn’t have enough money to pay for the own place, or Hannah needed emotional support after losing two babies? And from what I’ve seen, unmarried adults—whether men or women—lived with their parents. Thanks, Luanne—you also!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. When I read this I had to write to say that I’ve been following a Matts line on my paternal great grandmother’s side. I just learned that farther back than I had been looking, the spelling was Metz. They are from PA. We may need to compare notes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: The Mystery of Paul Metz, Part I | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  9. Pingback: Rosa Goldschmidt and Her Family: The Final Chapter | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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