Jacob Goldsmith and His Family, 1881-1900: Years of Growth, Loss, and Change

When he died in 1883, my four-times great-uncle Simon Goldsmith was survived by four children: Jacob and Henry in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, Lena in Columbus, Ohio, and Hannah in Pittsburgh. They all had children and some even had grandchildren by then. The family had gotten so large by 1883 that it is no longer feasible for me to address them all in one post so I will divide the story into separate multiple post segments for each of Simon’s children. This segment will address his son Jacob and his fourteen children and the families of those children; this post tells their story during the last twenty years of the 19th century.

As seen in this earlier post, Jacob’s wife Fannie passed away on March 4, 1881. By August 12, 1881, Jacob had moved to Connellsville, Pennsylvania, as demonstrated by this ad:

The (Connellsville, PA) Weekly Courier, August 12, 1881, p. 3

It made sense that Jacob would have moved to Connellsville after Fannie died for that is where his younger brother Henry was living. Jacob’s three youngest daughters, Florence, Gertrude, and Eva, were quite young when their mother died in 1881 (Florence was twelve, the twins only ten).  Henry, who was more than twenty years younger than his half-brother Jacob, had a young wife and young children, and they would likely have been a source of support to Jacob and his children.

As we saw in earlier posts, three of Jacob’s daughters were already married with children of their own by the time Jacob moved to Connellsville in 1881.  Ellena was married to Samuel Feldstein and was living in Philadelphia with their three young children, Sylvester, Leon, and William. Their fourth child, Fanny, was born in 1883, and a fifth child, Gertrude, was born on May 31, 1889.1 In 1881, Jacob’s daughter Annie was married to Augustus Frank and living in San Francisco with their three children, Josephine, Harry, and Fanny. Jacob’s daughter Leonora and her husband Solomon Jaffa were living in Trinidad with their daughter Helen in 1881, and their son Arthur was born in 1883. Also, Jacob’s son Felix was not married, but had moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1881. But Jacob still had ten children living with him in 1881.

By 1885, Felix had moved from Santa Fe to Denver, where he was working as a bookkeeper; he married Fanny Rosenthal in Hamilton County, Ohio, on January 26, 1887. Fanny was the daughter of Herman and Theresa Rosenthal, German immigrants, and she was born in West Virginia in 1862.2  In 1870, she’d been living with her parents and siblings in Cincinnati where her father was a merchant.3

Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

Jacob made the trip to Cincinnati for their wedding, as reported in the Connellsville newspaper, The Weekly Courier, on its front page on January 28, 1887:

Felix and Fanny had their first child, a son Clarence, on July 13, 1889 in Denver.4

Jacob’s son George moved to Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1885; he was working as a cutter.5  By 1889, he had married Sarah Rohrheimer, also a daughter of German immigrants, Morris Rohrheimer and Mary Schloss. Sarah was born on July 13, 1866, in Pennsylvania, and in 1880, she was with her parents in Pottsville where her father was a clothing merchant.6 George was working for her father when they met.7 Their first child, Fanny, was born October 1, 1889, in Pennsylvania.8 Thus, Jacob had two more grandchildren born in 1889.

Not only were two more children born into Jacob’s extended family in 1889, there were also two more weddings. Jacob’s son Frank Goldsmith married Barbara Shanor on July 7 of that year.

Marriage record of Frank Goldsmith and Barbara Shanor, Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

According to this news article, Barbara was a native of Connellsville and Frank was working there in his father’s store in Connellsville when they married. They married, however, in Hamilton County, Ohio, as had Frank’s brother George two years earlier.

The (Connellsville, PA) Daily Courier, August 11, 1919

The second wedding to take place in 1889 was that of Jacob’s daughter Rebecca to Robert Levy; they were married in Trinidad, Colorado, on August 27, 1989. Trinidad was, as noted in earlier posts, the home of the Jaffa brothers, Henry Goldsmith’s brothers-in-law, so perhaps Rebecca met her husband through the connection with her aunt Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith, Henry’s wife. Robert Levy was born in Ontario, Canada, on May 30, 1864, to Mandel and Rebecca Levy, who were German immigrants. The family was living in Milwaukee by 1870,9 and in 1885 Robert was living in Denver where he was practicing medicine.10

Rebecca Goldsmith and Robert Levy, marriage record, Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Once again, the Connellsville paper reported that Jacob as well as his brother Henry and sister-in-law Sarah (Jafffa) Goldsmith were traveling to attend a family wedding:

The Connellsville, PA, Weekly Courier, August 23, 1889, p. 5

As of 1888, Jacob’s youngest son Edward Goldsmith was living in Philadelphia and working as a salesman.11

Eight of Jacob’s fourteen children were now on their own, but in 1890, Jacob still had six daughters at home in Connellsville: Emma, Rachel, Celia, Florence, Gertrude, and Eva, ranging in age from 36 to nineteen.

In the early 1890s, Jacob was blessed with three more grandchildren: Rebecca’s daughter Leona in 1891,12 George’s son Lester in 1893,13 and Felix’s daughter Ethel in 1895.14

Then on March 29, 1897, there was another wedding. Edward Goldsmith married Hannah Wallenstein in Hamilton County, Ohio, making that the third time one of Jacob’s children had a wedding in that location. Hannah was born in Cincinnati on September 30, 1872, to Solomon Wallenstein, a German immigrant, and Sarah Cohen, also a Cincinnati native. Hannah’s father was a sewing machine agent in 1880.15

Marriage of Edward Goldsmith and Hannah Wallenstein, Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

Just over a month after Edward’s wedding, Annie’s husband Augustus Frank died on November 13, 1897, in San Francisco. He was only fifty years old and left behind three children as well as Annie, who was only 42 when Augustus died.16

Then just a little over a year after losing Augustus, the family suffered another tragic loss when Jacob’s son George died suddenly from pneumonia on January 13, 1899, in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.17  George was only 36, and his two children Fanny and Lester (incorrectly named as Leslie in George’s obituary) were only nine and three when they lost their father. George’s widow Sarah was only 32.

The Pottsville newspaper, The Miners Journal, published this obituary on its front page on January 14, 1899:

 

“Another Merchant Dead,” Pottsville, PA Miners Journal, January 14, 1899, p. 1

How terrible this must have been for Sarah and the children. My favorite line in the obituary is the one saying that George was “a careful and enterprising business man and had a host of friends.”

By 1900 there was a big geographic shift in the family. Jacob and his six unmarried daughters—Emma, Rachel, Celia, Florence, Gertrude, and Eva—left Pennsylvania and moved to Denver where in 1900 they were all living with Jacob’s daughter Rebecca and her husband Robert Levy and their daughter Leona. Robert was practicing medicine, Rachel (Ray here) was working as a clerk, and Florence was working as a stenographer. The others did not have any occupation listed on the 1900 census. Jacob was 75 years old and had experienced another major relocation—-from Oberlistingen, Germany, to Washington, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia, to Connellsville, Pennsylvania, and now to Denver. Rebecca Goldsmith Levy gave birth to a second daughter on June 19, 1900, in Denver, named Marion.18

Household of Robert Levy, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0072; FHL microfilm: 1240119
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Felix Goldsmith and his family were also living in Denver in 1900, and Felix was working as a mine superintendent.

Felix Goldsmith and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1240118
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

About two hundred miles south of Denver, Leonora Goldsmith Jaffa was still living in Trinidad, Colorado with her husband Solomon Jaffa and their two children Helen (18) and Arthur (16), and Solomon continued to be a merchant.

Solomon Jaffa and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Trinidad, Las Animas, Colorado; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1240126
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Annie Goldsmith Frank, who had been widowed three years earlier, was living with her three children in San Francisco in 1900. Her daughter Josephine, now 22, was a school teacher, and her son Harry, 19, was a shipping clerk.

Annie Frank, 1900 US census,Census Place: San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0207; FHL microfilm: 1240105
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Back east, George Goldsmith’s widow Sarah and two children Fanny and Lester were living in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, with Sarah’s mother Mary Rohrheimer. Both Mary and Sarah listed their occupation on the 1900 census as “capitalists.” I wonder what that meant!

Sarah Rohrheimer Goldsmith and family, Census Place: Pottsville, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania; Page: 10; Enumeration District: 0187; FHL microfilm: 1241485
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Jacob’s other three surviving children were all in Philadelphia in 1900. Frank Goldsmith was living with his wife Barbara and working as a clerk in the clothing business.19 Edward Goldsmith and his wife Hannah were living with Edward’s older sister Ellena and her husband Samuel Feldstein and their five children. Edward had no occupation listed, but in the 1901 Philadelphia directory, he is identified as a salesman. Samuel Feldstein’s occupation was reported as “manufacturer” on the 1900 census. Samuel and Ellena’s three oldest sons were working: Sylvester, 25, as an artist, William, 23, as a bookkeeper, and Leopold, 19, as a cigar maker. The other two children—Fanny, 17, and Gertrude, 12, did not have occupations listed.

Feldstein household, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0439; FHL microfilm: 1241462
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Thus, as of 1900, Jacob’s family was spread between Pennsylvania, Colorado, and California. What would the new century bring for him and his very large extended family?


  1. Fannie Neufeld death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 019051-021750, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966; Gertrude Lewin death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 094201-096650, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  2. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GP2P-9VMD?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-FNL%3A287599101%2C294427301 : 21 May 2014), 1937 > 29701-32800 > image 2781 of 3325. 
  3. Rosenthal family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 15, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: M593_1214; Page: 468B; Family History Library Film: 552713, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  4. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XCRQ-4PD?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-FWP%3A287602801%2C289221002 : 21 May 2014), 1946 > 03001-06100 > image 558 of 3479. 
  5. “Another Merchant Dead,” Pottsvile, Pennsylvania Miners Journal, January 14, 1899, p. 1; Pottsville, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1887, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  6. Sarah Rohrheimer Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 020001-023000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Rohrheimer family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Pottsville, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1193; Page: 373A; Enumeration District: 221,  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  7. “Another Merchant Dead,” Pottsvile, Pennsylvania Miners Journal, January 14, 1899, p. 1; Pottsville, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1887, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  8. Number: 188-36-5720; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1962,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. Robert Levy, 1908 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 54; Volume #: Roll 0054 – Certificates: 46257-47289, 21 Feb 1908-10 Mar 1908, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. Levy family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Milwaukee Ward 5, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Roll: M593_1727; Page: 557A; Family History Library Film: 553226,  Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  10. Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1885, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1888, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  12. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 524606840 
  13. Lester Goldsmith, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  14. Felix Goldsmith and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1240118, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  15. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 225644424. Wallenstein family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: 1026; Page: 447A; Enumeration District: 144, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  16. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/100371594 
  17.  Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 
  18.  SSN: 524607495, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  19. Frank and Barbara Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0830; FHL microfilm: 1241474, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 

14 thoughts on “Jacob Goldsmith and His Family, 1881-1900: Years of Growth, Loss, and Change

  1. I believe I said it before, Amy. I admire your tenacity of digging up all these facts about your ancestry. It takes a lot of energy and dedication to do this. I noticed the trend in your family of marrying immigrants from Germany. Perhaps there was a desire to stay in touch with the German language and cultural heritage. As to the capitalists, my guess is that perhaps the ladies were employed by a bank. It sounds a lot more impressive than bank clerk. Have a great weekend, Amy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Peter—it’s an addiction and a passion! It’s not surprising that my German Jewish immigrant ancestors married other German Jewish immigrants. Until the 1890s or so, most Jews in the US were from Germany; eastern European Jews didn’t start coming until then. And since there was virtually no interfaith marriage in the 19th century, it makes sense that German Jews married each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My mind is blowing here – SO many coincidences in this post. I have ancestors who were born, married, or died in Hamilton County, Ohio. Okay, maybe not that big of a deal. My dad’s only sibling was Robert Levy, also a doctor. Born later than your Robert but hey, quite a coincidence. But most coincidental was the photo of August Frank’s headstone photographed by Diane Reich. She has taken quite a few photos of my ancestors in Hills of Eternity in Colma, so she has been to both of our ancestor’s graves. Are you hearing the Twilight Zone music?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There really are so many strange overlaps in our stories even if none yet that show we are related. Add to all the others the fact that we both know Scott! Definitely Twilight Zone material!

      Like

  3. Pingback: Leonora Goldsmith Jaffa and Her Family: Too Many Lives Cut Short | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  4. Pingback: Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein and Her Family: Not Blessed with Longevity | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  5. Pingback: The Surviving Seven: Jacob Goldsmith’s Children in 1920 | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  6. Pingback: Rebecca Goldsmith Levy: A Shattered Life | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  7. Pingback: Henry Goldsmith, Part VIII: Milton Goldsmith’s Second Marriage NEXT | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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