Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part IX: The Missing Babies

This is Part IX of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, so generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII,  and Part VIII at the links.

After reading last week’s post about the birth records found in her grandfather’s family album and the speculation as to why only five of Abraham Goldsmith’s ten children were listed, my cousin Sue went back to the album and realized that she could remove the page with the birth records. On the back were not only birth records for Abraham’s other five children; there was also a sad entry for the death of his first wife Cecelia:

All of the birth entries again confirmed what I’d found in the official records, and once again Abraham entered not only the dates, but the times the babies were born.

For Estella, who often was referred to in records as Estelle, he introduced her as “our sixth baby.”

Then there is the heartbreaking entry for Cecelia:

My beloved wife Cecelia Goldsmith died on Sunday the 8th day of November 1874 at 6 o’clock PM after an illness of 6 days. Hebrew date [inserted in Hebrew]

May she rest in peace.


Abraham’s signature here confirmed my hunch that he was the one who wrote all these entries (except the dates of death that occurred after his own death).

The next entry is for Alfred, who was Abraham’s first child with his second wife, Frances Spanier, But there is no break in the record to reflect that Alfred had a different mother from the first six children. He is introduced as “Our seventh boy” [emphasis added], despite the fact that he is the first child of Frances. You may notice that Alfred is the only one on this page who has a date of death.  That’s because those dates were entered by Milton, and the other four on this page—Estella, Bertha, Alice, and Louis—all outlived Milton.

Similarly Bertha is introduced as “Our Baby Bertha.” Then Abraham records the birth of “Baby Alice,” and finally the last child, Louis Seligman. At the end of the entry for Louis, Abraham wrote, “Louis Spanier his [?].”

Can anyone decipher what that says? From a later page in the album I learned who Louis Spanier was—Frances Spanier’s uncle—so Louis Goldsmith’s great-uncle. But that does not say “great-uncle” or “namesake” as far as I can tell.

And I got quite a kick out of the last word on this page: Finished. I don’t know whether Abraham wrote that to indicate the records were now completed or to emphasize that he was ready to be done having children after Number 10!


31 thoughts on “Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part IX: The Missing Babies

      • I am getting older, but basically OK. 🙂 I keep reading hoping to find some information about someone on my tree.

        BTW, I do realize that a V in German is usually pronounced the same as an F.

        I have seen the word Gevatter used often on Jewish circumcision records in Germany.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We are all getting older—but it’s better than the alternative!

        Yes, of course, I also knew that V is pronounced like an F—two plus years of studying German has helped! That’s why your comment made sense to me. Abraham hadn’t been in Germany for over 30 years when he wrote that so probably had forgotten his German spelling (but not the German script).

        Interesting that that was the term on circumcision records. The Hebrew term is Sandak—I would have thought they used that terminology.

        Happy Passover, Ralph!


    • I should have written that I have seen the word Gevatter used in German translations of circumcision records, and although it is used in such translations, they don’t have the exact same meaning..

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Abraham wrote in beautiful “American” script but the word you cannot read is the old German handwriting. I wonder if it was a word he could not translate into English. It looks like Gefather and I’d be interested to read what others are seeing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The misspelling (Gefatter) can be easily explained. V’s in German are pronounced like f’s as in vier = four, vergessen = forgotten, etc. So Abraham heard Gefatter, which is spelled Gevatter in German.
    By the way, the word does not only mean godfather, but also symbolizes death.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy, thank you so much. If any descendents of Abraham Goldsmith are following this I would love to connect with you. Milton goldsmith was my grandfather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sharon! It is nice to see Cecelia’s death listed (though sad), but I thought it strange that no mention is made of the fact that the last four had a different mother!


  4. Pingback: Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part X: A Son’s Loving Tribute to His Mother | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  5. Pingback: Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XI: Tributes to His Father Abraham | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  6. Pingback: Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XII: The Mystery of His Stepmother Francis | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  7. Pingback: Milton’s Family Album, Part XIII: The Creative Talent of Milton Goldsmith Himself | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  8. Pingback: Milton’s Family Album, Part XIV: Teasing His Little Brother | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  9. Pingback: Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XV: Childhood Memories | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  10. Pingback: Milton Goldsmith’s Album, Part XVI: His Beloved Sister and Fellow Author, Emily | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  11. Pingback: Milton Goldsmith’s Album, Part XVII: The Contrasting Lives of His Sisters Rose and Estella | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  12. Pingback: The Things You Can’t Learn from Genealogy Records Alone: Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XVIII | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  13. I found a first edition Ben-Hur book with a note on the inside cover that looks like it’s signed by Milton Goldsmith. Can you help me figure out what it means? I have pictures I can send.

    Liked by 1 person

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