Lena Goldsmith Basch, Final Chapter: Joseph Basch’s Twins

In 1930, Joseph Basch and his wife Ida Steinhauser were living in Columbus, Ohio, with their twin children, Elene, a Smith College graduate, and Joseph, Jr., a graduate of Ohio State University. Joseph, Sr., continued to work in the tobacco business with his brother Joel.

Elene Basch married Robert Weiler on October 14, 1931, in Columbus. Robert, the son of Adolph Weiler and Blanche Kahn, was born on December 31, 1902, in Hartford, Indiana.1 His father was born in Germany, and his mother was born in Indiana. By 1910, the family had moved to Columbus, where Adolph Weiler was a clothing merchant.2 Robert graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and in 1930 was living in Marion, Ohio, working in real estate sales.3

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

Elene and Robert settled in Bexley, Ohio, and had two children during the 1930s. In 1940, they were still living in Bexley, and Robert was working as an insurance broker.4 Elene’s parents Joseph and Ida were living in Columbus, and Joseph continued to own Levy Mendel, the tobacco business.5

Elene’s twin, Joseph, Jr., had moved to Highland Park, Michigan, by 1930, where he was working as a taxi driver and lodging with a family.6 (He was enumerated twice in 1930, once with his parents in Columbus and once in Highland Park.7) By 1935 he was living in Detroit and was still there in 1940, working as a parking lot attendant.8

I was able to get more insight about Joseph, Jr., and his mother Ida from these excerpts from the oral history interview conducted by the Columbus Jewish Historical Society with Alan Weiler on April 8, 2008.

Weiler: … My uncle Joseph moved to Detroit, Michigan where he lived an unusual life. He worked for General Motors on the assembly line, married a woman, but never had nerve enough to tell his mom that he was married. When she went up to visit him he introduced her as his maid. … He lived on Second Avenue in downtown Detroit where it was unlikely to have a maid. My grandmother thought that her son had a maid rather than a wife.

Interviewer: Why was he afraid to tell her? If he were married, he thought she wouldn’t approve?

Weiler: Exactly. My Uncle Joseph was a stutterer. His mother, my grandmother Ida Basch, was a very domineering woman. After he finished Ohio State he just wanted to get out of town and he ended up living in Detroit, I think became an alcoholic, really lived a very unusual life. The lady he married, Winola, was a lovely lady. ….

I found Joseph Basch, Jr. traveling with a woman named Lola Basch in 1958; I assume this was the woman Alan Weiler remembered as Winola.

The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels and Airplanes Arriving at Miami, Florida.; NAI Number: 2771998; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85,  Ancestry.com. Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963

She was born Lola Brown, daughter of James Brown and Lisa Sparks, on October 31, 1916, in Ivyton, Kentucky.9 In 1940, she was working as a servant in a household in Johnson County, Kentucky. So maybe in some sense Joseph did not lie to his mother—Lola had been at one time a maid, although in someone else’s home.10

Joseph Basch, Sr., died June 17, 1953,11 and his wife Ida died two years later on March 3, 1955.12 They were survived by their two children and two grandchildren. Their daughter Elene died in Columbus on November 25, 1973,13 followed just two months later by her husband Robert Weiler on January 28, 1974.14  For more about Elene and Robert and their lives, I highly recommend the oral interview done with their son Alan in 2008, which you can find here.

Joseph Basch, Jr., died on December 31, 1988, at the age of 82.15 I found this intriguing death notice in the January 2, 1989 Detroit News (p. 26):

“Basch,” Detroit News, January 2, 1989, p. 26.

Who are these stepchildren? Is “Lois” really Lola? The only seemingly relevant link I could locate was to Charles Fryman. I found a Charles W. Fryman born in Perry, Kentucky, on November 27, 1943, on the Kentucky Birth Index listed with a mother named Lola Ball.16  The Social Security Applications and Claims Index lists Charles Willie Fryman born November 27, 1941, with parents Charlie I Fryman and Lola Brown.17 I could not find any marriage record for Lola Brown and/or Charlie Fryman, however, so perhaps Charles W. Fryman was born outside of wedlock. He is listed on the Social Security Death Index with a birth date of November 27, 1942, and a date of death of July 15, 2000.18 He certainly appears to have been Lola Brown’s son. I could not find any connections to Lee Compton or Lucy Jacobs, however.

At any rate, although Joseph Basch, Jr., may never have had children with Lola, he certainly seemed to have a large family of stepchildren and step-grandchildren in his life.

With this post, I close another chapter in the family of my four-times great-uncle Simon Goldsmith and his children with his first wife Eveline Katzenstein and specifically the story of their daughter Lena. Lena Goldsmith Basch seems to have been a strong and smart woman, a woman who not only raised her children and cared for her husband Gustavus, but who ran a business and helped to support her family financially. She and her children left their mark on their long-time home of Columbus, Ohio.

Now I will turn back to and complete the stories of Simon’s children with his second wife, my three-times great-aunt Fradchen Schoenthal—my double cousins Henry and Hannah Goldsmith.


  1.  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2481; Volume #: Roll 2481 – Certificates: 397850-398349, 21 Apr 1924-22 Apr 1924,
    Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  2. Adolph Weiler and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 4, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1181; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0074; FHL microfilm: 1375194, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  3. Columbus (OH) Dispatch, October 26, 1930, p. 39; Robert Weiler, 1930 US census, Census Place: Marion, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0191; FHL microfilm: 2341527, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  4. Robert Weiler and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Bexley, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03068; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 25-4, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census  
  5. Joseph and Ida Basch, 1940 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03242; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 93-55, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Joseph Basch, Jr., 1930 US census, Census Place: Highland Park, Wayne, Michigan; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0994; FHL microfilm: 2340809,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  7. Basch family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0029; FHL microfilm: 2341529, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. Joseph Basch, Jr., 1940 US census, Census Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: m-t0627-01844; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 84-158, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. SSN: 400363565, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  10. Lola Brown, 1940 US census, Census Place: Johnson, Kentucky; Roll: m-t0627-01322; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 58-13, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. SSN 297323868, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12. “Mrs. Ida Basch,” Columbus (OH) Dispatch, March 4, 1955, p. 48. Ancestry.com. Web: Columbus, Ohio, Green Lawn Cemetery Index, 1780-2010 
  13.  Certificate: 085726; Volume: 21489, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  14.  Certificate: 002636; Volume: 21563, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  15. SSN: 365167257, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  16. Volume Number: 058, Certificate Number: 28711, Volume Year: 1945, Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Birth Index, 1911-1999 
  17. SSN: 405567939, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  18.  Number: 405-56-7939; Issue State: Kentucky; Issue Date: 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

19 thoughts on “Lena Goldsmith Basch, Final Chapter: Joseph Basch’s Twins

  1. I am not surprised to read about Joseph’s attempt to present his wife as a maid to his domineering mother. In those days, parents had so much more control over their children, even when the children had grown into adults. My own experience with my wife’s parents tells me a lot about the power her mother exerted. And Joseph’s dilemma happened in the 1930’s. Thank God, we have come a long way towards greater freedom in the relationship between parents and their children. Have a great day, Amy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You certainly did have those issues with your in-laws so you can fully appreciate why Joseph led a somewhat secret life. And I agree—I would never imagine doing to my children what that generation did to theirs. Thanks, Peter!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How sad Joseph felt he had to keep his marriage from his mother. I was going to say something about how much better things are now, but I know gay couples who hide their relationship from family, and there are countless young women in the world who have to run away and live in fear of violent retribution in order to marry someone they love. Families are strange and powerful institutions — and so enjoyable to research.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There certainly are still those who become estranged from their families after a marriage that parents do not approve. And it seems Joseph Jr may have had some issues with his parents long before Lola came around. After all he moved away from Columbus unlike almost every other member of the extended family except for a few of the women who married men from different places and followed their new husbands.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder if Joseph didn’t want his mother to know because his wife already had children…sounds like his mother would not have approved. Always sad when families splinter over silly little things.

    Also, I can’t believe someone with epilepsy wasn’t allowed to marry! And how does one define “habitual drunkard?” That marriage certificate is very interesting!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Times were certainly different, weren’t they? Can you imagine denying someone the right to marry for those reasons? Awful.

      It could be that she had children or that she wasn’t Jewish or that she wasn’t “classy” enough for Ida.

      Like

  4. I had a little trouble responding so this is a second try. Joseph certainly caused quite a response on this post. I had to laugh and totally get it! My ‘adopting’ Mom had a very strong personality. Things would have gone a lot smoother if I had introduced my husband as the gardener or handyman and left it at that. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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