Milton’s Family Album, Part XIV: Teasing His Little Brother

Having created pages about his grandparents, his parents, and himself, Milton Goldsmith turned to his siblings, starting with his brother Edwin.

Here is Edwin with his wife Jennie Friedberger:

And here is the biography that Milton wrote about Edwin:

A couple of observations about this biography:

First, I had to look up “caul” as I’d never heard of this before or the superstition associated with it, but this website confirmed what Milton said. A baby born with the amniotic sac on its head or even its whole body is said to have been born with a caul. Here’s a video showing such an occurrence:


As for Milton’s remarks about Edwin being registered as a girl at birth, I recalled that when I was researching Edwin, I saw on the Philadelphia birth index that he was identified as a girl. I assumed that that was just an indexing error, but apparently as Milton notes, Edwin was in fact registered as a girl at birth. Unfortunately, I cannot access the image of the actual birth record through FamilySearch; they are only viewable at a Family History Center, and I do not have easy access to one. If anyone lives near one and can retrieve it, please let me know.

I found Milton’s tone here that of the teasing older sibling as opposed to the serious, almost reverential tone of his other biographies. It is clear that Milton found it humorous that his little brother was registered as a girl.

But the remainder of this biography is obviously written with respect and admiration for his brother and all his accomplishments. This biography must have been written sometime after 1935 when Edwin retired, as mentioned in the essay, and before Edwin’s death on November 15, 1944, because Milton added that fact by the handwritten note above the biography. I think this also is a clue as to when Milton compiled the album—sometime between 1935 and 1944.

In another album I found this photograph of Edwin:

Edwin Goldsmith at 24

The only other article on this page is the obituary for Edwin’s wife Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith:

I won’t quote the entire obituary, but just this excerpt:

The death of Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith … after an illness of six weeks, brought sorrow to the family’s large circle of friends throughout the community. Mrs. Goldsmith, who was 67 years of age, was stricken with a heart ailment on June 5, while attending to some business matters at the offices of the Pennsylvania Company, and her condition became so serious that she was removed to the Jefferson Hospital.

…She was active in social and charitable work in Philadelphia and in Atlantic City….She possessed a wide circle of friends and was esteemed and beloved for her sterling qualities of heart and mind. Her abilities and energies were of an unusually high order. At her summer home in Longport as well as in her beautiful home in Philadelphia, she was a gracious hostess to her numerous friends for many years. Her passing is widely mourned….

The page following this contains a long article about Milton’s brother-in-law Felix Gerson, husband and widower of Emily Goldsmith and editor of The Jewish Exponent newspaper, on the occasion of his retirement. I won’t excerpt this one, but if you click on the image, you can zoom in and read it. I have already written about Felix elsewhere.

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

I will be taking a break for the next couple of weeks, so see you all in June! 

22 thoughts on “Milton’s Family Album, Part XIV: Teasing His Little Brother

  1. Edwin and his wife Jenny appear quite modern on the photo. I wonder why such a fundamental error on the birthday certificate had never been corrected.
    Enjoy the break, Amy! You deserve to relax a little after all the difficult and laborious research you have done. Best wishes! Peter

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Amy, most interesting as I had never come across the word “caul” before. Milton paid
    homage to his brother Edwin and wife Jennie through memoirs and family photo’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry that I’m responding in my wrong persona ;). But I wanted to write while my thoughts were fresh. I think his tone is teasing, but if I was Ed, I would be tired of that joke (just defending Ed here). The whole family is very talented and has a multitude of interests IMO. While I never heard anybody in “real life” talk about being born with a caul, the notion of it was very familiar to me from a young age, probably because I was a ridiculous book nerd from the age of 4. A lot of older books used to mention this superstition. I’m not sure it worked for Ed, if he was paralyzed . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess we were reading different books because it sure was new to me! And I bet you’re right that Ed hated that old joke, but that may have been why Milton kept using it! You know how siblings can be…


  4. Hi, I don’t think you and I are related, but I suspect we have common relatives. I found your blog when I was looking for information on the Volkmarsen mikveh, which I recently visited. We seem to have several surnames in common, but I can’t find your people in my tree. I’m descended from the Rothschild family of Vöhl, which is about 40 km south of Volkmarsen
    I read you need someone to visit a Family History Library for you to find a document. I live about 20 minutes away from downtown Salt Lake and would be happy to go look anything up for you. Please email me with what you need.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re so lucky to have all this material! And thanks for the info about a caul – I’d often wondered what it was. (I found the video a little disturbing, though… but that’s just me being squeamish!)

    Liked by 1 person

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

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

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

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

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