Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s Family in the 1890s: Years of Transition

Although the 1880s were mostly happy years for Ella and her family, William’s death in 1887 brought heartbreak to the family.

The next decade started off well for the family of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund. On January 16, 1891, Simon Sigmund married Helen Hirshberg, daughter of Henry and Mary Hirshberg, both of whom were German immigrants. Helen was born in Maryland in 1866. Her father owned a paint store in Baltimore.1 Simon and Helen had one child, a son Harold born in Baltimore one year after their marriage on January 4, 1892.2

Marriage record for Simon Sigmund and Helen Hirshberg, Maryland State Archives, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

Ella and Albert celebrated the birth of another grandchild in 1892 when Henrietta Sigmund Katzenstein gave birth to her sixth and final child a month later in Washington, Pennsylvania. Their son Vernon was born on February 8, 1892.

On December 2, 1893, Stella Sigmund married Samuel L. Goldman in Baltimore.  Does that name sound familiar? It should because Samuel Goldman was the brother of Emma Goldman, the wife of Joseph Sigmund, and of Harry Goldman, the husband of Molly Sigmund. So three Sigmund siblings married three Goldman siblings. And Samuel also was the father of Leman Poppi Goldman, husband of Flora Wolfe, my Schoenthal cousin.  Samuel was a widower when he married Stella; his first wife Amanda Kann had died on March 30, 1892, leaving him with six children ranging in age from seven to eighteen.3

Marriage record of Estella Sigmund and Samuel L Goldman, Maryland State Archives, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

But sadly Samuel was to become a widower again just a year and half after marrying Stella. She died on July 24, 1895, after being ill for several months. She was only 35 years old. Ella and Albert had outlived yet another child.  Stella was the fourth child to predecease them.

Obituary for Stella Sigmund Goldman, The Baltimore Sun,  Baltimore, Maryland
26 Jul 1895, Fri • Page 8

Meanwhile, Joseph Sigmund and his family left Baltimore in the 1890s for Pittsburgh. Joseph had run into financial problems with his business in Baltimore and had made an assignment for the benefit of creditors to a trustee in December 1891. He apparently had debts exceeding $40,000. According to the newspaper, a particularly warm winter had contributed to a drop in fur and hat sales.

The Baltimore Sun, December 30, 1891, p. 4

In 1893, lawsuits that had been filed by numerous creditors against Joseph Sigmund were settled:

Baltimore Sun, May 23, 1893, p. 8

In the aftermath of these losses and lawsuits, Joseph must have decided to leave Baltimore and get a fresh start in Pittsburgh. By 1896 he was working in the advertising business in Pittsburgh for the advertising firm Solomon & Ruben.4

Ella and her family suffered another loss on January 26, 1896 when her husband Albert died at age 77. The Baltimore Sun published this obituary the following day:

Obituary, Albert Sigmund, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland
27 Jan 1896, Mon • Page 7

But the end of the decade brought some better news as there were two more weddings. May Sigmund married Gerson Cahn in Baltimore on April 24, 1898.

Marriage record of Gerson Cahn and May Sigmund, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

Gerson was the son of Felix Cahn and Jenny Newmyer. His father was a German immigrant and was in the wholesale millinery business; his mother was born in either Maryland or DC and died when Felix was a young boy.5 Gerson and May had one child, a son born on November 6, 1899, named Felix Albert Cahn,6 who was obviously named for both of his grandfathers (though Gerson’s father was still living). In 1900, Gerson and May and their son Felix Albert (listed as Albert on the census) were living with May’s mother, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund, and two servants. Gerson was working as a fur salesman.

Gerson Cahn and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

The last of Ella and Albert Sigmund’s children to marry was their son Leo. He married Claudia Hirsch in Philadelphia in 1899.7 They would have two children born in the 1900s, Tracy Edna born in May 19008 and Albert Lloyd Sigmund, born September 17, 1902,9 the last-born grandchild of Ella and Albert, bringing the total number of grandchildren to 22.

As the 1890s drew to a close, there was one more transition in the family. Joseph Sigmund moved with his wife and daughters from Pittsburgh to Denver on the advice of his doctors:

“Joseph Sigmund Goes to Denver,” The Pittsburgh Daily Post, October 1, 1899, p. 23

Thus, as of 1900, Ella Goldschmidt was a widow and had outlived four of her ten children: Jacob, Lena, William, and Stella. The 1900 census record says she had five living children, but I count six: Henrietta, Simon, Joseph, Leo, Mollie, and May. Soon, however, there would only be five. Perhaps Ella foresaw the doom of one more of her children.


  1. Henry Hirshberg and family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: M593_573; Page: 72A; Family History Library Film: 552072, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  2. Harold Sigmund, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1766139; Draft Board: 120, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918  
  3. Amanda Goldman death notice, The Baltimore Sun, April 1, 1892, p. 2. 
  4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1896, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. “Advertising Man Taken by Death,” The Denver Post, October 28, 1930, p, 8. 
  5. Death certificate of Gerson Cahn. Marriage record of Felix Cahn and Jenny Newmyer, 1864, Film Number: 002079252, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Marriage Records, 1810-1953. What I have not yet been able to determine is whether Jenny Newmyer was somehow related to Adelaide Newmyer, wife of William Sigmund. I am awaiting receipt of Jenny’s death certifcate. 
  6. Maryland State Archives, Baltimore Birth Index, Certificate B5470, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/series.aspx?action=viewseries&id=cm1134 
  7. Marriage Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, Marriage Year: 1899
    Marriage License Number: 115918, Digital GSU Number: 4141922, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  8. Leo Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  9. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W23-G4M : 10 February 2018), Claudia Hirsch in entry for Albert Lloyd Sigmund, 24 Oct 1938; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,108,250. 

12 thoughts on “Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s Family in the 1890s: Years of Transition

  1. A debt of $40,000 was an incredible financial burden for Joseph Sigmund. The sum in today’s currency most likely exceeded a million dollars. It is a characteristic of resilience that Joseph Sigmund was able to survive this great financial loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There were so many interesting facts/statements in this post from Joseph Sigmund ‘the clever ad writer’, the obit for Albert on the board of the state penitentiary and director of the Bayview Asylum to the exorbitant $40,000 debt to the triple sibling wedding and the death of Stella at 35… you have a few rabbit holes you could go down – great post Amy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Cathy. I am tempted, but I am resisting! I am trying to stay focused on what I can these days. Lots of other stuff going on, and for now genealogy is my escape and my refuge.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Amy, I really enjoyed this account regarding the lives of the Goldschmidt family. Joseph endured heavy financial loss but was able to start again in another commodity which shows great strength of character. Also Stella’s untimely death, what a terrible blow for Samuel after losing his first wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Court-Martial of Albert F. Cahn: Military Justice? | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  5. Pingback: The “Good and Noble Angel of A Sister,” Sarah Goldschmidt Stern | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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