My Goldschmidt Family Project: Looking Back and Looking Forward

With this post, I come to the end of my Goldschmidt research—at least until I get new updates or make new discoveries. I’ve done my best to find whatever records, stories, and photographs exist for Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann, my four-times great-grandparents, and their descendants.1

I started blogging about my Goldschmidt relatives a little over three years ago on January 12, 2018, making it the longest of any of my family research projects.  And it’s been such a rich and rewarding journey. I’ve connected with Goldschmidt/Goldsmith cousins in France, England, and all over the United States. Some of those cousins have roots in the US that are as deep as mine—going back to the 1840s when Simon Goldschmidt/Goldsmith arrived or the 1850s when my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein arrived; some are the children of those who were born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany, and were forced to leave their comfortable and successful lives to escape from the Nazis as recently as the 1930s or 1940s.

One thread that runs through so much of the Goldschmidt family is an interest in the arts and literature—whether in writing, as with Milton Goldsmith and Anna Seghers, or an interest in antiquarian books, as with Alfred Goldsmith and Emil Offenbacher, or in music like Florence Goldsmith, or  in creating art like William Sigmund and Martha Loewenthal Wolff, or by working as an art historian and curator like Yvonne Hackenbroch, and, of course, then there are the many, many Goldschmidt family members involved in collecting and dealing in art—from the Goldschmidt brothers Jacob Meier and Selig to Julius Falk Goldschmidt to the Freres Tedesco family and so on.

Alfred Goldsmith self-portrait, Joseph J. Felcone, The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006), p. 5.

Painting by Martha Loewenthal Wolff

Of course, there were also many merchants, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and scientists in the Goldschmidt clan. But when I think of my father’s artistic ability and his passion for art, architecture, music, and literature, I attribute it to his Goldschmidt DNA. His mother was artistic, and she was the granddaughter of Eva Goldschmidt. My great-uncle Harold Schoenthal, also a grandchild of Eva Goldschmidt, was also an artist and an architect. My daughter is also very artistic, though she did not pursue it as a career. When I see my grandsons drawing, I think, “It must be their Goldschmidt DNA.” I may not be artistic, but I’d like to think that my love of reading and writing comes from that Goldschmidt DNA as well.

The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers

The Rabbi and The Priest by Milton Goldsmith

After three years of research, it’s hard to boil down in one post all that I have learned. That research has exposed me to so much of American Jewish history and German Jewish history—from the late eighteenth century right up to 2020. The Goldschmidts kept my brain busy during this pandemic time, and they provided me with some truly memorable Zoom calls with cousins.

It has been an amazing experience. I am indebted to so many of my Goldschmidt cousins that I fear if I make a list, I will leave someone out. But thank you to all of you who shared your family’s photographs, letters, memoirs, documents, and stories. I hope that I’ve served our extended family well by recording the stories of their lives for posterity. And please stay in touch! I want to meet as many of you as I can in person someday soon.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Madame Stumpf and Her Daughter, 1872. Courtesy of the National Gallery.
Once owned by the Freres Tedesco Gallery, Paris

A work from the Guelph Treasure
Reliquary of the arm of Saint Blaise (Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Dankwarderode Castle). User:Brunswyk, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons. Once owned by J&S Goldschmidt

It’s bittersweet to reach this point and know it’s time to move on to the next project. But I’ve gone as far as I can go in the Goldschmidt research—at least for now.  I need to decide what to do next. I’ve been dipping my toes in several ponds to see which one grabs my attention.

Before I reveal where I am going next, however, I need to take a break for a bit to catch my breath and to catch up on the research it will take to start that new project, whatever it may be. But first, I will introduce my new novel. So stay tuned!

  1. I would be remiss in my duties as a family historian if I didn’t mention that in addition to their four sons Meyer, Seligmann, Lehmann, and Simon, whom I’ve studied in depth, my four-times great-grandparents Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Seligmann had a daughter Jette Goldschmidt. She married David Gruenwald of Poembsen, Germany, and they had two children. One died as an infant or was stillborn, but the other, Jacob Gruenwald, was born in 1820, lived to adulthood, married Sarah Nethe, and had fourteen children born between 1847 and 1872. All of this information, however, is based purely on a secondary source, a report in the Alex Bernstein Collection at the Leo Baeck Institute. I’ve tried to locate more information about Jette’s descendants, but so far have not succeeded. If the day comes when I can, I will add Jette’s family to the blog. 

40 thoughts on “My Goldschmidt Family Project: Looking Back and Looking Forward

  1. A wonderful ending to your Goldschmidt saga. The best part of blogging, after the cousin connection, is being able to continually add new material as information is discovered.

    And at the end of this journey, you just happen to let us know you’ve been writing a new novel. I can’t wait to read about it and get a copy. Have a nice rest, Amy. You deserve it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brotmansblog. Since the Goldsmith is here referred to . Then I hardly have anything to do with Jacob Falke . But someone named Aaron Goldsmith- possibly spelled differently. He was half -brother to our Jacob Bendix with the Hebrew name Benedictus Baruch Goldschmidt Kassel Levie 1686- 1777 (37 ?) with wife Esther Nathan 1686 – 1770 . Has previously been detected in black and white , but the proof is now unfortunately. Possibly the Aaron came from the Netherlands and later moved to Sweitz , where he somehow came from II World War II in good ness anyway. He was missing from our Family Tree , but is now set up where he needs to be updated . It should then not to be more to add since it is noted before as i sav.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy, That’s such an interesting thought about the art DNA,, my grandmother, Florence Goldsmith Levy studied Art at the New School in NYC, her grandson (my cousin) John Harris studied art and worked as a designer for Cole of California, I studied art, did my dissertaion on Children’s art  and taught figure drawing and 2D design at Syracuse University for several years before switching to the private sector, both my sons are naturally talented artists and 3 grands are also talented.   Maybe it is in the DNA!  I just thought everyone had artistic ability!   Stay well,Liz

    Nanarella’s Fruit PatéMorrill Mountain Fruit FarmPO Box 272, 16 Redden RdSo Strafford, VT 05070(802)

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  4. Best wishes on your next project, whatever it may be, Amy! You must feel good and accomplished after three years of intensive research and writing on the Goldschmidt family. Since you will disappear from the WordPress radar screen for a while, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the thoughtful and understanding comments on the Klopp family blog.
    I am looking forward to reading your blog when you have decided on what your next project is going to be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Peter, and don’t worry—just because I may not be posting in the next several weeks (or whatever it takes) doesn’t mean I won’t keep reading your blog. I am not leaving cyberspace—just need time to find my direction.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Amy, the Goldscmidt’s were very accomplished and what a great insight for you to discover and connect with new cousins. I’m really looking forward to reading your new book- as is my daughter.
    Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You have done an amazing job of documenting this family. I’ve not noticed passions or careers going through a line but I will sure be on the lookout for it now. Looking forward to reading your next book!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Teresa! I have a few ideas, but also a project that may not lend itself to blogging—organizing all my folders on my computer. Not the most exciting, but I know you would appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have totally enjoyed following along, learning about your Goldschmidt family, delighting in each cousin connection, tearful through the heartache and tragedies, delighting in the art, and loving the photos. Loved the wrap up and now a novel? My interest is peeked and excited for the reveal.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Amy,

    I the stories of your Godschmidt/Goldsmith family are truly remarkable. Like you, I’d love to know the story of Fanny’s missing years and how she survived WWII. The early years of Gunther and Helmut Rapp and their seven year journey through Italy, Great Britain, Brazil and finally on to the USA had to have played a part in their early development and later lives. They would have become knowledgeable of the world. I wonder just how much the older child, Helmut, was aware of why they had embarked on such a journey. The stress that it must have placed upon the parents had to have been great. How fortunate so many of your family members were to manage to escape. Especially, after the fall of France when there were so few exit routes.

    Thanks again for sharing you family’s stories. Your stories provide us a window into German Jewish life in the 19th and 20th centuries. For most, it had to be impossible to see how the Germany would change with the rise of the Nazi’s, until it began to happen. Sometimes we don’t appreciate that the survivors were also victims and how much they lost.

    Ted B Wendeln

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: People Read Footnotes! Another Twist in the Family Tree | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  10. I would like to know if there is a relationship with your genealogy.
    I read an article about Grünewald from Pömbsen, hence my Great-grandfather Egon David and my great-grandfather Moses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a Moses Gruenewald on my tree but he was born far too long ago to be your great grandfather. I don’t have anyone named Egon on my tree. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a connection. Who were your earlier ancestors from Poembsen?


      • Moses was a great-great-grandfather. he came to Argentina in 1936, with Rachel Schönstadt and her children. My great-grandfather was Egon David Grünewald.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. No, I’m just looking for more information. I know they were from Pömbsen, I understand that community was not very big, so when I saw Moses and David it caught my attention. When I find out I’ll inform you.

    Liked by 1 person

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