The Goldfarbs 1921-1926: An Abundance of New Grandchildren

As of 1920, Sarah (Brod) and Samuel Goldfarb had five grandchildren: Julius’ daughters Sylvia and Gertrude, Bessie’s sons Norman and Gustave, and Morris’ son Martin. The next five years saw that number more than double.

On September 17, 1922,1 Joe Goldfarb, Sarah and Sam’s third oldest son and fifth child, married Rebecca “Betty” Amer in Brooklyn, New York. Betty was the daughter of Morris Amer and Helen Greenberg (also known as Chaia, Annie, Anna, and Ida on various records), and she was born in New York on January 5, 1900.2 Her parents were immigrants from what is now Poland, and in 1915 her father was working as a “cloak operator.”3

Joe Goldfarb and Betty Amer’s wedding invitation

Joe and Betty had their first child, Marvin, on April 15, 1923, in Jersey City, New Jersey.4 My cousin Alyce shared this adorable photo of Marvin as a toddler:

Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1924 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joe and Betty’s second child, Francine, was born two years later on July 29, 1925, also in Jersey City.5

Julius and Ida (Hecht) Goldfarb also had two more children between 1920 and 1925. Ethel Goldfarb was born on March 3, 1923, in Jersey City, just a month before her cousin Marvin.6 And Evelyn Goldfarb was born in Jersey City on January 9, 1925, six months or so before Francine.7

Jersey City was also the birthplace of Betty (Goldfarb) and Meyer Malzberg’s third child, Burton Malzberg. He was born there on March 23, 1923.8 Imagine how Sam and Sarah must have felt—they had three grandchildren born in the spring of 1923 just weeks apart from each other and then two more born in 1925.

Sam and Sarah Goldfarb thus had nine grandchildren living in Jersey City by the summer of 1925, including Julius’ two older daughters Sylvia and Gertrude and Bessie’s two older sons Norman and Gustave. To top it off, their tenth and eleventh grandchildren were living in the same builiding in Brooklyn at 526 Williams Street. As seen on the 1925 New York State census, their son Morris and his wife Anna and their two sons Martin and Irvin were living right next door to them. (Martin is incorrectly enumerated here as a girl named Martha.) Irvin was born in Brooklyn on February 2, 1922.9 Morris now owned a grocery store.

Goldfarbs 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 49; Assembly District: 02; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 45
Source Information New York, U.S., State Census, 1925

All of Sam and Sarah’s children were thus married by 1925 except the two youngest: Leo and Rose. Rose was still living at home, as seen on the census record. I had a hunch that Leo was living in Jersey City where Julius, Bessie, and Joe were all living that year. That hunch was confirmed when I located this entry in the 1925 Jersey City directory:

Jersey City directory 1925, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Sarah and Sam must have been thrilled to see their family growing and progressing in America. With eleven grandchildren (and more to come) and their sons and son-in-law finding businesses and work to support those grandchildren, their decision to immigrate thirty years before must have seemed a very wise one.

Unfortunately Sam did not live to see those grandchildren grow up as he died on October 24, 1926, in Brooklyn. His death certificate states that he died from chronic heart disease and bronchitis and that he was seventy years old.

Samuel Goldfarb death certificate, New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch ( : 3 June 2020), Samuel Goldfarb, 1926.

Sam Goldfarb, my great-great-aunt Sarah’s husband, lived a life that paralled that of so many American immigrants of his time. He came alone to the United States, leaving behind his wife and four children. They followed him a few years later, and the family ended up in the Lower East Side of New York. He worked as a tailor in the sweatshops of New York, making enough to support his wife and their now seven children until those children were old enough to work and then to have families of their own. He lost one child to the dreadful flu epidemic of 1918-1919. He died from heart disease, leaving behind eleven grandchildren as well as his widow Sarah and their surviving six children.

He took the risk of leaving his homeland in Europe to make a better life for those children and grandchildren. How courageous these immigrants were to gamble everything for the chance of a better life for their families.




  1. Wedding invitation depicted above. Family tree received from Susan Wartur. 
  2. I could not locate a birth record for Betty on either Ancestry or FamilySearch, but that date appears on the SSDI: Betty Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 052-52-2394
    Birth Date: 5 Jan 1900, Issue Year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11361, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1973, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Her parents’ names came from the wedding invitation depicted above and various census records from 1905, 1910, and 1915. 
  3. Morris Amer and family, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 50; Assembly District: 23; City: New York; County: Kings; Page: 134, New York, U.S., State Census, 1915 
  4. Marvin Goldfarb, Birth Date: 15 Apr 1923, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey
    Death Date: 2 Feb 1988, Father: Henry J Goldfarb [?], Mother: Betty Amer
    SSN: 089166702, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  5. Francine Goldfarb, [Francine Shapiro], Birth Date: 29 Jul 1925, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 28 Aug 1998, Father: Joseph Goldfarb, Mother:
    Betty Amer, SSN: 112182207, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. Ethel Rothman, Social Security Number: 150-16-3474, Birth Date: 3 Mar 1923
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Death Date: 28 Dec 2011, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2. Family records obtained from Sue Wartur. 
  7. Evelyn Goldfarb, [Evelyn Block], [Evelyn Hutchinson], Birth Date: 8 Jan 1925
    Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 9 May 2006, Father: Julius Goldfarb
    Mother: Ida Hecht, SSN: 150162519, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. Burton Malzberg, Birth Date: 23 Mar 1923, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, ]
    Death Date: 5 Mar 1994, Claim Date: 2 Sep 1971, Father: Meyer Malzberg, Mother:
    Bessie Goldfarb, SSN: 140187837, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. Irvin Goldfarb, Birth Date: 2 Feb 1922, Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 5602, New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965 

25 thoughts on “The Goldfarbs 1921-1926: An Abundance of New Grandchildren

    • Thanks, Cathy! I hate how FB cropped Marvin’s head off the photo. I haven’t figured out a way to fix that problem.

      I also wonder whether the explosion of new grandchildren was somehow related to the death of Gussie in 1919. Were her siblings trying to find ways to fill the hole she left behind? In any event, all those new babies had to lift everyone’s spirits!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Facebook prefers images that are twice as wide as they are high. I’ve been creating feature images for my posts that are 500px by 250px. I keep them small so that I don’t go over the free limit for images.

        When I looked at Marvin’s photo again, I noticed a man’s hand holding him on his lower back.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will try and keep that in mind when I select the featured image. What’s odd is that often FB displays the photo to the left of the text from the post, but sometimes it does what it did today—the image above the text.

        I have to go back and look at that photo! Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. In those days it was still possible to raise such large families. Today young couples struggle to stay financially afloat with just two children. I also like the photo of cute little Marvin Goldfarb very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think people back then had little control over the number of children and sadly I think that many struggled to feed and clothe those children adequately. Things are definitely more costly today, but we also expect a higher standard of living for ourselves and our children and are more able to control family size. Even those with unlimited funds seem not to want large families any more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As so often the truth lies somewhat in the middle. While in the olden days people had no control over the number of children and therefore often wound up to be very poor, in very many cases the whole family as the children were growing up provided emotional and financial support for one another. As you mentioned in your comment: Even those with unlimited funds seem not to want large families any more. The result of this modern trend is loneliness, depression and dependence on the government to solve their problems. As I have read many of your posts on your family (many of them born around the turn ot the previous century) most of them did well even with a large number of children. My wife and did well with our five sons, even though we had to make great financial sacrifices for awhile. They have become engineer, college teacher, tax consultant, business manager and IT expert. Now we can relax and enjoy having such a wonderful bond with our sons and grandchildren.

        Liked by 1 person

      • All very true. Of course, sometimes those large families are dysfunctional and divided, creating even more loneliness. And sometimes small families resulted in tighter bonds and less loneliness. No particular family configuration guarantees happiness, I’m afraid. From my research and my own personal experiences, I’ve seen over and over again how families can be a source of pain or a source of joy. But I am so glad that for you and yours there has been so much joy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is indeed a heartfelt post. So sad that Sam Goldfarb passed away before he could see his grandchildren grow up, however he had the joy of knowing they were born.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true, Shirley. People probably didn’t expect to see grandchildren as adults back then just as today we don’t expect to see great-grandchildren grow up unless we are really, really lucky.


  3. Marvin is adorable on that pony. That was a popular post and photo op for that time frame. Sarah and Sam were truly blessed with a beautiful family. I can imagine some wonderful family gatherings as their family grew.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sharon. It seems many of the family members stayed in touch for a long time, but over time people lost touch. I have been fortunate now to bring together many of the great-grandchildren of Sarah and Sam.


  4. I don’t know why that photo of Marvin reminds me so much of my dad. Not really the way he looks but the fact that he was riding on a pony. My dad was born in 1927 so about the same time frame.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope that stirred up good memories! I think people loved taking photos of relatives on horses and ponies. I know somewhere there’s some photos my dad took of me and my siblings on ponies.


  5. Pingback: Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg and Her Four Sons, Members of the Greatest Generation | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  6. Pingback: My Grandmother’s Cousin Joe Goldfarb: A Hard-working Family Man | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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