Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die?

Searching for information about the death of my great-grandmother’s second cousin Baruch Blumenfeld led me down several rabbit holes. And I am still digging!

The first thirty years of his life were easy to uncover. Baruch Blumenfeld was the second child born to Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss. He was born on January 29, 1843, in Neustadt, Germany.

Baruch Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 628, p. 13

On February 20, 1872, he married Emma Docter, daughter of Joseph Docter and Zerline Wallach. Emma was born on February 9, 1848, in Gilserberg, Germany; her father was a veterinarian. Baruch was a merchant.

Emma Docter birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 359, p. 8

Marriage record for Baruch Blumenfeld and Emma Docter, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 629, S. 19

Baruch and Emma had two daughters. Antonie was born in Momberg on December 25, 1872, and Charlotte Jeanette was born three years later on June 28, 1875, also in Momberg.

Antonie Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628, S. 29

Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6458, Year Range: 1875, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Antonie married Sussel Siegfried Engelbert on November 5, 1894, in Neustadt. He was born on January 3, 1867, in Kassel, Germany, to Jacob Engelbert and Julie Oppenheim. Siegfried was a merchant.

Antonie Blumenfeld and Siegfried Engelbert marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6504, Year Range: 1894
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

I am very grateful to Antonie’s great-granddaughter Marsha who shared the wonderful photographs of Antonie and her family included in this post. This is a photograph of Antonie and Siegfried on the occasion of their engagement.

Antonie Blumenfeld and Siegfried Engelbert engagement, c. 1894

Antonie and Sussel had three children. Margot Engelbert was born on November 15, 1895, in Kassel.

Margot Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5120, Year Range: 1895, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Joseph Julius Engelbert was born on October 18, 1897, in Kassel.

Siegfried Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5129, Year Range: 1897, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Elfriede Caroline Engelbert was born on June 3, 1900, in Kassel.

Elfriede Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5143, Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Here are two photographs of the Engelbert children, generously shared by Baruch’s great-great-granddaughter Marsha.

Elfriede Engelbert, c. 1901

Julius, Margot, and Elfriede Engelbert, c. 1902

On January 24, 1900, Antonie’s sister Charlotte married Hermann Hammel, son of Abraham Hammel and Karoline Kahn. Hermann was born in Roedelheim bei Frankfurt on November 5, 1867. He was previously married to Thekla Kass, who had died on July 21, 1898,  one week after giving birth to their daughter Caecelia, who then died when she was less than a month old on August 5, 1898.1 Charlotte and Hermann had one daughter together, Klara, born on February 17, 1901, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld and Hermann Hammel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6510
Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Thus, by February, 1901, Baruch and Emma (Docter) Blumenfeld had four grandchildren.

Emma died on December 2, 1917; she was 69 years old. She’d been very fortunate to live to see those four grandchildren grow up or at least reach their teenage years.

Emma Docter Blumenfeld death record, Emma Blumenfeld, Maiden Name: Docter
Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 69, Birth Date: abt 1848, Death Date: 2 Dez 1917 (2 Dec 1917)
Death Place: Kassel, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Kassel I
Father: Joseph Docter, Mother: Juline Docter, Certificate Number: 1512, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5555, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Now we get to the mystery. Emma’s death record describes her as a widow, which would mean that Baruch had predeceased her. But I could not find a death record for Baruch in Germany nor has anyone else.

Several Ancestry trees and other secondary sources reported that Baruch died in New York City on September 22, 1923. When I first saw that, I was skeptical. Was this a mistake? Had someone attached a death record for the wrong Baruch Blumenfeld and then been copied by other tree owners?  I started to search for a source to prove where Baruch died.

Although I didn’t yet have the actual death certificate for the Baruch Blumenfeld who died on September 22, 1923, in New York, I found transcription on FamilySearch:2

Name    Baruch Blummenfeld

Sex         Male

Age        80

Residence Place Manhattan, New York, New York

Address 1505 E 83 St.

Burial Date         24 Sep 1923

Burial Place        Manhattan, New York, New York

Death Date         22 Sep 1923

Death Place        Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States

Death Place (Original)     Manhattan, New York, New York, United States

Birth Year (Estimated)     1843

Birthplace            Germany

Marital Status    Widowed

Occupation         Butcher

Race      White

Father’s Name   Abraham

Father’s Sex        Male

Father’s Birthplace           Germany

Mother’s Name Jette Lhauss

Mother’s Sex      Female

Mother’s Birthplace         Germany

Certificate Number          cn 23689

Cemetery            Union Fields

Note      Lenox Hill Hospital

In many ways this fit my Baruch Blumenfeld. He was a widower in 1923 and 80 years old. He came from a long line of butchers. His father’s name was Abraham. His mother’s name wasn’t Jette Lhauss, but it was Giedel Strauss, and that’s close enough to assume this was a transcription error by the indexer at FamilySearch.

But then…

I found a Baruch Blumenfeld on the 1920 US census living at the address given on this death certificate—1505 East 83rd Street in New York. He was single and living as a boarder with Getter [sic: actually Getta] and Emma Neuberger, who were also German born. But according to the census record, this Baruch had come to the US in 1869 and had become a naturalized US citizen in 1875.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

My Baruch married Emma Docter in 1872 and had two daughters between then and 1875 in Neustadt, Germany. How could he have been living in the United States and getting naturalized there? Was he living in New York and traveling to Germany to father those children? Or could the Baruch Blumenfeld living in New York be a different man who just happened to be born the same year and have a father the same name as my cousin Baruch?

More to come…including the actual death certificate.


  1.  Thekla Kass, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 24, Birth Date: 6 Jul 1871
    Marriage Date: 23 Dez 1895 (23 Dec 1895), Marriage Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main
    Father: Michael Kass, Mother: Esther Kass, Spouse: Hermann Hammel, Certificate Number: 46, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930. Thekla Hammel, Maiden Name: Kass
    Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 27, Birth Date: abt 1871, Death Date: 21 Jul 1898
    Death Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany)
    Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main, Father: Michael Kass
    Mother: Ester Kass, Certificate Number: 76, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. Cäcilie Hammel, Age: 0
    Birth Date: abt 1898, Death Date: 5 Aug 1898, Death Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main
    Father: Hermann Hammel, Mother: Thekla Hammel, Certificate Number: 83,
    Personenstandsregister Sterberegister, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. 
  2. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W1H-FP1 : 3 June 2020), Baruch Blummenfeld, 1923. 

22 thoughts on “Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die?

  1. Love the photo’s of the children. Those tiny toes are precious 🙂 Interesting on that census it has an s for single and not wd, could be just an error. The same address, the age …oh goodness you have a real mystery Amy. Have you found his NA papers? Can’t wait for the reveal

    Liked by 1 person

    • My guess is that either one of the women he was living with or he himself reported that he was single. Maybe he never revealed to them that he was married at one time. You’ll have to wait til Friday for the rest of the story! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Amy,

    I have no information for you about Baruch Blumenfeld, sorry to say. I hope you find it somehow – or that it drops into your lap in some delightfully unexpected way.

    Seeing all those records in this post made me wonder how you found them. Also, do you know whether Germany kept adoption records. My great-grandfather was born in Rumania (though my mother had said he was born in Germany). My mother wrote that he had lived some period of time in an orphanage. I have no idea whether the orphanage experience (assuming it happened at all) was in Rumania or in Germany. He was adopted – again, no idea whether the adoption would have been recorded in Germany or Rumania. Do you have any idea how I might pursue this?

    Your blog is always appealing, interesting, and inspiring. What a gift to your many cousins!

    Thank you! Megen

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Megen, I am not aware of any adoption records in Germany or Romania, but have never looked for them, so there may be. You could ask on jewishgen.org or on one of the many genealogy groups on Facebook. If you need more direction, email me!

      Like

  3. Pingback: Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die, Part II | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  4. Pingback: Baruch Blumenfeld’s Daughter Antonie: Life Before the Nazis | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  5. Pingback: The Final Chapter of Baruch Blumenfeld’s Family: His Daughter Charlotte | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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