Dusschen Dora Blumenfeld and Her Children: Immigrating to America in 1882

I am now up to the fourth child and first daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld II and his wife Giedel Strauss, Dusschen Blumenfeld. Dusschen would have eight children, and I admit that when I looked at that list, I grew a bit weary. After all, Dusschen is only the fourth of the eight children of Abraham II, and Abraham II is the oldest of the three children of Moses Blumenfeld, the oldest sibling of my three-times great-grandmother Breine Blumenfeld Katzenstein.

So I still have so much to do on this Blumenfeld branch of my tree. I am not complaining; well, not really. It’s all good. I am glad to have the work. But sometimes it does feel overwhelming. Does anyone else ever feel that way about researching large families with many children?

And then, to make things even more overwhelming, I ended up confusing two different Dusschen Blumenfelds, one the daughter of Abraham II, one the daughter of his brother Isaac. After getting a lot of help from other researchers, I managed to sort it out and learned which one was born when, which one married which man.1

Anyway, enough kvetching! On to Dusschen Blumenfeld I, the daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss.

She was born on June 27, 1847, in Momberg, Germany.

Birth record of Dusschen Blumenfeld I, daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld. Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 628, p. 16

Unfortunately, that is the only German record I can find for Dusschen I. Since she was later known as Dora, I will use that name going forward when I refer to her.

In 1868, Dora married Meyer Loewenstein,2 who was born in Daubringen, Germany, on November 9, 1839.3 Unfortunately, I do not have an actual birth or marriage record for Meyer, but had to rely on the information that he provided after he immigrated to the United States. Similarly, I had to rely on US records to find the birth dates for his children. Giessen, the town where Dora and Meyer lived in Germany, does not have records online for the dates that are relevant to this family.

UPDATE: Since publishing this post, I was able to obtain a book titled Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 by Hanno Miller (Giessen, 2012) that lists on p, 392 information about Meyer, Dora, and six of their children. Although no primary sources are included, the descriptions of the records include enough detail (time of birth, witnesses to each birth) that the information appears to be quite reliable. According to this source, Meyer was born on November 9, 1839, and Dora and Meyer were married on April 23, 1868.

Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392.

I have noted below where the Juden in Giessen book provides different birth dates for the children of Dora and Meyer than those found in US sources. These discrepancies corroborate the accepted notion that birthdays were less important to European Jews than here in the US and that people estimated their birthdates rather than knowing them exactly.

As noted above, Dora and Meyer had eight children, and the first six of those children were born in Germany. Their first born was Rosalie, born April 3, 1869.4 Then came Moritz, born January 14, 1871.5 A second son Sigmund was born on December 13, 1872,6 and then Hermann, their third son and fourth child, was born December 25, 1874.7

After giving birth to four children in five years, Dora may have had a bit of a respite. Her fifth baby Aaron (later Alfred) was born on January 15, 1879.8 Perhaps that break came because Meyer had been traveling; I found a Meyer Loewenstein from Germany who was 41 years old on an 1878 ship manifest from Hamburg to New York.9 But I can’t be certain that is the same Meyer, given the lack of identifying information on the manifest and the discrepancy in the age.10

Dora and Meyer did have one more child in Germany before immigrating. Their sixth child and second daughter Auguste or Gussie was born on October 30, 1881.11 Dora and her six children sailed to New York from Bremen, arriving on September 9, 1882. The children are listed as Pauline (11 ½), Moritz (10), Sigmund (1 ½ ??), Hermann (7), Alfred (3), and Auguste (1). Meyer was not sailing with them so perhaps he’d returned to the United States before his wife and children though I cannot find him on any manifest after the 1878 one mentioned above.

Listed right above Dora on the 1882 manifest is another Loewenstein family: Isaac Loewenstein (38), his wife Rosa (28) and their two children (presumably), Rosalie (11) and Hermann (9).

Dora Loewenstein and children on ship manifest, Year: 1882; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 1; List Number: 1286, Ship or Roll Number: Elbe
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

I speculated that Isaac was the brother of Meyer Loewenstein. Why? Both ended up settling in Bloomington, Illinois, and both changed their surnames to Livingston (sometimes spelled Livingstone).

In any event, Dora and the children arrived in October 1882 and settled in Bloomington, Illinois, where on January 2, 1884, Dora gave birth to their seventh child and fifth son, Isaac, later Irvin.12 Their last child, Harold, was born on November 16, 1887, in Bloomington.13

Why Bloomington, Illinois? Why did Meyer and Isaac choose that city? I didn’t know the answer until I found a long news article from the Bloomington newspaper, The Pantagraph, dated February 10, 1927. More on that in my next post.



  1. Thank you so much to Richard Bloomfield and Michael Rosenberg for the invaluable assistance with straightening out the two Dusschen Blumenfelds, including helping me find and transcribe their birth records, which appear on the same page of the Momberg registry. 
  2. Livingston family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Bloomington Ward 1, McLean, Illinois; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1240321, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen, 2012), p. 392. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198505/mayer-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Mayer Livingston (Nov 1839–10 Oct 1915), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198505, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) .
  4. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen, 2012), p. 392. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198011/rosalie-m-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Rosalie M “Rosa” Livingston (3 Apr 1869–19 Jul 1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198011, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  5. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen, 2012), p. 392. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198500/maurice-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Maurice Livingston (14 Jan 1871–19 Nov 1923), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198500, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  6. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392. US sources say December 27, 1872 or December 29, 1872. Sigmund Livingston, Age: 39, Birth Date: 27 Dec 1872, Birth Place: Giessen, Germany, Residence Place: Bloomington, Illinois, Passport Issue Date: 25 Mar 1912
    Has Photo: No, Certificate Number: 68761, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 155; Volume #: Roll 0155 – Certificates: 68321-69176, 18 Mar 1912-30 Mar 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S., Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  7. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392. US sources say December 29, 1874.  Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9199176/herman-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Herman Livingston (29 Dec 1874–17 Feb 1951), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9199176, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  8. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392.Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9199178/alfred-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Alfred Livingston (15 Jan 1879–1 Apr 1949), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9199178, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  9.  Meyer Loewenstein, Gender: Male, Ethnicity/ Nationality: German, Age: 41
    Birth Date: abt 1837, Place of Origin: Germany, Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany and Le Havre, France, Destination: USA, Arrival Date: 17 Dec 1878, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Ship Name: Cimbria, Year: 1878; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 53; List Number: 1326, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  10. The 1900 US census indicated that Dora had given birth to eighteen children, eight of whom were still living. So perhaps that gap between 1874 and 1879 reflects at least some children who did not survive. But ten deceased children in five years seemed unlikely, and when I checked the 1910 US census, it reported that Dora had had eight children, all of whom were still living. 
  11. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392. US sources say October 27, 1881. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198642/gussie-l-wertheimer : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Gussie L Wertheimer (27 Oct 1881–12 Sep 1957), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198642, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  12. Irvin I Livingston, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 2 Jan 1884, Birth Place: Bloomington, Illinois, USA, Residence Place: Glencoe, Illinois, USA, Military Draft Date: 1942, Relationship to Draftee: Head, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration), for The State of Illinois; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2097, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  13. Harold Hirsch Livingston, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 16 Nov 1887
    Birth Place: Bloomington, Illinois, Father: Mayer Livingston, Mother: Dora Blumenfeld
    SSN: 336146596, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

15 thoughts on “Dusschen Dora Blumenfeld and Her Children: Immigrating to America in 1882

  1. I feel the same way about large families. We can’t ignore them as each child is a piece of the puzzle that forms the entire picture. It’s frustrating when little is found but rewarding when that one piece of information gets the ball rolling. Of course, this usually happens when you get to the last one on the list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad I’m not the only one! I often feel a tad guilty—but, of course, it’s my choice to do this so I shouldn’t complain.

      Have you had any issues with WordPress putting the wrong dates on your posts? I wasted an hour this morning (again) trying to resolve this ongoing issue. GRRRR.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand why it feels overwhelming. I have been overwhelmed by very little for the past few months heh. So you really do have a reason! Lucky that you found that book! Amazing work you are doing here, Amy.

    Liked by 1 person

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