Dora Blumenfeld Livingston’s Growing Family, 1887 to 1915

By 1887, Meyer and Dora (Blumenfeld) Livingston, as they were now known, had eight children and were living in Bloomington, Illinois, surrounded by Meyer’s siblings and their ever-growing dry goods businesses. There were over twenty individual listings for people and businesses named Livingston in the 1889 Bloomington directory.1

The 1893 city directory also lists numerous Livingstons, including two Miss Rosalie Livingstons, one presumably the daughter of Meyer, the other the daughter of Isaac. Sigmund Livingston is listed as a law student, Maurice (formerly Moritz) as a bookkeeper for M Livingston & Co, his father’s business.

1893 Bloomington, Illinois directory, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

I located this photograph (available under a Creative Commons license) of the six Livingston brothers taken in the late 1890s on a Flickr site belonging to Geoff Livingston, great-grandson of Irvin Livingston:

Back Row (left to right): Irvin Livingston, Alfred Livingston, Herman Livingston
Front Row (left to right): Sigmund Livingston; Harold Livingston; Maurice Livingston. From the Flickr site of Geoff Livingston, found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/geoliv/3894617201

On November 10, 1897, Dora and Meyer’s oldest child Rosalie married Albert Livingstone (spelled that way for both Rosalie and Albert in this wedding article). They were described as “among the most prominent members of the Hebrew society in Central Illinois,” and Rosalie was described as the daughter of “Mayer Livingstone, a wealthy merchant of this city.”

Marriage of Livingstone / Livingstone -

“Livingstone-Livingstone,” The Inter Ocean (Chicago), November 11, 1897, p. 3.

Albert, who was likely related to Rosalie although I’ve not yet figured out exactly how, was born in 1862 in Germany,2 but by 1880 when he was eighteen he was living in Bloomington.3 Albert is listed in the 1893 Bloomington directory as a “merchant tailor” in business with Julius Griesheim.4 Albert and Rosalie had one child, a son Morton born in Bloomington on October 20, 1900.5

In 1900, Meyer and Dora Blumenfeld Livingston were living with the other seven of their eight children in Bloomington, Illinois.6 The seven children living at home were Maurice (30), who was working as a merchant, Sigmund (28), a lawyer, Hermann (24), a clothing clerk possibly in his father’s store, Alfred (21), Gussie (19), Irvin (16), and Harold (12), all at school.

Meyer 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

Between 1900 and 1910, two more of Meyer and Dora’s children married, but surprisingly it was not two of the older children, but two of the younger ones. Gussie Livingston married Solomon Salzenstein on October 17, 1906. Solomon was born in Pleasant Plains, Illinois, on December 3, 1868, to Jacob and Hanna Salzenstein.7  In the newspaper article announcing their engagement, Solomon was described as a “junior member of the dry goods firm of Salzenstein Brothers in Virginia, Illinois,” and Gussie was described as “a popular society girl of Livingston.”

“Short Telegrams,” Evening Times-Republican, Marshalltown, Iowa, 30 May 1906, Wed • Page 8

Marriage record of Gussie Livingston and Sol Salzenstein, “Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L924-RDGN?cc=1803970 : 28 November 2018), image 1 of 1; county offices, Illinois.

In 1910, Gussie and Solomon were living in Virginia, Illinois, where Solomon continued to work as a dry goods merchant.8 Solomon and Gussie had one child, James Salzenstein, born in Bloomington on May 2, 1913,9 indicating that by that time Solomon and Gussie had relocated to Bloomington from Virginia, Illinois.

Gussie’s brother Alfred also married before 1910. He married Eva Seigel on November 6, 1907, in Chicago, Illinois.[^9] Eva was born in Des Moines, Iowa on June 27, 1882, to Solomon Seigel and Mary Cohen.10 In 1910, Alfred and Eva were living in Chicago where Alfred was a lawyer in general practice. They had one child, a daughter Miriam, though sometimes identified as Marion, born in Chicago on March 22, 1912.11

Although he was not yet married, Irvin Livingston, the second youngest child of Dora and Meyer, had also moved out of the home by 1910. In 1908 he was living in Chicago, studying law at the University of Chicago, having already obtained his bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Irvin Livingston, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; School Name: University of Chicago; Year: 1908 Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999

By 1910, he was practicing law in Chicago, living as a lodger.12 On January 19,1914, Irvin married Helen H. Baer,13 daughter of Joseph and Emilie/Amelia Baer, in Chicago. Helen was born on August 1, 1890, in Chicago.14 Irvin and Helen had three children: Robert, born in Chicago on December 30, 1914;15 Julie May, born January 7, 1919, in Chicago;16 and Irvin T. Livingston, born April 3, 1921, in Chicago.17

The other four sons of Dora and Meyer Livingston were still single and living at home in Bloomington in 1910. Interestingly, Dora is referred to as Toni here, a reference I’ve seen in several other places starting around this time and going forward. Meyer still owned a department store, and it appears that three of the four sons living at home were working in the family business: Morris (Moritz or Maurice), Harry (probably Herman by age and process of elimination, and Harold (although it looks like “Jarold” on the census record). Sigmund was working as a lawyer.

Meyer Livingston family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Bloomington Ward 1, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T624_306; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0081; FHL microfilm: 1374319, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Later that year on November 15, 1910, Maurice married Bertha August in Rochester, New York. She was the daughter of Jacob August and Henriette Meyer and was born in Germany on January 29, 1886.18 She immigrated with her parents when she was a young child and grew up in Rochester.19 Maurice and Bertha settled in Bloomington where their two children, Ruth and Betty May, were born, Ruth on December 19, 1913,20 and Betty on January 22, 1916.21

Marriage of Bertha August and Maurice Livingston, Year Range: 1908 – 1912
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936

Meyer Loewenstein/Livingston did not survive to see the births of all his grandchildren. He died on October 10, 1915, in Bloomington when he was 75 years old.22 Meyer was survived by all eight of his children, most of whom were still living in Bloomington, and by ten grandchildren. Many of those children and grandchildren continued to contribute to the Bloomington business community for years to come, as we will see.


  1. 1889 Bloomington, Illinois City Directory, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198010/albert-livingston : accessed 28 October 2021), memorial page for Albert Livingston (31 Jan 1862–7 Jan 1928), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198010, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  3. Albert Livingston, 1880 US census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois; Roll: 230; Page: 180A; Enumeration District: 161, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  4. See image above. 
  5.  Morton Livingston, Social Security Number: 352-05-1727, Birth Date: 20 Oct 1900
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Illinois, Last Residence: 60035, Highland Park, Lake, Illinois, USA, Death Date: May 1984, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6. As noted in my prior post, the notation that Dora had had eighteen children and only eight survived is an error, corrected on the 1910 census.  It also erroneously reports that the family immigrated in 1871. 
  7. Sol. Salzenstein, Birth Date: 3 Dec 1868, Birth Place: Pleasant Plains, Ill, Death Date: 9 Sep 1924, Death Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois, Burial Date: Sep 1924
    Cemetery Name: Jewish, Death Age: 55, Occupation: Real Estate, Race: White
    Marital status: M, Gender: Male, Residence: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois, Father Name: Jacob Salzenstein, Father Birth Place: Germany, Mother Birth Place: Germany
    Spouse Name: Lussie Salzenstein [sic], Comments: 11y of this place, FHL Film Number: 1493146, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 
  8. Solomon and Gussie Salzenstein, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Virginia Ward 3, Cass, Illinois; Roll: T624_232; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0029; FHL microfilm: 1374245, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  9. Alfred Livingston, Age: 28, Gender: Male, Birth Year: abt 1879, Marriage Type: Marriage, Marriage Date: 6 Nov 1907, Marriage Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
    Spouse Name: Eva Seigle, Spouse Age: 23, Spouse Gender: Female, FHL Film Number: 1030431, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Marriages Index, 1871-1920 
  10. Eva S Livingston, [Eva S Seigle], Gender: Female, Birth Date: 27 Jun 1882
    Birth Place: Iowa, Death Date: 11 Apr 1954, Death Place: Los Angeles, Father’s Surname: Seigle, Place: Los Angeles; Date: 11 Apr 1954, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997. New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G5QY-Q7W?cc=1923888&wc=MFVY-TM9%3A1029870501 : 2 October 2015), 4136 – vol 9244-9245, Sep 24, 1928 image 446 of 813; citing NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). The spelling of Eva’s birth name varies between Seigle, Siegle, and Siegel. 
  11. E.g., Miriam Livingston, New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G5QY-Q7W?cc=1923888&wc=MFVY-TM9%3A1029870501 : 2 October 2015), 4136 – vol 9244-9245, Sep 24, 1928 image 446 of 813; citing NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Marion Livingston, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_309; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 306, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. Irvin Livingston, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_245; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0314; FHL microfilm: 1374258, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  13. Irvin J. Livingston, Age: 30, Gender: Male, Birth Year: abt 1884, Marriage Type: Marriage, Marriage Date: 19 Jan 1914, Marriage Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
    Spouse Name: Helen H. Baer, Spouse Age: 23, Spouse Gender: Female
    FHL Film Number: 1030564, ncestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Marriages Index, 1871-1920 
  14. Baer family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 3, Cook, Illinois; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0077; FHL microfilm: 1240247, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; Helen Livingston, Gender: Female, Age: 48
    Birth Date: 1 Aug 1890, Birth Place: Chicago Ill, Arrival Date: 13 Feb 1939, Arrival Place: Miami, Florida, USA, Ship: Florida, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Miami, Florida; NAI Number: 2774842; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Arriving and Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1898-1963 
  15. Robert Irvin Livingston, Birth Date: 30 Dec 1914, Gender: Male, Father: Irvin Livingston, Mother: Helen Baer, FHL Film Number: 1288338, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 
  16. Julie May Livingston, Birth Date: 7 Jan 1919, Birth Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
    Gender: Female, Father: Irwin Livingston, Mother: Helen Baer, FHL Film Number: 1276449, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 
  17. Irvin P Livingston, Birth Date: 2 Apr 1921, Birth Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
    Gender: Male, Father: Irvin L Livingston, Mother: Helen Baer, FHL Film Number: 1309494, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 
  18. Bertha August Livingston, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 29 Jan 1887, Birth Place: Other Country, Death Date: 7 Oct 1957, Death Place: Los Angeles, Father’s Surname: August, Place: Los Angeles; Date: 7 Oct 1957, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  19. August family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Rochester Ward 16, Monroe, New York; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0098; FHL microfilm: 1241076, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  20. Ruth Loretta Schiller, Social Security #: 386070986, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 19 Dec 1913, Death Date: 26 Jun 1979, Death Place: Los Angeles, Place: Los Angeles; Date: 26 Jun 1979; Social Security: 386070986, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  21. Betty Livingston Bendix, Social Security #: 572427551, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 22 Jan 1916, Birth Place: Illinois, Death Date: 3 Aug 1983, Death Place: Los Angeles, Mother’s Maiden Name: August, Father’s Surname: Livingston, Place: Los Angeles; Date: 3 Aug 1983; Social Security: 572427551, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  22. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198505/mayer-livingston : accessed 28 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) . 

27 thoughts on “Dora Blumenfeld Livingston’s Growing Family, 1887 to 1915

    • I don’t know how they met. Bertha’s parents came to the US a few years after Maurice and his family. They were from Neunkirchen, Germany, which is 160 miles from Giessen where the Lowenstein/Livingstons lived. So I doubt they knew each other from home. But Bertha’s father manufactured clothes, so my hunch is that the Livingstons did business with him since they sold clothes. But it’s just a hunch.

      Like

  1. I don’t know if I would want my daughter described as a “popular society girl,” but maybe there were only positive connotations in those days! I love that photo of the boys. How did you happen to find it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Times were definitely different! What else was a girl valued for besides her looks and social status?

      I don’t recall exactly how I fell upon the photo, but I think I was doing a Google Image search for a picture of Sigmund Livingston and it popped up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you were so lucky to find it that way!
        Yes, what else was she valued for? Her papa’s gelt. Her mama’s household skills. Her wide hips. So glad not to be born back then!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, me too! I can’t even imagine it. Being born when I was and growing up thinking girls could only be teachers, nurses, or secretaries (and had to stay home if they had children) was bad enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve probably mentioned this, but when I was graduating high school, my grandpa asked me if I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse. I give him credit, though. He only had an 8th grade education because of his partial blindness and his goofy mother, but he married a college graduate and both her sisters were college graduates. And both his daughters were college graduates. He thought girls were smart, but didn’t realize he could think beyond the “usual.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not even my father was too feminist in his views. He never understood why I kept my name—even though it was HIS name. But he was proud when I went to law school, so I give him credit for that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I bet he was ready to burst his buttons. My father was proud of my every accomplishment. He never gave me the impression that he thought women weren’t equal to men. Or maybe he just liked me more than he did my husband HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Amy – I think we communicated some time ago about a possible connection between you and my husband’s Dreyfuss family. Now, I’m curious about the Livingston family – my husband is a Livingston. His great-grandfather, Mangold Livingston, was in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business, in Paducan, Ky. He was from Altdorf uber Lahr, Germany. The family name was Loewenstein in Germany. I know it’s a very common name, but it’s interesting that they both settled in the midwest, essentially.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Dora Blumenfeld Livingston and Her Family in the 1920s: Years of Loss NEXT | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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