One More Photo to Crowd Source and to Analyze

After such great success crowd-sourcing the identification of the people at one Goldfarb celebration, I decided to try again with another large group photograph shared with me by my cousin Debi. Together the cousins were able to identify almost everyone in this photo with a few exceptions. Maybe someone out there can help with the few mystery people.

Goldfarb and Malzberg cousins Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

After creating a numbered version of this photograph and circulating it to all the cousins and getting their input, I was able to create a guide naming all but three of the 25 people squeezed around that table.

  1. Steven Levine
  2. George Horowitz
  3. Morty Goldfarb
  4. Saul Malzberg
  5. Anita Spector Malzberg
  6. Sam Block
  7. Rose Goldfarb Levine
  8. Benny Levy
  9. Barbara Weinberg Malzberg
  10. Gustave Malzberg
  11. Herbert Rothman
  12. Ethel Goldfarb Rothman
  13. Unknown
  14. Unknown
  15. Florence Glasser Goldfarb
  16. Marvin Goldfarb
  17. Norman Malzberg
  18. Toby Diller Malzberg
  19. Ted Goldfarb
  20. Syd Ort Goldfarb
  21. Annette Levine (thank you, Ted, for the update!)
  22. Leo Goldfarb
  23. Evelyn Goldfarb Block
  24. Barbara Karp Goldfarb
  25. Ellen Shankman Goldfarb

No one could identify Numbers 13 and 14. I had one theory about them, but it doesn’t look like that theory holds up. Let me explain.

In my own amateurish way, I tried to date this photograph based on the clothes and hairstyles and also the apparent ages of some of the identified people in the photograph. I believe the photograph was taken sometime in the mid to late 1960s but no later than 1975.

Of those identified in the photograph, Leo Goldfarb was the oldest. He died in 1975, so we know the photograph was taken before then. Ted Goldfarb married Barbara Karp in 1964; although I cannot see her hand clearly enough to know if she’s wearing a wedding band, if we assume they were married or at least engaged, this photograph probably is no earlier than 1963.

Then the clothing. Those plaid pants worn by Saul Malzberg stood out as a 1960s style. I also had other photographs from Debi that appear to have been taken at the same event. Notice Marvin and Leo are wearing plaid jackets.

Florence (Glasser) and Marvin Goldfarb Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

The sign over this photo reveals that this was an anniversary part as you can see the A after Happy.

Morton Goldfarb, Ted Goldfarb, Norman Malzberg Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

I found this photograph from Vintage Dancer website of men wearing plaids like this in 1966.

Morton’s aviator glasses seem more 1970s than 1960s, so that confused me about the dating of the photo.

Marvin’s tennis sweater vest and Benny’s double breasted blazer with gold buttons look more 1960s than 1970s, however.

Marvin Goldfarb, Benny Levy, Florence (Glasser) Goldfarb Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

 

I also noticed that some of the younger men at the party—Marvin and Morty in the photos above, for example—had longer sideburns. According to this article about hairstyles in the 1960s, “In the late 1950s and early 1960s, sideburns did not extend far past the ear and they were kept neatly trimmed. By the middle of the 1960s, British bands brought long sideburn styles back into the mainstream.”

Wikipedia said this about sideburns: “Sideburns later gained popularity in the counterculture of the 1960s: the struggle of a New Jersey youth to wear sideburns to his public high school graduation made a newspaper article in 1967.[citation omitted] Sideburns were associated with young mods and hippies, but in the ’70s became prevalent in all walks of life.”

I also think the women’s hairstyles date the photo in the mid to late 1960s. The younger women tend to have short hair worn simply like Florence Glasser Goldfarb and Anita Spector Malzberg or even quite naturally curly like Barbara Weinberg Malzberg and Toby Diller Malzberg—not the bouffanty style of Jacqueline Onassis of the early 1960s or the shag haircuts of the 1970s.

So I am assuming the photograph was taken sometime between 1964 and 1975 based on the clothing and hairstyles and the people present.

I also considered who was not identified in the photograph although not much can be determined by their absence since there could have been any number of reasons they might not be in the photograph.

None of Morris Goldfarb’s sons are listed, but they all lived far from New York by those years. Joe Goldfarb died in 1962; his son Marvin is present, but not his daughters Selma and Francine or their husbands or Joe’s widow Betty.

Julius Goldfarb and his wife Ida are not listed; Julius died in 1968, Ida in 1966. Two of their four daughters and their husbands are present—Evelyn and Ethel; Sylvia and Gertrude are not in the photograph, but their husbands George Horowitz and Benny Levy are so presumably Sylvia and Gertrude just weren’t at the table when the photo was taken.

Also not listed but still living in 1964 are Max Levine, who died in 1974, Bessie (Goldfarb) Malzberg(1971), Meyer Malzberg (1966), and their son Burton (1994).

My theory was that Numbers 13 and 14 were Meyer and Bessie Malzberg. I even had a theory that this was a party to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1964. They were married on August 9, 1914. I thought I saw similarities between Number 14 and three photos of Bessie. But the photos are blurry when I zoom in, and I know that I often just see what I want to see. Also, in the last photo taken in 1960, Bessie appears to be much taller and Meyer does not look like Number 13.

Two of Bessie and Meyer’s grandsons did not think that couple were their grandparents. They would know best. And if the party took place after 1966, as some of the styles suggest, then Meyer wouldn’t have been there.

So for now three people in the photograph are not identified. Maybe someone will show up at some point and complete the picture. A few of those pictured are still living so perhaps they will recall who was there and what the occasion was.

Thank you once again to all my wonderful Goldfarb cousins! I hope we can meet in person someday soon.

Who is in this Photograph? A Collaborative Effort by the Goldfarb Cousins

Discovering and learning about my Goldfarb cousins has been such a joyful adventure. And to illustrate why, let me tell you about how we identified everyone in this photograph:

Alyce had previously sent me this snip from that photograph of the people she believed were Malzbergs taken at her brother Stewart’s bar mitzvah in 1960:

Evelyn Ginsberg, Burt Malzberg seated. Standing, Gus Malzberg and Barbara Weinberg. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Before I first posted it, I sent it to Steve Malzberg, who confirmed that the couple standing were his parents, Gustave and Barbara (Weinberg) Malzberg, and that the seated couple on the left were Burton and Evelyn (Ginsberg) Malzberg. But we didn’t know who the woman sitting to Burt’s left (our right) was, so I labeled her “unknown woman.”

Once I published the post I received an email from my cousin Ann and then one from her daughter Melissa informing me that the unknown woman was in fact Ann’s mother, Melissa’s grandmother, Marcia (Berger) Goldfarb. So I went back and relabeled the photo in my post.

That prompted Alyce to send us all the full photograph from which she had clipped that closeup, asking whether the man sitting to the left of Marcia (our right) was her husband Martin Goldfarb, which Ann and Melissa confirmed.

Then when Sue saw the whole photo, she identified the couple standing to the right of Gustave and Barbara as her mother and stepfather, Sylvia Goldfarb (daughter of Julius and Ida) and George Horowitz and the couple seated in front of them as Evelyn Goldfarb (daughter of Julius and Ida) and her husband Samuel Block.

That prompted Alyce to ask if George Horowitz had been a photographer as she vaguely recalled, and Sue confirmed that recollection.

So in the end we had names for everyone in that photograph. The three oldest Goldfarb siblings—Julius, Morris, and Bessie— were represented at that table by some of their children.

In fact, in 1960, five of the seven children of Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb were still living—Julius, Bessie, Joe, Leo, and Rose. Gussie and Morris had passed away by then. Were the five remaining siblings at the bar mitzvah?

Joe Goldfarb was the grandfather of the bar mitzvah boy and is in this photograph also taken at Stewart’s bar mitzvah:

Seymour Wahl and son Steven, Selma Goldfarb Wahl, Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Francine Goldfarb Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, Alyce Shapiro, Stewart Shapiro, Florence Glasser Goldfarb, Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1957 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

But were Julius, Bessie, Leo, and Rose also in attendance? And what about the other members of the next generation—the other daughters of Julius and Ida, the other sons of Bessie and Meyer, and the other sons of Morris and Anna? Were they there? I guess we need to check the rest of the bar mitzvah album.

As they say, it takes a village. And amazingly we now have connected many of the children of the people who were seated together back in 1960.

Standing L to R, Gustave Malzberg, Barbara Weinberg Malzberg, George Horowitz, Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz. Seated, L to R, Evelyn Ginsburg Malzberg, Burton Malzberg, Marcia Berger Goldfarb, Martin Goldfarb, Samuel Block, Evelyn Goldfarb Block.

I have another big group photo that was labeled “Goldfarbs and Malzbergs” that I asked this group of cousins to identify. Next time.

Leo and Rose Goldfarb: The Two Youngest Children of Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb

When Sarah Brod Goldfarb died on July 2, 1937, her two youngest children, Leo and Rose, were the only ones not yet married. Both had been living with their mother Sarah in Brooklyn in 1930, and Leo at that time was a real estate salesman.1

In July 1938, just over a year after his mother’s death, Leo married Sarah “Syd” Ort.2 Syd, as she was known, was born in New York on January 2, 1910,3 making her almost eleven years younger than Leo, who was 38 when they married. Syd was the daughter of Samuel and Gussie Ort, who both had immigrated from Russia. Sam had his own tailor shop, and in 1930 Syd was living with her parents and siblings in Brooklyn and was a bookkeeper at a bank.4 Here is Syd’s picture from the 1927 Thomas Jefferson High School yearbook.

Sarah Ort, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; School Name: Thomas Jefferson High School; Year: 1927
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999

I could not find Leo and Syd on the 1940 census. I had their 1942 address from Leo’s World War II draft registration—1068 Winthrop Street in Brooklyn—but they were not listed at that address on the 1940 census. Looking at Google Maps, I realized that 1068 Winthrop Street was one block away from where my grandparents and mother were living in 1940—1010 Rutland Road.

 

Leo and Syd had two sons born in the 1940s; I had a wonderful conversation with their son Ted last week. And on the very same day I also received a message from my mother’s childhood best friend, Beatie, who also lived at 1010 Rutland Road where my mother lived. I asked Beatie if she recalled ever meeting any of the Goldfarbs, and she said that she recalled meeting a woman named Syd coming to visit my grandmother with two little boys. Now I know that one of those little boys was my cousin Ted.

In 1942, Leo was working for Harry Hittner of Hittner Brothers in Jersey City, New Jersey.  The 1940 census shows Harry Hittner as the part owner of a bar and grill. His brother Samuel, living right next door, was the other part owner. I don’t know what Leo’s role was in this business.5

Leo Goldfarb, World War II draft card, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

My cousin Alyce shared these photographs of Leo and Syd with various members of the family.

Syd Ort and Leo Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Betty Amer Goldfarb and Syd Ort Goldfarb Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Leo Goldfarb, Syd Ort Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Selma Goldfarb, Joe Goldfarb, Francine Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Leo Goldfarb and Joe Goldfarb Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

According to Leo’s son Ted, after the war Leo was a salesman at Martin’s Department Store in downtown Brooklyn for many years. As Ted said, Leo never made a lot of money, but in those days a good salesman could make enough to support a family of four comfortably in Brooklyn.6

Leo and Syd lived at 1068 Winthrop Street until 1963 when they moved to an apartment at Bath Beach in Brooklyn not far from Coney Island. They lived there the remainder of their lives.  Leo was 75 when he died on June 13, 1975.7 Syd died ten years later on February 13, 1985; she was also 75 at her death.8

The information I initially had about Sarah and Sam’s youngest child Rose was  very limited. I couldn’t find her on the 1940 census, but knew from family records and family members that she had married someone named Max Levine. Max Levine is such a common name that I was having no luck learning more about Max and Rose until I spoke to Ted Goldfarb. He gave me three huge hints that helped me find the right Max: he had been married once before marrying Rose, he had worked in Bayonne, New Jersey, and he and Rose had lived in Jersey City.9

From those hints I found Max’s death notice and obituary and learned that Max was born in Poland, was living in Jersey City, and had been a baker at the Troum Bakery in Bayonne.

Max Levine, Jersey Journal, July 10, 1974, p. 7

That led me to Max’s other records. His World War I draft registration finds him already living in Bayonne and working as a baker, married to his first wife, and claiming exemption due to “ill health.” It also indicates that he was born in Lublin, Russia, or what is today Poland.

Max Levine, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Hudson, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

On the 1920 census he was living in Bayonne, working as a baker, and living with his first wife and their first child. The census record also reports that he immigrated from Poland in 1912.10 In 1930 Max was still living in Bayonne, working as a baker, and living with his wife and two children.11

By 1940, Max’s first marriage must have ended because he was living with his two children but not his first wife in Brooklyn at 571 Williams Avenue and working as a baker.12 Rose Goldfarb had been living at 526 Williams Avenue in 1930, so Max must have met her in his new neighborhood. They married early in 1941; Max was 46, Rose was 39.13 They must soon thereafter have settled in Jersey City where their son was born a couple of years later.

Max died, as his obituary noted, on July 8, 1974; he was 79.14 Rose died 23 years later on August 11, 1997, at the age of 95. 15

In the message from my mother’s dear friend Beatie, she also mentioned Rose. She didn’t recall her name, but said that Syd had a sister or other relative who would visit my grandmother at 1010 Rutland Road when my mother and Beatie were young girls. That must have been Rose Goldfarb, my grandmother’s first cousin and Syd Goldfarb’s sister-in-law.

I have just three photographs of Rose, two from Alyce, and one from Steve Malzberg:

Rose Goldfarb Levine, Joe Goldfarb, and Gussie Brotman Goldschlager Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Rose (Goldfarb) and Max Levine, c 1960
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Max and Rose (Goldfarb) Levine, 1970.
Courtesy of Steve Malzberg

That brings me to the end of the story of my great-great-aunt Sarah Brod and her husband Sam Goldfarb and their seven children. What a wonderful journey this has been to find and connect with so many of my Goldfarb cousins. It’s remarkable to me that through the magic of genealogy, DNA testing, and the internet, I now have connected with so many of the descendants of Sarah Brod Goldfarb. Of Sarah and Sam’s seven children, six of whom had children, I am now in touch with at least one grandchild and a few great-grandchildren of five of those six Goldfarb siblings: Julius, Morris, Bessie, Joe, and Leo. And just two months ago I was only in touch with the descendants of one—Julius. I am so grateful and look forward to continuing these new relationships.

 

 


  1. Leo Goldfarb, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; FHL microfilm: 2341228, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. Leo Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 23 Jun 1938, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:Sarah Ort, License Number: 12499, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  3.  Sarah Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 054-01-4309, Birth Date: 2 Jan 1910
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1985, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. Sam Ort, 1930 US census, Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; FHL microfilm: 2341228, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  5. Hittner family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02405; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 24-145, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Phone conversation with Ted Goldfarb, May 26, 2021. 
  7. Leo Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 101-10-1222, Birth Date: 10 Sep 1899
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764375/leo-goldfarb : accessed 20 May 2021), memorial page for Leo Goldfarb (unknown–13 Jun 1975), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764375, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  8. Sarah Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 054-01-4309, Birth Date: 2 Jan 1910
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1985, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764444/sarah-goldfarb : accessed 20 May 2021), memorial page for Sarah Goldfarb (unknown–13 Feb 1985), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764444, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) . 
  9. Phone conversation with Ted Goldfarb, May 27, 2021. 
  10. Max Levine, 1920 census, Census Place: Bayonne Ward 2, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1041; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 12, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11. Max Levine, 1930 census, Census Place: Bayonne, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0202; FHL microfilm: 2341082, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. Max Levine, 1940 census, Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02548; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 24-85, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  13. Rose Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 29 Jan 1941, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Max Levine, License Number: 1699, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  14.  Max Levine, Death Date: 8 Jul 1974, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1974; Surname Range: H-O; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  15.  Rose Levine, Social Security Number: 099-01-5824, Birth Date: 9 Feb 1902
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 08043, Voorhees, Camden, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: 11 Aug 1997, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Joe and Betty Goldfarb and Their Children: A Close and Loving Family, Part II

When World War II ended, the children of Joe and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb were young adults. Marvin was 22, Francine was 20, and Selma was seventeen. Although these photos aren’t dated, I believe they were probably taken around this time.

Francine, Marvin, and Selma Goldfarb 1940s Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Francine, Joe, and Selma Goldfarb 1940s Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Marvin and Francine Goldfarb 1940s Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joseph and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Francine was the first of the siblings to marry. On September 15, 1946, she married Irving Shapiro in Brooklyn. Irving was born in Brooklyn on October 2, 1917, to Sam Shapiro and Fanny Lipschitz, both of whom were immigrants from Russia. Sam was a furniture upholsterer.1

Wedding invitation for Francine Goldfarb and Irving Shapiro Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Irving served overseas in France and Germany during World War II and met Francine at a club in 1945 after returning from the war. Irving worked for American Razor Company while also doing furniture upholstery and later worked for E.J. Korvettes, the one-time department store.  They had two children, Stewart and Alyce, the cousin who has so generously shared so many family photographs, including these of her parents Francine and Irving and of her brother and herself.2

Francine Goldfarb and Irving Shapiro. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Stewart Shapiro 1949 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Alyce Shapiro c. 1954 Courtesy of Alyce herself

Betty Amer, Alyce Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, Francine Goldfarb, and Joe Goldfarb c. 1950s Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Selma married next. She married Seymour (“Chippy’) Wolotsky (later changed to Wahl) in November, 1948.3 Seymour was born in New York on April 13, 1923, to Isidore Wolotsky and Ida Yellin; his father was from Russia, his mother from Poland.4 Seymour grew up in Brooklyn and was a musician; his World War II draft registration indicates that in 1942 he was employed by Juilliard, the highly prestigious music and performing arts school in New York.

Seymour Wolotsky, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Here a photo of Selma and Seymour, known better as Chippy:

Selma Goldfarb and Seymour “Chippy” Wahl. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Alyce told me that her parents lived in the basement of Selma and Seymour’s house in Flushing for a few years before moving to East New York in Brooklyn where Alyce grew up. Seymour and Selma moved to Valley Stream, New York, and had two children. Selma and Seymour later divorced.5

Marvin was the last of the siblings to marry. Alyce told me that he had been quite ill with tuberculosis for an extended time.6 He married Florence (“Florrie”) Glasser in February 1950. Florence, born in 1927, was the daughter of Solomon Glasser and Lillian Schwartz, both of whom immigrated from Russia.7 Marvin and Florence created their own wholesale jewelry design and manufacturing business; according to Alyce, Marvin’s experience in the dental lab gave him the skills to cast jewelry. Marvin and Florrie did not have children.8

Here are Marvin and Florrie on their wedding day:

Florence Glasser and Marvin Goldfarb, 1950
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Thus, by 1950 all three of Joe and Betty Goldfarb’s children were married, and Joe and Betty had one grandchild. Two more grandchildren were born in the 1950s and one in the early 1960s. Alyce, one of those grandchildren, shared a number of photographs of Joe, Betty, their children and grandchildren during those years:

Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer, Florence Glasser, and Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1950s
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Alyce Shapiro, Francine Goldfarb Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, c. 1957 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

This photograph was taken at Stewart’s bar mitzvah in late 1960.

Seymour Wahl and son Steven, Selma Goldfarb Wahl, Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Francine Goldfarb Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, Alyce Shapiro, Stewart Shapiro, Florence Glasser Goldfarb, Marvin Goldfarb, 1960. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Alyce shared this sweet memory of her grandfather Joe in addition to her memories of his deliveries of many types of cookies to their home in Brooklyn:9

One of my few memories of actually spending time with grandpa, he would sit on the bench outside of my building and watch me play with my friends. He would always give me nickels to go buy candy at the corner luncheonette. It’s sad I don’t remember much else, but I was young.

Joe Goldfarb died on July 8, 1962, at the age of 64.10 Alyce shared that he had been quite ill for some time with Hodgkins lymphoma.  Her grandmother Betty survived Joe by eleven years; she died in December 1973, when she was 73.11

Alyce has more memories of her grandmother since she lived that much longer, and she shared some of those with me:12

After grandpa passed away, grandma Betty ended up living in the same housing project I did. She lived in a different building and I would walk to her apartment, she and would cook for me. I used to play cards with grandma Betty. She taught me how to play rummy. She also taught me how to knit although I wasn’t great at it. She knitted clothes for my Barbie dolls. Eventually she moved to Florida to be with her sisters and brother. After a while she became too ill to take of herself, so she came back the NY and shared her time living with us, Uncle Marvin, and Aunt Selma. She eventually went to a nursing home in Queens. By that time I was getting married. She was not able to attend the wedding in 1973. She was too ill. We did go see her that night after the wedding was over. She passed away later that year on December 23, 1973.

Joe Goldfarb and his wife Betty Amer were first generation Americans. They grew up with immigrant parents, helping to bridge the gap between the old world and the new. They spent almost all of their adult lives in Brooklyn. As Alyce wrote, the family was not wealthy, but they also were not poor. Joe worked hard to earn a living, spending many years as a salesman for the Sunshine Biscuit Company. He and Betty were adored by their children and grandchildren.

Joe and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb, 1960 Courtesy of their granddaughter Alyce

Joe and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb Courtesy of their granddaughter Alyce

They were survived by their three children and their four grandchildren. Marvin Goldfarb died on February 2, 1988, when he was 64, the same age his father had been when he passed away.13 His wife Florence survived him and may in fact still be living as I have no record of her death. Francine Goldfarb Shapiro died at 73 on August 28, 1998;14 her husband Irving died just a year later on September 18, 1999; he was 81.15 Selma Goldfarb Wahl outlived her older siblings; she was ninety when she died on November 3, 2018.16

I am so grateful to my cousin Alyce who has shared so much with me—her photographs, her memories, and her own family history research. I feel so very blessed that she and I matched on 23andme and that we have not only found each other but that she also helped me connect with our mutual cousins, Ann, Melissa, Kay, and Becky. Now along with Sue, Debi, Lisa, Steve, Mark, Ted, Michelle, Morty, and Lori, as well as all my Brod/Brotman first and second cousins and their children and grandchildren, we have a large family circle of the descendants of Joseph Brod and Gittel Schwartz.  Finally DNA testing has paid off! Perhaps it’s time for a reunion to celebrate our shared roots.

But first—a look at the two youngest Goldfarb siblings, Leo and Rose.


  1. Irving Shapiro, Birth Date: 2 Oct 1917, Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 40520, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. Samuel Shapiro, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Vols 100-105, Certificates 49021-52007 1920-1921, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943. Family tree of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt on Ancestry. 
  2. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, May 11, 2021. 
  3. Selma Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 15 Nov 1948, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Seymour Wolotsky, License Number: 24028, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  4. Ida Yellin, Marriage License Date: 30 Jul 1917, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Isidore Walatsky
    License Number: 25402, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 11, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Seymour Wolotsky, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 42; Assembly District: 02; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 86, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1925 
  5. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, May 11, 2021. 
  6. Ibid. 
  7. Marvin Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 20 Feb 1950
    Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
    Spouse: Florence Glasser, License Number: 2728, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Florence Glasser, Birth Date: 27 Jul 1927
    Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 31085, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. Lillian Schwartz
    Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 3 Dec 1925, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Solomon Glasser
    License Number: 21501, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Glasser Family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 21B; Enumeration District: 0773; FHL microfilm: 2341266, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, May 11, 2021. 
  9. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, April 30, 2021. 
  10. Joseph Goldfarb, Birth Date: abt 1897, Death Date: 8 Jul 1962
    Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 14582,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764363/joseph-goldfarb : accessed 24 May 2021), memorial page for Joseph Goldfarb (unknown–8 Jul 1962), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764363, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  11.  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, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764305/betty-goldfarb : accessed 24 May 2021), memorial page for Betty Goldfarb (unknown–22 Dec 1973), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764305, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  12. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, April 30, 2021. 
  13.  Marvin Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 089-16-6702, Birth Date: 15 Apr 1923
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: 2 Feb 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14.  Francine Shapiro, Social Security Number: 112-18-2207, Birth Date: 29 Jul 1925
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11961, Ridge, Suffolk, New York, USA, Death Date: 28 Aug 1998, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  15.  Irving Shapiro, Social Security Number: 051-07-9403, Birth Date: 2 Oct 1917
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11763, Medford, Suffolk, New York, USA, Death Date: 18 Sep 1999, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  16. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, May 11, 2021. 

My Grandmother’s Cousin Joe Goldfarb: A Hard-working Family Man

My grandmother’s first cousin Joe Goldfarb was the fifth child and third son born to Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb, and he was their first child born in America. He was born in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, on December 28, 1897, just a year after Joe’s older siblings and his mother Sarah had immigrated from Poland. Joe moved with his family to the Lower East Side of New York when he was just a little boy and lived right across Ridge Street from my grandmother Gussie Brotman, who was two years older and the first American born child of her parents, Bessie Brod and Joseph Brotman.

Here is Joe with his brother Leo probably standing on Ridge Street in New York.

Leo and Joe Goldfarb, c. 1901. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

I know that my grandmother knew Joe well because he was listed in my grandparents’ address book twice many years later. On this page he’s listed with my grandmother’s brother Sam Brotman and two other men.

Note also on this page that M(eyer) Malzberg and S(am or Sarah) Goldfarb are listed on the same page as Joe. Leo Ressler was my grandmother’s nephew so a cousin of the Goldfarbs also. And Rae Rosenzweig was my grandfather’s first cousin. I am still not sure who the first two individuals on that page were.

And I also have that treasured photograph of my grandmother with Joe and his younger sister Rose.

Rose Goldfarb Levine, Joe Goldfarb, and Gussie Brotman Goldschlager

We’ve seen that Joe was living with his brother Julius in Jersey City in 1915, working as a bartender presumably in Julius’ saloon.  But by 1918 when he registered for the draft, he was back living with his parents and working as a claims adjuster for the American Railway Express Company, and he was still living and working at the same places in 1920.

Joseph Goldfarb World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration 
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Joe married Betty Amer in 1922, as we saw, and moved back to Jersey City where their three children—Marvin (1923), Francine (1925), and Selma (1928) were all born. My cousin Alyce shared these wonderful photographs of the children when they were young.

Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1924 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Selma and Francine Goldfarb, c. 1930 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Francine, Marvin, and Selma Goldfarb c. 1930
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Like his brother Julius and his brother-in-law Meyer Malzberg, Joe was working in the liquor business at first, but he also ran into the obstacle of Prohibition. In May 1922, Joe and his brother-in-law Meyer Malzberg owned a saloon at 54 Railroad Avenue in Jersey City, and the local Chancery Court ruled that the police had no authority to shut down these saloons without first obtaining an injunction from the court.

Jersey Journal, May 22, 1922, p. 13

Ten months later in March 1923, Joe and Meyer pled not guilty to liquor violations.

Jersey Journal, March 21, 1923, p. 5

In February 1925, Joe was one of a number of saloonkeepers charged by federal agents with violating the Volstead Act.

Jersey Journal, February 11, 1925, p. 5

After that, Joe must have decided he’d had enough of the liquor business and by 1930 was working as a driver for the Bond Bread Company, as reported on the 1930 US census1 and seen in this photograph shared by his granddaughter Alyce:

Joe Goldfarb working for Bond Bread c. 1930 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Alyce also generously shared these photographs of the family of Joe and Betty Goldfarb, probably taken in the 1930s.

Joseph Goldfarb and his children, 1934. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Selma, Marvin, and Francine Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Betty Amer and Joseph Goldfarb, Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Betty Amer Goldfarb with Francine and Selma. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

By 1940 the family had left Jersey City and were living in Brooklyn.2 I looked up the two addresses listed for Joe in my grandparents’ address book and saw that both addresses are very near where my grandparents lived in Brooklyn at 1010 Rutland Road. Joe and Betty’s daughter Selma was only two years older than my mother. I wonder how well they knew each other, given how close they lived to each other.  But I’ve never heard my mother mention a cousin Selma or Francine or Marvin.

Joseph Goldfarb, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Joe was now working as a salesman for the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company, as reported on his World War II draft registration. Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company was formed in Kansas City in 1902 by Joseph Loose, a former member of the board of the National Biscuit Company (later known as Nabisco), his brother Jacob Loose, and John Wiles. Better known as the Sunshine Biscuit Company, they expanded all over the country. “In 1912 Loose-Wiles opened their “Thousand Window” bakery in the Long Island City neighborhood of New York City, which remained the largest bakery building in the world until 1955.” It was at that location that Joe Goldfarb worked and where in 1948 he was among those photographed as one of the Sunshine Sales Champs of that year.

Center, between the two men shaking hands, Joseph Goldfarb, 1948. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joe worked for Sunshine/Loose-Wiles for many years. His granddaughter Alyce has memories of the cookies he would bring to his family: “He used to bring us all kinds of cookies. Big tins of the toy cookie shapes ( if you remember those), the melody cookies, chocolate with sugar on top, raisin biscuit cookies, and so many more.” 3 In her history of the Goldfarb family, Kay Lergessner Goldfarb related a family story that Joe sold dog biscuits and that Helen Keller was one of his customers because she had several dogs. I am not sure whether that particular story can be proven, and I am not even sure that Loose-Wiles sold dog biscuits, but it’s a nice bit of family lore.4

Meanwhile, Joe and Betty’s children were growing up. Here are some photographs likely taken in the 1940s when they were all teenagers:

Francine and Selma Goldfarb, c. 1940 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Francine, Joe, and Selma Goldfarb, c. 1940

Marvin and Francine Goldfarb, c. 1943 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joseph and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Marvin registered for the draft in 1942, reporting that he was working for A.B. Baumgarten in New York City and living in Brooklyn with his family.  According to a New York City directory, A.B. Baumgarten was a dental laboratory. Marvin enlisted in the US Army on June 22, 1943. It appears he served in the Reserves during the war.5

Marvin Goldfarb, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

After the war ended, the children of Joe and Betty Goldfarb married and started households of their own. More on that in my next post.

 

 


  1. Joseph Goldfarb and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 0152; FHL microfilm: 2341090, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. Joseph Goldfarb and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02550; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 24-134A, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  3. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, April 30, 2021. 
  4. KLG Family History 
  5. National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 01361; Reel: 136, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 

Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg and Her Four Sons, Members of the Greatest Generation

Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb’s fourth child1 and second daughter was Bessie, born in 1890 in Galicia. She was just six years old2 when she came to the US with her mother and settled in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, and then the Lower East Side of New York City. Bessie married Meyer Malzberg in 1914 in Detroit, and I’ve yet to learn what took them from New York to Detroit. Although they appear to have been in Detroit for a few years, they soon returned to New York and eventually settled in New Jersey near Bessie’s  brothers Julius and Joseph.

By 1930, Meyer and Bessie had four sons: Norman, born in 1915, Gustave, born in 1919, Burton, born in 1923, and finally Saul, born in 1928. That gave Sarah two grandsons named Saul—Bessie’s son and Morris’ son, born in 1930.  I assume they were both named in memory of their grandfather Samuel, who died in 1926, although Saul and Samuel are different biblical names (Samuel was actually known as Shlomo or Solomon in Europe).

Here (again) are the two photographs that we believe are the Malzbergs with Sarah Brod Goldfarb—first, with Bessie and Meyer, second, with two of their sons.

Meyer, like his brother-in-law Julius, was for some time in the liquor business. But with Prohibition, his livelihood was threatened, and his bar was one of many that were padlocked by the authorities in 1929.3

The 1930 census shows that a year later Meyer was the owner of a delicatessen instead.  The family was living in North Bergen, New Jersey, where they owned their own home, valued at $15,000, and had a radio.

Meyer Malzberg and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: North Bergen, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 0351; FHL microfilm: 2341093, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

In 1931, Gustave Malzberg, then twelve years old, was injured when he was hit by a car—as had happened to his cousin Martin Goldfarb.  The Malzbergs won a lawsuit against the driver and were awarded $175 in damages. That would be the equivalent of about $2777 dollars in today’s money. As far as I know, unlike Martin Goldfarb, Gustave did not suffer any long-term consequences from his injuries.

“Father of North Bergen Boy Injured by Auto Awarded $175,” Jersey Journal, March 4, 1931, p. 4.

Meanwhile, Bessie and Meyer’s oldest son Norman was becoming well-known in the area for his chess prowess. I found close to one hundred news articles4 in the New Jersey papers starting in 1931 when Norman was 16 describing his success as a chess player. He also wrote columns for the newspaper about chess and chess strategy. In 1934 he was the champion of the Jersey City Chess Club and retained that title for six years until 1940. By that time Norman was 24 and in law school.

Jersey Journal, December 29, 1934, p. 11.

The 1940 census5 shows that Meyer Malzberg, like his brother-in-law Julius Goldfarb, had returned to the liquor business once Prohibition ended. He was now a wholesale liquor salesman as was his son Norman, who was working his way through law school at the John Marshall College of Law in Jersey City.6 Meyer and Bessie’s three younger sons were still in school and not employed out of the home.

But soon their world would change as the US entered World War II in December 1941. Norman had already registered for the draft on October 16, 1940, listing his employer as Federal Wine & Liquor Company in Jersey City, presumably his father’s business. He was living at home with his parents at 87 Van Wagenen Avenue in Jersey City.

Norman Malzberg, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 409, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Gustave registered on the same day as his older brother. He listed himself as self-employed, and like Norman, he was living at home in Jersey City. He was now 21 years old. Gustave enlisted on February 27, 1941, almost a year before Pearl Harbor. He was honorably discharged on December 2, 1945.7

Gustave Malzberg World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 409, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Burton was too young to register in 1940, but he registered in June 1942. He was working for American Home Products Corporation and living at home with his parents in Jersey City.

Burton Malzberg World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 409, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

The four Malzberg brothers all served during World War II. Norman served with the Medical Administration Corps in France, and Gustave was in an anti-aircraft unit stationed in Seattle.8

Although Saul was only sixteen at the time, he enlisted in April 1944 when he would have been only sixteen. According to his son Mark, Saul served in the Pacific Theater near the end of the war in Guam, the Phillipines, and the Panama Canal Zone.9

Burton’s military service was particularly harrowing. He enlisted on May 17, 1943, and was an infantryman in the Army and sent to France. In December, 1944, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was captured by the Germans.10 The Jersey Journal reported in September, 1944, that the family had not heard from Burton for seven weeks at that time, but that the Army had informed them that he had been “slightly wounded.” A later article in February 1945 reported that in fact Burton was a prisoner of war. He was liberated when the war ended a few months later. According to family lore, his war experiences haunted him long after the war ended.

Here is a photograph of Burton with the note he inscribed on the back:

Burton Malzberg, September 1943. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Jersey Journal, September 29 1944, p. 7.

Jersey Journal, February 1, 1945, p. 5.

Meyer Malzberg and Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg lived to see their sons return from the war, get married, and father nine Malzberg grandchildren. Meyer was 75 when he died on January 11, 1966;11 Bessie died five years later on November 9, 1971. She was 81.12

When Norman returned from the war, he took and passed the New Jersey bar and began practicing law. One of his long-time clients was the Allied Grocers Association, an association of independent grocery stores. He also became involved in various Jewish communal and religious organizations including his synagogue and the Jewish War Veterans branch in Jersey City.13

In 1964 when he was 49, Norman married Thelma “Toby” Diller, the daughter of Philip Diller and Jenny Englart. She was born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1926. Norman and Toby had two children together.14

In December 1974, Norman was sworn in as an acting judge in the Jersey City Municipal Court. After three years, he decided not to continue because of a possible conflict of interest for one of his associates and returned to private practice. He continued practicing law until his death on July 10, 1999, at the age of 84 from pancreatic cancer.15

Jersey Journal, December 24, 1974, p. 3

Gustave Malzberg married Barbara Weinberg in 1957. She was born in Brooklyn, and she and Gustave settled in Brooklyn where they had two children. According to his son Steve, Gustave “worked in retail his whole life. He was a hard working loving caring man who always provided for his family.”  Steve said that his father’s greatest joy was holding his grandchild the night he was born and watching him grow for almost ten years until Gustave passed away in Brooklyn on September 14, 2009, at the age of 90.16

Burton Malzberg married Evelyn Ginsberg on June 2, 1947, in New York. Evelyn was born in New York in 1927 to Jacob and Esther Ginsberg.17 She and Burton had two children together, but later divorced. Evelyn made a name for herself many years later when she graduated from New Jersey City University in 2011 at the age of 84. Burton later married Jeanie Jones in December 1974 in Jersey City.18 Burton died on March 5, 1994; he was seventy years old. Like his brother Norman, he died from pancreatic cancer19

Saul Malzberg married Anita Spector in Newark, New Jersey, in 1954.20 Anita was born in Jersey City on May 26, 1931, to Benjamin Spector and Sadie Berman. A year after marrying, Saul graduated from Rutgers University. Saul and Anita had three children together. Saul worked as a credit manager for many years primarily for the Homelite division of Textron in North Arlington, New Jersey, before purchasing and running Union Center Card and Gift in Union, New Jersey. Sadly, his wife Anita died when she was only 46 on January 14, 1978.21 Saul remarried in 1997; his second wife was Beryl Baranker.22 Saul was 75 when he died from a bile duct carcinoma on August 14, 2003.22

My cousin Alyce shared these photographs from her brother’s bar mitzvah in 1960 of three of the Malzberg sons and their wives:

Evelyn Ginsberg, Burt Malzberg, Marcia Berger Goldfarb, seated. Standing, Gus Malzberg and Barbara Weinberg. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Saul and Anita (Spector) Malzberg, 1960. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Gustave’s son Steve shared this photograph of the Malzbergs at Mark Malzberg’s bar mitzvah in 1970. It includes his grandmother Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg and all four of her sons and their wives as well as her sister Rose Goldfarb Levine and her husband Max and Joe Goldfarb’s son Marvin and his wife Florence. How proud Bessie must have been of her four sons.

Standing, Burt Malzberg, Max Levine, Rose Goldfarb Levine, Gustave Malzberg, Barbara Weinberg Malzberg, Saul and Anita (Spector) Malzberg. Seated, Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg, Toby (Diller) and Norman Malzberg, Marvin and Florence (Glasser) Goldfarb. 1970 Courtesy of Steve Malzberg and Mark Malzberg

My grandmother’s first cousin Bessie Goldfarb was born in Galicia and just six years old when she came to America. Like her older brothers Julius and Morris, she adapted to her new country and new language and raised four American-born sons, all of whom served their country during World War II. One son endured life in a German POW camp during that service. Bessie and Meyer Malzberg were immigrants whose sons protected their parents’ adopted country. The sons of Bessie Goldfarb and Meyer Malzberg are evidence of the many contributions immigrants have made to America. We should all be very proud of them.

Thank you to Steve, Mark, and Alyce for their contributions to this post.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. As we have seen, Sam and Sarah’s third child and oldest daughter Gussie died during the pandemic of 1918-1919. 
  2. The 1896 ship manifest for Bessie’s arrival says she was two, but every record after that suggests she was born in 1890, including the 1900 census, which shows her age as ten. Goldfarb family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Page: 17; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. 
  3. “120 More Hudson Saloons Face Padlocking by Drewen,” Jersey Journal, December 17, 1929, p.8. 
  4. E.g., “Berger Bows to Malzberg,” Jersey Journal, March 25, 1935, p. 18; “Chess Crown to Malzberg,” Jersey Journal, February 15, 1938, p., 14. 
  5. Meyer Malzberg and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02409; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 24-282, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. “2 Sworn as Acting Judges,” Jersey Journal, December 24, 1974, p. 3. 
  7.  National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 04603; Reel: 182, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  8. “No Word from Wounded Son,” Jersey Journal, September 29, 1944, p. 7. 
  9. Saul Malzberg, Birth Date: 23 Jan 1928, Death Date: 14 Aug 2003, SSN: 141206478, Enlistment Branch: A, Enlistment Date: 12 Apr 1944, Discharge Date: 9 Jan 1947, Page number: 1, Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010. I am not sure how to reconcile that with the draft registration dated 1946 when he was of draft age. Saul Malzberg draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947. 
  10. National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 05842; Reel: 248, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. Kay Lergessner Goldfarb family history. 
  11. Meyer Malzberg, Social Security Number: 140-03-9072, Birth Date: 8 Sep 1890
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Death Date: Jan 1966, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12. Bessie Malzberg, Death Date: 9 Nov 1971, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1971; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  13. E.g.,”56 Pass N.J. Attorney Test,” Jersey Journal, January 16, 1947, p. 16; “Feldman Installed by Grover Post,” Jersey Journal, February 18, 1947, p. 2; “Allied Grocers Oppose Gross Tax,” Jersey Journal, February 18, 1949, p. 3; “Synagogue Officers,” Jersey Journal, March 20, 1959, p, 17. 
  14. Norman Malzberg, Marriage Date: Sep 1964, Marriage Place: Bergenfield, Bergen, New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Thelma Diller, Certificate Number: 30323
    New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1964; Surname Range: A – K, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016. Family tree records from Sue Wartur. Phillip Diller, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Bayonne, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0226; FHL microfilm: 2341083, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  15. “Malzberg Quits Municipal Post, Jersey Journal, January 28, 1977. p. 2; “Norman Malzberg,” Jersey Journal, July 12, 1999, p. 8; Norman Malzberg, Social Security Number: 140-03-9073, Birth Date: 2 May 1915, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA
    Death Date: 10 Jul 1999, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Email from Mark Malzberg, May 20, 2021. 
  16. Gustave Malzberg, Marriage License Date: 1957, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Barbara Weinberg, License Number: 9079, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018; Gustave Daniel Malzberg, Social Security Number: 138-12-3855, Birth Date: 4 Jun 1919, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 11223, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, Death Date: 14 Sep 2009, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Email from Steve Malzberg, May 18, 2021. 
  17. Burton Malzberg, Marriage License Date: 2 Jun 1947, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Evelyn Ginsberg, License Number: 16808, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 25, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018; Jacob Ginsberg and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 0779; FHL microfilm: 2341266, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  18. Jeanie O Jones, Maiden Name: Jones, Marriage Date: Dec 1974, Marriage Place: Jersey, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Burton Malzberg, Certificate Number: 54178, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1974; Surname Range: A-K, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  19. Burton Malzberg, Age: 70, Birth Date: 23 Mar 1923, Death Date: 5 Mar 1994
    Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1994; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017. Email from Mark Malzberg, May 20, 2021. 
  20. Saul Malzberg, Marriage Date: Jul 1954, Marriage Place: Newark, Essex, New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Anita Spector, Certificate Number: 20102, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1954; Surname Range: L – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  21. Anita Spector, [Anita Malzberg], Birth Date: 26 May 1931, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: Jan 1978, Father: Benjamin Spector, Mother: Sadie Berman
    SSN: 140245456, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  22.  Saul Malzberg, Social Security Number: 141-20-6478, Birth Date: 23 Jan 1928
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 08831, Jamesburg, Middlesex, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: 14 Aug 2003, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Email from Mark Malzberg, May 20, 2021. 

Who Was Bessie Goldfarb Named For? A Study in Naming Patterns

Before I write about Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg and her family, I want to explore a question that bothered me since I first learned her name.

It struck me as odd that Sarah Brod Goldfarb named a daughter Bessie since that was her sister’s name—my great-grandmother Bessie Brod Brotman. Even their Yiddish names were the same. On the ship manifest for Sarah and her four children, Sarah’s second daughter is listed as Pesie, and my great-grandmother Bessie was listed as Pessel on her ship manifest. I assume Pesie was a nickname for Pessel. Incidentally, Pessel is also my Yiddish name—in honor of my great-grandmother Bessie.

The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series: T840
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962

Year: 1891; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 29; List Number: 73, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Since Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews did not name children for living relatives, I assumed that Sarah’s Bessie was named for either the same person her sister Bessie had been named for or for a relative on Sam’s side of the family. But who was that person?

I decided to explore the naming patterns in the Goldfarb and Brod families a bit further to see if they provided any clues. Sam and Sarah’s first son was Julius (Joel was his Hebrew name), and it appears obvious that he was named for Sam’s father who was also named Julius Goldfarb.1 I will refer to Sam’s father as Julius I and Sam’s son as Julius II.

Sam and Sarah’s second son Morris (Moische), born in 1886, could have been named for a relative on Sarah’s side, and that’s possible here, but since four of Sam’s siblings—his brother Louis and his half-brothers Max, Meier, and Julius 2—all had sons named Morris Goldfarb,3 I think it’s more likely that Morris was also named for an ancestor on Sam’s side though I don’t know who that would be. Perhaps an uncle or a great-grandfather.

Then came Gussie (Gittel) Goldfarb, born in 1888. My grandmother Gussie Brotman was born in 1895, and she was a first cousin to Gussie Goldfarb. Sarah’s death certificate states that her mother was named Gittel, and her sister Bessie’s second marriage certificate says her mother was Gittel, so both Gussies—Gussie Goldfarb and my grandmother Gussie—were named for their maternal grandmother Gittel, my great-great-grandmother. (My daughter carries on the naming pattern as her Hebrew name is Rivka Gittel for my grandmother.)

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WT7-T1D : 3 June 2020), Sarah Goldfarb, 1937.

Certificate Number: 22138, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937

That brings me to Bessie. She was born in 1890, and I don’t know who she was named for. Sam’s mother was Dora Kleinman. Dora died not long after Sam’s brother Louis (Lazar) was born in 1859. Louis Goldfarb named his first daughter Dora in 1889 for his mother. It seems odd that Sam didn’t have a daughter named for his mother.4 It makes me think Sam and Sarah may have had another daughter named for Dora who died before they left Europe—unless Dora Kleinman had a double name and Bessie was named for her other name.

Julius I’s second wife was named Rebecca Kirschenbaum,5 so did Sam name Bessie for his stepmother Rebecca? Or was Bessie named for a Brod, possibly the same unknown ancestor for whom my great-grandmother Bessie was named? I don’t know.

After Bessie came Joseph. I don’t see any Josephs on the Goldfarb side, and Sarah Brod and Bessie Brod’s father was named Joseph Brod according to the two records depicted above. So I think it’s very likely that Joseph Goldfarb was named for his maternal grandfather, Joseph Brod.

Leo was the next son, born in 1899. I don’t have any clues as to his namesake. On the  1900 census, Leo  was listed as Lewis, and on the 1905 NYS census he was Louis. Only in 1910 did his name appear as Leo. Sam’s brother Louis was still living when Leo was born, but maybe Leo was named for the same ancestor for whom his uncle Louis was named.  Sam’s half-brother Max had a son named Lewis born in 1901, so perhaps he also was named for the same ancestor.6  I don’t see anyone else with an L name in the Brod family so I think Leo was named for a Goldfarb, not a Brod.

Sam and Sarah’s last child was Rose, and that’s a name that appears four times among Sam’s relatives.  Sam’s brother Louis named his second daughter Rose born in 1891. Sam’s half-brother Max named a daughter Rose in 1901, and Julius Jr. had a daughter named Rose born in 1919. I would assume that Max and Julius, Jr. named their daughters for their mother Rebecca, but who did Sam and Louis name their daughters Rose for? I don’t know. Perhaps their stepmother Rebecca, or perhaps a great-grandmother or other female relative.7

Just to add to the data set here, my great-grandmother Bessie had five children with my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman—Tillie, Chaim (Hyman), my grandmother Gussie, Frieda, and Sam. With his first wife Chaye, Joseph Brotman had four children: Abraham, David, Max, and Taube. Only the name Gussie is repeated among her sister Sarah’s children although Max Brotman, like Morris Goldfarb, was Moische in Europe.

To summarize my assumptions: Sam and Sarah’s son Julius was named for Sam’s father Julius. Their daughter Gussie and son Joseph were named for Sarah’s parents, Gittel and Joseph.  Morris and Rose are names that occur frequently in the Goldfarb family so those two children probably were named for a Goldfarb relative. Leo was originally Louis, a name that appears in the Goldfarb family, so I am inclined to think he was named for a Goldfarb.

But I am without a clue about the ancestor for whom Bessie was named. If my assumptions are correct, it would mean that four of Sarah and Sam’s children were named for a Goldfarb ancestor and only two were named for a Brod ancestor. That makes me think Bessie might have been named for a Brod, and maybe for the same relative for whom her aunt, my great-grandmother Bessie, was named. But I can’t be sure.

And sadly without records for those earlier generations, I probably never will know.


  1. KLG family history and various other sources and records. 
  2. Sam’s father Julius I had a son with his second wife Rebecca who was also named Julius; I will refer to him as Julius, Jr. That seems quite odd—unless Julius I died before Rebecca gave birth to Julius, Jr. Unfortunately I have no records to know for sure. What I do have is a family history compiled by Kay Goldfarb.  Kay’s book says that Julius died 1879-1880 and that Julius, his son, was born in 1880. So it seems probable that in fact Julius I did die before his son Julius Jr. was born. 
  3. KLG family history and various other sources and records. 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Ibid. 
  6. Ibid. 
  7. Ibid. 

Morris Goldfarb’s Adventurous Sons, Martin, Irving, and Saul

We saw in the last post that Morris Goldfarb’s three sons, Martin, Irvin, and Saul lost their mother in 1938 when Saul was just eight years old and the two older boys were teenagers. Morris and his two older boys were working with him in his grocery store in 1940.

When the US entered World War II, Martin Goldfarb registered for the World War II draft. Martin’s draft registration indicates that he was continuing to work for his father as a grocery clerk at 679 Sutter Avenue in Brooklyn and living at 668 Sutter Avenue across the street.

Martin Goldfarb, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

As I wrote in the last post, Martin had been seriously injured as a child when he was hit by a car. His legs were badly damaged, and he was left with circulatory problems because of the surgery done to repair those injuries. Because of that, he was not able to serve in the military. Ann shared with me this photograph of her father Martin taken when he was in his 20s.

Martin Goldfarb, c. 1940s. Courtesy of Ann Lee

Martin married Marcia Berger in 1946.1 Marcia was born on February 28, 1926, in New York City, daughter of Isidore and Nettie Berger, who were Russian/Polish immigrants. Here is a beautiful photograph from their wedding day.

Marcia Berger and Martin Goldfarb, 1946. Courtesy of Ann Lee

Martin and Marcia had two children, Ann and Michael, and later moved to San Jose, California. Ann shared with me the story of the family’s move to California:2

My father had a grocery store in Canarsie [Brooklyn] when we lived in Oceanside, but the commute was too much.  So my father and a friend decided to start up a business in San Jose. We had a distant cousin there but my father’s friend also had family. Unfortunately the gentleman [the distant cousin] died but my father was determined to come anyway- sight unseen.  Sold our house and loaded up our black Dodge Pioneer and spent 3 weeks driving across country in December of 1961.  Michael and I are 5 1/2 years apart, and it wasn’t easy sitting in the backseat with a cooler between us.  We arrived in San Jose, stayed at the Civic Center Motel, and started looking for a house to rent.  We ended up renting a home on New Jersey Ave., which we thought was pretty funny.

I started high school at nearly 14 and Michael ended grammar school.  His NY style clothes didn’t fit with the California style of jeans and a T shirt.

My father proceeded to get a job in the food industry and we settled in.  From there my father had a NY style deli that ended up going out of business- San Jose wasn’t ready for our type of food.  Then he had a catering business for a long time, the local Temple provided many clients, and finally he had a restaurant called The Tasting Room.  One of the highlights was my father’s invention- the Surprise Sandwich.  A French roll filled with many different stuffings; it was similar to the current Hot Pocket.  Unfortunately it didn’t make the big time.

Martin died on April 8, 1972, in San Jose, California, after heart surgery; he was only 51.3 Like his mother Anna, he died far too young.

Marcia Berger and Martin Goldfarb Courtesy of the family

Martin’s brother Irvin (referred to on later documents as Irving and so I will also refer to him hereinafter as Irving) enlisted in the US Navy after the US entered World War II, according to his sister-in-law Kay.4 I cannot find any specific record for Irving’s military service as there are many Irving Goldfarbs and no way to be sure I am looking at the right one on either Fold3 or Ancestry because no other identifying information is included on the Navy Muster Rolls.

Irving married Hermina Perlmutter on March 13, 1953, in Denver, Colorado, where he was an accountant. Hermina was a native of Colorado, born there on December 19, 1918, to Ben Perlmutter and Belle Leopold, who were immigrants from Russia-Poland. Hermina and Irving had three children.5

Marriage certificate of Irving Goldfarb and Hermina Perlmutter, Denver County Clerk and Recorder’s Office; Denver, Colorado; Denver County Marriages, 1950-2017; Year: 1953
Ancestry.com. Colorado, U.S., Select County Marriages, 1863-2018

Then tragedy again struck the family of Morris Goldfarb when Irving was killed in a plane crash in January 1963. He was en route from Salt Lake City to Denver in a light plane with another accountant and two others when the plane went down in the Rocky Mountains in western Colorado. A search for the plane had to be called off because of bad weather. The plane was discovered five years later by two men hiking in the area. Irving’s auto insurance card was found at the crash site as well as other belongings and remains of the four victims. Irving was only forty years old when he died and was survived by his wife Hermina and their three young children.6

The youngest son of Morris and Anna (Greenbaum) Goldfarb was Saul, and he ended up on the other side of the world from his family in the United States. After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, Saul applied to veterinary school in many places and ended up choosing the University of Queensland Veterinary School in Brisbane, Australia, where he was the only Jewish student. He graduated from the vet school in 1962, and six years later married Kay Lergessner, a native of Brisbane. They settled first in San Francisco, but in 1972 returned to Australia. Saul and Kay had three children together including my cousin Becky. Saul developed a specialty in veterinary ophthalmology and was very well regarded.7

Wedding of Kay Lergessner and Saul Goldfarb. Martin Goldfarb to the right of Saul and Kay’s sister Helen to the left of Kay. 1968. Courtesy of the family

Unfortunately none of the sons of Morris Goldfarb lived long lives. We’ve seen that Martin died in 1972 at age 51 after heart surgery, and Irving died at 40 in a plane crash in 1963. Saul lived longer than his two brothers, but he suffered from a number of health problems and died at age 64 on October 23, 1994.8

Morris Goldfarb was an immigrant who left his homeland as a young boy and traveled across the world with his family. But once he married and settled in Brooklyn, he spent the rest of his life there. His three sons spent their entire youth in Brooklyn, but then they, also, made journeys far from their birthplace. Martin ended up in California, Irving in Colorado, and Saul in Australia. Their migrations seemed to mirror in some way the adventure their father experienced as a young boy. Martin, Irving, and Saul were survived by their wives and their children, the eight grandchildren of Morris Goldfarb and Anna Greenbaum.

Martin and Saul Goldfarb (and Mutty, the Siamese cat!)
Courtesy of the family

Thank you so much to my cousins Ann, Kay, and Becky for sharing the photographs and the family stories with me and for bringing Morris and Anna and their three sons to life.


  1. Martin Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 21 Feb 1946, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Marcia Berger, License Number: 4255, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  2. Email from Ann Lee, April 21, 2021. 
  3. Martin Goldfarb, Social Security #: 068145066, Birth Date: 26 May 1920
    Birth Place: New York, Death Date: 8 Apr 1972, Death Place: Santa Clara, Place: Santa Clara; Date: 8 Apr 1972; Social Security: 068145066, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  4. KLG history. 
  5.  Hermina B Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 524-18-2988, Birth Date: 19 Dec 1918, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Colorado, Death Date: 5 Mar 2013,
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; Ben Perlmutter, Marriage Date: 28 Jun 1915, Marriage Place: Golden, Jefferson, Colorado, USA, Spouse: Belle Leopold, Film Number: 001690119, Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006 
  6. “Another Private Plane Missing,” Fort Collins Coloradoan
    Fort Collins, Colorado, 10 Jan 1963, Thu • Page 10; “Weather Halts Plane Search,” The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colorado, 11 Jan 1963, Fri • Page 9; “Plane Missing Five Years Located on Upper Poudre,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, Fort Collins, Colorado
    02 Sep 1968, Mon • Page 1. 
  7. KLG history. 
  8. Saul Goldfarb, Birth Date: 10 Jun 1930, Birth Place: New York Bro, New York
    Death Date: 15 Oct 1994, Father: Morris Goldfarb, Mother: Anna Greenberg
    SSN: 067242458, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. KLG history. 

My Grandmother’s First Cousin Morris Goldfarb: A Life Filled with Challenges

My grandmother’s first cousin Morris Goldfarb, Sam and Sarah (Brod) Goldfarb’s second child, was born in Grebow in what is now Poland on August 15, 1886,1 and was almost ten years old when he came to America with his mother and siblings. He lived in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, and then on the Lower East Side with his parents until he married Anna Grinbaum (later spelled Greenbaum) in 1919. At that time he was working as a cloakmaker in a sweatshop in New York.

By 1925, Morris and Anna had two sons, Martin, born in 1920, and Irvin, born in 1922.  They were living in the same apartment building at 526 Williams Avenue in Brooklyn as Sam and Sarah and Morris’ sister Rose. Morris was no longer working in a sweatshop as a tailor but now had his own 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 Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1925

Here is a baby picture of little Martin Goldfarb shared with me by his daughter Ann.

Martin Goldfarb, c. 1920. Courtesy of Ann Lee.

I asked the amazing people in the Free Photo Restoration group on Facebook if they could edit this photo, and here is one of the results:

Martin Goldfarb. Photo edited 4 29 21 by Kim Prevost

This is the building in Brooklyn where the Goldfarbs were living in 1925:

Five years later in 1930, Morris and his family were living at 542 Williams Avenue, and Morris was still the proprietor of a grocery store. His father Sam had died in 1926, and his mother Sarah and  two of his younger siblings Leo and Rose were living across the street at 526 Williams Avenue.  Morris’ wife Anna must have been pregnant when the 1930 census was enumerated because she gave birth to their third son Saul on June 10, 1930.2

Morris Goldfarb and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 1218; FHL microfilm: 2341227
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

I love this sweet photograph of Morris Goldfarb holding Saul in 1932, shared with me by Saul’s widow Kay and their children Becky and Jim:

Morris and Saul Goldfarb, c. 1932 Courtesy of the family

Sometime during this period, Martin Goldfarb was hit by a car in Brooklyn and seriously injured, leaving him with a lifetime of circulation problems following surgery to repair his injured legs.3

According to a family history compiled by Saul Goldfarb’s wife Kay,4 Morris’ grocery store was not terribly lucrative, but was successful enough to support his growing family. The Depression years, however, were hard for the family, and Morris had to pay “protection money” to gangsters to keep the store going. The boys went to a Brooklyn public school with many other children of immigrants, including Danny Kaye, a classmate of Martin Goldfarb.

The family shared this wonderful photograph of Morris in his grocery store:

Morris Goldfarb courtesy of the family

Tragedy again struck the family on October 6, 1938, when Anna died from a ruptured appendix.5 She was only 41 when she died and left behind her three sons. Martin was eighteen, Irvin was sixteen, and Saul was only eight when they lost their mother.

This is a beautiful photograph of Anna, shared with me by her granddaughter Ann, Martin Goldfarb’s daughter and Anna’s namesake.

Anna Greenbaum Goldfarb. Courtesy of Ann Lee.

On the 1940 census Morris was listed as a widower living with his three sons; his sister Rose was living with them also. Perhaps Rose moved in with Morris to help with the three sons.

Morris Goldfarb and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02618; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 24-2709, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

This census record has several errors. First, it lists Rose as 25 when she was in fact 38; she was working as an operator in a curtain business, presumably a sweatshop. The second error is that it lists nine-year-old Saul as a bookkeeper in the grocery business; that must have been Irvin’s occupation as there is no occupation listed for him, and he was now 18 years old. It make more sense that Morris and his two oldest sons would be working together in his grocery store and that Saul would have been in school.

Morris’ sister Rose married in early 1941,6 and it was around this time that a rabbi arranged a second marriage for Morris to help him and his sons. According to the family history written by Saul’s wife Kay, Morris was briefly married to a woman named Lena Weiss, a widow with two children of her own, but the marriage was over by sometime around 1942-1943.7 In 1945, Morris married for a third time. His third wife was Mollie Kaminsky Rosen, a widow with one son.8

Morris Goldfarb was 64 when he died on January 29, 1951.9 He is buried at Mount Hebron cemetery in New York where his first wife Anna is also buried.10 He had lived a full but challenging life.  Born in Grebow, Poland, Morris came to the US as a young boy, having to learn a new language and a new culture. He lived and worked in Brooklyn for his entire adult life, making a living in his own grocery store. He faced personal obstacles when his son Martin was badly injured in a car accident, and then when his first wife Anna died a sudden death in 1938. Morris raised his sons on his own after her death until he married again. He must have been a strong and resilient man.

His sons also faced challenges in their adult lives, as we will see in the next post.


  1.  Morris Goldfarb, Marital status: Single, Birth Date: 15 Aug 1886, Birth Place: Galicia, Austria, Residence Date: 1917-1918, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  2. Saul Goldfarb, Birth Date: 10 Jun 1930, Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 234??, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965 
  3. Email from Ann Lee, April 20, 2021. 
  4. Unpublished family history written by Kay Lergessner Goldfarb (hereinafter referred to as KLG history.”) 
  5. Anna Goldfarb, Age: 41, Birth Year: abt 1897, Death Date: 6 Oct 1938
    Death Place: Kings, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 19378, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. KLG history. 
  6. Rose Goldfarb. Marriage License Date: 29 Jan 1941
    Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
    Spouse: Max Levine, License Number: 1699, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  7. KLG history 
  8. Mollie Kaminsky, Maiden Name: Kaminsky, Marriage Date: 1945, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Morris Goldfarb, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1945; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  9. Morris Goldfarb, Death Date: 29 Jan 1951, Death Place: Brooklyn, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 2007, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  10. Find a Grave, database and images, (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764408/morris-goldfarb : accessed 25 April 2021), memorial page for Morris Goldfarb (unknown–29 Jan 1951), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764408, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585); Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764294/anna-goldfarb : accessed 25 April 2021), memorial page for Anna Goldfarb (unknown–6 Oct 1938), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764294, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 

My Cousins Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht: Lives Well Lived

Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother Gussie’s first cousin, and Ida Hecht, my grandmother Gussie’s half-sister’s daughter, knew each other as teenagers when their families were living next door to each other on Avenue C in New York City. They married in 1913, had four daughters, and by 1940 had created a happy and comfortable life for themselves and their daughters in Jersey City, New Jersey, supported by their real estate investments and their liquor business.

Julius Goldfarb had been forced out of the liquor business by Prohibition, but once Prohibition ended, he returned to it, now as the owner of a liquor store in Jersey City called Stuyvesant Wine and Liquor. He also continued to be involved in real estate and was prospering in both businesses.

But starting in 1939, the store was repeatedly the target of robberies. We already saw the news article about that first robbery where Julius was held up by three armed gunmen who then locked him in a storeroom closet. He lost $220 in that crime.

Julius was robbed again in 1941. A single armed robber walked behind the counter and forced Julius to lie on the floor; he then stole $124 from Julius. This time, however, Julius was insured for the loss.

“Holdup in Boulevard Liquor Store,” Jersey Journal, April 15, 1941, p, 1

But Julius and Ida’s life was not overshadowed by these events. Rather, they were enjoying life with their growing family—their four daughters and their grandchildren. Julius and Ida’s oldest daughter Sylvia remarried on October 31, 1942. Her second husband was George Horowitz; he was also a native of Jersey City and was born on September 16, 1912, to Abraham Horowitz and Sophie Margulies. George was working as a photographer for Sun-Ray Studios in Jersey City in 1942. Sylvia and George would have one child together born several years later.1

The third of Julius and Ida’s daughters, Ethel, became engaged to Herbert Rothman in May 1944; he was then a corporal in the US Army stationed at Camp Ruston in Louisiana. Herbert was the son of Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger and was born on July 26, 1922, in New York. At the time of their engagement, Ethel was attending New York University. Ethel and Herbert were married in November, 1945, and had two sons. Herbert ended up working in the liquor business with Julius.2

Evelyn Goldfarb was briefly married in the 1940s to a man named Seymour Hutchinson, but that marriage did not last or produce any children.3 As noted below, Evelyn would remarry some years later.

Here is a beautiful photograph of three of the four daughters of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, my double cousins, Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel:

Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel Goldfarb c. 1942 Courtesy of Sue Wartur

And here is a photograph of Julius and Ida with their youngest daughter Evelyn in 1951.

Julius, Evelyn, and Ida Goldfarb 1951. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

My cousin Sue recalls many happy times with her grandparents Ida and Julius. She wrote to me about the beach house on Long Island where Julius and Ida and their extended family would spend their summers:

“From spring until late fall, sometimes until after the High Holy Days, my grandparents would be at their beach house, steps from the Atlantic, in Long Beach, Long Island. [My grandfather Julius] would arrive in the wee hours of Sat night/Sunday morning, his car laden with Sunday papers, his favorite…eggplants and grapefuits, and sodas and chips from the store. We had huge family spreads on the beach…cousins, aunts, uncles, and Grandma’s sister Jean and family, whose “dacha” was just around the corner.” 4

This is a photograph of Ida and Julius at their summer cottage in Long Beach and then a photograph of Julius on the beach:

Ida and Julius at their summer cottage on Long Beach, LI. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius Goldfarb, Long Beach, NY. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Meanwhile, Julius continued to have trouble at his store. In June 1951 Julius was again robbed; this time he was forced to lie on the floor of the lavatory at the back of his store while the robber made off with almost $100.5

Julius was not present in the store for the next robbery in July 1952. Instead his son-in-law Herbert Rothman, husband of Ethel, was the victim. He and two other employees were locked in the storeroom by two thieves armed with penknives. This time the criminals made off with $150.  The news story about this robbery refers to it as the fourth holdup of the store in the past year, so there must have been other robberies that did not appear in the paper.6

But it appears that Julius finally received more protection from the local police after this event. When another attempted robbery occurred in November 1952 while Herbert Rothman was working at the store, two plainclothes detectives stopped the holdup, and when the robber pointed his “toy gun” at them, one of those detectives shot and seriously wounded him.7

I don’t know whether that was the last time the store was the site of a robbery, but that was the last article reporting one that I could find in the Jersey City newspapers.

Not long before this last robbery, on October 25, 1952, Evelyn Goldfarb married her second husband, Samuel Block. He was also a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, born there on September 17, 1922, the son of Meyer Block and Gussie Greenberg. Evelyn and Samuel had two children born in the 1950s.8

Thus, by 1952 all four of Julius and Ida’s daughters were married. And in 1959, their first-born granddaughter, my cousin Sue, was married, and Julius and Ida were there to celebrate. Thank you to Sue for sharing some of her beautiful wedding photographs.

Sue (Leyner) and Larry Wartur, 1959. Courtesy of Sue Wartur.

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

In the end there were nine grandchildren who survived Ida and Julius as well as their four daughters and sons-in-law. Ida died on March 7, 1966, in Jersey City; she was 71.9 Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968, also in Jersey City. He was 83.10

Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht had lived a full and interesting life together. Born in Galicia, Julius came to the US when he was ten years old and had to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. According to his granddaughter Sue, he remained a religious man all his life. He belonged to an Orthodox synagogue where Sue would watch him praying from her seat in the women’s section above the main sanctuary. Ida also was quite observant. Sue remembered that Ida always lit candles on Friday night, went to services on Saturday morning, and studied Torah at home.

But Julius also adapted to American life. He was a success both in the real estate and liquor businesses and more than once survived attacks on his business and himself, determined to protect his livelihood and his family. Ida contributed to that success not only on the homefront, but also by working with Julius in both the liquor and real estate businesses.

Their granddaughter Sue reminded me that what we see in newspapers and records is only a small part of the lives people lived and that while the news articles might leave an impression of a life darkened by robberies and crime, that was not how Julius and Ida saw their life. Rather, it was a life filled with joy and faith and love.

Sue wrote that even long after Julius and Ida’s four daughters were grown and married with children of their own, they always thought of 24 Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City as their home. That itself is a testament to the warm and loving family life that Julius and Ida created for their children and grandchildren.


I will be taking a short break from blogging in the next week or so. See you with more Goldfarb history when I return.


  1. Family records. George Horowitz, Birth Date: 16 Sep 1912, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 23 Sep 1999, Father: Abraham Horowitz, Mother:
    Sophie Marqulies, SSN: 140077673, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. George Horowitz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 303, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  2. “Miss Ethel Goldfarb To Wed Corp. Rothman,” Jersey Journal, May 16, 1944, p. 22. New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1945; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016. Herbert Rothman, Birth Date: 26 Jul 1922
    Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WF-8T8 : 10 February 2018), Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger, 20 Sep 1921; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,292. 
  3.  Evelyn Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 1 Oct 1945, Marriage License Place: Queens, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Seymour M Hutchinson, License Number: 5965, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Queens, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  4. Email from Sue Wartur, April 14, 2021. 
  5. “Fat Thug Gets $100 in Holdup,” Jersey Journal, June 29, 1951, p. 1. 
  6. “Store Held Up Fourth Time,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 1. 
  7. “Shots Fell ‘Toy Gun’ Bandit,” Jersey Journal, November 17, 1952, p. 1. 
  8. “Evelyn Goldfarb,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 10. “Miss Goldfarb, Jersey City, Wed to Samuel Block,” Hudson Dispatch, October 1952. Samuel Block
    Gender: Male, Birth Date: 17 Sep 1922, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey
    Death Date: 3 Nov 1988, Father: Meyer Block, Mother:Gussie Greenberg
    SSN: 140185188, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9.  Ida Goldfarb, Death Date: Mar 1966, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1966; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000.Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017. Family records. 
  10. Julius Goldfarb, Death Date: 20 Nov 1968, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1968; Surname Range: A-G; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017