Death Certificates: Answering Some Unanswered Questions

Over the last few weeks I have received a number of death certificates, most for people about whom I have written, so I will also post them as updates to the relevant posts.  But I also wanted to post about them separately for those who might never go back to those original posts.

Three of these were for relatively young men whose deaths puzzled me.  Why had they died so young?  E.g., Simon L.B. Cohen.  He was only 36 when he died on October 24, 1934, after serving valiantly in World War I.  He was my first cousin, twice removed, the first cousin of my grandfather John Nusbaum Cohen.  Simon had faced the horrors of war, been awarded a Distinguished Service Cross by General Pershing for his service, and had been reported killed in action when he was in fact still alive.  He came home and married, but then died only five years after he married.  I had wondered what might have caused such a young man to die after surviving everything he did during the war.

His death certificate reported that his cause of death was glomerulonephritis, chronic myocarditis, and arterial hypertension.  Glomerulonephritis is a form of kidney disease, sometimes triggered by an infection like strep or some other underlying disease.  Overall, it would appear that Simon was just not a healthy 36 year old.  But that’s not the whole story.  The death certificate also described Simon as an “unemployed disabled veteran.”  Although I do not know in what way he was disabled, obviously Simon paid a huge price for what he endured while serving in the military.

Death certificates_0004_NEW

The second young man whose death puzzled me was Louis Loux.  Louis was the husband of Nellie Simon, daughter of Eliza Wiler and Leman Simon.  Louis was thirteen years younger than Nellie.  They had a daughter Florrie, born in 1910, who died from burns caused by matches.  She was only eight years old when she died in September, 1918.  Then her father Louis died just three months later on December 15, 1918.  He was only 36 years old.  I had wondered whether there was some connection between these two terrible deaths.  I knew from the 1920 census that Nellie and Louis had divorced, but I did not and still do not know whether that was before or after their daughter died.  From the death certificate for Louis, I learned that he died from broncho pneumonia. So it would seem that it was perhaps just a terrible sequence of events and that Louis’ death was not in any directly related to the death of his daughter.

Death certificates_0003_NEW

The next death I had wondered about was that of Mervin Simon, the great-grandson of Mathilde Nusbaum and Isaac Dinkelspiel.  He was only 42 years old when he died on August 27, 1942.  He was the son of Leon Simon, who was the son of Moses Simon and Paulina Dinkelspiel.  Mervin died almost a year to do the day after his father Leon.  According to his death certificate, he also died from broncho pneumonia.  Like Simon Cohen, he had no occupation listed on his death certificate.  Even on the 1940 census, neither Mervin nor his brother William had an occupation listed.

Mervyn Simon death certificate

The last death certificate I received in the last few weeks was for Dorothy Gattman Rosenstein.  Dorothy was the daughter of Cora Frank from her first marriage to Jacques Gattman.  Cora was the daughter of Francis Nusbaum and Henry Frank and the granddaughter of Leopold Nusbaum.  Cora’s husband Jacques had died when Dorothy was just a young child, and Cora had remarried and moved to Dayton, Ohio, with her new husband Joseph Lehman and her daughter Dorothy.  I had had a very hard time tracking down what happened to both Cora and Dorothy, and only with the help from a number of kind people had I learned that Dorothy had married Albert Rosenstein from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  But I wanted the death certificate to corroborate all the other less official evidence I had that this was in fact the same Dorothy Gattman, daughter of Jacques Gattman and Cora Frank.  Her death certificate confirmed that.

Death certificates_0001

Thus, all of these certificates helped put closure on some lingering questions that had bothered me.

The Dinkelspiel Descendants in the 20th Century

In my last post, I covered four of the five children of Paula Dinkelspiel and Moses Simon.  The remaining child was their fourth child, Flora, born in 1868.  Flora Simon married Charles Mayer in 1889.  Charles was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1857, the son of Jacob Mayer and Mathilde Shoyer.  The family had moved to Philadelphia by the time Charles was three.  His father was a merchant on the 1860 census and in the wholesale liquor business on the 1870 census, but by 1880 and thereafter, he listed his occupation as a dentist.  He was a man with eleven children, and that made me wonder how he became a dentist while raising such a large family.

Most early “dentists” were actually barbers, blacksmiths, or apothecaries.  Sometimes physicians would do extractions.  Infection control was minimal, as was anesthesia.  According to the American Dental Association website, the first dental school in the world was established in 1841 in Baltimore.  Alabama enacted the first law to regulate the practice of dentistry also in 1841, but it was never enforced.  The American Dental Association was founded in 1857.  Pennsylvania had three dental schools by 1880, the newest being that established by the University of Pennsylvania.

Perhaps Jacob Mayer attended one of these, although I do not know when he would have had the time.  The earliest reference I could find to a Pennsylvania law regulating the practice of dentistry was this April, 16, 1879 article from the Harrisburg Telegraph, describing a bill being considered by the state legislature.

Harrisburg Telegraph April 16, 1879 p.1

Harrisburg Telegraph April 16, 1879 p.1

The bill was passed on a second reading, according to a May 16, 1879, article in the same paper (p.1).  Here is a description of that bill as reported the next day:

Harrisburg Telegraph May 17, 1879, p. 4

Harrisburg Telegraph May 17, 1879, p. 4

Thus, by the time Jacob Mayer was practicing dentistry, there was some state regulation of the practice.

At any rate, his son Charles did not follow him in to this practice.  By 1875 when he was eighteen, Charles was working as a salesman, though still living at home.  In the 1879 Philadelphia directory, he is listed as a bookkeeper, and on the 1880 census, he is a clerk, but in the 1880 directory, his occupation is salesman.  He was still living at home with his parents at this time.

After marrying Flora Simon in 1889, Charles and Flora remained in Philadelphia for a few more years and  Charles continued to work as a salesman.  Their first child Jerome was born in 1890, and their second child Madeline was born in 1892.  A third child, Evelyn, was born in October, 1895 according to the 1900 census (although her headstone says 1894), but I am not sure whether she was born in Philadelphia or in Lancaster because by 1896, the family had relocated to Lancaster, where Charles had been born almost forty years earlier.  He is listed in the 1896 Lancaster directory as the proprietor of the Parisian Cloak and Suit Company.  The family remained in Lancaster until at least 1901, when Charles is still listed as the proprietor of the same company.

"Downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1874" by Author unknown. From the personal collection of historian Ronald C. Young of Brownstown, Pennsylvania. Published in the Lancaster Sunday Newspaper in November 2008. - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -,_Pennsylvania_1874.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Downtown_Lancaster,_Pennsylvania_1874.jpg

“Downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1874” by Author unknown. From the personal collection of historian Ronald C. Young of Brownstown, Pennsylvania. Published in the Lancaster Sunday Newspaper in November 2008. – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –,_Pennsylvania_1874.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Downtown_Lancaster,_Pennsylvania_1874.jpg

By 1904, however, the family had returned to Philadelphia, and Charles is listed as affiliated with the A.J.S. Bowers Company, also known as the Philadelphia Cloak and Suit Company.  He listed his occupation on the 1910 census as a clothing manufacturer and continued to be associated with A.J.S. Bowers.  By 1914, however, he had started his own business, Charles S. Mayer & Co, and on the 1920 census described his business as a manufacturer of ladies’ dresses.

The three children of Flora and Charles Mayer, all now in their twenties, were still living at home with their parents in 1920.  Jerome was working as a salesman of ladies’ dresses, presumably in his father’s business.  Madeline was a primary school teacher, and so was her sister Evelyn.

Madeline married Gustave Winelander in 1925. Gustave was a 1914 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Chemistry.  He served in the US military forces during World War I and then was working as a chemist in 1918 according to the 1918 Philadelphia directory.  The 1920 census records that he and his father Max had their own extract business, and from later census and directory listings I determined that he was selling flavoring extracts used in baking.   Gustave and Madeline would have one daughter, Joan.

Flora and Charles Mayer’s youngest child, Evelyn, married Irving Frank sometime in or before 1922, as their son Irving was born in York, Pennsylvania, in January, 1922.  Irving, Senior, was born in New York City in 1893, but by 1903 he and his parents and siblings had relocated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where his younger sister Mildred was born.  In 1910, his father was a milliner, like Flora’s uncle, Joseph Simon.  Since York was only 26 miles from Lancaster, perhaps the two hat merchants knew each other.

Irving attended Lehigh University in 1912 and 1913, as a civil engineering major.  On his World War I draft registration, he listed his occupation as a manager at M. Frank in Lancaster, but by 1920 he was living in York with his aunt and uncle, working as a clerk in a department store.  Maybe he met Evelyn while working there when she was visiting her aunt and uncle, Joseph and Emilie Simon.  After marrying sometime thereafter, Irving and Evelyn settled in York, as Irving is listed a buyer there in the 1925 York directory.  By 1927, however, he was the proprietor of the Fashion Millinery in Lancaster, joining the same trade as his father and Evelyn’s uncle Joseph Simon.

Jerome, Madeline, and Evelyn’s mother Flora Simon Mayer died August 20, 1927, and was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia.  She died of bronchial pneumonia.  She was only 59 years old. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

After Flora died, her husband Charles and her son Jerome continued to live together and work together in the women’s clothing business at least until 1930.  Sometime between 1930 and 1940, Jerome married Mabel Bamberger Sichel, who had a daughter Marion from an earlier marriage.  On the 1940 census, Jerome, Mabel, and Marion are living in the same house on Diamond Street that Jerome had lived in with his parents and sisters, and his father Charles and Mabel’s mother Rose Bamberger were living with them as well.  Jerome was working in the cheese business.

Irving  Frank remained a milliner in Lancaster for many years, at least until the early 1940s.  He died November 14, 1946, and was residing in York at that time. He was only 53 years old.  He was buried at Prospect Hill cemetery in York where Joseph, Emilie, and Moses Joseph Simon were buried.


Charles Mayer outlived his wife Flora by almost thirty years, dying at the age of 98 on July 7, 1955.  He was buried with her at Mt. Sinai cemetery.  His son Jerome died in December 1966 and is also buried at Mt. Sinai with his wife Mabel, who died in 1973.  Jerome’s sister Madeline died in 1968; her husband Gustave lived until 1989 when he was 95 years old; they also are buried at Mt. Sinai in Philadelphia.

For longevity, however, the prize goes to Evelyn Mayer Frank, who died in 2002 at the age of 107.  She is buried with her husband Irving in the Prospect Hill cemetery in York, Pennsylvania.  Imagine the changes she saw in her world between her birth in 1894 and her death in 2002.  I hope that her descendants and her siblings’ descendants had many opportunities to learn from her experiences and to hear her stories.



No More Dinkelspiels

My three-times-great-grandfather John Nusbaum had one sister who settled in the US (or at least she is the only one I’ve found): Mathilde Nusbaum, who married Isaac Dinkelspiel in Germany and immigrated with him to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As I have already discussed, Mathilde died in 1878, and her husband Isaac Dinkelspiel died in 1889.  Their son Adolph died in 1896, and he had no children who survived him.  That left Mathilde and Isaac’s two daughters, Paulina and Sophia, to continue the family line, although not the Dinkelspiel name.  Sadly, Adolph Dinkelspiel was the last member of my family to have this rather unique and interesting name.

This post will focus on the family of Paulina Dinkelspiel. Paulina had married one of the three Simon brothers, Moses, and in 1880 they were living in Baltimore with their children: Joseph, Francis, Leon, Flora, and Nellie, ranging in age from eighteen down to eight years old. Moses was in the retail liquor business.  Moses remained in the liquor business throughout the 1880s and 1890s until he died on February 12, 1899, at age 64.  His wife Paulina Dinkelspiel Simon died five years later on March 29, 1904.  She was 63.

Paulina Dinkelspiel Simon death certificate

Paulina Dinkelspiel Simon death certificate


The terms of Paulina Dinkelspiel Simon’s will were disclosed in a news story in the April 16, 1904, edition of the Baltimore Sun, page 8.  She left her house and its contents to her daughter Nellie.  Her granddaughter Madeline Mayer (daughter of Flora Simon Mayer, to be discussed in my next post) was given $500, and the rest of the estate was divided evenly among her five surviving children, Joseph, Francis, Leon, Flora, and Nellie.  It is interesting that she singled out one child and one grandchild over the others.

Baltimore Sun April 16, 1904, p 8

Baltimore Sun April 16, 1904, p 8

Paulina was buried at Oheb Shalom cemetery in Baltimore along with her husband Moses, her parents Isaac and Mathilde (Nusbaum) Dinkelspiel, and the two children who predeceased her and Moses, Albert and Miriam.

Paulina and Moses Simon’s oldest child Joseph Simon had married Emilie Baernstein in July, 1889, in Baltimore, where she was born and raised.  By 1902, Joseph and Emilie had moved to York, Pennsylvania, where Joseph purchased a millinery shop.

York Daily, January 13, 1902.

York Daily, January 13, 1902.

Joseph and Emilie had a son Moses Joseph Simon, born in 1902, who died in May, 1908.  Unfortunately, I could not locate a death certificate for Moses, so I do not know the cause of death.  All I could locate was this notice of his funeral in the York Daily newspaper and his headstone.

York Daily May 4, 1908 p. 5

York Daily May 4, 1908 p. 5


Joseph and Emilie did not have any other children. They were members of the Hebrew Reformed Congregation in York and supporters of the local symphony orchestra. Joseph worked as a milliner in York for many years until his death in April 1928.  Emilie lived another twelve years.  After Joseph died, she relocated to Baltimore, where she died in 1940.  They were buried with their son Moses at the Prospect Hill Cemetery in York, Pennsylvania.

simon-joseph-0 headstone simon-amelia-0

(Emilie’s official name appears to have been Amelia.)



(All headstone images found at )

Joseph’s younger brother Francis Simon, known as Frank, was working as a clerk in 1895, and in 1900 he was living with his mother and younger sister Nellie, still listing his occupation as a clerk.  Like his brother Joseph, Frank married a woman born and raised in Baltimore, Bertha May.  According to the 1930 census, Frank married Bertha when he was 40 years old and she was 34, or in 1904.  They did not have any children.  In 1910, Frank and Bertha were living with Bertha’s father and her sister Tillie and brother-in-law Joseph Wurtzburger and their children.  Frank was working as the treasurer of a mercantile business.  In 1920 Frank and Bertha were living on their own, and neither was employed.  Frank was 54, and Bertha was 50. In the 1922 Baltimore directory, however, Frank is listed as being in the soft drinks business.  The 1930 census again lists them without occupations.

Frank died January 31, 1932, and is buried at the Baltimore Hebrew cemetery; Bertha was living with her widowed sister, Tillie Wurtzburger, at the time of the 1940 census.  Her sister Tillie died in 1945, and Bertha died in June, 1951, at the age of 81.

The third child of Paulina Dinkelspiel and Moses Simon was Leon Simon, born in 1866, two years after Frank.  By 1895 Leon had his own company, L. Simon and Co., listed in the Baltimore directory as a cloak manufacturing company.  He married Helen Wolf the following year in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Helen was born in Harrisburg, and her father William was a real estate agent there, according to the 1880 census.  Perhaps Frank’s mother Paulina had known the Wolf family when she was growing up in Harrisburg.

Leon and Helen had two sons, William Wolf Simon, born in 1897, and Mervyn Moses Simon, born in 1900: the first named for Helen’s father and the second for Leon’s father, who had died the year before.  Leon had no occupation listed on the 1900 census, but the 1902 Baltimore directory still listed him with L. Simon and Co.  On the 1910 census, however, his occupation appears to read “General Manager Furniture Business;” in the 1914 directory, his firm name now appears as Salontz & Simon, so it would seem that his cloak business no longer existed. I found a listing in a 1904 Pittsburgh directory for the Baltimore firm of Salontz & Simon in the fur business category.  The 1920 census is consistent with this, as it gives his occupation as a manufacturer of furs.  In 1930 he was still in the fur business, though now his occupation is described as a fur retail merchant. The 1940 census also described him as a retail furrier.

By Doug Coldwell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Doug Coldwell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

All through these decades, Leon and Helen’s two sons lived with them, and they worked in their father’s fur business once they were old enough.  Neither son ever married.  Leon died on August 29, 1941, and his son Mervyn died the following year on August 27, 1942.  He was only 42 years old.  I have ordered a death certificate for Mervyn to determine his cause of death.

UPDATE: Here is Mervyn’s death certificate.

Mervyn Simon death certificate

William Simon, the older brother, continued to live with his mother at least until 1956 when both are listed at the same address in the Baltimore directory.  (No occupation was listed.)  Helen Wolf Simon died November 29, 1965, and William died less than a year later on October 4, 1966.  All four members of the family are buried at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

I am going to skip the fourth child Flora for now and move on to the fifth child, Nellie Simon, the one who inherited the house from her mother Paulina Dinkelspiel Simon.  I had a lot of trouble figuring out what happened to Nellie after her mother died in 1904.  In 1900 she had been living with her mother and brother Frank; she was 27 years old and had no occupation listed. She is also listed in the 1902 directory at the same address at 844 North Howard Street, again with no occupation listed.  Since her mother bequeathed that house to Nellie when she died in 1904, I expected to find Nellie living there in 1910.  But I could not find her there, and although there was another Nellie Simon working as a hairdresser in Baltimore in the 1910s, the address was not the same.

One tree on listed Nellie as married to an Adolph Feldstein, but I could not find any direct sources to corroborate that marriage.  I was able to find Adolph and Nellie S. Feldstein on the 1910 census as well as the 1920 and 1930 census reports living in Philadelphia.  The facts about that Nellie seemed consistent with my Nellie Simon: her age, parents’ birth places, and her birth place were all right, although the latter two census reports had her place of birth as Maryland instead of Pennsylvania.  I still felt uncertain until I found a bill from the funeral home in charge of Nellie’s funeral in 1958.  The document listed Horace A. Stern as the person responsible for the bill.  Although at first the name did not ring a bell, a quick search of my own family tree revealed that Horace Stern was married to the granddaughter of Nellie’s sister Flora.  That was enough to convince me that the Nellie who had married Adolph Feldstein was in fact Nellie Simon, the youngest child of Paulina Dinkelspiel and Moses Simon and the grandchild of Mathilde Nusbaum and Isaac Dinkelspiel.

Nellie and Adolph Feldstein did not have any children.  Adolph worked in his father’s business manufacturing “haircloth.”  I had never heard this term before, but a quick look on the internet revealed that according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, it is “any of various stiff wiry fabrics especially of horsehair or camel hair used for upholstery or for stiffening in garments.”   Adolph was the secretary and treasurer of the company in the 1910s, and he continued to work in the business throughout the 1920s and the 1930s until his death by suicide in 1937.  As mentioned above, Nellie lived another twenty years, passing away in 1958.

Hair Cloth Loom

Hair Cloth Loom

It’s interesting that three of these siblings were all involved in the clothing trade, although different aspects of it: hats, furs, and haircloth.  (I am not really sure how Frank supported himself and his wife.)  It’s also interesting that three of the five children of Paulina Dinkelspiel and Moses Simon did not have children who survived them.  Joseph’s one child passed away as a little boy, and Frank and Nellie married but never had children. Leon did have two sons who grew to adulthood, but his sons never married or had children, so there were no descendants to carry on his family line.  Only Flora, the remaining sibling, had grandchildren and further generations of descendants.  I will discuss her and her descendants in my next post.

Back to the Real World and the 1870s…

And I am back from vacation.  We had a wonderful time, and not having reliable internet access may have been a blessing.  I couldn’t do any new research or posting to the blog so my brain had a chance to clear.  Always a good thing.  I did, however, have one more post “in the bank” that I prepared before I left, so here it is. I was awaiting a few more documents, hoping they would answer a few questions, and I received some while away that I have just reviewed.

I wish I could post a somewhat more uplifting post for the holiday season, but I can’t deny the sad fact that some of my relatives suffered considerable sadness in their lives.  On the other hand, researching and writing about the families of Leopold Nusbaum and his sister Mathilde Nusbaum Dinkelspiel only made me appreciate all my blessings.  So in that sense it is perhaps appropriate.  Nothing can make you appreciate all you have more than realizing how little others have.

So here is the story of two of the Nusbaum siblings, one of the brothers and one of the sisters of my three-times great-grandfather John Nusbaum.

Leopold Nusbaum had died in 1866 when he was 58 years old, leaving his widow Rosa and daughter Francis (how she apparently spelled it for most of her life) behind. Leopold and Rosa had lost a son, Adolph, who died when he was just a young boy.  Francis was only 16 when her father died.  After Leopold died, Rosa and Francis moved from Harrisburg to Philadelphia and were living in 1870 with Rosa’s brother-in-law, John Nusbaum.

Late in 1870, Francis Nusbaum married Henry N. Frank.  Henry, the son of Nathan and Caroline Frank, was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, where Leopold’s brother Maxwell Nusbaum and his family had once lived before relocating to Harrisburg.  Henry’s father Nathan Frank was in the dry goods business, so the Nusbaums and Franks might have known each other from those earlier times. Nathan, Caroline, and their children had relocated to Philadelphia by 1870 and were living on Franklin Avenue right near the Simons, Wilers, and other members of the Nusbaum/Dreyfuss clan.  Perhaps that is how Francis and Henry met, if not from an earlier family connection.

Not long after they were married, Henry and Francis must have moved back to Lewistown because their first child, Leopold, was born there on August 11, 1871.  Leopold was obviously named for Francis’ father.  A second child, Senie, was born in May 1876, and then another, Cora, was born in 1877.  In 1880, Henry and Francis were living in Lewistown with their three young children as well as Francis’ mother Rosa and Henry’s father Nathan. Maybe Nathan was shuttling back and forth between Lewistown and Philadelphia because he is listed on the 1880 census in both places, once with Henry and Francis and then again with Caroline and their other children.  Both Henry and his father Nathan listed their occupations as merchants.

Lewistown Town Square By KATMAAN (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Lewistown Town Square
By KATMAAN (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, there is not much else I can find about Henry, Francis, or their children during the 1870s because Lewistown does not appear to have any directories on the city directory database. Lewistown’s population in 1880 was only a little more than three thousand people, which, while a 17% increase from its population of about 2700 in 1870, is still a fairly small town.  It is about 60 miles from Harrisburg, however, and as I’ve written before, well located for trade, so the Frank family must have thought that it was still a good place to have a business even if the rest of the family had relocated to Philadelphia.

Mathilde Nusbaum Dinkelspiels’ family is better documented.  She and her husband Isaac had settled and stayed in Harrisburg, which is where they were living as the 1870s began. Isaac was working as a merchant.  Both of their children were out of the house.  Adolph was living in Peoria at the same address as his cousin Julius Nusbaum and working with him in John Nusbaum’s dry goods store in that city.  On January 4, 1871, Adolph Dinkelspiel married Nancy Lyon in Peoria, and their daughter Eva was born a year later on January 25, 1872.  Adolph and Nancy remained in Peoria, and by 1875 Adolph was listed as the “superintendent” of John Nusbaum’s store.  (Julius does not appear in the 1875 directory, though he does reappear in Peoria in 1876.)

On November 28, 1879, his daughter Eva died from scarlet fever.  She was not quite eight years old.  Adolph and Nancy did not have other children, and this must have been a devastating loss.

eva dinkelspiel death cert

In fact, shortly thereafter Adolph, who had been in Peoria for over sixteen years, and Nancy, who was born there and still had family there, left Peoria and relocated to Philadelphia.  On the 1880 census, Adolph was working as a clothing salesman and Nancy as a barber.  (At least that’s what I think it says.  What do you think?)  Perhaps Adolph and Nancy left to find better opportunities or perhaps they left to escape the painful memories.  Whatever took them away from Peoria, however, was enough that they never lived there again.

adolph dinkelspiel snip 1880 census

Adolph and Nancy did not remain in Philadelphia for very long, however.  By 1882 Adolph and Nancy had relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where Adolph worked as a bookkeeper for many years.  They remained in St. Louis for the rest of their lives.  Adolph died on November 25, 1896, and Nancy less than a year and a half later on March 5, 1898. Adolph was only 53, and Nancy was not even fifty years old.

My cousin-by-marriage Ned Lewison sent me a copy of Nancy’s obituary from the March 7, 1898 Peoria Evening Star.  It reported the following information about Nancy and Adolph Dinkelspiel:

“She married Adolph Dinkelspiel, at that time manager of the Philadelphia store on the corner of Main and Adams Street, one of the leading dry goods houses in Peoria.  When the house failed, they removed to St. Louis and lived happily together until the death of Mr. Dinkelspiel, when his widow came to this city.  But she preferred St. Louis for a residence, and although she made frequent visits to Peoria, she did not take up residence here.”

I found two points of interest in this obituary.  One, there is no mention of their daughter Eva.  And two, it reveals that the Nusbaum store in Peoria had closed, prompting Nancy and Adolph to relocate.  Thus, Adolph and Nancy not only suffered a terrible personal loss, like many others in the family and in the country, they were negatively affected by the economic conditions of the 1870s.

Nancy and Adolph are both buried, along with their daughter Eva, in Peoria.  Only death, it seems, could bring them back to Peoria.

dinkelspiel headstone

Adolph’s sisters Paulina and Sophia Dinkelspiel did not have lives quite as sad as that of their brother, but they did have their share of heartbreak.  Sophia, who had married Herman Marks in 1869, and was living in Harrisburg, had a child Leon who was born on October 15, 1870.  Leon died when he was just two years old on October 24, 1872.  I do not know the cause of death because the only record I have for Leon at the moment is his headstone.  (Ned’ s research uncovered yet another child who died young, May Marks, but I cannot find any record for her.)

leon marks headstone

Sophia and Herman did have three other children in the 1870s who did survive: Hattie, born May 30, 1873, just seven months after Leon died; Jennie, born August 24, 1876; and Edgar, born August 27, 1879.  Herman worked as a clothing merchant, and during the 1870s the family lived at the same address as the store, 435 Market Street in Harrisburg.

Paulina (Dinkelspiel) and Moses Simon, meanwhile, were still in Baltimore in the 1870s.  In 1870 Moses was a dealer “in all kinds of leather,” according to the 1870 census. At first I thought that Moses and Paulina had relocated to Philadelphia in 1871 because I found a Moses Simon in the Philadelphia directories for the years starting in 1871 who was living near the other family members and dealing in men’s clothing.  But since Moses and Paulina Simon are listed as living in Baltimore for the 1880 census and since Moses was a liquor dealer in Baltimore on that census, I realized that I had been confused and returned to look for Moses in Baltimore directories for that decade.

Sure enough, beginning in 1871 Moses was in the liquor business, making me wonder whether the 1870 census taker had heard “liquor” as “leather.”  After all, who says they deal in all kinds of leather?  All kinds of liquor makes more sense.  Thus, like the other members of the next generation, Adolphus and Simon Nusbaum in Peoria, Leman Simon in Pittsburgh, and Albert Nusbaum in Philadelphia, Moses Simon had become a liquor dealer.

Moses and Paulina had a fourth child in 1872, Nellie. The other children of Moses and Paulina were growing up in the 1870s.  By the end of the decade, Joseph was eighteen, Leon was fourteen, Flora was twelve, and little Nellie was eight.

Ned Lewison, my more experienced colleague and Dinkelspiel cousin, found a fifth child Albert born in 1875 who died August 25, 1876 and a sixth child Miriam born in July 1877 who died October 30, 1878, both of whom are buried at Oheb Shalom cemetery in Harrisburg, where their parents would also later be buried.  Thus, Paulina lost two babies in the 1870s.  For her parents, Mathilde and Isaac, that meant the deaths of four grandchildren in the 1870s alone.

As for Mathilde and Isaac Dinkelspiel themselves, although they began and ended the decade in Harrisburg, my research suggests that for at least part of that decade, they had moved to Baltimore.  Isaac has no listing in the 1875 and 1876 Harrisburg directories (there were no directories for Harrisburg on line for the years between 1870 and 1874), but he does show up again in the Harrisburg directories for 1877 and 1878.  When I broadened the geographic scope of my search, I found an Isaac Dinkelspiel listed in the Baltimore directories for the years 1872, 1873, 1874, and 1875 as a liquor dealer.  This seemed like it could not be coincidental.  It’s such an unusual name, and Isaac’s son-in-law Moses Simon was a liquor dealer in Baltimore.  It seems that for at least four years, Isaac and Mathilde had left Harrisburg for Baltimore, leaving their other daughter Sophia and her husband Herman Marks in charge of the business at 435 Market Street in Harrisburg, where Isaac and Mathilde lived when they returned to Harrisburg in 1877.

Market Street in Harrisburg 1910  By Wrightchr at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Market Street in Harrisburg 1910
By Wrightchr at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The extended Dinkelspiel family as well as the Nusbaum family suffered another major loss before the end of the decade.  According to Ned Lewison’s research, Mathilde Nusbaum Dinkelspiel died on June 20, 1878. Another Nusbaum sibling had died, leaving only John and Ernst alive of the original six who had emigrated from Germany to America; Maxwell, Leopold, Isaac, and now Mathilde were gone. Mathilde is buried at Oheb Shalom cemetery in Harrisburg.

What happened to Isaac Dinkelspiel after his wife Mathilde died? Although Isaac appeared in the 1880 Harrisburg directory at 435 Market Street, the same address as his son-in-law Herman and daughter Sophia (Dinkelspiel) Marks, he does not appear with them on the 1880 census at that address.  In fact, I cannot find him living with any of his children or anywhere else on the 1880 census, although he is again listed in the Harrisburg directory at 435 Market Street for every year between 1880 and 1889 (except 1881, which is not included in the collection on  I assume the omission from the census is just that—an omission, and that Isaac was in fact living with Sophia and Herman during 1880 and until he died on October 26, 1889, in Harrisburg.  He is buried with his wife Mathilde at Oheb Shalom cemetery in Harrisburg.

Thus, the Dinkelspiels certainly suffered greatly in the 18070s.  Five children died in the 1870s—Eva Dinkelspiel, May Marks, Leon Marks, Albert Simon, and Miriam Simon.  And their grandmother, Mathilde Nusbaum Dinkelspiel, also passed away, joining her brothers Maxwell, Leopold, and Isaac, leaving only John and Ernst left of the six Nusbaum siblings who left Schopfloch beginning in the 1840s to come to America.

And so I leave you with this thought as we start looking forward to a New Year.  Don’t take your children or your grandchildren for granted.  Cherish every moment you get to share with them.  And be grateful for modern medicine and the way it has substantially reduced the risks of children being taken from us so cruelly.