Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part V: A Love Letter

This is Part V of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, so generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV at the links.

As promised, today I am sharing a letter that Samuel Adler wrote to his beloved fiancée, Sarah Kargau, shortly before their marriage in 1837.

Once again, I am indebted to Matthias Steinke for his generous help in transcribing this letter:

Würzburg, den 6ten November 1837

Meine Geliebte!
Voll unbeschreiblicher Sehnsucht zähle ich mit dir jede Stunde. Ja, mit heisser Sehnsucht sehe auch ich dem heiligen Momente unserer Einsegnung, unserer ewigen Verbindung entgegen. Nur noch wenige Tage und wir haben das Ziel unserer Wünsche erreicht. O, wie freue ich mich darauf! Schneller durchströmt bei diesem Gedanken das Blut meine Adern, heftiger schlägt bei diesen Gefühlen mein Herz. Ja, dieses Blättchen würde nicht hinreichen, die alle meine dieshaltigen(?) Gefühle zu schildern, und ich will daher davon abbrechen. Ich habe nun noch eine Bitte: Wir werden nämlich an unserem Hochzeitstage nur eine Vase (Chaise?) mit nach Fürth bringen,

The letter must have continued on the back of the page, as Sue could see there was writing on the reverse side. But she did not want to risk damaging this 182-year-old letter by trying to remove it from the album, so we don’t know how Samuel closed out the letter.

Using Google Translate and my rudimentary knowledge of German, I was able to translate the letter as follows:

Würzburg, November 6, 1837

My beloved! Full indescribable longing I count with you every hour. Yes, with a hot longing I too see the holy moments of our consecration, our eternal connection. Only a few days left and we have reached the goal of our wishes. Oh, how happy I am! The blood rushes through my veins faster at this thought, my heart beats harder with these feelings. Yes, this leaflet would not suffice to describe all of my heartfelt (?) Feelings, and I therefore want to stop it. I have one more request: we will bring only one vase (chaise?) to Fürth on our wedding day,

What a passionate letter! This was no marriage of convenience arranged by parents or a matchmaker. This was a true affair of the heart. I admit to being surprised by the ardor expressed so openly in this letter—the desire is palpable. Samuel was certainly a man in love (or at least in lust). But what was the vase or chaise reference all about? I guess some things are best left to the imagination.

Samuel Adler

 

 

Jacob Goldsmith, The final chapter: What happened to his son Frank?

As of 1930, only six of Jacob Goldsmith’s fourteen children were still living: Annie, Celia, Frank, Rebecca, Florence, and Gertrude. As seen in my prior posts, Eva died in 1928. In addition, I have written about the deaths of Gertrude in 1937 and Rebecca in 1940. There remain therefore just four siblings to discuss, and by 1945, they were all deceased.

Annie and Celia, the two oldest remaining siblings, both died in 1933. Celia, who’d been living with her sister Florence and her family in 1930, died on January 15, 1933, in Denver, and was buried in Philadelphia on January 18, 1933. She was 73 years old.  Celia never married and has no living descendants.1

Her sister Annie died four months later, on May 29, 1933, in San Francisco.2 She was 77 and was survived by her three children, Josephine, Harry, and Fanny. Sadly, Harry did not outlive his mother by much more than a year. He died at 53 on August 4, 1934, in San Francisco.3 He was survived by his wife Rose, who died in 1969, and his two sisters, Josephine and Fanny. But Josephine also was not destined for a long life. She died less than three years after her brother Harry on April 23, 1937; she was 59. Like their father Augustus who’d died when he was fifty, Josephine and Harry were not blessed with longevity.

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 05 March 2019), memorial page for Fannie Mendelsohn Frank (unknown–1 Sep 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100371723, citing Home of Peace Cemetery and Emanu-El Mausoleum, Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Diane Reich (contributor 40197331) .

Of Augustus and Annie’s children, only Fanny lived a good long life. She was 93 when she died on September 1, 1974.4 According to her death notice in the San Francisco Chronicle, she had been a dealer in Oriental art objects.5 Like Josephine, Fanny had never married and had no children, nor did their brother Harry. Thus, there are no living descendants of Annie Goldsmith Frank.

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 05 March 2019), memorial page for Fannie Mendelsohn Frank (unknown–1 Sep 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100371723, citing Home of Peace Cemetery and Emanu-El Mausoleum, Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Diane Reich (contributor 40197331) .

The third remaining child of Jacob Goldsmith was Florence Goldsmith Emanuel. In 1930, Florence was living with her husband Jerry Emanuel in Denver as well as their nephew Bernard, the son of Gertrude Goldsmith and Jacob Emanuel, and Florence’s sister Celia. Jerry was working as a clerk in a wholesale tobacco business. In 1940, they were still living in Denver, now with Jerry’s sister Grace in their home, and Jerry was working as a salesman for a wholesale liquor business.6

Emanuel family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0137; FHL microfilm: 2339973
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Florence Goldsmith Emanuel died on August 4, 1942, at the age of 73. Her husband Jerry survived her by another seventeen years. He died on June 16, 1959, and is buried with Florence in Denver. He was 89. Florence and Jerry did not have children, so like so many of Florence’s siblings, there are no living descendants.7

That brings me to the last remaining child of Jacob Goldsmith and Fannie Silverman, their son Frank. In 1930, Frank and his wife Barbara were living in Atlantic City, and Frank was retired.8 On July 25, 1937, Barbara died in Philadelphia; she was 67. Like Frank’s parents and many of his siblings, she was buried at Mt Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia; in fact, she was buried in the same lot as Celia and Rachel Goldsmith and one lot over from her in-laws Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith.9

I mention this because for the longest time I was having no luck finding out when or where Frank Goldsmith died or was buried. In 1940, he was living as a widower in the Albemarle Hotel in Atlantic City, and the 1941 Atlantic City directory lists Frank as a resident.9 But after that he disappeared. I couldn’t find any obituaries or death records, but what really mystified me was that there was no record of his burial with his wife Barbara and his other family members at Mt Sinai cemetery.

I contacted Mt Sinai and learned that the plot that had been reserved for Frank is still unused. Barbara is buried with Frank’s sisters Celia and Rachel and one lot over from Frank’s parents. But Frank is not there. Here are two of the Mt Sinai burial records showing that Barbara and Celia are buried right near each other in lots owned by Frank.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,  Mt· Sinai Cemetery, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013

I also hired a researcher to search the New Jersey death certificates in Trenton (since they are not available online). She came up empty. So what had happened to Frank?

Well, once again Tracing the Tribe, the Jewish genealogy Facebook group, came to the rescue. I posted a question there and received many responses, most of them suggestions for things I’d already done. But one member,  Katherine Dailey Block, found a 1920 newspaper article that mentioned Frank that I had never seen:

“To Leave for Florida,” Harrisburg Telegraph, December 30, 1920, p. 4.

That raised the possibility that Frank might have spent time in Florida more than this one time. I had made the mistake of assuming that, having lived his whole life in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he must have died in one of those two states. Now I broadened the search to Florida. (Doing a fifty-state search was not helpful since the name Frank Goldsmith is quite common, and I had no way to figure out whether any of them was my Frank.) And this result came up:

Florida Death Index, 1877-1998,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VV91-P84 : 25 December 2014), Frank F. Goldsmith, 1945; from “Florida Death Index, 1877-1998,” index, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : 2004); citing vol. 1148, certificate number 9912, Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, Jacksonville.

A Frank F. Goldsmith had died in Tampa, Florida in 1945. Could this be my Frank? Tampa is on the opposite coast from Jacksonville as well as much further south. That made me doubt whether this was the same Frank F. Goldsmith. But then I found this record from the 1945 Florida census; notice the second to last entry on the page:

Census Year: 1945, Locality: Precinct 2, County: Hillsborough, Page: 43, Line: 32
Archive Series #: S1371, Roll 20, Frank F. Goldsmith 65
Ancestry.com. Florida, State Census, 1867-1945

There was Frank F. Goldsmith, and when I saw that he was born in Pennsylvania, I was delighted, figuring that this could be my Frank. On the other hand, the census reported that this Frank was 65 years old in 1945 whereas my Frank would have been 82. But it seemed worth ordering a copy of the death certificate from the Florida vital records office to see if it contained information that would either confirm or disprove my hope that this was my cousin Frank.

Unfortunately, here is the death certificate:

As you can see, it has no information about this Frank F. Goldsmith’s wife, parents, birth place, occupation, or much of anything that would help me tie him to my Frank F. Goldsmith. In fact, the age and birth date on the certificate are inconsistent with my Frank Goldsmith, who was born in June 1863, according to the 1900 census, not June of 1878.

Despite these blanks and inconsistencies, my hunch is that this is my Frank. Why? Both Franks have a birth date in June. And on later census records, Frank’s estimated birth year based on his reported age moved later than 1863—1868 in 1910, 1876 in 1920, and 1870 in 1930 and 1940. He seemed to be getting younger as time went on. Maybe by 1945, he was giving a birth year of 1878. And by 1945 there was no one left to inform the hospital of his family’s names or his birth date or age so perhaps whoever completed the death certificate (looks like someone from the funeral home) was just guessing at his age and birth date.

In addition, there is no other Frank F. Goldsmith who fits the parameters of the Frank on the death certificate. Finally, this Frank was to be buried in the “Jew cemetery,” so we know that he was Jewish.

So what do you think? Is this enough to tie the Frank F. Goldsmith who died in Florida to my Frank F. Goldsmith? I know these are thin reeds upon which to make a case, but I think they may have to be enough.

In any event, like his sisters Rachel, Celia, Annie, Emma, Eva and Florence, and his brother Felix, Frank Goldsmith has no living descendants. In fact, it is quite remarkable how few living descendants Jacob Goldsmith and Fannie Silverman have, considering that they had had fourteen children. Five of those fourteen children did not have children of their own: Emma, Rachel, Celia, Frank, and Florence. Four of Jacob and Fannie’s children had no grandchildren: Annie had three children, but none of them had children. Eva had one son, Sidney, who did not have any children, and the same was true of Gertrude’s son Bernard and Felix’s two children Ethel and Clarence. From fourteen children, Jacob and Fannie had twenty grandchildren and only twelve great-grandchildren, and a number of those great-grandchildren also did not have children. From my count, there were only ten great-great-grandchildren. With each generation, instead of growing, the family became smaller.

But that is not the legacy of Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith. Rather, theirs is the remarkable story of two young German immigrants settling in western Pennsylvania and then Philadelphia, raising fourteen children who eventually spanned the continent. From all appearances, many of those fourteen children stayed close, both geographically and presumably emotionally. Many of them lived together, especially the daughters who spent years in Denver together. Like so many first-generation Americans, these fourteen children provided evidence to their parents that the risks they took leaving their home country behind and crossing the ocean were worthwhile. Yes, there was plenty of heartbreak along the way, but overall Jacob, Fannie, and their fourteen children lived comfortably and free from oppression.

 


  1. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 
  2. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1905-1939 
  3. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1905-1939 
  4.  Number: 562-66-4663; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1962, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  5. San Francisco Chronicle, September 4, 1974, p. 35 
  6. Florence Emanuel, 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00490; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 16-221B, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  8. Frank Goldsmith, 1930 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0011; FHL microfilm: 2341043, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,  Mt· Sinai Cemetery, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 

Rebecca Goldsmith Levy: A Shattered Life

In so many ways, Rebecca Goldsmith seemed to be living a charmed life up through the 1920s. She had married a successful doctor, Robert Levy, had two daughters, Leona and Marion, and was able to provide a home in Denver for many years for a number of her sisters and her father Jacob. She seemed to be a generous and loving sister and daughter. She’d hosted weddings for three of her sisters—Eva, Florence, and Gertrude.

In 1914 her older daughter Leona had married a doctor—Stanley Eichberg—and in 1915, Rebecca and her husband Robert Levy were blessed with a granddaughter, Betty. And on January 16, 1920, a second grandchild was born, Robert Levy Eichberg, named in honor of his grandfather. As Rebecca neared her 50th birthday, she must have been filled with gratitude for her wonderful life.

But then everything was shattered. Her son-in-law Stanley developed a mysterious illness:

“Denver Physician Suffering from Strange Ailment,” Denver Post, February 1, 1921, p. 6

Eventually he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and after enduring multiple unsuccessful surgeries, Stanley died on May 31, 1921, in Philadelphia, where his father-in-law Robert Levy had taken him for expert care:

“Denver Physician Is Dead in East,” Denver Rocky Mountain News, March 27, 1921, p. 3

Denver Post, March 26, 1921, pp. 1, 7

Leona was a 29-year-old widow with a five-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. She must have been devastated.

But more tragedy was yet to come. Just five weeks later, Leona’s daughter Betty, just five years old, died due to complications from the whooping cough.

Denver Post, July 1, 1921, p.23

Betty Eichenberg, Denver Rocky Mountain News, October 29, 1916, p. 17

Leona had lost both her husband and her young daughter within weeks of each other.

That would seem like more than enough suffering for any family to bear. For perhaps a brief moment, there was a reason to celebrate. On March 18, 1924, Rebecca and Robert Levy’s younger daughter Marion married Harold Herman Aarons. Harold was, like Marion, a native of Denver, born on February 5, 1898, to Harry and Mary Aarons. 1 He was in the printing and stationery business with his father and had been living at home with his parents and siblings in 1920 before marrying Marion.2

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Exactly one year later, Marion was burying her husband Harold. According to his obituary, the 27-year-old died from a “strange malady” on March 17, 1925.

Denver Post, March 18, 1925. p. 12

Rebecca Goldsmith Levy now had two widowed daughters. Her blessed life had become unraveled. In 1930, both of these two young widows, Marion and Leona, were living with their parents as was Leona’s son, Robert Levy Eichberg, just ten years old.

Levy family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0108; FHL microfilm: 2339972
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

This all seems to have broken Rebecca’s spirit as well as her heart. According to the 1940 US census, by 1935, Rebecca was a patient at the Colorado Springs Psychopathic Hospital in Colorado Springs, and she was still residing there when the 1940 census was enumerated.

Rebecca Goldsmith Levy, 1940 US census, Census Place: El Paso, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00462; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 21-86B,  ELECTION PRECINCT 68, COLORADO SPRINGS PSYCHOPATHIC HOSPITAL, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

She died not long afterwards on November 8, 1940, at the age of 74.3 I could not find any obituary or death notice or death certificate for Rebecca, only the burial record on the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry and FindAGrave.

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 05 March 2019), memorial page for Rebecca G Levy (1866–1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 50939404, citing Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) .

Meanwhile, her family continued to live in Denver. By 1940, Rebecca’s daughter Marion had married for a second time. Her second husband was Samuel Rose, who was born on September 3, 1902, in Richmond, Virginia, to Michael Rose and Etta London.4 Samuel’s parents, both immigrants, died when he was quite young, his mother in 1914, his father in 1918, so like Marion, Samuel had suffered serious loss in his life.5

In 1920, Samuel was living with his siblings in Richmond, but something then brought him to Denver by 1932, when he was working as bookkeeper at Temple Emanuel; by 1933 he is listed in the Denver directory with Marion as his wife.6 On the 1940 census it says that he was working as a secretary for a laboratory technician, but since he was still working at Temple Emanuel in 1945, I think the enumerator must not have heard him correctly.7

In 1940, Robert Levy, Rebecca’s widower, was living with his other daughter, Leona Levy Eichberg, and his grandson Robert in Denver, where Robert (the elder), now 76, continued to practice medicine.8 In fact, it seems that Robert continued to practice up until his death at 81 on July 1, 1945. He received a wonderful obituary in the Intermountain Jewish News on July 5, 1945, pp.1, 14.

Robert Levy Eichberg, Leona’s son and the grandson of Rebecca and Robert Levy, attended the University of Colorado, as seen in this photograph from the 1940 yearbook. According to his obituary, he also attended the US Naval Academy.9 Robert married Marion Belle Tohrner on February 9, 1944, in Miami Beach, Florida. He and Marion had three children.10

Yearbook Date: 1940, School: University of Colorado, School Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA
Yearbook Title: Coloradan, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Leona Levy Eichberg never remarried and died in Denver on October 5, 1964; she was 73 years old.11 Her sister Marion Levy Aarons Rose almost made it to her 96th birthday; she died on May 11, 1996, in Denver.  She did not have children.12

Rebecca Goldsmith and Robert Levy’s only grandchild, Robert Levy Eichberg,  died at 75 on March 24, 1995, in Riverside, California. His wife Marion died on December 13, 2013. They were survived by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.13

Knowing that Rebecca Goldsmith and Robert Levy’s daughter Marion lived to 95 and that their daughter Leona and grandson Robert Eichberg have numerous living descendants took some of the edge off the tragedy that this family endured in the 1920s. But even so, it is still a heartbreaking and unfair chapter in the life of Rebecca Goldsmith.


  1. Harold Aarons, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Colorado; Registration County: Denver; Roll: 1561842; Draft Board: 6, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918; Aarons family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0002; FHL microfilm: 1240117, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  2. Harold Aarons, 1920 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_162; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 233, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  3. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  4.  Certificate Number: 1902028564, Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia, Ancestry.com. Virginia, Birth Records, 1912-2014, Delayed Birth Records, 1854-1911 
  5. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/51540123, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/51540109/michael-rose 
  6. Sam Rose, 1920 US census, Census Place: Richmond Madison Ward, Richmond (Independent City), Virginia; Roll: T625_1911; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 148, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1932, 1933, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. Samuel Rose, 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00488; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 16-146, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1945, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  8. Robert Levy and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00488; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 16-149, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. Denver Post, The () , obit for Robert L. Eichberg, Real estate agent, 75, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/0F97FAFC4F54F9B1-0F97FAFC4F54F9B1 : accessed 22 January 2019) 
  10. Film Number: 002115775, Ancestry.com. Florida, County Marriage Records, 1823-1982 
  11. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  12. SSN: 524607495, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  13. Denver Post, The () , obit for Robert L. Eichberg, Real estate agent, 75, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/0F97FAFC4F54F9B1-0F97FAFC4F54F9B1 : accessed 22 January 2019);  Denver Post, The () , obit for Marion Eichberg, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/14FFCFB386CB0F38-14FFCFB386CB0F38 : accessed 24 January 2019) 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part IV: His Mother’s Parents

This is Part IV of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, so generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, and Part III at the links.

In addition to the biographies of his father Abraham and paternal grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt, Milton Goldsmith wrote about his mother’s family. His mother was Cecelia Adler, Abraham’s first wife, and she was the daughter of Samuel Adler and Sarah Kargau. Although Cecelia’s family is only related to mine through her marriage to Abraham, it is nevertheless fascinating to read about her parents.

Here is Milton’s page about his maternal grandfather, Samuel Adler:

Samuel Adler,–my grandfather, was born in Biebergau, Germany in 1814. He had the usual school education, but was never much of a scholar.  He was a stout, benevolent looking gentleman, hearty and genial, with a host of friends.  He married Sarah Kargau, and we have letters from him to her, also their marriage settlement. A year after my mother was born, they came to American in a sailing vessel, and settled in Philadelphia. For a while he manufactured Mantillas, but was not over-successful. He was one of the founders of the first Reform Temple, the Rodef Scholom in Philada, and became its president. Later, he was one of the founders of the Keneseth Israel Congregation, to which he belonged for the rest of his life.

After the marriage of his daughter, to my father, he came to live with them, until he died of ptomaine poisoning in 1886 at the age of 72. During the later years of his life, he went into the haberdashery business, but it was not successful, my father helping him along and providing for his needs.  Neither he nor my grandmother ever mastered the English language properly, which proved a great handicap. His sister, Mrs. Greenbaum, lived in Burlington, Ia. and died at 90 years of age.

I was left with the impression that Samuel was a wonderful man and well-loved by his family and his community, but not much of a businessman. Certainly he did not measure up to Abraham’s success in business in Milton’s eyes, but this is nevertheless a very loving tribute to his grandfather.

Milton also included this photograph of his grandfather Samuel.

Samuel Adler

But is the man depicted on the lower left side of the page supposed to be Samuel looking like a young George Washington? Or someone else? Any ideas?

As for his maternal grandmother and her family, Milton provided this page:

From looking at this page, I realized that some of the decorative art in this album was probably supplied by whoever manufactured the album. The inserted article at the top overlaps some of that decoration. It is a short biography of Mendel Kargau, Cecelia Adler’s maternal grandmother and Milton’s maternal great-grandmother:

This short biography (taken from the Jewish Encyclopedia, according to Milton) shows that unlike her father Samuel Adler, Cecelia’s maternal grandfather was quite scholarly. In his essay about Mendel Kargau and his daughter Sarah Kargau Adler, Milton wrote:

Mendel Kargau, as the attached biography taken from the Jewish Encyclopedia shows, was an eminent Rabbi in Fuerth, Bavaria. I was named for him, Milton being the English equivalent of Mendel.  He lived and died in Europe.

His only daughter, SARAH, was my maternal grandmother. She emigrated to America about two years after her marriage with SAMUEL ADLER, my grandfather. My mother, Cecelia Adler was a baby when they sailed, and during their sixty day voyage in a sailing vessel, she learned to walk. There were several brothers, one of them Moritz, was still living in Fuerth a few years ago. A nephew, Emanuel Kargau, is a dentist in Chicago. Grandma Adler, was a unique person. She was small in stature and not good looking, but must have been very sprightly in her youth. She was witty, and read a great deal. Her preference was for spicy books.  She lived with us for many years, later in life when the family grew too large, she lived near-by. She outlived her husband by many years, died in 1907 at advanced age of 93, retaining her faculties to the end, although she was always hard of hearing. After mother died, she helped to raise our family of 6 children.

When I researched Milton’s family, I noted that after his mother Cecelia died, his maternal grandparents Samuel and Sarah Adler lived with the family, and I’d assumed that Sarah had taken on part of the responsibility of caring for her daughter’s motherless children. Milton’s essay confirmed that assumption and painted a picture of a grandmother who was lively, interesting, and, his words, unique. I found it amusing that he said she wasn’t good looking. Maybe at 93 she wasn’t or even in her fifties when Milton was a child. Like most children, he probably just saw his grandma as an old lady.

I love this photograph of his grandmother. I have zoomed in on it here so that we can see Sarah Kargau Adler more clearly. I bet she was attractive as a young woman when she swept Samuel Adler off his feet. The letter he wrote before their wedding certainly reveals a man deeply in love. I will save that for my next post.

 

Eva Goldsmith Uhfelder and Gertrude Goldsmith Emanuel

In January 1921, only seven of Jacob Goldsmith’s fourteen children were still living: Annie, Celia, Frank, Rebecca, Florence, Gertrude, and Eva. For Annie, Celia, Frank, and Florence, the 1920s were relatively quiet. But this decade did bring loss and heartbreak, especially for three of the sisters, Eva, Gertrude, and Rebecca.

The family lost another sibling on May 6, 1928, when Eva Goldsmith Uhlfelder died in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She was 57 years old and was survived by her husband Sigmund and 22-year-old son Sidney. Sidney had only recently opened his own business in Albuquerque:

“Men’s Furnishings, Cigar, Candy Store Rosenwald Building,” Albuquerque Journal, January 10, 1928, p. 2

Sidney then lost his father just three years later. Sigmund Uhlfelder died on January 21, 1931; he was 61 years old.1 Sidney was orphaned at age 25. In 1930, he was living as a lodger in Albuquerque, working as a haberdasher.2

By 1940, Sidney was married to Katherine Bowers.3 Katherine was born on August 9, 1905, in Springfield, Missouri, to Jacob Bowers and Sallie Bryson.4 She’d lived in Missouri as recently as 1935, according to the 1940 census, so I am curious as to how she and Sidney met. In 1940, Sidney and Katherine and Katherine’s mother were living together in Albuquerque. Katherine was working as a saleswoman in an “Indian curio store,” and Sidney reported that he was the proprietor of a cigar store. On his World War II draft registration, Sidney reported that he was the owner of a newstand in the Rosenwald Building in Albuquerque.

Sidney Uhlfelder, World War II draft registration, Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Multiple Registrations, Fold3.com

Sidney and Katherine both lived long lives together in Albuquerque; she died at 91 on June 7, 1997,5 and Sidney lived to 97, dying on February 14, 2004, in Albuquerque.6 According to his obituary, he was a “loving and caring man.”7 There were no children listed as survivors in the obituary. Eva Goldsmith Uhlfelder thus has no living descendants.

The loss of Eva in 1928 brought the count of the surviving children of Jacob Goldsmith down to six, and the rest would survive the 1920s. But there were other losses suffered by the extended family.

Gertrude’s husband Jacob died December 4, 1921, at the age of 54 after being ill for a few weeks, according to his obituary:

“Jacob B. Emanuel, Pioneer Resident of Denver, Is Dead,” Denver Post, December 5, 1921, p. 13

His son Bernard was only ten years old when his father died. Nine years later, however, in 1930, Bernard was not living with his mother, but with his aunt Florence Goldsmith Emanuel (his mother Gertrude’s older sister) and uncle Jerry Emanuel (his father Jacob’s brother) as well as his aunt Celia Goldsmith, another of his mother’s sisters.

Emanuel family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0137; FHL microfilm: 2339973, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Bernard’s mother Gertrude was a practical nurse, living away from the family in the Nurses’ Home at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver in 1930. I do wonder whether the loss of her husband left her unable to care for her son or perhaps inspired her to dedicate her life caring for others as a nurse.8

On March 9, 1934, Gertrude’s son Bernard married Clarice L. Patterson in Georgetown, Colorado; she was the daughter of Walter W. Patterson and Mary Belle Doke and was born in Colorado in about 1916.9 In 1938, Bernard was working as a radio representative, according to the Denver city directory. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but on the 1940 census, Bernard reported that he was working in appliance repairs so I assume he was a radio repairman, not on the radio.10

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Gertrude Goldsmith Emanuel died on June 21, 1937, in Denver; she was 66 years old.11 Her son Bernard died on October 22, 1973, in Denver; he was 62.12 I was unable to find any other information about Bernard’s wife Clarice, and as far as I can tell, Bernard and Clarice did not have children. Gertrude, like her sister Eva, thus does not appear to have any living descendants.

The sibling who suffered the most losses in the 1920s was Rebecca Goldsmith Levy. Her story merits a separate post.

 


  1. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  2. Sidney Uhlfelder, 1930 US census, Census Place: Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0020; FHL microfilm: 2341127, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  3. Sidney Uhlfelder, 1940 US census, Census Place: Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico; Roll: m-t0627-02439; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 1-36, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. SSN: 491038497, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  5. SSN: 491038497, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6.  Number: 525-01-6662; Issue State: New Mexico; Issue Date: Before 1951,Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  7. Albuquerque Journal, 17 Feb 2004, Tue, Page 20. 
  8. Gertrude Goldsmith Emanuel, 1930 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0105; FHL microfilm: 2339972, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Patterson family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_159; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 81, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006. 
  10. Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1938, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. Bernard Emanuel, 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00486; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 16-85, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  12. Number: 522-05-5043; Issue State: Colorado; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

The Surviving Seven: Jacob Goldsmith’s Children in 1920

As we have seen, two of Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith’s fourteen children died before 1910, George (1899) and Emma (1902), and four more died between 1910 and 1919: Leonora (1911), Ellena (1914), Rachel (1915), and Felix (1919). The seventh of Jacob Goldsmith’s children to die was his youngest son Edward.

In 1910, Edward had been living with his wife Hannah and daughter Miriam in Greensboro, Alabama, where he was a bookkeeper in a dry goods store.1 By 1918, he and the family had relocated to Cincinnati, where Hannah’s family lived and where she was born and raised. Edward is listed in the 1918 Cincinnati directory without an occupation listed,2 and on the 1920 census, he, Hannah, and their daughter were living with Hannah’s brother George Wallenstein and his family. Once again, there is no occupation listed for Edward. My hunch is that Edward was already in poor health. He died on December 13, 1920, at the age of 56.3

Edward Goldsmith 1920 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 13, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: T625_1391; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 227
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Hannah and their daughter Miriam stayed in Cincinnati where in 1930 they were living with two of Hannah’s brothers, Albert and Millard.4 Miriam graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1929. Here is her yearbook photograph:

Miriam Goldsmith, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: The Cincinnatian 1929; Year: 1929
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

On June 21, 1936, Miriam married Armand Rice Hecht in Cincinnati. Their wedding was written up in the Cincinnati Enquirer on June 28, 1936 (p. 63).

I found it rather sad that there is not one of Edward’s relatives named among the guests at the wedding.

Miriam’s husband Armand Rice Hecht was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 13, 1902, to Herman Hecht and Jennie Rice.5  He had been previously married and in 1930 was living with his first wife Lyllian and their daughter.  They had a second daughter born before Lyllian died in 1934.6

After Armand and Miriam married, they honeymooned in Bermuda7 and then settled in Bristol, Virginia, where they were living in 1940 with Armand’s two daughters from his first marriage as well as their own daughter and Miriam’s mother Hannah. Armand was the vice-president of a baking company.

Armand Hecht and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Bristol, Bristol City, Virginia; Roll: m-t0627-04305; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 102-1
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Armand died on January 11, 1957, from pancreatic cancer; he was 54.

Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014
Certificate Range: 00725-01097, Ancestry.com. Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014

Then Miriam lost her mother Hannah on October 15, 1965.8 Miriam died at age 80 on June 5, 1987, in Bristol, Tennessee, survived by her daughter and two stepdaughters.9

With Edward Goldsmith’s death in 1920, half of Jacob Goldsmith’s children had passed away. There remained seven more: Annie Goldsmith Frank, Celia Goldsmith, Frank Goldsmith, Rebecca Goldsmith Levy, Florence Goldsmith Emanuel, Gertrude Goldsmith Emanuel, and Eva Goldsmith Uhlfelder. Where were they in 1920?

Annie Goldsmith Frank was still living in San Francisco with her two daughters, Josephine, a school teacher, and Fannie, who had no occupation.10 Annie’s son Harry had married for a second time; his second wife was Rose Phillips, born in Milwaukee on February 28, 1886, to Charles Phillips and Clara Besemann.11 I don’t know exactly when or where Harry and Rose married, but when he registered for the World War I draft in 1918, he listed Rose as his wife. He was then the assistant manager of the foreign department of Jos. Rothschild & Company in San Francisco. (The 1917 San Francisco directory lists him as a grocer.)12 In 1920, they were living in Burlingame, California, where Harry was the manager of an import-export business.13

Harry Frank, World War I draft registration, Registration State: California; Registration County: San Francisco; Roll: 1544262; Draft Board: 12
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

In 1920, Celia Goldsmith was living with her younger sister Eva Goldsmith Uhlfelder and her husband Sigmund and son Sidney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sigmund was working as an accountant for a department store there.

Uhlfelder family and Celia Goldsmith, 1920 US census, Census Place: Albuquerque Ward 3, Bernalillo, New Mexico; Roll: T625_1074; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 18
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Frank Goldsmith and his wife Barbara were living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1920, where Frank was a buyer for a department store.14

Rebecca Goldsmith Levy’s daughter Leona was married to Stanley Beckwith Eichberg on December 1, 1914, in Denver.

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

He was the son of German immigrants, Abraham Eichberg and Betty Shields, and was born on December 18, 1880, in Petersburg, Virginia.15  In 1900 Stanley was still in Petersburg, living with his parents and working as a draftsman, but by 1910 he had relocated to Denver where he was practicing medicine.16 Stanley and Leona’s first child Betty (named for Stanley’s mother) was born in 1915.17 In 1920 they were living in Denver where Stanley continued to practice medicine.18 On January 16, 1920, just a week after the 1920 census was enumerated in their district, Leona gave birth to their second child, Robert Levy Eichberg.19

Leona’s parents Rebecca and Robert Levy and her younger sister Marion was also living in Denver in 1920. Robert continued to practice medicine, and I’d imagine he was delighted to have a son-in-law who was a doctor.20

The remaining two Goldsmith siblings, Florence and Gertrude, were also living in Denver with their husbands, the brothers Jerry and Jacob Emanuel, respectively.  They were all living in one household along with Jacob and Jerry’s siblings Grace and Moses and Jacob and Gertrude’s eight year old son Bernard. Jacob was a merchant of men’s furnishings and Jerry a car salesman.

Emanuel household, 1920 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_162; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 252
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Thus, in 1920, the six daughters and one son of Jacob Goldsmith who were still living were scattered across the country with only Frank still in the east. Three sisters were in Denver, two in Albuquerque, and one in San Francisco. What would the Roaring Twenties bring to these seven surviving siblings?

 


  1. Edward Harrison, 1910 US census, Census Place: Greensboro, Hale, Alabama; Roll: T624_15; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0042; FHL microfilm: 1374028, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  2. Cincinnati, Ohio, City Directory, 1918, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  4.   Hannah Goldsmith, 1930 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 0147; FHL microfilm: 2341545, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  5. Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Birth Records, 1847-1911 
  6. Armand Hecht, 1930 US census, Census Place: Bristol, Sullivan, Tennessee; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0023; FHL microfilm: 2342015, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. Lyllian Hecht, death certificate, December 23, 1934. Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014. 
  7. Armand and Miriam Hecht, ear: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5824; Line: 29; Page Number: 115, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  8. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180233204 
  9. Number: 228-46-8303; Issue State: Virginia; Issue Date: 1953-1954, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Annie Frank and daughters, 1920 US census, Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 31, San Francisco, California; Roll: T625_136; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 152, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11. FHL Film Number: 1305106, Ancestry.com. Wisconsin, Births and Christenings Index, 1801-1928 
  12. San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1917, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  13. Harry Frank, 1920 US census, Census Place: Burlingame, San Mateo, California; Roll: T625_145; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 69, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  14. Frank Goldsmith,  1920 US census, Census Place: Harrisburg Ward 4, Dauphin, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1559; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 68, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  15. Stanley Eichberg, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Colorado; Registration County: Denver; Roll: 1561841; Draft Board: 5, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  16. Stanley Eichberg, 1900 US census, Census Place: Petersburg Ward 5, Petersburg City, Virginia; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0102; FHL microfilm: 1241736,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Stanley Eichberg, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Denver Ward 10, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_116; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0135; FHL microfilm: 1374129, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  17. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  18. Stanley Eichberg and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_162; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 266, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  19. SSN: 523144521, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  20. Robert Levy and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_162; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 234, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part III: Finding Hettie Steele

Before my father died, I had started posting images from the pages of Milton Goldsmith’s family album. Because my father had a memory of Milton—he was his first cousin, twice removed, his grandmother Hilda’s first cousin—this project was and is special to me. So today I will return to my Monday postings about Milton’s album.

In my last post about Milton Goldsmith’s album, I highlighted this sentence from his family report about his aunt Betty Goldschmidt because it led me to the discovery of a new cousin:

BETTY: married to Jacob Goldschmidt, (a cousin,) with several children, all of whom except Hettie Steele lived in Germany

In my research of Betty and Jacob Goldschmidt, I had not found any living descendants. Their story was among the saddest I’d researched. Betty and Jacob had eight children, but I’d only been able to find adult records for one of those eight, their son Berthold. Berthold and his first wife Mathilde had seven children, and all but one of those children died before reaching adulthood. Only their son Siegfried lived to adulthood, and he and his wife Frieda Fanny Pless were murdered in the Holocaust. Their only child Max survived, but Max died without descendants. In addition, Berthold had a second wife, Rickchen Geissberg, with whom he had two more children and a grandson. All were killed in the Holocaust.1

So I was excited to read in Milton’s family report that Betty and Jacob had had a child—Hettie Steele—who had left Germany and presumably survived. But who was she?

I looked back at my posts and notes on Betty Goldschmidt and Jacob Goldschmidt (Lehmann’s son) and saw that they’d had a daughter named Hedwig for whom I had a birth record, but no subsequent records. She was born on August 21, 1868, in Oberlistingen  Could this be Hettie Steele?

BIrth record of Hedwig Goldschmidt, Abschrift der Geburts-, Trau- und Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1890 (1937) (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 673)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 18

Milton had written under Hettie Steele the name “Adolph,” so I set off to research Adolph and Hettie Steele and found a couple with those names on the 1900 census living in Butler, Pennsylvania. From there I was able to work forwards and backwards in time to learn a great deal about Hettie.

According to the 1900 census, Hettie arrived in the US in 1883, when she was only fifteen years old.2 A number of her mother Betty’s siblings were then living in Philadelphia, including my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein. Presumably that is where young Hettie was headed, though I have no record of her living in Philadelphia after she arrived.

Hettie married Adolph Steele in Philadelphia in 1889.3 He was born in Germany in November, 1856. Records conflict as to when he immigrated, but the 1900 census as well as the 1930 census say he arrived in 1872, and the 1920 census says 1877, so my guess is that he arrived sometime in the 1870s.4 (The 1910 census says 1864, but that seems less likely to be reliable.) It appears that Adolph settled in Baltimore and lived and worked with his brother Louis, a clothing merchant.5

Adolph and Hettie’s first child Florence was born on September 23, 1890, in Washington, Pennsylvania. 6 Their son Leighton was also born in Washington; he was born on April 15, 1895. 7

Prospect Avenue, Washington, PA 1890
http://www.washingtonpa.us/washingtons-past/

Of course, several other members of the Goldschmidt/Goldsmith clan had lived in Washington, but in 1890, the only member of Hettie’s extended family who was still living there was my great-grandmother, Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal. Hilda was Eva Goldschmidt’s daughter, Betty’s Goldschmidt’s niece, and thus Hilda and Hettie were first cousins living in the same small town together in the 1890s.  They were also having children at the same time; my great-uncle Lester was born in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1888, his brother Gerson in 1892. These cousins were thus all close in age. They must have known each other, and yet I had never known of Hettie until I read Milton’s family report in his album.

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal, my great-grandmother

But by 1900, Hettie and Adolph and their two children had left Washington and moved about sixty miles north to Butler, Pennsylvania, where Adolph was working as a clothing merchant. A boarder named Leopold Goldsmith was living with them, but I wasn’t sure whether he was connected to the family.

Adolph Steele and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Butler Ward 3, Butler, Pennsylvania; Page: 12; Enumeration District: 0057; FHL microfilm: 1241386
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

On the 1910 census, Adolph and Hettie were still living in Butler, and Adolph continued to work as a merchant. Their daughter Florence, now nineteen, was working as a public school teacher. Leopold Goldsmith was still living with them, and this time he was identified as Adolph’s brother-in-law. My eyes lit up. Leopold Goldsmith had to be Hettie’s brother, meaning another child of Betty and Jacob Goldschmidt had made it to adulthood.

Adolph Steele, 1910 US census, Census Place: Butler Ward 3, Butler, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1321; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0066; FHL microfilm: 1375334
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Betty and Jacob’s youngest child was named Lehmann on his birth record, and he was born on October 22, 1872. I looked back at the 1900 census and saw that on that census Leopold Goldsmith reported a birth date of October 1872. Leopold had to be Betty and Jacob’s son who was born Lehmann.

Birth record of Lehmann Goldschmidt aka Leopold Goldsmith, Abschrift der Geburts-, Trau- und Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1890 (1937) (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 673)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 19

I searched a bit more and found Leopold living in 1897 with Hettie and Adolph in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he was working for Adolph.8

But alas, Leopold’s life was cut short like so many of his siblings. He died on March 24, 1914, in Butler, Pennsylvania, at the age of 40. According to his death certificate he died from exhaustion from chronic heart disease. His brother-in-law Adolph Steele was the informant on his death certificate.

Leopold Goldsmith, death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 020581-024050, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

The Butler (PA) Citizen published this lovely obituary on March 25, 1914 (p.3):

Seeing the mention of only Hettie and “a brother in Germany” as survivors confirmed my conclusion that all of Betty and Jacob Goldschmidt’s five other children had died. The brother in Germany must refer to Berthold.

But Hettie’s family survived and grew. On February 15, 1915, Hettie’s daughter Florence married Herman Wise, a German immigrant born on July 1, 1878, making him twelve years older than Florence.9 Herman had immigrated in the 1890s and was working as a clothing merchant in Ottawa, Ohio, when he married Florence. Florence and Herman settled in Ottawa, where their first child Martha was born on February 22, 1916. 10 In 1920, they continued to live in Ottawa, where Herman was still a clothing merchant.11

Butler (PA) Citizen, February 16, 1915, p. 5

Hettie and Adolph’s son Leighton graduated from the dental school at the University of Michigan in 1916. In 1917 when he registered for the draft in World War I, he was a self-employed dentist working in Detroit, Michigan. The 1923 University of Michigan alumni directory lists Leighton as a first lieutenant “D.R.C. 1918-1919;” D.R.C. stands for Dental Reserve Corps. In 1920 he was practicing dentistry in Detroit.12

Leighton Steele, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Michigan; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 2032496; Draft Board: 18
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Hettie and Adolph were still living in Butler, Pennsylvania, in 1920, but Adolph was no longer a clothing merchant. It looks like it says he was an employment agent for “car works” or maybe “gas works.” Anyone have any idea what that means?

Adolph and Hettie Steele, 1920 US census, Census Place: Butler Ward 3, Butler, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1543; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 16
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

In 1923, Hettie’s daughter Florence had a second child, a son Robert born on September 9 in Ottawa, Ohio.13 Hettie’s son Leighton married Rae Finsterwald on December 27, 1924, in Detroit. She was born in Marion, Wisconsin, on November 8, 1897, to Charles Finsterwald and Selma Goldberg. She grew up in Wisconsin, but in 1920, she was living with her parents and siblings in Detroit where she must have met Leighton. Leighton and Rae would have two children, one born in 1926 and another in 1935.14

By 1930, Hettie and Adolph had moved from Butler, Pennsylvania, to Highland Park, Michigan. Adolph was now 73, but still working, now as a storekeeper for a carpet business.15 He died just three years later on January 18, 1933, in Ottawa, Ohio, where their daughter Florence was living. According to his death certificate, he died from acute pulmonary edema after suffering from chronic hypertension and myocarditis since 1931. He was 77.

“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PKD-9HFM?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-VTG%3A287599601%2C291650202 : 21 May 2014), 1933 > 06001-09000 > image 1083 of 3247.

Hettie died six and a half years later on June 13, 1939, in Ottawa, from acute coronary occlusion; she was seventy. She was the longest surviving child of Betty and Jacob Goldschmidt. And she was survived by her children Florence and Leighton and four grandchildren.

“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PTC-3C1?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-BP8%3A287601801%2C294559601 : 21 May 2014), 1939 > 38901-41800 > image 298 of 3242.

Florence continued to live in Ohio with her husband Herman Wise, until his death there on October 23, 1954.16 Her brother Leighton lived in the Detroit area and practiced dentistry there until about 1952 when he moved to Los Angeles, where he died in 1956.17 His wife Rae died in 1986, as did his sister Florence.18

Florence was 95 when she died on April 9, 1986.19 She and her brother Leighton were survived by their children and grandchildren and have a number of living descendants today.

How grateful I am for that one little comment on Milton Goldsmith’s family report mentioning Hettie and Adolph Steele. It led to the addition of a whole new branch on my Goldschmidt family tree. More importantly, I learned that Betty and Jacob Goldschmidt have living descendants, contrary to what I’d thought before Milton’s report enlightened me.

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Death record of Rickchen Geissberg Goldschmidt, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Signatur: 8196, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. Hedwig Goldschmidt Starksy, Yad Vashem entry, https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11507302&ind=0. Jacob Julius Goldschmidt, Yad Vashem entry, https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11507410&ind=0 
  2. Hettie Steele, 1900 US census, Census Place: Butler Ward 3, Butler, Pennsylvania; Page: 12; Enumeration District: 0057; FHL microfilm: 1241386, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. 
  3. Film Number: 004141925, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 
  4. Adolph Steele, see census records depicted below. 
  5. Adolph Steele, 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 498; Page: 105B; Enumeration District: 047, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. 
  6. Florence Steele Wise, Number: 295-40-7386; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: 1962,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. “Florence Wise,” Lima (OH) News, April 11, 1986, p. A4 
  7. Leighton G. Steele, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Michigan; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 2032496; Draft Board: 18, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  8. Washington, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1897, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  9. Herman Wise, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Putnam; Roll: 1851085, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  10.  FHL Film Number: 915768, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 
  11. Herman Wise and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Ottawa, Putnam, Ohio; Roll: T625_1429; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 107, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12.  Catalogue of graduates, non-graduates, officers, and members of the faculties, 1837-1921. University of Michigan, Ancestry.com. U.S., College Student Lists, 1763-1924; Leighton Steele, 1920 US census, Census Place: Detroit Ward 4, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_805; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 138, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  13. State File Number: 1923091889, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Birth Index, 1908-1964 
  14. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 180; Film Description: 1924 Wayne – 1925 Calhoun, Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Name: Ray Finsterwald, Birth Date: 8 Nov 1897, Birth Place: Waupaca, Wisconsin, USA, Reel: 0304, Record: 000972, Ancestry.com. Wisconsin, Birth Index, 1820-1907; Finsterwald family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Detroit Ward 4, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_805; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 158, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  15. Adolph and Hettie Steele, 1930 US census, Census Place: Highland Park, Wayne, Michigan; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 0983; FHL microfilm: 2340809, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16. “Herman Wise Dies in Lima Hospital,” Washington C.H. Record-Herald, 25 Oct 1954, Mon, Page 10. 
  17. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997. “Dr. Leighton Steele,” Detroit Times Monday, Mar 12, 1956 Detroit, MI Page: 16. 
  18. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  19.  Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records. Michigan, Death Index, 1971-1996. “Florence Wise,” Lima (OH) News, April 11, 1986, p. A4 

Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein and Her Family: Not Blessed with Longevity

When I last posted about the children of Jacob Goldsmith, I was focusing on those of his children who died between 1911 and 1920. In 1910, twelve of Jacob’s fourteen children were still living; Emma and George had already passed away. By the end of 1920, only seven of the remaining children were still living.  Five of the siblings died between 1911 and 1920. We have already seen that  Leonora Goldsmith Jaffa died in 1911, Rachel Goldsmith died in 1915, and Felix Goldsmith died in 1919.

The fourth of Jacob Goldsmith’s children to die between 1911 and 1920 was his oldest child, Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein. Ellena had lost her husband Samuel and her son William in 1908, and on June 20, 1914, she died from cerebral thrombosis. She was sixty years old. She was survived by four of her children: Sylvester, Leon (formerly Leopold), Fannie, and Gertrude.

Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 061391-064480, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Sylvester had married Selma Lowenstein in 1911 in Philadelphia.1 She was born in Germany on July 12, 1888,2 and had immigrated to the US in 1908.3 Sylvester and Selma settled in Atlantic City where Sylvester was in the cigar business with his brother Leon.4 On March 27, 1914, just two months before Ellena died, Selma gave birth to Samuel Feldstein, obviously named for his grandfather, Sylvester’s father.5 When he registered for the World War I draft, Sylvester was still in the cigar business and reported that he was partly lame in his left leg.

Sylvester Feldstein, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Atlantic; Roll: 1711901; Draft Board: 2
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

And then tragedy struck the family again in this decade when Sylvester died at age 44 on July 20, 1919, in Atlantic City, leaving behind his wife Selma and his five-year-old son Samuel.6

In 1920, Selma and her son Samuel were still living in Atlantic City, and Selma was working as a housekeeper in a lodging house.7  By 1930 they had moved to Philadelphia where Selma was now working as a “saleslady” in a department store. Samuel was fifteen years old.8 Ten years later Selma and Samuel were still living in Philadelphia where Selma continued to work in a department store and Samuel was now an inspector for Westinghouse Electric.9 In 1941, Samuel married Cele Hammerschlag,10 and they would have four children. Selma died in 1973, Samuel died in 2004, and Cele in 2009.11

Sylvester’s brother and business partner Leopold also married in the 1910s.  He married Martha Tovey in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, on September 17, 1912.  He was 32, she 31, according to their marriage license. Martha was the daughter of Joseph Tovey and Susannah Curtis, and she was born in England in November, 1881, and immigrated as a baby with her parents on July 1, 1882.12 In 1900, Martha was living as a servant in a household in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, a small town about 115 miles northwest of Philadelphia. In 1910 she was living in Atlantic City, working as a housekeeper.13

Marriage record of Leopold Feldstein and Martha Tovey, Film Number: 000021184
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968

After they married, Leopold, now using the name Leon, and Martha stayed in Atlantic City, where in 1920, Leon was still in the cigar business, and Martha was not employed.14 In 1930, Martha’s mother was living in their household in Atlantic City.  Leon continued to manufacture cigars, and Martha was a “saleslady” in a cigar store.15 They did not have children. Leon died three years later on September 25, 1933 in Atlantic City.  He was 53. I was unable to find a death record for his widow Martha or any other records that revealed what happened to her after Leon’s death, except for a reference to her as one of her mother Susanna’s survivors in 1942.16

As for Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein’s two daughters, Fannie and Gertrude, as noted in an earlier post, Fannie had married Isidor Neufeld in 1904 and had two children, Hortense (1905) and Sylvia (1908). Isidor was a shirt cutter in a factory, a job he continued to hold in the 1910s. By 1920 he had been promoted to a foreman in the shirt factory. Fannie’s sister Gertrude was also living with them; she was working as a stenographer for a bottle company.

Neufeld family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 42, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1643; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 1561, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

In 1925, Fannie and Isidor’s daughter Hortense married Philip M. Jacobs in Philadelphia.17 Philip was born on February 21, 1898, in Philadelphia, to Rachael and Reuben Jacobs. In 1920 he’d been working as a men’s clothing salesman and living with his parents in Philadelphia.18  Philip and Hortense had two daughters born in the 1920s. In 1930 they were all living in Philadelphia, and Philip was working in the clothing manufacturing business.19

Fannie, Isidor, their daughter Sylvia, and Fannie’s sister Gertrude were still living together in 1930. Isidor was still the foreman at the shirt factory, Sylvia was a school teacher, and Gertrude was a bookkeeper for a hosiery mill.20

Things changed in the 1930s. Fannie and Isidor Neufeld’s daughter Sylvia married Eugene Fielder Wieder in Philadelphia in 1939.21 Eugene was born October 3, 1891, in Philadelphia, to Albert and Tillie Wieder. His father was a German immigrant, his mother a native Pennsylvanian. His father was a furniture dealer.22

Eugene had been previously married and in 1920 was living with his first wife Edith Wollner and working in shirt manufacturing. 23 I could not locate him on the 1930 census or in any other records until the entry in the Philadelphia marriage index entry for him and Sylvia in 1939.

In 1940 Eugene and Sylvia were living with Sylvia’s mother Fannie Goldsmith Neufeld in Philadelphia; Eugene was now a salesman in a retail furniture store, perhaps his father’s business, and Sylvia was teaching school. But where was Fannie’s husband Isidor?

Neufeld and Wieder family 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03753; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 51-2158
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

I found him living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, boarding with a family and working as the foreman in a shirt factory.24 Both he and Fannie listed their marital status as married on the 1940 census, so I assume this was a work-related move necessitated by the Depression. That assumption is reinforced by Isidor’s World War II draft registration two years later; he was still living in Lancaster, but listed Fannie as his wife and his contact person on the registration, giving Fannie’s Philadelphia address.

Isidor Neufeld, World War II draft registration, he National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Fannie’s sister Gertrude also married in the 1930s. She married Louis Lewin in Philadelphia in 1938; she was 49, he was 53.25  Louis was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, on February 16, 1885.26  His parents were Samuel Lewin, a German-born clothing merchant, and Helen Obendorf, who was born in Maryland. Louis’ father died in 1904, and by 1906, his family had moved to Baltimore, where his mother’s family lived.27 In 1910 Louis was living with his mother and other relatives and working as a dry goods salesman. By 1920, he was married to a woman named Louisa and living in Philadelphia, but in 1930 he was divorced and back in Baltimore, working as a clerk in the post office, and living as a lodger.28 After he and Gertrude married, they were living in Philadelphia where Louis was a candy salesman and Gertrude a secretary in a law office in 1940.

Louis Lewin and Gertrude Feldstein Lewin, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 51-2122
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Sadly, Gertrude died just three years later at the age of 55 from hypertensive cardiovascular disease and cerebral hemorrhage.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 094201-096650
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Of the five children born to Ellena Goldsmith and Samuel Feldstein, only Fannie was left after Gertrude died in 1943. And then Fannie suffered yet another terrible loss when her younger daughter Sylvia died from breast cancer on January 28, 1953, at the age of 44.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 007651-010350
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Almost exactly two years later Fannie lost her husband Isidor Neufeld on January 13, 1955; he was 73 and died from prostate cancer.29 Fannie survived him for five years, dying at age 76 from congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease on February 6, 1960. According to her death certificate she had suffered from heart disease for five years, so from about the time she lost her husband.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 019051-021750
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

She was survived by her remaining daughter, Hortense Neufeld Jacobs, and two granddaughters. Hortense died in 1983 at 77.30

Ellena Goldsmith and Samuel Feldstein’s family was not blessed with longevity. Ellena was sixty when she died, Samuel 61. Fannie Feldstein Neufeld was their only child to live past sixty; Arthur had died before his first birthday, William at 31, Sylvester at 44, Leon at 53, and then Gertrude at 55. Of those six children, only two had children of their own: Fannie’s two daughters Hortense and Sylvia, and Sylvester’s son Samuel. And Sylvia’s life was also cut short prematurely at 44.  Of all the children and grandchildren of Ellena and Samuel, only Fannie, Hortense, and Samuel lived past seventy. Samuel truly avoided the family’s bad DNA as he lived to age ninety, dying in 2004. He must have inherited those good genes from his mother Selma, who lived to 84, unlike her husband Sylvester who died at 44.


  1. Marriage License Number: 264923, Digital GSU Number: 4140424, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  2.  Selma Feldstein, SSN: 164-10-7288, Born: 12 Jul 1888, Died: Jun 1973,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  3. Selma Feldstein, 1920 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City Ward 2, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1015; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 11, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  4. Atlantic City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  5.  SSN: 185014552, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. Philadelphia Inquirer, July 22, 1919, p. 17. 
  7. Selma Feldstein, 1920 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City Ward 2, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1015; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 11, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  8. Selma Feldstein, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1074; FHL microfilm: 2341869,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Selma Feldstein, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03724; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 51-1172,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10. Marriage Year: 1941, Marriage License Number: 730487, Digital GSU Number: 4143600, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  11. Selma Feldstein, SSN: 164-10-7288, Born: 12 Jul 1888, Died: Jun 1973,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Samuel V. Feldstein
    SSN: 185-01-4552, Born: 26 Mar 1914, Died: 20 Dec 2004, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Cele H. Feldstein, Born: 3 Oct 1918, Died: 3 Jul 2009
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12.  Martha Tovey, Registration Year: 1881, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec
    Registration district: Kendal, Volume: 10b, Page: 674, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915. Ship manifest,  Year: 1882; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 454; Line: 16; List Number: 907, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  13. Tovey family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Williamstown, Dauphin, Pennsylvania; Page: 16; Enumeration District: 0110; FHL microfilm: 1241404,  Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; Martha Tovey, 1910 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City Ward 3, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T624_867; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 0018; FHL microfilm: 1374880, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  14. Leon Feldstein, 1920 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City Ward 3, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1015; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 26, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  15. Leon Feldstein, 1930 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0022; FHL microfilm: 2341043, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16.   The Philadelphia Inquirer, 28 Sep 1933, Thu, Page 23. “Mrs. Susanna Tovey,”  Lykens (PA) Register, 24 Apr 1942, Fri, Page 4. 
  17. Marriage License Number: 507659, Digital GSU Number: 4141807,
    Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  18. Philip Jacobs, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907760; Draft Board: 37, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Jacobs family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1616; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 451, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  19. Philip Jacobs, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1048; FHL microfilm: 2341868, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  20. Feldstein family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 1080; FHL microfilm: 2341870, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  21.  Marriage Year: 1939, Marriage License Number: 699905,Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  22. Eugene Wieder, Death Certificate Number: 8990, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 007351-010050, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Wieder family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1402; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0630; FHL microfilm: 1375415, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  23. Eugene Wieder, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1616; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 451,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  24. Isidor Neufeld, 1940 US census, Census Place: West Earl, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03535; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 36-158, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  25. Marriage Year: 1938, Marriage License Number: 686632, Digital GSU Number: 4141695, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  26. Louis Lewin, World War I draft registration,  Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907611; Draft Board: 09,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  27. Lewin, 1900 US census, Census Place: Bellefonte, Centre, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0001; FHL microfilm: 1241391, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census.  “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QM9-HP2?cc=1320976&wc=9FR2-N3D%3A1073107602 : 16 May 2014), 004008656 > image 211 of 524; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1906, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  28. Louis Lewin, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 14, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_557; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0236; FHL microfilm: 1374570; Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. Louis Lewin 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1621; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 309, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Louis Lewin, 1930 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Blank, Maryland; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0164; FHL microfilm: 2340590, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  29. Isidor Neufeld death certificate 7955, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 005401-008100, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  30. Number: 182-30-5349; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1954-1955, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-201 

Leonora Goldsmith Jaffa and Her Family: Too Many Lives Cut Short

The second decade of the 20th century saw the oldest of Jacob Goldsmith’s children entering their sixties while his youngest children were entering their forties. In 1910, twelve of Jacob’s fourteen children were still living; Emma and George had already passed away. By the end of 1920, only seven of the remaining children were still living.  Five of the siblings died between 1911 and 1920. We have already seen that one of them was Jacob’s oldest son Felix, who died in 1919. We also saw that Rachel Goldsmith died in 1915. But two other siblings predeceased them in that decade, and one died in 1920.

The first was Leonora Goldsmith Jaffa. She died on February 22, 1911, at the age of fifty-two.1  According to her obituary, she had been ill for two years:

“Pioneer Woman of Trinidad Summoned,” The Las Vegas (NM) Daily Optic, February 24, 1911, p. 5

Mrs. Sol Jaffa Dies There After A Long Illness—Aunt of Secretary Jaffa

Trinidad is mourning the death of Mrs. Sol H. Jaffa, wife of the city treasurer and prominent retail merchant, who passed away peacefully at her home, 218 east Third Street, Wednesday night. The deceased, who was one of the oldest residents of Trinidad, had been ill for the past two years, her malady taking a serious turn last October, when she was reported to be in a precarious condition. Since that time the deceased had been steadily declining and thus her sad demise did not come unexpected to her relatives and friends.

The deceased was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Goldsmith of Washington, Pa. She was married to Sol H. Jaffa in Philadelphia, thirty years ago, in the year 1881, when she took up her residence in the city of Trinidad. The deceased had been a resident of this city since that time and had been an active charity worker and prominent in the Jewish circles of the city. Her death is deeply mourned throughout the city and county by a host of friends.

The deceased was 52 years of age and is survived by her husband, Sol H. Jaffa and a daughter, Miss Helen Jaffa, of this city, and a son, Arthur who is engaged in the government service as an engineer, residing in Cheyenne, Wyo., and four sisters and three brothers. Her sisters are Mrs. Dr. Levy of Denver, Mrs. J. Emanuel and Mrs. R. Emanuel of Denver and Mrs. Uhlfelder of Albuquerque, N.M. The three brothers of the deceased reside in the east and south. Arthur Jaffa was notified of the death of his mother by telegraph and is expected to arrive her either today or tomorrow.

The funeral will take place from the family residence Sunday afternoon, and interment will be in the Jewish cemetery. Among the relatives who will attend the funeral are the son, Arthur Jaffa, Dr. and Mrs. Levy of Denver, Mrs. R. Emanuel and Mrs. M. Emanuel of Denver, Mrs. Uhlfelder of Albuquerque, and give nephews of the deceased, Nathan Jaffa, secretary of the territory of New Mexico, Joseph Jaffa, an attorney of Denver, Julius Jaffa of Roswell, N.M., and Ben Jaffa of Albuquerque.

[A final paragraph discusses how Nathan Jaffa, who was acting governor of New Mexico, asked President Roosevelt for a leave of absence to attend Leonora’s funeral.]

There are some strange omissions from this obituary. The only sisters named as survivors are Rebecca, Gertrude, Florence, and Eva, but in 1911 Leonora had four other living sisters—Annie in San Francisco, Rachel and Celia in Denver, and Ellena in Philadelphia. Why weren’t they mentioned? I first thought that this was an oversight as Rachel and Celia were living with Rebecca in Denver in 1910, but a second obituary from the Denver Rocky Mountain News also mentioned only the same four sisters as survivors.

“Mrs. Sol H. Jaffa Is Dead,” Denver Rocky Mountain News, February 24, 1911, p. 4

Had their been a falling out between Leonora and the other sisters?

Two years later, Leonora’s daughter Helen F. Jaffa married Abram Harold Minton on June 8, 1913, in Trinidad.

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

It was a challenge tracking down Abram’s history before he married Helen. According to his World War I draft registration, Abram was born on August 6, 1879;2 in 1900, he is listed as Abram Minsky, living with his mother Rose Minsky and sister Ada in New York City; that census reports his birth place as Russia Poland and states that he and his mother and sister had immigrated to the US in 1887. Abram, then twenty, was in school and his sister was a school teacher.3 I was able to locate seven year old Abraham Minske on a passenger manifest arriving in the US on May 31, 1887, with a thirty year old male (first name not legible), presumably his father, who must have died before the 1900 census was taken.4

On August 25, 1910, Abram H. Minton married Julia Cohen, in New York City. His parents were listed on the index as Aaron Minton and Rose Feltstein; Abram’s birth year was estimated as 1879 since his age was 31. Given the match to his age, name, and mother’s first name, I assume this was the same Abram Minton who later married Helen Jaffa, but this record says Abram was born in New York. His first wife Julia was the daughter of Israel and Esther Cohen and was according to the index on FamilySearch also born in New York.5 Julia died less than a year after the marriage on June 5, 1911, in New York. I do not know the cause of death; she was only 28 years old.6

But if Abram was married to Julia in August 1910 in New York and she died there a year later, I cannot understand why Abram is listed (as Abraham H. Minton) on the 1910 US census as living already in Trinidad, Colorado, 29 years old, single, boarding with a family, and working as a school teacher. This census lists his birthplace as New York and his parents as born in the US, both of which were not accurate, but nevertheless I still think this refers to the same Abram H. Minton who married Helen Jaffa in 1913.7 That Abram did become a school teacher, and the name and age match closely. In addition, the 1910 and 1912 Trinidad directories list an Arthur H. Minton as a school teacher residing in Trinidad, as does the 1915, although now as Abram H. Minton. My best guess is that Abram returned to New York in August 1910, married Julia, perhaps stayed in New York until she died, and then returned to Trinidad where he met and married Helen Jaffa in 1913.

But Abram’s bad fortune continued as Helen Jaffa Minton died on May 1, 1915, less than two years after their wedding. She had just given birth on April 26, 1915, to their son Arnold Jaffa Minton, in Trinidad,8 and I assume her death was related to some complication from childbirth. So Abram was once again a widower, now with a newborn son to care for.

http://data.jewishgen.org/imagedata/jowbr/USA-01836/TAT128.jpg; JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR)

Abram Minton and his son Arnold left Trinidad, and in 1920 were living in New York City with Abram’s family. Abram continued to work as a school teacher.9 In 1925 they were living in Brooklyn with Abram’s sister Ada, and Abram continued to teach. He had not married again.10

Then, tragically, Abram died on August 24, 1927, at age 48, leaving his twelve-year-old son Arnold an orphan.11 Arnold continued to live with his father’s relatives in 1930 and in 1940, when he was working as a merchant in New York.12 He married Alma Cohen in 1947 and lived the rest of his life in New York, dying on September 14, 1998.13 I wonder whether he ever had contact with his mother’s family again once they left Trinidad after her untimely death.

Solomon Jaffa and his son Arthur had thus suffered two devastating losses in the space of four years, first the death of Leonora and then the death of Helen—as well as the relocation of little Arnold, their grandson and nephew, respectively.

There had been some happier news for them in those years, however. On June 8, 1914, Arthur married Eleanor J. Jaffa, who was his first cousin, once removed. Eleanor was the great-granddaughter of Aron Jaffa, Arthur his grandson. Eleanor’s grandfather Benjamin Jaffa was the brother of Solomon Jaffa, Arthur’s father. Eleanor was born on October 4, 1893, in Roswell, New Mexico, where she and Arthur married. Eleanor’s father Nathan Jaffa had been the Secretary of State in New Mexico, and acting governor, as mentioned above. Eleanor was the granddaughter of Aron Jaffa, the father of Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith (Henry’s wife) and Sol Jaffa (Leonora Goldsmith’s husband and Eleanor’s father-in-law).14

“Another Jaffa Wedding,” Albuquerque Journal, 31 May 1914, Sun, Page 10

Arthur and Eleanor settled in Roswell, New Mexico, where in 1918 Arthur was the city manager, according to his World War I draft registration. They would have two sons. In 1920, Arthur was still the Roswell City Manager, but by 1930 Arthur and his family had moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he was working as an accountant for a wholesale merchandise business. His father Solomon was also living with them at that time. 15 Ten years later in 1940, they were all still living together in Las Vegas and Arthur was now listed as a bookkeeper for a wholesale merchandise business.16

Arthur Jaffa World War I draft registration, Registration State: New Mexico; Registration County: Chaves; Roll: 1711858
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Solomon Jaffa died the following year at the age of 92. He was buried back in Trinidad where his wife Leonora and daughter Helen were buried. 17 The Intermountain Jewish News published this wonderful obituary on its front page on December 5, 1941:

Arthur Jaffa did not inherit his father’s longevity; like his mother, he died before his seventieth birthday in 1952.18  He and his wife Eleanor, who died in 1970, were buried in Las Vegas, New Mexico. They are survived by their sons and grandchildren.

 


  1. Trinidad, Colorado, City Directory, 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Abram Minton, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Colorado; Registration County: Las Animas; Roll: 1561836, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  3. Abram Minsky, 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0843; FHL microfilm: 1241119, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4. Abraham Minske, passenger manifest, Year: 1887; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 507; Line: 41; List Number: 657,
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24ZH-SNJ : 10 February 2018), Abram H. Minton and Julie Cohen, 25 Aug 1910; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,503,752. 
  6. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMM-4D3 : 10 February 2018), Julia Minton, 05 Jun 1911; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,323,280. 
  7. Abraham H, Minton, 1910 US census, Census Place: Trinidad Ward 1, Las Animas, Colorado; Roll: T624_122; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1374135, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  8. SSN 125-10-8177, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. Abram Minton, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 9, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1202; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 693,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  10. Abram Minton, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 45; Assembly District: 21; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 2, Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 
  11.  Certificate Number: 4568, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  12. Arnold J. Minton, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0463; FHL microfilm: 2341292, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census; 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02641; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 31-736,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  13. Marriage record, License Number: 7751, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 12, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Number: 125-10-8177; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. https://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/15/classified/paid-notice-deaths-minton-arnold-jaffa.html 
  14. SSN: 525322497, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; 
  15. Arthur Jaffa and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Roswell Ward 5, Chaves, New Mexico; Roll: T625_1074; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 7, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census; 1930 US census, Census Place: Las Vegas, San Miguel, New Mexico; Enumeration District: 0032; FHL microfilm: 2341134, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  16. Arthur Jaffa and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Las Vegas, San Miguel, New Mexico; Roll: m-t0627-02451; Page: 26A; Enumeration District: 24-34, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  17. “Solomon Jaffa Dies In Las Vegas,” Albuquerque Journal, 01 Dec 1941, Mon, Page 1. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  18. “Arthur Jaffa,”  Las Vegas Daily Optic, 22 Nov 1952, Sat, Page 6. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). 

How Felix Goldsmith’s Children Honored His Difficult Life

The story of Felix Goldsmith’s life after 1900 is a sad one. In searching for articles about him, I first found two articles that suggested he was doing very well. He had left Denver by 1908 and moved with his wife Fanny and two children Clarence and Ethel to Cincinnati, where Fanny’s family lived and where she’d been born and raised. It looked like Felix was investing in real estate for a new business:

“Real Estate and Building,” The Cincinnati Inquirer, June 14, 1908, p. 7

A second article two days later also portrayed Felix as a successful entrepreneur:

“Hard Times A Joke to Man Who Plugs On,” Cincinnati Post, June 16, 1908, p. 10

“Greater Cincinnati is assured, for the business men stick till they get through with a thing.”

This is Felix S. Goldsmith’s verdict. He is one of the younger men who are shoving the Queen City to the front.

Hard times? Not for him. He wasn’t a bit bluffed upon getting out of a hospital from a long siege of sickness just when the calamity howlers were busy. He plunged in, organized the Freericks Hot Water System Co. and demonstrated that HARD TIMES was a joke in Cincinnati.

Goldsmith will hire over 300 extra men in a few days.

Goldsmith is also largely interested in the real estate movement. He is President of the Fernbank Real Estate Co. For several years prior to his removal to Cincinnati he was one of the high-ranking engineers of the Colorado district.   

He is self-made.

The only hint of trouble here is the reference to “a long siege of illness” and hospitalization. But a month later the rest of the story began to come to light, as seen in this article from the Denver Post on July 27, 1908:

“Arrest Denverite Because Checks Came Back,” Denver Post, July 27, 1908, p. 4

Felix S. Goldsmith, former Denver mining promoter, who for the past year has conducted an office in this city, and who is interested in exploiting a new morning newspaper here, to be called the Morning Mail, was arrested late last night on the charge of passing worthless checks on the Idaho Springs National bank of Colorado.

Half a dozen merchants who hold checks marked “No funds,” made complaint against him. Goldsmith claims the checks were among those sent him by T.S. Richards of Denver, who, he says, is interested with him in vast mining properties there, and has an office in the First National Bank building. The drafts, he says, were first made out on the Idaho Springs bank, and deposited in the Continental National bank of Denver.

Goldsmith says he has been suffering from nervous prostration for three years, and that relatives in Denver tried in vain to have him adjudged insane. The police have been trying to get in touch with relatives, but he refuses to give any definite information concerning their residence. He had, up to late tonight, been unable to get any one to furnish bail for his release.

The Cincinnati Enquirer of July 27, 1908 revealed more of the background to Felix’s troubles:

“Goldsmith—Was Patient at City Hospital, Lavishing Flowers, Candy, and Fruit on Nurses,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, July 27, 1908, p. 10.

With the arrest of Felix Goldsmith at the instance of W.C. Seekatz, manager of the Florsheim Shoe Company, an avalanche of flowers and candy will cease at the City Hospital. As late as last November Goldsmith was a patient at that institution, an inmate for the neurological ward.

He was admitted to the hospital September 26, 1907, from the Rand Hotel and placed on the service of Dr. Herman Hopps, the alienist. At that time Goldsmith showed such decided symptoms of paranoia, having hallucinations of wealth and grandeur, that the physicians decided to probate him.

In some way Goldsmith got wind of this and demanded his discharge, which he received on November 28. While in the ward Goldsmith formed a strange friendship with Al Milton, also a neurological patient, which after his liberation he showed in many ways. Only last we andek Milton received a check from him for $2, with a letter stating that in a few days he would make him comfortable for life. To the nurses who waited off him and others with whom he became acquainted during his sojourn at the hospital Goldsmith was most lavishly generous. Scarcely a day passed when they were not to be the recipients of boxes of flowers and candy and baskets of fruit. These were always accompanied with his card, without an address, which prevented the return of these unwelcome presents.

Four days later, the paper reported that Felix had been committed to a psychiatric hospital at his wife’s request:

“Longview—Felix S. Goldsmith, Promoter of a Newspaper, Is Committed at His Wife’s Request,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, July 31, 1908, p. 10

Felix S. Goldsmith, erstwhile promoter of newspapers and other big enterprises, as well as alleged layer of protested checks, was committed to Longview by Drs. David and Kendig, the Probate Court examining physicians, yesterday. Goldsmith was before the Court on a lunacy warrant sworn to by his wife, Fannie Goldsmith, of 3004 Stanton avenue, who was later named as his guardian by the Probate Court.

Goldsmith is 49 years of age, and has one son, Clarence, aged 19. The certificate of the physicians states that he is irritable and quarrelsome and hard to control; that he has a suicidal mania and carried a revolver, and that he has ideas of great wealth and believes that he is being persecuted. To the physicians he stated that he is a promoter, and that he is running a newspaper, and that he has friends who are ready to advance him large sums to promote various businesses. The cause of his mental trouble is attributed to worry over his business ventures. Attorney Frank Heinsheimer represented the wife in her action.

On Sunday, May 17, Goldsmith had a sensational encounter with his brother-in-law, Albert S. Rosenthal, in Avondale, and the next day Rosenthal secured a lunacy warrant for him. Goldsmith evaded arrest on the warrant for a few days, and then gave himself up, declaring that he could easily prove his sanity. However, the warrant was never pressed and no inquiry was had at that time. The warrant, which was never withdrawn, was destroyed yesterday when Mrs. Goldsmith made the affidavit for her husband’s arrest.

Within the past week or two Goldsmith had given a number of checks which the recipients were trying to have him take up, and as the result of one of these he was arrested. Then the lunacy warrant was secured. Goldsmith promoted a new newspaper to be known as the Morning Mail, but further incorporating nothing seems to have been done.

This whole story is incredibly sad. Felix obviously had had some kind of psychotic break. The antiquated terminology like “lunacy” and the newspaper coverage seem so stigmatizing. Today one hopes that there is a better understanding of a psychosis like that suffered by Felix.

I could not find Felix on the 1910 census; I assume that he was still institutionalized. Felix’s wife Fannie and children Clarence and Ethel continued to live in Cincinnati. In 1910, they were living with Fannie’s sister Hannah Wachtel and her children. Fannie was working as a bookkeeper in a wholesale clothing store.

Fannie Rosenthal Goldsmith and children, 1910 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 3, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: T624_1189; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0043; FHL microfilm: 1375202, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

The next record I have for Felix is his death certificate. Felix died from a cerebral hemorrhage on January 18, 1919. He was 59 years old:

Kentucky Death Records, 1911-1965,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N984-S31 : 2 January 2019), Felix Goldsmith, 1919; citing Death, Lakeland, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States, certificate , Office of Vital Statistics, Frankfort; FHL microfilm 1,952,863.

He died in Central State Hospital in Lakeland, Kentucky. The doctor who signed the death certificate attested that Felix had been under his care since August 2, 1916, and the certificate also revealed that Felix had been in this hospital for seven years, ten months, and two days, or since November 16, 1911. This hospital still exists as an adult psychiatric hospital and was formerly known as the Central Kentucky Asylum for the Insane. How terribly sad that Felix had to spend so many years institutionalized.

His wife Fannie did not remarry. In 1920 she was living with her two grown children in Cincinnati. Clarence, now thirty, was a traveling salesman for a glassware company, and Ethel, 24, was a psychologist in juvenile court.1

On September 7, 1928, Ethel married Harry Muegel in Cincinnati. Harry was the son of Peter Muegel and Elizabeth Plaspohl and was born on December 12, 1895, in Cincinnati.  He was a student at the time of their marriage, and Ethel was a psychologist.

Marriage record for Ethel Goldsmith and Harry Muegel, Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

In 1930, Fannie, Clarence, Ethel and Harry were living together in Silverton, Ohio. Ethel continued to work as a psychologist. Her husband Harry was a public school teacher. Clarence was also working in juvenile court now—as a probation office.2 According to this article, Clarence was the Assistant Chief Probation Office in charge of the Boys’ Delinquency Department of Juvenile Court and was “regarded as a state authority in his field.”

I find it fascinating that both Ethel and her brother Clarence ended up working with children in trouble. I have to wonder whether their father’s experience with mental illness influenced their career choices.

In April 1931, Clarence was engaged to Leona Rosenbaum. She was the daughter of David Rosenbaum and Lydia Miller and was born in Baltimore on September 5, 1900. Her father owned a drugstore, and in 1930 Leona was working as a teacher in a parochial school and living with her parents in Cincinnati.3 Although I was able to find the engagement announcement in the newspaper, I could not locate a marriage record or announcement, but I did find references to Mrs. Leona Goldsmith and Mrs. Clarence Goldsmith  in the Cincinnati papers starting in 1932, so they must have married by then. An article in the July 2, 1936, Cincinnati Enquirer (p. 12) referred to Clarence as the assistant chief engineer of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, indicating that he had left his juvenile court position for work in the insurance industry.

Things thus seemed to be going well for Felix Goldsmith’s family as of 1936; his children were both married, and both had meaningful careers. But then tragedy struck twice in one month. On May 1, Felix’s widow Fannie Rosenthal Goldsmith died from chronic nephritis and hypertension; she was 74.

Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GP2P-9VMD?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-FNL%3A287599101%2C294427301 : 21 May 2014), 1937 > 29701-32800 > image 2781 of 3325.

Just two weeks later, Ethel Goldsmith Muegel, Felix and Fannie’s 42 year old daughter, died suddenly on May 15, 1937, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where, according to her obituary, she had gone to recuperate from a “physical breakdown suffered when working for the Red Cross during the flood in Cincinnati.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer, 17 May 1937, Mon, Page 9

According to the Ohio History Central website, “In 1937, southern Ohio faced one of the worst floods in its history. The flood was particularly difficult for the city of Cincinnati, where flood levels reached almost eighty feet. Communities along the Ohio River in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois also faced serious problems. As the flood waters rose, gas tanks exploded and oil fires erupted on the river. Parts of Cincinnati remained under water for nineteen days, and electricity and fresh water were in short supply. Many people lost their homes as a result of the flood. The Ohio River Flood of 1937 caused more than twenty million dollars in damages.”

Ethel Goldsmith Muegel had sacrificed her health and ultimately her life to help those in need.

Cincinnati flood, 1937, Huntington District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Clarence Goldsmith had lost his mother and his younger sister in the space of two weeks. That seems unimaginable.

In 1940, Clarence and his wife Leona were living in Cincinnati where he was working as an insurance agent.4 Sadly, Clarence died six years later on January 29, 1946, at the age of 56.

“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XCRQ-4PD?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-FWP%3A287602801%2C289221002 : 21 May 2014), 1946 > 03001-06100 > image 558 of 3479.

According to his obituary, he died from a heart ailment. His obituary also stated that as well as working as an insurance agent, he was the president of the Big Brothers Association and former assistant chief probation officer in Juvenile Court and that he had given “his time and experience to help boys from undesirable home environments to develop into fine men and valuable citizens.”5 The obituary continued:

He and fellow “big brothers” took such unfortunate juveniles under their wing, befriending them and offering moral help. Mr. Goldsmith had received letters from servicemen all over the world thanking him for giving them a new slant on life.

Clarence Goldsmith, The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 30, 1946, p. 8.

Neither Clarence nor Ethel had children, so there are no descendants of Felix Goldsmith or his children. All three died before reaching age sixty. Felix certainly struggled in his life, dealing with psychiatric issues that caused him to be institutionalized, leaving his wife Fannie and his two children to go on without him.  His children found ways to help other children who also might have endured difficult issues at home—Ethel as a psychologist in juvenile court, Clarence as a probation officer and then as a volunteer with Big Brothers.  What a noble way to honor their father’s memory. I hope by telling their story I have honored theirs as well.

 


  1. Fannie Goldsmith, 1920 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 13, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: T625_1391; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 236, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  2. Goldsmith, Muegel, 1930 US census, Census Place: Silverton, Hamilton, Ohio; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0317; FHL microfilm: 2341552, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  3. David Rosenbaum and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio; Page: 23B; Enumeration District: 0147; FHL microfilm: 2341545,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census; Number: 285-26-7672; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014  
  4. Clarence Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03194; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 91-208, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. “Clarence Goldsmith,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 30, 1946, p. 8.