How Eugene Goldsmith Met May Jacobs

Over four and a half years ago, I wrote about Eugene Goldsmith, my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal’s first cousin.

Eugene was born in 1859 and had lived with his parents, Meyer Goldschmidt/Goldsmith and Helene Hohenfels, and his brother Maurice all his life, first growing up in Philadelphia and then in New York City. Then in 1913 at the age of 54, he married May Jacobs, who was 41.

One of the questions I had about Eugene was how he met his wife May Jacobs. I wrote then:

In 1913, Eugene married May Jacobs in Philadelphia. He was 54, she was 41. May was the daughter of Michael Jacobs and Alice Arnold, both of whom were born in Pennsylvania. May’s father died when she was just a young child, and she and her three sisters were all living together with their mother in Philadelphia in 1910. I’d love to know how May connected with Eugene, who had by that time been living in New York City for over twenty years.

Well, four and a half years after posting that question, I heard from a cousin of May Jacobs, and she may have found the answer. Lynn Hsu wrote to me on the blog that she was the great-granddaughter of Oscar Arnold, who was a first cousin of May Jacobs. Lynn wrote that Oscar was in the business of manufacturing umbrellas in New York City, and since Eugene and his brother Maurice were in the business of selling umbrellas in New York City, we hypothesized that Eugene knew Oscar from business and that Oscar set up Eugene with his cousin May, who was living in Philadelphia.

But Lynn actually had found several other hints that suggested that there were numerous earlier connections between her Arnold/Jacobs cousins and my Goldsmith cousins. On August 5, 1892, the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent reported that May Jacobs was on the same Atlantic City sailing party as Rose and Florence Goldsmith, the two younger sisters of Eugene Goldsmith. So as early as 1892, some 21 years before Eugene married May, there was a meeting of May Jacobs and Eugene’s sisters Florence and Rose. Whether they had already known each other before the sailing trip isn’t clear, but certainly they did once that trip was over.

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, August 5, 1892, p. 8

Also, three years before May married Eugene, she attended his mother’s funeral, as reported by the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent on March 4, 1910:

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, March 4, 1910, p. 14

Why it took Eugene and May until 1913, when he was 54 and she was 41, to decide to get married will remain a mystery. My only hypothesis is that Eugene waited until both his parents had died before “striking out on his own.” His mother died in 1910, his father in 1911. And then Eugene married May in 1913. His brother Maurice never married.

There was one other unexpected bonus connection that I learned about as a result of connecting with Lynn. May Jacobs Goldsmith, the daughter of Alice Arnold Jacobs, was the niece of Clarissa Arnold, Alice’s sister. Clarissa was married to Ernst Nusbaum, younger brother of my three-times great-grandfather John Nusbaum, namesake of my grandfather John Nusbaum Cohen and my father John Nusbaum Cohen, Jr. I wrote about Clarissa and Ernst and their family here and in many other of the posts that follow that one.

So the tree continues to twist! And thanks to Lynn, I now know even more about the Goldsmith/Goldschmidt and Nusbaum families.


Santa Fe Love Song: A Family History Novel

I am delighted to announce that my newest novel, Santa Fe Love Song, has been published and is available in both paperback and e-book format on Amazon here. Like my first novel, Pacific Street, Santa Fe Love Song was inspired by the lives of real people—in this case, my great-great-grandparents Bernard Seligman and Frances Nusbaum—and informed by my family history research. But as with my first book, Santa Fe Love Song is first and foremost a work of fiction.

Bernard Seligman, my great-great-grandfather

Frances Nusbaum Seligman, my great-great-grandmother

It is a double love story—a story of Bernard’s passion for his newly adopted home in New Mexico and of his deep love for a young woman in Philadelphia. How will he resolve the conflict between those two loves? That is the heart of the novel.

But this is also an adventure story because the first part of the book tells of Bernard’s arrival from Gau-Algesheim, Germany, his adjustment to life in Philadelphia, and then his challenging and exciting trip on the Santa Fe Trail when he moves out west to work with his brother Sigmund. On that trip Bernard faces many different obstacles and learns to love the American landscape. He transforms from a German Jewish immigrant into an American pioneer and businessman.

Upper left, Bernard Seligman with other merchants and Indians on the Santa Fe Trail

As with Pacific Street, I wrote Santa Fe Love Song with my children and grandchildren in mind. This time I also decided to get my grandsons involved in the project. Nate, 10, and Remy, 6, became my illustrators. As I told them stories about Bernard and Frances, they created drawings that told those stories visually. I am ever so grateful to my two wonderful grandsons for their work, and I hope that someday their grandchildren will cherish these books and the illustrations and honor the memories of their ancestors Bernard and Frances.

I hope that you also will find Santa Fe Love Song a worthwhile and enjoyable read. If you do, please leave a review on Amazon. Thank you! I appreciate all your support.

November 15, 2019

Today would have been my father’s 93rd birthday. Tomorrow it will be nine months since he died on February 16, 2019. Nine months is a long time—long enough for a human baby to gestate and be ready for life outside the womb. And yet it is just a flash in a life that lasted over 92 years.

These nine months have been the hardest of my life—dealing with not only losing my father, but watching my mother decline as well. Life without my father has been just too hard for her to bear.

So today I’d like to dedicate my blog to them both, two people whose love for each other was the key to almost all of their happiness, two beautiful young people who grew to be loving parents, adoring grandparents and great-grandparents and aunt and uncle, and loyal and caring friends to people in their community and elsewhere.

Florence and John Cohen 1951

Tracy E. Carnes June 30, 1954-August 26, 2018

I am very sad to report that Tracy Carnes, my fourth cousin, once removed, passed away on August 26, 2018. Tracy had been battling cancer for a number of years and was only 64 when she died. She was survived by her partner Rita Goodman and her sisters Rebecca Alden and Virginia Voges.

Tracy had connected with me almost three years ago when she left a comment on my blog saying that she believed we were related through her grandmother, who was born Celia Nusbaum, but known to Tracy and her family as Sally Carnes. Celia’s story had been a challenge for me as she and her husband Inglis Cameron and their son Edward James Cameron had seemingly vanished in the 1920s. Together Tracy and I combined our information, and through further research we learned much more about her grandparents and father, though some questions were left unanswered. We concluded that the family had probably changed their identity and gone into hiding after cooperating with the government in the prosecution of a securities fraud case in Philadelphia. The story of Celia Nusbaum and her family can be found here and here, titled “The Mystery of the Philadelphia Lawyer.”

Over the last few years I had kept up with Tracy through occasional emails and through her page on the CaringBridge website, where she wrote about her medical treatments and about her courageous and determined fight against cancer. Although not raised Jewish, she had returned to Judaism and found much comfort in her faith and in her life with Rita and their pets. My heart goes out to Rita, Beckie, and Ginger, and to all of Tracy’s loved ones.

May her memory be for a blessing.

Walking in Their Footsteps

About two months ago we did a crazy thing.  We drove five and a half hours from western Massachusetts to Philadelphia and spent just 24 hours in the City of Brotherly Love before turning around and returning home.

So how did this crazy thing happen? I had received an email from my third cousin Jan Sluizer. Her great-grandmother Elizabeth Cohen was the sister of my great-grandfather Emanuel Cohen.  We are both the great-great-granddaughters of Jacob Cohen and the three-time great-granddaughters of Hart Levy Cohen.  Jan lives now in California, but she grew up in Philadelphia and was coming east for a high school reunion.  She wanted to know if we could get together.

For several years I have wanted to visit Philadelphia—the place where my earliest American ancestors came in the 1840s, the place where my father was born and raised. Of course, I’d been to Philadelphia many times growing up to visit my grandmother and my aunt.  But I’d never seen where my ancestors lived or were buried. I’d never even seen the places where my father had lived. In fact, I’d never seen Independence Hall or the other historic sights in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, City Hall

I knew that to do everything I wanted to do, I’d need more than 24 hours. But it has been a hectic fall with far too many weekends away from home.  The most we could do was get there on Saturday and leave on Sunday. And to top it off, a major storm was predicted for Sunday, meaning we’d have to hit the road even earlier than we had once hoped.

It was indeed crazy. But I am so glad we did it.

In the hours we had on Saturday, I managed to accomplish a few of the things I’d wanted to do. First, we took a tour of all the places where my Philadelphia ancestors had lived, starting with my great-great-grandparents Jacob Cohen and Sarah Jacobs and my three-times great-grandparents John Nusbaum and Jeanette Dreyfuss all the way to the last place my father lived in Philadelphia before moving to New York and marrying my mother in 1951.  Here in the order in which my family occupied these places (though not in the order we saw them) are my photographs from that day.

Jacob Cohen lived for many years at 136 South Street. His pawnshop was nearby. And this is where he and my great-great-grandmother Sarah Jacobs raised their thirteen children, including my great-grandfather Emanuel.  I do not think these are the same buildings that were there in the in the mid=19th century, but this is the street where they lived.

136 South Street, where Jacob Cohen and Sarah Jacobs raised their children

South Street, looking towards the river

For decades the Cohens lived in this neighborhood where many of the German Jewish immigrants lived.

But my other early-arriving ancestor John Nusbaum lived on the north side of Philadelphia during this same period at 433 Vine Street and 455 York Street. We drove down these streets, but again the buildings that were there in the era are long gone, and I didn’t take any photographs here. It was mostly warehouse buildings and abandoned or run-down buildings.

Since my Nusbaum ancestor was a successful merchant, I imagine that in his time this area was quite desirable, in fact more desirable than area south of the city where the Cohens lived.  Today, however, the South Street neighborhood is quite chic and inhabited by young professionals and clearly more desirable than the neighborhood where the Nusbaums lived.

Although my great-great-grandparents Bernard Seligman and Frances Nusbaum lived almost their whole married life in Santa Fe, their last years were spent in Philadelphia at 1606 Diamond Street. Bernard died in 1903, and Frances in 1905.  During that same period Bernard’s daughter Eva Seligman Cohen, my great-grandmother, and my great-grandfather Emanuel Cohen were also living on Diamond Street. That neighborhood is also in North Philadelphia.  Here is a Google Streetview of that street today. I don’t think these were the buildings that were there in the early 1900s, but I am not sure.

I had better luck as I moved further into the 20th century.  In 1920 Emanuel Cohen and Eva Seligman Cohen, my great-grandparents, were living on Green Street close to what is now the downtown district of Philadelphia.  It is a lovely tree-lined street with cafes and historic brick townhouses in what is clearly a gentrified neighborhood. I wonder what it was like when my great-grandparents and my grandfather John Cohen lived there in 1920.

2116 Green Street—where in 1920 my great-grandparents Emanuel and Eva Seligman Cohen lived as well as my grandfather John Nusbaum Cohen

We did not have time to get to the West Oak Lane neighborhood in North Philadelphia where my father lived with his parents in 1930 at 6625 North 17th Street, so that’s on my list for when we return.But here is a Google Streetview shot of that street:

6600 block of North 17th Street, Philadelphia

I did find the apartment building where my father and aunt were living with their grandmother Eva Seligman Cohen in 1939 when she died. It is in the downtown area of Philadelphia and still called the Westbury Apartments.

Westbury Apartments on 15th Street where my great-grandmother Eva Seligman Cohen lived with my father and aunt in 1939

In 1940, my father, aunt, and grandmother were living in North Philadelphia at 106 Venango Street.  That building is no longer there unfortunately.  It is now a commercial area with warehouses and factory-like buildings.

But In 1950 they were living on North 21st Street in this building—another lovely tree-lined street not far from the center of the city.

North 21 Street in Philadelphia where my father, aunt, and grandmother lived in 1950

136 North 21st Street, my father’s home in 1950

Touring the city this way was enlightening because it provided some insights into the patterns of gentrification and how they have changed since 1850.  My ancestors for the most part started in the southern part of the city and as they moved up the economic ladder, they moved north of the city to an area that was newer, less crowded, and more “gentrified.” But today that pattern has reversed. Young professionals want to live close to downtown and have returned to the neighborhoods closest to the center of the city like Green Street and South Street.  The neighborhoods around Venango Street and Diamond Street were long ago abandoned by those moving out to the suburbs in the post-World War II period and are now depressed sections of the city.

After a visit to the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Liberty Bell and a walk along Market Street, we met Jan for dinner in the area known as Rittenhouse Square, another gentrified neighborhood with lots of boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Meeting Jan was a delight. We had long ago connected by email when Jan shared all the stories about her father Mervyn Sluizer, Jr., and her grandfather Mervyn, Sr., and the rest of her family. Now we were able to meet face to face, share a meal together, and connect on a deeper level than email allows.

Independence Hall

The Liberty Bell

The following day the rain began, but I was determined to try and see where my ancestors were buried. Our first stop was Mikveh Israel synagogue, where we met Rabbi Albert Gabbai, who took us to the second oldest Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Mikveh Israel has been in Philadelphia since before the American Revolution and was where my earliest Cohen ancestors belonged. It was then located about a mile from 136 South Street where Jacob Cohen lived. Although the original building is long, long gone, the synagogue still is in that same neighborhood, now on North 4th Street.  According to the rabbi, it now attracts empty nesters who have moved into downtown Philadelphia. Another example of urban gentrification. Jews who long ago left downtown are now returning in their later years.

Rabbi Gabbai drove us to the Federal Street cemetery, the second oldest Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, where he patiently and generously guided us with a map to see the gravestones of Jacob and Sarah Cohen as well as the location of Hart Levy Cohen’s grave (his stone has either sunk into the ground or otherwise disappeared).

Federal Street cemetery of Congregation Mikveh Israel

Location of Hart Levy Cohen’s grave. My 3x-great-grandfather

Jacob and Sarah’s grave is marked by one of the largest monuments in the cemetery:

While we walked through the cemetery, I also spotted the stones for Jan’s other great-great-grandparents, Bernard and Margaret Sluizer, and her three-times great-grandmother Jeanette Sluizer. I was very touched when I realized that Bernard and Margaret Sluizer are buried in the plots that abut Jacob and Sarah’s plots.

Grave of Meyer and Margaret Sluizer

I also found a stone for Joseph Jacobs, my 3-times great uncle, brother of Sarah Jacobs Cohen.

Joseph Jacobs, brother of Sarah Jacobs Cohen

Unfortunately, it was pouring by this time, and I could not find any small stones to put on the gravestones to mark my visit, which left me feeling as if I’d let my ancestors down.

After leaving Rabbi Gabbai, we drove north to the two other Philadelphia cemeteries where my ancestors are buried: Mount Sinai and Adath Jeshurun.  Fortunately they are located right next to each other, and I had carefully written down the location of the graves I wanted to visit at Mount Sinai from the records I found on Ancestry. (I did not have that information for Adath Jeshurun, but only a few ancestors are buried there as compared to Mount Sinai.)

Unfortunately, despite my good planning, I had no luck. There was no office and no one at the cemetery; there was no map posted of the cemetery. And there were no obvious markings in the cemetery identifying sections or plots. And it was pouring.

My ever-patient husband sat in the car and drove slowly around as I walked up and down the drives and walkways with an umbrella and in my orthopedic boot,[1] looking for Cohens, Nusbaums, Katzensteins, Schoenthals, and Seligmans.  This was the only one I could find for any of my known relatives:

Simon Schoenthal and family at Mt Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia

This is the stone for Simon Schoenthal, my great-grandfather’s brother, and his wife Rose Mansbach, who was also related to me by the marriage of her cousin Marum Mansbach to my great-great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein’s sister Hannchen. It also marks the burial place of two of their children, Martin and Harry, as well as Harry’s wife Esther, and their son Norman. I was delighted that I had found this marker, but nevertheless disappointed that I could not find the place where my grandfather John Cohen is buried along with his parents, Emanuel Cohen and Eva Seligman. Nor did I find any of the others I had been hoping to visit.

From there we headed home, leaving Philadelphia exactly 24 hours after we’d arrived. It was a wet and long trip home, but I still was glad we had made this whirlwind visit. I was able to meet Jan, I saw places where my ancestors lived and are buried, and we were introduced to the city where so many of my relatives have lived. It was not enough, so we will have to return. Next time we will need to spend at least 48 hours!


[1] I had broken my ankle a few weeks before the trip. It’s better now.

Schopfloch: A Lesson in Gravestone Symbols

The last ancestral town we visited on our trip was Schopfloch in Bavaria where my three-times great-grandfather John (born Josua) Nussbaum was born in 1814.  I wrote a long post about Schopfloch when I was doing my research of my Nussbaum relatives.  The town dates back to the 13th century, and there was a Jewish community there in the 14th century.  As early as the 17th century, there was a synagogue, a mikveh, and a school in Schopfloch. In 1867, there were almost 400 Jews in the town out of almost 2000 residents. Today Schopfloch is a small town of about 3000 people, about half the size of Gau-Algesheim and slightly larger than Jesberg, but four times the size of Sielen.  There is no Jewish community there now.

My 4x-great-grandparents, Amson Nussbaum and Voegele Welsch, died in 1836 and 1842, respectively, and I thought they were likely the last family members to have died in Schopfloch. Six of their eight children immigrated to the United States before 1860; there were two additional daughters for whom I had birth information, but no information as to whether they had married or had children or where or when they had died. I am still searching for the documents Angelika Brosig used to document this Nussbaum family.  But, as far as I knew, there was no one left in Schopfloch from my Nussbaum family after 1860.  Would I find anything relating to my ancestors in this town?

I had arranged for Jutta Breittinger, who works at the Schopfloch town hall, to be our guide; since Frau Breittinger said she did not speak English well, she had recommended that we also hire a translator. When we met Frau Breittinger, we were soon joined by the translator and his wife, whose names I never quite caught. They were all very helpful and very earnest in their desire to help us and inform us about the Jewish history of Schopfloch.

Our three guides told us the same thing we had heard in the other small towns we’d visited: before the Nazi era, Jews and Christians had worked and lived together without any problems. As described by our translator, Lachoudisch, the secret language developed in Schopfloch, is evidence of this co-operative relationship.  Most Jews in Schopfloch were involved in horse and cattle trading, and market day was on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath. The Jewish traders relied on their Christian neighbors to assist with business on Saturdays, using their “secret language” as a way of communicating with them in confidence.

Frau Breittinger told us that she and a number of other Schopfloch residents were now studying Lachoudisch to keep the language alive.  At the end of our visit, we purchased Lachoudisch Sprechen by Hans-Rainer Hofmann, a small book about the language which includes a list of Lachoudisch words and their German equivalents.  It was very interesting to see some of the Lachoudisch words—-some derived from Hebrew like yes (“kenn”) and no (“lou”) and night (“Laila”) and please (“bewackasha”), some from sources I can’t determine like “kiss” for the word “kiss,” which is neither German nor Hebrew for the word we use for kiss in English.  It’s all rather fascinating and also amazing that people in Schopfloch are trying to keep this language alive.

We walked around the corner from the Rathaus to what is now called Bahnhofstrasse but was once called Judengasse.  It was here that the synagogue once stood.  Here is an old photograph of Judengasse with the synagogue on the far right. Below is a photograph of a model of the way the synagogue once looked:

Judengasse before the Holocaust

Model of old synagogue

There is no building now where the synagogue once stood; it is essentially an empty lot between two other buildings.  A plaque marks where it once stood. As I wrote in my earlier post, this synagogue, like so many throughout Germany, was destroyed on Kristallnacht in November, 1938, and by then all the Jews had left the town.  The town, which once had almost 400 Jewish residents, had become “Judenfrei.”

Plaque marking the location of the former synagogue

Empty lot where synagogue once stood

Judengasse today (now called Bahnhofstrasse)

Across the street from the location of the former synagogue was the building which was once the Jewish school.

Former Jewish school

We then walked through the town and up the hill to get to the Jewish cemetery.  I was very surprised to see how large the cemetery was, given how small the town was (and still is).  There are almost 1200 stones there, making it larger than any of the synagogues we had seen in the Hessen region, but it served not just Schopfloch but also several other towns nearby.  The cemetery is actually quite beautiful.  There is a stone wall that surrounds the entire cemetery.

But sadly many of the stones, especially the older ones, are not at all legible.  Some are sinking into the soft ground or already have disappeared.  And the further back we went in the cemetery to reach the oldest stones, the harder it was to find stones that were legible.  The oldest legible stones I could find were from the 1880s, and thus I knew I was not going to find the stones for my 4x-great-grandparents who died before 1850.

Once I came to that realization, I decided instead to focus on the stones I could read, and there were some very interesting ones there. Several people had asked about the hand symbols in one of my earlier posts:

Scholem Katzenstein, my 3x great-grandfather, Haarhausen cemetery

As I explained, those are the symbols indicating that the person buried there descended from the tribe of the high priests, the Cohanim.  But there were other symbols in the Schopfloch cemetery that I’d not seen before.

For example this one shaped like a tree trunk, which symbolizes a premature death—someone whose life was cut short.

Or this one with a palm tree. I was unfamiliar with this as a Jewish gravestone symbol, so I asked the members of the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook.  I got wonderfully helpful responses, including a translation of the text.  What we deduced from the text and from Psalm 92 (“the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree”)  is that the date palm is a symbol of righteousness; the man buried here was probably a rabbi, and the text refers to his philanthropy and his scholarliness.  He’s not my relative, but I am glad I looked into the meaning of his stone.  His name was David Ballenberger 1815-1881.

This one interested me because of the unusual way the Hebrew letters were carved. Notice also the two completely eroded stones behind it. Could those be the stones for my Nussbaum 4x-great-grandparents? I don’t know.

Finally, I found this one very interesting:

It has three symbols on it: a butcher’s knife, a shofar (the horn blown on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), and a knife used for circumcision. I asked my friend Brett Levi to translate this for me, and he confirmed that the text indicated that the man buried there had been a shochet (kosher butcher), a shofar blower, and a mohel (person trained to do ritual circumcisions).

After visiting the cemetery, we walked back to town hall, where we saw the model of the former synagogue depicted above. After purchasing the Lachoudisch book, we said goodbye to our guides and headed out of Schopfloch.

We were excited to be going to our last stop, Heidelberg.  I have no genealogical connection to the city, and these last three days of our trip were going to be days to relax, enjoy a beautiful city, and look back on everything we’d seen. I had scheduled a walking tour of Worms for part of one of the days, but otherwise, we were going to be on our own.

So we took a deep breath, got back into our Nissan Juke, and set the GPS to take us to Heidelberg. We were ready for the last leg of our trip and had plenty of time to get to Heidelberg and return our rental car before 6 pm when the Hertz office closed.

But it was not to be.

Something I Never Expected to See

I want to share two documents that I thought I’d never see.  In preparing for our upcoming trip to Germany, I’ve been trying to find guides who can help me in the various places we plan to visit.  One of those guides is a man named Aaron.  Although Aaron is based in Cologne and will be our guide while we are there, he also asked where else we were visiting and whether we needed any help finding records.

I mentioned to him that probably the one place I had had the worst luck finding any records—online or elsewhere—was Schopfloch, the small town in Bavaria where my Nussbaum ancestors once lived.  Some of you may recall that all I had were the notes left behind by a researcher named Angelika Brosig, who died in 2013.  Angelika had a lot of information about the birthdates of the children of Amson Nussbaum and Voegele Welsch, my four-times great-grandparents, including a name and birthdate for my three-times great-grandfather, Josua Nussbaum, who became John Nusbaum in the United States.  I knew these facts were accurate because they were consistent with the information in the Nussbaum family bible kept first by my three-times great-grandmother Jeanette Dreyfuss Nusbaum and later by my great-grandmother Eva May Seligman Cohen.  But I had no images or transcriptions of original records

Even after contacting several people who knew Angelika Brosig and had worked with her, I had no luck figuring out where she’d gotten this information.  But Aaron had better luck—he found the death records for my four-times great-grandparents, Amson and Voegele.  This gives me hope that perhaps other records exist and that someday I may find them.

Death record of Voegelein Nussbaum

Death record of Voegelein Welsch Nussbaum, October 2, 1842

As transcribed and translated by Leon and Cathy from the German Genealogy group on Facebook, this says:

Vogelein Nussbaum, Wittwe des Amson Nussbaum, geb. Welsch, stirbt in einem Alter von 60 Jahren und 7 Monaten plötzlich am Schleimschlag Sonntag Abends am zweiten /2/ Oktober 1/2 5 Uhr 1842, und wird beerdigt Tags drauf am 3. dess. Abends 5 Uhr. Arzt wird nicht gebraucht. No. 132.

Vögelein Nussbaum, widow of Amson Nussbaum, born Welsch, dies at the age of 60 years and 7 months suddenly due to mucoid impaction on Sunday evening on 2nd October, half before 5 o’clock, 1842, and is buried on the next day in the evening 5 o’clock. Doctor is not needed.


Death record of Amson Meier Nussbaum, 1837

Death record of Amson Meier Nussbaum, June 7, 1836

Leon and Cathy translated Amson’s death record to say:

Amson (Meier) Nussbaum, merchant, here no. 132, married, consumption, 8th this evening at 8 o’clock, 58 years old.

Thank you to Aaron for his persistence and hard work in locating these records. And thank you also to Leon and Cathy from the Facebook German Genealogy group!  Danke!!

My Ancestral Town: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sign for Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

Sign for Santa Fe National Historic Trail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over 160 years ago, three Jewish brothers from Gau-Algesheim, Germany, left their homeland as young men and somehow ended up on the frontier, traveling the Santa Fe Trail, bringing goods to the towns of the New Mexico territory just recently acquired by the US after the Mexican War, and eventually establishing a store on the plaza of Santa Fe: Seligman Brothers, a store that lasted over 70 years before closing in the 1920s.  One of those brothers was my great-great-grandfather, Bernard Seligman (born Bernhard Seligmann), father of my great-grandmother Evalyn (later Eval) as well as Arthur, who would become governor of New Mexico in 1930.

Santa Fe Trail around 1845 plus connecting tra...

Santa Fe Trail around 1845 plus connecting trading routes to commercial hubs and ports in the USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve written a great deal about my Seligmann ancestors—too many posts to try and provide links to here. (Just look in the Seligman category to see those posts.)  I’ve had great fortune in finding sources not only about the three Seligman brothers who came to Santa Fe, but also about their other siblings, their parents, their grandparents, their descendants, and many of their cousins.  And I’ve been especially blessed to find a number of current living descendants, including my cousin Pete Scott (grandson of Arthur Seligman), my cousin Wolfgang Seligmann, my cousin Angelika Oppenheimer, my cousin Steven Seligman, and so many others.    The Seligmann/Seligman line seems to have a strong interest in family history; perhaps this is where my own passion for genealogy comes from, my Seligman DNA.

So it should not be surprising that Santa Fe was a city I wanted to visit.  It’s a city where my family left a substantial mark and a city that left a substantial mark on them.  It’s a city with a long and rich history of its own, one of the oldest cities in the United States, and as I learned, one of the most beautiful.

My cousin Pete was born and raised in Santa Fe, and he has done a lot of research and writing about the history of the city including about our family’s history there.  He and his good friend Mike Lord have provided a wealth of information on their website Voces de Sante Fe, and Pete arranged for Mike to meet with us for one of the days that we would be spending in Santa Fe.

By the standards of most major US cities, Santa Fe is quite small.  We walked the whole plaza area many times, and most of the major sites in the city are in an area that is no bigger than about two miles square.  There are no skyscrapers, and the tallest building we saw in the central part of the city aside from the St. Francis Cathedral was our hotel, which is five stories high.

Below are various shots of the cathedral, which was built between 1869 and 1886:

St Francis Cathedral

St Francis Cathedral

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The sky over Santa Fe feels wide open, and the uniformity of the color of the buildings gives the place an aesthetic unity that is both appealing and quite unreal.

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When we met with Pete’s friend (and now our friend) Mike to learn about the history of Santa Fe, he likened Santa Fe to an adobe amusement park.  He pointed out that it was not until the 1950s that the uniform adobe look was mandated; historically there was a great deal more diversity to the architecture of the city, as you can see from this photo that Mike shared with us, dated in the 1890s.

Santa Fe 1890s

Santa Fe 1890s

For a city of this relatively small size, there is an incredible amount to see far beyond my genealogical interests.  We loved the Georgia O’Keefe Museum; not only did we get to see that her artistic style had evolved over the years and that that style had a much broader range than the works with which we were already familiar, we also learned about her fascinating life.  Having driven through the New Mexico landscape, we could understand what drew her and so many artists to this place.  Santa Fe has long been a place that has drawn artists to its light and its scenery and its independent spirit, and we enjoyed strolling through the galleries along Canyon Road and in the plaza area itself to see what today’s artists are creating.

We also enjoyed seeing the miraculous staircase in the Loretto Chapel.  It was built in the late 1870s by a carpenter who claimed he could provide a way to reach the choir loft without taking up too much space in the church’s main level.  Somehow he built it without any central support.  It’s quite fascinating to see—almost like an optical illusion.


Loretto Chapel from our hotel room

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Santa Fe’s long history was evidenced by what is claimed to be the oldest still-standing home in the US, the De Vargas Street house, as well as the first church in the US, the San Miguel Chapel.  Both date back to the early 1600s. The Spanish came to this area in the late 16th century, making it the earliest European settlement in the US west of the Mississippi River.

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oldest house in the US

oldest house in the US

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Among the earliest European settlers were what we now call Crypto Jews, that is, hidden Jews.  We went with Mike to see a very comprehensive exhibit about the Inquisition and the Crypto Jews at the New Mexico History Museum in the former Palace of Governors in Santa Fe.  When the Inquisition began in Spain in 1492, Jews were forced either to leave Spain, convert to Catholicism, or be punished, including by execution.   Some of the Jews left with Spanish colonists to go to Mexico, but because they were still within the realm of the Spanish empire, they still had to convert or face prosecution as infidels.

In the 1600s, some of those “conversos” who had gone to Mexico migrated to what would later become New Mexico, but even there they were still subject to the rules of the Inquisition.  Many, however, continued to follow Jewish laws and honor Jewish rituals, such as lighting candles on Friday nights, covering mirrors when someone died, abstaining from pork, and going to worship (at church) on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Thus, long before German Jewish merchants like my great-grandfather arrived in Santa Fe in the 19th century, there was a population of people with Jewish roots in Santa Fe and other places in New Mexico, even if they did not outwardly (or even internally) identify as Jews.

Of course, my principal historical interest was in those German Jewish merchants, the Seligmans as well as their fellow pioneers, the Spiegelbergs, the Staabs, and others.  What was Santa Fe like when they started arriving in the 1840s and 1850s?  It is hard to imagine what my great-great-grandfather and his brothers thought when they arrived in this place, having come from Germany where there were so many old and grand cities with towering cathedrals and castles.  And what did my great-great-grandmother Frances Nusbaum think when she moved from Philadelphia, itself already quite an established city, to be with her husband Bernard Seligman in Santa Fe?

English: "Arrival of the caravan at Santa...

English: “Arrival of the caravan at Santa Fe” — Copy of original lithograph ca. 1844 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike shared with us this photo of Santa Fe from 1855 that conveys just how primitive the town’s architecture was at the time that Bernard Seligman and his brothers arrived there.

Santa Fe 1855

Santa Fe 1855

And where did my ancestors live and work when they settled in this frontier town? When we were making our travel plans, I had asked Pete where we should stay in Santa Fe, whether there was a place with a connection to the Seligman history there.  He suggested La Fonda Hotel.  Although the current building was built in the 1920s, it sits on the site of the first hotel in Santa Fe, at one time called the Exchange Hotel.  The Exchange Hotel was the building on the other side of the Santa Fe Trail from Seligman Brothers on the plaza in Santa Fe.  Here is Pete’s post about La Fonda and the history of the hotels built on that site.

Old Fonda, courtesy of Pete Scott and Voces de Santa Fe

Old Fonda, courtesy of Pete Scott and Voces de Santa Fe

etching of santa fe

Etching of Santa Fe showing the Exchange Hotel and Seligman Brothers store on the Plaza

On this map dated 1912, you can see that the street to the right (east) of the Plaza running between San Francisco Street (where La Fonda and Seligman Brothers store are/were located) and Palace Avenue was then called Seligman Street.

Map of the City Plan, showing Street, Park and River Improvements Proposed to the City Planning Board.” N. L. King 1912 Thanks to Mike Lord for sending me this map.

Map of the City Plan, showing Street, Park and River Improvements Proposed to the City Planning Board.”
N. L. King
Thanks to Mike Lord for sending me this map.

Thus, we decided to stay at La Fonda.  It was a wonderful hotel, and we are very grateful to Pete for his suggestion.  From the moment I walked into the lobby, I knew that I was in a very different part of the country.

La Fonda Hotel today

La Fonda Hotel today


View from the bar on the roof of the hotel

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La Fonda lobby

La Fonda lobby

Below is the building located where Seligman Brothers’ store was once located, across the street from La Fonda:

location of Seligman's Store

location of Seligman’s Store as it looks today

I walked into the store that is currently located where Seligman Brothers’ store once stood, thinking about the fact that I was standing where my great-great-grandfather and his family had once sold dry goods to residents of the area.


Although census records indicate that the Seligmans at one point lived on Palace Avenue, there are no longer any visible signs in the city to show where Bernard Seligman and his family lived.

There is, however, a street that was named for his brother-in-law Simon Nusbaum, who had moved to Santa Fe around 1880 and lived with his sister Frances and her husband Bernard Seligman for some time before marrying and living in his own home, which sadly no longer exists.


In the New Mexico Statehouse, a quite grand and beautiful building built in 1966 and renovated in the 1990s, there is a gallery of portraits of all the governors of New Mexico from statehood in 1912 through today, and there on the wall was a portrait of my great-great-uncle, Arthur Seligman, governor from 1930 until his death in office in 1933.


Arthur Seligman portrait in State House

Arthur Seligman portrait in State House

Mike took us to see Arthur’s mud wagon in the New Mexico History Museum and drove us past the house where Arthur and his family had lived in Santa Fe.

Arthur Seligman's mud buggy

Arthur Seligman’s mud wagon

Arthur Seligman's home in Santa Fe

Arthur Seligman’s home in Santa Fe

Then he took us to Fairview Cemetery, where many of my Seligman and Nusbaum relatives are buried.



Otis Seligman, son of Arthur and Franc Seligman


William Seligman, son of Adolf Seligman, and his wife Mae Leeper



James Seligman, my great-grandmother’s brother and son of Bernard Seligman and Frances Nusbaum


Beatrice Seligman, daughter of James Seligman


Ruth V.B. Seligman, wife of James Seligman


Simon Nusbaum, son of John Nusbaum, my 3x-great-grandfather and brother of Frances Nusbaum Seligman


Dora Nusbaum, Simon’s wife; their son John Bernard Nusbaum and his wife Esther Maltby


Nelle Nusbaum Healy, daughter of Simon Nusbaum


Although there was nothing on any of these stones to indicate that these were the graves of Jewish people, I left a stone on many of them, as is Jewish custom when visiting a grave to mark that someone was there to remember them.

Thus, our days in Santa Fe were a wonderful blend of history, art, architecture, and family history.  They call New Mexico the Land of Enchantment, and Santa Fe is an enchanting place even if you have no family ties to the place.  But for me, it was more than that.  Although at times it was hard to imagine what is now very much a tourist-filled place as the old settlement of native Americans, Spanish and Mexican settlers, and then later Anglo settlers like my ancestor, when I could time-travel in my mind to the years when my great-great-grandparents and their children roamed those same streets around the plaza, it was quite magical, and yes, enchanting.


The Mystery of the Philadelphia Lawyer: Part II

In my last post I wrote about the mystery of my cousin Celina Nusbaum, who had been married to Inglis Cameron, with whom she’d had a son Edward James.  Then she became Sally Carnes, married to Donald Carnes, and her son Edward James also took on the surname Carnes. Celina’s granddaughter Tracy had commented on my blog and helped to fill in some details about Celina. But there was more to learn.  Why did Celina change her name and move to Texas? Who was Donald Carnes, and what had happened to Inglis Cameron?

An old friend of the family had shared his memories with Tracy and her brother, and Tracy sent me the notes she had from that conversation.  Since I cannot prove some of the details alleged in those notes, I need to be careful what I write here, but from that conversation, Tracy understood that her grandfather had gotten into some sort of trouble, had changed his name to Donald Carnes, and had moved the family to Texas to start over.  Celina became Sally Carnes, and Edward James became E.J. Carnes. Tracy said that her mother’s maiden name had been Barnes, and she thought that the family combined Cameron with Barnes to create Carnes as their new name.

Why did they choose Texas as a place to move? On Donald Carnes’ death certificate, it says that Donald was born on December 2, 1884, in “Corsicane [sic], Texas.” Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah.

I did some more research into the background of Inglis Cameron and learned that his parents had once lived in Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas. The Camerons had first lived in Philadelphia after marrying, but their second child, Charles Cameron, was born in Corsicana, Texas, in Navarro County in 1879, according to his death certificate; that certificate also identified the full names of the Cameron parents—James Cameron and Mary Elizabeth.

Charles Cameron death certificate Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Charles Cameron death certificate Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Cameron family is also listed in Navarro County on the 1880 census.

James Cameron and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Navarro, Texas; Roll: 1321; Family History Film: 1255321; Page: 314D; Enumeration District: 127

James Cameron and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Navarro, Texas; Roll: 1321; Family History Film: 1255321; Page: 314D; Enumeration District: 127


The Camerons later returned to Pennsylvania, where Inglis was born on December 2, 1883, according to his World War I draft registration and several census records.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907636; Draft Board: 17

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907636; Draft Board: 17


So Inglis had family ties to Corsicana, Texas.  It seems clear to me that Inglis Cameron became Donald Carnes and that he changed his birth place to Corsicana where his parents had once lived, perhaps to give himself credible Texas roots.  He also kept his birthday (though not the year) the same.  Although I have no official documentation to prove that he changed his name, the circumstantial evidence certainly points that way.

Donald Carnes’ application for a Social Security number seems to support this conclusion as well.  There is an entry in the Social Security Applications and Claims Index on that indicates that Donald Carnes filed for a Social Security number in October 1940. The SSACI index lists Donald Carnes’ birth place as Corsicana, Texas, and his birth date as December 6, 1884. It lists his parents’ names as James Carnes and Mary Smith. Inglis Cameron’s parents were James and Mary Cameron—coincidence?  I think not.   I have sent for the actual application, but I doubt it will say he was also once known as Inglis Cameron.

Thus, I am convinced that, as the family friend told Tracy, Inglis Cameron became Donald Carnes, that Celina Nusbaum Glessner Cameron became Sally Carnes, and that Edward James Cameron became Edward James Carnes.  But why? What had happened to cause them to change their names and move to Texas?

I was able to find Inglis E.D. Cameron listed as a lawyer in the Philadelphia directory in 1922 and in 1923.  In 1923, he was listed as part of a firm, Cameron & Carey.  In 1925, he was listed in the NYC directory as an attorney, but in the Philadelphia directory, it only listed his residence.  In the 1930 directory, he is not listed at all. (There are no online Philadelphia directories for the years between 1925 and 1930.)

I needed to find a source for news about Philadelphia during the 1920s and 1930s, but the databases to which I subscribe have no Philadelphia papers dated past 1922.  The only online database that has Philadelphia newspapers dated after 1922 is a wonderful free website known as Fulton History or Old Fulton Postcards.  It is run by one man who has scanned and uploaded millions of pages of old newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer.  It is not always an easy site to use because you have to be very persistent and creative in searching, and my first time through I had not found anything too helpful.  But after receiving Tracy’s comment on the blog, I was motivated to spend more time learning how to search the Fulton site.

What did I learn? Inglis E.D. Cameron had been a member of a law firm in Philadelphia called Cameron & Carey, as indicated in the 1923 Philadelphia directory; his partner was James T. Carey.  In 1922 they represented a company called United Auto Stores, a chain that sold auto parts and accessories. The company was founded by Edward B.P. Carrier, a young man who was the son of a doctor in Philadelphia and who had been a student at the University of Pennsylvania when he left to start the company.  By 1922, the company had over fifty stores in many states, and Edward “Bud” Carrier was only 28.

In February, 1922, Carrier and others involved in the business of United Auto Stores were sued by stockholders for conspiracy to commit stock fraud; they were allegedly lying to purchasers about the value of the company in order to induce them to buy stock and also profiting by using a shell company as the selling agent of the stock.

Edward P. B. "Bud" Carrier, head of Auto Stores Philadelphia Inquirer, February 25, 1922, p. 1

Edward P. B. “Bud” Carrier, head of Auto Stores
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 25, 1922, p. 1

The story was covered in detail by The Philadelphia Inquirer, and in some of the articles there are references either to Inglis Cameron, his partner James T. Carey, or their firm Cameron & Carey as the counsel to United Auto Stores.  See, e.g., “Gigantic Swindle Seen in Collapse of Auto Stores Co.,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 24, 1922, p. 1, 3 [names Cameron & Carey as counsel and quotes James T. Carey]; “File Court Actions to Save Creditors of Auto Stores Co.,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 25, 1922, pp. 1, 9; “Gay Parties Marked Spending Orgy of Auto Stores Head,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 26, 1922, p. 1; “Auto Stores Chief Denies All Charges of Wild Spending,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 27, 1922, p. 1, 5 [mentions Cameron & Carey as company counsel and Inglis E.D. Cameron specifically as present during questions by reporter]; “Auto Stores Yields Up But $30,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28, 1922, p. 2; “Auto Stores Head Called Falsifier,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 1922, p. 2; “Receivers Named for Auto Stores,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 2, 1922, p.2; “Hint of US Action Shock to Carrier,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 4, 1922, p. 2.

By March 7, 1922, United Auto Stores was in permanent receivership, and soon thereafter its assets were sold to Gimbel Brothers.  “Special Referee to Probe Crash of Carrier’s Concerns,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1922, pp. 1. 13.

Philadelphia Inquirer, May 14, 1922, p. 14

Philadelphia Inquirer, May 14, 1922, p. 14

The timing of this case unfolding raised some red flags for me.  It was in the spring of 1921 that “thieves” struck Inglis Cameron’s company, Cameo Dress Company, at least three times.  And it was on February  22, 1922, that the newspaper reported that Cameo Dress Company had been damaged by fire.  The first story about the United Auto Stores’ charges appeared in the paper on February 24, 1922, two days later. Could this be just coincidence? Or is there a connection?

In 1925, sixty-four individuals and the corporation itself were indicted on grounds of conspiracy to commit fraud.  Carrier was indicted as well as other officers of the company and a number of individuals who had been involved in the sales of United Auto Stores stock.  Absent, however, from the list of indicted individuals were the names of Inglis E.D. Cameron and James T. Carey.

Auto Stores Indictments 2 10 25 p 2 pt 1

indictments pt 2

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 1925, p. 2

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 1925, p. 2

And then the case disappeared from the papers.  I don’t know what happened with the charges.  Was there a trial? A verdict?  It’s very odd, but so far I have not found answers to those questions. But even before the Auto Stores indictment,  Samuel Safir and Samuel Rosenblatt, two of the first three names listed in the article identifying those who were indicted in the Auto Stores matter, had been charged in another case of stock fraud, this one involving the Altoona Glass Casket Company, a story that made the newspapers throughout the country. E.g., “Glass Casket Co. Promoters Jailed,” Boston Herald, February 2, 1924, p. 4.  Safir and Rosenblatt were ultimately convicted in the casket case.

As for Edward B.P. Carrier, as far as I can tell he was not convicted of any charges.  He married in 1924 and was living on Long Island, New York, in 1930 with his wife and family. He was working as a real estate broker.  In 1942 when he registered for the draft, he was living at the YMCA in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, working for a company called Defense Builders in Pottstown.  He died in Brigantine, New Jersey, in 1957.  Maybe he was just manipulated  by people like Safir and Rosenblatt, who may have been the true masterminds behind the conspiracy.  One other source I read suggested that Carrier himself may have been duped. “United Auto Stores Swindle,” United States Investor, vol. 33, issue 1 (April 1922), pp.749-750 (describing Carrier as a “tool” in the scheme of another).

The notes that Tracy had from the conversation with her father’s old friend suggest that Inglis and his son went to Florida around 1925 to invest in real estate and ended up losing a lot of money, but I have no way of verifying that information.  But Edward James Cameron, Celina’s son and Tracy’s father, would have been only ten years old in 1925.

So what do you think happened between 1925, when Inglis disappeared, and 1940, when he applied for a Social Security card as Donald Carnes?  Was he running from creditors? Was he running from the law?

Or, as I am thinking, was he running from those who were behind the stock fraud conspiracy? Had he been a witness against them, leading to the 1925 indictments?  Had they been trying to intimidate him by subjecting Cameo Dress to theft and fire?  The Federal Witness Protection program did not exist in those days, but perhaps there was some informal way that the government enabled Inglis Cameron and his family to change their names and move from Philadelphia to Houston.

Inglis Cameron, a/k/a Donald Carnes, was killed in a car accident in 1948. He and his wife Sally/Celina were run down by a Houston carpenter named Homer Bertram Poole.  Sally survived.  The driver was indicted for murder by automobile, as described in the following three articles.   I am grateful to Leah, Amanda, and Barb from the Texas Genealogy Network on Facebook for helping to locate these articles about Donald Carnes’ death.

Donald Carnes accident

Sweetwater Reporter, November 7, 1948, p. 3





Houston Post, November 7, 1948

Houston Post, November 7, 1948


Amarillo Daily New, December 14, 1948, p.7

Amarillo Daily New, December 14, 1948, p.7

Was this just a case of drunk driving? Or was it something more intentional? I don’t know.

Celina/Sally Cameron/Carnes died eighteen years later in 1966.   Edward James Cameron/Carnes died in 1984. This mystery remains largely unsolved.

Thanks to Tracy and her sister Ginger, I now have pictures of my cousin Celina Nusbaum, her husband Inglis Cameron, and their son Edward James Cameron—otherwise known as Sally, Donald, and E.J. Carnes.

Sally, Edward James, and Donald Carnes Courtesy of Tracy Carnes

Sally, Edward James, and Donald Carnes
Courtesy of Tracy Carnes and Ginger Carnes

Celina Nusbaum a/k/a Sally Carnes Courtesy of Tracy and Ginger Carnes

Celina Nusbaum a/k/a Sally Carnes
Courtesy of Tracy and Ginger Carnes

I will continue to look for more information.  But for now, I am interested in what you all think.  How would you fit together all these pieces of the puzzle?  Why did the Cameron family leave Philadelphia, change their names, and move to Houston?




The Mystery of the Philadelphia Lawyer: Part I

I am taking a short break this week from the Schoenthal story to return to a mystery I discovered in the Nusbaum family line. Back in April I wrote about the strange disappearance of Celina Nusbaum, my second cousin, three times removed.  Celina was the granddaughter of Ernst Nusbaum, brother of my 3x-great-grandfather John Nusbaum.  Her life story was intriguing, and I was frustrated that I could not find some closure to her story.

Here’s what I knew: Celina was born in November 1881 in Philadelphia, daughter of Edgar Nusbaum and Viola Barritt.  She had married Hamilton Hall Treager Glessner in 1904, and their daughter Marian Glessner was born in 1906.  But by 1910, the marriage was over, and Celina had returned with her daughter to her parents’ home.  Celina was working as a dress designer, according to the 1910 census.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Abington, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1377; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1375390

Year: 1910; Census Place: Abington, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1377; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1375390

Celina remarried in August 1912.  Her second husband, Inglis E.D. Cameron, was a lawyer who had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1909.  He must have been somewhat well-regarded there because he was selected as toastmaster for the class banquet:

Inglis Cameron from UPenn 1909 yearbook

Penn Law 1909 Cameron

Philadelphia Evening Bulletin March 15, 1909

Philadelphia Evening Bulletin March 15, 1909


Celina and Inglis had a son, Edward James Cameron, born in June, 1915.  On the 1920 census, Inglis, Celina (Selena on the census record), Marian, and Edward (called James there) were living in Philadelphia, and Inglis listed his occupation as a lawyer for a manufacturer. (His name was really butchered by the census enumerator, but this is definitely his family.)

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1624; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 617; Image: 269

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1624; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 617; Image: 269

I was able to find Inglis in the 1925 NYC directory as a lawyer in midtown Manhattan, but residing in Philadelphia.

Title : New York, New York, City Directory, 1925 Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line].

Title : New York, New York, City Directory, 1925
Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line].

I found one brief news item in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Inglis Cameron as a lawyer, dated April 17, 1924:

Inglis Cameron atty april 17 1924 p 12

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1924, p. 12

I am not quite sure what to make of this article.  It appears that Inglis was representing a client whose identity he would not or could not reveal, but that the newspaper believed was the Fifth Avenue Coach Company, a New York bus company that was seeking to establish business in Philadelphia.

After that, I could not find any trace of any of them; Celina, Inglis, Marian, and Edward James Cameron all seemed to have vanished.  I could not find them in any directory nor on either the 1930 or 1940 census.

But a woman named Sally Carnes with a husband named Donald Carnes and a son named E. J. Carnes surfaced in Texas, in the 1940s.  Why is that relevant? Because this death certificate made it very clear to me that Sally Carnes was the same woman as Celina Nusbaum Glessner Cameron: Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

Her parents were Edgar Nusbaum and Viola Barritt, and the informant was her daughter from her first marriage, Marian (using her married name Pattinson).  This had to be Celina.  When I then searched for Carnes in Houston, it led me to the death certificate of Donald Carnes, who had a son named E.J. Carnes: Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. iArchives, Orem, Utah.

The initials E.J. for E.J. Carnes?  To me that had to be Edward James Cameron using a different surname, that of the man I assumed was Celina/Sally’s third husband, Donald Carnes.  But I had no further record for Inglis Cameron, no earlier records for Donald Carnes, and no marriage record for Sally and Donald Carnes.  There are further details of my search described here in my earlier post, but the bottom line is that I had no definite answers as to what happened to Inglis or how Celina became Sally Carnes and ended up in Houston.  Even searching for descendants of Marian Glessner Pattinson led me nowhere.

Enter Tracy Carnes, who left a comment on my blog in October. Tracy wrote that she was the daughter of Edward James Carnes, who was the son of Donald Carnes and Lena Claire Nusbaum (Celina was sometimes identified as Lena), also known as Sally Carnes.  That is, Tracy is my fourth cousin, once removed. And she had some answers to my questions and some fascinating information about her grandmother, Sally Carnes, who had once been Celina Nusbaum:

Tracy wrote:

My grandmother, Lena Claire Nusbaum (as listed on my father’s death certificate) or Sally Carnes, was a dressmaker. She had a knack for making fat women look thin and thin women look shapely. I stayed with her in Houston one summer for about a week, and she had dress forms, patterns she was making, and wedding dresses in the works. Mother (Margaret Hannah Barnes Carnes) told us that Sally had the patent on the metal slider that adjusts bra straps. She also designed a slip for Babe Didrikson Zaharias for golfing, called the “super-stride.” Mom and dad said that Sally Carnes had a line of clothing called, “Sally Smart” and four dress factories in Philadelphia lost during the depression. Sally also owned a Russian Tea Room. We don’t have any documentation to support these stories.

So I set out to find some documentation.  I thought the easiest story to validate was the one about the patent on a bra strap slider so I used Google Patents to try and locate such a patent.  Although I did not find one for that specific invention, I did find three patents that were issued to Celina Cameron.  The first, Patent No. 1709337, was filed July 12, 1926, and was issued on April 16, 1929.  That patent was for a garment combining a skirt and bodice.  In her application, Celina wrote:

This invention relates to women’s garments, more particularly garments combining a bodice and skirt. In connection with garments embodying the general characteristics mentioned, I seek to retain all the advantages of the skirt as considered from the esthetic standpoint, and yet afford the wearer the utmost comfort with regard to freedom of leg movement 0 without entailing exposure within the confines of the skirt.

Celina Cameron patent 2-page-001 Celina Cameron patent 2-page-002 Celina Cameron patent 2-page-003


A second patent, No. 1797714, filed May 17, 1929, and granted on March 24, 1931, was also for a garment, this one for a negligee, as described in the application:

This invention relates to garments of the negligee class and of a type intended more particularly for women.  The object of my invention is to provide a slip-on garment of the kind referred to which is simple in design, yet highly attractive in appearance; which is easily and quickly put on or taken ‘off and which ordinarily affords complete protection, but when desired permits the back of the wearer to be exposed for sun or heat treatment to the exclusion of all other parts of the body.

Celina Cameron patent 1-page-002 Celina Cameron patent 1-page-003 Celina Cameron patent 1-page-004

Perhaps this was the slip designed for Babe Didrikson Zacharias?

The third patent issued to Celina Cameron, No. 1834331, was for a modification to the first invention so that it could be reversible.  That patent application was filed on February 19, 1930, and the patent issued on December 1, 1931.

So although I did not find a patent for a bra strap slider, there certainly was truth to the family story that Celina had patented some of her clothing designs.  And from the dates on these patents, I knew that at least until 1930 when she applied for the third patent, Celina was still using the name Celina Cameron.

As for the four dress factories, I found two possible companies.  The first was Cameo Dress Company, which Inglis listed as his company on his World War I draft registration in September, 1918.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907636; Draft Board: 17

When I Googled this company, however, I found that the company had been incorporated on February 27, 1918, by Edgar Nusbaum, Celina’s father. Edgar had for many years worked as a clerk for the railroad, not as a manufacturer.  I assume that he incorporated this business for his daughter Celina, who had listed her occupation in 1910 as a dress designer.  Although Inglis had been working as a lawyer as of the taking of the 1920 census, in the 1921 Philadelphia directory his listing simply says Cameo Dress Company.

But Cameo Dress Company ran into some bad luck.  The company fell victim to thieves at least twice in the spring of 1921, and then suffered a devastating fire in 1922.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 9. 1921, p 3

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 9. 1921, p 3

And then just two months later, there was a second theft:

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 25, 1921, p 3

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 25, 1921, p 3

This article made reference to a theft ten days earlier, so it seems that Cameo Dress was subjected to (at least) three thefts in the spring of 1921.

Then, in February 1922, there was a devastating fire:

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 22, 1922, p. 3

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 22, 1922, p. 3


Was this really all just bad luck? The article about the fire notes that it “started beneath a stairway from an undetermined origin.”  Was someone targeting Cameo Dress Company?

Because almost all of the databases of online newspapers do not include any Philadelphia newspapers after 1922, I could not find out what happened to Cameo Dress Company after the fire.  But there had been an earlier fire that also seemed to involve the Cameron family.  Reginald on the Philadelphia Genealogy group on Facebook found a listing from the Philadelphia fire department’s annual report for 1914:

I then found this news article:

Mayfair fire

Mayfair fire 2

Philadelphia Inquirer, November 9, 1914, p. 5

Although I have not yet found anything else about Mayfair Manufacturing Company, I did find it rather strange that another company owned by Inglis Cameron had been damaged by a fire.  As with Cameo Dress, it was a company occupying the third floor of a building.  That time the fire department had opined that it could have been spontaneous combustion—dirty rags, I suppose.

(Of course, I am very glad that they saved the kitten.)

I did not find any documenation for a Sally Smart line of clothing or for a Russian tea room owned by Celina, the last two stories Tracy had shared in her comment about her grandmother .

But what Tracy and I were really interested in was why her grandmother Celina and her father Edward James had moved to Texas and changed their names to Cameron.  Tracy said that her father, Edward James Cameron/Carnes, had died in 1984 and that she had known that he had died with a secret, but not what it was.  Then about 20 years ago, Tracy and her brother received a phone call from an old friend of their father who shared what he knew.  Tracy sent me the notes she and her brother had saved from that phone conversation.  That led me down yet another research path.

To be continued….