Goldfarbs 1916-1920: Years of Growth but One Tragic Loss

Sarah Brod Goldfarb’s first twenty years in the United States from 1896 to 1916 were years of change and growth. She arrived with four children and settled in Pittsgrove, New Jersey. She and her husband Sam had three more children, moved from New Jersey to New York City, and saw three of their seven children marry—Julius, Gussie, and Bessie. In addition, Sarah and Sam became grandparents during those years; Bessie and her husband Meyer Malzberg had their first child Norman, and Julius and his wife Ida had their first child Sylvia.

The next five years also saw much growth, but one tragic loss.

When the US entered World War I in 1917, Sarah’s adult sons had to register for the draft. Julius registered in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he was working as a saloon keeper in his own establishment.

Julius Goldfarb World War I draft registration, Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Hudson; Roll: 1712213; Draft Board: 10, Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Hudson Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Morris’ World War I draft registration shows that in 1917 he was still living at 131 Avenue C with his parents and working as an operator for the B&R Cloak and Shirt Company.

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

By the time Joe Goldfarb registered in December, 1918 (after the war had ended), Sam and Sarah had moved to 526 Williams Avenue in Brooklyn. Joe was working as a claims adjuster for the American Railway Express Company.

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

And Leo, the youngest son, also was working for the American Railway Express Company and living at 526 Williams Avenue with his parents.

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

As far as I can tell, none of the brothers ended up serving in the war, and Sam and Sarah were among the fortunate parents who did not lose a son in World War I.

But the year after the war ended, the family did suffer a tragic loss. Sarah and Sam’s daughter Gussie Goldfarb Katz died on May 13, 1919. She was about 31 years old (records vary). Her death certificate reports that her cause of death was acute lobar pneumonia. According to family lore, she was one of the millions of victims of the 1918-1919 pandemic.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WN5-B6V : 3 June 2020), Gussie Katz, 13 May 1919; citing Death, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,324,337.

Gussie was survived by her husband Max; they had no children. Max remarried within a few years and had children with his second wife.

There was also good news, however, during those years during and after World War I. Julius and Ida Goldfarb had a second daughter, Gertrude, who was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on June 28, 1917.1 And Bessie and Meyer Malzberg’s son Gustave was born in New York on June 4, 1919, less than a month after Bessie lost her sister Gussie.2 Gustave was perhaps named for his recently deceased aunt.

There was also another family wedding during this time. Morris Goldfarb, Sarah’s second oldest child, married Anna Grinbaum in Brooklyn on February 2, 1919. Anna, according to the marriage certificate, was born to Samuel Grinbaum and Molly Goldman in Austria/Galicia and was 21 when she married Morris. I could not find any records for Anna earlier than the marriage record, but later records indicate she immigrated to the US in about 1914 and was born in 1897.

Marriage record of Morris Goldfarb and Anna Grinbaum, Morris Goldfarb
Gender: Male, Marriage Date: 2 Feb 1919, Marriage Place: Kings, New York, USA
Certificate Number: 1346, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937

On May 26, 1920, Anna gave birth to their first child, Martin Goldfarb, in New York, New York, giving Sarah and Sam their fifth grandchild.3

The 1920 US census shows Sam and Sarah living at 526 Williams Street in Brooklyn with Joe and Leo, both working for the express company, and Rose, a dressmaker for a factory in New York. Sam was not employed and was now 64 years old, according to the census, and Sarah was 54.

Sam and Sarah Goldfarb 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 2, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1146; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 82; Image: 21

Julius and Ida and their two daughters Sylvia and Evelyn were living in Jersey City as of the 1920 census, which listed Julius’ occupation as “liquor business.”

Julius Goldfarb and family 1920 US census, lines 70-73
Year: 1920; Census Place: Jersey City Ward 3, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1043; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 135; Image: 1104

Unfortunately, despite searching anyway and anywhere I could, I could not locate either the family of Morris and Anna Goldfarb or Meyer and Bessie (Goldfarb) Malzberg on the 1920 census.

So as of 1920, the Goldfarb family had experienced much growth and one terribly tragic loss.

 


  1.  Gertrude Goldfarb Levy, Birth Date: 28 Jun 1917, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: Feb 1979, Father: Julius Goldfarb, Mother: Ida Hecht, SSN: 140449263, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  2. Gustav Malzberg, Birth Date: 4 Jun 1919, Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 21712, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965 
  3. Martin Goldfarb, Birth Date: 26 May 1920, Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 25007, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965 

The Goldfarbs 1910-1915: A Growing Family

We saw in the last post that Sarah Brotman and Sam Goldfarb and were living in Pittsgrove, New Jersey with six children in 1900. By 1905, however, they had moved to the Lower East Side of New York City and were living across the street from my great-grandmother Bessie and her three youngest children including my grandmother. Their seventh and last child Rosie was born in 1902. By 1910, my Goldfarb relatives had moved to Avenue C in New York.

In 1915, Sam and Sarah were still living at 131 Avenue C with five of their seven children: Morris (25), Bessie (23), Joseph (17), Leo (15), and Rosie (13)(top of next page, see below). Sam and his son Morris were still working as tailors, and Joseph was an office clerk.

Sam Goldfarb and family, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 06; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 85, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915

But this census revealed other important information. Living in the same building as Sam and Sarah Goldfarb in 1915 were two other families of great importance to the family history. First, listed almost immediately below the Goldfarbs on the 1915 New York State census was the family of Hyman Brotman, my grandmother’s brother, and thus Sarah’s nephew. He was a first cousin of Sarah’s children.

Second, right below Hyman’s family was the family of Jacob Hecht. As I wrote about in a post a few years back, Jacob Hecht was married to Taube/Toba/Tillie Brotman, my grandmother’s half-sister. Like Sam Goldfarb and Hyman Brotman, Jacob Hecht was a tailor.

Rosie Goldfarb, Hyman Brotman and family, and Jacob Hecht, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 06; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 85, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915

The Hecht family also has great significance to the story of the Goldfarb family because Jacob and Taube (Brotman) Hecht’s daughter Ida married Sam and Sarah (Brod) Goldfarb’s son Julius on November 20, 1913, in New York. In other words, my great-grandmother Bessie’s stepgranddaughter Ida Hecht married Bessie’s nephew Julius Goldfarb.

Marriage certificate of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:243Y-5QW : 10 February 2018), Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, 20 Nov 1913; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,613,807.

Julius and Ida’s great-granddaughter Lisa shared this photograph of Julius and Ida on their wedding day:

Julius and Ida (Hecht) Goldfarb on the wedding day in 1913. Courtesy of the family.

Despite the fact—or maybe because of the fact—that Julius’ parents and Ida’s parents were living in New York in the same building in 1915, Julius and Ida were living in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1915. Julius described his occupation as a liquor dealer. Ida and Julius had one daughter at that point, Sylvia, who was born on May 7, 1915, less than a month before the enumeration of the 1915 New Jersey census on June 1, 1915.1

Also living with Ida and Julius was Joseph Goldfarb, Julius’ brother, who was then 17 and working as a bartender. I guess Joseph also was ready to get out of New York and perhaps thought living with his brother and working as a bartender would be more fun than being an office clerk. Julius and Ida also had a servant living with them, an eighteen-year-old named Annie, who was born in Hungary.

Julius Goldfarb and family, 1915 NJ census, New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-13; Film Number: 32, Jersey City Ward 3 – Jersey City Ward 5, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., State Census, 1915

Although Bessie Goldfarb was listed as living with her parents on the 1915 New York State census, she was already married by that point. On August 9, 1914, Bessie married Meyer Malzberg in Detroit, Michigan. According to the marriage register, both were then residing in Detroit. How did Bessie end up in Detroit, I wondered? And how did she meet Meyer? I wrote about this back in 2016 as well, and I still don’t know the answers.

Meyer Malzberg and Bessie Goldfarb marriage record 1914
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952. Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.

But I can tell a little more now about Bessie’s husband Meyer Malzberg. Meyer, the son of Herman Malzberg and Sarah or Selma Kaplan (records vary), was born on September 8, 1890 in Bialystok in what was then part of the Russian Empire and now is in Poland. He immigrated to the US in November 1900, according to his July 12, 1910 Declaration of Intention, but on the 1910 US census, it says that he came in 1902 as did his sisters Dora and Ida and that his father came in 1900.2  I found a ship manifest for his father, and in fact he arrived on February 27, 1903, and I found a ship manifest for the two sisters, and they arrived on September 30, 1903.3 But no matter how I looked or where I looked I couldn’t find a manifest for Meyer’s arrival.

Meyer Malzberg declaration of intention, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21
Vol 084-086 12 July-17 Aug 1910 (No 41487-42986), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

In any event, by 1905 fifteen year old Meyer was living with his widowed father and sisters on East 98th Street in New York; Meyer was in school, and his father was working as a cigar maker.4 In 1910, Meyer was working as a stock clerk for a department store and was still living with his father and sisters on 98th Street.5 For those unfamiliar with New York City, 98th Street is not anywhere near Avenue C where the Goldfarbs were living at that time. So I don’t know how Bessie Goldfarb met Meyer Malzberg.

I also don’t know how or why they ended up in Detroit. At first I thought perhaps Meyer had relatives there, but the Malzbergs I found in Detroit arrived there after Bessie and Meyer wed in 1914.

And why was Bessie back in New York with her parents when the 1915 New York State census was enumerated? As I speculated before, here’s my best guess. Bessie gave birth to her first child, Norman Malzberg, on May 2, 1915.6 The census record’s date is preprinted as June 1, but my guess is that it was actually enumerated earlier. Or alternatively, somehow little newborn Norman wasn’t included in the census. In any event, my hunch is that Bessie came home to her parents to give birth rather than be all alone without family in Detroit.

But where was her husband Meyer? I don’t know where he was when Norman was born, but two years later on June 5, 1917, he was still in Detroit when he registered for the World War I draft. He was supporting his wife, child, and his father, and he was working as a driver for the Detroit Creamery Company.

Meyer Malzberg World War I draft registration
Registration State: Michigan; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 2024027; Draft Board: 06, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Thus, by 1915, three of Sam and Sarah Goldfarb’s children were married: Gussie, Bessie, and Julius. They had two grandchildren: Bessie’s son Norman and Julius’ daughter Sylvia. Gussie was living in Brooklyn with her husband, Max, who worked in the men’s clothing business. They did not have children. Julius was in Jersey City with his family and with his brother Joseph. The other Goldfarb children were still living at home on Avenue C, as was Bessie–at least temporarily.

More changes came in the next decade or so.

 

 


  1. Sylvia Goldfarb Leyner, [Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz], Birth Date: 7 May 1915
    Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 3 Jul 1999, Father: Juluis Goldfarb
    Mother: Ida Hecht, SSN: 147188949, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. Herman Malzberg and family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1016; Page: 30A; Enumeration District: 0354; FHL microfilm: 1375029, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  3. Chaim Malzberg ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 068 A; Page: 780; Microfilm No.: K_1742, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934. Dora and Ida Malzberg (Dvaire and Ita) manifest, Year: 1903; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 19; Page Number: 79, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. 
  4. Herman Malzberg and family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 32 E.D. 05; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 90, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905 
  5. Herman Malzberg and family, Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1016; Page: 30A; Enumeration District: 0354; FHL microfilm: 1375029, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  6. Norman Malzberg, Birth Date: 2 May 1915, Birth Place: New York City, New York,
    Death Date: 10 Jul 1999, Father: Meyer Malzberg Mother: Bessie Goldfarb
    SSN: 140039073, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

The Goldfarbs in America 1892-1910

As seen in my last post, from US records we know that Sam/Solomon Goldfarb likely arrived in the US in about 1892 and was about 32 years old at that time. Four years later his wife Sarah Brod Goldfarb and their four oldest children—Joel (Julius), Moische (Morris), Gitel (Gussie), and Pesie (Bessie)— arrived in Philadelphia on September 13, 1896. Sarah was about thirty years old, Joel was ten, Moische eight, Gitel four, and Pesie only two.

In 1900, they were living in Pittsgrove, New Jersey. According to that census record, Sarah and Sam had been married eighteen years in 1900, meaning they were  married in 1882. Sarah had given birth to six children by that time, and all six were living with them. As listed on the 1900 census record, they were Joseph (actually Joel and later Julius, born in 1884), Moses (later Morris, 1885), Kate (really Gussie,1888; although the record says 1880, it also says she was 12), Bessie (1890), Joseph (1897), and Lewis (later, Leo, 1899). The errors in the names likely were due to the enumerator not understanding what he was told. The first four children were born in Europe, and Joseph and Lewis/Leo were born in New Jersey.

Here is a photograph of young Joe and Leo Goldfarb shared with me by Joe’s granddaughter Alyce:

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

Sam was working as a tailor. Sam and Sarah’s oldest child, listed here as Joseph, but actually Joel and later known as Julius, was 15 and working as a tailor also. The three other older children were in school, and Joseph and Lewis/Leo were home with Sarah.

Solomon Goldfarb and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Page: 17; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

One question that intrigued me was why did Sarah and Sam settle in Pittsgrove? I knew that in 1900 Sarah’s sister Bessie and brother-in-law Joseph Brotman were living in New York City.1 And I knew that in 1900 Joseph’s brother Moses Brotman was living in Pittsgrove.2 Why would Sarah and Sam have chosen Pittsgrove over New York? At first I assumed it was because Moses lived there.

But when I looked at Moses Brotman’s record on the 1895 New Jersey census, I noticed that living right next door to him was the family of Lazer (Louis) and Minnie Goldfarb—Sam Goldfarb’s brother and sister-in-law.

Families of Morris Brotman and Lazer Goldfarb, 1895 NJ census, Locality or ImageSet: Pittsgrove
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., State Census, 1895

This tells me two things: one, that Sam and Sarah probably settled in Pittsgrove because Sam’s brother was there when Sam arrived in 1892 (although I cannot find Sam on the 1895 New Jersey census) and two, that Moses Brotman’s family and the Goldfarbs were connected through blood or marriage or at a minimum by their prior residence in Europe. I think it’s safe to assume that these two families knew each other well from the old country and in the new.

Interestingly, in 1900 when Sam and Sarah Goldfarb were living in Pittsgrove, Sam’s brother Lazer/Louis Goldfarb was living on Delancey Street in New York City’s Lower East Side, just a few blocks from where my great-grandparents Joseph and Bessie were living.3 So Sam’s brother moved away from Pittsgrove within a few years of Sarah’s arrival there.

But as seen in 1905 New York State census, Sam and Sarah also soon moved from New Jersey to the Lower East Side, following Sam’s brother Louis. But even more exciting to me was to see where Sam and Sarah were living in 1905—85 Ridge Street—right across the street from my great-grandmother Bessie and my grandmother and her siblings, who were living at 84 Ridge Street. My great-grandfather Joseph Brotman died in 1901, and perhaps Sarah was drawn to New York to help her widowed sister Bessie.

Samuel Goldfarb, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 06; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 32, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905

Bessie Brotman and family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 06; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 59  Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905 (Terrible errors in names, but this is the right family.)

Sam and his two oldest sons, Julius (20) and Morris (19), were all working as cloakmakers, meaning likely doing piece work at one of the sweatshops in New York. Gussie (17) and Bessie (15) were in school. Joseph, now 8, was at home, and presumably so was Louis/Leo (5). And Sarah had had another child—Rosie, who was three, bringing the total number of children to seven—four boys and three girls. Rosie was born on February 9, 1902.

Rose Goldfarb birth record, New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WWR-NVT : 11 February 2018), Rosie Goldfarb, 09 Feb 1902; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 7347 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,983,509.

By 1910, the family had moved from Ridge Street to 131 Avenue C in New York. Sam was working as a tailor in a cloak factory, but Julius, now 25, was working as a conductor for a car company, presumably meaning a streetcar, and Morris, now 23, was a cutter for a neckwear company. The other children were all at home except Gussie.

Samuel Goldfarb 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 11, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1012; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0259; FHL microfilm: 1375025
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Gussie Goldfarb had married Max Katz on April 11, 1910, in New York. Max, the son of Louis Katz and Becky(?) Shuster, was born in Russia in 1884.

Marriage of Gussie Goldfarb and Max Katz,New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24ZW-DLF : 10 February 2018), Marx Katz and Josi Gossi Goldfarb, 12 Apr 1910; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,503,728.

In 1910 Gussie and Max were living with Max’s parents in Brooklyn, and Max was working as a window dresser, but had been out of work for 25 weeks in the past year. His father owned a candy store.4

Thus, as of 1910, Sam and Sarah Goldfarb still had six of their seven children living at home. The next five years would bring more changes.


  1. Joseph Brotman and family, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0283; FHL microfilm: 1241094, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  2. Moses Brotman and family, Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Louis Goldfarb and family, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 41; Enumeration District: 0291; FHL microfilm: 1241094, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4. Louis Katz and family, Year: 1910; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 26, Kings, New York; Roll: T624_978; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0796; FHL microfilm: 1374991,
    Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 

Review of Amy Bess Cohen’s SANTA FE LOVE SONG

Thank you so much to Luanne Castle for this wonderful review of Santa Fe Love Song.

The Family Kalamazoo

Santa Fe Love Song, by Brotmanblog blogger Amy Bess Cohen, reads like a valentine from Cohen to her great-great grandparents Bernard and Frances (Nussbaum) Seligmann.  The story of Bernard, a young immigrant from a small town in Germany to Philadelphia and Santa Fe, though fictionalized, gives a wonderful account of what it would have been like for a German Jewish young man to travel across the ocean by himself, get a job, learn English, and within a matter of months, move across the country to New Mexico via the grueling Santa Fe Trail to meet up with his brother. It’s fascinating to read about Bernard’s acclimation to living out west just before, during, and after the Civil War.

The story is of Bernard’s development as an important pioneer of Santa Fe, and his search for a Jewish wife to bring to a place where there were very few…

View original post 285 more words

(Re)-introducing the Goldfarbs

Although I wrote a great deal several years ago about how I discovered my great-grandmother’s sister Sarah Brod Goldfarb, and although I told much of their story, I told it in piecemeal as I was trying to put together the pieces of a mystery. How was Sarah Goldfarb related to me? I solved that mystery and know now that she was my great-grandmother Bessie Brod Brotman’s sister, but I never fully told the stories of those Goldfarb cousins.

Now that I have discovered through DNA testing several more of my Goldfarb cousins, confirming by science that my research was correct, I am returning to Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb and their children to tell the fuller story of their lives.

What do I know about the life of my great-grandmother’s sister Sarah Brod Goldfarb before she came to the US? Not very much. Because I have no European records for Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb, I need to rely on information from US records to tell the little I can report about their lives before arriving in the US.

According to the 1900 US census, Sam  (going by Solomon at that time) was born in April 1860, and Sarah was born in May 1866. They were thus reported as being forty and thirty-six at that time. The census indicated both were born in “Austria,” but in fact they were born in or near Tarnobrzeg in what is today Poland in what was then part of the Austria-Hungary Empire.1 That is the same town where my great-grandparents Joseph and Bessie (Brod) Brotman lived.

But Sam and Sarah’s ages on the 1900 census appear to be debatable. Sam’s death certificate says he was born on August 2, 1856,2 not in 1860. In 1910, he reported his age as 56, meaning he was born in 1864.3 In 1920, he said he was 64, giving him a birth year of 1856, same as that on his death certificate.4

Sarah’s age also jumps around, though not as wildly as Sam’s. In 1910, she is reported as 45, meaning she was born in 1865.5 In 1920, she is listed as 54, meaning she was born in 1866,6 but in 1930 her age is given as 60, meaning she was born in 1870.7 And her 1937 death certificate indicates she was 70 when she died, meaning a birth year of 1867.8 Overall, Sarah seems likely to have been born in 1866 or so, and Sam was likely born in about 1860 or maybe earlier.

One date that is consistent across several census records is the date of Sam’s immigration—1892. He reported that year not only on the 1900 census, but also on the 1910 and 1920 census records.9 Yet I could not find him on any ship manifest for 1892 or even within several years of 1892. There were some names that were close, and I found one Samuel Goldfarb who arrived in Philadelphia in 1891, born 1865, but I’ve no way to verify if that was the right person, though it seems possible.10

I did, however, find Sarah Brod Goldfarb’s ship manifest. She arrived with four of her children—Joel (later Julius), Moische (later Morris), Gitel (later Gussie), and Pesie (later Bessie)—on July 13, 1896, in Philadelphia. She reported her age as 32 (meaning born in 1864). Joel was 10, Moische 8, Gitel was 4, and Pesie was 2. Can you imagine traveling with four young children for weeks on a ship overseas?

The manifest indicated that they were headed to Philadelphia, that their prior residence was Grembow, “Austria” (now Poland), and that her husband Schmuel Goldfarb had paid their fare.

Sarah Goldfarb and her four children, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series: T840, Roll Number: 25, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962

Thank you to Frank of Tracing the Tribe for locating this record showing that Sam (Solomon) Goldfarb purchased the tickets in Philadelphia for Sarah and his four children to sail to the US from Grembow via Tarnobrzeg to Philadelphia on the Am(erican?) Line for $75. Note also that Sam was living in Alliance, New Jersey. More on that in my next post.

Steamship ticket registry, Rosenbaum Volume 04, Date 1895, Steamship Agent
M. Rosenbaum and Co., Volume 4, Order Number Range, 1-32451, Number of Pages
171, Alphabetical index of passenger names at beginning of volume; Page 1-135, order #1-1736. Page 136, order #17856-17860, 32439. Page 137, order #18557, 32445-32451. Pages 138-141 are blank. Page 142, order #17321-17322, Manuscripts, Ledgers (account books),  Repository:
Temple University Libraries, Special Collections Research Center, Repository Collection
HIAS Pennsylvania, Collection ID, SCRC 94, Digital Collection, Steamship Ticket Purchase Ledgers, Digital Publisher Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Libraries, found at https://digital.library.temple.edu/digital/collection/p16002coll16/id/5045/rec/4

The manifest indicated that Sarah and her children were detained. There are no records to explain why they were detained, but members of Tracing the Tribe explained that it likely only meant that they were being held until someone, presumably Sam, met them at the port of entry in Philadelphia.

Thus, we know that by July, 1896, my great-grandmother’s sister Sarah and four of her children had arrived in America. In the posts to follow I will talk about their lives in the US.

 


  1. Solomon Goldfarb and family, Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Page: 17; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. According to his death certificate, Sam was born in Tarnobrzeg in what is now Poland, and Sarah was born in Dzikow (now part of Tarnobrzeg), according to family records provided by my cousin Sue Wartur. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W5B-2M4 : 3 June 2020), Samuel Goldfarb, 1926. 
  2. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W5B-2M4 : 3 June 2020), Samuel Goldfarb, 1926. 
  3. Samuel Goldfarb and family, Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 11, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1012; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0259; FHL microfilm: 1375025, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  4. Sam Goldfarb and family, Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 2, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1146; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 82, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  5. See note 3. 
  6. See note 4. 
  7. Sarah Goldfarb, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; FHL microfilm: 2341228, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WT7-T1D : 3 June 2020), Sarah Goldfarb, 1937. 
  9. See notes 1, 3, and 4 above. 
  10. Samuel Goldfarb, age 26, Place: New York, New York; Year: 1891; Page Number: 250, Ancestry.com. U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s 

Of DNA Testing and The Magic of Photographs: Who is That Woman?

As many of you know, I have not had much success using DNA as a genealogy research tool. Because I have thousands of matches on each of the major DNA testing sites (Ancestry, 23andme, FamilyTreeDNA, and MyHeritage), finding a true match—not one just based on endogamy—is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Over time I have found some “real” matches, but I usually only know they’re real because I’ve already found those cousins through traditional genealogical research. Finding that the DNA confirms what I already knew is nice, but not really helpful in terms of advancing my research. Even when I look at the matches that cousin shares with me, I am not making progress because our shared matches also number in the hundreds if not thousands.

Nevertheless, I periodically check my matches on each of the sites to see if any truly close matches have appeared. A couple of weeks ago I checked with 23andme and discovered a new third cousin match, Alyce, who also shared a family surname that appears on my tree—Goldfarb. Since the Goldfarbs are related to my Brotman line, I was quite excited. My Brotman line is one of my biggest brickwalls. I cannot get beyond the names of my great-great-grandparents.

Some background: my maternal grandmother’s parents were Joseph Brotman and Bessie Brod. But sometimes Joseph’s surname is listed as Brod, sometimes Bessie’s is listed as Brotman. Family lore is that Bessie, Joseph’s second wife, was his first cousin. Various US records revealed that Joseph’s parents were Abraham Brotman and maybe Yette Sadie Burstein; Bessie’s parents were Joseph Brod and Gittel Schwartz. But I have no records from Poland where they once lived to verify those names, nor can I get any further back to determine if Joseph and Bessie were in fact first cousins.

Then years later I discovered the Goldfarb cousins after seeing the names Joe and Julius Goldfarb and Taube Hecht in my grandfather’s address book and my aunt’s baby book.

After much digging, I learned that my great-grandmother Bessie Brod had a sister Sarah Brod (or Brotman) who married Sam Goldfarb. Joe and Julius Goldfarb were two of their sons, my grandmother’s first cousins. And Taube Hecht was my grandmother’s half-sister Taube Brotman, daughter of Joseph Brotman and his first wife. Taube’s daughter Ida had married Julius Goldfarb.

Through more research I was able to locate cousins descended from the Goldfarb line and from the Hecht line—Sue, a granddaughter of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, and Jan, a descendant of Taube Brotman Hecht line through her son Harry. They tested, but the results didn’t help me advance my research. I still couldn’t determine if my great-grandparents were in fact first cousins, and I still hadn’t found anything to expand the reach of my Brotman/Brod family tree.

Then a few weeks ago I found Alyce, a granddaughter of Joe Goldfarb and his wife Betty Amer and thus a pure Goldfarb (non-Hecht) cousin. She connected me with a few other Goldfarb cousins—descendants of Joe or one of his siblings. That’s a lot more DNA to work with, and I am hoping that I can get someone who’s more expert at parsing these things to help me use the DNA of these new cousins to advance my research. So far all I can do is stare at chromosome browsers and see overlaps, but I have no idea how to parse out the Goldfarb (Brod) DNA from the Hecht (Brotman) DNA to get any answers.

All of this I will return to at some point when I have more to say about what the DNA reveals. For now I want to talk about the photographs that Alyce shared with me of my Goldfarb relatives. Alyce sent me over twenty photographs. She was able to identify the people in many of them, but unfortunately a number are unlabeled. Also the quality of some of the photos is quite poor. I won’t post them all, but I will post a few today and more in a later post.

First, in Alyce’s collection was this photograph she labeled “I think this is Grandpa’s mother Sarah Brothman. I could be wrong.” (Brothman was yet another variation on how Joseph, Bessie, and Sarah spelled their surname.)

“Sarah Brothman” Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

I almost fell off my chair. I had that exact same photograph, but in our collection the photograph was said to be of my great-grandmother Bessie Brod Brotman.

My great-grandmother Bessie Brotman (or so I was told)

I wasn’t sure who had the right label for the photograph, but just the fact that Alyce and I had in our possession copies of the same photograph seemed to confirm what the DNA and all my research had already told me—we were cousins!

Alyce had other photographs of her great-grandmother Sarah, and when I saw those I thought that in fact that first photograph was of Sarah, not Bessie. Here are her other photographs of Sarah, all courtesy of Alyce, and then another photograph I had of my great-grandmother Bessie.

Sarah Brod/Brotman Goldfarb and her son Leo Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Bessie Brotman

Bessie Brotman

It seems to me that Bessie had a rounder and softer edged face than the woman seated in front of the grocery store, so I think that woman was indeed Sarah, Bessie’s sister.

So somehow my family ended up with a photograph of Bessie’s sister Sarah. And we never would have known if I hadn’t found Alyce and she hadn’t shared her copy of the photograph.

I slowly flipped through the rest of Alyce’s photos, noting the faces of my grandmother’s Goldfarb first cousins Joe and Leo and their wives and children, hoping I could identify some of the unknowns in Alyce’s collection, when I came to this photograph. This time my jaw dropped.

Rose Goldfarb, Joe Goldfarb, Gussie Brotman

Alyce labeled this photograph, “Grandpa Joe. I think that could be Aunt Rose [the youngest child of Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb] on the left. Not sure who’s on the right.”

But I knew who was on the right. I had no doubt. That woman was my grandmother, Gussie Brotman Goldschlager, posing with two of her first cousins, Joe and Rose Goldfarb. I was blown away. How could Alyce, who until just a few days earlier was unknown to me, have a photograph of my grandmother—a photograph I’d never seen before?

I sent the photograph to my brother for confirmation, and he agreed. I ran the photograph through Google’s face identification software, and Google agreed. Here are some other photographs of my grandmother.

Gussie Brotman

Goldschlagers 1935

Jeff and Gussie c. 1946

I think you also will agree.  Alyce, my third cousin, had a photograph of her grandfather Joe and my grandmother Gussie together. Wow.

More Photos of My Double Cousin Hannah Goldsmith Benedict and Her Family

I recently posted photos that my cousin Bruce Velzy sent me of his great-great-grandmother Hannah Goldsmith. Hannah is one of the relatives whose lives most fascinate me. Her parents were both related to me. Her father Simon Goldschmidt was my four-times great-uncle, and her mother Fradchen or Fanny Schoenthal was my three-times great-aunt. Simon and Fanny were recent immigrants from Germany to the US when Hannah was born in 1848. And then Hannah lost her mother shortly after Hannah’s second birthday.

Hannah and her brother Henry then moved with their father Simon to Washington, Pennsylvania, where they lived with Hannah’s half-brother Jacob Goldsmith and his wife and children. Then when she was just eighteen, Hannah married Joseph Benedict, a rag dealer who was fourteen years older, and moved to Pittsburgh; her father moved with her. Hannah and Joseph had five children, but only three survived infancy: Jacob (1870), Herschel (1871), and C. Harry (1876).

Bruce is descended from Hannah’s son Jacob and shared these photos, which I’ve previously posted:

Hannah Goldsmith Benedict. Courtesy of the family and edited by the Photo Restoration Facebook group.

Sons of Hannah Goldsmith and Joseph Benedict, c. 1890. Courtesy of the family

Joseph Benedict, Helen Benedict, Marian Benedict, and Hannah Goldsmith Benedict. August 24, 1908. Courtesy of Bruce Velzy

One of the things that makes Hannah’s story so remarkable is the success of her son C. Harry Benedict and of his two sons, Manson Benedict and William Benedict, as I wrote about here and here. They all were Ivy League graduates who pursued highly successful careers in science and engineering.

A few weeks ago I heard from Manson’s Benedict’s daughter Mary, She found my blog and commented as follows:

My father was Manson Benedict, son of C.Harry Benedict. Manson played a large part in the successful development of the atomic bomb. His contribution was developing a process to separate the isotopes of Uranium at a plant in Oak Ridge Tennessee. After the war he became the first professor of nuclear engineering at MIT, and was active in research on peaceful uses for atomic energy, such as nuclear power. I got a Master’s degree in chemistry, doing research on radiation chemistry. My granddaughter, Kirsten Benedict Sauer, earned a PhD in geology and is now employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she is developing ways to safely dispose of radioactive waste from reactors.

I emailed Mary and learned that she and her granddaughter are not the only ones carrying on the Benedict tradition in the sciences. Both of Mary’s sons are scientists as are her daughter-in-law and some of her grandchildren, and her daughter majored in psychology. It’s amazing to see how the DNA carries certain interests and skills from one generation to another.

Mary also shared three photographs with me, including this one taken at the celebration of Hannah Goldsmith’s 90th birthday in 1938. The photo includes Hannah’s three sons Jacob, Herschel, and C. Harry, her grandsons Manson and William, her daughters-in-law and granddaughter-in-law, and her great-granddaughter Mary.

Celebration of Hannah Goldsmith Benedict’s 90th birthday in 1938. Standing in rear Jake, C. Harry, Manson, Herschel, and William Benedict. Seated Marjorie Allen Benedict, Lena Manson Benedict with Mary Benedict Sauer, and Hannah Goldsmith Benedict. Courtesy of Mary Benedict Sauer.

Mary also sent me two wedding photographs. This one is of her grandparents C.Harry Benedict and Lena Manson on their wedding day, February 7, 1902.

C. Harry Benedict and Lena Manson, 1902. Courtesy of Mary Benedict Sauer.

And this one is from Mary’s own wedding in 1959. Mary and her husband Myran Charles Sauer, Jr. are standing with Mary’s grandparents, C Harry Benedict and Lena Manson Benedict.

Mary Benedict, Myran Charles Sauer, Jr., Lena Manson, and C.Harry Benedict, 1959. Courtesy of Mary Sauer.

Once again, I am so drawn to the story of Hannah Goldsmith and so grateful to her descendants for sharing the stories and photographs they have of her.

People Read Footnotes! Another Twist in the Family Tree

Last month when I wrote about the end (for now) of my Goldschmidt family research, I included this footnote on my blog post:

I would be remiss in my duties as a family historian if I didn’t mention that in addition to their four sons Meyer, Seligmann, Lehmann, and Simon, whom I’ve studied in depth, my four-times great-grandparents Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Seligmann had a daughter Jette Goldschmidt. She married David Gruenewald of Poembsen, Germany, and they had two children. One died as an infant or was stillborn, but the other, Jacob Gruenewald, was born in 1820, lived to adulthood, married Sarah Nethe, and had fourteen children born between 1847 and 1872. All of this information, however, is based purely on a secondary source, a report in the Alex Bernstein Collection at the Leo Baeck Institute. I’ve tried to locate more information about Jette’s descendants, but so far have not succeeded. If the day comes when I can, I will add Jette’s family to the blog.

I admit that I never expected anyone to read the footnote. After all, it was a footnote, and I wrote it just to be forthcoming and thorough in reporting an area of the Goldschmidt family story that I had not included on my blog.

But much to my surprise and delight, my cousin Ruth read the footnote and emailed me to say she thought we might be related through the Gruenewald family of Poembsen. Ruth is my fourth cousin through my Seligmann family line. Her great-great-grandfather Hieronymous Seligmann was the brother of my great-great-grandfather Bernard Seligman, the subject of my latest novel. We are both descended from Moritz Seligmann and Babette Schoenfeld. As far as I knew, Ruth was not related to me through my Goldschmidt family.

So when I received Ruth’s email, I wanted to know whether we were also related through the Gruenewalds of Poembsen. Ruth had a family tree prepared by memory by her grandfather Simon Gruenewald near the end of his life. I had only the work compiled by Alex Bernstein. Ruth sent me a copy of her grandfather’s tree, and I studied it and compared it to the information I had from Alex Bernstein’s book. I then sent it to David Baron, who had first told me about Alex Bernstein’s book. And he also studied and compared the two trees.

 

 

There were a few inconsistencies in the two trees, including most importantly that Ruth’s tree did not list Jette Goldschmidt as David Gruenewald’s first wife. I have written to a contact in Oberlistingen, hoping that there will be a marriage record for Jette and David. Alternatively we hope that there may be records of Jette’s death or of the birth or marriage of her son Jacob that will help us verify that Jette Goldschmidt was married to David Gruenewald and was the mother of Jacob Gruenewald.

Because we assume that Alex Bernstein relied on actual records whereas Ruth knew that her grandfather relied only on his memory. we think for the most part that the Bernstein tree is more reliable than Ruth’s grandfather’s tree.  And it wouldn’t be surprising if Ruth’s grandfather was confused, given that there are at least two Davids, two Simons, two Jacobs, and several Minnas on the Gruenewald tree.

So what did we conclude regarding the relationship between Ruth and Jette Goldschmidt, assuming that David Gruenewald was married to my four-times great-aunt Jette?

There is no genetic connection, only one by marriage. Here is an abbreviated family report for the Gruenewalds of Poembsen.

As you can see, Levi Jehuda had a son Moses. Moses had two sons—David Gruenewald I, who married (we believe) Jette Goldschmidt, and Ruth’s great-great-grandfather Simon Gruenewald I.

But it gets more complicated.  Simon Gruenewald I had a son David Gruenewald II. David Gruenewald II married his first cousin, Minna Gruenewald, the daughter of David Gruenewald I with his second wife, Klara Karenmeyer. Minna Gruenewald was Ruth’s great-grandmother and also the half-sister of my relative Jacob Gruenewald I, David Gruenewald I and Jette Goldschmidt’s son.

Here are some charts, though I am not sure they really help. The first chart shows how Ruth’s great-grandparents were first cousins, Minna the daughter of David Gruenewald I, her husband David Gruenewald II the son of Simon Gruenewald I.

The second chart shows how Ruth is the step-great-great-granddauaghter of Jette Goldschmidt, my three-times great-aunt.

Thus, it appears that my four-times great-aunt Jette Goldschmidt was Ruth’s step-great-great-grandmother. Crazy, isn’t it?

And then David Baron discovered yet another connection. He wrote: “I found another connection with your families. In our Katz/Katzenstein trees we have Bertha Pes Katz daughter of Bonum Katz and Zerline Nussbaum of Jesberg who married Feist Joseph LInz. Pes and Feist Joseph had Betty LInz and Berthold Linz. Betty LInz married Albert Gruenwald and Berthold married Albert’s sister Rebecca Paula Gruenwald, Both Albert and Betty were the children of Hirsch Gruenwald and his wife Mina Gruenwald (born 1834) According to a family tree I found on My Heritage at https://www.myheritage.com/site-family-tree-550062631/fastre – Mina was the daughter of Simon Grunewald and Malchen Rose.”

I admit that I am still working on sorting through that one!

So Ruth is related to me genetically through our shared Seligmann line and also related to me by marriage, albeit distantly, through my Goldschmidt/Gruenewald line and through my Katzenstein/Katz line.

And who knows where else our family lines may have crossed.

In the meantime, Ruth’s grandfather’s tree has provided  clues as to what happened to the descendants of Jette Goldschmidt and David Gruenewald I. I have just connected with one of those descendants and hope to be able to fill out the family tree so that my four-times greataunt Jette Goldschmidt Gruenewald will no longer be relegated to just a footnote.

 

Family History in Truth or Fiction

Thanks so much to Linda Austin of Moonbridgebooks for interviewing me about my novel, Santa Fe Love Song.

moonbridgebooks

Back in May 2017 I posted “Writing the Immigrant Story in Truth or Fiction” about Amy Cohen and her family history novel Pacific Street based on her immigrant ancestors’ stories. She explained why she decided to write her family history as fiction. There are a number of other reasons for writers to do this—to avoid hurting family or to protect the guilty and not have to worry about a lawsuit or being disowned, because there’s a bigger story to tell outside the confines of one true story, or just because they want to.

Amy recently published another family historical fiction book based on another set of ancestors. Santa Fe Love Song is about a young Jewish immigrant to the US who became a pioneer on the Santa Fe Trail and settled in Santa Fe. But he wanted to marry a Jewish woman, so he had to go back…

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