Henry Goldsmith, Part VII: The Westward Migration

For many of Henry Goldsmith’s children and grandchildren, the 1930s were years of westward movement. I don’t know what motivated this migration to California. Was it inspired by the ill-fated Jack Goldsmith, who went there in 1932 to study law at the University of Southern California and died in 1933 when he was just 24? Or was it the promise of greater opportunities in the years of the Great Depression? Perhaps that was what had inspired Jack Goldsmith to move to California in the first place. I don’t know.

Jack’s parents SR and Rae Goldsmith were possibly the first of Henry Goldsmith’s children to relocate. By 1935, SR and Rae Goldsmith had moved to Los Angeles. In 1936, SR was practicing law there, and in 1940 he was working as a stockbroker.1

But by 1940 three more of Henry Goldsmith’s eight surviving children were living in Los Angeles as well as two of his grandchildren. In fact, it appears that those two grandchildren may have led the way.  By March 13, 1934, Eleanor Goldsmith, JW’s daughter, and her husband Julian Rosenbaum and their children were living in Los Angeles, as reflected in Julian’s application for veteran’s compensation:

Box Title: Rooney, Andrew – Rosentall, Sam (369), Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948

Eleanor’s brother J. Edison Goldsmith soon joined her in California. He graduated from medical school in 1935 and then took an internship at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles:

“Edison Goldsmith Medical Graduate,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, June 13, 1935, p. 2.

By July 1937, Eleanor and J. Edison’s parents, JW and Jennie Goldsmith, had also relocated to Los Angeles, as revealed in this news article about J. Edison’s engagement to Eleanor Heineman:

“Dr. J. Edison Goldsmith, Former Local Man, Is Engaged to Marry,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, July 24, 1937, p. 2.

J. Edison must have met his wife Eleanor while she was spending winters with her grandfather in Los Angeles. She was the daughter of Harry H. Heineman and Grace Livingston and was born on March 14, 1912 in Merrill, Wisconsin, where she was raised. Her father was a lumberman there.2 She and J. Edison were married on October 14, 1937, in Merrill, Wisconsin,3 and then settled in Los Angeles. In 1940 they were living with Eleanor’s mother Grace, and J. Edison was practicing medicine.3

“Merrill Girl Wed to California Man At Home Ceremony,” Wausau (WI) Daily Herald, October 15, 1937, p. 7

“Merrill Girl Wed to California Man At Home Ceremony,” Wausau (WI) Daily Herald, October 15, 1937, p. 7

In 1940, J. Edison’s parents JW and Jennie were sharing their household with yet another Goldsmith sibling, JW’s brother and long-time business partner Benjamin. That meant that there were now three Goldsmith brothers living in Los Angeles, SR, JW and Benjamin.

Benjamin and JW Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00404; Page: 64B; Enumeration District: 60-200
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

And at some point before the 1940 census was taken, the Los Angeles Goldsmith brothers were joined by their sister Florence and her husband Lester Bernstein. Interestingly, Lester was enumerated twice on the 1940 census. On April 10, he was enumerated in Pittsburgh, living as a lodger with his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Helen and Edwin Meyer; he was working as a real estate salesman. And then on May 1, he was enumerated in Los Angeles, living with Florence and working as a business analyst in the oil industry. Perhaps he’d been waiting for a job to come through before relocating.4

The following year the family lost their oldest sibling when JW Goldsmith died on October 9, 1941, at the age of 69. He was survived by his wife Jennie, his two children Eleanor and J. Edison, and two grandchildren with one yet to come.5

The last of the Goldsmith siblings to relocate to Los Angeles was Oliver, but he did not relocate until after the 1940 census. Oliver’s reasons for moving may have stemmed from the loss of his wife Sally on September 30, 1937, in Reading, Pennsylvania,6 where they had been living since about 1930 and where Oliver was practicing law. Sally died from a fulminating streptococcal infection of the throat and larynx and from septicemia. She was only 47. Oliver stayed in Reading for several more years, and in 1940 he was living alone and practicing law there.7

But by 1942 Oliver had followed his other siblings to Los Angeles. When he registered for the World War II draft, he was living with his sister Florence Goldsmith Bernstein and working for New York Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles. There were then only three siblings left in Pennsylvania: Milton, Walter, and Helen.

Oliver Goldsmith, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

The 1940s brought three more deaths to the family in Los Angeles. JW’s wife Jennie died on September 1, 1945, after suffering a heart attack; she was 72. JW and Jennie were survived by their two children and their grandchildren.8

Then Samuel Reginald “SR” Goldsmith died on June 1, 1948, in Los Angeles; he was 69.9 He was survived by his wife Rae, who died on April 26, 1972, at age 89 in Los Angeles.10 Their son Jack had predeceased them, as we saw.

Benjamin Goldsmith was the next to die; he died on September 25, 1955, in Los Angeles. He was 82.11

The Connellsville Daily Courier, October 25, 1955, p. 2

And he was followed three years later by his younger brother Oliver, who died on December 2, 1958.  He was only 71. Oliver had still been living with his sister Florence when he died. Neither Benjamin nor Oliver had children who survived them.12

Thus, by 1959, all four of the Goldsmith brothers who’d moved to Los Angeles had passed away. They were survived by the other four siblings: Florence in Los Angeles, and Milton, Walter, and Helen back in Pittsburgh. It’s interesting that the three siblings who stayed behind in Pennsylvania outlived the four brothers who’d moved west. Perhaps moving to California had been more stressful for the family than they expected.

More on the three who stayed behind—Milton, Walter, and Helen—in my next series of posts.


  1. California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, Ancestry.com. California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968; S.R. and Rae Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00221; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 19-43, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Eleanor Heineman, Number: 560-56-6368; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1957, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Pedro/Wilmington/Los Angeles, California; NAI Number: 4486355; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Description NARA Roll Number: 058, Ancestry.com. California, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1959. Harry Heineman and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Merrill, Lincoln, Wisconsin; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0008; FHL microfilm: 2342314, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. Grace Livingston birth record, FHL Film Number: 1287900, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922. 
  3. Edison and Eleanor Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00221; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 19-40, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. Lester and Florence Bernstein, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00405; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 60-205, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Lester Bernstein, 1940 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03663; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 69-388, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  6.  Certificate Number: 85944, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 083001-086000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  7. Oliver Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03679; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 70-35, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. “Mrs. J.W. Goldsmith,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, September 4, 1945, p. 2; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120802115 
  9. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  10.  Number: 549-66-0941; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1962, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-201 
  11. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997. 
  12. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997; “Oliver Goldsmith,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, December 30, 1958, p. 3. 

Henry Goldsmith’s Grandsons: College Men

Before I left for England, I had been writing about Henry Goldsmith, my double cousin, related to me both as a Goldsmith and as a Schoenthal. Henry and his wife Sarah Jaffa had ten children, eight of whom were still living in 1920, all in western Pennsylvania. Sarah died in 1907, and Henry died in 1923. By then, six of their eight surviving children were married, and there were numerous grandchildren.

Two of their sons (JW and Benjamin) were in business together as merchants, one (Milton) was a doctor, one (Walter) a dentist, and two (SR and Oliver) were lawyers. Their two daughters also were quite accomplished, one (Florence) as a musician, the other (Helen) a teacher until she married and had a family. But we saw that after Henry’s death, there’d been some changes in the sons’ careers and that Oliver had moved away and married in Florida.

In the 1920s, not only were Henry Goldsmith’s sons making changes, his grandsons were as well. Three of his grandsons went away to college in the 1920s.

Norman, Milton and Luba Goldsmith’s older son, graduated from Cornell University in 1927.  Here is his photograph (left) from the 1927 Cornell yearbook:

“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1927
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

During the summer after his graduation from Cornell, Norman took a writing course with his mother Luba at the University of Pittsburgh, as reported in detail in the July 28, 1927 Pittsburgh Press..  Here is just a short excerpt from the article, which mostly focuses on Luba’s writing interests and background:

“Pitt’s First Co-Ed and Son Studying in Same Class,” The Pittsburgh Press, July 28, 1927, p. 4

Again the doctor looks at literature. Dr. Luba Robin Goldsmith, practicing physician for 21 years, is a student of composition in the University of Pittsburgh summer school. Attending some of her classes is her son, Norman R. Goldsmith, aged 20, a graduate of the 1927 class of Cornell university, who will enter the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. ….

Beside her in Prof. Maulsby’s class in journalism each morning is her son, Norman R. Goldsmith, who, like his two parents will be a medical doctor. He is tall, attractive with his mother’s blue eyes and open countenance.  When questioned as to his correlation of medicine and writing, he said:

“Medicine I want to make my vocation; literature my avocation, if possible. I like to write. I think that’s about all.” He wants to write fiction, chiefly short stories.  He has already written a book, “Liebestraum,” printed privately in a small edition. In the Goldsmith home in Squirrel Hill is Albert, aged 12, whose career has not yet been determined. He is sturdy and athletic, likes music and writes a little.

Norman then began his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania, following in the footsteps of his mother and father, who were both doctors.1

Norman’s cousin, J. Edison, who was one year younger than Norman and the son of JW and Jennie Goldsmith, followed his cousin to Cornell, but completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He then went to the Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia.2

Finally, the third cousin, Jack Goldsmith, son of SR and Rae Goldsmith, was a year younger than J.Edison. Like his father, Jack went to the University of Michigan, from which he graduated in 1931. He chose law as his profession, following in his father’s footsteps; he attended Harvard Law School for a year and then transferred to the law school at the University of Southern California.3

And then tragedy struck. Jack Tumpson Goldsmith, the only son of SR Goldsmith and his wife Rae, died on March 21, 1933 at the age of 24. Excerpts from the full obituary are transcribed below:

“Funeral Service for Jack Goldsmith Thursday Afternoon,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, March 22, 1933, p. 5.

The funeral service for Jack Tumpson Goldsmith, whose death occurred yesterday morning in New York, will be held at 2:30 o’clock Thursday afternoon at the residence in Wills road. ….

A heart condition, which followed a severe attack of arthritis in December, caused death at 9:50 o’clock Tuesday morning at the apartment of Jack’s aunts, Misses Anne and Martha Tumpson. He was 24 years old.

The young man, a son of Attorney Samuel R. and Rae Tumpson Goldsmith of this city, was completing a law course at the University of Southern California when his illness began. In recent weeks his health failed rapidly, but many friends were unaware of the seriousness of his condition and his death created a profound shock.

Jack Goldsmith was widely known in Connellsville and other places. He made friends readily and was rather widely traveled. He was a brilliant student and made scholastic records at the institutions which he attended. Although equipping himself for the practice of law he was keenly interested in journalism and writing of short stories and poems. He frequently submitted articles to publishers, some of them being accepted.  During a summer vacation, he was employed on the reportorial staff of The Courier.  It being his desire to further acquaint himself with journalistic work through actual experience.

Born on January 28, 1909, in Connellsville, Jack attended the public schools here.  After two years in the Connellsvillle High School he entered Staunton Military Academy, where he was graduated with honors. While there he was a member of the school band and very active in student affairs. He next entered the University of Michigan, where he received his bachelor of arts degree in 1931.

At Michigan he was a member of the editorial staff of the school paper and was able to give wide scope to his desire for journalistic effort. He also became a member of the college gymnasium team, the first ever to represent the university in intercollegiate competition. He was awarded a letter for his success in that department. He was also a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity.

Upon completion of his course there he entered Harvard Law School, spending one year at that place. Then he felt he might like to locate, upon graduation, in California, and in order to better reach a decision he transferred his study of law to the University of Southern California last year.

It was while his parents were on a visit with him during the Christmas holiday that he suffered an acute attack of arthritis.  It was quite severe on December 27. He was taken to the Cedar of Lebanon Hospital at Los Angeles, where he spent three weeks. The illness left him with a heart condition.

On February 22 he journed across the continent by train, going to the apartment of his aunts in New York. There he was confined to his bed for three weeks. His mother was constantly with him and his father spent the major portion of the past three weeks in New York also. Both were at his bedside when death occurred.

One of the best friends Jack Goldsmith had made in Connellsville was Rev. E. H. Stevens, pastor of the First Baptist Church. Despite the great difference in their ages, they would often spend hours together in the discussion of philosophy. With much in common, especially the ideas the younger generation are now confronting, they became very close to one another. Rev. Stevens has been invited by the family to take part in the funeral service.

What a terrible loss to the family and to the community. I was puzzled by the connection between arthritis and a heart condition, but after a little research, I believe that Jack suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, not the arthritis most of us association with joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with damage to the heart.

I also was puzzled by the reference to the “college gymnasium team,” but found references to this terminology in some older sources referring to some kind of athletic team, though I am not sure exactly which sport. It might be gymnastics.

Jack Goldsmith is buried in Glendale, California. As we will see in the next post, among his other legacies, Jack may have inspired many in his extended family to leave Pennsylvania for the California dream.




  1. “Get Penn Degrees,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 18, 1931, p. 6. 
  2. The Connellsville Daily Courier, April 2, 1927, p. 6; The Connellsville Daily Courier, December 22, 1928, p. 6; The Connellsville Daily Courier, June 13, 1965, p. 2. 
  3. “Funeral Service for Jack Goldsmith Thursday Afternoon,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, March 22, 1933, p. 5. 

England, Part V: The Final Day

Our last day in England was as action-packed as our first two days in London. We had planned to go to Churchill’s War Rooms. Several friends had recommended it, and after seeing The Darkest Hour, we were both very interested in learning more about Winston Churchill and his role in World War II. We had passed the site the day before and noted the very, very long line of people on the sidewalk and decided that we’d better get there as early as we could.

We showed up at 9:10, knowing that the museum didn’t open until 9:30. There was already a line ahead of us—perhaps about thirty people. What we hadn’t realized was that it would have been possible to buy tickets ahead of time for a set time on the priority line, but now it was too late. As we stood outside waiting, the line behind us grew longer and longer, stretching down the block almost to the corner by the time the doors opened at 9:30. Then we had to wait as the priority ticketholders entered. Every ten minutes or so they would allow in more people, including a few from the regular line.

We finally entered at 10:20, saying to each other, “This had better be worth the wait.” It was. Without question.

We spent two hours underground at the exhibit. The audioguides were excellent, providing clear directions on where to go and lots of information about what we were seeing as well as interviews with some of those who worked in the war rooms with Churchill. It was a fascinating tour. Seeing the spaces that were recreated in the movie and realizing that these men and women had spent days and nights during the long years of the war burrowed beneath the ground, doing intelligence work and collecting information about the war’s progress, made us appreciate even more Churchill’s leadership and commitment to winning the war.

There is one very large gallery devoted to an exhibit about Churchill’s life. For some reason they decided to start with the war years, then the post-war years and his death, and then his early years as a child, a young adult, and a politician. I found that room a bit confusing and overwhelming. Maybe because I am such a linear person and like things to be in chronological order. I most enjoyed hearing some of Churchill’s speeches in his own voice and also seeing pictures of him and his family as a boy and then as a father and husband.

We finally emerged from the dark around noontime and were grateful to see sunlight, although it was a cloudy and gray day. We walked over the Westminster Bridge. Well, we tried to walk. The throngs of people made it as crazy as being in Times Square before theaters open. You could barely move. We were heading to the Tate Modern, which is on the other side of the Thames. When we finally managed to get away from the crowds, it was quite a relief.

After a quick lunch, we continued our walk to the Tate Modern. We enjoyed the walk along the river with the London skyline in view—we could see St Paul’s Cathedral and all the modern skyscrapers that we had seen the day before, but now from a distance with the river in the foreground.

We finally reached the Tate Modern, and it is an imposing structure. Once a power station, it was converted to a museum and opened in 2000. I can’t say that I found it a terribly inviting building—it still looks more like a power station than a museum, although there are glass additions on top of the old building.

Entering the building felt a bit like entering a huge train station—a very large open hall descending down towards the ticket booth and museum itself.

We went to two of the exhibits, the first being Artist and Society, which focused on how artists use their art to comment on society. Some of those works were very provocative—like the collection of firehoses attached to each other to evoke the hoses used to spray African American protesters during the civil rights movement in the US or a series of photographs showing the demolition of buildings in the name of urban renewal. But some just left me cold, like the one of strange large forms just strewn on the floor.

The second exhibit we saw was more traditional and included works of artists who were more familiar, such as Picasso, Dali, and Rothko. It focused on the artistic process itself. I enjoyed that exhibit more than the first because I tend to be more conventional in my idea of what is art and prefer art that is more about aesthetics than politics.

We wanted to take the elevator up to see the observatory on the tenth floor. But the lines were too long, and we gave up. I think we’d just had enough of crowds for the day.

Our last evening in London was much less hectic than the day. We took an Uber to Covent Garden and had a fabulous sushi dinner at Sticks and Sushi. Then we walked from there to St Martin-in-the Fields Church for a concert of Vivaldi, Mozart, and Purcell. The music was soothing and relaxing, and the setting quite beautiful.

For our last morning in England, we had the wonderful treat of meeting two of my cousins—Annette, my fourth cousin, once removed, and Mark, my fifth cousin. Annette and Mark are related to me through my Seligmann family. We are all descended from Jakob Seligmann and Martha Mayer, my four-times great-grandparents. Mark and Annette descend from Jakob and Martha’s daughter Caroline who married Moses Morreau, and I descend from Jakob and Martha’s son Moritz. We had a delightful time together—sharing family history and our own stories. Mark and I have now continued to share and explore our mutual family history.

And after saying goodbye to my cousins, we packed our bags and headed for Heathrow for the flight back to the US. I was quite sad to leave. It had been a perfect vacation with the right mix of relaxation, exercise, gorgeous views, art and culture, history, and friendly people. I was in no way ready for it to end.

But it did, and now I have found great pleasure in recreating and remembering it all through my blog. I hope you have enjoyed my travelogue as well. Thanks for coming along.

Next—a return to the story of the children of Henry Goldsmith.



England, Part IV: Visiting My Ancestors’ Neighborhood

One of the reasons I wanted to revisit London on this trip to England was that when we first visited London in 1995, I had no idea that I had ancestors who once lived there. I did not start doing family history research until 2012, and sometime thereafter I learned that my three-times great-grandfather Hart Levy Cohen was born in Amsterdam, but had immigrated to England and settled in London by 1799. He married my three-times great-grandmother Rachel Jacobs at the Great Synagogue in London in 1812, and together they had five children born in London, including my great-great-grandfather Jacob Cohen, who was born in 1824. By 1851, however, Hart and all his children had left London and settled in Philadelphia. 1

But from at least 1799 until 1851, I had direct ancestors living in London, and I wanted to know more about where they lived and what their community was like. I’d done some research several years back about the area and about the treatment of Dutch Jews, known as Chuts, so I knew that the neighborhood ranged from poor to middle class in those days and that Dutch Jews like my three-times great-grandparents were often treated as outsiders in the community.2

I was fortunate to find Isabelle Seddons, a historian who does walking tours of London including the former Jewish neighborhoods of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. I knew that the Cohens had lived on New Goulston Street in 1841 and at Number 8, Landers Buildings on Middlesex Street, in 1851, both addresses located in Spitalfields in the Whitechapel district of London. I gave Isabelle the information I had, and we arranged to meet at 2 pm on May 30 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

What made the tour even better is that my friend and cousin-by-marriage Shirley and her husband Ron were able to join us. Shirley and I had connected years back when I was trying to sort out the three Selinger brothers who married three of my Cohen relatives and Shirley was trying to learn more about her Selinger ancestors. I was quite excited that we would finally get to meet in person. Shirley kindly brought me a copy of an 1875 map of the neighborhood showing New Goulston and Middlesex Streets.

The four of us on the tour

Shirley and I standing in front of the pub where we and our husbands shared some beers and some stories after the tour

Here’s a current map of the area we visited.


Isabelle started the tour with an overview of the Jewish history of the area. She pointed out that during World War II, the neighborhood was heavily bombed by the Nazis because of the ports that were (and are) located nearby. Thus, many if not most of the original buildings are gone, as can be seen from this photograph and from others.

According to Isabelle, the Whitechapel-Spitalfields area was predominantly Jewish from the 18th century until World War II, when the neighborhood was evacuated because of the bombing. After World War II, the Jews did not return to this area of London, and a new wave of immigrants settled in the area. Today it is primarily a Bengali neighborhood where mosques have replaced synagogues.

This building was originally a church, then later a synagogue, and now a mosque. See https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1240697

The area was always poor, though some of the Jewish merchants were better off than most of the residents. As Hart Cohen and his sons were china merchants and living on a street that Charles Booth designated on his historic poverty map of London as less poverty stricken than others, I assume they were among those who were somewhat better off. Nevertheless they left London by 1851.

The largest influx of Jews came in the late 19th century from Eastern Europe, long after my Cohen ancestors had emigrated. They came in huge numbers and lived in terrible conditions, and much of what is left in the area that reflects its Jewish past dates from that era of immigration and afterwards, not from the early 19th century when my family lived there.

Isabelle took us to see the archway built in the late 19th century as part of a housing project supported and promoted by the Rothschild family and other wealthy English Jews to provide the poverty-stricken Jews living in the area with decent housing. It was called the Four Percent Industrial Dwellings Company because the investors were promised a four percent return on their investment.  The housing units were destroyed during the war, but the arch remains as a reminder of this early attempt at urban renewal.

One Jewish entrepreneur had what today would seem like an excellent business idea.  He wanted to create an indoor market where various vendors could sell their wares—food, clothing, household goods—all in one covered space. In today’s world where places like Covent Garden Market and Faneuil Hall Marketplace thrive as well as all the shopping malls that exist throughout the US, such an idea would seem to be a no-brainer and an instant success. But in those times people—vendors and shoppers—rejected the idea, and the owner converted his building into a textile factory. Today it houses graduate departments of Glasgow Caledonian University offering advanced degrees in, among many other areas, in International Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Marketing.

Most of the Jews made their living in the late nineteenth century as tailors or working at a nearby matchstick factory, and working conditions were terrible. In 1888 the matchstick workers went on strike after organizing themselves at Hanbury Hall, a building originally built as a Huguenot chapel in 1719. The hall became a center for union and radical activity during the late 19th century. Today it operates as a café and venue for social events.

Hanbury Hall

The poverty of the Jewish residents of the area was also reflected in this building, which was built as a soup kitchen for poor Jews, as the engraved inscription indicates, and still operates as a soup kitchen today for the newer poor immigrants in the area.

Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor

But there are still some signs that this was once a Jewish neighborhood, such as these old store signs:

And this Star of David at the top of a drainpipe. This is the Christ Church primary school on Brick Lane, one of the major thoroughfares in the area. It was founded in 1708 as a parish school, but when the building on Brick Lane was built in 1874, most of the children in the neighborhood who attended the school were Jewish. According to Isabelle, the Star of David was added to reflect the school’s tolerance and openness to students of all backgrounds.

Christ Church Primary School with Star of David on the drain pipe

We saw another Star of David with what appears to be the scales of justice inside it so perhaps this was once a lawyer’s office.

UPDATE: A member of the Tracing The Tribe group on Facebook provided me with this information about the Star of David below: “The interesting Magen David at 88 Whitehall is not on scales but is actually shown as supported by two lions of Judah wielding sabres. Beneath is a pair of medallions, decorated with Menorahs. It was designed by Arthur Szyk in the mid 1930s. It is a staple of every Jewish London tour and there is actually a more ornate but similar design also by Szyk located inside.”

And we found an old mezuzah painted over a doorway at this house:

The relief sculptures above the windows and door on this building reflect that this was at one time a Jewish bakery:

Once a Jewish bakery

There is also still one active synagogue in the neighborhood, the Sandy’s Row Synagogue. Although the synagogue was not housed in this building until 1867 after my ancestors had left the area, this could be the congregation that my ancestors joined as it was founded by Dutch Jewish immigrants to the area.

But Hart Cohen and Rachel Jacobs were married at the Great Synagogue in 1812, and their son Jacob, my great-great-grandfather, and my great-great-grandmother Sarah Jacobs were also married at the Great Synagogue in 1844. Unfortunately, the Great Synagogue was destroyed by the Nazis and no longer exists though Isabelle did show us where it once stood.

Where the Great Synagogue once stood

I asked Isabelle how a synagogue could survive today in this community, and she explained that there are a number of Orthodox Jews who work in downtown London who come to the synagogue for daily minyans before and after work.

We also heard the story of Jacob Adler, an actor and violinist who played in the Yiddish theater. His former home was marked with a plaque of a violin in the sidewalk. Adler had immigrated to London from Odessa where he had already had a career in theater. After Yiddish theater was banned in Russia in the 1880s, he came to London and within a short time had established his own theatrical club on what was then Prince Street in the Spitalfields neighborhood. His theater was quite popular until a fire broke out and the audience panicked. In the stampede to exit the building, seventeen people were killed. After that Adler lost his audience and so immigrated to the US, where he became a well-known actor on the Yiddish stage in New York.

The last few stops on our tour were of the streets near and where my three-times great-grandparents lived between 1841 and 1851, according to the census records and other records: New Goulston Street and Middlesex Street. The Landers Buildings identified  on Rachel Jacobs’ death certificate in 1851 no longer exist, and Isabelle had no luck finding where they were located or what they were, though we do know they were somewhere on Middlesex Street. Both streets are located in the area where Dutch Jews once lived and where the principal market for the neighborhood was located on Petticoat Lane. As you can see in the photograph below, it still is the setting for an open air market.

Petticoat Lane

These other photographs are my attempts to capture a sense of where my ancestors once lived. I don’t know whether any of these buildings were even there in 1841. But 180 years ago or so, my Cohen ancestors walked, lived, and worked on these streets:

And like so many neighborhoods in cities in the United States, this once poor neighborhood is today being gentrified by young people who want to live close to where they work in downtown London. In many of the photographs you can see the skyscrapers of the financial district looming behind the streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. Isabelle told us that this house is now worth four million pounds:

So this neighborhood that was for almost two hundred years a Jewish neighborhood and then a Bengali neighborhood is now becoming a chic place for millennials and others looking to live close to work.

Signs of gentrification

Will they tear down what remains of the evidence that the area was once Jewish? Will the Stars of David and Jewish signs and other reminders disappear as yet another upscale community of coffee shops and expensive restaurants takes over? I hope not, and if so, I am glad I got to see this area before that happens.





  1. My three-times great-grandmother Rachel died in London on January 9, 1851, and Hart and the two children still living with him in England came to the US shortly after her death. I still haven’t found out where she was buried. 
  2. See my earlier blog posts here and here

Milton’s Family Album, Part XIV: Teasing His Little Brother

Having created pages about his grandparents, his parents, and himself, Milton Goldsmith turned to his siblings, starting with his brother Edwin.

Here is Edwin with his wife Jennie Friedberger:

And here is the biography that Milton wrote about Edwin:

A couple of observations about this biography:

First, I had to look up “caul” as I’d never heard of this before or the superstition associated with it, but this website confirmed what Milton said. A baby born with the amniotic sac on its head or even its whole body is said to have been born with a caul. Here’s a video showing such an occurrence:


As for Milton’s remarks about Edwin being registered as a girl at birth, I recalled that when I was researching Edwin, I saw on the Philadelphia birth index that he was identified as a girl. I assumed that that was just an indexing error, but apparently as Milton notes, Edwin was in fact registered as a girl at birth. Unfortunately, I cannot access the image of the actual birth record through FamilySearch; they are only viewable at a Family History Center, and I do not have easy access to one. If anyone lives near one and can retrieve it, please let me know.

I found Milton’s tone here that of the teasing older sibling as opposed to the serious, almost reverential tone of his other biographies. It is clear that Milton found it humorous that his little brother was registered as a girl.

But the remainder of this biography is obviously written with respect and admiration for his brother and all his accomplishments. This biography must have been written sometime after 1935 when Edwin retired, as mentioned in the essay, and before Edwin’s death on November 15, 1944, because Milton added that fact by the handwritten note above the biography. I think this also is a clue as to when Milton compiled the album—sometime between 1935 and 1944.

The only other article on this page is the obituary for Edwin’s wife Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith:

I won’t quote the entire obituary, but just this excerpt:

The death of Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith … after an illness of six weeks, brought sorrow to the family’s large circle of friends throughout the community. Mrs. Goldsmith, who was 67 years of age, was stricken with a heart ailment on June 5, while attending to some business matters at the offices of the Pennsylvania Company, and her condition became so serious that she was removed to the Jefferson Hospital.

…She was active in social and charitable work in Philadelphia and in Atlantic City….She possessed a wide circle of friends and was esteemed and beloved for her sterling qualities of heart and mind. Her abilities and energies were of an unusually high order. At her summer home in Longport as well as in her beautiful home in Philadelphia, she was a gracious hostess to her numerous friends for many years. Her passing is widely mourned….

The page following this contains a long article about Milton’s brother-in-law Felix Gerson, husband and widower of Emily Goldsmith and editor of The Jewish Exponent newspaper, on the occasion of his retirement. I won’t excerpt this one, but if you click on the image, you can zoom in and read it. I have already written about Felix elsewhere.

This is Part XIV of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX,  Part X, Part XI, Part XII and Part XIII at the links.

I will be taking a break for the next couple of weeks, so see you all in June! 

Henry Goldsmith’s Children, 1923-1930: Years of Change

After Henry Goldsmith’s death in 1923, there were a number of changes and relocations in the family. The first change was the opening of a second law office for S(amuel) R and Oliver Goldsmith in January, 1924.  According to this news article, Oliver Goldsmith, the younger brother, was to be in charge of the new office in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, while SR would remain in charge of the office in Connellsville. Uniontown is less than twelve miles from Connellsville.

“Goldsmiths Open Office in Uniontown,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, January 9, 1924, p. 1

But the Uniontown office must not have worked out because by July 1925, Oliver had relocated to Miami, Florida, where he continued to practice law.1  On May 18, 1926, Oliver married Sarah “Sally” Friedman in Miami.

“Oliver Goldsmith Weds Former Pittsburg Girl,” The Connellsville Daily Courier,” May 19, 1926, p. 2

According to this brief news item, Sally was also then residing in Miami, but had previously lived in Pittsburgh. She was in fact born in Pittsburgh on April 13, 1890, to Gershon and Libby Friedman,2 who were immigrants from Russia. Sally grew up in the Pittsburgh area where her father was a merchant.3

What I don’t know is how or why Sally and Oliver, two Pennsylvania natives and residents, ended up both living in Miami and getting married there. Did they both happen to move there to escape the cold Northern winters? Or had they planned to move there together? Both were mature adults by 1926—Oliver was 39, Sally was 36.

In any event, they stayed in Florida only until about 1930 (I cannot find them on the 1930 census), but in 1931, they were listed in the Reading, Pennsylvania directory,4 and  the August 25, 1930, Reading Times (p. 2) reported that Oliver had been appointed as a “master of divorce,” “an attorney appointed by the Court to make recommendations in contested divorce and annulment actions.” I don’t know what took them to Reading, which is 230 miles from Connellsville and 260 miles from Pittsburgh where their families were living. Perhaps there was some tension with their families that drove Sally and Oliver first to Miami and then to Reading.

Meanwhile, SR Goldsmith had taken in a new law partner not long after his brother Oliver left:

“S.R. Goldsmith and J. E. Horewitz Form Law Partnership,” The Connelllsville Daily Courier, November 30, 1925, p. 1

Reading between the lines, I imagine that something had happened between SR and Oliver that caused them to dissolve their partnership.

The other big business change that occurred in the years following Henry’s death was Benjamin Goldsmith’s retirement from the store he owned with his brother JW, as announced in this advertisement from the October 9, 1925, Connellsville Daily Courier (p. 18):

At the very top it says, “On November 1st, the partnership of the firm of Goldsmith Bros. will be dissolved. After 30 years of successful business career Mr. Benjamin J. Goldsmith will retire, and his brother and partner, J.W. Goldsmith will continue the store under the name Goldsmith’s.”

Although the ad stated that JW would continue to operate the store (he, after all still had a seventeen-year-old son, J. Edison, to support in 1925), by 1930 it appears that JW had retired as well because the 1930 census reported that he had no occupation. In this case there was no indication of any bad blood leading to the dissolution of JW and Benjamin’s partnership since the 1930 census revealed that Benjamin was living in JW’s home.

JW Goldsmith and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0006; FHL microfilm: 2341772
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Thus, the 1920s were years of loss, growth, and change for the children of Henry Goldsmith. They lost their father Henry and little Sarah Goldsmith. There were two marriages and a number of new babies born. And four of the brothers experienced career changes—JW, Benjamin, SR, and Oliver.

These were also years that saw some of Henry’s grandsons go away to college. More on that in the next post.

  1. Miami, Florida, City Directory, 1926, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Sally Friedman Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 083001-086000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  3. Gershon Friedman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 12, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0148; FHL microfilm: 1241359, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4. Reading, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1931, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 

Henry Goldsmith’s Family, 1920-1930: Losses and Heartbreak

Up through 1920, the family of Henry Goldsmith had had generally good fortune and much success. Henry’s eight surviving children were doing well in their chosen professions. All but two were married, and six of the surviving eight children had children of their own.

On the other hand, Henry had suffered some tragic losses—Henry’s little son Albert died as a young boy, his son Edison died in a horrific train accident, and his wife Sarah Jaffa died in 1907 when she was 56. In addition, Henry had suffered a stroke in 1911, but had recovered. And Henry’s unnamed grandson, the son of Walter Goldsmith and his wife Ella, had died in 1915 when he was just twenty-two days old.

Walter and his wife Ella had then been blessed a year later with a second child, Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith, named for her grandmother. But Walter and Ella suffered another heartbreaking loss on March 21, 1921, when four-year-old Sarah died from acute gastroenteritis.

Death certificate of Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 020501-023500, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Ella had just twenty days earlier on March 1, 1921, given birth to another child, a son Edison, named for Walter’s deceased brother.1

I can’t imagine how Walter and Ella coped with this tragedy. To lose a second child on the heels of the birth of third—did they worry that the new baby would also get sick and die? Did they worry that they had not been fast enough to notice little Sarah’s illness because of the chaos that always surrounds the birth of a new baby?

Walter and Ella somehow survived this loss. In fact, another child was born to them less than two years later. Stanley Goldsmith was born on December 16, 1922.2 And a daughter Edna was born on October 4, 1924.3 Fortunately, all three of these children survived and lived full lives.

The extended family also continued to grow when the first of Henry Goldsmith’s grandchildren married in 1921.  Eleanor Goldsmith, daughter of JW, married Julian F. Rosenbaum on August 16, 1921, in Connellsville.4 Julian was the son of Joseph and Toni (Frankel) Rosenbaum, German immigrants, and he was born on December 18, 1897, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, where his parents had settled after immigrating.5 His father was a dry goods merchant there, and in 1921, Julian was working as the assistant manager in his father’s department store, Rosenbaum Brothers.6

Eleanor and Julian settled in Uniontown where Julian continued to work at the family store.  They had three children born in the 1920s in Uniontown, Henry Goldsmith’s first great-grandchildren.7

But the extended family suffered another loss on June 19, 1923, when Henry Goldsmith died from edema of the lungs at the age of 76.  His funeral was attended by “[o]ver 200 of Fayette county’s prominent citizens, including judges of the common pleas and orphans’ courts.”8 Henry was survived by eight children and nine grandchildren.

Henry Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 067501-070500, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Henry Goldsmith had lived overall a good life, but not a life without tragedy and heartbreak. He had lost his mother when he was three and had outlived two of his children and two of his grandchildren. His wife had died fifteen years before he did. But despite those tragedies, he and his wife Sarah had raised an incredibly well-educated, intelligent, and successful family, all of whom were still living relatively close by in western Pennsylvania when Henry died in 1923.

That would start to change in the years after Henry’s death.

  1. SSN: 181120537, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. SSN: 201142857, Death Certificate Number: PA 2972985, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  3.  Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. “Hostess at Rehearsal Dinner,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, August 15, 1921, p. 2. 
  5. SSN: 550052846, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; Joseph Rosenbaum, passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 550; Volume #: Roll 550 – 07 May 1900-11 May 1900, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925; Rosenbaum family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Uniontown Ward 5, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1571; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 103, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  6. Uniontown, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1921, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. Julian Rosenbaum and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Uniontown, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0104; FHL microfilm: 2341775,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. “Henry Goldsmith,” The Pittsburgh Press, June 22, 1923, p. 28. 

Milton’s Family Album, Part XIII: The Creative Talent of Milton Goldsmith Himself

Milton Goldsmith devoted the next three pages of his family album to himself and to his wife Sophie. The first page includes photographs and two biographies of Milton.

I wonder how they made this photograph of Milton taken from numerous angles—anyone know how they did this?

UPDATE! According to Ava Cohn, aka Sherlock Cohn the Photo Genealogist, these photographs were done with a folding mirror and were quite common. In fact, Ava shared another one as did another Facebook reader who saw my post.

I don’t know where this biography of Milton was published or when, though it was written no earlier than 1891 as it refers to the publication of his book, Rabbi and Priest, in that year. The biography also appears to have been written while he was still living and working in Philadelphia and before he moved to New York City and married Sophie Hyman in 1899. So it was written some time in the 1890s.

I would think that this photograph of Milton was taken about the same time as the publication of that biography, sometime in the 1890s when he was in his thirties:

This entry about him in Who’s Who was written many years later as it references some of his later publications, including his play, The Little Brother, which was published in 1918.

What I really love about this Who’s Who entry are the insights into Milton’s appearance and personality—that he had blue eyes, a fair complexion, and graying hair, that he was cheerful and optimistic, and that he was a moderate drinker and did not smoke. Most of the other biographical and professional information I had already gleaned from other sources. (There are a fair number of blog posts about Milton’s life and career, e.g., here, and here and here and here and here.)

Speaking of The Little Brother, the next page in Milton’s album is a copy of the program from a performance of that play in 1918:

I had previously written about this play and Tyrone Power’s starring role in it.

Finally, the third page compiled three reviews of a play (undated) in which Milton’s wife Sophie had an important role. The play, The Flight of the Duchess, by Henry Hanby Hay, was an adaptation of a “poetic romance” by Robert Browning and performed by the local Browning Society, a amateur group.

In the article on the left side of the page, the reviewer did not like either the play or the performers, but did praise Sophie’s acting, saying, “Mrs. Goldsmith’s reading of her lines was marked by a distinction and sense that had been welcomed in her associates….”

The second review, at the middle bottom of the page, was overall much kinder and also praised Sophie’s performance as “a striking piece of work.” And the third review, on the right side of the page, was more mixed, but again praised Sophie, saying that “The chief individual honors of performance fell to Mrs. Milton Goldsmith.”

These three pages about Milton and his wife Sophie are appropriate reminders of their many talents. Here is one final photograph of Milton, taken in 1941 when he was eighty years old:

This is Part XIII of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX,  Part X, Part XI and Part XII at the links.

Another Lawyer in Henry Goldsmith’s Family

As seen in my prior post, the years between 1910 and 1920 were busy and productive ones for three of Henry Goldsmith’s children; Helen, Walter, and Florence all married in that decade and also engaged in meaningful work (teaching, dentistry, and music, respectively) and Walter and Helen also had children.

This post will focus on the other five children of Henry Goldsmith: Jacob (JW), Benjamin, Milton, Samuel (SR), and Oliver, and their lives during the second decade of the twentieth century.

JW, as we saw, was living in Connellsville in 1910 with his wife Jennie and two children, Eleanor and J. Edison. He was a clothing merchant in business with his brother Benjamin. He continued this work in the 1910s. By 1918, his daughter Eleanor, then seventeen, was a student at Wellesley College.

“Personal,” The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, June 19, 1918, p. 2

In 1920 they were all still living in Connellsville, and JW was still a clothing merchant.

Jacob W. Goldsmith and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 5, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1568; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 13
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

On November 10, 1917, Benjamin Goldsmith was involved in a terrible accident in which his car struck a three-year-old child, fatally injuring him.  Benjamin, however, was found not to be at fault and was completely exonerated of any criminal culpability:

“Driver Exonerated,” The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, November 16, 1917, p, 3

In 1920, Benjamin was still living with his father Henry, his sister Florence, brother Oliver and cousin Lena Katz in Connellsville. Henry was still in the insurance business, Benjamin continued to work as a clothing merchant with JW, Florence was teaching music and soon to be married, and Oliver—well, his story is still to come below.

Henry Goldsmith and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 1, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1568; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 7
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Milton, the third Goldsmith sibling, and his wife Luba were both practicing medicine in Pittsburgh in  1910. They had a second child, Albert Robin Goldsmith, born on April 10, 1915, in Pittsburgh.1 Henry volunteered to provide medical services in 1918 to the mining town of Cool Run located in McIntyre, Pennsylvania, where the Spanish flu epidemic had affected one hundred of the 125 homes.

“Dr. Milton Goldsmith,” The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, October 11, 1918, p, 2

In 1920, Milton, Luba, and their sons Norman and Albert were living in Pittsburgh where both Milton and Luba continued to practice medicine.2

SR (Samuel) Goldsmith continued to practice law and live in Connellsville with his wife Rae and son Jack in the 1910s.3 During this decade he was joined by another member of the family as a member of the profession. His younger brother Oliver graduated from Dickinson Law School in Pennsylvania and became a member of the Pennsylvania bar in August, 1917.4 The newspaper reported on his first case:

The Connellsville Daily Courier, August 6, 1917, p. 1

But Oliver did not have much time to use his license to practice law before he was inducted into the army on September 22, 1917 and sent to Fort Lee, Virginia, where he became a training sergeant. He was ultimately promoted to a corporal and then quartermaster sergeant and was stationed at Fort Lee until his discharge on April 11, 1919.5

“Well Known Connellsvile Boy at Camp Lee,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, March 7, 1918, p. 1

Once he returned from his time in the service, Oliver joined his brother SR in his law practice in Connellsville:

“New Law Firm,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, April 30, 1919. p. 2

As noted above, in 1920 Oliver was living with his father Henry, brother Benjamin, and sister Florence in Connellsville.

Thus, by 1920, all of Henry Goldsmith’s children were adults. All but Benjamin and Oliver were married, and Henry had eight grandchildren. What is perhaps most remarkable is how educated and successful Henry’s children were: a doctor, a dentist, and two lawyers among his sons (with the other two working together as clothing merchants) and two daughters who were both educated, one a teacher, the other a music teacher and composer.

That is quite impressive for the children of a German immigrant mother and a father who was born in the US shortly after his parents immigrated from Germany and who lost his mother when he was only three years old. I wonder who or what inspired them to seek higher education.

And what would the 1920s bring for Henry and his children and grandchildren? Unfortunately, it was not all good news.


  1. Albert Goldsmith, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 914, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  2. Milton Goldsmith, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 550, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  3. Samuel R Goldsmith, 1920 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 1, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1568; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 7, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  4. The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, June 5, 1916, p. 2, and August 6, 1917, p. 1 
  5. Olilver Goldsmith, World War I draft registrations, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948;. 

Henry Goldsmith,1910-1920: Obstacles Faced and Overcome

On August 10, 1911, Henry Goldsmith, then 64 years old, suffered a stroke, rendering him paralyzed and unable to speak.  His condition was reported in the Connellsville paper, as was his continuing improvement.

“Henry Goldsmith Suffers a Stroke,” The Daily Courier, 12 Aug 1911, Sat, Page 1

But Henry had a full recovery. A week later the paper reported that he was able to sit up in bed,1 and by September 18, 1911, he was able to go out and was reported as “recovered” by the newspaper.2 In October, he was re-elected to be president of the board of the People’s Building and Loan Association,3 and the following June he traveled with members of his family to Europe.

The Daily Courier, 02 May 1912, Thu, Page 1

By this time even Henry’s youngest child, Helen, was earning a living. Just days after her father’s stroke, she was appointed to be a primary teacher in Connellsville, selected from a field of eight candidates. Like her older siblings, Helen had been an excellent student, graduating from the Connellsville school as valedictorian as had her brother Milton.

The Daily Courier, 22 Aug 1911, Tue, Page 6

I could not post this article without commenting on the paragraph that follows the one about Helen. It so clearly reflects the discriminatory social attitudes of those times by referring to the teacher by his race and to the class by their ethnic background.

Helen’s teaching career in Connellsville did not last very long. On January 20, 1914, she married Edwin Tanzer Meyer; she was 24, he was 23. Edwin was born in Piedmont, West Virginia, on February 28, 1890, to Sigmund Meyer and Anna Tanzer, who were German immigrants. After living for some time in Lonaconing, Maryland, the family moved to Pittsburgh, where in 1910, Sigmund was a salesman in a department store and Edwin was a floor manager in a department store.4

Helen Goldsmith marriage record, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 
Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Press – 25 Jan 1914 – Page 45

Helen and Edwin settled in Pittsburgh, where they had two children: Edgar J. Meyer, born on March 31, 1915,5 and Malcolm G. Meyer, born January 17, 1918.6 Edwin had become an optometrist in the years between the 1910 census and his registration for the World War I draft. On that registration he reported that he had already served in the ambulance corps in the DC militia. In 1920 Helen, Edwin, and their two young sons were living in Pittsburgh, and Edwin was practicing optometry.7

Edwin T Meyer, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1909239; Draft Board: 11
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Helen was not the only one of Henry’s children to marry in 1914. Her brother Walter married Ella Rosenberg six months after Helen married Edwin—on June 17, 1914. Ella was the daughter of Herman Rosenberg and Bertha Moskovics. She was born on January 13, 1887, in Csorgo, Hungary. 8 Her family had immigrated to the US in 1890, and in 1900 they were living in Pittsburgh where her father was a liquor salesman. Ella was still living in Pittsburgh in 1910.9

“Rosenberg-Goldsmith,” The Daily Courier, 18 Jun 1914, Thu, Page 2

She and Walter settled in Connellsville, where Walter had a dentistry practice. On May 25, 1915 their first child was born; he only lived for 22 days, dying on June 16, 1915, from acute bronchitis and septicemia from a skin infection. Since there was no name given for this child on his death certificate, I imagine he was either premature or very sick right from birth:

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 054101-057320
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Walter and Ella’s second child was born on October 2, 1916. She was named Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith in memory of Walter’s mother.10

At the time of his registration for the World War I draft in 1918, Walter and his family were still living in Connellsvile,11 but by 1920, Walter, Ella and their daughter Sarah were living in Pittsburgh where Walter had a general dentistry practice.12

1914 was also a big year for Florence Goldsmith, though for different reasons. That year she debuted her operetta, “The Pilot of Tadousac,” for which she had written the book, the lyrics, and the music. Unfortunately, I do not know anything about this operetta. Tadoussac is a village in Quebec. I did find this story on a CBC Canadian history website, so perhaps this is the “pilot” that inspired Florence’s operetta:

In the spring of 1608, two vessels crossed the Atlantic, the Lévrier, under the command of Dupont-Gravé, and the Don de Dieu, under the command of Champlain.

On June 3, when Champlain arrived in Tadoussac, Dupont-Gravé’s pilot came to greet him in a rowboat. The pilot informed him that Dupont-Gravé had tried to impose his monopoly on the Basque and Spanish captains who were already there, but they had answered him with their muskets and cannons. He took Champlain to the bedside of Dupont-Gravé, who was still alive but seriously wounded.

Together, they negotiated a truce with Darache, the leader of the Spaniards, which allowed Dupont-Gravé’s men to start trading with the Montagnais.

Aside from this reference, I found nothing that revealed the story behind Florence’s operetta. The operetta itself was generally well-reviewed by the local newspaper as seen in this excerpt from a longer article (I excluded the parts describing the cast):

“Pilot of Tadousac is Quite A Clever Operatta [sic],” The Daily Courier, 29 May 1914, Fri, Page 2

It also was performed in two other locations in Pennsylvania over the next several years. 13 Florence also continued to teach music.14

The Pittsburgh Press, 29 Oct 1916, Sun, Page 10

Then on March 11, 1920, she married Lester Bernstein in New York City.15 He was 38, she was 36. Lester was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, on May 14, 1881, to Sigmund Bernstein and Marie Omann, who were both immigrants from Germany.16 In 1900, Lester’s father Sigmund was working as a jeweler in Philadelphia, and Lester was a “rodman.”17 According to this website, a rodman was a surveyor’s assistant.

Lester was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lehigh University. In 1910, he was living on his own as a lodger in Baltimore and working as a civil engineer for the railroad. He was still living in Baltimore and working for the railroad when he registered for the World War I draft in 1918, although now he reported his title as statistician. The article about his marriage to Florence reported that he had at one time worked for the railroad in Connellsville as a field engineer, which is probably when he met Florence.

The Daily Courier, 11 Mar 1920, Thu, Page 2

After marrying, Florence and Lester settled in Pittsburgh.  I could not find them on the 1920 census, perhaps because they were still on their “extended honeymoon trip” when the enumeration was done.

Thus, Walter, Helen, and Florence all married between 1910 and 1920. Their other siblings—JW, Benjamin, Milton, Samuel and Oliver—were also busy in those years. More on that in my next post.





  1. “Henry Goldsmith Improved,” The Daily Courier – 14 Aug 1911 – Page 1 
  2. “Henry Goldsmith Well Again,” The Daily Courier, 18 Sep 1911, Mon, Page 1 
  3. “Peoples B&L Elects Officers,” The Daily Courier, 11 Oct 1911, Wed, Page 1 
  4. Sigmund Meyer family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Lonaconing, Allegany, Maryland; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0110; FHL microfilm: 1240604, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Sigmund Meyer family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 13, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1303; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0446; FHL microfilm: 1375316, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  5. Edgar Meyer, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1695, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  6. Malcolm Meyer, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1695, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  7. Edwin T. Meyer, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 13, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 521, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  8. Ella Rosenberg birth record, Source: LDS 642954, Page # – Item #: 301-014, JewishGen Hungarian Special Interest Group volunteers, comp. Hungary, Birth Records collected by Rabbis in Various Counties, 1789-1921 
  9. Rosenberg family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Allegheny Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 10; Enumeration District: 0048; FHL microfilm: 1241355,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; Rosenberg family, 1910 US census,Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1302; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0422; FHL microfilm: 1375315, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  10. Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith death certificate, Certificate Number: 22703
    Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 020501-023500,
    Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  11. Walter Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  12. Walter Goldsmith and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 550,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  13. “The Pilot of Tadousac,” The Uniontown (PA) Morning Herald, 16 Sep 1915, Thu, Page 5; “Amateurs Will Stage Benefit Play,” The Pittsburgh Press, 29 Oct 1916, Sun, Page 10; 
  14. “Students Give Recitals,” The Daily Courier, 11 Jun 1919, Wed, Page 5 
  15.  License Number: 7069, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 3, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  16. Lester Bernstein, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Lester Bernstein death certificate, Certificate Number: 121500-65, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906-1963; Box Number: 2459; Certificate Number Range: 121201-124000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  17. Sigmund Bernstein and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 17, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0327; FHL microfilm: 1241459, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census