Always Something New for Me to Learn: The “Hidden” Databases on FamilySearch

After writing about the two oldest sons of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecilia Adler, I am glad to be able to turn to their daughter Rose. Rose was born on October 19, 1866, in Philadelphia, and as I wrote here, she married Sidney Morris Stern on May 25, 1892, when she was 26. Sidney was born January 14, 1861, in Philadelphia, and was the son of Morris Stern and Matilda Bamberger, who were German-born immigrants. His father was in the retail clothing business.  Sidney was a jeweler.

(Am I the only one who finds it amusing that Sidney the jeweler married someone whose surname was Goldsmith?)

UPDATE: Thanks to a question asked by my cousin Jennifer about Sidney’s mother Matilda Bamberger, I discovered another twist in my crazy family tree. In looking to answer Jennifer’s question, I realized that I had two women named Matilda Bamberger on my tree, both married to Morris Stern. They were obviously duplicates.  Looking more closely, I realized that Matilda and Morris Stern’s daughter Clara Stern was the mother of Julian Simsohn, who married Edwin Goldsmith’s daughter Cecile. In another words, Cecile married the nephew of her Aunt Rose’s husband Sidney.

That earlier post also reported that Rose and Sidney’s first child, Sylvan Goldsmith Stern, was born on March 2, 1893. Two years later Rose gave birth to twin boys, Allan Goldsmith Stern and Howard Eugene Stern, on August 6, 1895. I could not find Rose and her family on the 1900 census despite having their address in 1899, 1900, and 1901, but based on listings in the Philadelphia directories for those years,1 I know that she was living in Philadelphia with her husband Sidney and their two younger sons, Allan and Howard. Sidney was in the jewelry business with his brother Eugene.

However, their oldest son Sylvan, who was seven at the time, was not living with them in 1900. He was living at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Philadelphia; according to the census record, he could not read, write or speak English at that time. From later records I learned that Sylvan was completely deaf.

Sylvan Stern, 1900 US Census
Pennsylvania Institution for Deaf and Dumb, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 1043
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

By 1910, however, Sylvan was living at home and could now read and write and was in school. The family continued to live in Philadelphia and was joined by Rose’s younger sister Estelle, who was working as a schoolteacher. Sidney listed his occupation as wholesale jeweler. They also had two servants living in the home, one doing “chamber work” and the other a cook:

Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern and family, 1910 US census
Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1413; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1193; FHL microfilm: 1375426
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In 1915, when he was 22, Sylvan was living in Riverton, New Jersey, in a household with four other men: two men from Holland whom I presume were brothers, Peter and Anthony Hooydonk, a German immigrant named Ferdinand Frohlich, and a Pennsylvania native named John Peguesse.  All five men were in their early twenties and all were working in the florist business. Riverton is a small residential community about fifteen miles from Philadelphia across the Delaware River.

Sylvan Stern 1915 New Jersey census
New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-06; Film Number: 8
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1915

While Sylvan was working in Riverton in 1915, his two younger brothers were in college: Allan was a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania,2 and his twin Howard was a student at Cornell University.3

In 1917-1918, all three of Rose and Sidney’s sons registered for the World War I draft. Sylvan reported that he was living at 1613 Poplar Street in Philadelphia, but working as a nurseryman in Riverton, New Jersey, for Henry A. Dreer, Inc. He also reported that he was totally deaf.

Sylvan Stern, World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50 Description Draft Card: S Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Allan was living at the same address and reported that he was a college student, and Howard, also living at the same address, was employed as a farm laborer by Florex Gardens in North Wales, Pennsylvania, which is about 25 miles from Philadelphia. Allan served in the Army’s Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC, from March 15, 1918, until January 8, 1919, when he was honorably discharged.4  I did not find any record of military service for Sylvan or Howard.

Allan Stern World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Howard Stern, World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

In 1920, the whole family was still living at 1613 Poplar Street in Philadelphia. Sidney was retired at age 59, but his three sons were all employed. Sylvan and Howard were both working as florists in their own business, and Allan was employed as an electrical engineer. Rose’s sister Estelle was still living with them, now working as the director of a girls’ camp. 5

All three Stern brothers were married in the 1920s. First, on May 26, 1921, Sylvan Goldsmith Stern married Beatrice A. Osserman, the daughter of Simon E. Osserman and Dora Kessner in New York City. According to a source I found, Beatrice was, like Sylvan, deaf; she was born in New York City on October 30, 1899.  Her parents were immigrants from Russia/Latvia, and her father was in the real estate business in 1920.6  This news item from the Philadelphia Evening Ledger reported that one of the bridesmaids was Dorothy G. Gerson, Sylvan’s first cousin and the daughter of his mother’s sister, Emily Goldsmith Gerson.

Philadelphia Evening Ledger, May 23, 1921, p. 11

Sylvan and Beatrice had two children during the 1920s.

Howard Stern was the second son of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern to marry; in 1926 he married Madeline Kind Kohn,7 another Philadelphia native; she was born on June 3, 1898, the daughter of Joseph Kohn and Clara Kind.8 Madeline’s father was a shirt manufacturer. Here is Madeline’s high school yearbook picture from 1916:

Madeline Kind Kohn,
U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: Record Book of William Penn High School for Girls June Class, 1916; Year: 1916
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Howard and Madeline would have two children.

The last son to marry was Allan Stern, and his wife’s story is quite tragic. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Marriage Index on Ancestry reports that Allan married Gladys Fliegelman,9 daughter of Harry Fliegelman and Gussye Fridenberg, in 1928, but I learned an important lesson about that index while researching their marriage. More below.

Gladys was born on April 23, 1904, in Philadelphia.10  Two years later on June 30, 1906, her mother Gussye suffered complications after giving birth to a second child and died six weeks later on July 17, 1906, from parenchymatous nephritis or kidney disease.

Gussye Fliegeman death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 065461-068420
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Thus, Gladys lost her mother when she was just a toddler. Harry Fliegelman remarried in 1910, and in 1920, they were all living together in Philadelphia, where Harry was a furniture merchant.11

In 1924, Gladys graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women; her photograph appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer with some of her classmates. She is in the middle of the photograph on the right.

Gladys Fliegelman School of Design graduation,
The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 1924, p, 17

And then I thought that Allan and Gladys were married in 1928, as the Ancestry.com database indicated. But I was confused when I found this will that she wrote on January 30, 1929:

Gladys Fliegelman Stern will
Probate Records (District of Columbia), 1801-1930; Author: District of Columbia. Register of Wills; Probate Place: District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.

Gladys refers to herself as “a single woman, at present, and entering into a marriage with Allan G. Stern of Washington, District of Columbia, on January 31, 1929.” Since the Ancestry database of Philadelphia marriages indicated that they were married in 1928, why did she describe herself as single on January 30, 1929?

And this is where I learned something new. In discussing something completely different on the Tracing the Tribe Facebook page, a member there named Sharon Roth pointed out that FamilySearch has images of the Philadelphia marriage licenses and certificates.  They are not indexed for searching, but once you know the marriage license number from the index on Ancestry or FamilySearch, you can find the underlying documents by searching through the database of images by date and number.

This was a database that I could not find when I searched the FamilySearch records listings, so I am not sure how I would have found it without Sharon’s help. You can find the two databases here and here. Thank you to Sharon and to Amberly of The Genealogy Girl for showing me how to find these databases through the catalog on FamilySearch so that I now can find all these “hidden” databases. Amberly had actually blogged about this over a year ago, but I’d forgotten about her tips.  You can learn more from her blog here.

With this new information, I was able to find the license and the rabbi’s certificate of marriage for Allan and Gladys.  Now I know that although their marriage license was issued on December 31, 1928, they were not in fact married until January 31, 1929, the day after Gladys drew up her will.

Marriage record of Allan G. Stern and Gladys Fliegelmen, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, marriage records, Marriages, 568600-568799, 1928, pp. 358-359. FamilySearch.org

Returning to the will, its contents strike me as somewhat odd. Gladys bequeathed all her property and income to any issue she might have at the time of her death; that is, whereas one might assume that her husband would inherit before her children, Gladys wanted her estate to go directly to her children. Moreover, her will provides that if she died without issue, her sister would inherit all her personal possessions. Allan would only inherit 25% of her income and only for as long as he did not remarry. Gladys’ sister and brother would receive the other 75% of her income and the principal when Allan died.

Now call me a romantic, but this seems like a rather unromantic way to start a marriage—leaving your husband such a limited part of your estate.

Tragically, this will took on far more significance not long after Allan and Gladys married.  On February 6, 1930, a week after their first anniversary, Gladys took her own life by jumping from the seventh floor of Emergency Hospital in Washington; she had been a patient in the hospital for six months after an earlier suicide attempt when she had jumped from the fourth floor of the apartment building where she and Allan had been living. In its article about this tragedy, the Philadelphia Inquirer described her as a poetess.12  An article from a different paper reported that she had been “despondent because of poor health.”13

Thus, the new decade began on a heartbreaking note for the family of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern and their sons, especially for their son Allan.

I was not surprised that I could not find Allan on the 1930 census, although he is listed in the 1930 Washington, D.C., directory as an engineer for Fred S. Gichner, residing at 3100 Connecticut Avenue; in the 1931 directory he was still working at Fred S. Gichner, but now residing at 3405 Woodley Road.  On the 1930 census, I found a Gichner family living at 3405 Woodley Road so it would appear that Allan may have moved in with his employer’s family after his wife’s death, although he was not listed at either address on the 1930 census.14

The rest of the family of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern all continued to live in Philadelphia in 1930.  Sidney was retired,15 Sylvan was now working as a packer in a sporting goods business,16 and Howard was practicing law.17

Sadly, my cousin Rose Goldsmith Stern died less than a year after her daughter-in-law Gladys. Rose was 64 when she died on January 24, 1931, from heart disease: hypertension and arteriosclerosis leading to myocarditis and angina pectoris. Her obituary reported that she died from a heart attack. It also stated that Rose had been the manager of the Beth Israel Association for the Deaf and the national chairwoman of the Council of Jewish Women.18

Rose Goldsmith Stern death certificate,
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 001001-004000.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Rose was survived by her husband Sidney and her three sons and four grandchildren as well as seven of her siblings. Her husband Sidney continued to live in Philadelphia. In 1940 he was living in the Majestic Hotel where his sister-in-law Estelle Goldsmith and brother-in-law Edwin M. Goldsmith were also living.19 Sidney died on October 19, 1942, also of heart disease.20

Sylvan Stern and his family continued to live in Philadelphia in 1940, and Sylvan was still working as a packer in a sporting goods store at that time.21 According to his 1942 draft registration, his employer was Edward K. Tryon Company.22 Sylvan died on December 21, 1960.  He was 67 years old. He was survived by his wife and children and his two brothers.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Allan Goldsmith Stern remarried several years after the death of his first wife Gladys.  In 1940 he and his second wife Margaret were living in Washington, D.C., where Allan was an engineer for an ornamental iron company, which his draft registration revealed was still Fred S. Gichner Iron Works.23  I could not find any other information about Margaret, but in 1956 Allan married for a third time; his third wife was Alma Hollander.24

Allan Stern died on June 9, 1964, from cancer, according to his obituary in the Washington Evening Star. The obituary reported that in addition to his long career at Fred S. Gichner, Allan had been a founding member of the Beth El Congregation of Maryland and had helped establish the Kaufman Camp for Underprivileged Children on Chesapeake Bay. He was survived by his wife Alma and his brother Howard.25

Howard Stern was the only of Rose Goldsmith’s sons to live beyond his 60s. In 1940 he was living with his family in Philadelphia and practicing law, which his draft registration in 1942 revealed was his own practice.26 Howard died on July 10, 1989, just a few weeks short of his 94th birthday. He was survived by his children.27

The family of Rose Goldsmith Stern certainly faced a number of challenges. But overall, they appear to have been a family that overcame those challenges, found professional success, and gave back to society in many ways.

Thank you once again to Sharon and to Amberly for their help!

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Philadelphia city directories, 1899, 1900, 1901, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  2. University of Pennsylvania Yearbook, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: The Record; Year: 1915. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  3. Cornell Yearbook, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1916. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  4.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania. “Allan G. Stern, Official of Gichner Iron Works,” Philadelphia Evening Star, June 10, 1964, p. 37. 
  5.   Family of Sidney Stern, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1646; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1791. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  6. Simon Osserman and family, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 21, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1224; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 1445. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7. Marriage of Howard Stern and Madeline Kind Kohn, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141829 
  8. Madeline Kind Kuhn Passport Application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1494; Volume #: Roll 1494 – Certificates: 141500-141875, 12 Feb 1921-15 Feb 1921. 
  9. Marriage of Allan Stern and Gladys Fliegelman, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141829 
  10.  District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1961,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F7TK-SXY : accessed 1 May 2018), Gladys Stern, 06 Feb 1930, District of Columbia, United States; citing reference ID 325790, District Records Center, Washington D.C.; FHL microfilm 2,116,108. 
  11. Harry Fliegelman and family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1065. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. “Poetess Dies in Plunge,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 1930, p. 7. 
  13. “Woman Ends Life Because of Illness,” The Dayton Herald,” February 6, 1930, p. 33. 
  14. Washington, DC, City Directories, 1930, 1931, 1929, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  15. Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0397. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16. Sylvan Stern and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1077. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  17. Howard Stern and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 1029.
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  18. “Mrs. Rose Goldsmith Stern,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 1931, p. 17. 
  19. Sidney Stern, 1940 US Census,  Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  20. Sidney Stern, death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 085451-088100. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 86311 
  21. Sylvan Stern and family, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 51-2119. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  22. Sidney Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  23. Allan and Margaret Stern, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: m-t0627-00563; Page: 66B; Enumeration District: 1-307, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census.  Allan Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1939. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  24. “Alma Stern,” Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, September 23, 1979, p. 49. 
  25.  “Allan G. Stern, Official of Gichner Iron Works,” Philadelphia Evening Star, June 10, 1964, p. 37. 
  26. Howard Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  27. Number: 167-32-5823; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1956-1958. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.  

The Benefits of Teamwork: Part I

In my recent post, I mentioned that I had been working with two other researchers on the mystery of the three Selinger men who married my Cohen cousins.  Frederick Selinger had married my cousin Rachel Cohen in 1880 in Washington, DC.  Rachel was the daughter of Moses Cohen, my three times great-uncle (brother of my great-great-grandfather Jacob).  Julius Selinger had married Augusta Cohen in 1884 in Washington, DC; Augusta was the daughter of Moses Cohen, Jr. and niece of Rachel Cohen.  Finally, Alfred Selinger had married Fannie Cohen in Washington, DC, in 1893.  Fannie was also a daughter of Moses Cohen, Jr., also a niece of Rachel Cohen, and a sister of Augusta Cohen.

Julius and Augusta Cohen Selinger passport photos 1922

Julius and Augusta Cohen Selinger passport photos 1922

 

Way back on July 22, 2014, when I first posted about the three Selinger men, I had speculated that they all had to be related.  Both Julius and Frederick had documents indicating that they had been born in Hurben, Germany.  Alfred and Julius had lived together in DC before they’d married, and Alfred had traveled with Julius and Augusta to Europe before he married Augusta’s sister Fannie.  But I had nothing to support that speculation besides that circumstantial evidence.

Then a month later on August 5, 2014, I wrote about the marriage of Eleanor Selinger to Henry Abbot.  Eleanor was the daughter of Julius Selinger and Augusta Cohen; Henry was the son of Hyams Auerbach (Abbot) and Helena Selinger (some records say Ellen or Helen).  I was curious as to whether Helena Selinger was somehow related to Julius and the other Selinger men, Alfred and Frederick.  I thought that she might be since how else would an American woman have met an Englishman? And the shared name seemed too uncommon to be pure coincidence.

 

Eleanor Selinger Abbot and Abbot family-page-001

Eleanor Selinger Abbot (center) with the Abbot family Courtesy of Val Collinson

 

As I wrote then, I had contacted the owner of an Ancestry family tree who turned out to be Eleanor Selinger and Henry Abbot’s great-niece: Val Collinson.  Val and I exchanged a lot of information, but we could not at that time find any definitive evidence linking Helena Selinger, her great-grandmother, to Frederick or Julius or Alfred.  All were born in Germany, but it seemed from the records in different locations.  Helena’s marriage record indicated that her father’s name was Abraham Selinger, whereas Julius had indicated on his passport application that his father was Sigmund Selinger.  We were stumped.  And that was that.  Or so I thought.

Fast forward a full year to August, 2015, when I received a comment on my earlier blog post about Eleanor Selinger and Henry Abbot from someone named Shirley Allen, whose grandparents were Jacob Rosenthal and Fanny Selinger:

Fanny Selinger Rosenthal and her husband Jacob Rosenthal and children Gladys, Daniel, and Alfred Courtesy of Shirley Allen

Fanny Selinger Rosenthal and her husband Jacob Rosenthal and their children Gladys, Daniel, and Alfred
Courtesy of Shirley Allen

I’ve been delving into my paternal (Rosenthal) family history. I’ve found that my grandfather Jacob Rosenthal was married to Fanny Selinger. Unfortunately I haven’t found anything further about Fanny other than she was born in Germany, probably in 1857. However, I’ve recently come upon a wonderful paper lace invitation to the 1873 wedding of Hyams Auerbach and Helena Selinger that you referred to. What I don’t know is why Fanny would have been invited. Clearly she and Helena were related – but how ?

Needless to say, I was intrigued.  Maybe Fanny Selinger was related to Helena and/or maybe she was related to Julius, Frederick, and Alfred.  Shirley and I communicated by email, and we both started digging.

Invitation to the wedding of Helena Selinger and Hyms Auerbach Courtesy of Shirley Allen

Invitation to the wedding of Helena Selinger and Hyms Auerbach
Courtesy of Shirley Allen

 

I found a website called Jewish Genealogy of Bavarian Swabia (JGBS) that had records for Hurben and located 25 Selingers in their database, including those for Alfred and for Julius, who were the sons of Seligman Selinger and Breinle Hofstadter and thus were brothers, as I had suspected. Shirley and I both thought that Seligman Selinger had been Americanized to Sigmund by Julius on his passport application and that the birth records for Julius and Alfred confirmed that they were in fact brothers.

I also found a birth record for Helena Selinger, whose father was Abraham Selinger, not Seligman Selinger.  Abraham and his wife Rosalia Wilhelmsdoerfer had six children listed: Seligman (1842), Raphael (1843), Pauline (1845), Karolina (1847), Heinrich (1848), and Helena (1849). Pauline, Karolina, and Heinrich had all died as young children, leaving Seligman, Raphael, and Helena as the surviving children of Abraham.  Here is Helena’s birth record from Hurben in August 1849.

Helena Selinger birth record from Hurben http://jgbs.org/SuperSearch.php?Sp=3&Book=birth&Com=11

Helena Selinger birth record from Hurben (third from bottom)
http://jgbs.org/SuperSearch.php?Sp=3&Book=birth&Com=11

 

But what about Frederick?  And Fanny? And was there a connection between Helena’s father Abraham and the father of Julius and Alfred, Seligman Selinger?

A little more digging on the JGBS site revealed that both Abraham Selinger and Seligman Selinger were the sons of Joachim Selinger, thus confirming that they were brothers and thus that Helena was a first cousin to Julius and Alfred.

Marriage record from Hurben for Abraham Selinger, son of Joachim, and Rosalia Wilhelmsdoerfer http://jgbs.org/detail.php?book=marriage&id=%206671&mode=

Marriage record from Hurben for Abraham Selinger, son of Joachim, and Rosalia Wilhelmsdoerfer (second in page)
http://jgbs.org/detail.php?book=marriage&id=%206671&mode=

 

Seligmann Selinger, son of Joachim, marriage to Breinle Hoftsadter

Seligmann Selinger, son of Joachim, marriage to Breinle Hoftsadter (second from bottom) 1848 http://jgbs.org/detail.php?book=marriage&id=%206695&mode=

 

That meant that Eleanor Selinger, daughter of Julius Selinger, had married her second cousin, Henry Abbot, son of Helena Selinger.

 

But that still left us wondering about Frederick Selinger and Shirley’s great-grandmother Fanny Selinger.  How did they fit into this picture?

I contacted Ralph Bloch, the webmaster for the JGBS website, and he was extremely helpful.  More helpful than I realized at the time, but more on that later.  Ralph also could not find any evidence that Fanny was born in Hurben, and he reassured me that the birth records for Hurben were quite complete.  He even searched through the original pages to be sure that Fanny hadn’t somehow been missed when the records were indexed. (There was a Fany Selinger born in the 1830s, but that would have been far too early for Shirley’s ancestor.) Ralph also sent a photograph of Seligman Selinger’s headstone, which confirmed that his father’s name was Joachim or Chaim, his Hebrew name.

Seligman Selinger gravestone

 

So once again we hit the brick wall.  We still had not found either Frederick or Fanny.  Shirley said she would pursue it on her end, and I turned back to the other research I’d been doing when I received Shirley’s comment.

Not much happened again until late November when I heard again from Shirley, telling me that she had received a copy of Fanny Selinger’s marriage certificate, which revealed that Fanny was the daughter of Abraham Selinger.  Now we could link Fanny to Helena, also the daughter of Abraham, as well as to Julius and Alfred, Abraham’s nephews. But we didn’t know if Fanny and Helena were both the daughters of Rosalia Wilhelmsdoerfer.

Shirley’s research of UK records showed that by 1871 Abraham was married to a woman named Gali, and we assumed that Abraham had left Hurben at some point, that his first wife Rosalia had died, and that he had had several children with Gali.  That is what the UK census records from 1871 seemed to reflect. Abraham and Gali were living with Sigfried (28), Helena (20), Cornelia (18), and Oskar (4).  But there was neither a Fanny nor a Frederick.

 

Abraham Selinger and family 1881 UK census Class: RG10; Piece: 555; Folio: 86; Page: 3; GSU roll: 823397 Description Enumeration District : 10 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1871 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1871.

Abraham Selinger and family 1881 UK census
Class: RG10; Piece: 555; Folio: 86; Page: 3; GSU roll: 823397
Description
Enumeration District : 10
Source Information
Ancestry.com. 1871 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1871.

Abraham died in 1880, and in 1881, Gali was living with four children, but aside from Oskar (13), they were all different from those on the 1871 census: Morris (28), Flora (surname Wallach) (25), and Sidney (23).  Now I was really confused.  Who were these people, and where had they been in 1871?  Flora was presumably married to someone named Wallach and now a widow, but Morris would have been eighteen in 1871 and Sidney only thirteen. Where were they living?  Who were they? None of those children were listed on the Hurben birth register on the JGBS site; in fact, there were no children listed for Abraham Selinger and any wife in Hurben after Helena’s birth in 1849.

Gali Selinger and family 1881 UK census Class: RG11; Piece: 472; Folio: 118; Page: 55; GSU roll: 1341103 Description Enumeration District : 9 Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881

Gali Selinger and family 1881 UK census
Class: RG11; Piece: 472; Folio: 118; Page: 55; GSU roll: 1341103
Description
Enumeration District : 9 Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881

I assumed that Morris, Flora, Sidney, and Oscar, all born after 1850, were born in a different place and perhaps to a different mother.  Certainly Oskar had to be Gali’s child since he was so much younger than all the rest and only four on the 1871 census.

Searching again on Ancestry, I found a new record:  an entry for Abraham, Rosalia, Seligman, and Raphael Selinger on the Mannheim, Germany, family register dated November 26, 1848.  What were they doing in Mannheim? By that time the three younger children, Pauline, Karolina, and Heinrich, had died.  Perhaps they needed a change of scenery.  But what about Helena? She was born in Hurben in 1849.

Then I found a second Mannheim family register that included Helena, the final entry on the page:

 

Abraham Selinger and family, Mannheim register Ancestry.com. Mannheim, Germany, Family Registers, 1760-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Polizeipräsidium Mannheim Familienbögen, 1800-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mannheim — Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Mannheim, Germany.

Abraham Selinger and family, Mannheim register
Ancestry.com. Mannheim, Germany, Family Registers, 1760-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Polizeipräsidium Mannheim Familienbögen, 1800-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mannheim — Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Mannheim, Germany.

My friends in the German Genealogy group,  Heike Keohane, Matthias Steinke, and Bradley Hernlem, came to my rescue and translated it to read, “Helene, his daughter, here born the 22 August 1849.”  So Helena’s birth is entered on the Hurben birth records (on the same date) and on the Mannheim records.  I’ve no idea which is the correct birthplace; maybe Rosalia went home to Hurben to give birth and returned to Mannheim afterwards where the family was living.

But perhaps now I could find out where Frederick was born, not to mention Morris, Flora, Sidney, and Oscar. Maybe they were born in Mannheim.  I checked the Mannheim birth records from 1853 through 1866 and found not one person named Selinger.  I checked over and over, looking at each page until my eyes were blurry.  There were no Selingers born in Mannheim during that period that I could find.

Then I discovered that Oskar Selinger had listed Ansbach as his birth place on his UK naturalization papers and thought that perhaps the family had moved from Mannheim to Ansbach.

Oscar Selinger UK naturalization papers The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Duplicate Certificates of Naturalisation, Declarations of British Nationality, and Declarations of Alienage; Class: HO 334; Piece: 54 Description Description : Piece 054: Certificate Numbers A20701 - A21000

Oscar Selinger UK naturalization papers
The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Duplicate Certificates of Naturalisation, Declarations of British Nationality, and Declarations of Alienage; Class: HO 334; Piece: 54
Description
Description : Piece 054: Certificate Numbers A20701 – A21000

I had no luck locating Ansbach birth records for that period, and by then it was Thanksgiving, and other matters distracted me, and I put the Selinger mystery on the back burner.

To be continued…..

Disappearing Daughters and An Estranged Son? The Children of Julius Schoenthal, Part II

Sometimes genealogy research moves along smoothly, and all seems to fall right into place.  Then other times people disappear and other strange things happen. In my prior post I wrote about the two older children of Julius Schoenthal and Minnie Dahl, Leo and Rose. Their stories were easy to trace.  This post catches up with the two younger children and their families from 1920 forward.  They proved more elusive.

Sylvester Schoenthal

Although it was not hard to follow the life of Sylvester Schoenthal, the third child of Julius Schoenthal and Minnie Dahl, tracing the lives of his two daughters has proven to be quite challenging.

In 1920, Sylvester and Bessie (nee Rose) Schoenthal were living at 24 Randolph Place in DC with their two young daughters, Margaret and Helen, and five lodgers.  Sylvester was still working for the railroad, now identified as a carpenter. In 1930, the family was still at 24 Randolph Place; now Sylvester’s occupation was reported as mill foreman for the railroad.  His wife Bessie and his daughter Margaret (15) were living with him, as well as his sister-in-law Annie (more on that below), but there is no listing of his daughter Helen. Helen would only have been twelve years old in 1930, so where could she have been? I cannot find her anywhere else on the 1930 census, so perhaps the enumerator just somehow forgot to record her in the household.

Sylvester Schoenthal and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: 293; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0049; Image: 431.0; FHL microfilm: 2340028

Sylvester Schoenthal and family 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: 293; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0049; Image: 431.0; FHL microfilm: 2340028

In 1932, Sylvester was listed in the directory for Alexandria, Virginia, as a car repairman for the “RF&PRRR,” (the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad) , but also as residing in Washington, DC.

The Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Rail...

The Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad – train starting out from Richmond, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On February 28, 1933, Sylvester and Bessie’s daughter Margaret married John I. Wivel.  Margaret was only 18, and John just 21. In 1930 John had been listed on the census as a clerk in “Landsburg’s” [sic] department store and was living with his parents and siblings in the household of a cousin.  John was born in New Jersey, and his parents were natives of Maryland.  They were living on Randolph Place, the same street where the Schoenthals were living in 1930, so I assumed that was how Margaret and John met, but it was a different enumeration district so perhaps it was just coincidence.

In 1935 John and Margaret were living at 24 Randolph Place, and John was now a salesman at Hecht’s department store.

John Wivel and Margaret Schoenthal 1935 DC directory Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

John Wivel and Margaret Schoenthal 1935 DC directory
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

 Sylvester and Bessie had moved to Alexandria by then, so Margaret and her husband had taken over the home where she had grown up.  They were still living there in 1936, but in 1937, John is listed (without Margaret’s name attached) as residing in Takoma Park, Maryland, and working as an investigator for a retail credit company.  He has a similar listing in the 1938 and 1939 directories for DC, and I cannot find him or Margaret at all on the 1940 census.  John joined the military in 1942, but I have no record for Margaret at all after the 1936 directory listing.

By 1940, Sylvester and Bessie had returned to 24 Randolph Place in DC, and Sylvester was working as a foreman for the Pennsylvania Railroad.  Neither Margaret nor Helen was listed as living with them on the 1940 census. (Note the butchered spelling of Schoenthal; this was a challenge to find.  I had to do it by the address, not the name.)

Year: 1940; Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: T627_553; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1-28

Year: 1940; Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: T627_553; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1-28

On May 21, 1941, Bessie Rose Schoenthal died; she was 59 years old and was buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland.

Bessie Rose Schoenthal memorial notice

Washington Evening Star, May 21, 1944, p. 14

Four years later, Sylvester died on June 14, 1945. He also was buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery.  He was 67 years old when he died. Like his brother Leo and other family members, his death was described as sudden.

Sylvester Schoenthal death notice June 15 1945 p 8 Washington Evening Star

Washington Evening Star, June 15, 1945, p. 8

 

As for their daughters, that remains a mystery.  As I noted above, I could not find any record for Margaret after the 1936 directory that listed her as married to John Wivel and living at 24 Randolph Place in DC.  On her father’s death notice in 1945, she is listed as Margaret Ricks, not Margaret Wivel, and since she was not listed with John in the 1937 directory or those in 1938 or 1939, it would seem that that marriage had not lasted. In a 1945 memorial for her mother, her name was given as Margaret Rose Rick.  But who was Ricks or Rick?  Although I have found many women named Margaret Ricks in the 1940 census, none seems to fit with Margaret Schoenthal.  So the search continues.

Bessie Schoenthal memorial notice 1945

Helen Schoenthal is even more mysterious.  As noted above, she is not even listed with the family on the 1930 census.  On her mother’s memorial notices dated 1944 and 1945, she is identified as simply Jackie. Or is Jackie someone else? “Daughter” in the 1945 notice is singular so could just refer to Margaret.  Then who is Jackie?  On Sylvester’s death notice dated a month after Bessie’s 1945 memorial notice, his daughters are identified as Margaret Ricks and Minnie Fox.  So did Helen become Jackie and then Minnie? I have tried searching with all different name combinations, but so far have not found anyone who I am certain was the younger daughter of Sylvester and Bessie (Rose) Schoenthal.  So that search continues as well.  If anyone has any tips, please pass them on.

Thus, for now I do not know if there are any living descendants of Sylvester Schoenthal.

Moretta Schoenthal

Moretta Schoenthal also proved to be a bit of a challenge.  You would think that someone with that name would be easy to find.  I have no idea where that name came from.  It’s not a first name I’ve run across at all in my research, although I’ve seen it as a surname.  On the 1880 census when he was just an infant, his name was listed as Maurice, but by 1900 when he was twenty, his name is spelled Moretto, and he was working as a cabinet maker, according to the census record. (It was also spelled that way on both the 1896 and 1897 DC directory listings.) On the marriage index in 1901, his name is spelled Moretta. On the 1910 census he is listed simply as M A Schoenthal; he was still a cabinet maker.  He was Moretta on his World War draft registration and working an insurance agent for the Life Insurance Company of Virginia.

Moretta Schoenthal draft registration for World War I Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556835; Draft Board: 05

Moretta Schoenthal draft registration for World War I
Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556835; Draft Board: 05

That brings me to 1920 when Moretta was living with his wife Annie and son Arthur as well as Annie’s brother William Heath.  Moretta was working as an assistant superintendent of an insurance company. His son Arthur was 17 years old and working at the Navy Yard as a machinist, as was his uncle William Heath.

Moretta Schoenthal and family 1920 US census Year: 1920; Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_207; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 113; Image: 979

Moretta Schoenthal and family 1920 US census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_207; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 113; Image: 979

After that things got a little foggier.   Although Moretta was listed an insurance agent or salesman in every DC directory from 1922 through 1928, he is not listed in 1929, and I could not find Moretta on the 1930 census. Annie was still listed as his wife in the 1928 directory, but as noted above, his wife Annie was recorded on the 1930 census as living with Moretta’s brother Sylvester and his family; she was working as a child’s nurse.  She is also listed in the 1931 DC directory as a nurse, living at 24 Randolph Place, the same address given for Sylvester, but not Moretta, for that year.

As for Moretta and Annie’s son Arthur, he married Mazie Marie Connor on October 16, 1924.

Washington Evening Star, October 19, 1924, p. 58

Washington Evening Star, October 19, 1924, p. 58

Aside from the mention of the fact that Arthur was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Schoenthal and a description of his mother’s dress, I could not find one member of the family listed in the description of the wedding.  His best man was not a cousin; the ushers were the bride’s brothers. The bridesmaids also do not appear to have been Arthur’s relatives.  The wedding was in a church; had the other Schoenthals disapproved? That seems unlikely since Sylvester had married someone who wasn’t Jewish, as had his daughter Margaret, as far as I can tell. Arthur was an only child, but he did have first cousins and other relatives who might have participated.

Although I cannot find Arthur and Mazie on the 1930 census, they are listed as living at 323 Quackenbos Road in the 1929, 1931, and 1934 DC directories.  Arthur’s occupation shifted from a stone contractor to an engineer to a business agent in those three directories.

So where was Moretta in 1930? If his wife was living with his brother and listing her status as married, had Moretta died? It does not seem that that was the case as I found two records reporting that he died on March 21, 1940: a FindAGrave record for his grave at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland (where his brother Sylvester and sister-in-law Bessie would later be buried; they are, however, the only other Schoenthals buried there) and a listing in the Social Security Applications and Claims index.  If Moretta therefore was still living in 1930, where was he?  Both his wife and his son were still living in DC, so where could he have gone if he was still alive?

Then I found a death notice for Moretta:

Moretta Schoenthal death notice 1940

Washington Evening Star, March 23, 1940, p. 13

Two things struck me when I read this.  First, he died in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Second, neither his wife nor his son was listed as a survivor, only his brother Sylvester and sister Rose (Mrs. Joseph Pach).  A year later Sylvester and Rose published a memorial notice in remembrance of Moretta, and again there was no mention of his wife or son.

Moretto Schoenthal memorial notice by siblings

(Notice also the spelling of his name as Moretto, whereas the death notice had it spelled as Moretta.)

I decided to see if I could find an obituary for Moretta.  Since I knew he had died in Hagerstown, I looked to see if either of my newspaper databases included a paper for that town.  Newspapers.com did have the Hagerstown Daily Mail for the pertinent years, so I searched for Moretta Schoenthal, and I found nothing.  So I decided to search page by page for the issues dated around March 21, 1940, and found this obituary in the March 22, 1940, issue.  You can see why my search for Moretta Schoenthal failed; one letter off, and the search engine missed it:

Moretto Schoenthal obit in MD 1940

Once again, there is no mention of either a wife or a son.  Moretta had lived in Hagerstown for twelve years, which is consistent with his disappearance from the DC directories after 1928.  And he also seemed to have left the insurance business by 1940 to work for the Hughes Motor Company.

Knowing now that Moretta had been living in Hagerstown in 1930, I searched the 1930 census, looking for him in that location, and finally found him as M A Shoenthal, working as a carpenter in a door factory.  That is, Moretta had returned to his first career, doing carpentry.

M A Shoenthal 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Hagerstown, Washington, Maryland; Roll: 880; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0024; Image: 1070.0; FHL microfilm: 2340615

M A Shoenthal 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Hagerstown, Washington, Maryland; Roll: 880; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0024; Image: 1070.0; FHL microfilm: 2340615

 

I do not know what took him to Hagerstown, or why, if his marriage was over, his wife Annie was living with his brother Sylvester and Bessie in 1930 and 1931, more than two years after he’d moved to Hagerstown.  Moretta is listed as single on the 1930 census, but Annie still listed herself as married.  I don’t know what happened to Annie Heath Schoenthal after 1931; perhaps she remarried because I cannot find anyone named Annie or Anna Schoenthal who would fit the right person.  Maybe she even died before 1940, thus explaining why she isn’t mentioned as a survivor.

But Moretta’s son Arthur was definitely still alive in 1940 when his father died.  In the 1940 census, he, his wife Mazie, and their young son were listed as living still at 323 Quackenbos Street.  Arthur was the business representative for the stone and marble mason’s union.  Now the earlier directory listings made more sense; he was a stone mason who had become a leader in his union.  (I still am not sure why one directory listed him as an engineer.)

In 1937, Arthur was appointed to the DC Wage Board as a representative of labor to help draft regulations for minimum wage provisions in the District of Columbia.

Arthur L Schoenthal to Wage Board 1937-page-002

Arthur L Schoenthal to Wage Board 1937-page-003

Arthur L Schoenthal to Wage Board 1937-page-004

Washington Evening Star, June 11, 1937, p.21

 

He left that position in 1940, garnering much praise for his work:

Washington Evening Star, December 18, 1940, p. 2

Washington Evening Star, December 18, 1940, p. 2

The board chairperson, Mrs. William Kittle (despite her position, still named by her husband’s first name), said the following about Arthur:

Loss of Mr. Schoenthal as labor representative on the board will be keenly felt. During his entire service, his attitude was reasonable, sympathetic and steadfast.  I can’t speak too highly of the contribution he made in establishing confidence in wage standards set by the board.

As that article described, he had become a field representative in the Apprentice Training Service for the Department of Labor in DC and Virginia.  In 1942, he became the regional supervisor of the Apprentice Training Service for the War Manpower Commission:

Washington Evening Star, November 1, 1942, p 21

Washington Evening Star, November 1, 1942, p 21

Arthur Schoenthal promoted 1942-page-003 Arthur Schoenthal promoted 1942-page-004

By May 1944, he was the Deputy Director of the Washington, DC, office of the War Manpower Commission.  In 1953, he was the Labor Department’s foreign labor chief.

According to his obituary, Arthur L. Schoenthal worked for the US Labor Department for over twenty years before retiring.  He and his wife Mazie relocated to Florida. Arthur died in San Francisco on September 20, 1974.  He was 71 years old.  He was buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Arthur Leo Schoenthal death notice 1974

Washington Evening Star, September 24, 1974, p. 19

 

It is somewhat remarkable to me that the grandson of Julius Schoenthal, who had served in the US Army in the Signal Corps in the 1870s and who had wanted to work for the US government afterwards but had been rejected, had a grandson who worked for many years for that government.  More importantly, his grandson Arthur worked to promote the interests of workers—perhaps he knew of his grandfather’s frustrating struggles to have his pension payments increased based on his alleged disabilities. In any event, I imagine that Julius Schoenthal would have been quite proud of his grandson’s accomplishments.

 

 

 

 

The Goat, the Photographer, and the Daughter: The Children of Julius Schoenthal, Part I

Although I have written about Julius Schoenthal up to his death in 1919, I ended that post saying that I would return later to write about his children and other descendants.  So here I am.  Just to recap, Julius was the Schoenthal sibling who spent most of his years in the US in Washington, DC, as opposed to western Pennsylvania.  He had served both in the German army and the US army, had worked as a shoemaker like his father Levi, and had had four children with his wife Minnie Dahl: Leo, Rosalia, Sylvester, and Moretta, all born between 1875 and 1879.

His wife Minnie died in 1899.  All of their children were married by 1905, and although the three sons remained in Washington, DC, Rosalia (called Rose) and her husband Joseph Pach settled in Uniontown, Alabama, where Julius died, presumably while visiting them, in 1919.

I will discuss each child and his family separately beginning with 1920.  Today I will discuss Leo and Rose; the next post will cover Sylvester and Moretta.

Leo Schoenthal

In 1920, Leo Schoenthal was working as the chief inspector for the DC Division of Weights and Measures, where he had been working for many years.  He and his wife Fannie (nee Pach, sister of Joseph Pach, Rose’s husband) were living on Westminster Street in DC with their daughter Minnie (17) and five boarders.

Leo’s long and distinguished career with the Division of Weights and Measures came to an unfortunate end in May 1922.  According to the two news articles reprinted below, Leo had been disappointed when the Commissioner of the Division, James F. Oyster, had passed him over for a promotion to superintendent of the division.  Leo himself admitted that he was dissatisfied with that decision.  It then seems that Leo, who was planning to start a publication called The Goat allegedly to discuss suffrage issues, wrote a series of notes that made serious accusations regarding Commissioner Oyster; the content of those notes was not revealed in either of the news articles although apparently they included attacks on his “integrity, morals, and personality” as well as charges of irregularities in the operations of the office.  The notes were found torn into pieces in Leo’s trash basket in his office, and although he claimed that he never intended to publish them, he was dismissed from his position.  Leo also said that he had planned to resign his position anyway after he had been passed over for the superintendent’s position.

Leo Schoenthal fired 1922 pt 1

 

 

Washington Evening Star, May 3, 1922, p. 18

Washington Evening Star, May 3, 1922, p. 18

 

Headline Leo Schoenthal fired

Leo Schoenthal fired Washington Times 1922

Washington Times, May 3, 1922, pp. 1,2

Washington Times, May 3, 1922, pp. 1,2

Thus, after 29 years with the Division, Leo was fired seemingly without much opportunity to defend himself.  The article from the Washington Times ended with these words: “The discharged chief was declared to be one of the most capable men in the weights and measures office.” What a sad way for Leo to end such a distinguished tenure in that office.

But Leo apparently bounced back.  In the 1923 directory for Washington, DC, Leo listed his occupation as “Westminster Press.”  Although I cannot find any specific information about this business, I assume it was a printing business owned and managed by Leo, based on information from the obituaries of both Leo and his wife Fannie (see below).  I also assume they named it for the street where many of the Schoenthals had once lived in Washington, including Hilda, their cousin, daughter of Henry Schoenthal.

1914 directory for Washington, DC Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

1914 directory for Washington, DC
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Five years later on September 13, 1928, when he was just 53 years old, Leo Schoenthal died suddenly while on vacation at a resort in Atlantic City.  He was buried at Washington Hebrew Cemetery.

Washington Evening Star, September 14, 1928, p. 9

Washington Evening Star, September 14, 1928, p. 9

In his will, Leo left his estate to his wife Fannie.

Ancestry.com. Washington, D.C., Wills and Probate Records, 1737-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

Ancestry.com. Washington, D.C., Wills and Probate Records, 1737-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

He wrote:

I give, devise, and bequest to my wife, Fannie Pach Schoenthal, all my property, real and personal, of whatever nature possessed.

I am not forgetful of the best interests of my daughter, Minnie Pauline Schoenthal, but feel confident that my wife will always be mindful of the best interests of my daughter, and I leave it to my wife’s judgment and discretion to give to my daughter any part of my estate she sees fit and able to give.

Three months later on December 2, 1928, the Washington Evening Star announced Minnie’s engagement to Myron Hess, the son of Fred and Marcianna Hess of Atlantic City.  According to the 1920 census, Myron was then working in his father’s photography business in Atlantic City.

Washington Star, December 2, 1928 p. 64

Washington Star, December 2, 1928 p. 64

Minnie Pauline Schoenthal married Myron Samuel Hess on January 6, 1929, at her mother’s home in Washington, DC, on Garfield Street.  The article below describes it as a small but elegant wedding attended only by the relatives of the bride and groom.

Washington Evening Star, January 13, 1929, p.46

Washington Evening Star, January 13, 1929, p.46

So who were those out of towners named as guests at the wedding?

Gus Oestreicher, who gave away the bride, was the husband of Sarah Stern, Hannah Schoenthal’s oldest child.  Sarah was Minnie’s first cousin, once removed.

Mr. and Mrs. Lehman Goldman were Flora Wolfe and her husband.  Flora was the daughter of Amalie Schoenthal and also Minnie’s first cousin, once removed.

Mrs. Jennie Arnold was also the daughter of Hannah Schoenthal and thus also Minnie’s first cousin, once removed.

Mrs. Julius Afferbacker was, I believe, Mrs. Julius Averbach or Bernice Arnold, Jennie Arnold’s daughter, and thus Minnie’s second cousin.

The others must either have been the groom’s relatives or  Fannie Pach’s relatives or people I have not yet found.  But even this small list gave me a sense of how connected the overall Schoenthal clan continued to be as of 1929.  Jennie, Flora, and Sarah were my grandmother Eva Schoenthal’s first cousins as was Leo Schoenthal.  Minnie was her first cousin, once removed.  But it does not appear that my grandmother attended this wedding.  Of course, by 1929 my grandmother had two young children and was living in Philadelphia and also had spent her childhood far away from the Schoenthal clan on the East Coast.  Nevertheless, it is a bit sad that she and her parents were not at this wedding (or at least not included on the list reported in the newspaper).

Minnie moved to Margate, New Jersey, near Atlantic City, after marrying Myron where he continued to work in the family photography business.  They would have two daughters during the 1930s, and in 1940 they were still living in Margate and Myron was still in the photography business.  Here is a photograph taken by Fred Hess & Son Photographers.

8904309974_6d80a1024e_n

Strolling the Boardwalk at Atlantic City by Fred Hess & Son. Date unknown, but looks like the 1920s. https://www.flickr.com/photos/28025169@N08/

Leo’s widow Fannie Pach Schoenthal took over Westminster Press after Leo died.  On the 1930 census she was living alone in Washington, DC, and listed her occupation as president of a printing business.  By 1940 she appears to have left Westminster Press; she was still living on Garfield Street, but now with five lodgers in her home.  Her occupation was listed as a lodging house keeper.  On October 19, 1946,   Fannie died unexpectedly from a heart attack while she was at the Wardman Park Hotel in DC (a place I have stayed in Washington); she was seventy years old.

Washington Evening Star, October 21, 1946, p, 8

Washington Evening Star, October 21, 1946, p, 8

Minnie Schoenthal Hess’s husband Myron died four years later on November 6, 1950, a month before his 52nd birthday.  His daughters were just teenagers when he died. In 1955, five years after Myron died, Minnie remarried; her second husband was A. Jay Trilling, who owned a paint company.  He died in 1983. Minnie lived to age 95, passing away on August 15, 1998. According to her obituary, she took over Myron’s photography business after he died.

TRILLING, HESS, SCHOENTHAL, MINNIE, who came to Margate as a bride in 1929 and lived in the same house in Marven Gardens for sixty-five years, died at Manor Care Nursing Home in Potomac, Maryland, on August 15, after a long illness. She was 95.

Mrs. Trilling was born in Washington, D.C. and moved to Atlantic City when she married Myron Hess. She took over as head of Fred Hess & Son Photography Studio following the death of Mr. Hess in 1950. In 1955 she married A. Jay Trilling, president of Trilling Paint Co. and former president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce as well as president of Temple Beth Israel. He died in 1983.

Mrs. Trilling served as president of the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce, president of the Exchangettes, and she was a member of Soroptomist International, Beth Israel Sisterhood, Betty Bacharach Auxiliary, and the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Children’s Seashore Home. She was a member for 77 years of the Order of the Eastern Star. Mrs. Trilling was especially proud that she was responsible for the beautification and restoration of Marven Gardens in the late 70’s.

(“Press of Atlantic City, The”, New Jersey, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/0FB5351CB13A6EA1-0FB5351CB13A6EA1 : accessed 14 December 2015) TRILLING, HESS, SCHOENTHAL, MINNIE)

Thus, both Minnie and her mother Fannie became widows at a young age, and both took over their husbands’ business after their husbands died.   They were not only survivors; they were women who took on the responsibility of running a business to support their families.

Rosalia or Rose Schoenthal Pach

As noted above, in 1920 Rose and her husband Joseph Pach lived in Uniontown, Alabama.  Joseph was a dry goods merchant there. By 1930, however, they had returned to Washington, DC.  Joseph was now a commercial traveler selling ginger ale.  I wonder if they returned after Leo died to be closer to the rest of the family.  Rose and Joseph did not have any children, and perhaps they were lonely with no family close by in Uniontown; or maybe Joseph’s store wasn’t doing well.  In 1940, they were still living in DC, and Joseph was now a wholesale wine dealer.  On June 13, 1941, Joseph Pach died suddenly at home; he was sixty years old. (His sister Fannie Pach Schoenthal, Leo’s wife, also died unexpectedly in 1946.)

Rose died almost ten years later on January 23, 1951. She was 74.  Rose and Joseph had not had any children, so there were no descendants.  When Rose died, she had already lost not only her parents and her husband, but also all three of her brothers and at least two of her sisters-in-law.  There seemed to be a fair number of “sudden” or “unexpected” deaths in the family.

More on the younger two brothers in my next post.

 

Henry Schoenthal: His Final Years and His Legacy

Although I have completed as best I can the stories of five of the children of my great-great-grandparents Levi and Henriette (Hamberg) Schoenthal (Hannah, Amalie, Felix, Julius and Nathan), I still need to complete the stories of Henry, Simon, and, of course, my great-grandfather Isidore.[1]  In addition, there were two siblings living in Germany whose stories I’ve yet to tell, Jakob and Rosalie.  First, I want to return to Henry, the brother who led the way for the others.

As I wrote here, after living for over 40 years in Washington, Pennsylvania, Henry Schoenthal moved with his wife Helen (nee Lilienfeld) to New York City in 1909 to be closer to their son Lionel. Lionel had moved to NYC to work as a china buyer, first working for one enterprise, but eventually working for Gimbels department store.  Lionel was married to Irma (nee Silverman), and they had a daughter Florence, born on March 22, 1905.

In 1910, Henry and Helen’s other son Meyer had married Mary McKinnie, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist from Colorado. Meyer and Mary had met while Mary was a student at a girl’s boarding school, Washington Seminary, in Washington, Pennsylvania.  After marrying, they were living in Los Angeles, and Meyer was working for an investment company.

Hilda Schoenthal, Henry and Helen’s daughter, was working as a stenographer in Washington, DC, in 1911. She was living on the same street as her uncle Julius Schoenthal and cousin Leo Schoenthal, the 900 block of Westminster Avenue.

 

1911 directory for Washington, DC Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

1911 directory for Washington, DC
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

According to her obituary (see below), Hilda moved to DC to work for a patent attorney.    In 1914, she was working as a bookkeeper for Karl P. McElroy, who appears to have been the patent attorney, as her brother Meyer later worked for him as well, as noted below in his obituary.

1914 directory for Washington, DC Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

1914 directory for Washington, DC
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

In 1915, Henry and Helen were still living with Lionel (called Lee on this census, as he often was in other documents and news articles), Irma, and Florence on Riverside Drive in New York City.  Lee was still working as a buyer, and no one else was employed outside the home.  Lee’s draft registration for World War II shows that in 1918 he was still working for Gimbels, living on Riverside Drive.

Lionel (Lee) Schoenthal World War I draft registration Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786675; Draft Board: 141

Lionel (Lee) Schoenthal World War I draft registration
Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786675; Draft Board: 141

 

Thanks to the assistance of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, I was able to obtain a copy of a letter that Henry Schoenthal wrote to his granddaughter Florence in December, 1918, when she was almost fourteen years old:

Henry letter to Florence 1918 1

Henry letter to Florence 1918 2

 

 

My darling Florence, I told you yesterday that I was mad at you, but I aint. Beg pardon, I mean I am not. I love you just as much as ever, but I would have been so happy if you had stayed a few days with us.  Of course I will have to send word to President Wilson that you went home and that you could not come to see him.  Maybe after a while when we have a home of our own here you will come and stay with us for quite a while.  We will show you that Washington, for natural beauty, beats any city you saw in the many foreign countries you have visited. Will you write me a little letter? Lovingly yours, Grandpa.

I love the teasing tone of this sweet letter to his granddaughter; it shows yet another facet of this interesting great-great-uncle of mine.  His diaries from his early years in Washington were all very serious, and the speech he gave on a return trip to Washington, PA, in 1912 revealed his spiritual and sentimental side.  Here we get to see some of his sense of humor and the affection he felt for his only grandchild, Florence, who probably like most teenagers was anxious to get home to her friends rather than spend more time with her grandparents.

I was at first a bit confused as to where Henry was living when he wrote this letter.  He refers to the natural beauty of Washington, but it’s not clear whether he is referring to Washington, PA, or Washington, DC.  I concluded, however, that he meant DC because his daughter Hilda was living there and perhaps he and Helen were planning to relocate there.  Also, the reference to seeing President Wilson makes no sense unless he and Helen were in DC.

Not long after the writing of this letter, the Schoenthal family suffered a sad loss. Henry’s son Meyer was living with his wife Mary in Blythe, California, working as a lumber merchant, when he registered for the draft on September 12, 1918.  Just three months later, Mary died on December 24, 1918.  She was only 31 years old.  They had been married for just eight years.  There were no children.

 

On the 1920 census, Meyer is listed as a widow, living alone, and still working in the lumber business. He had moved from Blythe to Palo Verde, California.

If Henry and Helen Schoenthal did move to DC for a period of time, by 1920 they had returned to NYC and were again living with their son Lee and his family on Riverside Drive, according to the 1920 census record.  Lee was still working as a buyer.  Hilda Schoenthal, their daughter, was still living in Washington DC, but was now working as a law clerk for the patent attorneys, according to the 1920 census.

On October 19, 1921, Meyer L. Schoenthal married for a second time.  His second wife was Caroline S. Holgate (sometimes spelled Carolyn).  By that time Meyer was considered a “prominent lumber dealer” and was president of the Blythe, California, chamber of commerce; his new bride was also “prominent socially” and had been president of the Sunshine Society in Blythe.

Riverside Daily Press article - Meyer Schoenthal 2d marriage 1921-page-001

Riverside Daily Press, October 20, 1921, p. 8

 

Caroline was also apparently a talented soprano, as I found numerous articles referring to her performances at various social events.  Here’s just one example.

Riverside Daily Press article -Mrs Meyer Schoenthal soprano-page-002

Riverside Daily Press article -Mrs Meyer Schoenthal soprano-page-003

Riverside Daily Press, January 28, 1924, p. 9

 

Perhaps she also sang at the celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary  of her new in-laws, Henry and Helen Schoenthal, which took place on May 8, 1922, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, although they were not among the guests listed in this news item.

Henry Helen SChoenthal 50th anniversary celebration 1922

Washington DC Evening Star, May 7, 1922, p.31

For that occasion,  Lionel/Lee Schoenthal wrote these very loving lines of verse in honor of his parents:

SchoenthalFamilyScans-page-002

Lionel (Lee) Schoenthal 1922

Lionel (Lee) Schoenthal 1922 passport photograph National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 1829; Volume #: Roll 1829 – Certificates: 117226-117599, 09 Feb 1922-10 Feb 1922

 

(I haven’t transcribed the poem or translated the German lines here, but you can always click and zoom if you want to read it.)

Sadly, three years later, the Schoenthal family lost both Henry and his son Lionel.  Henry died on October 22, 1925, from heart and kidney disease.  He was 82 years old and had lived a good and long life for a man of his generation.  After training as a Jewish teacher and scholar in Germany, he had immigrated from Sielen, Germany, to Washington, Pennsylvania,the first of his siblings to do so .  Later, he had brought his young bride Helen Lilienfeld from Gudensberg, Germany, to Pennsylvania, and they had raised three children together after losing one as a baby.  In Washington, PA, he’d been a successful businessman and respected citizen.  When his son Lionel moved to New York City, Henry and his wife Helen moved there also to be near his son and his only grandchild, Florence.  He had lived there for the last sixteen years of his life, working for some of that time as an insurance salesman, as indicated on his death certificate.  He was buried at Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, less than fifteen miles from where my parents are living. Perhaps one day I will pay him a visit.

Schoenthal, Henry death page 1

 

The family must have been in complete shock when Lee Schoenthal died of pneumonia on December 5, 1925,  just six weeks after his father had died; Lee was only 48 years old, and his daughter Florence was only 20 years old when he died.

Schoenthal, Lee death page 1

 

Here is part of a long and detailed obituary from the December 10, 1925 issue of The Pottery, Glass, and Brass Salesman (p. 153):

SchoenthalFamilyScans-page-003

I will transcribe some of the content:

Lee Schoenthal, supervisor of the china, glassware and allied departments of Gimbel Brothers’ associated stores, passed away at his home in New York City early on Saturday morning, December 5, following an acute illness of two weeks.  [There is then a detailed description of Lee’s poor health, referring to his dedication to his job and overwork as contributing factors to his death.] …

Lee Schoenthal was born in Washington, Pa., April 12, 1877.  His father and mother, who were born in Germany, had come to this country some years before and Henry Schoenthal—Lee’s father—had built up a nice retail business in Washington.  Lee attended the schools of his native town and then his parents, themselves highly cultured, made the effort to give their son a collegiate training, sending him to Washington and Jefferson College, located in Washington.  During his college career he stood well in his classes and was particularly noted for his musical accomplishments, being leader of the college orchestra for several years.  As a matter of fact, it is entirely possible that if he had devoted himself wholeheartedly to music instead of to commerce he might have become a musical celebrity.  …

Some twenty years ago Mr. Schoenthal came to New York to “seek his fortune.” [Then follows a detailed description of Lee’s business career, first with the Siegel-Cooper Company and then with Gimbels.]…

Mr. Schoenthal, for a man of his comparative youth, probably developed more men as successful buyers of china and glassware than anyone else in the country.  He had that rare gift of imparting knowledge and that quality of the really big man of business that he never feared to impart all information he could to those who worked with him.  Modest to a degree, he could not help being conscious of his compelling influence and ability, so the thought never entered his mind that he might be jeopardizing his own position by teaching others all they could absorb from his store of knowledge and wisdom.

[The obituary then describes Lee’s interests outside of work, in particular his love of music, but also art and architecture.] Himself a deeply religious Jew of the modernist type, he could talk more familiarly of the history of the Catholic cathedrals and their adornments than many men of the Christian faith.

[Finally, the obituary described his family life: his happy marriage, his talented daughter, and his devotion to his parents, for whom he had provided a home for many years.]

The obituary thus focused not only on Lee’s distinguished business career, but also on his broad intellectual and cultural interests, his musical talents, and his religious and personal life.  It described him as a “deeply religious Jew of the modernist type” and as a man devoted to his family.  His family must have been very proud of him.

Both deaths were noted in Meyer Schoenthal’s home paper in Riverside, California:

Lionel Schoenthal death re Meyer 1925

 

Two years later on October 19, 1927, Florence Schoenthal, the grandchild of Henry and Helen Schoenthal and daughter of Lee Schoenthal, married Verner Bickart Callomon in New York City.  Verner Callomon was the son of a German Jewish immigrant, Bernhardt Callomon, who had settled in Pittsburgh and worked for Rodef Shalom synagogue there, the same synagogue to which Henry Schoenthal had once belonged.  Verner was a doctor, and his career was described as follows by the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh:

Verner Callomon (1892-1977) graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 1915 with a degree in medicine. He served as a junior lieutenant in World War I and returned to Pittsburgh to practice internal medicine. He was a pulmonary disease specialist and researcher at Allegheny General Hospital and Montefiore Hospital for nearly 60 years and was the chief of medicine at both institutions at different times during his long career. His research contributed to changes in the treatment of pneumonia. He was known both for his professionalism and for his compassion. In order to visit weather-bound patients, he rowed down Liberty Avenue during the 1936 St. Patrick’s Day flood and secured an Army jeep during the November 1950 snowstorm.

As far as I can tell, Florence and Verner settled in Pittsburgh after they married since that is where Verner is listed in the 1929 directory for Pittsburgh and also were their first child was born in 1929.

(The Rauh website also includes links to several articles about the Callomon family.  Of particular interest to me was the oral history interview with Jane Callomon, one of the children of Florence (Schoenthal) and Verner Callomon, on file at the University of Pittsburgh Library (“Pittsburgh and Beyond: The Experience of the Jewish Community,” National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, Oral History Collection at the University of Pittsburgh).)

In 1927, following her husband’s death, Helen Lilienfeld Schoenthal moved to Washington, DC, from NYC to live with her daughter Hilda.  They were living at 3532 Connecticut Avenue NW in 1927, and Hilda was still working for K.P. McElroy, now as a bookkeeper and notary public.

Meyer Schoenthal continued to prosper in California and was elected a vice-president of the California Association of Commercial Secretaries in 1928 (“Fresno Chosen Next Meeting Place California Commercial Secretaries,” Riverside Daily Press, January 14, 1928, p, 2) ; in 1929 he and his wife Caroline took an eleven-week trip to the East Coast, visiting not only his sister and mother in Washington, DC, but also his birthplace, Washington, PA, and many other locations.

Riverside Daily Press, August 5, 1929, p. 4

Riverside Daily Press, August 5, 1929, p. 4

Riverside Daily Press article - Meyer Schoenthal road trip 1929-page-003

Although Meyer and Caroline were still living in Riverside, California, on April 2, 1930, when the census was taken, by September, 1930, they had moved east permanently:

Riverside Daily Press, September 8, 1930, p. 7

Riverside Daily Press, September 8, 1930, p. 7

 

Note that Meyer was going to work for the same business that had long employed his sister Hilda, K.P. McElroy.

In 1930, Hilda and her mother were living in the Broadmoor Apartments at 3601 Connecticut Avenue. By 1932, Meyer and his wife had moved in with them, as listed in the 1932 directory for Washington, DC, and he and his wife were still living there with them in 1937.   Both Hilda and Meyer were working for K.P. McElroy, Hilda as his personal secretary, Meyer as the office manager.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

In April 1930, Florence Schoenthal Callomon appeared in a production of C.B. Fernald’s “The Mask and the Face” at the Y Playhouse in New York City; a noted Shakespearean actor led the cast, B. Iden Payne.  Florence was a woman of many talents, it appears.  She also was an artist who had worked as an advertising illustrator for Gimbels before she married. I cannot find Verner or Florence on the 1930 census in either Pittsburgh or NYC, but regardless of where she was living, I am not sure how she pulled off appearing in this production since she had a one year old child at the time.

 

On October 10, 1937, the family matriarch Helen Lilienfeld Schoenthal died.  She was almost 89 years old (despite the headline on her obituary, she was one month short of her 90th year).  She was buried with her husband at Westchester Hills Cemetery:

Washington Evening Star, October 11, 1937, p. 12

Washington Evening Star, October 11, 1937, p. 12

 

Riverside Daily Press, October 18, 1937, p. 3

Riverside Daily Press, October 18, 1937, p. 3

From the second obituary in the Riverside Daily Press, it appears that Meyer and Caroline Schoenthal had by October 1937 moved to their own place at 2700 Rodman Road in DC.

By 1940, Meyer and Caroline were living as lodgers in a home with thirteen other residents at 2700 Quebec Street; Meyer, 56 years old, was still working for the patent firm.  His sister Hilda, now 65, was also still working at the patent firm and still living at 3601 Connecticut Avenue.

Florence Schoenthal Callomon and her husband Verner Callomon were living in Pittsburgh in 1940; Verner was a doctor in private practice.  They now had two children.

Hilda Schoenthal died on June 6, 1962.  She was 87 years old.

Washington Evening Star, June 6, 1962, p. 41

Washington Evening Star, June 6, 1962, p. 41

 

According to her obituary, sometime after 1940 she had left K.P. McElroy, her longtime employer, to work for Gulf Oil in their patent department.  If times had been different, I have a feeling that Hilda would have become a patent lawyer herself. On the personal side, she seems to have had an active social life with many friends and relatives with whom she traveled and socialized, according to several news items from the society pages of the Washington Evening Star.  Hilda was buried at Westchester Hills Cemetery, where her parents were interred.

Less than a year later, on February  16, 1963, the last remaining child of Henry and Helen Schoenthal,  Meyer Lilienfeld Schoenthal, died.  He was 79.

Washington Evening Star, February 18, 1963, p. 24

Washington Evening Star, February 18, 1963, p. 24

 

He died from a heart attack; unlike his sister Hilda and his parents, he was buried in Massachusetts, where his wife Carolyn/Caroline was born.  She outlived him by 20 years, dying in January, 1983, when she was 84.

The obituary revealed a few things that I otherwise would not have known about Meyer: that he had helped build a “noted nature trail” in the Southwest and that he was a philatelist (stamp collector).  It is interesting that, like his sister Hilda, he had gone to work at Gulf Oil Corporation after working for many years for K.P. McElroy.

The only surviving descendants of Henry Schoenthal after 1963 were his granddaughter Florence Schoenthal Callomon and her children.  Florence died in 1994 when she was 89 years old.  According to the Rauh Archives, she had been “a member and officer of many Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania organizations, including the Western Pennsylvania Women’s Golf Association, the Women’s Committee of The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Symphony Association and the Rodef Shalom Sisterhood, among others.” From the oral history interview their daughter Jane referenced above, it is clear that both Florence and Verner were involved in many aspects of the Pittsburgh community.

Thus, Henry and Helen Schoenthal left quite a legacy.  Their three children all were successful in their careers and ventured far beyond little Washington, PA, where they’d been born: Hilda to DC, Lionel/Lee to NYC, and Meyer to California and then to DC.  Things came almost full circle when Florence Schoenthal Callomon, their granddaughter, returned to western Pennsylvania where her German immigrant grandparents had settled and where her father and aunt and uncle had been born and raised.  Pittsburgh is where Florence and her husband Verner raised their children and where those children stayed as even as adults.

I’d imagine that my great-great-uncle Henry would have been very proud of his three children and his granddaughter for all that they accomplished.  Even in 1912 he knew how blessed he had been in his life when he addressed his friends in Washington, PA, and told them:

I gratefully acknowledge that God has been very gracious unto me and that he has blessed me beyond my merits.

I feel very blessed to have been able to learn so much about my great-great-uncle Henry and his family, and I hope someday to be able to connect with his descendants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1]   Two of twelve children of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg did not survive to adulthood.  Of the other ten, eight immigrated to the United States, including my great-grandfather.  One of the siblings remained in Germany, Jakob, and Rosalie returned to Germany to marry after a few years in the US.

Those Who Left Western Pennsylvania: The Schoenthals 1880-1900

Although most of the extended Schoenthal family was located in western Pennsylvania during the 1880s, a few family members had moved further east.  I’ve already written about Julius Schoenthal and his life and his family in Washington, DC.  He was a German and US veteran, a shoemaker, and the father of four children.  In the 1880s he and his wife Minnie were busy raising their family.

What I had not mentioned in my post about Julius was that by 1879, he was joined in Washington, DC, by his younger (by nine years) brother Nathan.  On the 1880 census, Nathan was living in DC, not married, and working as a clerk in a “fancy store.” I am not sure what that is, but according to the Free Dictionary, it is “one where articles of fancy and ornament are sold.”   Nathan and Julius were not living in the same enumeration district, and the 1880 census did not provide street addresses, so I don’t know how close together the brothers were living.  I don’t know why Nathan left Washington, PA, for Washington, DC, but I would assume that having a brother there was a factor.

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 26, 2003) - Aerial vie...

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 26, 2003) – Aerial view of the Washington Monument with the White House in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By 1883, however, Nathan had moved again.  He was then living in Richmond, Virginia, working as a salesman, according to the city directory for that year.  He was still in Richmond in 1888.  According to the 1900 census, Nathan married a woman named Alice in 1890.  I have not been able find out very much about Alice except that she was born in South Carolina in 1865.  I don’t know her birth name, I don’t know anything about her family, and I don’t know where she married Nathan.

 

English: Looking east on Main Street, Richmond...

English: Looking east on Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, ca. 1901-1907. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps Alice had been living in Philadelphia; in 1891 and 1892, Nathan appeared in the Philadelphia city directory, working as a “supt,” which I assume means he was a superintendent.  But of what?

Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylv...

Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, in 1896 Nathan Schoenthal is listed in the directory for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, working as an assistant superintendent for Prudential Insurance Company, so I assume that that is what he was also doing in Philadelphia and perhaps even in Richmond.  He is also listed as an insurance agent in the 1898 Lancaster directory.

English: North Duke Street in Lancaster, Penns...

English: North Duke Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But he was not done moving because in 1900 he and Alice were living in Newport News, Virginia, where Nathan continued to work as an insurance agent.  They had been married for ten years, as mentioned above, and had no children.

A year later they moved once again, this time to Petersburg, Virginia, a city about 24 miles south of Richmond.  According to the 1901 directory for Petersburg, Nathan was now an assistant superintendent for the Insurance Company of Virginia.  He was still in that position there in 1905, but in the 1909 directory for Petersburg he is listed as a solicitor without further description.

Exchange Building (Petersburg, Virginia).(cropped)

Exchange Building (Petersburg, Virginia).(cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

And then in 1910, Nathan Schoenthal is listed in the Baltimore directory as a manager, but I’ve no idea of what.  Is it possible that this is not the same Nathan Schoenthal?  I don’t know.  But this is the last record I have for Nathan.  I cannot find him or Alice on the 1910 census, and in June 1912, an “Alice Shoenthal” married a man named John Alexander Mallory in Petersburg, Virginia.  Had Nathan died? Had their marriage ended?  Had he moved to Baltimore without Alice? Had she finally gotten fed up with moving from place to place? I don’t know.

Nathan Schoenthal wife remarries

 

 

I’ve hit one of those brick walls, and I have no answers.  Nathan Schoenthal, a man who moved from place to place and then disappeared, will be in my “To Be Done” folder for a while.

Yet another brick wall.

Yet another brick wall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The third Schoenthal brother who left western Pennsylvania, in addition to Julius and Nathan, was Simon.  Simon had moved to Philadelphia by 1880, where he continued to work as a bookbinder.  Unlike his brother Nathan, Simon’s life was remarkably stable and consistent.  He was still working as a bookbinder and living in Philadelphia in 1890.

The 1880s were productive years at home for Simon and his wife Rose nee Mansbach.  By 1880, they’d had five children: twins, Ida and Harry, born in 1873; then Gertrude, born in 1875; Louis, born in 1878, and Maurice, born in 1879, all of whom were born in western Pennsylvania.  After that they had five more who were born in Philadelphia: Martin (1881), Jacob (1883), Hettie (1885), Estelle (1888), and Sidney (1891).  Rose had been pregnant nine times, almost every other year over almost twenty years.  Wow.

In 1887, the oldest daughter Ida died from heart disease; she was only fourteen years old.  No matter how many children they had, losing the first born daughter Ida must have been devastating for the family.  It must have been especially hard for Harry, her twin.

Ida Shoenthal death certificate

Ida Shoenthal death certificate “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12895-183388-90?cc=1320976 : accessed 28 October 2015), 004008625 > image 605 of 612; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

By 1890, Simon and Rose had nine children living with them, ranging in age from Harry, who was seventeen, to Sidney, who was an infant.  Interestingly, around this time Simon changed occupations.  He is listed as selling “segars” in the 1891 and 1892 Philadelphia directories.

By 1898, Simon and Rose had relocated to  Atlantic City, where Simon now owned a “notion and bric-a-brac store” that was destroyed by a fire on February 7 of that year.

Fire in Atl City store of Simon Schoenthal

 

By 1900, however, Simon was back in business in Atlantic City, as reported on the 1900 census.  He was then operating a cigar and stationery store.  Six of their nine children were living with Rose and Simon: Louis was working as a cigar salesman, and Martin and Jacob were working as “laundrymen.”  Hettie, Estelle, and Sidney were also living at home.

There were three children missing from Simon and Rose’s Atlantic City household on the 1900 census:  Harry, Gertrude, and Maurice.  Harry, now 27, was a student at Juniata College in Huntingdon in 1900, as listed on the census.  Juniata was at that time a  relatively new college, founded in 1876 by the Church of the Brethren, a Protestant sect started in Germany.  I would be interested in knowing what drew Harry to Juniata and what classes he took while there. Two years later, Harry was living in Atlantic City where his parents and most of his siblings were living; he was working for Atlantic Wine and Liquor, according to a city directory.

As for Simon and Rose’s daughter Gertrude, she had married a man named Jacob J. Miller in Atlantic City on February 12, 1898, when she was 23.  Jacob was born in Germany on June 6, 1873, and had immigrated to the US sometime in the 1880s.  A year after marrying, Jacob and Gertrude were living in Tucson, Arizona, where Jacob was working for the Crescent Cigar Company, the same industry in which his father-in-law Simon and brother-in-law Louis were engaged.  In 1900, they had an infant daughter Juliette and were living in Pima, Arizona.  Jacob was working as a grocer.  Gertrude and Jacob would have two more children: Harry in 1902 and Sylvester in 1906.

A stunning view of Cluff Ranch Pond near Pima,...

A stunning view of Cluff Ranch Pond near Pima, Arizona. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for Maurice, although I cannot find him with the family or elsewhere on the 1900 census, he and three of his brothers are all listed in the 1904 Atlantic City directory, as seen below:

Atlantic City directory 1904

Atlantic City directory 1904 Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

All four brothers were living at 22 Delaware Avenue in Atlantic City, their mother at 23 Delaware.  It appears that Martin and Jacob were running a laundry called Incomparable Laundry at 1432-1434 Atlantic Avenue and that Louis was running a cigar, tobacco, stationery and sporting goods business at the same location.  Louis also listed a billiards and pool hall on “S Virginia av n Beach.”  Maurice is listed as a manager at “S Virginia av, Ocean end.”  I think that those two addresses are likely the same location and that Maurice was managing the pool hall.

As the listings also reveal, Rose was a widow by the time of the 1904 directory’s publication.  Simon died on March 26, 1904, in Atlantic City; he was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia.  He was 55 years old and the first of my great-grandfather’s siblings to die.

I will follow up with what happened to Simon’s children and other descendants in the 20th century in a later post.

 

 

 

My Great-grandfather Comes to America: The Schoenthals in Western Pennsylvania 1880-1890

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or how my great-grandfather met my great-grandmother.  I love finding stories about how couples met each other.  From a little tiny news item in a small local paper in 1887, I may have found a clue as to how my Schoenthal/Katzenstein grandparents met each other.

Isidore Schoenthal

Isidore Schoenthal

By 1880, many of the members of the family of Heinemann Schoenthal and Hendel Beerenstein had moved from Sielen, Germany, to the United States.  Their two daughters had arrived first: Fanny and her husband Simon Goldsmith and Mina and her husband Marcus Rosenberg.  They were followed by six of the children of Levi Schoenthal (Fanny and Mina’s brother) and Henrietta Hamberg: Henry, Julius, Amalie, Simon, Nathan, and Felix.

Their father Levi died in 1874; their mother Henrietta was still living in Germany in 1880. Four of the children of Levi and Henrietta were also still in Germany in 1880: Hannah, Jacob, Rosalie, and my great-grandfather Isidore.  All but Jacob would soon be in the United States.

Jacob had married Charlotte Lilienfeld in 1879 and was a merchant living in Cologne (or Koln), Germany.  Charlotte was the daughter of Meyer Lilienfeld and Hannchen Meiberg of Gudensberg, another small town in the Kassel district of Hessen, not far from Sielen.   Charlotte was the half-sister of Helen Lilienfeld, who had married Jacob’s brother Henry in 1872.   Although Jacob and Charlotte never emigrated from Germany, they had two sons who did: Lee, born in 1881, and Meyer, born in 1883. More on them in a later post.

HStAMR Best. 920 Nr. 2610 Standesamt Gudensberg Heiratsnebenregister 1879, S. 10

HStAMR Best. 920 Nr. 2610 Standesamt Gudensberg Heiratsnebenregister 1879, S. 10

Eine Vervielfältigung oder Verwendung dieser Seite in anderen elektronischen oder gedruckten Publikationen und deren Veröffentlichung (auch im Internet) ist nur nach vorheriger Genehmigung durch das Hessische Staatsarchivs Marburg, Friedrichsplatz 15, D-35037 Marburg, Germany gestattet.

HStAMR Best. 920 Nr. 2610 Standesamt Gudensberg Heiratsnebenregister 1879, S. 10

As for the many Schoenthal family members already in the United States, as of 1880 only Henry and his wife Helen (Lilienfeld) and their two young children, Hilda (six) and Lionel (three), were still living in Washington, Pennsylvania, where Henry owned a retail variety store.  Living with them and described as their adopted son was a twelve year old boy named Samuel Hamberg, who was born in South Carolina.  I have to believe that Samuel Hamberg was somehow related to Henry’s mother’s family, the Hambergs of Breuna, but I cannot find the connection.[1]  Henry and Helen would have one more child in the 1880s, a son born in 1883 named Meyer Lilienfeld Schoenthal, named for Helen’s father.

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

 

Although Henry was the only Schoenthal sibling still in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1880, others were not too far away.  Amalie and her husband Elias Wolfe were now living in Allegheny (today part of Pittsburgh so from hereon I will refer to both Allegheny and Pittsburgh as Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania.  According to the entry in the census record, Elias was a “drover.”  I’d never heard this term before, but according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, a drover is “a person who moves groups of animals (such as cattle or sheep) from one place to another.”     Amalie and Elias had three children at the time of the census: Morris was 7, Florence was 5, and Lionel was 2.  A fourth child was born in June, 1880, shortly after the census, a son named Ira.   Two more were born in the 1880s: Henrietta (1883) and Herbert (1885).

Amalie Schoenthal Wolfe and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1086; Family History Film: 1255086; Page: 153C; Enumeration District: 006; Image: 0310

Amalie Schoenthal Wolfe and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1086; Family History Film: 1255086; Page: 153C; Enumeration District: 006; Image: 0310

 

As noted in my earlier post, Felix Schoenthal was also still relatively close to Washington, Pennsylvania, living with his wife  Maggie in West Newton, about 25 miles away, where Felix was working as a clerk at the paper mill.  Felix and Maggie also had two children during the 1880s: Rachel (1881) and Yetta (1884).

The other siblings had moved further east.  Julius was in Washington, DC, working as a shoemaker, as described in my last post.  His brother Nathan was also now in DC, working as a clerk in a “fancy store.”  Simon Schoenthal had also moved further east by 1880.  Although he and his family were living in Pittsburgh in 1879, by 1880 he and Rose and their five children had moved to Philadelphia.  Simon was still working as a bookbinder. In the 1880s they would have four more children: Martin (1881), Jacob (1883), Hettie (1886), and Estelle (1889).  In 1891, one more child was added to the family, Sidney.

Simon Schoenthal and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1179; Family History Film: 1255179; Page: 12D; Enumeration District: 382; Image: 0218

Simon Schoenthal and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1179; Family History Film: 1255179; Page: 12D; Enumeration District: 382; Image: 0218

 

But other members of the extended Schoenthal clan still lived in western Pennsylvania.  Fanny Schoenthal Goldsmith’s widower Simon Goldsmith was living in Pittsburgh with their daughter Hannah and her family.  Hannah’s husband Joseph Benedict was a rag dealer, and in 1880 they had three sons: Jacob (10), Hershel (9), and Harry (3).[2]

Simon Goldsmith and Joseph Benedict families on 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1092; Family History Film: 1255092; Page: 508D; Enumeration District: 122; Image: 0683

Simon Goldsmith and Joseph Benedict families on 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1092; Family History Film: 1255092; Page: 508D; Enumeration District: 122; Image: 0683

As described in an earlier post, Mina Schoenthal Rosenberg and her husband Marcus Rosenberg and their daughter Julia were living in Elk City, Pennsylvania, in 1880.  Their daughter Hannah and her husband Herman Hirsh were living in Pittsburgh with their five children in 1880.  Their daughter Mary and her husband Joseph Podolsky and children were living in Ohio.  Mina’s other two children, Rachel and Harry, are missing from the 1880 census.

Thus, by 1880, there were still a large number of family members in western Pennsylvania; it was still home to most of the extended Schoenthal clan.  It is not surprising that when my great-grandfather Isidore arrived with his mother and sister Rosalie, they ended up in western Pennsylvania as well.

My great-grandfather Isidore, his mother Henrietta Hamberg Schoenthal, and his younger sister Rosalie arrived in New York on September 3, 1881, upon the ship Rhein, which had sailed from Bremen.  Isidore was 22, Rosalie was seventeen, and Henrietta was 64 years old.  They settled in Washington, Pennsylvania, where Henry was living. Isidore worked as a clerk in Henry’s variety store.

Henrietta died just a year later in December, 1882; she was buried at Troy Hill cemetery in Pittsburgh.  Washington did not yet have a Jewish cemetery.  Although I could not find an American death certificate, Henrietta’s death was recorded back in Sielen even though she had died in the US.

Henrietta Hamberg Schoenthal death record from Sielen HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 773, S. 10

Henrietta Hamberg Schoenthal death record from Sielen
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 773, S. 10

Henrietta’s brother-in-law Simon Goldsmith died a few months later on March 17, 1883.  He also was buried at Troy Hill.

Rosalie Schoenthal, the youngest child of Levi and Henrietta, returned to Germany where she married William or Willie Heymann in Geldern, Germany, on December 8, 1884.  She and Willie would have four children born in Geldern: Lionel (1887, for Rosalie’s father Levi, presumably), Helen (1890), Max (1893), and Hilda (1898).  I assume that either Helen or Hilda was named for Rosalie’s mother Henrietta.  The two sons ended up immigrating to the United States; the two daughters and their families perished in the Holocaust.  But more on that in a later post.

There would be one more Schoenthal sibling who would immigrate to the US: the oldest child, Hannah.  Hannah had had a child out of wedlock in 1865, a daughter named Sarah whose father is unknown.

birth of Sarah Schoenthal, daughter of Hannah HHStAW fonds 365 No 772 p12

birth of Sarah Schoenthal, daughter of Hannah Schoenthal, in Sielen, 1865
HHStAW fonds 365 No 772 p12

[Translation: “Hannchen Schönthal (Tochter des Schuhmacher=Meister Levi Schönthal zu Sielen) uneheliche Mutter.”…..Hannchen Schönthal (daughter of the master shoemaker (cobbler) Levi Schönthal of Sielen) unmarried mother.]

Hannah later married Solomon Simon Stern in Sielen, Germany, on August 19, 1874, five months after her father Levi died.  She was 29 years old at that time.  Solomon was 57.

Marriage of Solomon Stern to Hannah Schoenthal HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 839, S. 22

Marriage of Solomon Stern to Hannah Schoenthal in Sielen
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 839, S. 22

Together they would have three children: Jennie, born June 20, 1875; Edith, born September 7, 1877; and Louis, born May 17, 1879.  Solomon Stern died February 20, 1888, and Hannah and their three children emigrated from Germany shortly thereafter.  According to later census records, Hannah and the three children all emigrated in 1888.

Solomon Stern gravestone inscription HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 842, S. 11

Solomon Stern gravestone inscription
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 842, S. 11

Hannah and her children settled in Pittsburgh, where her sister Amalie and her husband Elias Wolfe and their six children, named above, were still living.  Elias continued to work as a drover.  Hannah and Amalie’s brother Felix also was in Pittsburgh by that time, having relocated there from West Newton by 1882.  He was working as a bookkeeper.  In 1889 he opened his own store:

 Pittsburgh Daily Post, 9 Apr 1889, Tue, Page 3

Pittsburgh Daily Post, 9 Apr 1889, Tue, Page 3

Also living in Pittsburgh in the 1880s was their Schoenthal cousin, Hannah Goldsmith Benedict, and her husband Joseph and three children, Jacob, Herschel, and Harry; Joseph was selling rags and paper stock.  Joseph became entangled in a rather gruesome lawsuit involving the sale of rags to a paper mill.  The purchaser had failed to pay the purchase price, and Joseph had sued for payment.  The purchaser alleged that they were not liable for the purchase price because the rags had been infected with the smallpox virus, and several of the purchaser’s employees had taken ill, causing the shutdown of the purchaser’s mills.  Thus, the purchaser claimed it had been damaged by loss of business in an amount exceeding what it allegedly owed Joseph Benedict.

 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5 Sep 1882, Tue, Page 1

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5 Sep 1882, Tue, Page 1

This would have been a fun case for me to teach in my days as a law professor teaching Contracts.  It is similar to a famous case taught in most Contracts courses called Hadley v. Baxendale.  Was the shutdown of the paper mill a foreseeable consequence of the seller’s defective product? Here there are also issues of negligence, breach of warranty, damages, and so on.  It would have been a great exam question. Fortunately for Joseph Benedict, the court refused to set aside the judgment in his favor, and the paper mill was held liable for the purchase price of the rags.

Another Schoenthal cousin, Hannah Rosenberg Hirsh, and her husband Herman and their five children, Morris, Nathan, Carrie, Harry, and Sidney, were also living in Pittsburgh; Herman was in the varnish business, at first for the Michigan Furniture Company and then in his own business manufacturing varnish.

Hannah thus had many family members close by in Pittsburgh to provide support as she raised her three children alone in the new country.

My great-grandfather Isidore lived in Pittsburgh for some time also around 1887 through 1889, working as a floor walker in a retail store, at least according to the listings in the Pittsburgh city directories for those years.  But sometime in early 1888 he married my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein in Philadelphia.  Hilda was the daughter of Eva Goldschmidt and granddaughter of Seligmann Goldschmidt.  As discussed in an earlier post, Seligmann Goldschmidt was the brother of Simon Goldschmidt, who became Simon Goldsmith and who had married Isidore’s aunt, Fanny Schoenthal. Thus, Hilda and Isidore were already related to each by marriage. In addition, Hilda’s brother S.J. Katzenstein was a merchant, living in Washington, Pennsylvania.  I don’t know whether my great-grandparents met through S.J. in Washington, Pennsylvania, or through their mutual cousins, the Goldsmiths, or perhaps even through Isidore’s brother Simon, who lived in Philadelphia, where Hilda had been born and raised.

But I did find this important clue:

The Daily Republican (Monongahela, Pennsylvania) 11 Aug 1887, Thu • Page 4

The Daily Republican
(Monongahela, Pennsylvania)
11 Aug 1887, Thu • Page 4

Was this when Isidore and Hilda met—at a gathering at the house of a man named Henry Florsheim who lived in Finleyville? And who was he?  A little research revealed that Henry Florsheim was born in 1842 in Gudensberg, Germany, the same town where Helen and Charlotte Lilienfeld were born, the wives of Henry Schoenthal and Jacob Schoenthal, respectively.

Henry (Hienemann) Florsheim birth record HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 384, S. 35

Henry (Heinemann) Florsheim birth record from Gudensberg
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 384, S. 35

In fact, according to research done by Hans-Peter Klein as reflected on his incredibly helpful website found here, Henry Florsheim’s sister married Helen Lilienfeld’s brother in Gudensberg in 1872, the same year that Helen Lilienfeld married Henry Schoenthal.  According to the 1910 census, Henry Florsheim came to the US in 1876, so the two families were already related by marriage when he arrived.  In 1880 Henry Florsheim was a merchant, living in Union Township in Washington County, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles from the city of Washington, PA.  An article in the January 31, 1887, Pittsburgh Daily Post (p.4) , reported that he was the proprietor of the Union Valley coal mines and had been presented with a gold watch by the citizens of Finleyville, a town about 16 miles from Washington and two miles from Union Township. Thus, in just a decade, Henry Florsheim had made quite a mark on his community.  Was this successful businessman the one who was responsible for bringing my great-grandparents together?  If so, thank you, Mr. Florsheim![3]

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

That was not the end of Henry Florsheim’s role in my great-grandparents’ lives.  In 1889, he hired my great-grandfather to work in his store in Finleyville; this news article suggests that they were still living in Pittsburgh before that opportunity arose.

The Daily Republican (Monongahela, Pennsylvania) 8 Nov 1889, Fri • Page 1

The Daily Republican
(Monongahela, Pennsylvania)
8 Nov 1889, Fri • Page 1

Isidore and Hilda’s first child, my great-uncle Lester Henry Schoenthal, was born on December 3, 1888.  I assume that, like all the Lionels and Leo and Lee, he was named for Isidore’s father Levi.  About three years later on January 20, 1892, Isidore and Hilda had a second son, Gerson Katzenstein Schoenthal, named for Hilda’s father.  Their third child, Harold, and their fourth and youngest child, my grandmother Eva, would not arrive until after the 20th century had begun.

Thus, by 1890, the Schoenthal family had deep and wide connections to western Pennsylvania.  My next post will catch up with those family members who were living elsewhere in the 1880s: Washington DC, Ohio, and Philadelphia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] All I can find about Samuel’s background is that he appears to have been the son of Charles Hamberg, who was born in Germany and emigrated before 1850; in 1853, Charles married Mary E. Hanchey in New Hanover, North Carolina.  She, however, was not Samuel’s mother because she was murdered on November 18, 1866.  On the 1870 census, Charles was living with a 21 year old woman named Tenah Hamberg and two year old Samuel. Since the 1870 census did not report information about the relationships among those in a household, I don’t know for sure whether Tenah was Charles’ wife or Samuel’s mother. Charles died in 1879, and the administrix of his intestate estate was a woman named Amalia Hamberg.  I don’t know who Amalia was or how she was related to Charles.  But by 1880, twelve year old Samuel had moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, to live with Henry.

[2] There were also two young boys, Jacob and Benjamin Goldsmith, living with them and a 21 years old named Jacob Basch.  They were labeled “grandsons,” but they had to be Simon’s grandsons, not Joseph and Hannah’s grandsons.  Jacob Basch was the son of Simon’s daughter Lena from his first marriage, who had married Gustav Basch.  I don’t know who the parents of Jacob and Benjamin Goldsmith were.

[3] That little article about Henry Florsheim’s party also led me to another question: who was the woman named Sarah Stern who also attended this gathering? I assumed she must have been a relative since everyone else at the Floersheim event was part of the Schoenthal or Katzenstein families, and I only knew of one Stern in the family—Solomon Stern who had married Hannah Schoenthal, the older sister of Henry, Isidore, and the other children of Levi Schoenthal.  Hannah’s first child, born before she married Solomon Stern, was named Sarah.  Was this Sarah Stern the same person, taking on her stepfather’s surname? Further investigation would support that conclusion, as I will describe in a later post.

Julius Schoenthal Mystery: Solved

Last week in my post about my great-grandfather’s siblings and their immigration to the United States between 1866 and 1872, I wrote about one of his presumed brothers, Julius.  Although Julius was mentioned in the Beers biography of Henry Schoenthal as one of the siblings, I could not find any other source to verify that the Julius Schoenthal whom I had located was the right one.  The Beers biography gave no details about Julius other than that he was living in Washington, DC, at the time it was written (1893).  The Julius Schoenthal I had found did live in DC, but aside from that one clue, there was nothing else that linked him to his presumed siblings in Pennsylvania.

What I did learn about that Julius, as described in my earlier post, was that he was born sometime between 1845 (1900 and 1910 census records) and 1847 (the 1880 census)  that he had served in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-1871, that he had married a woman named Minnie Dahl in 1874, , that he was a shoemaker (like his presumed father, Levi Schoenthal), and that he had four children: Leo (1875), Rosalia (1876), Sylvester (1878), and Moretto (1879).  I also was able to find his card in the Civil War pensions database, which indicated that he had served in the Signal Corps in the US Army; with the help of Lillian from Facebook, I also knew he had enlisted from Chicago in 1873 and been discharged in 1874 in Washington, DC.  What I did not know for sure was whether or not he was in fact the son of Levi Schoenthal, my great-great-grandfather.

Julius SChoenthal new tree

 

I also did not know when he’d arrived in the US. Then I found a reference to a Julius Schoenthal in an article entitled “History of the War in Europe” in the Washington, Pennsylvania Review and Examiner, dated July 12, 1871 (p.3); he was acting as an agent for a the National Publishing Company of Philadelphia, which had published a book about the Franco-Prussian War.  After a review of the book, the article ends by saying, “It is for sale by subscription only, and Julius Schoenthal, who is the authorized agent for this section, is now canvassing for it.” Given the name, subject matter, and location, I have to believe that this is Julius, the brother of my great-grandfather, and thus that he was already in the US as of July 12, 1871.  He also at least for some time had been in Washington, Pennsylvania, where his siblings and cousins were living.

HIstory of the War between Germany and France cove

I sent away for his full pension file.  I was fortunate to find Deidre Erin of Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches who offers to obtain copies of pension records at the National Archives for a reasonable fee. Within a few days I had an excellent and complete copy of Julius Schoenthal’s pension file.

Although the file was 56 pages long, I found all the information I needed on page 6 where Julius reported both his birth date and birthplace: January 30, 1845, in Sielen, Germany.  The fact that Julius was born in Sielen was certainly probative of the fact that he was the son of Levi Schoenthal and Henrietta Hamberg; the fact that he was born before 1846 explained why I had not been able to locate a birth record for him since the online records start in 1846 for Sielen.

Julius Schoenthal pension file pt 1

Julius Schoenthal pension file pt 2

 

As you can see, the page also lists his wife as Minnie Dahl and the names of his four children.  For my purposes, those overlapping facts tie the Julius Schoenthal who served in the Signal Corps and lived in Washington, DC, was married to Minnie Dahl, and had four children, to the other Schoenthals living in Pennsylvania, including my great-grandfather Isidore.  I still have no idea why he was in Chicago when he enlisted in the Signal Corps.

I also requested a copy of a letter he had reportedly written to President Ulysses S. Grant, according to the index for the archives in the Grant Presidential Collection at Mississippi State University. When I received the materials from Mississippi State University, there were two letters, one in German and in old German script that I could not read; the other in English and quite readable.  After I received some help with the first letter from the Genealogy Translations group on Facebook, it was obvious that it was not written by my relative and had been misfiled in the archives. I was disappointed since this was a lengthy letter, and I had hoped for some useful insights.

Fortunately, the second letter was in fact from Julius, my great-grandfather’s brother, but it was not to President Grant, but rather a letter dated 1884 (when Grant was no longer even President) to the then Secretary of the Treasury asking for a job as a watchman or messenger.  Julius wrote that he was 38 years old (he actually would have been 39 if born in 1845 as he had claimed in his pension files), a US citizen, a veteran of the Signal Corps, and married with four children.  There is also a letter of support included with his letter from a friend who wrote that Julius was “a faithful soldier and would make a very judicious and faithful watchman….”  Unfortunately, I do not think Julius was offered the position since all the later references in his pension file as well as DC city directories in the 1890s indicate that he remained a shoemaker.

In fact, I am quite certain he was not working for the government based on this newspaper article dated November 9, 1888, from the Washington, DC Evening Star (p. 8):

Julius Schoenthal shoemaker anarchist 1888

 

Apparently, Julius, still working as a shoemaker, had been accused of being an anarchist because of a red cloth hanging from a pole near his house and had gained some notoriety.  His wife told the reporter that the accusation was false and made by someone out of spite.  Why would someone be seeking to harm Julius, a shoemaker with four young children?  I don’t know.  But obviously Julius did not like these accusations and sued another local paper, the Sunday Herald, for libel:

 

Julius Schoenthal sues paper for libel 1888

 

All of this must have taken a toll on Julius. The remainder of the pension file deals with his numerous claims starting in the 1890s  for an increase in his pension allowance based on various disabilities . Julius claimed that while serving in the Signal Corps as a driver of the market-wagon, he contracted various ailments that led to rheumatism, heart and lung disease, throat disease, hearing loss, and catarrh.  Reading his file made me curious about the Signal Corps and also about his claimed ailments.

According to one source, the US Army Signal Corps “began in 1860, with the appointment of Dr. Albert J. Myer, a physician, as Chief Signal Officer. Under his command, the unit transformed sign language used to communicate with deaf persons into a semaphore system incorporating red and white “wigwag” flags. During the Civil War, the Signal Corps operated air balloons and telegraph machines.”  After the Civil War and during the years that Julius Schoenthal served, the country was not at war, and the Signal Corps took on a different mission: weather forecasting.  In her book about the history of the Signal Corps, Rebecca Robbins Raines described the recruitment, training, and responsibilities of those who served in the Signal Corps in its role as national weather forecaster:

The Signal Corps selectively recruited personnel for the weather service-only unmarried men between the ages of twenty-one and forty were eligible-and required them to pass both physical and educational examinations. Upon acceptance, the men enlisted as privates and received at least two months of instruction at Fort Whipple. After an additional six months of duty on station as assistants (later extended to one year), followed by further training at Fort Whipple and appearance before two boards of examination, the men qualified for promotion to “observer-sergeant.” After one year’s service, an observer could again be called before a board for yet another examination.

The work of the observer was often demanding. Three times daily he recorded the following data: temperature; relative humidity; barometric pressure; direction and velocity of the wind; and rain or snow fall. The Corps soon added to this list the daily measurement of river depths at stations along many major rivers. The observer also noted the cloud cover and the general state of the weather. Immediately upon completing his observations, the officer prepared the information for telegraphic transmission to the Signal Office in Washington. In a separate journal he recorded unusual phenomena, such as auroral and meteoric displays. In addition to the three telegraphic reports, he made another set of observations according to local time and mailed them weekly to Washington. The Corps also required a separate midday reading of the instruments, but the observer only forwarded the results if they differed greatly from the earlier readings. At sunset he recorded the appearance of the western sky to be used as an indication of the next day’s weather. In case of severe weather, an observer could be on duty around the clock, making hourly reports to Washington.

[Rebecca Robbins Raines, Getting the Message Through: A Branch History of the U.S. Army Signal Corps (Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1996), p. 47 (footnotes omitted).  Available online here.]

The Signal Corps Regimental Color

The Signal Corps Regimental Color (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From what I read in his pension file, Julius was a driver in the Signal Corps, presumably driving the observers to their posts for recording the weather.  As described in one statement in his pension file made by a fellow Signal Corps member, Julius would often be exposed to inclement weather while driving the “market-wagon” and spent time in the military infirmary as a result of illnesses contracted while serving.

One of those illnesses, catarrh, was an illness I’d never heard of before. Back in 1865 it was described this way by the New York Times:

Catarrh is a disease of the mucous membrane of the nasal passages and those cavities of the head communicating with them. Insignifiacnt as it appears in its first stages, it is apt in its progress to become instrumental in causing the loss or impairment of smell, taste, hearing and sight, and of creating serious constitutional derangements, not unfrequently terminating in consumption.

According to the National Health Service in Great Britain, today catarrh is not considered a condition itself, but rather a symptom of colds, allergies, or nasal polyps.  However, the NHS website does say that “[i]n some cases, people can experience chronic catarrh, which is not caused by an allergy or infection and lasts for a long time. The cause of chronic catarrh is unknown but it may be related to an abnormality in the lining of the throat.”

Julius filed numerous claims over many years beginning in the 1890s.  From what I can tell, it appears that his claims were repeatedly denied.  Whether his illnesses were as severe as he claimed I cannot judge; there were doctors who supported his claims as well as friends, but there were also doctors who concluded otherwise.

In 1899, Minnie Dahl Schoenthal, Julius’ wife, died at 53.  In 1900, Julius was living in Washington, DC, with three of his four children, Leo, Rosalia (Rose), and Moretto, who were all in their early 20s.  Julius was now working as a “collection publisher.”    I am not sure what that means, unless Julius still had some relationship with the National Publishing Company of Philadelphia 30 years after that article in the Washington, Pennsylvania newspaper.  His son Leo was a printer, and Moretto was a cabinet maker.  Rose was not employed.  I cannot locate Sylvester on the 1900 census.

All three of Julius Schoenthal’s sons married in 1901. Sylvester married Alice Butler in Virginia on April 1, 1901.  (That marriage did not last, and on December 17, 1905, Sylvester married Bessie Rose.)  Moretto, the youngest child, married in 1901 as well; on November 14, he married Annie M. Heath.  Their son Arthur Schoenthal was born in 1903.  Finally, the oldest brother, Leo, married Fannie Pach on December 18, 1901.  They had a daughter named Minnie (presumably for Leo’s mother) on September 28, 1902, nine months after marrying.  On March 12, 1905, Julius and Minnie’s only daughter, Rose, married Joseph Pach, younger brother of her sister-in-law Fannie, Leo’s wife.

By 1910, Julius had moved in with Leo and Fannie in Washington, DC; he was now working as a confections merchant.  Leo was working as the assistant sealer of weights for the District of Columbia.  Sylvester and his wife Bessie and daughter Minnie were also still living in DC, where Sylvester was working as a car builder for the Washington Railway Company.  Moretto and his wife Annie and son Arthur were in DC as well where Moretto continued to work as a cabinet maker.

Although her father and three brothers were still living in DC in 1910, Rose Schoenthal and her husband Joseph Pach were living in Uniontown, Alabama, where Joseph owned a retail clothing and shoe business.  I wondered what had taken them there.  In 1910, the population of Uniontown was about 1,800, a 75% increase over its population in 1900, so something must have drawn all those new residents to the town.  I found this insight in the Encyclopedia of Alabama website:

The area remained tied to the agricultural economy after the war. In 1897, the Uniontown Cotton Oil Company was established in the town, one of the first facilities of its kind in the state and one of the first industrial businesses in Perry County; it manufactured cotton seed oil and cotton seed meal. By 1900, the town had cotton gins, cotton warehouses, and a cotton mill. The city also had electricity and telephone services by this time. Less than two decades later, however, Uniontown began to lose population as more people moved off of plantations because of the boll weevil’s ruinous effect on the cotton crop, among other factors. The town remains largely dependent on agricultural activities, including livestock farming, in the surrounding area.

I guess that Joseph Pach saw a town that was experiencing a population and economic boom and decided to start a business there.  But it was over 800 miles from DC, and it must have been quite an adjustment for a young couple who were both born and raised in that larger city.

English: Co-Nita Manor within the Uniontown Hi...

English: Co-Nita Manor within the Uniontown Historic District in Uniontown, Alabama. The district is on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1911, Leo Schoenthal and his superior, Colonel W.C. Haskell made the news for their investigation of fraud by ice dealers in DC who were “short weighting” customers; when some customers filed complaints with the Department of Weights and Measures, the dealers thereafter refused to sell to them.  There was some discussion of criminal prosecution of the dealers.  Here is a headline from an article in the Washington Herald of July 19, 1911 (p. 12):

19 Jul 1911, Page 12 - at Newspapers.com

19 Jul 1911, Page 12 – at Newspapers.com

 

According to the 1914 directory for Washington, DC, Julius and his three sons were still living in that city that year.  Julius was still living with Leo and was working as a driver.  Leo was the assistant superintendent for weights and measures.  Sylvester’s occupation was listed as “Mach,” which I assume means machinist.  Moretto was now working as an assistant superintendent for the Life Insurance Company of Virginia.  (There was also a Hilda Schoenthal working as a bookkeeper and living on the same block as Leo and Julius; I believe she was the daughter of Henry Schoenthal, brother of Julius.  But more on that in a later post.)

Title : Washington, District of Columbia, City Directory, 1914 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Title : Washington, District of Columbia, City Directory, 1914
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

In the summer of 1914, Julius Schoenthal and his daughter Rose Schoenthal Pach traveled to Europe together; on the passenger manifest for their return trip in September, 1914, there is a notation on the entry for Julius, noting that he was naturalized in DC and had been discharged from the US Army.   Was the carrier, or the US generally, suspicious of a foreign-born traveler, given that World War I had just started a few months before?

Passenger Manifest for Julius Schoethal and Rose Schoenthal Pach 1914 Year: 1914; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2368; Line: 1; Page Number: 96

Passenger Manifest for Julius Schoethal and Rose Schoenthal Pach 1914
Year: 1914; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2368; Line: 1; Page Number: 96

It was after this trip that Julius reported that Americans were being well treated by the Germans and that in Berlin the government was closing down hotels that overcharged Americans.  I found it quite interesting that Julius, who had by that time lived in the US for over forty years, still seemed to feel some loyalty to his birth country.  I wonder how he felt once the US went to war against Germany a few years later.

Julius Schoenthal news article re Germany WW I

The family made the newspaper again in 1916 when Leo and his wife Fannie celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary:

Schoenthal party for Leo 15th anniversary

When the US entered World War I, all three of Julius Schoenthal’s sons registered for the draft.  Leo was now the chief inspector for the District of Columbia; Sylvester was a car repairmen for the Washington & Southern Railroad Company; and Moretto was still an insurance agent for the Insurance Company of Virginia.  Their brother-in-law Joseph Pach registered in Uniontown, Alabama, describing himself as a merchant.  It does not appear, however, that any of them served in the war.

Sylvester and his wife Bessie, who had married in 1905, had not had any children listed on the 1910 census, but by 1920 they had two daughters: Margaret, born in 1914, and Helen, born in 1918.  Leo’s daughter Minnie and Moretto’s son Arthur were teenagers by then.  Rose and Joseph did not have any children, as far as I can tell.

On March 2, 1919, Julius Schoenthal died in Uniontown, Alabama; he must have been visiting his daughter Rose when he died.  He was 74 years old and was buried at Washington Hebrew Cemetery in DC, where his wife Minnie had been buried 20 years earlier.

Julius had lived an interesting life, serving in the Germany army and then the US army after immigrating, and then seeking a position in the US government after that service.  He must have felt proud to be a US citizen and a veteran, yet he was accused of being an anarchist in 1888.  That obviously hurt him enough that he sued for libel; also, I have to wonder how he felt after repeatedly having his requests for increased pension payments denied.

He lost his wife at a relatively young age and never remarried.  He had four children, three sons who lived close by throughout his life and a daughter who moved over 800 miles away.  But when he died, he was with his daughter in Alabama, not his sons in DC.  He worked as a shoemaker, a book salesman, and a seller of confections.  He had many family members living in Pennsylvania, but I can find no indication that he had much contact with them after moving to Washington, DC., except for his niece Hilda living down the street in 1910.

As for his children, the three sons were all still living in DC in 1920, all still working at the same occupations.  Rose and her husband Joseph were still in Uniontown, Alabama.  At the time he died, Julius had four grandchildren: Arthur, Minnie, Helen, and Margaret Schoenthal, all living in Washington, DC.

More about his descendants in a subsequent post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving: More Gifts, More Gratitude

cemetery sign for Mikveh Israel

It’s been a week or so of amazing gifts.  First there was the package from Gau-Algesheim with the records and book relating to my Seligmann ancestors and the amazing help I received from Ralph Baer and Matthias Steinke with translation of these items.

Then a day or so after the Gau-Algesheim package arrived, I received a gift from my third cousin once removed Todd Graham.  Todd is the great-great-great-grandson of Jacob Cohen, my great-great-grandfather.  Todd wrote to tell me that he had been to the Federal Street cemetery in Philadelphia where many of our mutual Cohen ancestors are buried and that he had taken photographs.  He asked if I wanted to see the photos, and I said of course.  So here are the photographs I received from Todd.

First is a photograph of where our ancestor Hart Levy Cohen is buried.  There is no stone visible, and the rabbi at the cemetery explained to Todd that they believed that the stone had sunk beneath the surface and was buried underground.  I have written to the rabbi and asked whether there is anything we can do to uncover the stone or to mark the gravesite in some other way.

Burial Site of Hart Levy Cohen

Burial Site of Hart Levy Cohen

This photo shows where Hart’s children Lewis and Elizabeth are buried.  Again, the stones are not visible, but this is the location of their graves.

 

Burial sites for Elizabeth Cohen and Lewis Cohen (Hart's children)

Burial sites for Elizabeth Cohen and Lewis Cohen (Hart’s children)

Todd also took photographs of the stone for Jacob and Sarah Cohen.  Although I had a photo of this stone before from Rabbi Albert Gabbai, I am hoping that these will be easier to read so that I can learn what the Hebrew inscription says.

Jacob and Sarah Cohen monument Jacob Cohen headstone by Todd Jacob Cohen monument by Todd jacob headstone edit 1

 

Todd also found the stones for three of Jacob’s children.  First, a new photograph of the headstone for my great-grandparents Emanuel and Eva (Seligman) Cohen and my grandfather John Nusbaum Cohen, Sr.

Headstone for Emanuel, Eva and John Cohen

Headstone for Emanuel, Eva and John Cohen

Side of Emanuel Eva and John by Todd

Next are photographs of the headstones for Emanuel’s brother Reuben and his wife Sallie Livingston Cohen and of their son Jacob Livingston Cohen.

Reuben and Sallie Livingston Cohen

Reuben and Sallie Livingston Cohen

Jacob Livingston Cohen

Jacob Livingston Cohen

 

And finally, this is a photograph of the headstone for Todd’s great-great-grandparents Lewis and Carrie (Dannenbaum) Cohen and his grandparents William and Helen (Cohen) Bacharach.  Lewis Cohen was also the brother of my great-grandfather Emanuel Cohen.

Bacharach and Cohen headstone

Bacharach and Cohen headstone

Thank you so much, Todd, for these photographs, and I hope that we can do something to honor the graves of Hart, Lewis, and Elizabeth Cohen.

There is one more gift I want to acknowledge, and it came totally unsolicited and from a total stranger.  About two weeks ago I received a comment on the blog from someone who had found a set of matches on a website selling vintage items.  The matches were for a business called Selinger Associates at an address in Washington, DC.  Kimberly Crosson, the woman who commented on the blog, had purchased these matches and was now asking me whether this business was connected to the Selingers on my blog.  I was skeptical at first, I must admit.  I thought it was some kind of scam or spam.  But I emailed Kim and found out that not only was she not looking to make money, she was incredibly kind-hearted and generous and just wanted to get the matches to someone in the family—for no charge.

I checked the address and found that this was Eliot Selinger’s business.  Then I tracked down a descendant of Eliot Selinger and asked him if he was interested in the matches, and he was, so I put him in touch with Kim so that she could send him the matches.  I asked only for some pictures of the matches, so here is what Kim sent to me.  You can tell these are from a different era once you see the picture on the matches.

Selinger matches cover Selinger matches reverse

 

So once again, let me express my thanks to all these generous people, especially Todd and Kim for these photos, but to all who have helped and continue to help me with my research. I could never have done all this on my own.

And now I will be taking a short break from blogging for Thanksgiving.  May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thank you all for supporting me and providing me with so much help as I continue to learn about the lives of my ancestors.

 

 

 

 

Looking back:  The Cohen Family from Amsterdam to England to Philadelphia and Washington and beyond

 

Amsterdam coat of arms

Two months ago I wrote a summary of my perspective on the descendants of Jacob and Sarah Jacobs Cohen and their thirteen children, including my great-grandfather Emanuel Cohen.  I wrote about the way they managed to create a large network of pawnshops that provided support for the generations to come.  Many of the Philadelphia Cohens stayed in the pawnshop business into the 20th century.  The generation that followed, those born in the 20th century, began to move away from the pawn business and from Philadelphia.  Descendants began to go to college and to become professionals.  Today the great-great-grandchildren of Jacob and Sarah live all over the country and are engaged in many, many different fields.  Few of us today can imagine living with twelve siblings over a pawnshop in South Philadelphia.  We can’t fathom the idea of losing child after child to diseases that are now controlled by vaccinations and medicine.  We take for granted the relative luxurious conditions in which we live today.

File:Flag of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.svg

Philadelphia flag

 

The story of the Cohen family in Washington is much the same in some ways, different in other ways.  Jacob’s brother Moses and his wife Adeline also started out as immigrants in the pawnshop business , first in Baltimore and then Washington.  But unlike Jacob who lived to see his children become adults, Moses Cohen died at age 40 when his younger children were still under ten years old.  Adeline was left to raise those young children on her own as she had likely raised her first born son, Moses Himmel Cohen, on her own until she married Moses Cohen, Sr.  When I look at what those children accomplished and what their children then accomplished, I am in awe of what Adeline was able to do.   For me, the story of the DC Cohens is primarily the story of Adeline Himmel Cohen for it was she, not Moses, who raised the five children who thrived here in the US.  She somehow instilled in those children a drive to overcome the loss of their father, to take risks, to get an education, and to make a living.

Her son Moses, Jr., an immigrant himself, had nine children; his son, Myer, became a lawyer.  To me it is quite remarkable that a first generation American, the son of a Jewish immigrant, was able to go to law school in the late 19th century.  Myer himself went on to raise a large family, including two sons who became doctors and one who became a high ranking official at the United Nations in its early years after World War II.  Moses, Jr.’s other children also lived comfortable lives, working in their own businesses and raising families.  These were first generation Americans who truly worked to find the American dream.

Adeline and Moses, Sr.’s other three children who survived to adulthood, Hart, JM, and Rachel Cohen, all took a big risk and moved, for varying periods of time, to Sioux City, Iowa.  Even their mother Adeline lived out on the prairie for some years.  JM stayed out west, eventually moving to Kansas City; he was able to send his two daughters to college, again something that struck me as remarkable for those times.  His grandchildren were very successful professionally.  Hart, who lost a son to an awful accident, had a more challenging life.  His sister Rachel also had some heartbreak—losing one young child and a granddaughter Adelyn, but she had two grandsons who both appear to have been successful.

Three of the DC Cohen women married three Selinger brothers or cousins.  Their children included doctors, a popular singer, and a daughter who returned to England several generations after her ancestors had left.  The family tree gets quite convoluted when I try to sort out how their descendants are related, both as Cohens and as Selingers.

There were a number of heart-breaking stories to tell about the lives of some of these people, but overall like the Philadelphia Cohens, these were people who endured and survived and generally succeeded in having a good life, at least as far as I can tell.  The DC Cohens, like the Philadelphia Cohens, have descendants living all over the United States and elsewhere and are working in many professions and careers of all types.

flag of Washington, DC

Looking back now at the story of all the Cohens,  all the descendants of Hart Levy Cohen and Rachel Jacobs, I feel immense respect for my great-great-great grandparents.  They left Amsterdam for England, presumably for better economic opportunities than Amsterdam offered at that time.  In England Hart established himself as a merchant, but perhaps being a Dutch Jew in London was not easy, and so all five of Hart and Rachel’s children came to the US, Lewis, Moses, Jacob, Elizabeth, and Jonas, again presumably for even better opportunities than London had offered them.  Eventually Hart himself came to the US, uprooting himself for a second time to cross the Atlantic as a man already in his seventies so that he could be with his children and his grandchildren.  Rachel unfortunately did not survive to make that last move.

Flag of the City of London.svg

The flag of the City of London

Arriving in the US by 1850 in that early wave of Jewish immigration gave my Cohen ancestors a leg up over the Jewish immigrants who arrived thirty to sixty years later, like my Brotman, Goldschlager, and Rosenzweig ancestors.  Of course, the Cohens had the advantage of already speaking English, unlike my Yiddish speaking relatives on my mother’s side.  They also had the advantage of arriving at a time when there wre fewer overall immigrants, Jewish immigrants in particular and thus faced less general hostility than the masses of Jewish, Italian, and other immigrants who arrived in the 1890s and early 20th century.  Also, my Cohen relatives may not have been wealthy when they arrived, but Hart and his children already had experience as merchants and were able to establish their own businesses fairly quickly.  Thus, by the time my mother’s ancestors started arriving and settling in the Lower East Side of NYC or in East Harlem, working in sweatshops and struggling to make ends meet, my father’s ancestors were solidly in the middle and upper classes in Philadelphia, Washington, Sioux City, Kansas City, Detroit, and Baltimore.

When I look at these stories together, I see the story of Jewish immigration in America.  I see a first wave of Jews, speaking English, looking American, and living comfortably, facing a second wave who spoke Yiddish, looked old-fashioned, and lived in poverty.  No wonder there was some tension between the two groups.  No wonder they established different synagogues, different communities, different traditions.

A recent study suggests that all Ashkenazi Jews were descended from a small group of about 350 ancestors.  We all must share some DNA to some extent.  We are really all one family.  But we have always divided ourselves and defined our subgroups differently—Orthodox, Conservative, Reform; Galitizianer or Litvak; Sephardic or Ashkenazi; Israeli or American; so on and so forth.  We really cannot afford to do that in today’s world; we never really could.  Today very few of us make distinctions based on whether our ancestors came in 1850 or 1900 because we are all a mix of both and because we have blurred the economic and cultural distinctions that once were so obvious.  But we still have a long way to go to eradicate the divisions among us and to overcome the prejudices that continue to exist regarding those who are different, whether Jewish or non-Jewish.