Another Small World Story, Another Twist in the Family Tree

In my last post I described my discovery that Rose Mansbach Schoenthal was not only related to me by her marriage to Simon Schoenthal, the brother of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal, but that she was also related by marriage to my other great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein through her Mansbach cousins.   This post is about another discovery of a strange twist in my family tree, but this one involving two living cousins.

Last week I received a comment on an old blog post about Elizabeth Cohen, who was the sister of my other great-grandfather, Emanuel Cohen.  The man who left the comment on my blog, Joel Goldwein, is the great-grandson, through his mother’s side, of Elizabeth Cohen.  He is thus my third cousin.  I was, of course, delighted to make this connection, and I emailed Joel to learn more about him and our mutual family.

In the course of the exchange of emails, Joel shared information not only about his mother’s family, but also about his father, Manfred (Fred) Goldwein, who had escaped from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport to England.  His father’s parents and other family members, however, were murdered by the Nazis.  Joel sent me a link to a website about his son’s bar mitzvah in Korbach, Germany, the town where his father was born and had lived until he left Germany.  I was very moved by the idea that Joel’s family had returned to this town to honor the memory of his father’s family.

I mentioned that I was going to be in Germany, not far from Korbach, because I had Hamberg ancestors from Breuna.  Joel then mentioned that his paternal great-grandparents are buried in Breuna and that he had visited the cemetery there.  He sent me a link to his photographs of the cemetery, and I looked through them in search of anyone named Hamberg.

Imagine my surprise to find this photograph:

Courtesy of Joel Goldwein

Baruch Hamberg was the second cousin of my great-great-grandmother, Henrietta Hamberg Schoenthal.  More importantly, he was the great-grandfather of my fifth cousin, Rob Meyer.

Some of you may remember the story of Rob.  He and I connected through JewishGen’s Family Finder tool about a year and a half ago, and we learned that not only did Rob live about a mile from where I had once lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, we also had very good mutual friends.  It was one of those true goosebump moments in my genealogy research, standing in a cemetery in Longmeadow and talking to Rob as we realized that we both had the same close friends.

Rob’s mother had, like Joel’s father, escaped from Nazi Germany, and she also, like Joel’s father, had lost most of the rest of her family in the Holocaust. I sent the headstone photograph to Rob, and I asked whether he might be related to Joel.  Rob answered, suggesting that perhaps he was related to Joel not through Baruch Hamberg, but through Baruch’s mother, Breinchen Goldwein.  A little more digging around revealed that in fact Joel was related to Breinchen: her brother Marcus Goldwein was Joel’s paternal great-grandfather.

Thus, Joel and Rob are third cousins, once removed, through Rob’s mother’s side and Joel’s father side. And although they did not know of each other at all, Joel also had a photograph of the street in Breuna named in memory of Rob’s aunt:

Courtesy of Joel Goldwein

.

It gave me great pleasure to introduce Rob and Joel to each other, who soon discovered that not only are they third cousins through their Goldwein family line, they are also both doctors and both graduates of the same medical school.

And they are both my cousins, Rob through his mother’s Hamberg side and Joel through his mother’s Cohen side.

There truly are only six degrees of separation.

From Orphan to Pharmacist and Then?

In two recent posts I shared the sad story of Charles Hamberg and his life in Columbia, South Carolina, which ended with his suicide in 1879.  His son Samuel was only eleven when his father died.  Samuel’s mother Lena had died two years earlier.  Charles’ cousin Amalia Hamberg administered his estate, and then somehow Charles’ son Samuel came to live in western Pennsylvania where he was adopted by his second cousin, my great-grandfather’s brother, Henry Schoenthal.

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

 

In 1886 when Samuel was then eighteen years old, he was working as a clerk at 5 East Beau Street in Washington and living at the corner of Beau and Lincoln in that town, according to the 1886 directory for Washington, Pennsylvania.  According to that same source, my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal, who had arrived in Washington in 1881, was living at 203 East Beau Street that same year; looking at Google Maps, I see that 203 East Beau Street is located at the corner of Lincoln and Beau.

[Thanks to Lara of Lara’s Jewnealogy, I now know how to use Google Maps more effectively.  See her great post here.]

Thus, Samuel Hamberg was probably living with my great-grandfather.  I imagine that they lived and maybe even worked together, my great-grandfather watching over his younger second cousin.  Perhaps Samuel helped my great-grandfather learn English and adjust to American ways.

By 1889, Samuel, now 21 years old, had moved to Philadelphia.  He is listed in the directory for that year as Samuel T. Hamberg, a manager, residing at “134 E. Orthodox, FKD.”  FKD stands for Frankford, a neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia about six miles from the center of the city.  I wondered what had taken him there.

It took me a very long time to find out, but when I finally decided, after exhausting traditional genealogy sources, to Google “Samuel T. Hamberg” as a last ditch effort to learn more, I found these two entries in Google Books:

P.W. Bedford, Pharmaceutical Record and Weekly Market Review, Volume 10, April 21, 1890, p. 163, found here (list of graduates of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy).

26th Annual Report of the Alumni Association of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (1890), found here.

Class of 1890, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Alumni Association Report, p. 194

Class of 1890, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
Alumni Association Report, p. 194

Samuel T. Hamberg, the boy who had lost both his parents before his twelfth birthday, had graduated from the four-year program at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1890 when he was 22 years old. The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy was the first pharmacy school in the United States and still exists today.

Not only had Samuel graduated from this prestigious institution, but a further search into both of the above sources revealed that his middle name was Tilden,[1] that he had written his thesis on nitroglycerin, that he had played the guitar to open the commencement exercises as part of a musical ensemble (perhaps his musical adoptive brother Lionel Schoenthal with whom he’d lived in Washington had given him music lessons), and that he had been selected to be the Class Poet.  The poem he read at the school’s commencement exercises in 1890 is filled with references to professors and specific memories of the school years, but this particular verse seemed a more personal statement:

Sorrows and losses may be borne,

Be baffled and dismayed,

Feel the sharp pang of many a thorn

By our own follies made.

But hope and effort may improve

And help us to thankful be,

It surely did in this case

It helped us—in a degree.

(Samuel Tilden Hamberg, 1890, as published in the Alumni Report, cited above, p.124.)

Samuel Tilden Hamberg certainly had suffered sorrows and losses, though not by his “own follies made.”  But it seems with the love of his family in Washington, Pennsylvania, he had in fact borne those sorrows and losses and succeeded in coming through them as a grateful and successful young man.

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Samuel stayed on in Philadelphia after graduating. In the 1892 directory for Philadelphia, Samuel T. Hamberg is listed as a clerk, living now at 6933 Hagerman Avenue.  Two years later in 1894 he lists his occupation as druggist, living at 824 Somerset.  In 1895 and 1896 there are numerous advertisements listing Samuel T. Hamberg as a pharmacist in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Samuel T. Hamberg married Jane E. Tracey on November 20, 1898, at the Zion Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.  At the time they married, Samuel had been residing in Camden, New Jersey, according to the marriage record.  His wife had been living in Philadelphia where she was born in December, 1869.  Jane, or Jennie as she was generally identified on most records, was the daughter of Edwin Tracey (often spelled Tracy) and Jane Irwin.  Edwin was a Philadelphia native and a shoemaker according to the 1880 census; his wife Jane was born in Ireland.  Jennie was the seventh of nine children.

Marriage record of Samuel Hamberg and Jane Tracey November 20, 1898, Zion Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 978

Marriage record of Samuel Hamberg and Jane Tracey November 20, 1898, Zion Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 978

 

In 1900, Samuel and Jennie were living in Philadelphia in the household of Jennie’s brother Albert Tracy along with Jennie’s mother Jane and her three sisters.  Samuel was working as a hospital supplies salesman.  I know this is the correct Samuel Hamberg because his birth place is given as South Carolina, his father’s as Germany, his mother’s as South Carolina.  (I found it interesting that Samuel reported the birth places of his birth parents, Charles and Lena, not those of his adoptive parents.)

Samuel Hamberg 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1472; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0748; FHL microfilm: 1241472

Samuel Hamberg 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1472; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0748; FHL microfilm: 1241472

 

On September 4, 1900, Samuel and Jennie had their first child, a son named Charles, presumably named for Samuel’s father Charles.

The family must have soon thereafter moved to Camden, New Jersey, for Samuel is listed as a salesman in the 1901 Camden directory.  Samuel and Jennie are also listed in the 1902 and 1903 Camden directories at 3010 Westfield Street; Samuel is still listed as a salesman.  A second child was born that year, Frances D. Hamberg, born in January, 1903, in New Jersey.  Samuel and Jennie were still living at the same address in 1904 and in 1905.

Then things start getting a little confusing.  In 1906 Samuel T. Hamberg is listed in the Philadelphia directory as a salesman residing at 27 North 60th Street in that city.  There is no listing for him in the Camden directory for that year.  But the following year Samuel is listed as a salesman in the Camden directory, residing at 126 Dudley Street.  Then in 1908, the listing is only in Jennie’s name—Jennie Hamberg at 126 Dudley Street.

Meanwhile in October 1907, a third child had been born to Samuel and Jennie—Edwin F. Hamberg.  Had Samuel and Jennie separated in 1906, reconciled and had a third child in 1907, and then separated again in 1908? Jennie is again listed alone at 126 Dudley in Camden in 1909, this time with an occupation, dressmaker.

But where was Samuel in 1908 and 1909? He is not listed in the Camden directory.  There are two Samuel Hambergs listed in Philadelphia in 1909, but they are father and son and listed as pawnbrokers, so neither of them seems to be the right Samuel.  There are no Samuel Hambergs listed in the directories for those years for Pittsburgh or Washington, Pennsylvania, or Baltimore.

In 1910, Samuel reappears on the 1910 census in Baltimore, Maryland, living as a boarder and working as a pharmacist in a drugstore.  I know this is my Samuel because he is Samuel T. Hamberg, born in South Carolina, father born in Germany, mother in South Carolina.  But why is he in Baltimore?  He is still listing himself as married, so maybe he went to Baltimore to find work.   Since he had been working as a salesman while living in Camden, maybe he wanted to return to being a regular pharmacist.

Samuel Hamberg 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_553; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 1374566

Samuel Hamberg 1910 census Line 85
Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_553; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 1374566

Jennie and the three children were still living at 126 Dudley in Camden in 1910.  According to the census, they were living with Jennie’s sister Clara Campbell and her mother Jane Tracy.  Like Samuel, Jennie still reported herself as married.  Although Jennie reported no occupation on the 1910 census, the 1910 and 1911 Camden directories list her as a dressmaker.

Jennie Hamberg and children 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T624_874; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374887

Jennie Hamberg and children 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T624_874; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374887

 

Samuel is listed in the 1911 Baltimore directory, but then he again disappears.  I couldn’t find him in any newspaper article or any directory after 1911 during the decade of the 1910s.

Jennie, however, continued to be listed in the Camden directories from 1910 through 1916.  In 1915, she and her children are listed on the New Jersey census, once again living with her sister Clara and her mother Jane; Samuel is not part of their household.

Jennie Tracey Hamberg died from heart disease on March 4, 1917.  She was only 47 years old, and she left behind three children.  Charles was not yet sixteen, Frances not yet fourteen, and Edwin not yet ten years old.  Like their father Samuel, they lost their mother at a young age.

Jennie Tracey Hamberg death certificate

Jennie Hamberg burial record Fernwood Cemetery, Yeardon, PA Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records

Jennie Hamberg burial record
Fernwood Cemetery, Yeardon, PA
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records

So where was their father? I could not find him on the 1920 census or anywhere during the 1920s until I searched for “Samuel T. Hamberg” in Google.  And along with the links noted above relating to his education as a pharmacist, I found several links indicating that in 1920 Samuel was in Pittsburgh working for the state of Pennsylvania as a temporary investigator doing fair price work.  Even knowing this additional information, I could not locate Samuel on the 1920 census or in any directory in the 1920s.

Samuel Hamberg investigator 1920

Herman P. Miller, Snull’s Legislative Handbook and Manual of the State of Pennsylvania, 1920, p. 144, found here.

But Samuel T. Hamberg does reappear on the 1930 census.  He is listed as Sam T. Hamberg, 62 years old (the correct age), married at age 30 (the correct age), widowed (Jennie was dead), born in South Carolina, father born in Germany, mother in South Carolina (all correct).  Clearly this is the right person.  He was now living in Philadelphia, working as a novelty salesman, and living with his “sister” Cecelia Link. What had happened to his pharmacy career? His work as a state investigator? And who was Cecelia Link?

Samuel Hamberg 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0777; Image: 969.0; FHL microfilm: 2341859

Samuel Hamberg 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0777; Image: 969.0; FHL microfilm: 2341859

Samuel did not have any sisters except for his adoptive sister Hilda Schoenthal, the daughter of Henry Schoenthal.  Cecelia was twenty years younger than Samuel, according to the 1930 census, born in Pennsylvania, single, and working as a telephone operator.  Cecelia answered the enumerator’s questions as indicated by the H on the line where her name is. Who was she, and why was she living with Samuel?

I found a Celia Link living with her mother and two sisters (and a brother-in-law) in Pittsburgh on the 1920 census.  Celia was forty years old, single, and working as a telephone operator.  It seemed like an unlikely coincidence that there were two women with just about the same name, both born in Pennsylvania, and both working as telephone operators.  (Remember that Samuel was living in Pittsburgh in 1920.)

So I looked for more about this Celia Link.  The 1916 Pittsburgh directory had her listed as Cecelia Link working as a telephone operator, so now we had the exact same name.  The 1910 census has her again as Celia, living with her parents, working as a telephone operator, and 33 years old.  Going back yet another ten years, the 1900 census lists her as Cecilia, age 22, with a birth date of March 1878, and no occupation.

Then I found her death certificate.  Cecelia Link died of chronic myocarditis on May 6, 1934, at “abt age 48,” according to her sister, the informant.  Assuming that Cecelia was 22 in 1900, she would have been 56 in 1934.  Even in 1920, she reported to be 40, making her 54 in 1934.  She was therefore only about ten years younger than Samuel, not twenty.  Note also that she was born in Washington, Pennsylvania.

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

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

I assume that Samuel met Cecelia when he was working in Pittsburgh as an investigator. And that they were more than “brother and sister.”  I think Cecelia lied both about her age and her relationship to Charles.

But Cecelia died in 1934 back in Pittsburgh.  What happened to Samuel before and after her death? And where were his children?

More questions to answer.

 

 

 

 

[1] There is no earlier indication that Samuel’s middle name was Tilden.  Did he adopt this middle name himself? In 1868 when Samuel Hamberg was born in Columbia, South Carolina, Samuel Tilden was probably not a nationally known figure.  He was from New York State and a supporter of the Union during the Civil War.  After the war he was active in reforming the Democratic party.  Would Charles Hamberg have known of him and named his son for him? Unlikely.

But Samuel Tilden was the Democratic party’s nominee in the 1876 Presidential election; the results of the election were disputed when several states turned into multiple sets of return.  The Presidency was determined by a partisan commission established by Congress, and Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes, even though he had won the popular vote.  I think it is more likely that Samuel Hamberg adopted Tilden’s name as his middle name sometime as a young adult after Tilden was more of a household name.  Tilden died in 1886, and the first use I’ve seen of the middle initial T by Samuel Hamberg was while he was in pharmacy school in the late 1880s.  For more on Samuel Tilden, see here and here and here.

The Mysterious Administratrix

As I wrote last week, Samuel Hamberg, my great-grandfather’s second cousin, was orphaned in 1879 in Columbia, South Carolina, when his father Charles committed suicide two years after Samuel’s mother Lena had died at age 28.  But how did Samuel end up in Pennsylvania? Looking for the answer to that question led to another mystery and, I think, more answers.

Charles Hamberg died without a will, leaving behind personal property consisting primarily of furniture and household items valued at that time at $487.71; today that would be equivalent to approximately $11,600.  The administratrix of his estate was someone named Amelia (or Amalia or Amalie[1] ) Hamberg.

Richland County, South Carolina Miscellaneous Estate Records, 1799-1955; Author: South Carolina. County Court (Richland County); Probate Place: Richland, South Carolina

Richland County, South Carolina Miscellaneous Estate Records, 1799-1955; Author: South Carolina. County Court (Richland County); Probate Place: Richland, South Carolina

 

Now who was she?  For a long time I assumed she was yet a third wife, someone Charles married after Mary, who’d been murdered, and Lena, mother of Samuel.  Lena had died in 1877, leaving Charles with their nine year old son.  I figured he had quickly married again, finding a mother for Samuel.  But I could not find one record for an Amalia or Amelia or Amalie Hamberg anywhere in South Carolina before or after Charles’ death. I couldn’t even find someone with just that first name who seemed a likely candidate.  I was working in circles, getting frustrated.

Then I searched for anyone named Amelia or Amalia or Amalie Hamberg anywhere in the US, and I found one Amalia Hamberg on a death record for her daughter Hattie Baer Herman, who had died in Philadelphia in 1910.  Hattie’s father was Jacob Baer.  Both parents were born in Germany, according to the death certificate.

 

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

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

Then it occurred to me: what if Amalia was not Charles Hamberg’s wife, but a sister or a cousin? If Charles died unmarried and intestate, some other family member might have been appointed to administer his estate.

So I looked back at the Hamberg family tree, and I saw that there was a Malchen Hamberg on the tree.  Malchen was the daughter of Seligmann Hamberg and granddaughter of Moses Hamberg.  She was my great-grandfather’s first cousin.

corrected relationship isidore schoenthal to malchen hamberg

 

 

Malchen was born March 7, 1851, in Breuna, and according to the family report posted on the site maintained by Hans-Peter Klein, she had emigrated from Germany.  She certainly looked like a possible candidate for the Amalia Hamberg who had been appointed to administer Charles Hamberg’s estate.  She was, like my great-grandfather, a first cousin, once removed, of Charles Hamberg.

corrected chart charles hamberg to malchen hambeg

 

 

So I had found yet another Hamberg cousin who had immigrated to the US.  Further research revealed that Amalia had immigrated in 1871, arriving in Baltimore.

Amalie Hamberg passenger ship manifest for the USS Baltimore, arriving September 4, 1871, Baltimore, MD Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6L-H1ZK : accessed 2 May 2016), Amalie Hamberg, ; citing Immigration, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, NARA microfilm publications M255, M596, and T844 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL film 417,401.

Amalie Hamberg passenger ship manifest for the USS Baltimore, arriving September 4, 1871, Baltimore, MD  Line 388
Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6L-H1ZK : accessed 2 May 2016), Amalie Hamberg, ; citing Immigration, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, NARA microfilm publications M255, M596, and T844 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL film 417,401.

According to the 1900 census, Amalia married Jacob Baer in 1873.  Reviewing the birth records of their children indicated that Amalia and Jacob lived in Pittsburgh for many years where they had nine children born between 1874 and 1891.  (More on Amalia and her family in a later post.)  The fact that Amalia ended up in Pittsburgh where her Schoenthal cousins were living further corroborated my assumption that she was in fact Malchen Hamberg of Breuna.

And then the icing on the cake: I received the death certificate for Amalia Baer.   Amalia Baer died on April 23, 1931, in New York City.  Her father’s name was Selig Hamburger.

Baer, Amalia death page 1

Baer, Amalia death page 2

 

Okay, it not precisely right.  Malchen’s father was Seligmann Hamberg.  So the informant cut off a syllable from the first name and added one to the surname.  I still think Amalia was Malchen.

The mother’s name was even further off—Julia Schwartz instead of Jette Gans.  But death certificates are often filled with mistakes, and it’s not surprising that the informant did not have completely accurate information about the parents of a 78 year old woman, parents that the informant had likely never met.

The certificate also stated that Amalia had been in the US for 60 years; Amalia Hamberg had arrived in 1871, sixty years before 1931, the year Amalia Baer died.

So I am 99% sure that Malchen Hamberg, granddaughter of my three-times great-grandfather Moses Hamberg, was Amalia Hamberg, wife of Jacob Baer, administratrix of Charles Hamberg’s estate.

Only one thing seemed strange.  If Amalia married Jacob Baer in 1873, why was she using the name Hamberg in 1879 when she was appointed to administer Charles’ estate? I don’t know.  Hence, that lingering one percent of doubt.

There are also other questions.  Why wasn’t Charles’ brother Moses made the administrator of his estate? He was the closest relative.  Why Amalia, his cousin and a woman, instead?

Well, I cannot find the Moses Hamberg from Breuna who immigrated in 1846 as a seventeen year old shoemaker on any subsequent record.  Having searched every census from 1850 forward using wild cards, misspellings, and several databases, I have hit that proverbial brick wall. I can find other men named Moses Hamberg, but none that fit the other criteria for being the correct person.  Either the age is off, the birth place is wrong, or the family members and structure are different.

Maybe Moses changed his name so drastically that it is undiscoverable.  Maybe he died and his death is not recorded anywhere I can find.  Maybe he returned to Germany or went to some third place.  I don’t know.  But I can’t find him.  That may explain why Amalia, not Moses, administered Charles Hamberg’s estate.

But there are other questions.  By 1879 Amalia had several young children of her own to care for.  Did she travel to South Carolina to deal with Samuel and with the estate?  Or was it all handled locally by Walter. S. Monteith, the Columbia attorney representing Amalia, according to the estate papers?

And how did Samuel get from Columbia, South Carolina, to Washington, Pennsylvania? Did Amalia go to get him? Or Henry? Or some other family member? Or did he take a train by himself? These are all questions for which I have no answers.

As for what happened to Samuel after he came to Pennsylvania—well, that’s a story for yet another post.

 

 

 

 

[1] The spelling varies according to the record; later records seem to consistently use Amalia so I will adopt that in this post.

The Tragic Story of Charles Hamberg: Gun Violence in South Carolina

Last week I wrote about Samuel Hamberg, the twelve year old boy who appeared in the household of my great-great-uncle Henry Schoenthal in 1880 as his adopted son.  As I described in that post, I had determined that Samuel was the son of Charles Hamberg of Columbia, South Carolina; he appeared on the 1870 census living in Charles Hamberg’s household along with a woman named Tenah Hamberg and a servant also with the first name Tenah.

Through my research, I concluded that Charles Hamberg was in fact born Baruch Hamberg, the son of the first Samuel Hamberg, my great-great-grandmother Henriette Hamberg Schoenthal’s uncle, her father’s younger brother.

Relationship of Henrietta Hamberg and Charles Hamberg

Baruch had left Breuna, Germany, in 1852, with his first cousin Abraham, who died in Savannah, George, in 1854.  Baruch, I postulated, became Charles and had married a woman named Mary E. Hanchey in New Hanover, North Carolina, in March, 1853.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853 Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

But why did Samuel end up with my great-great-uncle Henry in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1880? What had happened to his father? His mother? And who was his mother? Was it Mary Hanchey, the woman Charles married in 1853 and with whom he was living in 1860? Or was it “Tenah,” the woman he was living with in 1870?

First, I focused on Mary, the first wife.  Searching on Ancestry, I found this entry:

Record of Deaths in Columbia South Carolina page 80 [p.80] Mrs. Mary A. Hamberg , wife of Charles Hamberg died in Col’a So. Ca. Novr 18, 1866, having been shot [page 166] by a man, Toland A. Bass, a few days previous.

Unfortunately, the database had no further information about this terrible incident, but I was determined to learn more about Mary’s death.  Was it accidental? A murder? What happened to Toland Bass?

After much searching, I found this article from the November 20, 1866 issue of The Daily Phoenix, the Columbia, South Carolina, daily paper (p. 2):

Daily Phoenix article 11 20 1866 p 2

 

Coroner’s Inquests.—On Friday last, a difficulty occurred between Toland R. Bass and C. Hamberg.  The latter went into the house to get his pistol, but on coming out, was stopped by Mr. Jos. Burdell, when Mrs. H. took the pistol away from him and went to the door, holding the pistol in both hands, but not attempting to use it, and said to Mr. Bass, “Do not shoot Mr. H.; if you want to shoot any one, shoot me.”  Bass attempted to take the pistol from her, but failed.  He then stepped several paces from her, presented his pistol three times and the fourth time fired, the ball taking effect in the abdomen of the unfortunate woman. 

She called to a friend near by to take care of her, as she was shot and ready to faint.  Mrs. H. was taken into the house apparently suffering greatly.  Dr. Talley was called in and rendered all possible medical assistance.  She lingered until Sunday afternoon, when she expired.  A jury of inquest was empannelled by Coroner Walker on Sunday afternoon, and after a full and careful investigation, rendered the following verdict: “That Mrs. Mary E. Hamberg came to her death, on the 18th of November, 1866, from the effects of a ball fired (willfully and maliciously) from a pistol by Toland R. Bass.” Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Bass.

Who was Toland Bass, and why did he kill Mary Hanchey Hamberg? Why did Mary suggest that he should shoot her, not her husband?

The only thing I could find about Mr. Bass was that he served as a private in the Confederate Army during the Civil War in Company H of the South Carolina Cavalry Regiment.

 

Charles Hamberg, on the other hand, appears to have been a private citizen in Columbia, South Carolina, during the Civil War, selling provisions to the Ladies Hospital.  Here is an example of an invoice he submitted:

Page 15 Confederate Citizens File - Fold3 https://www.fold3.com/image/31347220?xid=1945

Page 15 Confederate Citizens File – Fold3
https://www.fold3.com/image/31347220?xid=1945

 

I don’t know what might have precipitated this altercation between Bass and the Hambergs; all I can do is speculate.  Columbia, South Carolina, had suffered much damage during the Civil War.  The Union Army occupied the city during the last months of the war in 1865.  As described in Wikipedia:

On February 17, 1865, Columbia surrendered to Sherman, and Wade Hampton’s Confederate cavalry retreated from the city. Union forces were overwhelmed by throngs of liberated Federal prisoners and emancipated slaves. Many soldiers took advantage of ample supplies of liquor in the city and began to drink. Fires began in the city, and high winds spread the flames across a wide area. Most of the central city was destroyed, and municipal fire companies found it difficult to operate in conjunction with the invading army, many of whom were also fighting the fire. The burning of Columbia has engendered controversy ever since, with some claiming the fires were accidental, a deliberate act of vengeance, or perhaps set by retreating Confederate soldiers who lit cotton bales while leaving town. On that same day, the Confederates evacuated Charleston. On February 18, Sherman’s forces destroyed virtually anything of military value in Columbia, including railroad depots, warehouses, arsenals, and machine shops.

English: The Burning of Columbia, South Caroli...

English: The Burning of Columbia, South Carolina, February 17, 1865 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can read more about the Columbia fires here and here.  In the aftermath of the war and during Reconstruction, places like Columbia struggled to rebuild their economy and their infrastructure.  There was widespread poverty.  Perhaps Toland Bass was an embittered Southern veteran; perhaps he resented Charles Hamberg as a merchant who not only didn’t serve in the war but made money during it.  Or maybe it is something much more personal that created the animosity that led to the gruesome murder of Mary Hanchey Hamberg. I don’t know.

After the murder, Toland Bass ran off to avoid arrest, and the governor of South Carolina, James L. Orr, issued a proclamation offering an award of $200 for his arrest and delivery to South Carolina for trial. Charles Hamberg offered a separate award of $500 for his arrest. (Thank you to Ann Meddin Hellman of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina for helping me locate some of these articles

Proclamation about Mary Hamberg's murder

Thursday, November 29, 1866 Paper: (Charleston, South Carolina)

 

Bass eluded arrest for four months until he was finally found and arrested in New York in March, 1867.

Arrest of Toland Bass

 

I could not find any record of a trial or any other proceeding involving Bass, but I did find this news item announcing his death from cholera on July 15, 1867.

Death of Toland R Bass

 

Meanwhile, Charles Hamberg had moved on.  Thanks to my blogging friend Cathy Meder-Dempsey, I know that Charles married Lena Goodman on April 6, 1867, in Charleston, South Carolina.

I believe that Lena was incorrectly entered as “Tenah” on the 1870 census and that she was the mother of Samuel Hamberg, the boy later adopted by Henry Schoenthal.  Although I do not have an exact birthdate for Samuel, the 1900 census reported that he was born in February 1868, that is, about eleven months after the marriage of Charles Hamberg and Lena Goodman.

Even after remarrying, Charles seemed to have troubles in Columbia.  In September, 1869, he was involved in another rather unpleasant altercation:

Charles Hamberg assault

There was also a dispute at his store:

CHarles Hamberg unruly customer

Charles also charged a police officer with inappropriate conduct (public drunkenness) and engaged in a citizen’s arrest.  He seemed to have a tendency to get involved in conflicts.

In the 1870s, Charles advertised his wood and coal business regularly in the Columbia newspaper, The Daily Phoenix.

Charles Hamberg coal

 

He also participated in a Purim celebration in Columbia, dressing up as Jocko the Ape.  (Purim is a Jewish holiday where children and adults dress up in costumes and celebrate the triumph of the Jews over the evildoer Haman who sought to kill the Jews in ancient Persia.)

The Daily Phoenix, March 26, 1872, p. 2

The Daily Phoenix, March 26, 1872, p. 2

 

So whatever his troubles, Charles seemed to be living a somewhat ordinary life in Columbia.

So what happened that caused little Samuel to be adopted by Henry Schoenthal? Tragically, both of Samuel’s parents died before 1880.  His mother Lena died in 1877 and is buried in the cemetery of the Columbia Hebrew Benevolent Society.  She was only 28 years old.  I’ve been unable to locate a death certificate or obituary yet, but will continue to look.  (I contacted the cemetery, but they did not have any further information.)

chbs1HambergLena

Headstone for Lena Hamberg at the Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery in Columbia, SC http://jhssc.org/hebrew-benevolent-society-cemetery/

 

Two years later on October 16, 1879, Charles Hamberg ended his own life, apparently due to financial difficulties, although I would venture that having had one wife murdered and a second dying at a very young age might also have given him sufficient reason for some desperation.  His suicide made the papers even beyond Columbia.

Charles Hamberg suicide Charles Hamberg suicide 3 Charles Hamberg suicide 2

 

Can you imagine today identifying someone by their religious background for no apparently relevant reason?

Charles is also buried in the Columbia Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery, next to Lena.

Charles Hamberg headstone

Headstone of Charles Hamberg at Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery in Columbia, SC http://jhssc.org/hebrew-benevolent-society-cemetery/

What a hard life Charles Hamberg had once coming to the US.  He lost his cousin Abraham in 1854, his wife Mary was murdered in 1866, his second wife Lena died in 1877, and he suffered financial problems and took his own life in 1879.   I imagine that that was not the life he dreamed of when he left Breuna, Germany, in 1852.  For him the American dream did not come to be.

His son Samuel was just eleven years old and had lost his mother and his father.   He ended up in Pennsylvania with Henry Schoenthal, his second cousin.  How did he end up there?  That leads to the next mystery.

The Adopted Son: Who Was He?

As I move closer to closure on the family of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg, my great-great-grandparents[1], I want to ask for your help regarding a mystery involving a boy I believe was part of Henriette’s family, the Hambergs. I need to know if my thinking about him makes sense.

His name was Samuel Hamberg (spelled Hamburg here), and in 1880 he was twelve years old and living in Washington, Pennsylvania, as the adopted son of my great-great-uncle Henry Schoenthal and Helene Lilienfeld.

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

 

Who was he? Was he part of my great-great-grandmother’s family?  According to the 1880 census, Samuel was born in 1868 in South Carolina.  Henry Schoenthal, the first of Henriette Hamberg’s children to emigrate from Germany, hadn’t arrived until 1866, two years before Samuel was born.  Henry settled in Pennsylvania.  How would a boy born in a state so far away two years after Henry arrived  in the US have ended up with Henry unless there was a family connection?  The surname Hamberg couldn’t just be a coincidence, could it?

His first name also seemed unlikely to be a coincidence.  Henriette’s father was Moses Hamberg, my three-times great-grandfather.  Moses had a younger brother named Samuel, my four-times great-uncle. Young Samuel could have been named for him.  The name similarities added to my hunch that this Samuel Hamberg was in some way related to my great-great-grandmother and the other Hambergs from Breuna.  I had to figure this one out.

I was able to locate a two year old boy named Samuel Hamberg on the 1870 census living in Columbia, South Carolina, in the household of a Charles Hamberg, age 46, and a Tenah Hamberg, age 21.  Given the birth place, name, and age of the boy, I felt it quite likely that this was the same boy who ten years later was living with Henry Schoenthal in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, the 1870 census did not include information describing the relationships among those in a household, but I assumed that Charles and Tenah were the father and mother of little Samuel.  If so, who were they?

Charles Hamberg household 1870 US census Year: 1870; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M593_1507; Page: 140B; Image: 287; Family History Library Film: 553006

Charles Hamberg household 1870 US census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M593_1507; Page: 140B; Image: 287; Family History Library Film: 553006

According to the 1870 census, Charles was born in Prussia 46 (or is it a 40?) years earlier or in 1824 or so. (Breuna was within the boundaries of Prussia from 1866 until the German Federation was created in 1871.)  Charles was working as a “ret gro” merchant, which I interpret to mean a retail grocery merchant. Tenah was born in South Carolina as was Samuel.

I was able to trace Charles back ten more years to the 1860 census, where he was also living in Columbia, South Carolina, but married not to Tenah but a woman named Mary.  According to the 1860 census, Charles was then 28, so born in 1832; according to this census, he was born in Germany and working as a merchant.  Mary was a North Carolina native and 27 years old.

Charles Hamberg and household 1860 US census Year: 1860; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M653_1227; Page: 26; Image: 57; Family History Library Film: 805227

Charles Hamberg and household 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M653_1227; Page: 26; Image: 57; Family History Library Film: 805227

I then discovered a marriage record for Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey reporting their marriage in 1853 in New Hanover, North Carolina.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853 Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

But that was the earliest record I could find for Charles Hamberg.  And I still didn’t know whether he was related to the Hambergs of Breuna, my great-great-grandmother’s family.

Fortunately for me, others, including the noted genealogist Hans-Peter Klein, had already done extensive research of the Hamberg family tree. You can find it here.[2]  There was no Charles Hamberg listed in the records in Breuna.  But there were other men in the family with the surname Hamberg who would have been about the same age as Charles Hamberg.  I had to find out whether any of them came to the United States and perhaps changed his name to Charles.

Moses Hamberg, my 3x-great-grandfather, had five sons:

Juda, who died in Breuna in 1863;

Seligmann, who died in Breuna in 1897;

Salomon, who married and had several children in the 1850s in Breuna (no death record has been located;

Marcus, who died in Breuna in 1846;

And finally, Abraham, born in Breuna in 1828 and for whom there was no marriage or death record in Breuna.

Of Moses Hamberg’s five sons, the only one who might have emigrated by 1853 was Abraham.

As for the sons of Samuel Hamberg, brother of Moses, there were three sons:

another Juda, who died in Breuna in 1863;

Baruch, born in 1824 and for whom there was no marriage or death record;

And Moses, born in 1829 and for whom there was also no marriage or death record in Breuna.

So it was possible that Baruch and/or Moses had emigrated.

The three Hamberg men from Breuna who could have immigrated to the US by 1853 were thus Abraham, Baruch, and Moses: no one named Charles.  All three of those Hamberg men were close in age to the Charles Hamberg in Columbia, South Carolina.  All were born between 1824 and 1829.  But had any of them actually immigrated to the United States? I decided to search for them on ship manifests and other US records and found that all three did in fact leave Germany for the United States before 1853.

Moses Hamberg arrived in New York from Breuna in August, 1846, when he was seventeen, according to the ship manifest.  This is clearly Moses, the son of Samuel Hamberg, who was born in 1829 and thus would have been 17 in 1846.  Moses was a shoemaker, according to the manifest.

Year: 1846; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 063; Line: 1; List Number: 680

Year: 1846; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 063; Line: 1; List Number: 680

Baruch and his first cousin Abraham arrived in New York together in September 1852.  According to the ship manifest, they were coming from Breuna, and both were 24 years old, meaning they were born in about 1828.  My great-great-grandmother’s brother Abraham was born in 1828; according to Breuna records, Baruch was born in 1824.

Despite the disparity in the ages between the Baruch on the manifest and the Baruch born in Breuna, I believe that the two men on this manifest were in fact Abraham Hamberg, son of Moses Hamberg, and Baruch Hamberg, son of Samuel Hamberg.  The ship manifest reports that their destination in the US was “Sevanna,” which I assume meant Savannah, Georgia.

Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 119; Line: 1; List Number: 1321

Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 119; Line: 1; List Number: 1321

 

So did any of these three young men become Charles Hamberg of Columbia, South Carolina?  And if so, which one? Since Abraham and Baruch were headed to a city in the South whereas Moses indicated that New York was his intended destination, my inclination was to focus on Abraham and Baruch as the ones more likely to have become Charles Hamberg.[3]

Searching for further records for Abraham Hamberg led me to the sad discovery that he died not too long after arriving in the US.  He died in Savannah, Georgia, his intended destination, on August 26, 1854, of yellow fever and was buried in that city.  He was my great-great-grandmother Henriette’s younger brother.  He was only 26 years old.

Abraham Hamberg death record 1854 Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1824-1864, 1887-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors. Original data: City of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1822–1864, 1887–1896. Subseries 5600HE-050 and 5600HA-010. Microfilm, 27 reels. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, Savannah, Georgia

Abraham Hamberg death record 1854
Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1824-1864, 1887-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: City of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1822–1864, 1887–1896. Subseries 5600HE-050 and 5600HA-010. Microfilm, 27 reels. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, Savannah, Georgia

Abraham Hamberg burial record Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Cemetery and Burial Records, 1852-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Savannah Georgia Cemetery and Burial Records. Savannah, Georgia: Research Library & Municipal Archives City of Savannah, Georgia.

Abraham Hamberg burial record
Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Cemetery and Burial Records, 1852-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Savannah Georgia Cemetery and Burial Records. Savannah, Georgia: Research Library & Municipal Archives City of Savannah, Georgia.

So what then happened to his cousin Baruch Hamberg? Had he made it to Savannah?

My guess is that somewhere along the way from New York to Savannah, Baruch and Abraham stopped in New Hanover, North Carolina, where Baruch met and married his first wife Mary Hanchey in 1853.  And by then, he had dropped the Hebrew name Baruch and adopted the much more American name Charles.  In fact, his full name was Charles B. Hamberg.  Perhaps that B was for Baruch.

What else supports this conclusion that Baruch Hamberg became Charles Hamberg? Recall that Baruch Hamberg was the son of Samuel Hamberg of Breuna.  And what did Charles Hamberg name his son born in 1868? Samuel.

If I am right, then Charles/Baruch Hamberg was Henriette Hamberg Schoenthal’s first cousin; their fathers Samuel and Moses were brothers.  Charles’ son Samuel was therefore a second cousin to Henriette’s son Henry Schoenthal, the man who had adopted him by 1880.

So does my analysis make sense?  Did Baruch Hamberg become Charles Hamberg?

And if so, why was his son Samuel living with and adopted by Henry Schoenthal in 1880? That question will be addressed in a later post.

 

 

 

[1] And while I wait to talk with my third cousin Betty, who is also their great-great-granddaughter.

[2] I wrote a little bit about the Hambergs of Breuna, Germany here when I described the remarkable story of how I learned that my fifth cousin Rob and I shared not only some DNA,  but had lived at one point just a few miles from each other, and, even more remarkably, were both close friends with the same couple.  We had a lovely dinner back in December hosted by Rob and his wife Ann where all of us—our mutual friends included—had a great evening.  I remain amazed by what a small world it is.   Rob and I are both the four-times great-grandchildren of Jeudah ben Moses, the father of Moses Hamberg and Samuel Hamberg.  Rob is descended from Samuel; I am descended from Moses.

[3] I will follow up on Moses Hamberg in a later post.

The Other Sister: Mina Schoenthal

It’s fascinating to me how finding one more ancestor—in this case, my great-great-grandfather’s younger sister Mina–leads to so many more descendants, so many more stories.  Sometimes I do think that eventually I will find myself related to every Jewish person I know if not every person I know.

While searching for Hamberg relatives in the Breuna marriage archives, I ran across a record for a “Minna Schoenthal” who married a Markus Rosenberg.  I was surprised to see the name Schoenthal in Breuna, but saved the document to study later.  I thought Minna could be a relative, but I was focused on the Hambergs at that moment, and I couldn’t decipher Minna’s parents’ names, so put it on the back burner.

Marriage of Minna Schoenthal and Markus Rosenberg September 1849 HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 92, S. 9

Marriage of Minna Schoenthal and Markus Rosenberg September 1849
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 92, S. 9

I did the same when I saw a Breuna birth record for a child named Hendel whose mother’s birth name had been Mina Schoenthal, father Noah Braunsberg.  I was a bit confused—was this the same woman as the Minna married to Markus Rosenberg? Was this a relative?  Again, I put it on the back burner.

Birth of Hendel Braunsberg August 1847 HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 90, S. 12

Birth of Hendel Braunsberg
August 1847
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 90, S. 12

 

When I returned to the children of Levi Schoenthal and Henrietta Hamberg, first David Baron and Roger Cibella shared their discovery of Levi Schoenthal’s sister Fradchen/Fanny, and her marriage to Simon Goldschmidt/Goldsmith.   That led to the discovery that more than twenty years before Henry Schoenthal had arrived in America in 1866, his aunt and uncle had settled in western Pennsylvania with their children Jacob and Hannah.  I had assumed that Henry had been the pioneer in the family, but in fact he was following in the footsteps of Fanny and Simon Goldsmith and their children.

Then Hans-Peter Klein informed me that Levi Schoenthal had had a third sister, Mina, and I recalled that I had seen the above-mentioned records in the Breuna archives.  I sent them to Hans-Peter, and he confirmed that both records were for Levi’s sister Mina; the marriage record to Markus Rosenberg indicated that her parents were Hienemann Schoenthal and Hendel Beerenstein, who were also the parents of Levi Schoenthal and Fanny Schoenthal Goldsmith.  That is, Mina, like Fanny, was my three-times great-aunt.

Hans-Peter also explained that Mina had first married Noah Braunsberg and had the child for whom I’d found the birth record, that is, Hendel, born in August 1847. Mina had then gotten married again, this time to Markus Rosenberg in September 1949, and they had also had a child, a daughter named Malchen who died two months after she was born in 1850.  Hans-Peter sent me Madchen’s birth and death records, and with some additional searching I found both the marriage record for Mina Schoenthal and Noah Braunsberg and the death record for Noah Braunsberg, who died in 1847, just a year after marrying Mina and months after the birth of their daughter Hendel.

Mina Schoenthal marriage to Noah Braunsberg June 10, 1846 HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 92, S. 8

Mina Schoenthal marriage to Noah Braunsberg June 10, 1846
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 92, S. 8

Hans-Peter had concluded that Mina and Markus had not had any other children after Madchen died.  But after entering Markus Rosenberg into my family tree on Ancestry, a number of shaky leafs, as the hint system on Ancestry calls them, popped up.  I figured that they would be hints for a different man named Marcus Rosenberg, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that it was a US census report for a Marcus Rosenberg with a wife named Mena and several children.  I searched a bit further, and once I saw that this family had been living in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1860, I knew that this had to be the same Markus and Mina Rosenberg from Breuna, Germany, and thus my three-times great-aunt and her husband. Marcus was working as a shoemaker, just like his father-in-law back in Germany, and he and Mina had in fact had a number of children after Madchen died—some born in Germany, some in the United States.

Markus Rosenberg and family 1860 US census Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1141; Image: 580; Family History Library Film: 805192

Markus Rosenberg and family 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1141; Image: 580; Family History Library Film: 805192

From this advertisement, it appears that Marcus had been in business in Washington, Pennsylvania, for some time before 1860:

Advertisement Date: Thursday, July 19, 1860 Paper: Washington Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania) Volume: LII Issue: 53 Page: 4

Advertisement
Date: Thursday, July 19, 1860 Paper: Washington Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania) Volume: LII
Issue: 53 Page: 4

To figure out when they had immigrated to the US, I tried to find records for the children reported to have been born in Germany on the 1860 US census record: Hannah (1848) and Rachel (1852).  If the birth year for Hannah was really 1848, that would mean she was born before Mina married Marcus and that she was probably the child named Hendel born to Mina and her first husband Noah Braunsberg.  The birth year was inferred by Ancestry as 1848 because Hannah was reported to have been twelve on the 1860 census and 22 on the 1870 census, but she also could have been born in August, 1847, as Hendel had been, and just not yet have   celebrated her next birthday at the time of the census.  Although I cannot be sure, I am fairly certain that Hannah was in fact the daughter of Noah Braunsberg, not Marcus Rosenberg.  Rachel, born in 1852, would then be the first child born to Mina and Marcus Rosenberg.

But where was Rachel born? On the 1860 census, she is listed as nine years old and born in Germany, thus presumably born in 1851.  The 1870 census reports that Rachel was then nineteen, but that she was born in Maryland.  Using the closer in time rule, it would seem more likely that she was born in Germany as the 1860 census reports.  I’ve yet to find a German birth record for her, however.

Marcus Rosenberg 1870 US census Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 18 District 55, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1403; Page: 338B; Image: 356; Family History Library Film: 552902

Marcus Rosenberg 1870 US census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 18 District 55, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1403; Page: 338B; Image: 356; Family History Library Film: 552902

 

The next child listed as a child of Mina and Marcus Rosenberg was Julia, who according to the 1860 census was born in 1854 in Maryland.  Of course, there are inconsistencies in later records.  The 1870 census says she was born in Hesse-Darmstadt; the 1880 census says she was born in Pennsylvania.  Since two out of three say she was born in the US, and the closest in time to her birth (1860) says she was born in the US, I am willing to discount the 1870 census.  She was then living as a lodger with her sister Hannah, and the census taker could have gotten bad information from someone else in the household.

Thus, if in fact Julia was born in the US (whether Maryland or Pennsylvania) in 1854, that meant that Mina had herself immigrated by that time. If Rachel was born in the United States in 1851, then the family had immigrated even earlier.   Although I still have not found a passenger manifest for Mina or her two oldest children, Hannah and Rachel, I was able to find this one listing Marcus Rosenberg.   He arrived on the ship Ocean on August 9, 1850, five years after Fanny and Simon Goldsmith, and sixteen years before Henry Schoenthal.  If Rachel was born in 1851 in Germany, as one of the census records suggests, Mina must have been pregnant when Marcus left for the United States.

Marcus Rosenberg ship manifest National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; Series: M255; Roll: 8

Marcus Rosenberg ship manifest
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; Series: M255; Roll: 8

A fourth daughter named Mary was three in 1860 and fourteen in 1870 and born in Pennsylvania, according to the census records. (She is missing from the first enumeration of the 1870 census, but appears in the second enumeration.)  Thus, she was likely born in 1856. Mina and Marcus had another child, a son named Henry on the 1870 census, but listed as Harry on later records.  Harry was reported as nine years old on the 1870 census, so was born probably in 1861.

Thus, not only was Henry Schoenthal preceded by Fanny and Simon Goldsmith in coming to Washington, Pennsylvania; Fanny’s sister Mina and her husband Marcus Rosenberg had also gotten here before Henry and had also lived in Washington, Pennsylvania.

But the Rosenberg family did not stay in Washington.  By 1870 and perhaps earlier, they had relocated to Philadelphia, where Marcus was working as a tailor, according to the 1870 US census.  Rachel, Julia, Mary, and Henry were still living with them.  Their oldest daughter, Hannah, had married Herrman (later Herman) Hirsh on November 5, 1867, in Philadelphia, so it is possible that by 1867 the family as a whole had already moved to Philadelphia.  But Herman and Hannah moved back to the western part of Pennsylvania not too long after their marriage; their first child, Morris, was born in Pittsburgh on August 12, 1869, and his brother Nathan was born the following year.  In 1870, Herman and Hannah Hirsh and their two sons were living in Allegheny City (today part of Pittsburgh), and Herman was working in the retail clothing business.  Herman was also born in Germany and a fairly recent immigrant.

Herman Hirsh and family 1870 census Year: 1870; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1290; Page: 308A; Image: 617; Family History Library Film: 552789

Herman Hirsh and family 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1290; Page: 308A; Image: 617; Family History Library Film: 552789

During the 1870s, Herman and Hannah (Rosenberg) Hirsh had three more children, a daughter Carrie born in 1872, and two sons: Harry (1874) and Sidney (1878).

By 1880, Marcus and Mina only had Julia living with them at home in Elk City, Pennsylvania.  Marcus was working in the retail clothing business.  Elk City is about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and over 300 miles from Philadelphia.  I am not sure what took Marcus, Mina and Julia back to the western part of Pennsylvania, yet to a place not close to their other family members in Pittsburgh and Washington, Pennsylvania.

Marcus Rosenberg and family 1880 US census Year: 1880; Census Place: Elk, Clarion, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1117; Family History Film: 1255117; Page: 131C; Enumeration District: 068; Image: 0267

Marcus Rosenberg and family 1880 US census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Elk, Clarion, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1117; Family History Film: 1255117; Page: 131C; Enumeration District: 068; Image: 0267

Their youngest daughter Mary had married Joseph Podolsky sometime between 1870 and 1878, when their first child Flora was born.  Harry followed in 1879, and Birdie in 1880.  According to the 1880 census, Joseph was a clothing dealer born in Prussia.  They were living in Millersburg, Ohio, about 120 miles from Pittsburgh, where Mary’s sister Hannah was living, and almost 170 miles from Elk City, where Mary’s parents and sister Julia were living.

Joseph Podolsky and family 1880 US census Year: 1880; Census Place: Millersburg, Holmes, Ohio; Roll: 1034; Family History Film: 1255034; Page: 292A; Enumeration District: 128; Image: 0305

Joseph Podolsky and family 1880 US census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Millersburg, Holmes, Ohio; Roll: 1034; Family History Film: 1255034; Page: 292A; Enumeration District: 128; Image: 0305

I cannot account for where the other two children of Mina and Marcus Rosenberg were in 1880. I cannot find Rachel or Harry on the 1880 census.  In fact, I can’t locate Rachel on any document after 1870.  Perhaps Rachel had married, but I can’t find her.  I think it is more likely that she died.  Harry would have been only 19 in 1880.  Where could he have gone? He does reappear later, but I’ve no idea where he was in 1880.

By 1880, my various Schoenthal relatives were thus getting more spread out, though still for the most part in Pennsylvania and mostly in the western part of the state.  The next two decades would bring new family members into the fold—both by birth and by immigration.

 

 

Small World Story: The Hambergs of Breuna

English: Location of Breuna in district Kassel...

English: Location of Breuna in district Kassel, Hesse, Germany Deutsch: Lage von Breuna im Landkreis Kassel, Hessen, Deutschland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am just a bit overwhelmed.  Digging through the archives from Hessen has been quite an adventure.  Not only have I found a great deal of information about the family of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal, but I’ve also been wading through the archives searching for records of my Hamberg ancestors—that is, the family of my great-great-grandmother Henrietta or Jhette Hamberg of Breuna, who married Levi Schoenthal, Isidore’s father.  These German records are amazing.  Unlike my experiences searching for records in Poland for my Brotman ancestors, I am just swamped with information about my German paternal ancestors from Hessen (and I haven’t even begun looking at the records for Isidore’s wife, my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein, whose family was also from Hessen).

I am still compiling and editing the Hamberg information, and I am ready to start writing more about what I know about the Schoenthals later this week.  But for now here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned about the Hamberg family.

As mentioned, they were from Breuna.  Breuna is another small town in the Kassel district of Hessen, not too far from Sielen (about 26 km), where the Schoenthals lived.  According to the town’s official website, as translated by Google Translate, Breuna is 758 years old.  I could not find much about its history, but according to the town website, it was under the control of various aristocratic families over the centuries.

Today the original small village of Breuna where my ancestors lived is incorporated into a larger town, also called Breuna, consisting of five districts, one of which is the smaller village of Breuna; another is Oberlistingen, where some of my other relatives not yet discussed lived.  The town’s website described the town as an “Arbeiter-Wohnsitz-Gemeinde” or “worker-resident community,” where most people commute to the larger cities for work.

The town’s website also states:

Particularly noteworthy are the natural, wooded, yet convenient position of the municipality. Pure nature with freeway access! The advantages of a rural environment without having to sacrifice the most important social and cultural institutions and the relative proximity to the North Hessian metropolis of Kassel, the beautiful half-timbered towns Hofgeismar, Wolf Hagen, the spa of Bad Arolsen and the East Westphalian town of Warburg.

The website goes on to point out that although once an agriculture-based economy, Breuna no longer is primarily agricultural.  There are only a few full-time farmers, and they focus on pigs, dairy, and grain.

The population of the larger Breuna town today is about 3700 people, with the smaller district of Breuna consisting of about 1500 people.

As for Breuna’s Jewish history, the Alemannia-Judaica reports that there were four Jewish families in Breuna in 1744 and 1776.  By 1833, there were 53 Jewish residents, and after that the Jewish population started to decline.  There were 29 in 1871, 40 in 1885, 33 in 1895, 23 in 1905, and 14 in 1910.  The overall population of the town was between 900 and 1000 during these years, so the Jewish population was quite a small percentage of the overall population. Most of the Jews were engaged in horse and cattle trading, and some were farmers.    There was a synagogue, a school, a mikvah, a chevra kadisha (burial society), and a cemetery.  There was still a small Jewish community in Breuna when the Nazis came to power in 1933.  Almost none of those who remained survived the Holocaust.

For close to fifty years, the leader of the Jewish community in Breuna was Baruch Hamberg, according to Alemannia-Judaica.  He was my second cousin, three times removed, as described below.   His 75th birthday celebration was written up in one of the local papers in an article describing his prudence and vigor and wishing him many years ahead.

Article about Baruch Hamberg's 75th birthday Jüdischen Wochenzeitung für Kassel, Kurhessen und Waldeck" vom 29. Mai 1931 http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/images/Images%20368/Breuna%20JuedWZKassel%2029051931.jpg

Article about Baruch Hamberg’s 75th birthday
Jüdischen Wochenzeitung für Kassel, Kurhessen und Waldeck” vom 29. Mai 1931
http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/images/Images%20368/Breuna%20JuedWZKassel%2029051931.jpg

How was Baruch related to me? From my research, I’ve learned that Henrietta Hamberg, my great-great-grandmother who married  Levi Schoenthal, was the daughter of Moses Hamberg and Guetchen Rosenberg.  According to at least one record, Moses was a cattle merchant. Moses and Guetchen had nine children (or at least that is how many I have located so far).  One family tree on Geni says that Moses was born in Burgsinn, Bavaria on June 12, 1777, but I’ve not found any definitive source to corroborate that.  That tree also says that Moses’ father was named Juda and that his mother was Rachel Simon, but I am still looking for corroboration of those facts as well.  One reason I am skeptical is that the Hessen archives have a transcription of Moses’ headstone, which indicates that he was born in 1785 and that his father’s name was Huna, not Juda.  On the other hand, the first son born to Moses and Guetchen was named Juda, and that would suggest that perhaps Moses’ father was named Juda.

UPDATE: I’ve now seen, thanks to Hans-Peter Klein, a birth registry for Moses which gives his father’s name as Juda Moses, his mother’s as Rachel Simon, and his birthdate as 1777.  Looking again at the headstone transcription, I now think it says he was 88 years old when he died, not 80, so 1777 as his birth year is consistent with the headstone.  I still cannot explain why it has his father’s name as Huna.

Headstone for Guetchen Rosenberg Hamberg (12) and Moses HambergHHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 97, S. 6

Headstone inscription for Guetchen Rosenberg Hamberg (12) and Moses Hamberg HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 97, S. 6

The Geni tree also asserts that Moses had a brother named Samuel, and I have found many records for Samuel Hamberg and his family.  According to the death record I found for him, he died on December 11, 1857, at age 80, so he would have been born in 1777.

(UPDATE: the same record that listed Moses’ parents and birth year lists Samuel’s birthdate as July 13, 1780.  I can’t explain the discrepancy between the birth registry and the death record except to say that one is incorrect.)

Samuel married Kreschen Baruch, and they had five children.  Their first-born son was also named Juda, lending further weight to the possibility that Juda was the name of the father of both Moses and Samuel.  As you might imagine, having two men named Juda Hamberg in one small town can be quite confusing when looking at birth, marriage, and death records.

To keep them straight, the Breuna records refer to Moses’ son as Juda I, since he was born first (on October 10, 1812, according to the synagogue registry page for Moses and his sons).  Samuel’s son, Juda II, was born in 1820, according to the synagogue registry page for Samuel and his sons.

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 Hauptstaatsarchiv, Mosbacher Straße 55, 65187 Wiesbaden, Germany gestattet.

Synagogue Registry for Moses Hamberg and his sons  HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 96, S. 5

Synagogue Registry for Samuel Hamberg and his sons HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 96, S. 6

Synagogue Registry for Samuel Hamberg and his sons
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 96, S. 6

 

Juda I was a horse dealer, and he married a woman named Dina Sauer.  They had five children.  Juda II was a merchant, and he married a woman named Breinchein Goldwein.  They had five children also; one of them was the afore-mentioned Baruch Hamberg who led the Breuna Jewish community for almost half a century.

You might wonder why I am bothering to report all this since neither Juda is a direct ancestor of mine.  Well, it’s some background to the small world story referred to in the title of this post.

Stepping back a bit, when I first started researching the Hambergs, the first place I went was to the Jewish Family Finder on JewishGen.org.  I searched for the surname Hamberg in Breuna to see if anyone else was researching that family, and sure enough, there was someone listed, though he’d not been active for many years.  There was no name disclosed, just a researcher ID number, so I sent a message to that researcher, not expecting a response, given how long it had been since that person had used JewishGen.

Then I saw the Geni page for Moses Hamberg, referred to above, and I sent a message to the Profile Manager on that page.  Little did I know that I had in fact sent two messages to the same person since the Profile Manager on Geni was the same person as the researcher listed on the Family Finder on JewishGen.  That person, a man named Rob, contacted me by email later that day, and we began to exchange information.  We exchanged information about the Hambergs and tried to sort out how we were related. (Rob pointed out that someone had made changes to his Geni information since he’d last looked at it, which is one reason I don’t like Geni—complete strangers can go in and change your tree without leaving any sources or explanations for the change.)  We are still working on that, and it’s somewhat confusing because of the two men named Juda Hamberg discussed above.  Rob and I are either fourth or fifth cousins, depending on whether he is a descendant of Moses Hamberg or Samuel Hamberg.  At the moment I think he is the great-grandson of Baruch Hamberg, the renowned leader of the Breuna Jewish community, and thus a descendant of Samuel.

But in addition to exploring the family history, Rob and I also exchanged current information about ourselves.  I mentioned that I lived in western Massachusetts, and Rob said he lived in eastern Massachusetts.  He mentioned the town where he lived (Arlington), and I responded that I also had once lived in Arlington over thirty years ago.  He then said he also had been living in Arlington that far back, and in fact once we exchanged street addresses, we realized that we had lived less than a mile from each other.

Corner of Park Avenue and Mass Avenue in Arlington By John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Corner of Park Avenue and Mass Avenue in Arlington
By John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I then mentioned that we had very good friends who had also lived for a few years in Arlington, but had since moved to a nearby town, and I mentioned their names.  Rob emailed me back, saying that I had to call him because the coincidences were getting just too crazy.  It turns out that our friends have been close friends with Rob and his family for over twenty years.  We had undoubtedly all been at the same family celebrations for our mutual friends, including their daughter’s wedding just last year.

As Rob and I spoke on the phone, I had goosebumps, and I have them again as I write down this story.  Here was someone I had once lived near and with whom I shared good friends and who I might have even met or at least passed by in town or at a wedding.  But we never knew we were cousins, linked as descendants of the Hambergs of Breuna.  Isn’t it a strange and small world?  I am now looking forward to having a chance to share all these crazy coincidences with Rob and his wife and our mutual friends over dinner sometime in the near future.

 

The Genealogy Village Comes Through Once Again

As I mentioned in my last post, my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal was one of twelve children.  He and his siblings were born in Sielen, Germany, the children of Levi Schoenthal and Henrietta Hamberg.  The first helpful source I found about his family was a biography written about Isidore’s older brother Henry in 1893 as part of a commemorative book[1] celebrating Washington County in Pennsylvania, where Henry and Isidore both had settled after immigrating to the United States (the “Beers biography”).  Given that the Beers biography was written while both Henry and Isidore were still living in Washington, Pennsylvania, I was inclined to give it significant weight as a credible summary of Henry’s life to that point and of the background of his family.  I will refer to it in more depth when I focus on Henry himself, but for now I am referring to its assertions regarding the family of Levi and Henrietta (Hamberg) Schoenthal.

English: City Hall in Washington, Pennsylvania...

English: City Hall in Washington, Pennsylvania (in Washington County). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the Beers biography, Levi Schoenthal was born in 1813 and worked as a shoemaker.  He and his wife Henrietta had twelve children—nine boys and three girls.  Two of their sons died in infancy, but the other ten children survived to adulthood.  Of those ten, nine immigrated to the United States, and eight stayed here.  (The youngest child, Rosalie, returned to Germany to marry, and one son, Jacob, never left Germany.)  Of those who stayed in the United States permanently, my great-grandfather Isidore was the youngest and arrived last, along with his mother and Rosalie, in 1881.

Despite believing that this biography was probably fairly accurate, given that it was written so close to the time of the events reported, I nevertheless wanted to find some original German sources to verify the information.  Fortunately, I was able to verify quite a bit (but not all of it) by searching through the Hessen Archives as well as US records.  I was very lucky to have help from Dorothee Lottmann-Kaeseler (who correctly reminded me after my last post that she had first mentioned Sielen as my Schoenthal ancestral town), Hans-Peter Klein, Matthias Steinke, JewishGen, and the Hessian Archives.

Based first on a search through JewishGen, I was able to find birth records for almost all of the children of Levi and Henrietta in the Hessian State Archives.  The archived birth records available start in 1846, so I could not find records for the three children born before 1846 (Hannah, 1841; Henry, 1843; Julius, 1845), but using JewishGen and then manually scanning through the records, I was able to find birth records for seven of the other nine, including one for one of the two baby boys who had died in infancy.  So far I had not found any birth record for the other baby who died in infancy according to the Beers biography or for Jacob.

The fact that I was able to locate birth records for seven of the children astounded me.  Here are six of the birth records I found:

Amelia (Malchen) Schoenthal birth record January 2, 1847 Hessen Archives HHStAW 365 No 772

Amelia (Malchen) Schoenthal birth record January 2, 1847
Hessen Archives HHStAW 365 No 772

 

Simon (Sieman) Schoenthal birth record February 14, 1849

Simon (Sieman) Schoenthal birth record February 14, 1849   Hessen Archives HHStAW 365 No 772

 

Marcus Schoenthal birth record January 26, 1853

Marcus Schoenthal birth record January 26, 1853 Hessen Archives HHStAW 365 No 772

Sadly, Marcus died just ten days later:

Marcus Schoenthal death record Febuary 5, 1853 HHStAW fonds 365 No 773

Marcus Schoenthal death record Febuary 5, 1853
HHStAW fonds 365 No 773

 

Nathan Schoenthal birth record August 6, 1854

Nathan Schoenthal birth record August 6, 1854 HHStAW 365 No 772

 

Felix birth for blog

Felix (Seligmann) Schoenthal birth record December 15, 1856 Hessen Archives HHStAW 365 No 772

 

Rosalie Schoenthal birth record August 17, 1863

Rosalie Schoenthal birth record August 17, 1863 Hessen Archives HHStAW 365 No 772

One of the last birth records I found was the one for my great-grandfather Isidore.  I had scanned through the pages several times looking for his birth record, the one that mattered the most to me, of course.  But I hadn’t seen it, and I started wondering whether he’d been born outside of Sielen.  But then, giving it one last chance, I looked at every baby born in 1858, the birth year I had for Isidore, and saw one with the birth date November 22, 1858.  That date seemed familiar (though first I thought only because that was the day of the year JFK was assassinated in 1963), and when I saw that in fact other records had Isidore’s birth as November 22, 1858, I looked more closely at the record.  The entry was written in more traditional German script than many of the others, but I thought I could make out a word that just might be Levi.

Isidore birth for blog

Isidore (Isaak) Schoenthal birth record November 22, 1858 Hessen Archives HHStAW 365 No 772

So I posted a snapshot of the record to the German Genealogy group on Facebook, and sure enough my always helpful friend Matthias Steinke jumped right in and translated it for me.  Matthias said that for the baby, it says, “Male Gender, Isaac,” and for the parents, “Lewie (??) Schonthal shoemaker and Aesther (??) born Hamberg, legitimate parents.”  It was clear to me that this was the birth record for my great-grandfather.  His Hebrew name must have been Isaac—his secular name Isidore.  My guess is that Henrietta’s Hebrew name was Esther or that it actually says Jhette, which was Henrietta’s name in Germany; and I assume that “Lewie” is actually Levi.  I was very excited that I now had my great-grandfather’s birth record as well as those of most of his siblings.

I was still searching for a birth record for Jacob, however.  I had scoured through the Sielen birth records now multiple times without finding it, but according to a genealogy report prepared by Hans-Peter Klein, Jacob was born in December, 1850.  I went back one more time and found this record:

Jacob Schoenthal birth record December 1850

Jacob Schoenthal birth record December 1850

As you can see, although this reports a baby boy named Jacob born in December, 1850, on the left side of the page, the page with the parents’ information on the right is illegible, at least as scanned by the archives.  But I thought that this must be the record that Hans-Peter relied upon to obtain Jacob’s birthdate.  In addition, however, Hans-Peter located a marriage certificate for Jacob Schoenthal and his wife Charlotte (Lottchen) Lilienfeld, and that also included his birth date as December 22, 1850, as translated by my Facebook friend Matthias Steinke:

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.

Marriage record of Jacob Schoenthal and Charlotte (Lottechen) Lilienfeld HStAMR Best. 920 Nr. 2610 Standesamt Gudensberg Heiratsnebenregister 1879, S. 11

Marriage record of Jacob Schoenthal and Charlotte (Lottechen) Lilienfeld
HStAMR Best. 920 Nr. 2610 Standesamt Gudensberg Heiratsnebenregister 1879, S. 11

5 – Gudensberg the 1st September 1879 – To the below signing registrar came for a marriage 1. the merchant Jacob Schönthal, at the moment shop-assistant in Cologne, identified by the shown certificates and in person by the present Beisen(?) Engelbert, israelic religion, born the 22 December 1850 in Sielen, residing in Cologne, son of the in Sielen deceased shoemaker Levi Schönthal and his wife Jettchen nee Hamberg, residing in Sielen and 2. the Lottchen (called Charlotte) Lilienfeld, known personally, israelic religion, born the 6th April 1855 in Gudensberg in house nr. 215 at her parents. Daughter of the cantor Meyer Lilienfeld I and his wife Hannchen nee Meiberg, residing in Gudensberg. As witnesses were present: 3. the merchant Beisen (?) Engelbert, personally know, 59 years old, residing in Gudensberg in house nr. 218, 4. the shop-assistant Michel Lilienfeld, known personally, 23 years old, residing in Halberstadt. Followed by the sentence whether they intend to marry each other and the signatures.

But it wasn’t over.  Now that I had all these birth records for their children, I wanted to know more about Levi and Henrietta and their parents.  I was very fortunate that Dorothee had recommended that I contact Hans-Peter Klein because he was able to provide me with some of that additional information.  He sent me a copy of the marriage record for Levi Schoenthal and Henrietta Hamberg:

Marriage record for Levi Schoenthal and Jhette Hamberg HHStAW, 365, 386

Marriage record for Levi Schoenthal and Jhette Hamberg
HHStAW, 365, 386

Once again, Matthias came through for me and translated this document:

nr 3, date of marriage 24 July 1839 – groom Levi Schönenthal, shoemaker in Sielen – bride: Jette Hamberg – unmarried in Bräuna(Breuna) age of the groom: 26 years, 9 month and 16 days – age of the bride: 22 years – parents of the groom: Heinemann Schönenthal, merchant in Sielen and Handel nee Beerenstein – parents of the bride: Moses Hamberg, merchant in Bräuna and Gutchen nee Rosenberg. entered in Breuna the 25th July 1839 by Itzig Eichholz

From this record I could now see that Levi (born October 8, 1812)  was the son of Heinemann Schoenthal and Handel Beerenstein, who lived in Sielen, and that Henrietta was the daughter of Moses Hamberg and Guetchen Rosenberg, who lived in Breuna, a town located less than 30 km from Sielen. (More on Breuna and the Hambergs in my next post.)

Now I had another family and three more surnames—Beerenstein, Hamberg, and Rosenberg— to add to my family tree, names I’d never known were those of my ancestors until now.  I now had the names of two more sets of my great-great-great-grandparents.  I now know the names and something about almost half of my great-great-great-grandparents.  I didn’t know any of their names at all when I first started doing genealogy. In fact, I only knew the names of two of my great-great-grandparents.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart to Matthias Steinke, Dorothee Lottmann-Kaeselar, and Hans-Peter Klein for helping me find another generation and another branch of my family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893). Transcribed March 1997 by Neil and Marilyn Morton of Oswego, IL as part of the Beers Project. Published March 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.  See http://www.chartiers.com/beers-project/articles/schoenthal-1057.html