Rosa Goldschmidt and Her Family: The Final Chapter

This is the final post about the family of my three-times great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt and her husband Bernhard Metz.  In 1900, Rosa and Bernhard and three of their four surviving children were all living together in New York; Bernhard was still in the import-export business, and his sons Edwin and Joseph were merchants. Their daughter Hattie was working as a saleswoman, and her husband George Gattel was a commissioner. Rosa and Bernhard had already lost three of their children: Siegfried had died in 1880, Emily in 1885, and Bertha in 1892;  also, their oldest son Paul had abandoned the family and disappeared in 1900.

Bernhard Metz family 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0661; FHL microfilm: 1241110
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Rosa, Bernhard, Hattie and her husband George, Edwin, and Joseph were all still living together in 1905. Edwin was a “nit goods salesman;” Joseph was a dry goods clerk, George Gattel was some kind of salesman, and Bernhard was a commercial merchant. There were also two boarders and two servants living in the household at 209 East 61st Street.

Bernhard Metz family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 24 E.D. 16; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 48. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Things changed between 1905 and 1910. We saw that Edwin, who had married Gertrude Becker in 1903, was living in Chicago in 1910. The youngest sibling, Joseph George Metz, also married during those years. He married Florence W. Wolf on December 31, 1905.

New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2497-DHX : 10 February 2018), Joseph Metz and Florence Wolf, 31 Dec 1905; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,558,583.

Florence was the daughter of Louis Wolf and Rebecca Stiefel, and she was born on September 20, 1884, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.1 Florence was living in New York City in 1900 with her parents and siblings; her father was a manufacturer.2 Florence and Joseph had their first child, Robert, on August 19, 1907, in New York.3

In 1910, Joseph Metz was enumerated as the head of household at 149 West 135th Street; in addition to his wife Florence and their son Robert (2), his parents Rosa and Bernhard were living there as well as two servants. Joseph was a ladies’ underwear manufacturer, and his father Bernhard was working as an insurance agent.

Joseph Metz and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0710; FHL microfilm: 1375040
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Not too far away at 607 West 136th Street, Joseph’s sister Hattie was living with her husband George Gattel; George was now a silk merchant. Living with them was Hattie’s niece, the daughter of her deceased sister Bertha, eighteen-year-old Bertha Katzenstein. As you may recall, Rosa and Bernhard’s daughter Bertha Metz died shortly after the birth of her daughter Bertha from puerperal fever. I don’t know whether the child was named Bertha before her mother died or afterwards in her memory.

Hattie Metz Gattel and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0709; FHL microfilm: 1375040
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Bertha Katzenstein’s father Adolf had remarried in 1895, three years after the death of his first wife Bertha Metz. His second wife, Lisbeth Schierstad, was a German immigrant like Adolf.4 I could not locate Adolf, Lisbeth or Bertha (the daughter) on the 1900 US census. Since Adolf was in the import-export business and traveled many times to Europe, I suppose that he and Lisbeth and Bertha might have been abroad when the 1900 census was taken. But Adolf and Lisbeth are listed on the 1905 New York State census, and Bertha was not with them at that time,5 nor was she with her grandparents or aunt or uncles. She would have been only thirteen at the time. Was she in boarding school? Still abroad? I don’t know. At any rate, in 1910, Bertha was back in New York City, living with her aunt Hattie.

Thus, in 1910, Rosa and Bernhard had only two of their seven children still living nearby: Hattie and Joseph. Paul had disappeared, Edwin was in Chicago, and Siegfried, Emily, and Bertha had passed away. They had five grandchildren: Bertha’s daughter Bertha Katzenstein, Edwin’s son Walter, Joseph’s son Robert, and the two sons of Paul Metz, Elwood and George.

On May 16, 1911, my three-times great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt Metz passed away at age 73 from colon and liver cancer as well as kidney disease.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMM-ZTL : 20 March 2015), Rosa Metz, 16 May 1911; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives

When I first opened this death certificate, I panicked. It showed Rosa’s parents as Jacob Goldsmith and Gretchen Stern, not Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander. Had I been researching the wrong Rosa Goldschmidt? But then I noticed her very specific age—73 years, 6 months, 19 days. Using a web date calculator, I determined that since she died on May 16, 1911, that meant she was born on October 27, 1837. Bingo! That is EXACTLY the date for Rosa’s birth on the Oberlistingen birth register, showing her parents as Seligmann and Hincka. Phew! But where in the world did the family come up with the names Jacob Goldsmith and Gertrude Stern?? I don’t know.

Two years after Rosa’s death her son Joseph named his second child for her; Rosalind Metz was born on May 21, 1913, in New York City.6

The following year Bernhard Metz died on August 10, 1914, in New York; he was 81.7

Meanwhile, Bertha Katzenstein was married on February 9, 1913, in Harburg, Germany, to Hermann Nathan. It was this fact that also led me to think that she had been living abroad for some part of her childhood. She was only twenty when she married, and six years later they were divorced on July 3, 1919, in Hannover, Germany. (Thank you to Matthias Steinke of the German Genealogy group for translating this document for me.)

Unfortunately that is the last document or record I have for Bertha Katzenstein. I don’t know whether she returned to the US, but if she did, I can’t find her in the US nor can I find her in Germany—not as Bertha Nathan or Bertha Katzenstein. If she remarried, I have no record of it and thus do not know her married name.

Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1920.
Original data: Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland. Certificate Number: 62
Reference Number: 332-5_11409

In 1920, Hattie and George Gattel were still living in New York City, and George was still selling silk. Ten years later they were still living in New York, and George was no longer working.8 Hattie died on December 11, 1930, at the age of 66;9 George died less than a year later on September 24, 1931.10  He was seventy. Having lost both of their children as babies, they have no direct descendants.

Joseph Getz, the remaining and youngest sibling, must have hit some hard times after 1910. In 1915, he and his wife Florence were living with Florence’s mother and brother Milton at 243 West 99th Street, and Joseph had no occupation listed on the 1915 New York State census.11 Their two young children, Robert, who would have been eight, and Rosalind, who was two, were not listed with them nor can I find them elsewhere on the New York State census. Could they have been omitted by mistake? Or were they living some place outside of New York, perhaps with a different relative?

I don’t know, but in 1920 Robert and Rosalind were again living with their parents in New York City; Joseph was now a commercial traveler. Florence’s mother Rebecca Wolf was also living with them.12 In 1925 they were all still living together, and Joseph was now an insurance broker.13 Five years later the 1930 US census shows them all living at the same place, Joseph still working as an insurance broker.

Joseph Metz and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0465; FHL microfilm: 2341292
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Joseph and Florence’s two children married in the 1930s.  Robert married Anna Steinhardt on June 29, 1934, and Rosalind married John L. Swartz on June 2, 1935.

Certificate Number: 17141, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937.  Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003, Ancestry.com

Certificate Number: 11535, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003, Ancestry.com

Sadly, the decade ended with Joseph’s death on March 4, 1939. He was sixty years old.14 His wife Florence outlived him by more than 25 years, dying at 85 in  September 1965.15 They were survived by their children and grandchildren.

With that, I come to the conclusion of the story of Rosa Goldschmidt, her husband Bernhard Metz, and their seven children. It was quite a wild ride at times. Rosa’s children faced many challenges and provided me with many research challenges. She was the youngest child of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander. She was the second to last of their children to come to the US.

Her oldest sister and Seligmann and Hincka’s oldest child, Sarah, was the very last of the Goldschmidt siblings to come to the US. Her story comes next.

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 058221651 
  2. Louis Wolf and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0832; FHL microfilm: 1241118. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, 1878-1909. Certificate Number: 3926. 
  4.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937, Certificate Number: 13289. Lisbeth Schierstad Katzenstein passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1744; Volume #: Roll 1744 – Certificates: 85500-85875, 23 Sep 1921-24 Sep 1921. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  5. Adolf Katzenstein, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 31 E.D. 14; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 42. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905 
  6.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965, Certificate Number 27?? (not legible on index) 
  7.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 , Certificate Number: 23969. 
  8. Hattie and George Gattel, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 7, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1197; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 555.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0385; FHL microfilm: 2341288. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number: 28089 
  10. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 22939 
  11.  New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 16; Assembly District: 17; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 01. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 
  12. Joseph Metz and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1226; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 1489. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  13. Joseph Metz and family, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 34; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 10. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 
  14. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 5487. 
  15. New York Times, September 13, 1965, p. 35. 

The Search for Edwin Metz

As of 1900, my 3x-great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt and her husband Bernhard Metz had four children still living: Hattie, Paul, Edwin, and Joseph. I’ve discussed Paul Metz, aka Joseph Raymond, aka George Raymond’s disappearance in 1900. This post will discuss his younger brother Edwin, who was also proved to be elusive.

Searching for Edwin Metz was not nearly the wild ride I experienced in searching for his brother Paul, but it sure had its challenges. As of 1900, he was still living with his parents Rosa and Bernhard in New York City, working as a merchant.1 In the 1905 New York State census the household included Bernhard and Rosa, Hattie and her husband George Gattel, Edwin, and Joseph. This enumerator had the worst handwriting! Can you decipher what Edwin was doing? It sure had me confused, but as you will see, I eventually figured it out. Answer to follow.

Bernhard Metz family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 24 E.D. 16; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 48
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

The next record I had for Edwin Metz was the 1910 census, or at least I thought this was Edwin. He is listed with a wife Gertrude and four-year-old son Walter, living in Chicago and working as a salesman—of what, once I again I could not tell:

Edwin Metz and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_246; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0369; FHL microfilm: 1374259
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

I thought this was probably the right Edwin Metz since the age (35) and birth place (New York) and birth places of the parents (both Germany) were right, but I wasn’t sure. What made verification difficult was that I could not find one other record for Edwin Metz. He was not on any later census record, and I could not find a marriage record or a death record or even a newspaper article about him.

I focused my search then on Gertrude and Walter, which was also difficult because I did not know Gertrude’s birth name or anything else about her, except what that 1910 census revealed: that she was then 33, born in Indiana in about 1877 to parents who were both born in Germany. And I knew that Walter was born in New York in about 1906. Not much to go on, but enough to get a start.

First, I found a marriage record dated May 20, 1918, for a Gertrude B. Metz and an Isaac Lederer in the Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index on Ancestry.2 I then was able to find Isaac and Gertrude on the 1920 census with Isaac’s son Joseph and his stepson Walter R. Metz, now 13, living in Chicago. I was quite certain this was the same Gertrude and same Walter who had been living with Edwin Metz in 1910 because the names, ages, and birth places lined up. But where was Edwin? Had he died? Or had Gertrude divorced him? And was he even my Edwin anyway?

Isaac Lederer and family 1920 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 3, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_313; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 164
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Then I found entries on the 1915 South Dakota census for Gertrude Metz and Walter Metz. South Dakota? That surprised me. But they lined up with the Gertrude and Walter I’d found on the 1910 and 1920 US census records: Gertrude was 38, born in 1877, in Indiana, and her parents were born in Germany. Walter was nine, born in 1906, in New York, to a father born in New York and a mother born in Indiana. And most importantly, Gertrude listed her marital status as widowed.

Gertrude Metz, South Dakota State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMHN-CGX : 5 August 2017), Gertrude B Metz; citing State Historical Society, Pierre; FHL microfilm 2,283,681.

Walter Metz, South Dakota State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMHN-CPH : 5 August 2017), Walter R Metz; citing State Historical Society, Pierre; FHL microfilm 2,283,681.

Had Edwin died, or was Gertrude doing what many divorced women did in those days, hiding her status as a divorced woman? And why were they in South Dakota? The town where they were living, Mitchell, was a town with a population in 1910 of about 6500 people, located well over 600 miles from Chicago, where Edwin, Gertrude, and Walter had been living in 1910. How had Gertrude and Walter ended up in Mitchell?

My hunch was that Gertrude had family in South Dakota, so I searched for a Gertrude born in Indiana in about 1877 who was living in South Dakota, and I found Gertrude Kleist on the 1900 census, living in Mitchell, South Dakota, with her parents Emil and Mina, both born in Germany. Her father was a peddler, and Gertrude was a music teacher.

Gertrude Kleist and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Mitchell, Davison, South Dakota; Page: 20; Enumeration District: 0112; FHL microfilm: 1241548
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

But that got me no closer to finding Edwin Metz. I went back to my newspaper searching. In my earlier search for Edwin, I’d had to limit my searches to New York and Chicago because the name was so common that I was overwhelmed with thousands of results. This time I decided to search for Edwin Metz in South Dakota, figuring that it was a crazy long shot.

But it wasn’t.  I found this from the July 10, 1913 edition of the Mitchell (South Dakota) Capital (p. 7):

From this legal notice I knew that Edwin Metz had died sometime before July 1913, and Gertrude was a widow with a seven-year-old little boy. I then found “Edward” Metz on the South Dakota death index; he had died on June 12, 1913, in Davison County, South Dakota.3 It seemed likely that the Gertrude Kleist I’d found on the 1900 census living in Mitchell, South Dakota, was the same woman as Gertrude Metz.

But how had a woman from Mitchell, South Dakota, met and married a man from New York City? Well, knowing now that Gertrude was from Mitchell, I searched for Metz in the Mitchell Capital newspaper on genealogybank.com and found this treasure published on October 9, 1903 (p. 6):

At first I was confused that Gertrude’s name was Becker, not Kleist as I had thought. I was surprised that there could be two Gertrudes in Mitchell, South Dakota, both born around the same time and both in Indiana, with parents born in Germany.

And then I found Gertrude Becker and her family enumerated on the 1900 census; this is clearly the same family as the “Kleist” family in the page depicted above—Emil and Mina, both born in Germany, with daughters Gertrude and Margery and a son Delvin born in Indiana. The Becker and the Kleist entries are nearly identical, except Gertrude has no occupation listed and Emil has moved from being a “peddler” to being a “clothing dealer.”  Once I searched for earlier and later records for the Becker family, it was clear that their name was not Kleist, or hadn’t been for a long time.

Somehow they were counted twice on the 1900 census, once as Becker and once as Kleist. The Becker enumeration was on June 4, the Kleist on June 11, and one was in District 112, the other in District 113. I suppose it is possible the family moved between June 4 and June 11, but it seems unlikely they’d changed their surname from Becker to Kleist.

Gertrude Becker and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Mitchell, Davison, South Dakota; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1241548 Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Without transcribing the entire wedding article, I can point out several revealing portions. First, Edwin Metz was from New York City and was working for “the firm of S. Ascher & Co., importers of fancy knit goods.” Looking back now at the 1905 New York State census when my Edwin was living with his parents, I think the enumerator wrote “nit goods salesman” as Edwin’s occupation. Bad handwriting AND bad spelling. And now reading the 1910 US census for Edwin, I can see that it clearly says “knit goods.” (Amazing what context does to help decipher bad handwriting.) So I am persuaded that the Edwin Metz who married Gertrude from South Dakota was in fact my cousin Edwin.

I also learned that Edwin had “made a very favorable impression” on the people of Mitchell and that he was a “pleasant and affable gentleman and full worthy of the charming bride he takes away from us.”

Gertrude was described in particularly glowing terms:

Coming here as a little maiden the bride has grown to womanhood in this city and has always been prominent in musical and social circles. She is possessed with a beautiful soprano voice of high cultivation and times without number has her music brought pleasure to hundreds of hearers. Always generous with her musical ability she has responded many times to assist in musical entertainments that have been enhanced by her presence. She has been a great favorite socially and was the life of any party of which she formed a number. Her going away will be much regretted by her hundreds of friends and a void will be created that will be hard to fill.

But if Edwin and Gertrude were married in October, 1903, why wasn’t she living with him on the 1905 census in New York? The New York census does not record marital status, so I don’t know. Perhaps she had just been left off by mistake? Edwin and Gertrude’s son Walter was born on February 28, 1906, so certainly in 1905 they had to have been living together for some time.

I also was surprised to see that a rabbi performed the ceremony; he came from the “Jewish church” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is over seventy miles east of Mitchell; back then, that must have been a long journey. It also saddened me that none of Edwin’s family attended the wedding. I’d like to think it wasn’t that they didn’t approve or that Edwin was estranged from his family, but just that the time and cost of traveling from New York to South Dakota kept them from attending.

The wedding article was also very informative about the details of the wedding, including the lavish and extensive menu, the clothing, and the names of the twenty guests. The article also hinted that Gertrude may have already been living in New York, as “A portion of the presents were sent here and a large number were sent to her New York residence.” Perhaps that refers to her future residence, but I like to imagine that Gertrude had come to New York City to pursue her musical career, as the article describes her considerable talent. That would also explain how Edwin and Gertrude met, although it is also possible that Emil Becker, the clothing dealer, met Edwin, the knit clothing salesman, and introduced him to his daughter.

That left me with a few remaining questions: why was Edwin in South Dakota in 1913 when he died? Was it a visit, or were they living in Mitchell at that point? Edwin was only 38 when he died—what caused his death? And where is he buried?

And then, as I was first writing that very paragraph, I went back to genealogybank.com one more time and searched for Edwin Metz between June 1, 1913, and July 31, 1913, and found an obituary for Edwin—why hadn’t it shown up before? I don’t know. But here it is:

“Edwin Metz Passes Away,” The Mitchell Capital, June 19, 1913, p. 7

This doesn’t tell me everything, but it does tell me that Edwin had suffered from “nervous trouble” since early 1912, and it suggests that he and Gertrude had moved to Mitchell for family support.  Edwin died in the home of his in-laws, and his brother-in-law accompanied his body back to New York for burial. Gertrude was herself too ill to go.

Of course, every answer leads to more questions.  What kind of “nervous trouble”? Why was he being buried in New York and not in South Dakota or Chicago, the two places he and Gertrude had lived together?

As for Gertrude and Walter, as noted above, Gertrude remarried five years after Edwin’s death and relocated back to Chicago with her second husband, Isaac S. Lederer. Isaac was also widowed and, like Gertrude, had a young son. In 1920,4 they were all still living together in Chicago, as they were in 1930 as well.5 By then, Walter was working in the retail dry goods business, his stepbrother Joseph was a broker, and Isaac was retired. Isaac died the following year at the age of 61. He was buried with his first wife Carrie in Chicago.6

Walter Metz married Marjorie Isaacs in 1933:

1933, Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963), Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003

And in 1940 they were living in Chicago with their son. Walter owned a retail lighting fixtures store.7 Meanwhile, his mother Gertrude was also still living in Chicago in 1940; she was 63 and had been widowed twice.8

Sadly, my cousin Walter Metz inherited some of the bad luck of the Goldsmith family and died at a young age like his father Edwin. He was only 57 when he suffered a heart attack on March 1, 1963, while on a cruise in the Caribbean with his wife Marjorie.9 He was survived by his wife, son, and his mother Gertrude Becker Metz Lederer, who was about 87 at the time. Despite searching every way I can imagine, I have found no clue as to when Gertrude died, though I would assume it was within ten years after her son Walter’s death.  Was she buried with her first husband, just as her second husband Isaac was buried with his first wife? I do not know. I cannot find her. I have contacted the cemetery where Edwin is buried to see if she is buried there and am awaiting an answer.

UPDATE: I just heard from the cemetery; Gertrude Metz Lederer is not buried with Edwin at Beth El Cemetery in New York.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Bernhard Metz and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0661; FHL microfilm: 1241110.Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  2. Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Indexes, 1912-1942. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. South Dakota, Death Index, 1879-1955. Certificate Number: 34853
    Page Number: 503.
     
  4. See image above. 
  5. Isaac Lederer and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0210; FHL microfilm: 2340158. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/131191424 
  7. Walter Metz and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00928; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 103-245. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. Gertrude Metz, 1940 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 103-283. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. “Walter R. Metz,” Chicago Tribune, March 3, 1963, p. 36. 

The Paul Metz Mystery, Part III: George Metz Disappears

In my last post, I described how with my cousin Conrad’s help I had been able to track down Gertrude Cone Metz/Raymond Blumann/Smith Keller up to 1920 when she had been married to or at least living with George W. Keller as well as her son George Metz (named as George Elwood Keller on the 1920 census) and their daughter “Florence,” who Conrad and I decided was actually Ida Jane Keller, the daughter  of Gertrude and George W. Keller born in 1905.

I also noted that by 1925 it appeared that Gertrude and her third “husband” George W. Keller were separated as George W. was living with his parents and with his daughter Ida, who had married Eugene Merker in 1921 but from whom she must have been separated by 1925. Ida and Eugene’s daughter was also living with the Kellers in 1925.

But where were Gertrude and her son George Metz in the 1920s? Conrad found a series of newspaper articles revealing that his father George B. Metz had disappeared for some time in September 1923. The story ran in multiple newspapers throughout the United States as police all over the country were searching for the missing “G.B. Metz.” 1 The New York Times began its coverage on its front page on September 13, 1923, describing how George B. Metz had been hired by H. A. Ross of the Pittsburgh Lamp, Brass and Glass Company two weeks earlier to be their Colorado representative. Ross had received that day a letter from Metz mailed from Denver in which he acknowledged receipt of an expense check, but Ross had also been notified by the Denver police that same morning that Metz had disappeared.2

New York Times, September 13, 1923, p. 1

This same article also reported comments made by Russell B. Cressman, a friend and former co-worker of George Metz at the Gleason-Tiebout Company in New York, manufacturers of electrical appliances, where Metz had worked for seven years, or since about 1916. Cressman described Metz as having “an equable, quiet disposition and was very well liked by his business associates.” According to Cressman, Metz was a bachelor and lived with his mother, Mrs. G.A. Kellar [sic] at 2020 Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx, the same place that Gertrude and her son George and daughter “Florence” had been living with George W. Keller on the 1920 census. Cressman could not provide an explanation for Metz’s disappearance nor could his mother, when asked. According to the article, George’s mother had left for Denver when she heard of his disappearance.3

The paper also reported that George had a girlfriend in New York named Margaret A. Wiquest and that another friend, Eugene O’Donnell, estimated that George had a fortune worth about $50,000-$60,000 as well as a $75,000 life insurance policy.4

According to this and several other articles, the maid found a note in George’s hotel room in Denver, where he had been staying for two weeks. According to the Ogden (Utah) Standard Examiner of September 12, 1923 (p. 2) and many other newspapers, that note read as follows:

I am going on a dangerous mission tonight. If anything should happen that I do not return please forward the personal papers you will find in the small drawer to R.B. Cressman, 200 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

(Signed) G. B. Metz

Personal effects to Mrs. G.A. Keller, 2020 Honeywell avenue, New York City. Catalogue to Pittsburg Lamp, Brass and Glass company. Car to Saunders. [The car was a rental car.]

Detectives then proceeded to examine a will that George Metz had prepared on September 4, 1923, obviously either right before or right after departing New York for Denver. According to another New York Times article dated September 13, 1923,5 the will named Russell B. Cressman as the administrator and left one-third of the estate to Margaret A. Wiquest, his “dearest pal and sweetheart,” unless she was married at the time of George’s death; in that case she was to receive only $500. All of George’s personal belongings were bequeathed to his uncle Frank E. Cone, his jewelry was left to his “stepfather G.W. Kellar,” $1000 was left to his sister, Ida J. Merker, and another $1000 to a trust fund for the education of Ida’s daughter.

The police had two possible theories for George’s disappearance—foul play or suicide. By the next day the New York Times was reporting that the Denver police had developed a third theory—that George was suffering from a temporary mental illness. The Denver police also found a clue that George was on his way to Los Angeles.6

“Metz in California, Denver Police Think,” New York Times, September 14, 1923, p. 22.

The article is most interesting for what it reports “that bears out the theory of mental aberration.”7

One clue was a letter which Metz wrote to his mother in which he said: “I am losing my mind. Have faith in me.”

The police also learned, they said, that Metz’s father, Joseph Metz, disappeared in a similar fashion nearly 25 years ago, just before the son was born, and took his elder son Elwood with him. Nothing ever was heard of them, the police say.[^8]

That was a confirmation of much of what I had suspected: Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond (called Joseph Metz here) was the father of George Metz, and he had disappeared shortly before George was born, taking Elwood with him.

The newspaper also noted that Ida Keller Merker had confirmed these facts, although her report muddies the waters a bit:8

Mrs. Merker confirmed the statement that their father, Joseph Metz, had disappeared with an elder son, Elwood, twenty-five years ago. This had been while the family was living somewhere on the Boston Road in the Bronx, and the pair had never been heard from.

Of course, this can’t be completely right; Paul/Joseph Metz was not Ida’s father. Ida J. Keller was born five years after her half-brother George, and Paul/Joseph Metz could not have been her father if he disappeared five years before she was born. And on the 1900 census, Gertrude was living with Elwood not on Boston Road in the Bronx, but in Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey, and Paul was not in the household. But the important point from my perspective is that this confirmed that Paul Metz had disappeared and taken his son Elwood with him in 1900.

According to the article, George’s girlfriend Margaret A. Wiquest was “taken by surprise at the report of Metz’s mental condition. In their one-year acquaintance, she said, Metz had never shown sign of aberration. He had always been of a cheerful disposition and his last letters had all been in a cheerful key, she added.”9

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. George was found a month later in Los Angeles, suffering from memory loss:

“Missing Pittsburgh Salesman Is Found,” New Castle (Pennsylvania) Herald, 12 Oct 1923, Fri, Page 20.

George apparently returned to New York, but perhaps not to Margaret A. Wiquest. On September 11, 1925, George Metz married Eunice Marian Brown in the Bronx.10 Conrad generously shared these stunning photographs of his parents:

Eunice Marian Brown Metz. Courtesy of Conrad Metz

George B. Metz, courtesy of Conrad Metz

In 1928, they were living in my old hometown, White Plains, New York, where George was working as a “brkman,” or a brakeman.11 According to Conrad, his maternal grandfather, John Brown, was a conductor on the Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad and helped his son-in-law George get a job with the railroad when George had had difficulty obtaining employment after his disappearance in 1923.  Being a brakeman was a dangerous job, as described on this website:

To apply the brakes, the brakeman would turn a large brake control wheel located atop each freight car of the train. Every brakeman carried a thick brake “club” to help give them leverage in turning the wheel. This meant that they would have to run along the top of the railway cars and leap from one to another in order to apply or release the brakes on each car. Generally, the rear brakeman, or flagman as he was also known, would advance from the end of the train whilst the head brakeman or the conductor would advance from the engine to apply the brakes on each car, one by one. On a moving train, especially in bad weather, the application of brakes was a risky proposition, at best. Worse still, a stuck brake wheel might suddenly free up and throw the brakeman off balance. All too often this would result in the brakeman falling between the cars to his death. Riding in the open, frequently exposed to the bitter cold of winter, the brakeman’s job was fraught with danger.

Conrad told me that his father George himself suffered a broken leg on the job.

In 1930 George, Marian and their son Richard were living in Westwood, New Jersey, and George was once again in the electrical products business, now as a sales manager for the an electrical company. Conrad was born a couple of years later.

George Metz and family 1930 US census, Census Place: Westwood, Bergen, New Jersey; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0251; FHL microfilm: 2341052
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

But what about Paul Metz and Elwood Metz? Where had they gone? Who were they now? And would they ever reappear? More on that in my next post, the final chapter in the story of Paul Metz and his sons.

 

 

 


  1. E.g., “Note Left by Missing Man,” The Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, 12 Sep 1923, Wed, Page 2; “Goes on ‘Danger Mission’ And Has Not Come Back,” The (Wilmington, Delaware) Morning News, 13 Sep 1923, Thu, Page 1; “Missing Pittsburgh Salesman Is Found,” New Castle (Pennsylvania) Herald, 12 Oct 1923, Fri, Page 20. 
  2. The New York Times, September 13, 1923, p. 1. 
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. “Missing Man Left Will, Fearing Death,” The New York Times, September 13, p.1. 
  6. “Metz in California, Denver Police Think,” The New York Times, September 14, 1923, p. 22. 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. Ibid. 
  9. Ibid. 
  10. The New York City (Bronx) Marriage Index, Certificate Number 5272 (could be 5273), found at https://archive.org/details/NYC_Marriage_Index_Bronx_1925 
  11. White Plains city directory, 1928, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 

The Paul Metz Mystery, Part II

As seen in my last post, my cousin Conrad and I came to the conclusion that his grandfather, Paul Metz, had used a false name (Joseph Raymond) on his marriage certificate when he married Gertrude Cone and thus that Paul Metz was in fact the first husband of Gertrude Amelia Cone and the father of their two sons, Elwood, born February 19, 1898, and George, born July 6, 1900.

But Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond was not on the 1900 census with Gertrude and Elwood (George was born after the census enumeration). Where was he? I thought that if we searched for information about Gertrude, Elwood, and George, we might find the answer to what happened to Paul.

According to Conrad, Gertrude next appeared on the 1905 New York State census; she was living in Mount Vernon, New York, with a man named George W. Keller, who was 26. Gertrude is listed as his mother, but she was only 25, so that cannot be right. Apparently that enumerator listed all the wives as “mothers” on that particular census report. There were two children living with them: a son named George, who was five, and a daughter named Ida J., who was two months old.

Gertrude Keller and family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: E.D. 01; City: Mount Vernon Ward 04; County: Westchester. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

At first I wasn’t sure why Conrad thought this was his grandmother Gertrude. The New York State census does not identify the state where the individuals were born or much else about them, so I was uncertain. But Conrad knew that his grandmother had at one time been married to George Washington Keller; in fact, he knew of her only with the surname Keller. And he knew he had an “aunt” named Ida Jane. So this had to be Gertrude and her son George (Metz) and daughter Ida on the 1905 NYS census living with George W. Keller.

But neither Conrad nor I could locate a marriage record for Gertrude and George W. Keller. Nor could we find a birth record for Ida. Was she in fact the daughter of George Keller and Gertrude Cone? Could Paul Metz have been her father? Well, I found Ida on the 1910 census living with her grandparents—George Keller and Ida Keller, who were George W. Keller’s parents.1  From that I concluded that Ida was in fact the daughter of George W. Keller. But why was she living with her grandparents? Where was her father George? And where was her mother Gertrude?

Ida Keller, 1910 US census, Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 34, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1002; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 1583; FHL microfilm: 1375015
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Well, on January 26, 1910, Gertrude had obtained a license to marry another man, William Blumann.2 But on the 1910 census, she was living with a man named William T. Smith. He was a “railroad man.” Living with them was George B. Metz, Paul Metz’s son. The census record reported that it was a second marriage for both William and Gertrude and that Gertrude had three living children, though only George was living with her. It also reported that Gertrude and William Smith had been married for less than a year.

William Smith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1014; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0311; FHL microfilm: 1375027
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Was William Smith the same person as William Blumann? Was William Blumann/William T. Smith another alias for Paul Metz? And what had happened to George W. Keller? To answer the first question first, there is this horrifying news article that reveals that in fact William Blumann was the same person as William T. Smith:

“Mother Saved by Son, Madman Ends Own Life,” Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Evening-News, January 20, 1914, p. 2.

So George Metz, just thirteen years old, had saved his mother Gertrude’s life.  This poor young man had witnessed the attempted murder of his mother and the suicide of his stepfather. And also it appears he had been abandoned by his own father, Paul Metz, and another stepfather as well, George W. Keller. He also had lost two siblings somewhere along the way—Elwood and Ida. In thirteen years he had suffered more trauma and loss than most of us experience in a lifetime.

Meanwhile, in 1909 George’s stepfather George W. Keller had married Laurie Ellis Fredette,3 and in 1910 they were living in Mount Vernon, the same town where George W. Keller had previously lived with Gertrude, George Metz, and Ida.4 But Laurie Fredette died on January 27, 1918, in the Bronx,5 leaving George W. Keller a widower. And thus both George W. Keller and Gertrude Cone Raymond/Metz Blumann/Smith were widowed and unmarried as of January 27, 1918.

In 1920 George W. Keller and Gertrude were living together again, listed this time as husband and wife on the census, although we’ve yet to find a marriage record for George W. Keller and Gertrude. They were living at 2020 Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx. George was working for the railroad just as William Blumann Smith had been.

George W Keller and household, 1920 US census, Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 7, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1140; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 373
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Living with George and Gertrude as their son was “George Elwood Keller,” a nineteen-year-old born in New Jersey who was working in a glass factory. The census record states that both his parents were born in New York.So who was this? Was it Elwood “Raymond,” who would have been 22 in 1920, or was it George Metz, who would have been turning 20 in 1920? Only George was born in New Jersey, and his father—Paul Metz—was born in Pennsylvania, not New York. Conrad and I concluded that this had to be George, not Elwood—in large part because Conrad knew that his father had been living with Gertrude at that time whereas Elwood’s whereabouts during that time were unknown.

Why then would this young man have been listed as George Elwood? It looks like the census enumerator first wrote Elwood and then squeezed in George. Strange… Perhaps Gertrude had her two sons confused.

Even more confusing to me was the fact that this same census record also listed a daughter in the household named Florence, fourteen years old, also born in New Jersey with parents both born in New York. Who in the world was Florence?? Ida Jane Keller would have been fourteen, going on fifteen in 1920. But she was born in New York. Since neither Conrad nor I could find any child of George and/or Gertrude who was named Florence or born in New Jersey in 1905-1906 nor could we find any later record for a Florence Keller of that age who fit, we concluded that “Florence” was really Ida. But why would she be listed as Florence, not Ida? Those names aren’t even close.

You can imagine that by now I was ready to throw a brick at the computer. My head was spinning, and I was drawing more timelines and charts than I’d ever had to before. And things did not get much clearer as I moved forward in time.

In 1921 Ida J. Keller married Eugene Merker in the Bronx.6 But that marriage did not last long because by 1925 Ida was apparently separated from Eugene Merker and living at 1976 Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx with her grandparents George and Ida Keller, her father George W. Keller, and her daughter from her marriage to Eugene; they were living down the block from where Gertrude and George had been living with her son George Metz and their daughter Ida in 1920. Ida was eventually divorced from Eugene in 1930.7 It also appears that by 1925 her father George W. Keller was no longer living with Gertrude. I could not find him on the 1930 census, but I did find that he died in 1936.8

Keller family, 1920 US census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 21; Assembly District: 07; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 12. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

So I had gotten this far, but I still had no answers for the whereabouts of Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond or Elwood Metz/Raymond. Neither Gertrude nor William Blumann Smith nor George W. Keller nor Ida Jane were related to me in anyway except through a chain of marriages. I had researched them and gone in all those circles to try and find Paul Metz and Elwood to no avail.

And then things got stranger. And finally, the brick wall started to fall.

 


  1. Ancestry.com. New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936. Film Number: 001031478. 
  2.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 1. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995. License Number: 2449. 
  3. Ancestry.com. New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936. Film Number: 001031478. 
  4. George W. Keller household, 1910 US census, Census Place: MT Vernon Ward 2, Westchester, New York; Roll: T624_1089; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0062; FHL microfilm: 1375102. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  5.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number: 766. 
  6.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995. License Number: 5510. 
  7. Ancestry.com. Bronx County, New York, Divorce and Civil Case Records, 1914-1995. Volume Number: 2, Page Number: 485, File Number: 1969 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Certificate Number: 1374. 

The Mystery of Paul Metz, Part I

I cannot tell the story of Paul Metz without some introduction of my third cousin, once removed, Conrad Metz, Paul’s grandson. Without Conrad’s help, this story would never have come to light. We collaborated on the research, shared our thoughts about what we found, and ultimately reached the same conclusion about his elusive grandfather.

The story began on June 14, 2018, when I received a message on Ancestry from Conrad, asking me to share my tree because he’d been told I might be a cousin and that I had his grandfather Paul Metz on my Ancestry tree. He said he’d been searching for information about Paul Metz for many years, but all he had was the name on his father’s birth certificate.  I responded that I was delighted to hear from him and more than happy to share my tree and to work with him on searching for more information about his grandfather.

The last official record I had for Paul Metz before Conrad contacted me was the 1880 census when Paul was a teenager living with his parents Rosa and Bernhard in Philadelphia.1 As noted in my last post, Paul was not living with his parents and siblings on the 1900 census. Conrad knew that his grandmother’s name was Gertrude Amelia Cone, but we could not find a marriage record for Gertrude Cone and Paul Metz.

But Conrad had a marriage record for his grandmother Gertrude and a man named Joseph C. Raymond. According to their New Jersey marriage record, they had married on December 10, 1895, in Ramsey, New Jersey.  That record said that Joseph was the son of Albert F. Raymond, born in Michigan, and Rose Weldon, born in England, and that Joseph was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was 28 years old, giving him a birth date of 1867.  Gertrude was only seventeen, born in Brooklyn to Edward Cone, born in Maryland, and Jennie Pool, born in Schraalenberg, New Jersey, and Gertrude was then residing in Ramsey, New Jersey, where the wedding took place.

We could not find any records for Joseph Raymond’s parents, Albert Raymond and Rose Weldon. The only other record naming Joseph Raymond that we could find was the birth record for an unnamed son of Joseph Charles Raymond and Gertrude Amelia Cone born on February 19, 1898. According to this record, both Joseph and Gertrude were born in New Jersey, contrary to their marriage record.  Joseph was 29 so born in 1867; Gertrude was 18 so born in 1880, not 1878 as the marriage record suggested.

New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WWM-5R9 : 11 February 2018), Gertrude Amelia Cone in entry for Raymond, 19 Feb 1898; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 7239 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,953,125.

On the 1900 census we found a Gertrude Metz living in Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey with a two-year-old son named “Ellwood,” born in February 1898. That Gertrude was born in 1879 in New York whereas the Gertrude on the marriage and birth records was born in New York (or New Jersey) in 1878 (or 1880). That Gertrude’s father was born in Maryland and mother in Schraalenberg, New Jersey, whereas the Gertrude on the 1900 census had a father born in Virginia and a mother born in New Jersey.  Certainly a close but not an exact match. But there was enough—the name, the age and birth place, the son’s birth date—to make Conrad and I believe it possible that this was his grandmother Gertrude and that the child was the baby born to Gertrude Cone and Joseph Charles Raymond on February 19, 1898.

Gertrude Metz 1900 census, Census Place: Hohokus, Bergen, New Jersey; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0022; FHL microfilm: 1240955
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

But why was she using the surname Metz? The census report listed Gertrude as married, but there was no husband living with her, and we could not find Joseph Raymond  anywhere on the 1900 census. Had she married Paul Metz after Joseph Raymond and given Joseph Raymond’s son the surname of her second husband? If so, where was Paul Metz? We couldn’t find him anywhere on the 1900 census either.  We were confused.

So I did what I always do when I hit a dead end on official records; I searched the newspaper databases. And I found some stories that were disturbing: Paul Metz had been arrested and convicted in New Jersey in the fall of 1898 for theft; in fact, he had committed multiple thefts.

First, I found this article from the September 29, 1998, the Bridgewater (NJ) Courier-News, which reported that Paul Metz had been arrested for the theft of several articles from the home of William Stansbery after Metz had obtained entrance to the home by saying he was there to tune the piano.

“Alleged Piano Tuner Arrested,” (Bridgewater, NJ) Courier-News, September 29, 1898, p. 8

The following day, the same paper reported in more detail how the police had identified Metz as the thief and how they had captured him. The part of the article I found most interesting was this description of Metz: “a perfect gentleman in his manners and a smooth talker.” Also, this article revealed that Metz may have earlier that month used the same “piano tuner” con to steal a silver sugar sifter from a Mrs. Pendleton N. Rogers of Bridgewater.

“Piano Tuner Arrested for Sneak Thieving,” (Bridgewater, NJ) Courier News, September 30, 1898, p. 1

Then on October 4, 1898, the Bridgewater newspaper reported more alleged misconduct by Paul Metz.  According to the Plainfield Bicycle Company in Plainfield, New Jersey, Metz had rented a bicycle from them for one day, but had not returned the bike for six weeks. When they sought action against him, he sent the bicycle back by express delivery. The bike company claimed that they had to pay for the delivery charges as well as repairs on the bike, which came back damaged.

“Metz Was A Wheelman,” (Bridgeton, NJ) Courier News, October 4, 1898, p. 5

The paper also reported that day and the following day that Paul Metz’s wife had come to New Jersey with her baby in her arms to plead with William Stansbery not to press charges against her husband. But the case was already before the grand jury by that time, so it was too late, and Paul was convicted.2

“Mrs. Metz’ Plea for Her Husband,” (Bridgewater, NJ) Courier News, October 4, 1898, p. 5

Yet Paul Metz managed to escape with only a short sentence of six months after his trial. The Courier-News reported on November 4, 1898, that the reason for the light sentence was that Metz had “turned evidence against Wilson and other prisoners in their recent attempt to escape from jail.”

“Metz Gets An Easy Sentence,” (Bridgewater, NJ) Courier-News, November 2, 1898, p. 1

You might ask how I could be sure that this was the same Paul Metz, son of Rosa and Bernhard Metz. In this clipping from the Philadelphia Inquirer, it states that he gave his address as 209 East 61st Street in New York City, which, as I mentioned in my last post, is where Rosa and Bernhard and their three other children were living in 1900.3

Philadelphia Inquirer, September 30, 1898, p.6

Then I found another article, this time from the Port Chester (New York) Journal of September 1, 1898:

As described in this article, a man named Paul Metz was accused of stealing a woman’s purse after gaining entry to her home by claiming to be a piano tuner. This article is rather lengthy, so I will transcribe some of it and summarize the rest:

On Monday, a fellow called at the residence of Mrs. Henry Bailey…for the ostensible purpose of making inquiry for someone. Miss Daisy, daughter of Mrs. Bailey, who had just came [sic] in from the street had laid [sic] her pocket book on a chair. When the fellow walked in the house, the young lady asked him what he wanted. He said he was a piano tunder and was looking for a Mrs. Wilson. …When the fellow was told that no such person lived there he started to walk out. Of course, not suspecting that the fellow was a thief he was not watched. Mrs. Bailey…noticed that as he passed out of the door he picked up the pocket book and thrust it in his pocket.

[Then the article describes how the Deputy Sheriff located the man who had taken the pocket book from Mrs. Bailey’s house, but Mrs. Bailey did not want to press charges.]

The fellow when searched did not have the pocket book nor a cent in money, although it is positive that he stole both in the Bailey house….He carried a satchel, which on opening was found to contain a lot of miscellaneous things, among them a formidable dirk knife…. There were also six bottles of opium and a syringe used for injecting the drug.  From all indications the fellow seemed to be an opium fiend of the first water. ….[Could this have been “of the first order,” not “water”?]

It is known that the fellow has been around town for some days begging for money where he could not work in his piano tuning racket. ….The fellow told such contrary stories, that it is hard to trace him up closely. ….When he was arrested, the fellow who gave his name as Paul Metz said that he lived in New York City and was going there that day…. In his satchel were found a number of checks drawn to the order of bearer, on a Jersey bank, and the fellow later admitted having made out the checks on fictitious persons. …..

Ascertaining the man’s address in New York City, Deputy Sheriff Fitz Roy was sent in search of his pedigree. He found the father of the fellow who said that his son had been a general bad one of years, but within a few years he had married and had seemed to be leading a better life. The fellow’s wife and child arrived here on Tuesday morning, and was in Court when the case was called by the Prosecuting Attorney Walsh before Judge Burns….The case was, therefore, adjourned until this morning, when an effort will be made to hold the man. The belief is general that he must have had the money and managed to hide or throw it away to exculpate himself.

I found no follow-up to this story; Mrs. Bailey had been reluctant to get involved, and there was no money or pocket book found on Paul, so perhaps the matter was dropped. But obviously Paul did not learn his lesson and then committed the same type of fraud in Bridgewater, New Jersey, a few weeks later, as described in the articles above. And it appeared that he was not only a con man and a thief, but also a drug addict.

I was a bit reluctant to share these news clippings with Conrad for fear of upsetting him. But I knew he wanted to have some answers to what had happened to his grandfather, and so I did. Conrad was not the least bit upset, but, as I had hoped, was just glad to have some answers after all his years of searching.

We both reached the same conclusion: Paul Metz had married Gertrude Cone under the assumed name of Joseph Charles Raymond. The biggest clues were right on the marriage record of Joseph Raymond and Gertrude Cone.  “Joseph Raymond” had listed his occupation on the marriage license as a piano tuner, the same occupation that Paul Metz used to con his way into homes where he stole jewelry and other valuables. He had given his address as 209 East 16th Street, a reversal of the numerals of the street in his actual address, 209 East 61st Street. This had to be Paul Metz using a false identity:

In addition, there were no records for a Joseph Charles Raymond born in Philadelphia in about 1867 (the same place and time period when Paul Metz was born) nor for the parents he listed on the marriage certificate. The final clue was that the news stories made it obvious that Paul Metz was a con man—a charming but dishonest con man.

But why had he used an assumed name to marry Gertrude? You would think he would have used an assumed name when he was arrested, not when he married, but perhaps even then he was a man in some kind of trouble and was hiding his true identity.  Did Gertrude know this wasn’t his real name, or was she duped also? Obviously by 1898 she must have known his name was Metz since he was arrested under that name, and by 1900 she was using that surname both for herself and her son Elwood, as seen on the 1900 census.

Assuming that Paul Metz served his full six month sentence, he would have been released from prison in about May 1899. He must have then returned for at least some time to Gertrude because on July 6, 1900, Gertrude gave birth to Conrad’s father George Burt Metz, and Paul Metz was named as his father on the birth certificate with his occupation as piano tuner.

The certificate also stated that this was the second child born of this marriage. That meant that Elwood “Raymond,” the child born to “Joseph Raymond” and Gertrude Cone on February 19, 1898, and who was living with Gertrude on the 1900 census, was likely also the child of Paul Metz and thus George Metz’s full brother and Conrad’s uncle.

But where was Paul when Gertrude gave birth to this second son, George? And why isn’t he listed with Gertrude and Elwood on the 1900 census? More on that in my next post.


  1. Metz family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1186; Page: 290C; Enumeration District: 589. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  2. “Metz Must Abide The Law’s Decree,” (Bridgewater, NJ) Courier News, October 5, 1898, p. 1. 
  3. Bernhard Metz family 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0661; FHL microfilm: 1241110. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. 

Rosa Goldschmidt and Bernhard Metz: Two Immigrants Who Found Success and Heartbreak in America

As of September 1853, all four of the sons of Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander, my 3x-great-grandparents, had immigrated to Philadelphia: Jacob, Abraham, Meyer, and Levi. Seligmann and Hincka still had their four daughters in Germany, however: Sarah, Eva, Bette, and Rosa.

Three of those daughters eventually followed their brothers to Philadelphia. First, my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein immigrated with her husband Gerson and their three oldest children in 1856, as I wrote about here and in several other posts. Then in 1860, Seligmann and Hincka’s youngest child Rosa followed her older siblings to Philadelphia. Sarah, the oldest sibling, would be the last to arrive, coming with her husband in 1882, years after some of her children had already immigrated, as discussed previously. Of the eight siblings, only Bette never left Germany.

The next set of posts will focus on Rosa Goldschmidt and her family. If the stories about her brother Levi and his descendants were overwhelmingly sad, the search for the stories of Rosa’s family was one of the most baffling, surprising, and challenging I’ve encountered since I first started searching for my family history. Stay tuned for some  surprising research successes and discoveries. But first some background on Rosa and her early years in the US, where she experienced both great happiness and terrible sadness.

Rosa Goldschmidt was born on October 27, 1837, in Oberlistingen, Germany.

Roschen Goldschmidt birth record, Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden

She left Germany when she was 22 and arrived in New York City on July 9, 1860.

Roschen Goldschmidt passenger manifest, Year: 1860; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 202; Line: 14; List Number: 597
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

I assume she must have settled in Philadelphia where all her older siblings were living and where, on January 20, 1864, she married Bernhardt Metz.1 Bernhardt (later Bernhard) was born in Prussia in 1832 and had immigrated in the mid-1850s. He was in the “cloak and mantilla” business in 1862, according to the Philadelphia directory.2

Rosa and Bernhard’s first child, a daughter named Hattie, was born on November 23, 1864.3 A second child, a son named Paul, was born on November 1, 1866.4 Then came another daughter, Emily, born on February 9, 1868.5 A fourth child was born on October 17, 1869, a daughter named Bertha.6 On the 1870 census, they were all living together in Philadelphia. Bernhard was a cloak manufacturer, and he had $10,000 worth of real property and $2000 of personal property. There were two servants living with them also. Like Rosa’s brothers, Bernhard was doing well as a new immigrant in America.

Bernhard Metz family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 66, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1407; Page: 438B; Family History Library Film: 552906. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census.

Rosa and Bernhard had three more sons in the 1870s: Siegfried, born in about 1872 in Pennsylvania,7 Edwin Joseph, born on December 16, 1874, in New York City,8 and Joseph George Metz, born on September 14, 1878, in Philadelphia.9 Thus, it appears that at least for some part of the 1870s, Rosa and Bernhard and their children were living in New York, but then returned to Philadelphia by 1878 where their youngest child was born.

That is also consistent with what I found in the Philadelphia directories. Bernhard had been in business with his brother Joseph since at least the 1860s, and it appears from various directory listings that they must have had business in New York City because in the 1872 Philadelphia directory, Bernhard is listed as residing in New York. However, in 1878 he is listed with a Philadelphia residence.10

But their good fortune changed in 1880. On the 1880 census, Bernhard and Rosa and six of their seven children were listed as living in Philadelphia where Bernhard was working as a merchant.11 Sadly, their son Siegfried had died of cholera morbus (or what we would call gastroenteritis today) on May 19, 1880, in Philadelphia; he was only eight years old.12

Soon thereafter they must have moved back to New York City because Bernhard is listed in several New York City directories in the 1880s and 1890s.13

And the family suffered another tragic loss after moving to New York. On April 3, 1885, Rosa and Bernhard’s seventeen-year-old daughter Emily died from pneumonia [?] in New York City.  The death certificate states that she had lived in New York City for three years at the time of her death, meaning the family had moved to New York in 1882. Emily died in the family residence at 427 East 57th Street. I can’t imagine how losing the second of their seven children affected the family.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WJG-J4D : 10 February 2018), Emilie Metz, 03 Apr 1885; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,373,964.

Sadly, those were not the only losses the family suffered in the next decade or so.

On October 20, 1887, the oldest daughter Hattie married George Gattel,14 who was born in Berlin, Germany, on June 4, 1861, the son of Moritz Gattel and Ernestine Metzenberg.15 George had immigrated in 1882, and on both his naturalization index card in 1887 and his passport application in 1888, he listed his occupation as salesman.16

Roll Description: G-325; G-400, Ancestry.com. U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project)

Hattie and George had an unnamed son born on October 10, 1890;17 I have no further record of that baby, so I assume he may have died. Then Hattie and George had a second child, a daughter Emily born in August 1892,18 obviously named for Hattie’s sister Emily who had died seven years before. In a cruel twist of fate, baby Emily Gattel died less than seven months later on March 25, 1893. Like her namesake, she died from pneumonia. Hattie and her husband George Gattel did not have any more children after the death of their daughter Emily in 1893.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WVQ-KFH : 10 February 2018), Emily Gattel, 25 Mar 1893; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,412,519.

The losses did not end there. Rosa and Bernhard’s youngest daughter Bertha married Adolf Katzenstein on July 1, 1891, in New York City.19 Adolf was, like George Gattel, a German immigrant; he was born in Einbeck, Germany, on May 5, 1860, according to his passport applications. Those same documents state that he immigrated in April, 1882. Several passport applications report that he was in the import business.20

Bertha and Adolf had a daughter born on April 23, 1892, in New York City. Tragically, Bertha herself died less than two weeks later on May 4, 1892, from puerperal fever, a fever caused by a uterine infection following childbirth.  Bertha and Adolf’s daughter, also named Bertha, was yet another child destined to grow up without her mother.

Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 [

Thus, by 1900, Rosa and Bernhard had lost one of their four sons, Siegfried, two of their three daughters, Emily and Bertha, and two grandchildren, Hattie’s two babies. They were living at 209 East 61st in New York City with and their two youngest sons, Edwin and Joseph George (here listed as George J.), and with their remaining daughter Hattie and her husband George Gattel. Bernhard was still in the import-export business, and Edwin and Joseph George were merchants. Hattie was working as a saleswoman, and her husband George was a commissioner (of what, I do not know). So three of the four surviving adult Metz siblings were living with their parents in 1900.

Bernhard Metz family 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0661; FHL microfilm: 1241110
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

But where was Paul Metz, the oldest son of Rosa and Bernhard, in 1900?

That proved to be quite the mystery.


Wishing all my friends and family who observe Yom Kippur an easy and meaningful fast!

 

 


  1. Pennsylvania Marriages, 1709-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V26Y-SX9 : 6 December 2014), Bernhard Metz and Rosa Goldsmith, 20 Jan 1864; citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,765,018. 
  2. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 23969. Bernhard Metz and family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 66, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1407; Page: 438B; Family History Library Film: 552906. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census. 1862 Philadelphia directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  3. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBYP-P32 : 10 March 2018), Metz, 23 Nov 1864; citing bk 1864 p 329, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,309. 
  4. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBY8-TXS : 10 March 2018), Metz, 01 Nov 1866; citing bk 1866 p 320, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,310. 
  5. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBY8-ZHF : 10 March 2018), Metz, 09 Feb 1868; citing bk 1868 p 20, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,311. 
  6. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VB13-98Y : 10 March 2018), Metz, 17 Oct 1869; citing bk 1869 p 253, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,313. The Philadelphia birth index shows an October birthdate, but the 1900 census indicates she was born in December, 1869. I assume the birth index is more reliable. 
  7. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Non-Population Census Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1850-1880: Mortality; Archive Collection: M1838; Archive Roll Number: 11; Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 465. Ancestry.com. U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885. 
  8. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:27B5-NVH : 11 February 2018), Edwin Jos. Metz, 16 Dec 1874; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 149827 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,085. 
  9. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBBV-FMH : 9 March 2018), U Metz, 14 Sep 1878; citing p 62, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,319. 
  10. Philadelphia city directories, 1862-1878, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. Bernhard Metz and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1186;Page: 290C; Enumeration District: 589. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  12. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-623Q-33?cc=1320976&wc=9FR7-82S%3A1073111102 : 16 May 2014), 004008623 > image 181 of 488; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 
  13. New York City directories, 1880, 1884, 1886, 1889, 1894, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  14.  New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2434-KSD : 10 February 2018), George Gattel and Hattie Metz, 20 Oct 1887; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,571,009. 
  15. Ancestry.com. Prussian Provinces, Selected Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1661-1944. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24H4-BHF : 10 February 2018), George Gattel and Hattie Metz, 20 Oct 1887; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,671,683. 
  16. George Gattel, ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1727, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934. George Gattel, 1888 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 315; Volume #: Roll 315 – 01 Oct 1888-31 Oct 1888. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  17. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMB-7ZW : 11 February 2018), Gattel, 10 Oct 1890; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 31192 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,236. 
  18.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WVQ-KFH : 10 February 2018), Emily Gattel, 25 Mar 1893; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,412,519. 
  19.  New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24H2-13L : 10 February 2018), Adolf Katzenstein and Bertha Metz, 01 Jul 1891; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,452,194. 
  20. E.g, 1892 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 397; Volume #: Roll 397 – 01 Jul 1892-13 Jul 1892. 1896 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 459; Volume #: Roll 459 – 01 Feb 1896-29 Feb 1896.  Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 

Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern and Florence Goldsmith Levy: Two Sisters under One Roof

Like their brothers Eugene and Maurice, Rose (sometimes Rosa) and Florence Goldsmith lived together for much of their lives, including their adult lives even though both married. As we saw, Rose married Hans (Harry) Morgenstern in 1896, and Florence married Leo Levy in 1898, but in 1900, both daughters and their respective husbands were living with their parents Meyer and Helena and brothers Eugene, Maurice, and Samuel.

Meyer Goldsmith and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0780
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Thanks again to one of Meyer and Helena’s descendants, I have some lovely photographs of Rose and Florence and their husbands and, in Florence’s case, her children.

First, a photograph of Rose’s husband Hans Morgenstern taken on June 8, 1896, two months after his marriage to Rose:

Hans Morgenstern, June 8, 1896. Courtesy of the family

This photograph was taken in 1904 in Atlantic City of Florence and Leo, Rose, and Beatrice Stine, daughter of Bertha Hohenfels Stine, Helena Hohenfels Goldsmith’s sister:

Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern, Florence Goldsmith Levy, Leo Levy, and a cousin, Beatrice Stine. Courtesy of the family

Here is another photograph of Rose and Florence and their cousin Beatrice.

Florence Goldsmith Levy,  Beatrice Stine, and Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern. Courtesy of the family.

Rose and Hans were still living with her father Meyer and brothers Eugene and Maurice in 1910, but by that time Florence and Leo had moved to Queens where they were raising their three children, Helen, Richard, and Eleanor, born between 1900 and 1908.

Meyer Goldsmith 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1028; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0739; FHL microfilm: 1375041
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Leo Levy and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Queens Ward 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T624_1068; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 1250; FHL microfilm: 1375081
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

But fate would bring Rose and Florence back under one roof again. Rose’s husband Hans died on June 1, 1914, at age 55.1 According to his death notice in the New York Times on June 3, 1914 (p. 13), he died suddenly. He left his entire estate to his “beloved wife, Rose G. Morgenstern.”

Last Will and Testament of Hans Morgenstern, Record of Wills, 1665-1916; Index to Wills, 1662-1923 (New York County); Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999

Rose did not have any children, and her parents were both deceased by 1914, so Rose moved to Queens to live with her younger sister Florence and her family; she is listed (as Morgan Stern) with them on the 1915 New York State census. Interestingly, both Rose and Leo are listed as merchants on this census record.

Leo Levy and family 1915 New York State census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 55; Assembly District: 03; City: New York; County: Queens; Page: 38
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915

Rose continued to live with Florence and Leo in Queens in 1920 (where Leo is once again described as a lawyer by occupation) along with their children, Helen, Richard, and Eleanor. Richard was a student at Dartmouth College at the time, and Helen was at Wellesley.

Leo Levy and family 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Queens Assembly District 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T625_1236; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 378, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

During the 1920s, two of Florence and Leo’s children married. First, on February 7, 1924, Helen Levy married Herbert M. Harris in New York City.2 Herbert was born in Brooklyn on November 28, 1889, the son of Moses J. and Annie Harris, both of whom were first-generation Americans. Herbert’s father was a lawyer, and in 1920, Herbert was in the clothes manufacturing business.3 Helen and Herbert had one child born in 1925.

Then on March 26, 1928, Richard Goldsmith Levy married Malvene Frankel, who was born either in Austria or Czechoslovakia, depending on the record.4 She was the daughter of David Frankel and Helen Marks, both born in Hungary. David Frankel was a rabbi.5 Some records say Malvene was born in 1903, others say 1907. I am not sure which is correct.  According to a passport application filed by Malvene’s brother Arthur in 1920, the family arrived in 1910.6  A little over two months after marrying Malvene, Richard graduated from New York University Law School, following in his father Leo’s footsteps.7

In 1930, Florence and Leo were living with their daughter Eleanor and Florence’s sister Rose at 10 West 86th Street. Leo was practicing law and Eleanor was a law student. For a woman to be a law student in 1930 was quite unusual. A family member told me that Eleanor enjoyed the intellectual challenges of law and clerked for her father for a few years, but was not interested in law practice. I certainly can relate to that, having left law practice myself after just four years.

Leo Levy and family 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0448, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Florence and Leo’s daughter Helen and her family were living at 59 West 71st in New York City in 1930, and Helen’s husband Herbert Harris listed his occupation as dress manufacturer on the 1930 census. According to the family source, he and his brother made a line of moderately priced ready-to-wear clothing for working women that became quite popular and were known as Harris Classics.8

On the 1930 census, Richard Levy and his wife, now using the name Maureen, were living in the Panama Canal Zone, where Richard was an attorney and Maureen a legal stenographer in Panama City.9  One of the cases that Richard successfully litigated involved a criminal libel claim brought against his client, Nelson Rounsevell, the publisher of the Panama American, for referring to the commanding officer of Fort Clayton in the Canal Zone, Colonel J.V. Heidt, as Adolf Hitler for “brutally driving enlisted personnel in the tropics to suicide.”  The judge issued a directed verdict in favor of Richard’s client, concluding that there was insufficient evidence linking the newspaper article to Colonel Heidt. Richard also represented Standard Oil during his time in the Canal Zone, according to the family.10

From the family member I also learned that in 1932 or 1933, Eleanor Levy married David R. Climenko, son of Hyman Climenko and Rose Neborsky. David was born in New York City on August 28, 1906.11 His father was a well-regarded neurologist who died when David was only fourteen. His mother became an activist for widowed mothers, seeking support from President Roosevelt in 1934.12 The family member told me that David went to Dartmouth, where he met Eleanor’s brother Richard, who introduced them.

The New York Times, December 7, 1920, p. 17.

After graduating from Dartmouth, David went to the University of Edinburgh as a Carnegie Fellow, where he received both a Ph.D  and a medical degree by the time he was 24. David then received a teaching position at the University of Edmonton in Calgary, Canada, where he and Eleanor married and first lived.  Eleanor and David had three children, one of whom died when he was only four years old. His name was Peter Gregory Climenko; he was born March 10, 1935, and died September 5, 1939.13 Here is a photograph of Peter with his grandmother Florence Levy:

Florence Goldsmith Levy and grandson Peter Climenko c. 1936. Courtesy of the family.

And here is a photograph of Eleanor Levy Climenko with her parents, Leo and Florence (Goldsmith) Levy, her son Peter, and  a nephew, the son of Herbert and Helen (Levy) Harris. I was happy to see this photograph of Leo as he died on November 9, 1937, probably not that long after this picture was taken; he was only 66 years old.

Eleanor (Levy) Climenko, Peter Climenko, nephew, Leo Levy, Florence (Goldsmith) Levy. Courtesy of the family.

After her husband Leo died, Florence continued to live at 246 West End Avenue with her sister Rose. Rose died on May 25, 1941; she was 71.14  Florence and her oldest sibling Eugene were at that point the only children of Meyer and Helena Goldsmith still living.

In 1940, Helen and Herbert Harris and their child were still living at 59 West 71st Street, and Herbert was still in the dress manufacturing business.15 According to his World War II draft registration in 1942, they were then living at 91 Central Park West.  Herbert’s business was called Harris Dress Company.

Herbert Harris, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

According to his registration for the draft in World War II, Richard Goldsmith Levy was still living in the Panama Canal Zone with his wife Maureen, and he was employed as a Quartermaster Supply Officer at the General Depot in Corozal in the Canal Zone.

Richard G Levy, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 138
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

In 1940, Eleanor and David Climenko were living in Albany, New York, with their children, and David was working as a pharmacologist at a chemical plant, Behr Manning.16 He also taught at Albany Medical College, according to a family source. Prior to that he had worked at Cold Spring Harbor Lab and taught at Cornell Medical School. Numerous newspaper articles reported on David’s research in the pharmaceutical field. In 1939, there were articles reporting on David’s work on a drug for the treatment of tuberculosis (before the development of the vaccine),17 and in 1942, there were reports on his work on a non-addictive form of morphine. 18 Unfortunately, that medication, Demerol, eventually proved to be just as addictive as morphine.

From November 2, 1942, until January 23, 1946, David served as a captain in the medical corps of the US Army during World War II.19 Tragically, he died on October 9, 1947. David was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.20

Richard Goldsmith Levy made a name for himself in 1952 with the publication of his book, Why Women Should Rule the World (Vantage Press, 1952). Although his message was based in part on some sexist stereotypes of women, he was quite serious about his view that women would make better politicians and leaders of government and of business as well. There were several different articles about Richard and his book published in newspapers around the country.

For example, Inez Robb of INS wrote the following:21

“In those significant periods in history when women have ruled states, nations or empires, those political entities have enjoyed unparalleld periods of peace and prosperity,” Mr. Levy declared.

“Look to the times of Queen Elizabeth I of England, to Victoria, to Isabella of Spain, Catherine the Great of Russia, of Queen Margaret of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, or Hatshepsut of Egypt!” he commanded.

To hear him tell it, their countries never had it so good before or since these girls put their respective hands to the throttle. Most of the time these nations have been in trouble because masculine rulers have run them either into the ground or behind the eight ball.

What comes of a masculine ruled and dominated society? What comes, says Mr. Levy in his book and in person, is war, murder, bloodshed, strife, misery, unhappiness, destruction and taxes, taxes, taxes.

“Men are pugnacious, impractical, romantic and stupid,” Mr. Levy snapped.

“Women have a natural aptitude for governing,” he continued.  They are tidy and good housekeepers. Government, by large, is housekeeping on a big scale.

“Politics is woman’s natural forte. Men, as politicians, are hypocrites from head to toe.”

In another article, written by Dorothy Roe, women’s editor of Associated Press, there are similar quotes and assertions. Here are a few that shed further light on Richard Levy’s views:22

The way to accomplish this feminine utopia, says Levy, is for the girls to start a women’s party. The conventional political parties, he feels, are too hidebound ever to endorse petticoat rule. He feels this step should be taken right away—before the 1952 political conventions if possible. Says he:

“If women don’t take over this generation, there won’t be a next generation.”…

Asked who is going to cook, sweep and darn socks while Papa is out fighting duels or exploring wildernesses and Mamma is running the nation’s government and business, he says:

“This is the mechanical age. Housekeeping should be done by machinery. The modern mechanics of keeping house aren’t sufficient to employ even a fraction of the energy and intelligence of an average modern woman.”

He certainly was ahead of his time; I wonder what he would have thought of Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, and Golda Meir and of the 2016 US Presidential election and its aftermath.

Unfortunately, Richard did not live to see any of those women leaders. He was killed in a car accident in Mexico on January 6, 1954. He was 51 years old.

Richard G Levy death record, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.; NAI Number: 302021; Record Group Title: General Records of the Department of State; Record Group Number: Record Group 59; Series Number: Publication A1 205; Box Number: 915; Box Description: 1950-1954 Mexico I – Mc

Florence Goldsmith Levy died on September 18, 1954, just eight months after her son Richard; she was 81 years old.23 She was survived by her daughters Helen and Eleanor and three grandchildren. Helen died in September 1970,24 her husband Herbert Harris had predeceased her in August, 1966.25 Eleanor died on December 18, 1975. She was buried with her husband David Climenko at Arlington National Cemetery.26

So like their brothers Eugene and Maurice, Rose and Florence Goldsmith shared a home and a life for many, many years. They weathered much heartbreak together, but also much joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Certificate 17784. 
  2. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:247M-1BL : 10 February 2018), Herbert M. Harris and Helen C. Levy, 07 Feb 1924; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,643,076. 
  3. Herbert Harris World War II draft registration card, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Moses Harris and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 22, Kings, New York; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0353. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Herbert Harris, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 1, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1143; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 8. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  4. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WP-VL4 : 10 February 2018), Richard G. Levy and Malvene Frankel, 26 Mar 1928; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,341. 
  5. David Frankel and family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 6, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1195; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 485.Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  6. Arthur Frankel passport application,National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1101; Volume #: Roll 1101 – Certificates: 183126-183499, 11 Mar 1920-11 Mar 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. 
  7. “Degrees Conferred on 2,759 at N.Y. University,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 06 Jun 1928, Wed, Page 29. 
  8. Herbert M Harris and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0393. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  9. RIchard G. Levy, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Ancon, Balboa District, Panama Canal Zone; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0001. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  10. “Editor in Canal Zone Acquitted of Charge Brought by Army Officer,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Sep 1935, Fri, Page 4. 
  11.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, Certificate 42449. 
  12. “Homes for ‘Forgotten Mothers’ Urged on Roosevelt as Federal Project,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 22, 1934, p. 4. 
  13. Birth record of Peter Climenko, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017. Original data: New York City Department of Health. Certificate 6518. Death notices, New York Times, September 6, 1939. 
  14. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WRF-TGZ : 11 February 2018), Mayar Goldsmith in entry for Rose G. Morgenstern, 25 May 1941; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,130,231. 
  15. Herbert and Helen Harris, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02637; Page: 21B; Enumeration District: 31-599. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [ 
  16. David Climenko and family, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Bethlehem, Albany, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02456; Page: 62B; Enumeration District: 1-6. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  17. “New Drug Tried in Tuberculosis,” The Baltimore Sun, April 6, 1939, p. 11. 
  18. “A Substitute for Morphine,” Des Moines Tribute, April 1, 1942, p. 2. 
  19.  Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962. Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. 
  20. Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962. Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. 
  21. Inez Robb, “Men Botch Job—Let Women Rule,” Omaha World Herald, April 27, 1952, p. 72. 
  22. Dorothy Roe, “Petticoat Party Urged to Strive for Nation’s Rule,” Stamford (CT) Daily Advocate, April 28, 1952, p.2. 
  23. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965. Certificate 19245. 
  24.  Number: 103-26-6470; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  25.  Number: 111-22-7525; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  26. Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/64537577 

Eugene and Maurice Goldsmith: Together at Home and at Work

In 1910 the two surviving sons of Meyer and Helena Goldsmith were living with their parents in New York City.  Eugene Goldsmith, 51, was in the import business, and his brother Maurice, 46, was working in a department store. They were both single and had lived together with their parents Helena (Hohenfels) and Meyer Goldsmith all their lives, first in Philadelphia and then in New York City. But with their mother’s death in 1910 and then their father’s in 1911, their lives changed.

Eugene and Maurice Goldsmith (possibly). Courtesy of the family.

Meyer Goldsmith 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1028; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0739; FHL microfilm: 1375041
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In 1913, Eugene married May Jacobs in Philadelphia.1 He was 54, she was 41. May was the daughter of Michael Jacobs and Alice Arnold, both of whom were born in Pennsylvania.2 May’s father died when she was just a young child, and she and her three sisters were all living together with their mother in Philadelphia in 1910.3 I’d love to know how May connected with Eugene, who had by that time been living in New York City for over twenty years.

In 1915 Eugene and May were living at 817 West End Avenue in New York City; Eugene was still in the import business, and May was doing housework. They were still living at 817 West End Avenue in 1920, and Eugene’s import business was now identified as umbrellas. They also had a servant living with them.

Eugene Goldsmith 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 17; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 28, Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915

As for Maurice, the 1915 New York State census lists him (now as Murry Goldsmith) in his own household at 256 West 97th Street in New York City, working as a clothing salesman.4  Despite finding him listed in both the 1920 and 1922 New York City directories and having addresses from both years, I was unable to find Maurice/Murry/Murray on the 1920 US census. But the 1920 directory revealed important information about both Murray and Eugene.5

I learned that by 1920 Eugene and Maurice were involved in a new business together. Eugene is listed as the president of a firm called Goldsmith-Dannenberg in the 1920 New York City directory, and Murray is listed as its treasurer. Barnard Dannenberg was the secretary, and their business was described as infants’ wear.

New York, New York, City Directory, 1920 (under Goldsmith)
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

New York Times, August 9, 1922, p.12

Unfortunately, this business soon ran into legal problems with a company that failed to take delivery and pay for a large order of goods from Goldsmith-Dannenberg.6 According to the complaint filed by their lawyer, Leo Levy (Eugene and Murray’s brother-in-law), on December 26, 1919, Berg Bros., Inc., contracted with Goldsmith-Dannenberg for the purchase of 373 dozen specially made hand-knit caps for infants for a total price of $5051.25, to be delivered in several separate installments over a several month period. Berg Bros. accepted the first installment, which was very small compared to the overall order (nine dozen caps), but refused to accept the last two installments of 182 dozen caps each. The purchaser had paid Goldsmith-Dannenberg only $141.25 of the $5051.25 purchase price.  Goldsmith-Dannenberg asserted that since the goods were specially made for this purchaser, they could not be resold and that therefore the company was entitled to the complete purchase price as damages.

In its answer, Berg Bros. denied the allegations in the complaint and also asserted two defenses: first, that the contract was not in writing and thus was unenforceable under the Statute of Frauds because it was for more than $50 worth of goods, and second, that the employee who entered into the contract with Goldsmith-Dannenberg did not have the authority to do so. The defendant also claimed that the goods were “standard” goods that could be easily resold by the plaintiff in order to mitigate its damages.

I was disappointed that I could not find out how the case was resolved—whether by a court or by a settlement between the parties. The only decision I could locate relating to the case was not on the merits of the underlying claim but rather on a procedural question involving the plaintiff’s request to take a deposition of some of the defendant’s employees.7 But given that the last advertisements and directory listings for Goldsmith-Dannenberg are dated 1922, it appears that the company did not recover from this litigation or otherwise ran into business trouble and went out of business.

In 1925, Eugene listed himself both in the New York State census and in the New York City directory as once again in his own umbrella importing business (I don’t know whether he had ever left this business even when involved in the baby clothes business).8 He and May were living at 500 West End Avenue. As for Maurice/Murray, the 1925 New York City directory lists him at 248 West 105th Street and as “treasurer,” but there is no indication as to where he was serving as treasurer. 9 Perhaps his brother’s umbrella company? Unfortunately I couldn’t find Murray on the 1925 New York State census, which might have provided more details.

The 1930 US census found Eugene and May still living at 500 West End Avenue and Eugene still in the umbrella importing business.10 Murray was still at 248 West 105th Street, where the 1930 census shows that he was one of a number of people boarding in the household of Joseph Mantzer. His occupation was given as salesman for an umbrella company, obviously that owned by Eugene.11

Maurice/Murray Goldsmith died at age seventy on April 21, 1933;12 his death notice in the New York Times stated that he died after a “short illness.” He was described as the “beloved son of the late Meyer and Helena Goldsmith and dear brother of Eugene J. Goldsmith, Rose G. Morgenstern and Florence G. Levy.” There was also a death notice posted by his Elks Lodge.

New York Times, April 23, 1933, p. 28.

In 1940, Eugene and May were living at 277 West End Avenue, and Eugene no longer was working.13 He died six years later on April 27, 1946. 14 He was 86 years old. His wife May died the following year on October 11, 1947.  She was 75.15 A family member shared with me that May had beautiful porcelain and lace dolls which she allowed this family member to play with when she was a young child.

Neither Eugene nor Maurice had any direct descendants and were survived by one of their sisters, Florence, and by their nieces and nephew. In so many ways, their stories are stories of the American dream—two sons of immigrant parents who created their own business, used the legal system to try and find justice, lost their business but started all over again, just as their father Meyer had after losing his business in Philadelphia and moving to New York City.

 

 

 

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951. Marriage License Number: 294169. 
  2. Michael Jacobs death certificate, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VK8M-GJF : 8 March 2018), Michael Jacobs, 07 Jan 1880; citing v A p 15, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,003,706. Alice Jacobs and family 1880 census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Page: 105B; Enumeration District: 205. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. Jay Jacobs death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 087501-090500. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. 
  3. Alice Jacobs and daughters, 1880 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1391; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0232; FHL microfilm: 1375404. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  4. Murry Goldsmith, 1915 New York State census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 12; Assembly District: 17; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 12. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 
  5. New York, New York, City Directory, 1920, 1922. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  6. The legal papers connected with this case can be found here. They were filed in connection with an appeal with the New York Appellate Division of an order dated December 28, 1920, from the New York Supreme Court for the County of New York, Index No. 24707. 
  7. Goldsmith-Dannenberg v. Berg Bros., Inc., 196 A.D. 930 *; 1921 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6091 **; 187 N.Y.S. 935 (1921). 
  8. Eugene Goldsmith, 1925 New York State census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 52; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 5. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925. New York, New York, City Directory, 1925. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  9.  New York, New York, City Directory, 1925. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Eugene and May Goldsmith, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0431. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  11. Murry Goldsmith, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0489. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  12.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Certificate 9791. 
  13. Eugene and May Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02637; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 31-587A. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  14. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WY9-ZN3 : 10 February 2018), Eugene J Goldsmith, 27 Apr 1946; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,132,945. 
  15. New York Department of Health; Albany, NY; NY State Death Index; Certificate Number: 62459. Ancestry.com. New York, Death Index, 1880-1956 

Meyer Goldsmith Moves to New York: Weddings, Births, and Deaths 1891-1911

As seen in my last post, after immigrating from Oberlistingen, Germany, my three-times great-uncle Meyer Goldsmith became, like his older brothers Jacob, Abraham, and Levi, a clothing merchant in Philadelphia for many years. He and his wife, Helena Hohenfels, had six children born between 1859 and 1872, and as of 1888, he and his family were still living in Philadelphia at 705 Marshall Street.

But as of 1889, they were no longer listed in the Philadelphia city directories. Their oldest daughter Heloise had married Simon Bernheim Hirsh in 1886 and was living with him and their children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the 1890s. But where was the rest of the family?

It appears that Meyer and Helena and their five other adult children had all relocated to New York City by around 1890. Meyer appears in the 1891 New York City directory as residing at 220 East 69th Street, and Meyer and his sons Eugene and Maurice appear as residing at that same address in the 1892 New York City directory. Meyer is listed as a clothier at 648 Broadway, Eugene as in the trimmings business at 236 Church Street, and Maurice as in the clothing business at 722 Broadway. Perhaps after the failure of Goldsmith & Bros. in 1887, the family decided to leave Philadelphia behind and take their chances on New York instead. 1

Thanks once again to Meyer and Helena’s descendant for this photograph, which we believe is a photograph of Meyer and Helena taken some years after the one I shared in my last post. What do you think?

Helena Hohenfels and Meyer Goldsmith possibly.  Courtesy of the family

In 1896, Meyer and Helena’s second oldest daughter Rose married Hans (sometimes Harry) Morgenstern.2 Hans was born on April 23, 1859; although some of the documents indicate that he was born in Austria, his 1904 passport application states that he was born in Beuthen, Prussia, Germany.3 According to this website, Beuthen is one of those towns that was once within the borders of Germany, once within the borders of Austria, and today is located in Poland and known at Bytom, located about 60 miles west of Krakow. In his 1904 passport application, Hans stated that he had arrived in the United States in 1892 and settled in New York City.

Two years after Rose’s wedding, Meyer and Helena’s youngest child, Florence, married Leo Levy on June 8, 1898, in New York City.4 Leo was born in Flushing, Queens, New York, on October 20, 1871. I was unable to find out any information about Leo’s family of origin until I located this wedding announcement from the June 9, 1898 issue of the New York Times (p. 7):

The New York Times, June 8, 1898, p. 7

Although the announcement did not reveal Leo’s parents’ names, it did reveal those of three of his siblings: Rosalie, Jacob, and Sidney. With that information, I was able to locate the family living in Flushing, Queens, on the 1880 US census and learned that Jacob’s parents were Simon Levy and Caroline Hirsch, both born in Baden, Germany; Simon had immigrated in 1857 as a teenager; Caroline had immigrated with her parents in about 1854. Leo’s father Simon was a clothing merchant.

Leo Levy 1880 US Census, Census Place: Queens, Queens, New York; Roll: 917; Page: 182D; Enumeration District: 263
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

From the wedding announcement I also learned that Leo was a lawyer practicing with the firm of Erdman, Levy and Mayer.

Thus, by 1900 all three of Meyer and Helena’s daughters were married. Nevertheless, the 1900 census shows that Meyer and Helena still had all three of their sons, two of the daughters, and two of their sons-in-law living with them as well as two servants. They were all living at 129 East 60th Street. Meyer’s occupation was salesman; Eugene was a merchant; Maurice was a traveling salesman; and Samuel, the youngest son, was a dentist. All three sons were single. Meyer’s son-in-law Hans Morgenstern was a “commission merchant,” and his son-in-law Leo Levy was a lawyer.

Meyer Goldsmith and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0780
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Here are photographs that we believe are Eugene, Maurice, and Samuel:

Eugene and Maurice Goldsmith (possibly). Courtesy of the family.

Samuel Goldsmith (possibly). Courtesy of the family.

By 1905, the two married daughters and their husbands had moved out. I was unable to locate either Rose Goldsmith Morgenstern or Florence Goldsmith Levy on the 1905 New York State census, but they were no longer living in the same household as their parents. Florence and Leo had had two children by 1905; their daughter Helen was born on October 14, 1900,5 and their son Richard was born on November 18, 1903, both in New York City.6

Another child was born to Florence and Leo on July 24, 1908, in Queens; birth records have her name as Edith Catherine,7 but no child with that name appears on the 1910 census or any later census. The 1910 census reports a third child named Eleanor, aged  one year, six months. At first I was quite confused, but one of Florence and Leo’s descendants explained that Florence and Leo decided that they preferred the name Eleanor to Edith after the baby was born and changed her name.

Leo Levy and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Queens Ward 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T624_1068; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 1250; FHL microfilm: 1375081
Description
Enumeration District: 1250
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Meanwhile, according to one 1905 New York State census record, all three sons of Meyer and Helena were still living with them at 229 West 97th Street in New York City in 1905. Meyer was a clothier, Eugene an importer, Morris (Maurice) a clothier partner, and Samuel a dentist.

Meyer Goldsmith and family 1905 NYS census
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 21 E.D. 45; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 20
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Samuel, however, is also listed with his wife Helen on another page from the New York State 1905 census as residing at 113 East 60th Street in New York City. That he was listed twice on the 1905 New York State census is another example of census inaccuracies.

Samuel and Helen Goldsmith, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 29 E.D. 10; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 19
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Samuel Goldsmith had married Helen Rau on April 20, 1904, in New York.8 (That meant that there was one Helena, one Heloise, and two Helens now in the extended family.) Helen Rau was born on September 9, 1877, in Englewood, New Jersey, to John Rau and Clementine Kayser.9  On July 28, 1906, Helen gave birth to their daughter, Catherine Goldsmith, in Norwood Park, New Jersey.10

Tragically, Samuel died before Catherine was fourteen months old.  He died in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 25, 1907; he was only forty years old.11  According to his obituary in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent of September 27, 1907 (p.11), Samuel and his family had moved to St. Paul for his health on the advice of his doctor. Can anyone suggest why Minnesota would be good for one’s health? I’ve heard of people moving to drier or warmer climates for their health, but why Minnesota? Perhaps it was to be near the Mayo Clinic, which had opened in 1889 in Rochester, Minnesota? I did notice that Helen had a sister living in St. Paul at that time, so perhaps Helen was looking for support due to Samuel’s poor health.

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, September 27, 1907, p. 11

The obituary described Samuel as a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and as “one of the foremost dentists in New York.” Samuel provided in his will that “[a]ll of my property I give to my beloved wife, Helen Rau Goldsmith, absolutely and forever, appointing her sole Executrix.”

Samuel L. Goldsmith will, Record of Wills, 1665-1916; Index to Wills, 1662-1923 (New York County); Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York. Ancestry.com. New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999

Sadly, this was only the beginning of heartbreaking news for the family. The family suffered another loss on February 18, 1910, when Helena Hohenfels Goldsmith died at age 73. She was buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Hasting-on-Hudson, New York.12

When the 1910 census was taken two months after Helena’s death, Meyer was still living at 229 West 97th Street, with his two surviving sons, Eugene and Maurice, and his daughter Rose and her husband Hans Morgenstern (as well as two servants).  Meyer was no longer working. Eugene was still in the importing business, and Maurice was a department store salesman. Hans was also working for an import house, presumably with Eugene, his brother-in-law. Rose and Hans did not have children.13

In 1910, Florence and Leo Levy were living with their children, a servant, and a nurse in Queens, and Leo was practicing law.13 I was delighted to receive from Florence’s descendant this beautiful photograph of Florence and her three children, probably taken around 1910.

Helen Levy, Florence Goldsmith Levy, Eleanor Levy, and Richard Goldsmith Levy. Courtesy of the family.

Heloise and Simon Bernheim Hirsh continued to live with their two daughters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where Simon was a clothing merchant.14

I could not find Samuel Goldsmith’s widow Helen Rau Goldsmith or their daughter Catherine Goldsmith on the 1910 census, but I believe they may have been out of the country.  Helen’s sister Emma Rau had been living abroad beginning in 1904, and I have a hunch that Helen and Catherine might have been visiting her at the time of the 1910 census. From several passport applications starting in 1918, it appears that Helen and Catherine also lived abroad for many years.15

There was another tragedy in the family on January 9, 1911, when Meyer’s oldest daughter Heloise Goldsmith Hirsh died from acute dilatation of the heart and diabetes at age fifty. She was survived by her husband, my cousin Simon Bernheim Hirsh, and their two surviving daughters, my double cousins Irma and Dorothy Hirsh, as well as her father Meyer and her remaining siblings.

Death certificate of Heloise Goldsmith Hirsh, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 004931-008580. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

It was only a few months later that her father and my 3x-great-uncle Meyer also passed away. He died on May 26, 1911, when he was 76 years old and was buried with his wife Helena at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Perhaps losing a son, a wife, and a daughter in just a few years was too much for Meyer to bear.16

Although he had not lived in Philadelphia for about twenty years at the time of his death, the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent ran this obituary when Meyer died:

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, June 2, 1911, p.11

Thus, as of May 26, 1911, Meyer and Helena and two of their children, Heloise and Samuel, were deceased. Meyer and Helena were survived by two of their sons, Eugene and Maurice, and two of their daughters, Rose and Florence, all of whom were living in New York City. They were also survived by six grandchildren, Heloise’s two daughters Irma and Dorothy Hirsh, Samuel’s daughter Catherine Goldsmith, and Florence’s three children, Helen, Richard, and Eleanor Levy. Their stories will follow.

 


  1.  New York, New York, City Directory, 1891, 1892. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Certificate 6656. 
  3. Hans Morgenstern passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 647; Volume #: Roll 647 – 01 Apr 1904-11 Apr 1904. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  4. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Certificate 9123 
  5. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WWV-ZK5 : 11 February 2018), Helen Coroline Levy, 14 Oct 1900; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 42281 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,953,853. 
  6. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WP-VL4 : 10 February 2018), Richard G. Levy and Malvene Frankel, 26 Mar 1928; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,341. 
  7. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:27YD-M2D : 11 February 2018), Edith Catherine Levy, 24 Jul 1908; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference v 9 cn 4359 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,022,365. 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Certificate 13130 
  9. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. SSN: 071368415. 
  10. Catherine Goldsmith 1918 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 604; Volume #: Roll 0604 – Certificates: 39250-39499, 14 Oct 1918-15 Oct 1918. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  11.  Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FD8M-Z3K : 10 March 2018), Sam Goldsmith, 25 Sep 1907; citing St. Paul, Minnesota, reference ; FHL microfilm 2,117,569. 
  12.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:271F-D9G : 10 February 2018), Helena Goldsmith, 18 Feb 1910; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,323,239. 
  13. Leo Levy and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Queens Ward 5, Queens, New York; Roll: T624_1068; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 1250; FHL microfilm: 1375081. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  14. Simon Hirsh and family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Lancaster Ward 2, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1354; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0062; FHL microfilm: 1375367. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  15. Emma Rau 1923 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2159; Volume #: Roll 2159 – Certificates: 240976-241349, 04 Jan 1922-05 Jan 1922. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. Also, e.g., Catherine Goldsmith 1918 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 604; Volume #: Roll 0604 – Certificates: 39250-39499, 14 Oct 1918-15 Oct 1918. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. More on Catherine in a post to come. 
  16.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMM-M68 : 10 February 2018), Meyer Goldsmith, 26 May 1911; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,323,280. 

Kissing Cousins….

Remember how at the end of my last post I alluded to the 1920 and 1923 passports of Alice and Louis Goldsmith and how they helped me solve a different mystery? Well, this is it.

When I was researching Bertha Goldsmith Weinhandler/Wayne prior to delving into the research of her younger siblings, Alice and Louis, I discovered a marriage record for her in 1923.  According to the New York, New York, Marriage License Index database on Ancestry.com, Bertha Wayne married a man named Frederick Newman on May 21, 1923.1

I was surprised because after all, in 1920 she was still married to and living with Sampson Wayne.2  I thought perhaps Sampson had died, but I found him on the 1930 census in New York, which listed his marital status as divorced.

Sampson Wayne 1930 US Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 27A; Enumeration District: 0488
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

When had Bertha divorced Sampson? How had she married someone else so quickly?  Sampson died in 1931,3 but I could not find an obituary or any other news article or record that explained what had happened to him or his marriage to Bertha. And who was Frederick Newman, her new husband? I was mystified, but continued on with my research of Alice and Louis.

Then, when I could not find either Alice or Louis Goldsmith on the 1920 census, I looked more closely at their passport applications from 1920 and 1923, as noted in my last post. On Alice’s 1920 application, I saw that in addition to having her sister Bertha attest to her birth date on her passport application, there was a witness statement from Frederick Newman, who attested that he had known Alice for ten years.

Alice Goldsmith 1920 passport application, Volume: Roll 1270 – Certificates: 57750-58125, 23 Jun 1920-24 Jun 1920. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

So Bertha’s second husband Frederick Newman had known Alice Goldsmith since 1910? When Alice was still living in Philadelphia? How could that be? Bertha was married to Sampson at that time. I wondered: Had Frederick Newman been an old friend who knew Alice? Had Alice introduced Bertha to Frederick?

It’s even weirder than that.

I started digging around to find out when Bertha and Sampson’s marriage had ended, and I located a passport application for Bertha Wayne in 1921 when she was still married to Sampson Wayne.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1643; Volume #: Roll 1643 – Certificates: 47626-47999, 06 Jun 1921-06 Jun 1921.  Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Then I saw a notice of Bertha and Sampson’s divorce decree in the Reno Evening Gazette of July 11, 1922. That meant Bertha married Frederick in May, 1923, less than a year after she divorced Sampson.

Reno Gazette. July 11, 1922, p. 8

Then, as I examined Bertha’s 1921 passport application more carefully, I noticed that the passport application was supported by two affidavits from none other than Frederick Newman, her future husband. First, an affidavit of identification:

I was taken aback when I realized that the second affidavit was a “Form of Affidavit for a Relative.” A relative?

 

The second affidavit signed by Frederick Newman stated that he was a cousin of Sampson Wayne, Bertha’s husband, and that “my mother was his mother’s sister.”

I went back to research Sampson and Frederick and discovered that Sampson’s mother Hattie Loewenthal was indeed the sister of Pauline Loewenthal, Frederick Newman’s mother.4

So Frederick Newman was Sampson Wayne’s first cousin, and he married Bertha less than a year after she divorced his cousin Sampson. I can only imagine what this did to the families of Frederick and Sampson.

A year after Bertha’s second marriage, her sister Alice Goldsmith married for the first time. She married Louis Margulies, who was born on December 29, 1881, in Iasi, Romania.4 Louis, the son of Sol and Pearl Margulies, had immigrated to the US with his parents on October 10, 1884, where they settled in New York City.5 In 1920, Louis was living with his siblings in New York City and working as a woolens salesman.6

Louis Margulies married Alice Goldsmith on June 11, 1924, in Manhattan.7 He was 42, she was 43 when they married. For the first time since 1900, Alice then appeared on a census in 1925. On the 1925 New York State census, she and her husband Louis were living at 535 West 113th Street. Louis had changed careers sometime between 1920 and 1925 and was now working in real estate.

Louis and Alice Margulies, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 44; Assembly District: 11; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 20 Description District: A·D· 11 E·D· 44 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

Bertha and her second husband Frederick also appeared on the 1925 New York State census. They were living at 309 West 99th Street, not too far from Alice. Bertha’s two teenaged children from her first marriage, Arthur and Frances, were living with them. Frederick was practicing medicine.8

Louis Goldsmith, who like his sister Alice had not appeared on a census since 1900, also does not appear on the 1925 New York census, but he seemed to be traveling very often, so that may explain his continuing ability to elude the census enumerator. But the census enumerator finally caught up with him in 1930 when he was living in the Plaza Hotel in New York City and working as an advertising executive.9 Louis was obviously quite successful in his career, living in a hotel and traveling very often. He was apparently known in the advertising field as a leader who “helped convert men to wear light summer clothing” and for promoting something called Palm Beach cloth,10 a “lightweight summer fabric of cotton warp and mohair filling.”

Alice and her husband Louis Margulies also appear on the 1930 US census; they were living at 300 Riverside Drive in 1930, and Louis continued to work in the real estate business.11

Although both Louis Goldsmith and Alice Goldsmith appeared on the 1930 census, this time their sister Bertha seems to have missed being counted. However, I did find Bertha and Frederick on a ship manifest for a trip from Southampton, England, to New York on October 11, 1930, which gave their address as 171 West 71st Street in New York City. (Reverse-searching did not find them at that address on the 1930 census.)12

Miraculously, all three Goldsmith siblings are recorded on the 1940 census. Bertha and Frederick Newman were now living on 57 East 88th Street in New York, and Frederick continued to practice medicine. Bertha’s two children had both married and moved on to their own households.13 Alice and Louis Margulies were living at 104 Park Avenue in New York; Louis was still engaged in the real estate business.14 And Louis Goldsmith, the youngest child of Abraham Goldsmith, was living at 21 West 58th Street, still working in the advertising field.15

By 1940, Bertha, Alice, and Louis had already lost two of their half-sisters: Emily (1917) and Rose (1931). Between 1940 and 1957, they would lose three more siblings: Edwin (1944), their full brother Alfred (1947), and Milton (1957).  I wonder how close Louis and Milton were, both advertising men living in New York City all those years, but 21 years apart in age.

Louis was the first of the three youngest siblings to die, and he passed away on July 28, 1958, just ten months after his older brother Milton; he was 75 years old. According to his obituary he died from a heart attack in front of his home at 21 West 58th Street.16

Louis Goldsmith’s death must have been particularly heartbreaking for his sister Alice, who had lost her husband Louis Margulies just three weeks earlier on July 8, 1958.17 Alice herself survived her brother and husband by less than seven months; she died on January 6, 1959. She was 78 years old.18

Neither Louis Goldsmith nor Alice Goldsmith had had children; they were survived by only their two remaining siblings, their sisters Bertha and Estelle. Bertha died on May 25, 1963, when she was 84. I could not find any information about when her husband Frederick Newman died, but since her death notice referred to him as “the late Dr. Frederick J. Newman,” he must have predeceased her.

When Bertha died, the only child of Abraham Goldsmith still living was his daughter Estelle from his first marriage, and as we saw, she died five years after Bertha on May 9, 1968, at age 98.

Thus ends the story of my three-times great-uncle Abraham Goldsmith and his ten children. What an incredibly interesting bunch they have been to research. Abraham came as a teenager to Philadelphia from Oberlistingen, Germany, became a successful businessman, lost one wife at a very young age and one daughter as a child, but raised nine other children, five from his first wife Cecelia and four with his second wife Frances. All nine lived interesting lives, some in Philadelphia, some in New York City. Some were talented with words, others with business, others with inventions. It was truly a pleasure to learn about them and to honor their memories.

Now I will move on to the next Goldschmidt sibling to come to America, Meyer.

 

 

 

 


  1. New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 6, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995 
  2. Bertha and Sampson Wayne, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 11, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1204; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 810. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  3. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Original data: Index to New York City Deaths 1862-1948. 
  4. Louis Margulies, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  5.  National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; ARC Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21. Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940  
  6. Louis Margulies, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1226; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 1489. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 7. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995 
  8. Bertha and Frederick Newman, 1925 NYS Census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 35; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 21. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 
  9. Louis Goldsmith, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0566. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  10. “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. 
  11. Louis and Alice Margulies, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0486. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. Frederick and Bertha Newman (and Frances Wayne) on 1930 ship manifest,Year: 1930; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4848; Line: 1; Page Number: 15, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  13. Bertha and Frederick Newman, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02655; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 31-1327.
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  14. Alice and Louis Margulies, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02655; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 31-1337. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  15. Louis Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02656; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 31-1382. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  16. “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. 
  17. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965 
  18. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965