Henry Goldsmith’s Growing and Successful Family, 1900-1910

As we saw in the last post, Henry Goldsmith and his family suffered two terrible losses in the early years of the 20th century. First, his son Edison was killed in a horrendous train accident in 1903. Then Henry’s wife Sarah died from heart failure in 1907.

But not all the news was bad for the family in the first decade of the new century. Henry’s oldest child, J.W. Goldsmith and his wife Jennie had two children in this decade, Eleanor, born August 20, 1901,1 and J. Edison, obviously named in memory of J.W.’s brother Edison, born March 15, 1908. In 1910, J.W. and his family were living in Connellsville where J.W. had a retail clothing store.2

J Edison Goldsmith birth record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1910; Box Number: 146; Certificate Number Range: 037775-040473, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1911

There were also two marriages in the family in the 1900s decade. Milton Goldsmith married Luba Natalia Robin on March 25, 1905, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

Milton Goldsmith marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1905; Roll Number: 549855, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963

Luba was born in Russia on January 17, 1879, and had immigrated with three younger siblings, arriving in the US on July 23, 1895, when she was sixteen.3 Just seven years later in May, 1902, Luba graduated from Western Pennsylvania Medical College (now University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)—the only woman in a class of 48.4 She pursued a career in public health, working in the “vaccination corps” of the Pittsburgh Board of Health and then as a tenement house inspector for the Board of Health. She is mentioned in newspapers as a speaker on public health issues beginning as early as 1903.

Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, October 25, 1903. p.2

Milton and Luba were engaged in December 1904,5 and married March 25, 1905, in Pittsburgh.

Robin-Goldsmith, The Weekly Courier, 25 Mar 1905, Sat, Page 1

Reading this article about the wedding, you would have no idea how accomplished Luba was. How could they discuss Milton’s education and profession but not that of his wife? And if you look back at the marriage license above, you will see that it asks for the groom’s occupation, but not the bride’s—a clear reflection of the sexism of those times.

Their honeymoon to Europe was not merely a pleasure trip; they also took post-graduate medical courses.

“Dr Goldsmith Home,” The Weekly Courier, 13 Oct 1905, Fri, Page 13

Milton and Luba had their first child, Norman Robin Goldsmith, on June 15, 1907, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. In 1910, Luba and Milton were both practicing medicine and living in Pittsburgh.6

Norman Robin Goldsmith birth record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1910; Box Number: 88; Certificate Number Range: 067051-070050
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1911

Milton’s younger brother Samuel also was married during the first decade of the century. On April 26, 1906, he married Rae Tumpson, the daughter of Max and Sophie Tumpsen. (Interestingly, the application for a marriage license did ask for the bride’s occupation.)

Samuel R Goldsmith marriage record, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968

Rae was born Recha Tumpowski in Belgard, Germany, on March 27, 1883. She and her parents immigrated to the US when Rae was just a year old.7 In 1900 they were living in Gouverneur, New York, where her father Max was in the retail clothing business.8 But later that year, they relocated to Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where Max opened a new store. 9

After marrying, Samuel and Rae stayed in Connellsville.  Their son Jack Tumpson Goldsmith was born there on January 28, 1909.10 In 1910, they were living in Connellsville where Samuel (known as S.R.) was engaged in the general practice of law.11

Also in this decade, Henry’s son Walter graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Dental School in 1905, graduating with high honors and ranked third in his class:

“Graduated in Dentistry,” The Weekly Courier, 14 Jun 1905, Wed, Page 4

In 1910, Henry Goldsmith, now a widower, was living with five of his adult children and his niece Lena Katz. Henry continued to work in the insurance business; his son Benjamin was in the clothing business with his brother J.W., Walter was a dentist, Henry’s daughter Florence was a music teacher, Oliver a clerk in the insurance business, and Helen was not working outside the home, but still in school.

Henry Goldsmith, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Connellsville Ward 1, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1344; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0006; FHL microfilm: 1375357
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Thus, in the first decade of the 20th century, there were two weddings and four grandchildren born. Four of Henry Goldsmith’s children had become professionals: Milton was a doctor, Samuel was a lawyer,  Walter was a dentist, and Florence was a music teacher. Henry must have been very proud and likely missed having his wife Sarah to share in all these weddings, births, and accomplishments.

More accomplishments and more weddings and births were to come in the next decade. But first Henry had another obstacle to overcome.


  1. SSN: 573546121, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. Jacob W. Goldsmith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 5, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1344; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0012; FHL microfilm: 1375357, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  3. Luba Rabinowicz, passenger manifest, Year: 1895; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 645; Line: 6, Source Information
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  4. “Forty-Eight Young Medical Students Will Soon Begin Practicing,” The Pittsburgh Press, May 25, 1902, p. 4. 
  5. “Engagement Announced,” The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, 03 Dec 1904, Sat, Page 8. 
  6. Milton and Luba Robin Goldsmith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1302; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0422; FHL microfilm: 1375315, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  7. Recha Tumpowski, passenger manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1731, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  8. Max Tumpowsky and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Gouverneur, Saint Lawrence, New York; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0093; FHL microfilm: 1241156,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  9. “New Clothing Store,” The Weekly Courier, 05 Oct 1900, Fri, Page 6. 
  10. Jack Tumpson Goldsmith, passenger manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Miami, Florida; NAI Number: 2774842; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85,
    Ancestry.com. Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963 
  11. Samuel R Goldsmith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 5, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1344; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0012; FHL microfilm: 1375357, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 

Simon Goldsmith: His Legacy—German Criminal, American Patriarch

In the last post we saw how a number of Jacob Goldsmith’s children left Pennsylvania when they reached adulthood. But Jacob Goldsmith’s children weren’t the only descendants of Simon Goldsmith who moved from Pennsylvania in the 1870s.

By 1878, Simon’s daughter Lena and her husband Gustavus Basch and children had moved to Columbus, Ohio.1 According to directories and the 1880 census, Gustavus was now in the vinegar manufacturing business, and his oldest son Frank, now 22, was working with him in the business. I assume it must have been this business opportunity that drew them to Columbus. In 1880, Lena and Gustavus’ four other children—Joseph, Joel, Hinda, and Ella—were also living with their parents. The only child who was not still living at home was their son Jacob, who was living in Hamilton, Ohio, and working as a hotel clerk. Hamilton is about 100 miles southwest of Columbus.2

Gustavus Basch and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: 1016; Page: 201D; Enumeration District: 029
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

As for Simon’s two youngest children, my double cousins Henry and Hannah, they were busy having children during the 1870s and 1880s. Henry and his wife Sarah Jaffa continued to live in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where Henry was a clothing merchant. In addition to their first child, Jacob W. Goldsmith, who was born in 1871, Sarah gave birth to four more children between 1873 and 1880: Benjamin (1873),3 Milton (1877),4 Samuel (1879),5 Edison (1880).6 Five more would come between 1881 and 1889: Walter (1881),7 Florence (1883),8 Albert (1884),9 Oliver (1887),10 and Helen (1889).11 In total, Henry and Sarah had ten children. All were born in Connellsville.

Henry Goldsmith and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1129; Page: 93D; Enumeration District: 035
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

Hannah and her husband Joseph Benedict stayed in Pittsburgh where Joseph is listed on the 1880 census as a rag dealer. Hannah gave birth to her third son, Centennial Harry Benedict, on September 24, 1876, in Pittsburgh.12 In most records he is referred to as either C. Harry or Harry; I assume the Centennial was in honor of the centennial of the Declaration of Independence in the year he was born.

The 1880 census lists not only Hannah and Joseph and their three sons in the household, but also Hannah’s father Simon, and three of Hannah’s nephews: Lena’s son Jacob Basch and Henry’s sons Jacob and Benjamin Goldsmith. Since all three are also listed elsewhere on the 1880 census, I wonder whether these three were just visiting their relatives in Pittsburgh when the census was taken.

Joseph and Hannah Benedict and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1092; Page: 508D; Enumeration District: 122
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

On March 17, 1883, at the age of 88 or so, Simon Goldsmith died in Pittsburgh; his death record states that he died of old age.

Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZ7D-M2S : 11 March 2018), Simon Goldsmith, 17 Mar 1883; citing v 33 p 550, Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh; FHL microfilm 505,832.

What an interesting, challenging, and rich life Simon had. He was born Simon Goldschmidt, the youngest child of Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Seligmann in Oberlistingen. He had five children with his first wife Eveline Katzenstein, two of whom died as infants. He had spent time in prison for burglary, but his marriage and his family stayed together. After Eveline died in 1840, he had married a second time, his second wife being Fradchen Schoenthal. He and Fradchen immigrated to the US in 1845, a year after their marriage, and together they had two more children born in the US. Then Simon lost his second wife Fradchen in 1850. He also lost another child, his daughter Eva, sometime after 1862.

But Simon soldiered on, living first with his son Jacob in Washington and later with his daughter Hannah in Pittsburgh. He saw twenty-eight grandchildren born before he died, and five more were born after he died. In addition, he lived to see the births of eight great-grandchildren, and many more were born after his death. When he died, his children and grandchildren were spread from Philadelphia to California, pursuing and living the American dream. He must have looked at his family with amazement—that this man who had gotten himself in trouble with the law back home in Germany had somehow been able to start over in the US and create a huge legacy for himself and his family. Despite his struggles and his losses, he must have been grateful for all that he did have.

What would happen to Simon’s four surviving children and all those grandchildren and great-grandchildren? More in the posts to follow.

 

 


  1. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1878, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1878, 1879, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Benjamin Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  4. Milton Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1908756; Draft Board: 08, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  5. Samuel Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  6. Edison Goldsmith, 1880 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1129; Page: 93D; Enumeration District: 035, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census (three days old) 
  7. Walter Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  8. Florence Goldsmith, 1912 Passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 156; Volume #: Roll 0156 – Certificates: 69177-70076, 01 Apr 1912-11 Apr 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  9. Gravestone at https://billiongraves.com/grave/person/12971467#= 
  10. Oliver Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  11. Helen Goldsmith, 1912 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 156; Volume #: Roll 0156 – Certificates: 69177-70076, 01 Apr 1912-11 Apr 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  12. Centennial Harry Goldsmith, Yearbook Title: Cornell Class Book, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornell Class Book; Year: 1897, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990;  C. Harry Goldsmith, 1921 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1788; Volume #: Roll 1788 – Certificates: 102000-102375, 02 Dec 1921-03 Dec 1921, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 

Simon Goldsmith’s family 1860-1871: Two Dozen Grandchildren

In 1860, Simon Goldschmidt, now Simon Goldsmith, was a two-time widower living in Washington, Pennsylvania, with his oldest child from his first marriage, Jacob Goldsmith. Also living with them were Jacob’s wife Fannie Silverman and their six young daughters, Ellena, Emma, Annie, Rachel, Leonora, and Celia, and Simon’s two children, Henry and Hannah, from his second marriage to my three-times great-aunt Fradchen Schoenthal.  Jacob was a merchant with $4500 worth of real estate and $6000 in personal property. In 1863, Jacob registered for the Civil War draft in Washington, Pennsylvania, but I have no record showing that he served in the war.1

Simon Goldsmith and family 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Image: 627; Family History Library Film: 805192

Jacob and Fannie had many more children in the 1860s; Felix (about 1860)2 and George (1862)3 were likely born in Washington, Pennsylvania, but by the time Frank4 was born in 1863, the family may already have moved to Philadelphia. The next five children were all born in Philadelphia: Edward (born as Oscar, 1864),5 Rebecca (1866),6 Florence (1869),7 and finally a set of twins born early in the next decade, Gertrude and Eva (born January 18, 1871).8 That brought the grand total of Jacob and Fannie’s children to fourteen—four sons and ten daughters.  In 1870, Jacob and Fannie and their children were living in Philadelphia. Jacob was still a retail merchant and now had $20,000 in personal property.

Jacob Goldsmith and family, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 Dist 36 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1424; Page: 589B; Family History Library Film: 552923, Township: Philadelphia Ward 12 Dist 36 (2nd Enum), 
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

Jacob Goldsmith and family, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ancestry.com

In 1860, Simon’s oldest daughter Lena was living about fifty miles away from her father in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, with her husband Gustavus Basch and their three young children, Frank, Jacob, and Hinda. Gustavus was a clothing merchant and had $3100 in personal property, according to the 1860 census.

Lena and Gustav Basch and family, 1860 census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1110; Page: 421; Family History Library Film: 805110 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census

Like his brother-in-law Jacob, Gustavus registered for the Civil War draft in 1863, but I don’t know if he served.9 Lena and Gustavus’ family was also growing in the 1860s, but not as much as Jacob and Fannie’s. They added three more to their family in that decade: Joel (1863),10 Ella (1865),11 and Joseph (1867),12 all born in Connellsville.  In 1868, Gustavus was listed as a clothier in Connellsville in the Pennsylvania State directory, but sometime thereafter he changed occupations and the family relocated.13 By 1870, the family had moved to Pittsburgh, and Gustavus was now working for H. Bier & Company, a brass founders and steam pump manufacturing company.14

Gustavus Basch 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1295; Page: 423A; Family History Library Film: 552794
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census,

As for Simon’s second oldest daughter Eva, as reported here in detail, I cannot find her in 1860, but I believe that sometime around 1860 she married Marcus Bohm, a Polish immigrant who had a store in Washington, Pennsylvania, until 1860. It also appears that Marcus and Eva had a daughter Ella, born in February, 1862. Also, as I wrote about earlier, it seems that Eva died sometime before 1870. Her daughter Ella Bohm was then living with her uncle Jacob Goldsmith and his family in Philadelphia. Ella’s father’s whereabouts are not known, although he appears to have been in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Simon’s two youngest children, my double cousins Henry and Hannah Goldsmith, were teenagers in the 1860s. In 1867, Hannah married Joseph Benedict.15 She was only nineteen, and he was 33. Joseph was born July 3, 1834, in Germany and had immigrated in 1857, according to the 1900 census.16 I cannot find any immigration record for Joseph or a marriage record for Hannah and Joseph.

In 1865 a Joseph Benedict was working as a clerk in Pittsburgh.17 In 1868 he is listed in the Pittsburgh directory as a used furniture dealer, but in 1869 he is listed as a second-hand clothing dealer. The 1870 Pittsburgh directory lists him as a junk dealer, so maybe it was both clothing and furniture.18 The 1870 census merely lists his occupation as “retail.” By that time Joseph and Hannah had a five-month-old son named Jacob, born January 24, 1870, in Pittsburgh.19 Also living with them in 1870 were Hannah’s father, Simon Goldsmith, now a retired tailor, and Amelia Schoenthal, who was Hannah’s first cousin, her mother Fradchen’s niece and the older sister of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal. On June 6, 1871, Hannah Goldsmith Benedict gave birth to a second child, Herschel Newton Benedict, in Pittsburgh.20

Joseph and Hannah Benedict, 1870 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1295; Page: 567A; Family History Library Film: 552794
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

Simon’s son Henry had moved out on his own by 1870. Now 23, he was living in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, working as a clothing dealer.21 My hunch is that Henry took over his brother-in-law Gustave’s business when Gustave and Lena moved to Pittsburgh. In 1871, Henry married Sarah Jaffa.22 She was the daughter of Aron Jaffa and Ella Hahn, and she was born in Heinebach, Germany, on October 19, 1851, and immigrated to the US in 1869.23 That marriage brought another twist to my family tree.

Sarah Jaffa had three older brothers who had already immigrated to the US when she arrived.  As I’ve written about previously, the Jaffa brothers would later become business and civic leaders in Trinidad, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. And twenty-five years after Henry Goldsmith married Sarah Jaffa, Sarah’s niece Ida Jaffa married Meyer Mansbach, the son of Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach. Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach was Henry Goldsmith’s first cousin as their fathers, Seligmann Goldschmidt and Simon Goldschmidt/Goldsmith, were brothers.24

Sarah and Henry had their first child, Jacob W. Goldsmith, on December 24, 1871, in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.25 He was the 24th grandchild of Simon Goldsmith, all born in Pennsylvania. Interestingly, three of those grandchildren were named Jacob: Lena’s son Jacob Basch, Hannah’s son Jacob Benedict, and Henry’s son Jacob W. Goldsmith. Since Simon was still living, it appears that three of his children named their sons for Simon’s father, Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt.

Thus, by the end of 1871, all of Simon Goldsmith’s children had married. Simon, who had outlived two wives and three children, was 76 years old and had twenty-four grandchildren, ranging from newborns to eighteen-year-old Ellena, with more grandchildren to come in the next decade. In fact, he would live to be a great-grandfather. More on that in the next post.

 


  1.  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 3 of 3, Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 
  2. Felix Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 Dist 36 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1424; Page: 589B; Family History Library Film: 552923, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census. I am not certain of Felix’s birthdate. His death certificate says he was born September 25, 1859, and the 1900 census says he was born in September 1859, but he is not on the 1860 census with his family, and in his 1870 his age is reported as nine and in 1880 as nineteen. Thus, I am guessing he was born in about 1860. 
  3. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915. George Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 Dist 36 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1424; Page: 589B; Family History Library Film: 552923, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  4. Frank Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1396; Page: 179B; Family History Library Film: 552895, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [ 
  5. Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2FR-G9S : 11 February 2018), Oscar Goldsmith, 08 Nov 1864; Birth, citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,289,309. 
  6. Rebecca Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1396; Page: 179B; Family History Library Film: 552895, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census. Rebecca Levy, ship manifest, 1926, Year: 1926; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3784; Line: 1; Page Number: 197, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7.  Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2F1-KDR : 11 February 2018), Florence Goldsmith, 24 Feb 1869; Birth, citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,289,312 
  8. Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2FX-1MN : 11 February 2018), Eve Goldsmith, 18 Jan 1871; Birth, citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,289,313.  Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2FX-1M6 : 11 February 2018), Gertrude Goldsmith, 18 Jan 1871; Birth, citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,289,313 
  9. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 3 of 3. Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 
  10. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6Q67-VC2?cc=1307272&wc=MD9N-9P8%3A287599801%2C294723701 : 21 May 2014), 1950 > 74601-76700 > image 303 of 2329. 
  11. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D4LQ-GG4?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-DN5%3A287601401%2C287598802 : 21 May 2014), 1930 > 00001-02900 > image 2674 of 3183. 
  12. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 297323868. 
  13. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Reilly´s Pennsylvania State Business Directory, 1868-69 
  14. Pittsburgh city directory, 1870, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  15. Hannah and Joseph Benedict, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1241359, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  16. Hannah and Joseph Benedict, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1241359, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  17. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1865, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  18. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1868, 1869, 1870, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  19. Jacob Benedict, death certificate, Certificate No, 88, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965;Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  20. Herschel Benedict, marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1900; Roll Number: 549738, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963 
  21. Henry Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1342; Page: 79A; Family History Library Film: 552841, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [ 
  22. Henry and Sarah Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0007; FHL microfilm: 1241409,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  23. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 093741-097660, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966; Henry and Sarah Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0007; FHL microfilm: 1241409,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  24.  And another connection between the Jaffa and Goldschmidt families was made in 1880 when Solomon Jaffa married Leonora Goldsmith, Jacob Goldsmith’s daughter. But that is yet to come. 
  25. Jacob W. Goldsmith, marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1899; Roll Number: 549736, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963 

Simon Goldschmidt: From German Criminal to American Grandfather

Before my break, I noted that I had finished writing about the descendants of Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hinka Alexander, my three-times great-grandparents, and the descendants of Seligmann’s brother, Lehmann Goldschmidt.

Now I would like to turn to Seligmann’s youngest sibling, Simon Goldschmidt, whose story I’ve already told in bits and pieces at other times because his second wife, Fradchen Schoenthal, was the sister of my Schoenthal great-great-grandfather Levi Schoenthal, and because one of his grandchildren, Ella Bohm, married my great-great-uncle Jacob Katzenstein.

But let me tie together those bits and pieces into one story so that I can continue Simon’s story with some background. Simon was born in Oberlistingen in about 1795 to Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann (no connection to my Seligmanns). In 1822, he married Eveline Katzenstein of Grebenstein (no known familial connection to my Katzensteins). Their first child, Jacob, was born in about 1825 in Oberlistingen. 1

In May, 1826, Simon was charged with burglary and attempted robbery.2  As I wrote about at length in this post, in 1830 there was a trial, and Simon was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison with his legs shackled. Simon appealed, and on December 24, 1830, the appellate court upheld the verdict, but reduced the sentence from ten years to four years because the victim’s injuries were not dangerous or life-threatening and because Simon had not used any lethal weapons. The court also observed that the delay in trial was not Simon’s fault and took that into consideration in reducing his sentence.

Simon and Eveline had four more children after Jacob: Lena (1828),3 born while he was awaiting trial, and three born after he was released, Hewa “Eva” (1836), Joseph (1837), and Jesajas (1839), all born in Oberlistingen. Sadly, Simon and Eveline’s last two babies did not survive. Both Joseph and Jesajas died in infancy.

Eva (Hewa) Goldschmidt birth record, Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p.7

 

Joseph Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 6

Jesajas Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 7

A year after the death of Jesajas, Simon’s wife Eveline died on August 19, 1840. Simon was left on his own to raise his fifteen-year-old son Jacob, twelve-year-old daughter Lena, and four-year-old Eva.

Eveline Katzenstein Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 8

Simon’s son Jacob left Germany that same year and immigrated to the US.4  By 1850, Jacob was living in Washington, Pennsylvania, working as a tailor and living with two other men who were tailors, and had changed his surname to Goldsmith.

Jacob Goldsmith (Simon’s son) 1850 US census
Year: 1850; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_834; Page: 363A; Image: 244

On September 10, 1844, Simon married Fradchen Schoenthal, my three-times great-aunt, in Oberlistingen. Fradchen was already 37 at that time, and Simon was 49.

Marriage of Simon Goldschmidt and Fradchen Schoenthal
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 669, S. 11

Almost exactly a year later, Simon and Fradchen arrived in the United States along with Simon’s youngest daughter, Eva, who was then nine years old.

Simon, Fradchen, and Eva Goldschmidt on 1845 passenger manifest
The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85

They must have settled first in Baltimore because Simon and Fradchen had two children who were born there, Henry on January 10, 1847,5 and Hannah on June 5, 1848.6 Since Henry and Hannah’s mother and father were both my blood relatives, they are my double cousins: first cousins, three times removed through Fradchen, and first cousins, four times removed through Simon.

By 1850, Simon and Fradchen (also known as Fanny) were living in Pittsburgh with Henry and Hannah as well Simon’s two daughters from his first marriage, Lena and Eva. Simon was working as a tailor and had, like his son Jacob, Americanized his surname to Goldsmith.

Simon lost his second wife Fradchen soon thereafter; she died on August 11, 1850, at age 43. Once again Simon was left with young children—Henry was three, Hannah was two.

Fanny Schoenthal Goldsmith Troy Hill Pittsburgh

By 1853, Simon’s son Jacob had married Fannie Silverman, also a German immigrant, and together they had six daughters born between 1853 and 1860: Ellena (1853)7, Emma (1854),8 Annie (1855),9 Rachel (1857),10 Leonora (1858),11 and Celia (1860).12  By 1860, Simon and his two youngest children, Henry and Hannah, had moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, and were living with Jacob and Fannie and their six daughters. Henry and Hannah were only five and six years older than their oldest niece, Ellena.

Simon Goldsmith and family 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Image: 627; Family History Library Film: 805192

Simon’s daughter Lena married another German immigrant, Gustavus Basch in 1856.13 In 1860, they were living in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, with their first two children, Frank (1858) and Jacob (1859). Connellsville is under fifty miles from Washington, Pennsylvania, where Lena’s father Simon and her brother Jacob were then living.

Basch family, 1860 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1110; Page: 421; Family History Library Film: 805110 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census

As for Simon’s youngest child with Eveline, his daughter Eva, her whereabouts in 1860 are unknown. I cannot find her anywhere on the 1860 census. More on Eva here and here and in a subsequent post.

Thus, by 1860, all the members of the family of Simon Goldschmidt (except possibly Eva) were living in western Pennsylvania, most of them in Washington, Pennsylvania.  That was as far as I’d gotten with Simon’s story in my earlier posts. Now I can pick up with Simon and his children in the years after 1860.

 

 


  1. I don’t have original birth or marriage records for these facts, but have relied on various US records as well as the research of others to reach these conclusions. 
  2.  HStAM Fonds 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No G 40. See the linked post for more information about my source for this information. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. Web: Columbus, Ohio, Green Lawn Cemetery Index, 1780-2010 
  4. Jacob Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0072; FHL microfilm: 1240119, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  5. Henry Goldsmith, passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 156; Volume #: Roll 0156 – Certificates: 69177-70076, 01 Apr 1912-11 Apr 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  6. Hannah Goldsmith Benedict, death certificate, Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan, Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950, File Number: 007791. 
  7. Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein, death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 061391-064480, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  8. Emma Goldsmith, death certificate, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JX5B-3PG : 9 March 2018), Emma Goldsmith, 06 Jan 1902; citing cn14552, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,853,338. 
  9. Annie Goldsmith, 1860 US census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Family History Library Film: 805192, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  10. Rachel Goldsmith, 1860 US census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Family History Library Film: 805192, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  11. Leonora Goldsmith, 1860 US census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Family History Library Film: 805192, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  12. Celia Goldsmith, 1860 US census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Family History Library Film: 805192, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  13. Lena and Gustavus Basch, 1900 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 6, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0068; FHL microfilm: 1241268, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 

Pittsburgh

Where do I start to express how I feel about what happened in Pittsburgh? Do I tell you how my heart didn’t stop racing all day on Saturday from when I first heard the news?  That I am just too sad and scared to be angry? That I feel like an outsider in my own country?

I didn’t know any of the individuals killed or injured in Pittsburgh, but I knew every single one of them. They are my friends and neighbors, my fellow congregants, my family, my ancestors. Yes, I have some actual ties to Pittsburgh—relatives from long ago who lived there including my great-grandfather, friends who grew up there, a brother who once lived there, and so on. But even if I didn’t, I knew these people. Because they were like me, a Jewish person living in America taking for granted all too often that we are safe. That it can never happen here. That people are basically good, that evil will not prevail.

Now I am not so sure. More and more we see the evil prevailing, the anger fanned, the hatred accepted and even condoned. Whether it is directed against someone because of their religion—be it Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Christianity—or their skin color or their sexual orientation or their gender or their age or their nationality, the hatred is not only there, it is being acted upon. And it is not being condemned by our federal government in strong enough terms to be credible. In fact, it is encouraged.

I am beginning to lose faith in people. I no longer feel safe, I no longer believe it could never happen here. I have learned from studying my family history and Jewish history in general how much hatred and oppression and discrimination and violence have shaped my own history. Many of my ancestors came to this country in order to escape anti-Semitism and the oppression and lack of opportunity they faced in Europe. When I learned how many of my not-so-distant relatives died in the Holocaust or survived it against all odds or escaped just in time, I felt so grateful for America. America was supposed to be different. But is it really so different now?

Of course, in some ways it is. In Pittsburgh, the police took bullets to protect Jews. The mayor condemned what happened. The government there was not afraid to help the victims or condemn the murderer. On Facebook I am heartened when I see non-Jews standing up and making any kind of statement condemning what happened. We attended a gathering at our synagogue, and I was touched to see representatives there from other faiths and government officials pledging to stand by us. The service ended with the singing of The Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah. As the rabbi said, we sing The Star Spangled Banner, the American national anthem, because this is our home.  And we sing Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem which means “the hope,” because we are Jews and to remind us that that we must never abandon hope.

And as I write this, I realize that I am not afraid to publish these thoughts. Because somewhere deep inside I must still trust that I will be safe here. But not as much as I once did.

Tomorrow I will return to telling my family’s story—with even more urgency than before. Because people—not just my people, not just my family—need to know what we as Jews have endured and what we have learned, what we have suffered and what we have contributed. And people need to understand the dreams that brought our ancestors here. We must not let those dreams die.

The Goldschmidts Come to America

I was all set to be logical and sequential and report on each of the children of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann and Hincka (Alexander) Goldschmidt, starting with their oldest child Sarah Goldschmidt and her husband Abraham Mansbach II. I began their story in this post, but then I realized that I could not tell the rest of the story of the children of Sarah and Abraham without some background regarding the other members of the Goldschmidt family.

What triggered this realization was this ship manifest:

Henry Schoenthal and Helene Lilienfeld with Analie Mansbach on 1872 ship manifest lines 95 to 98
Year: 1872; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 359; Line: 1; List Number: 484

Notice that this is the 1872 manifest for Henry Schoenthal, the brother of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal. Henry had settled in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1866, but then returned to Germany to marry Helen Lilienfeld. Then on May 24, 1872, Henry and Helen returned to the US, as shown on this manifest.

Why am I talking about a Schoenthal in the context of telling the story of the Goldschmidts?

Because on that manifest (lines 6 and 7, above) were two eighteen-year-old women both named Amalie Mansbach who were apparently sailing with Henry and Helen (lines 5 and 8). I believe that one of those two Amalie Mansbachs was Merla Mansbach, the daughter of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach II. Merla Mansbach was born on December 10, 1853, meaning she would have been eighteen in May, 1872.

Birth record of Merla Mansbach
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 384, p. 55

But why would Merla Mansbach be sailing with Henry Schoenthal? He was from Sielen, his wife Helen was from Gudensberg, and Merla was from Maden—all towns within a reasonable distance of each other in the Hesse region of Germany, with Maden and Gudensberg being very near each other. There had to be a connection.

 

And that drove me back to my earlier posts about Henry Schoenthal and how he ended up in Washington, Pennsylvania, a small town in western Pennsylvania about 30 miles from Pittsburgh. And those posts reminded me that Henry was not the first Schoenthal to settle in western Pennsylvania—his father Levi’s sister (my three-times great-aunt) Fradchen Schoenthal had preceded him some twenty years before.

And Fradchen Schoenthal was married to Simon Falcke Goldschmidt, the brother of Seligmann Goldschmidt and great-uncle of Merla/Amalie Mansbach:

 

So I am going to digress a bit from the story of the family of my three-times great-grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt to tell the story of his younger brother Simon Falcke Goldschmidt because telling the story of the Goldschmidt’s immigration to the United States has to start with Simon, who was the first to arrive.

Simon was the youngest of the four sons of Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann; according to numerous US records, he was born in 1795. In 1822, he married Eveline Katzenstein of Grebenstein (no known familial connection to my Katzensteins). Together they had five children: Jacob (1825), Lena (1828), Hewa “Eva” (1836), Joseph (1837), and Jesajas (1839), all born in Oberlistingen.

Notice the large gap between Lena, born in 1828, and the next child Hewa born in 1836.[1]

David Baron located a record that perhaps provides a reason for that gap; it seems that in 1826 Simon was charged with burglary and attempted robbery. (HStAM Fonds 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No G 40.) I requested a copy of the file from the Marburg archives and learned that the file covers Simon’s appeal of a ten year sentence for his criminal activity. The listing online indicates that the date of appellate decision was December 24, 1830.

The contact person at the Marburg archives did not reveal the outcome of the appeal, so I am now hoping to find someone who might be able to go to Marburg and provide me with a summary (in English) of the judgment. (I could order a copy, but it would be costly and in German. My German has improved, but 130 pages of a legal decision would be too great a challenge!)

Since Simon and Eveline had three more children beginning in 1836, I suppose it’s possible he served some of that ten year sentence. Sadly, Simon and Eveline’s last two babies did not survive. Both Joseph and Jesajas died in infancy.

Joseph Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 6

Josajas Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 7

And then Simon lost his wife Eveline as well. She died on August 19, 1840, in Oberlistingen:

Eveline Katzenstein Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 8

Simon was left on his own to raise his fifteen year old son Jacob, twelve year old daughter Lena, and four year old Hewa/Eva.

Four years after Eveline’s death he married my three-times great-aunt Fradchen Schoenthal on September 10, 1844. Fradchen, the daughter of my three-times great-grandparents Heinemann Schoenthal and Hendel Berenstein, was 37 years old when she married Simon. Thus, as early as 1844, my Schoenthal and Goldschmidt lines had merged, explaining why Merla/Amalia Mansbach would have been sailing with Henry Schoenthal in 1872.

Marriage of Simon Goldschmidt and Fradchen Schoenthal
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 669, S. 11

A year after marrying, Simon and Fradchen left Germany for the United States, arriving in Baltimore with Simon’s youngest daughter Eva on September 20, 1845.

Passenger manifest for Simon Goldschmidt, Fanny Schoenthal and Eva Goldschmidt
Ancestry.com. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Original data: Selected Passenger and Crew Lists and Manifests. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

They must have settled first in Baltimore because Simon and Fradchen had two children who were born there, Henry on January 10, 1847, and Hannah on June 5, 1848. I assume that Henry was named for Heinemann Schoenthal and Hannah for Hendel Berenstein Schoenthal, their maternal grandparents and my three-times great-grandparents.

By 1850, Simon and Fradchen (also known as Fanny) were living in Pittsburgh with Henry and Hannah as well as two of Simon’s children from his first marriage, Lena and Eva. Simon was working as a tailor and had Americanized his surname to Goldsmith.[2]

Simon Goldschmidt and family 1850 census
Year: 1850; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_745; Page: 135A; Image: 274

Simon lost his second wife Fradchen/Fanny soon thereafter; she died on August 11, 1850, at age 43. (The year on the headstone appears to be incorrect; based on the age given on both the marriage record and manifest, Fradchen’s birth year would have been 1807, not 1800. The 1850 census said she was then 39, not 50. Plus it’s unlikely she had children at ages 47 and 48.) She left behind two very young children, Henry and Hannah, as well as her three stepchildren, Jacob, Lena, and Eva, and her husband Simon.

 

Meanwhile, Simon’s son Jacob from his first marriage had settled in Washington, Pennsylvania, by 1850; he was working as a tailor and living with two other men who were tailors. Like his father Simon, Jacob had changed his surname to Goldsmith.

Jacob Goldsmith (Simon’s son) 1850 US census
Year: 1850; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_834; Page: 363A; Image: 244

Sometime after 1850 Jacob married Fannie Silverman. (The 1900 census reports that Jacob, who was then widowed, had been married 51 years, but given that he was still single in 1850, that seems unlikely).

Jacob and Fannie had thirteen children between 1853 and 1871—first, six daughters, then three sons, then another four daughters. Wow. I will report on them in more detail in a later post.  For now, I will only name those born between 1853 and 1860: Ellena (1853), Emma (1854), Anna (1855), Rachel (1857), Leonora (1858), and Celia (1860). Six daughters in seven years.

Sometime after Fradchen died, Simon moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, to be with his son Jacob. In 1860, Simon and his two youngest children, Henry and Hannah, were living with Simon’s son Jacob and Jacob’s wife Fannie and their six daughters. Henry and Hannah were only five and six years older than their oldest nieces, Emma and Anna. I assume that Simon needed Fannie and Jacob’s help in raising Henry and Hannah.

Jacob Goldsmith and family 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Image: 627; Family History Library Film: 805192

Simon’s other two children, Lena and Hewa/Eva, were married and on their own by 1860. Lena had married another German immigrant, Gustave Basch in 1856. In 1860, they were living in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, with their first two children, Frank (1858) and Jacob (1859).

Lena Goldschmidt and Gustave Basch and sons 1860 census Year: 1860; Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1110; Page: 422; Family History Library Film: 805110

 

The story of Simon’s other daughter Eva has already been told. She married Marcus Bohm, an immigrant from Warsaw, Poland, and they had a daughter born in 1862 named Ella who married my great-great-uncle Jacob Katzenstein (son of Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt and thus also Ella’s cousin). Ella and one of her sons died in the Johnstown flood in 1889.  With Ella Bohm’s marriage to Jacob Katzenstein, my Goldschmidt and Katzenstein lines had merged.

I won’t repeat the research and story of Eva Goldsmith and Marcus Bohm, but despite further searching, I unfortunately have not yet found any record for either their marriage or Eva’s death. What I have concluded, however, is that Eva had died by 1870 because by then her daughter Ella was living with Eva’s brother Jacob Goldsmith.

Jacob Goldsmith and family on the 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thus, by 1860, all the members of the family of Simon Goldschmidt were living in western Pennsylvania, most of them in Washington, Pennsylvania, where Fradchen’s nephew Henry Schoenthal would arrive six years later, soon followed by his siblings.

By the 1880s, there were thus familial connections between the Goldschmidt family and the Schoenthal family and also between the Goldschmidt family and the Katzenstein family.  These overlapping connections laid the groundwork for the 1888 marriage of my great-grandparents, Isidore Schoenthal and Hilda Katzenstein, whose mother was a Goldschmidt. It’s amazing to see how the many lines in the family came together in the pairing of two of my direct ancestors.

——

[1] I do not have German birth records for Jacob or Lena, only US records. For the last three children, I was able to locate Oberlistingen birth records.

[2] The names on this census are switched around. Simon’s wife was Fanny, not Lena, and his daughter was Eva, not Fanny. Another reminder of how unreliable census records can be.

My Grandmother’s Cologne Cousins: More New Records

Aaron Knappstein, our Cologne guide, really pulled the rabbit out of the hat when he found the Schopfloch death records for my four-times great-grandparents, Amson Nussbaum and Voegele Welsch, but his magic tricks did not end there.  He also was able to locate birth records for a number of the children of Jakob Schoenthal and Charlotte Lilienfeld.

My great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal had two siblings who did not immigrate to America, and his older brother Jakob was one of them.  Jakob married Charlotte Lilienfeld and was a merchant in Cologne.  He and Charlotte had five children: Johanna, Lee, Meyer, Henriette, and Erna. They were my grandmother Eva’s first cousins.

I’ve told their stories in prior posts.  Four of the children survived the Holocaust.  The two sons, Lee and Meyer, immigrated to the US long before Hitler came to power, and Erna escaped with her son Werner during the 1930s.  Johanna and her husband spent time in the Gurs concentration camp and came to the US after the war.  Tragically, Henriette and her husband were murdered by the Nazis.

Thus far Aaron has located birth records for four of the children: Johanna, Lee, Meyer, and Erna.  I hope that he is able to find the record for Henriette as it would indeed be tragic if her record was the only one that did not survive, just as she was the only sibling who did not survive.

Here are the records that Aaron has thus far located:

Birth record of Johanna Schoenthal (Nr. 3030/1880)

father: Jakob Schönthal (tradesman)
mother: Charlotte Lilienfeld
both jewish religion
Köln, Breitestraße 113

June 5, 1880

 

birth-record-johanna-schoenthal

Birth record of Lee (Leo) Schoenthal (Nr. 5717/1881)

father: Jakob Schönthal (tradesman)
mother: Charlotte Lilienfeld
both jewish religion
Köln, Breitestraße 113

December 6, 1881

 

birth-record-of-lee-schoenthal

Birth record Meier Schönthal (no. 606/1883)

father: Jakob Schönthal (tradesman)
mother: Charlotte Lilienfeld
both jewish religion
Köln, Breitestraße 113
February 7, 1883
05.15 in the morning

 

meyer-schoenthal-birth-recod

Birth Record Erna Schönthal (no. 577/1898)

father: Jakob Schönthal (tradesman)
mother: Charlotte Lilienfeld
both jewish religion
Köln, Breitestraße 85
March 27, 1898
08.15 in the morning

erna-schoenthal-birth-record

A Special Photograph

While taking a short break from research, I want to share a few photographs and records I’ve received recently, but did not have a chance to post on the blog.

You may recall the series of blog posts I did about Amalia Hamberg and her family.  Amalia, born Malchen, was my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal’s first cousin:

corrected relationship isidore schoenthal to malchen hamberg

 

She acted as the administratrix of the estate of Charles Hamberg, the cousin who lived in South Carolina whose first wife had been murdered and whose son Samuel Hamberg ended up living with Henry Schoenthal in Washington, Pennsylvania after his father died as well.  Amalia had married Jacob Baer, with whom she had nine children, many of whom ended up working for the family jewelry business founded by the oldest brother, Maurice, in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Well, one of the descendants of Amalia and Jacob Baer found my blog and connected me with his siblings, one of whom graciously shared with me this wonderful photograph of Amalia Hamberg and Jacob Baer. Both Amalia and Jacob lived long lives.  Amalia lived from 1851 until 1931; Jacob from 1847 to 1932. Imagine all the changes they saw—starting in Germany in the middle of the 19th century and living through the Industrial Revolution, the first World War, and the Roaring Twenties.  They raised nine children in western Pennsylvania and must have seen Pittsburgh grow from a small fairly rural area to the home of steel manufacturing.  They lived to see the invention and development of cars and telephones, even airplanes.

amalia-hamberg-and-jacob-baer-from-celena-adler-watermarked

I don’t know when this photograph was taken.  Although Amalia and Jacob may look old because of their attire and Jacob’s seemingly gray hair, their faces have no wrinkles, and the style of dress does not look 20th century to me.  I would guess that they were in their 40s, so perhaps the picture was taken in the 1890s.  What do you think?

I am so excited to have this photograph. Thank you so much to the Adler siblings who shared this with me.

Who Was Ella Bohm Katzenstein? A Genealogy Adventure

This was truly a genealogy adventure. I’d written most of this post before I made two surprising discoveries that required me to rewrite substantial parts of it. The story of Jacob Katzenstein’s first wife Ella is heartbreaking. She was only 27 when she died in the 1889 Johnstown flood, and for a long time I knew almost nothing about her.  I’ve finally made some headway in learning more about her.

Here’s what I now know about her from various sources, more or less in the order I found them. Her first name was Ella, as seen from the birth record indexed on FamilySearch for her son, Milton B. Katzenstein.

milton-b-katzenstein-birth-record

Her birth surname was Bohm, as seen in a newspaper report of her death and as implicitly confirmed by the fact that Milton’s middle name was Bohm; that fact I learned from Milton’s burial record at Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown.

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent,, June 7, 1889, p. 3

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent,, June 7, 1889, p. 3

I know that Ella was probably born in February 1862, as indicated on the memorial stone placed at Eastview Cemetery in Cumberland, Maryland.   Her father’s name was apparently Marcus Bohm; that fact I inferred from the fact that Ella’s widower Jacob Katzenstein included Marcus in his household on the 1900 census and described him as his father-in-law (even though by that time Jacob had remarried). Ella presumably married Jacob sometime before or around January, 1886, since their son Milton was born in September, 1886. Milton died on April 18, 1889.  I also know that a second child, Edwin, was born June 5, 1887, and that he and Ella were killed in the Johnstown flood on May 31, 1889.

ella-katzenstein-and-edwin-katzenstein-headstone-from-findagrave

But where was Ella before marrying Jacob and having these two little boys?

For the longest time, I could not find her on the 1870  census, no matter how many ways I tried to spell her name, with and without wildcards. And then somehow she popped up after I’d just about given up.  I decided to search for any Ella with a surname starting with Bo born anywhere in about 1862 living in Pennsylvania or any state bordering it.  And there she was, listed as Ella Bohn, living in Philadelphia, an eight year old child born in Pennsylvania.  Her father was not living with her, nor was there anyone else in the household named Bohn or Bohm. So who was she living with?

Ella Bohm (Bohn) on the 1870 census Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ella Bohm (Bohn) on the 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I took a deep breath when I saw.  She was living with Jacob Goldsmith. Who was he? The son of Simon Goldschmidt and Fradchen Schoenthal.  Simon Goldschmidt was the brother of my three-times great-grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt, the father of Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein, whose son Jacob would later marry Ella Bohm.  And Fradchen Schoenthal was the sister of my three-times great-grandfather Levi Schoenthal, father of Isidore Schoenthal who would later marry Hilda Katzenstein, daughter of Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein and brother of Jacob Katzenstein, who would later marry Ella Bohm.

jacob-katzenstein-to-jacob-goldsmith

So little Ella Bohm was for some reason living with the first cousin, once removed, of her future husband Jacob Katzenstein.  And with in-law relatives of her future sister-in-law, Hilda Katzenstein, my great-grandmother. And they were all related to me.  Yikes.

But where was her father? Why wasn’t Ella living with him? Why was she living with Jacob Goldsmith? Unfortunately, the 1870 census did not include information about the relationships among those in a household, so I couldn’t tell.

A search for information about Ella’s father Marcus Bohm turned up nothing explicit connecting him to Ella, though I was able to piece together some information about Marcus. He was born November 9, 1834, in Warsaw, Poland, and immigrated to the United States in 1849, arriving in Baltimore.

marcus-bohm-manifest-from-family-search

Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-897J-P6W?cc=2018318&wc=MKZ4-GPF%3A1004777901%2C1004778901 : 25 September 2015), 1820-1891 (NARA M255, M596) > image 404 of 688; citing NARA microfilm publications M255, M596 and T844 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

One document indicates that he was living in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1853, which, of course, is where many members of my extended family also settled, including Jacob Goldsmith, who was a clothing merchant there as early as 1850, and Jacob Katzenstein’s brother SJ, who arrived around there in about 1871.

It appears that Marcus Bohm owned a clothing store there from at least 1853 from ads I found online in the Washington newspaper.  There was a fire at his store in April, 1860:

Washington Reporter, April 12, 1860, p. 3

Washington Reporter, April 12, 1860, p. 3

I also found an advertisement for Marcus Bohm’s clothing store in the Washington Reporter of August 30, 1860 (p.3):

ad-for-marcus-bohm-1860

 

But by November, 1860, Marcus was closing down his Washington store:

marcus-bohm-closing-down-store-in-wash-pa-page-001

It seems he then left Washington, Pennsylvania, because according to a New Jersey index of the 1860 census, Marcus was living in Hudson Township, New Jersey, in 1860, although I cannot find him on the actual 1860 census records.  He is listed in the 1867 Trenton, New Jersey, directory as working in the clothing business and living at Madison House. On the 1870 census, he is listed as living in a hotel in Trenton and working as a clothier. There is no wife or child living with him.

Marcus continued to be listed in Trenton city directories in the 1870s up through 1876, and he is consistently listed as a clothing merchant and tailor and living in various hotels in Trenton. But in 1878, he declared bankruptcy in Trenton:

marcus-bohm-bankrupt

Why was his daughter Ella  living with the Goldsmiths in Philadelphia in 1870 and not with her father in Trenton? I decided to dig deeper into the background of Jacob Goldsmith, someone I had not yet really researched as I am (ahem) not yet focused on my Goldschmidt line (yet somehow they keep popping up everywhere).  I searched for him on the 1880 census, and this is what I found:

Jacob Goldsmith's family on 1880 census with Ella "Baum" Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Family History Film: 1255173; Page: 158D; Enumeration District: 210; Image: 0325

Jacob Goldsmith’s family on 1880 census with Ella “Baum”
Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Family History Film: 1255173; Page: 158D; Enumeration District: 210; Image: 0325

Jacob, Fanny, and their many children were living in Philadelphia, and living with them was a niece named Ella Baum, age 17.  This had to be Ella Bohm, who would have been turning 18 in 1880.  She was living with Jacob and Fanny Goldsmith because she was their niece! So her mother had to be either Fanny’s sister or Jacob’s sister. For reasons described below, I believe she was the daughter of Jacob’s sister Eva.

Jacob had several sisters, but for all but one, I’d found married names, and they had not married Marcus Bohm.  But there was one sister for whom I’d been unable to find anything more than her name on the passenger manifest with her father Simon and stepmother Fradchen in 1845 and her listing on the 1850 census with her father Simon and stepmother Fanny and several siblings. Her name was Eva Goldschmidt/Goldsmith.

Simon, Fradchen, and Eva Goldschmidt on 1845 passenger manifest The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85

Simon, Fradchen, and Eva Goldschmidt on 1845 passenger manifest
The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85

On the 1850 census, the names seem confused. It shows Simon’s wife’s name as Lena. Her name was Fradchen or Fanny in the US. Simon had a daughter Lena, who is also listed on the census.  And then there is a daughter named Fanny.  I think that daughter was really Eva, and the enumerator somehow thought Fanny was the daughter’s name instead of the wife and heard “Lena” instead of “Eva” for the other daughter’s name and thought that was the wife’s name. (Remember these were recent immigrants whose English might not have been very understandable.)

Simon Goldschmidt and family 1850 census Year: 1850; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_745; Page: 135A; Image: 274

Simon Goldschmidt and family 1850 census
Year: 1850; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_745; Page: 135A; Image: 274

But Eva is not listed as living with Simon in 1860 when he and two of her younger half-siblings had moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, to live with her older brother Jacob. So where was she then?  I don’t know, but here’s my theory.

My guess is that Marcus Bohm and Eva Goldsmith, Jacob’s sister, were married sometime around 1860. After their daughter Ella Bohm was born in 1862, Eva either died in childbirth or sometime shortly thereafter and before 1870. Supporting the theory that Eva had died is the fact that her brother Jacob named a child born in 1871 Eva.

I believe that Ella’s widowed father Marcus Bohm moved to New Jersey after losing his wife and his business in Washington, and he left his little daughter to be raised by her uncle, Jacob Goldsmith. That little girl then grew up and married Jacob Katzenstein, who was her second cousin.

I don’t know when she married Jacob. I cannot find Jacob or Ella on the 1880 census, although Jacob was listed in the Pittsburgh directories for 1879 and 1881, the Johnstown directory in 1884, both the Philadelphia and Johnstown directories for 1887, and the Johnstown directory in 1889. When their son Milton was born in 1886, Jacob and Ella must have been living in Philadelphia. And by 1889 they were living in Johnstown.

Where was Ella’s father Marcus in the 1880s? The 1880 census report shows that he was then living in Washington, Pennsylvania, boarding in a hotel there and working in a clothing store.  But by 1884, Marcus had moved to Johnstown, as the 1884 Johnstown directory lists Marcus living at 251 Main Street and working at 272 Main Street in the clothing business. That same directory lists Jacob Katzenstein as a commercial traveler living at 241 Main Street, just a few houses away from Marcus. I assume that Marcus moved to Johnstown because his daughter Ella had by that time married Jacob and was living there, but I don’t know for sure.

After the tragic deaths of his daughter Ella and his two grandsons Milton and Edwin in 1889, Marcus seemed to disappear for some years and does not appear in any city directories. The next record that does include Ella’s father Marcus is the 1900 census where, as noted above, he was living in Johnstown with Jacob Katzenstein and Jacob’s second wife Bertha Miller, their three children, Bertha’s brother Maurice, and a servant.  Marcus is described as Jacob’s father-in-law, widowed, and retired.

Jacob Katzenstein and family 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Johnstown Ward 1, Cambria, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1388; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0124; FHL microfilm: 1241388

Jacob Katzenstein and family 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Johnstown Ward 1, Cambria, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1388; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0124; FHL microfilm: 1241388

I find it rather heartwarming that Bertha Miller took in the father of Jacob’s first wife.

Ten years later Marcus was still living in Johnstown, boarding in the household of Solomon Reineman, according to the 1910 census. I thought perhaps Solomon was a relative or married to a relative, but Solomon was born in Germany, not Poland. In 1880, Solomon had been living in Johnstown, so I assume that Marcus had become friendly with him during the 1880s when both were living in Johnstown.

And then I found a connection to Solomon’s wife, Minnie Leopold, though not directly. While researching Jacob’s second wife, Bertha Miller, I saw that her mother was named Eliza Leopold.  The name jumped out at me, and I thought—could there be a connection to Minnie Leopold? A few more steps of research, and lo and behold, I learned that Eliza and Minnie Leopold were sisters! So somehow Marcus Bohm ended up living with his son-in-law’s second wife’s aunt and her husband.

Two years later, however, Marcus had moved to Philadelphia. The 1912 Philadelphia directory lists Marcus Bohm living at 3333 North Broad Street. Four years later on February 25, 1916, Marcus died in Philadelphia.  He was 81 years old and died of chronic emphysema.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 021751-024880

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 021751-024880

He’d been living at the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania, and the informant was William H. Sivel, the superintendent at 3333 North Broad Street, which I assume is the location of the Masonic Home and where Marcus had been residing.  There is no other personal information on the certificate except for Marcus Bohm’s birth date, birth place (Poland), age, and occupation, which the informant described as “gentleman.”  I was unable to find an obituary or any other document that would reveal family information for Marcus, only this death notice.

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 26, 1916, p. 18

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 26, 1916, p. 18

Thus, I was lucky enough to learn a little more about Ella Bohm Katzenstein and can only speculate that her mother was Eva Goldsmith, that Eva Goldsmith Bohm had died, and that Ella had been left to live with the family of Jacob Goldsmith while her father tried to recover from losing his wife and his store in Washington, Pennsylvania.

If I am right in this speculation, it makes her short life even more tragic. It was heartbreaking enough to know that she’d lost her first son Milton and then was killed along with her other son in the Johnstown flood of 1889 when she was only 27. But adding to that the loss of her mother and in some ways her father as a young child makes her story especially poignant.

 

The Flood

As we saw in my last post, by 1880, four of the five surviving children of Gerson and Eva (Goldschmidt) Katzenstein were on their own.  SJ, their oldest child, was married to his second cousin Henrietta Sigmund and living in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he was a merchant.  Brendina, the older daughter, was married to Jacob Schlesinger and living in Philadelphia, where Jacob worked as a butcher.   Jacob and Perry Katzenstein, the second and third sons of Gerson and Eva, were living together in Pittsburgh and working as salesmen.  Only my great-grandmother Hilda, who was seventeen in 1880, was still living at home with her parents in Philadelphia.

During the 1880s, Gerson and Eva were blessed with many grandchildren. SJ and Henrietta, whose first child Moynelle was born in 1879, had four sons in the 1880s: Milton (1881), Howard (1882), Ivan (1884), and Earl (1885).  Brendina and Jacob already had four children by 1880, Heloise (1874), Solomon Joseph (1875), and Alfred (1879), and a fourth child, Sidney, was born in 1880.  Their daughter Aimee was born seven years later in 1887.

In 1884 or 1885 (sources vary), Perry Katzenstein married Rose Elias, daughter of Samuel Elias and Fanny Greenwald.  Rose was born in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, which is, strangely enough, nowhere near the New Jersey shore.  In fact, it’s about 250 miles west of the Atlantic and about 190 miles west of Philadelphia and 180 miles east of Pittsburgh.   Rose’s parents were both German immigrants, and her father was a merchant. In 1880, her father was selling liquor; in 1870, he’d been selling clothing. In 1887, Perry is listed in the Philadelphia directory at the same address as his father, Gerson—870 Marshall Street.

His brother Jacob is listed right down the street at 919 Marshall Street in that same directory for 1887. Sometime before September 16, 1886, Jacob Katzenstein had married Ella Bohm, daughter of Marcus Bohm.  I cannot find any official records for Ella, except for this birth record indexed on FamilySearch:

milton-b-katzenstein-birth-record

Unfortunately, it did not reveal Ella’s original surname or anything else about her.  But it does show that their son Milton was born in Philadelphia in 1886, suggesting that they were all living there at that time.  I found her original surname and her father’s name from other sources, discussed below.

Jacob’s residence during the 1880s is a bit of a mystery.  I cannot find him on the 1880 census.  In 1881, he is listed in the Pittsburgh directory, living with Perry.  In 1884, he is listed in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, directory, and in 1887, he is listed in both the Johnstown and Philadelphia directories.  I have no idea whether Ella was from Philadelphia, Johnstown, or someplace else. I don’t know where or when she and Jacob were married. I did find this quote about Jacob on my cousin Roger’s old website:

[Jacob] came to Johnstown in 1882, as a clerk for Louis Cohen.  He returned to Philadelphia for a few years but then came back to take charge of the Economy clothing Store which belonged to Amos Sulka and himself. (quoting Leonard Winograd, The Horse Died at Windber: A History of Johnstown’s Jews of Pennsylvania (Wyndham Hall Press, 1988)).

Jacob and Ella had a second son named Edwin born apparently on June 5, 1887, a date I determined from his headstone, as discussed below.  But June 5, 1887 is less than nine months after Milton’s birth date of September 16, 1886.  It seems highly unlikely that a woman could have had two children less than nine months apart. I assume one of those birth dates is off by at least a few months, or that Edwin was premature, or that Ella conceived almost immediately after Milton was born. Or that Ella was not the biological mother of one of those two children.

In 1888, Gerson and Eva saw their youngest child get married.  Hilda, my great-grandmother, married Isidore Schoenthal in Philadelphia. As I’ve written previously, Hilda and Isidore first lived in Pittsburgh, where on December 3, 1888, their first son was born, my great-uncle Lester Schoenthal.

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Thus, by 1888, Gerson and Eva’s children were all married, and there were twelve grandchildren.  Things must have seemed quite good for them all, but in 1889, their fortunes began to change.  First, on April 18, 1889, Jacob and Ella’s son Milton died; he would have been only two and a half years old.  I learned of his death from an entry on FindAGrave showing his headstone at Grandview cemetery in Johnstown:

But the headstone says he was born in 1888, not 1886 as the Philadelphia birth record stated. So I searched the interment database for Grandview cemetery in Johnstown and saw that the interment record indicates that Milton was two when he died in April, 1889, suggesting that the headstone is wrong and the birth record and interment record are right.  Very odd.  I also learned from the interment record that Milton’s middle name was Bohm, his mother’s birth name.

A little over a month after Milton’s death in Johnstown, one of the most tragic events in American history occurred: the Johnstown flood of May 31, 1889. Over two thousand people died that day.  According to the Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA) website, that was the largest loss of civilian life in America in one day until September 11, 2001.

The JAHA website and several other sources describe how after several days of heavy rain, the South Fork dam, which was in need of repairs, collapsed, causing havoc and death as the rushing waters swept everything in its path under and aside.

 

The aftermath of the Johnstown Flood (Johnstow...

The aftermath of the Johnstown Flood (Johnstown, Pennsylvania). “The Debris above the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge.” In: “History of the Johnstown Flood”, by Willis Fletcher Johnson, 1889. P. 199. Library Call Number M79.4 J71h. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is how the JAHA described it:

20 million tons of water rushed down the narrow Conemaugh Valley like a moving mountain of water at an average speed of 40 miles per hour. The “terrible wave” picked up houses, trees, and even trains on its way down the valley. It flattened a railroad bridge. It swept whole towns away as it made its way to the city of Johnstown.

By the time it reached Johnstown the flood didn’t even look like water anymore. People who saw it coming said it looked like a moving, boiling black mountain of junk. 35 feet high at its crest, it had the force of Niagara Falls. Even the best swimmers couldn’t swim in that mess. Many people drowned. For most, the only warning was a thunderous rumble before the water hit.

In minutes, most of downtown Johnstown was destroyed. Survivors clung to roofs, debris, and the few buildings that remained standing. Others who weren’t killed instantly, were swept down the valley to their deaths.

Just when it seemed like it couldn’t get worse, it did. All that wreckage piled up behind the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Stone Bridge. People who managed to survive so far became trapped in the huge pile of debris, all wrapped in a tangle of barbed wire from destroyed Gautier Wire Works. Then the pile, which was 40 feet high and 30 acres across, caught fire!

Four square miles of downtown Johnstown was completely leveled, including about 1600 homes, 280 businesses, and much of the Cambria Iron Company. Even more tragic was the loss of life. 2,209 people are known to have died in the flood waters. 99 whole families perished. 400 children under the age of ten were killed.

Among those who lost their lives in the flood were Ella Bohm Katzenstein, Jacob’s wife, and their younger son, Edwin, who was just five days short of his second birthday.

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent,, June 7, 1889, p. 3

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent,, June 7, 1889, p. 3

Note that this list includes Ella (identified by her birth name incorrectly as Ellen) and her son among those who were killed and Jacob on the list of those who survived.

Jacob Katzenstein had lost his entire family starting with Milton on April 18 and then, 43 days later, he lost Ella and Edwin in the flood.

ella-katzenstein-and-edwin-katzenstein-headstone-from-findagrave

Headstone of Ella and Edwin Katzenstein, FindAGrave, courtesy of Byron http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=118211407&ref=acom

The headstone allowed me to infer the birthdates for Ella (February 1862) and Edwin (June 5, 1887), as it says Ella was 27 years, six months, and zero days old at her death on May 31, 1889, and that Edwin was one year, eleven months, and six days old that day.

The odd thing is that this headstone is located at Eastview Cemetery in Cumberland, Maryland, not at Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown where Jacob and Ella had buried Milton the month before.  Also, note that the stone says “In Memory of,” an indication to me that it is not marking a grave, but is just operating as a memorial.  Maybe the bodies of Ella and little Edwin were never found. (I’ve contacted the Eastview Cemetery to see if they have more information, but so far they’ve not found any information about the stone, who put it there, or whether Ella and Edwin are in fact buried there.)

But why is this memorial in Cumberland? Jacob was living in Johnstown; his parents were living in Philadelphia. The only Katzenstein family members I know of who were living in Cumberland at that time were some members of the family of H.H. Mansbach, Jacob Katzenstein’s first cousin.  Did the Mansbach family install this memorial?  I am still trying to figure this one out.

It is hard to imagine the devastation caused by this flood. Over two thousand lives lost as well as all the injuries and the destruction of the town itself.  Just as we cannot really grasp the full meaning of  the more than two thousand people who died on 9/11, we cannot truly understand the impact of this tragedy unless we focus on one life at a time and the story of that life. Trying to imagine what this must have been like for Jacob Katzenstein gives me a better sense of how horrifying and devastating the flood must have been, multiplying his story over two thousand times.

English: After the Flood at Johnstown -- Main ...

English: After the Flood at Johnstown — Main Street, a wood engraving (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It also makes me want to know more about Ella Bohm, the woman he married.  I am still trying to learn more about her.  All I know now is that she was born in February, 1862 (based on that headstone), that her father’s name was Marcus Bohm, that she had two sons, Milton and Edwin, and that both of them died as toddlers.  She was only 27 on May 31, 1889, when she died along with her son Edwin and the 2,207 other people who were killed in the Johnstown flood.

I will write more about her in my next post.