The Boston Marathon 2022

As a mother, I have been blessed with many days that have brought me immeasurable joy and pride—the days my daughters were born, their first words, their first steps, their first days of school. Watching them perform on stage in theatrical and musical performances. Bat mitzvahs, graduations, a wedding, and the births of my grandchildren. Those are the big events. Then there are so many smaller events that have filled my heart with so much love and joy—when they’ve done something kind to a friend or family member, when they’ve made someone smile, when they’ve made me laugh until tears roll down my face. Being their mother has been a constant source of joy and pride.

Yes, there were and still are moments that I get exasperated with them. There were times I’ve lost my temper or said something too harsh. Times I was in too much of a rush or under too much stress to be as patient or attentive as I should have been. And there were times they also didn’t behave as I might have wanted them to. But overall being a mother has brought me the greatest challenges and the greatest rewards of my life.

Yesterday was one of those days of immeasurable joy and pride just as last October 11 had been when Maddy ran the Boston Marathon for the first time. Yesterday she did it again. Of course, I am proud of her determination and her hard work and her accomplishment of running 26.2 miles on one of the hardest marathon courses in the world. But it is more than that. So much more than that.

Maddy works at the Lenox Hotel in Boston, a beautiful old hotel with so much style and class that it puts any other hotel to shame. And it happens to be located just a block away from the Marathon finish line. It is the perfect place to watch the thousands of runners as they finally reach their goal after hours of running. You are a witness to all their excitement, exhaustion, and elation as they see that finish line in front of them. And so, of course, we stayed at the hotel to watch and to witness Maddy’s completion of the marathon for the second time.

From the moment we entered the hotel on Sunday night, we were treated like VIPs. Everyone told us how proud they were of Maddy, how excited they were, and how much they loved her. From the top management of the hotel to the woman who came to clean our room, we heard over and over again how kind she was, how special she was. What more could a parent ask for?

And then we waited and watched as the participants passed the Lenox. First, the amazing grit and determination of the wheelchair and hand-cycle participants, then the awe-inspiring runners who were pushing a loved one in a wheelchair through the racecourse, then the elite runners arriving in just over two hours, and then wave after wave of runners from all over the world of all ages.

The fourth wave were the runners who ran for charity, not based on a qualifying time, and in my mind, they are the most important of all. They are not doing it solely for the athletic challenge, but to make life better for others at the same time.

Maddy was in that fourth wave. In the three times she has raised money in order to run in the Marathon (the first time cancelled because of COVID), she has raised close to $50,000 from friends and family for the Boston Medical Center, a non-profit 514-bed academic hospital in Boston; its mission statement states that the hospital is “driven by a commitment to care for all people, regardless of their ability to pay, providing not only traditional medical care, but also programs and services that wrap around that care to enhance overall health.” Maddy’s ability to raise that kind of money for the hospital is a testament to how many people care about her and support her efforts.

As we waited for Maddy to approach the finish line, we tracked her on the Boston Athletic Association app. She was running with her friend Mo, and they stopped to send us a selfie they took as they passed the halfway mark at 13.1 miles—their big smiles glowing with pride and happiness. Maddy’s oldest and dearest friend Anna traveled from western Massachusetts with her family to stand along the race route to cheer Maddy on and give her a hug. Our cousins in Newton waited along Heartbreak Hill to cheer her on as well.

Anna and Maddy

And then we saw on the app that Maddy was crossing Mass Avenue and then turning onto Hereford Street and finally on to Boylston Street, just a few blocks away from where we were standing. We noticed that Mo was now trailing her just a bit and later learned that Mo had graciously told Maddy to run ahead—perhaps to get all her glory alone as she passed us, arms high, smile beaming, with her co-workers and friends and her parents yelling and screaming her name as she ran by and then crossed the finish line.

We then waited for her to return to the hotel, her home away from home, the place where so many who love her were waiting to cheer her accomplishment. As she walked in, the DJ played “Eye of the Tiger,” and the crowd cheered and applauded and then allowed us, her parents, to give her the first hugs.

And then, as she was being hugged and greeted by others, she noticed that the 95-year-old owner of the hotel was also in the lobby, sitting in a wheelchair, waiting to see her. Maddy went over and gave him a hug and spoke to him, and my heart almost exploded with pride and emotion.

So yes, yesterday was one of those days you dream of as a mother when you are raising a young child and hoping that they will grow up to be hard-working and determined and kind and generous. That they will be filled with joy and self-confidence. And most importantly, that they will be loved and loving.

I am so blessed that both of my daughters have fulfilled those dreams for me in so many ways. Rebecca, through her work fighting against gun violence and as a loving and devoted mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend, has also given me many days of intense joy and pride. And yesterday was only one of the many days when Maddy has brought tears to my eyes with her kindness and love and joyfulness and her determination to do her best at whatever she does.

But yesterday—well, yesterday was one of those truly special days that I will always cherish.

1950 Census Day!

I was going to post more about the Blumenfelds today, but I am too distracted and excited because the 1950 US census has been released, and I just want to dive right in and start looking for all my family and friends who were born before 1950. I’ve already found my mother and maternal grandparents and my husband’s parents and brother, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

My grandparents and my 19 year old mother on the 1950 US census

So I’ll be happily buried in the search page which you can find here. Even if you aren’t a family history/genealogy geek like I am, I bet you will be interested in finding all those pre-1950 people you know.

Florence Goldschlager Cohen: A Life Filled with Love

Thank you to everyone who commented or emailed or texted me to express their condolences regarding the loss of my mother. I am deeply grateful to you all for your support during this difficult time. I hope to be back to regular blogging soon.

I wanted to share a little more about my mother’s life. She was born on October 15, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the third child of my maternal grandparents, Isadore Goldschlager and Gussie Brotman, whose stories were told in my family history novel, Pacific Street. My mother Florence was twelve years younger than her brother Maurice and thirteen years younger than her sister Elaine and so was very much the baby in the family. Her family lived in a small four unit building in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn at 1010 Rutland Road. My grandfather was a milkman whose route was overnight and whose earnings were limited, although my mother said she never felt poor. There was always good food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Goldschlagers 1931

My mother loved growing up in Brooklyn. Her best friend Beatty lived in the building, and as I wrote about here,  I was able to reconnect my mother and Beatty about six years ago after they’d been out of touch for seventy years.

My mother was a good student although being left-handed back then meant that the teachers tried to force her to write with her right hand. But she was too left-dominant for that. She was a voracious reader from a young age and visited the local library in Brooklyn often to borrow books.

Florence and Elaine Goldschlager

When she was eleven, her parents decided to move to a new apartment complex in the Bronx called Parkchester where my aunt had moved after she got married. My mother was devastated to leave behind her friends especially Beatty and her beloved dog Sparky.

Beatty and my mother c. 1940

But she adjusted to life in the Bronx and made new friends and graduated from high school in 1948.

Florence Goldschlager 1948

Two years later she met my father at a Jewish singles camp, as I described here. They were married in 1951 in New York and had a long and happy marriage until my father died in 2019.

Florence and John Cohen 1951

My mother was a stay-at-home mom until 1965 when she decided to get a job as a teacher’s aide in the local elementary school. Because she proved to be so skilled as a teacher, she soon moved up to be a resource room teacher working with children with different learning styles and challenges. She was a devoted, well-respected, and beloved educator for many years, and even after she retired from full-time teaching, she continued to tutor children for most of the rest of her life.

She had many interests and never stopped loving books as well as theater, music, travel, knitting, cooking, gardening, Cape Cod, and especially animals. She was absolutely crazy about dogs and cats, and our home was always filled with both. She had a wonderful sense of humor and incredible taste in clothes, decor, food, and art.

But perhaps the most important thing I can say about my mother is that she was an unbelievably kind, loving, and compassionate woman—especially to her family, but also to her students, her colleagues, her friends, and everyone who ever had the good fortune of spending any time with her. I know I will keep her close to my heart for the rest of my life.

You can learn more about my mother and her life in her obituary found here.

Ny mother and me, c. 1954

My Mother

To my readers.

I will be taking some time off from blogging. My mother died on Friday, February 11, 2022, and I need to take care of myself and my family. I will likely post something soon about my mother, but for now I leave you with a few photos of my beautiful, wonderful, beloved mother. I already miss her more than I can express.

Thanks for your support.

Amy

Florence Goldschlager 1931

Florence Goldschlager, c. 1944

Florence and John Cohen 1951

 

My mother and me, c. 1954

My parents

 

 

The Homestead Restaurant in Northampton: Another Small World Story

Once again the genealogy gods are playing with my mind and convincing me that I must somehow be related to everyone I know.

This past weekend I was texting my friend Marlene to make plans to get together for dinner. We were going back and forth, trying to find a restaurant that has outdoor seating and that will take a reservation. Then Marlene texted, “I have a cousin who owns a restaurant in Northampton. I’ve never been there though.”

I texted back, “That’s funny. I have a cousin who owns a restaurant in Northampton, but I’ve never been there or met him.” I couldn’t remember his name or the name of his restaurant at that moment, so I went to my Ancestry app, knowing that he was a nephew of my cousin Roger. Roger and his husband David have been tremendously helpful to me in my genealogy research, as readers of my blog know. Roger is my third cousin, once removed, on my Katzenstein-Goldschmidt line. We are both descended from Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt.

After checking my tree and finding the right name and the name of his restaurant, I texted Marlene, “My cousin is Jeremy Werther. He owns the Homestead restaurant.”

Much to my amazement, she responded, “He’s my cousin also!”

It seems Jeremy is Marlene’s second cousin, once removed, on his father’s side, and he is my third cousin, twice removed, on his mother’s side. We were just blown away. I’ve known Marlene and her husband Jim since 1982, and certainly as far as we knew, we had no relatives in common. How could it be that after almost forty years we had just discovered that she was the second cousin of the father of my third cousin, twice removed? We both just had to laugh and marvel at what a small world it is.

And, of course, that sealed the deal—we were going to Jeremy’s restaurant for dinner. We made a reservation at The Homestead, and I prepared various family tree charts to share with Marlene and with Jeremy.

It was a fabulous meal. Everything was so fresh and beautifully prepared and presented. We had two different salads, a roasted carrot dish, a bluefish dish, and two pasta dishes among the four of us. We shared most of the dishes as they are served as small plates to be shared, and it made for a very relaxed and enjoyable meal—each dish better than the last. And the service was stellar—friendly, efficient, and attentive without being intrusive.

Although I forgot to take photos of our meal, Jeremy gave me permission to include a few photos from their Facebook page. This is just a small sample of Jeremy’s artistry.

No photo description available.

But the best part was meeting Jeremy, who seemed amazed by the fact that two of his cousins had shown up at his restaurant without any warning—two women he’d never met before.  He sat with us as we explained all the connections and shared the charts with him.  He was as gracious as one could imagine—all of us sharing in the crazy joy that comes with discovering the magic of family history.

Restaurant —Homestead

My cousin Jeremy, chef and owner of the Homestead

Outside dining at the Homestead

If you live in the Pioneer Valley, or even if you don’t, be sure to visit The Homestead at 7 Strong Avenue in Northampton, Massachusetts. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Rosh Hashanah 5782: Make It A Better Year

I am an eternal optimist. But wow, it’s hard to be an optimist these days. Natural disasters abound, precipitated by and exacerbated by climate change—floods, hurricanes, drought, fires, tornadoes, and historical heat levels never before seen. COVID, which for a brief period of months appeared to be getting under control, continues to spread, hospitals are once again overwhelmed, and people continue to die. People would rather trust conspiracy theorists and take drugs meant for livestock than listen to science and medical experts and take a vaccine that has been proven to be effective.

Human beings continue to be treated as less than human—whether it’s because of their race, their gender, their religion, or their national origin. Immigrants are denied entry, women are denied the right to control their own bodies and treated as breeders, and people of color are abused and killed without any consequences for those who assaulted them. Gun violence hasn’t abated and in some places is worse. Our government is broken because hatred and greed and the lust for power rule instead of reason, kindness, and compromise. Our Supreme Court has become nothing but a rubber stamp for those who would oppress others. Add to all this the personal issues so many are facing, and it’s damn hard to be an optimist.

So how do I greet the new year? How do I wish people a shana tova, a good year, when things look so dire?

In these times it’s important to look backward instead of forward, I think. I find strength in knowing that my ancestors and others faced what must have seemed to them insurmountable obstacles and yet they survived—oppression, concentration camps, awful diseases, poverty, and hunger, things that most of us cannot imagine. They didn’t have our resources, our medical knowledge, our technology, our access to information. But they persevered. Of course, millions died from all those causes, but millions also survived. They went on with their lives—they fell in love, they pursued careers, they had children. They somehow found hope. We must also.

We must dig in deep and find the strength to make the glass at least half full. We must fight against climate change, COVID, evil politicians, and hatred and prejudice. Maybe we need to wallow for a bit and feel the despair. But then we must get back to making this a better world for our descendants so that someday they, too, can look back and be amazed by the resilience of their ancestors.

And so, shana tova. Make it a good year. It’s up to us.

By Gilabrand (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

*************

I will return to “regular programming” next Friday after the holiday.

July 2021: Scenes of the Outer Cape

I will be taking a break for the first two weeks in August, so I will leave you with some of the highlights of July in Wellfleet. See you soon!

Low tide at Indian Neck Beach:

A hike over Uncle Tim’s Bridge to Cannon Hill

My garden:

My cats:

After the storm:

Long Nook Beach in Truro, the ocean beach we frequented when I was a child:

That’s it for now. See you in August when I will return with stories about a whole new branch of the family tree!

One Thousand Posts

This is the 1000th post I’ve published on this blog. It all started almost eight years ago when my cousin Judy Ruzicka, a Brotman second cousin, suggested that instead of emailing my research discoveries to all the Brotman cousins, I create a blog where people could subscribe and see my research. I had at that time read and followed a few blogs, but had never thought about creating one. Judy did the initial setup on WordPress, and I started to publish. Haltingly at first. Posting one census record or death record and adding a few words.

This was my first post. No commentary or analysis, just an image.

Bessie was Joseph's second wife and mother of five children

Bessie Brod Brotman Moskowitz—the first image I posted back in September 2013

And then it grew. I started realizing that I could tell stories about the relatives I was researching. I could put together narratives, and when I started doing that, I could see where I had holes in my research or where I needed more sources. And suddenly I found that I had more than my Brotman cousins reading along. I had other bloggers reading as well. And I started reading their blogs, and that gave me ideas for my own research and my own writing.

From there I discovered I could share my blog on Facebook and connect with more researchers and learn even more about family history research. The blog became a bigger and bigger part of my life. I at one point was posting three or four times a week and writing posts that were sometimes 3000 words. But I then learned that sometimes too much is too much. People didn’t want to read that much in one day or that often. So I cut my publishing schedule to twice a week and my post lengths to about 1000 words.

Then the best part started to happen. Cousins started to find me through my blog. Someone would Google their grandfather’s name or their great-grandmother’s name and find them mentioned on my blog. They would contact me, and I would learn more about that part of my family—often leading to photographs, letters, documents, and memoirs and memories. The blog itself became a way of advancing my research. Today I have connected with well over 200 living cousins, many because they found my blog.

Joseph Brotman’s headstone, the avatar I use for WordPress and for my blog

So as I post Number 1000, I wanted to stop and recognize and thank all those who have supported this endeavor by reading, commenting, sharing, and finding my blog. From Judy Ruzicka, who started it all, to all the family members, friends, and fellow genealogy and other bloggers who read the blog—whether periodically or regularly—thank you for giving me this platform to share and expand my family history project.

Now—on to post 1001! I will be taking a break to spend some time with my kids, but I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

 

Who Was Bessie Goldfarb Named For? A Study in Naming Patterns

Before I write about Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg and her family, I want to explore a question that bothered me since I first learned her name.

It struck me as odd that Sarah Brod Goldfarb named a daughter Bessie since that was her sister’s name—my great-grandmother Bessie Brod Brotman. Even their Yiddish names were the same. On the ship manifest for Sarah and her four children, Sarah’s second daughter is listed as Pesie, and my great-grandmother Bessie was listed as Pessel on her ship manifest. I assume Pesie was a nickname for Pessel. Incidentally, Pessel is also my Yiddish name—in honor of my great-grandmother Bessie.

The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series: T840
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962

Year: 1891; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 29; List Number: 73, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Since Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews did not name children for living relatives, I assumed that Sarah’s Bessie was named for either the same person her sister Bessie had been named for or for a relative on Sam’s side of the family. But who was that person?

I decided to explore the naming patterns in the Goldfarb and Brod families a bit further to see if they provided any clues. Sam and Sarah’s first son was Julius (Joel was his Hebrew name), and it appears obvious that he was named for Sam’s father who was also named Julius Goldfarb.1 I will refer to Sam’s father as Julius I and Sam’s son as Julius II.

Sam and Sarah’s second son Morris (Moische), born in 1886, could have been named for a relative on Sarah’s side, and that’s possible here, but since four of Sam’s siblings—his brother Louis and his half-brothers Max, Meier, and Julius 2—all had sons named Morris Goldfarb,3 I think it’s more likely that Morris was also named for an ancestor on Sam’s side though I don’t know who that would be. Perhaps an uncle or a great-grandfather.

Then came Gussie (Gittel) Goldfarb, born in 1888. My grandmother Gussie Brotman was born in 1895, and she was a first cousin to Gussie Goldfarb. Sarah’s death certificate states that her mother was named Gittel, and her sister Bessie’s second marriage certificate says her mother was Gittel, so both Gussies—Gussie Goldfarb and my grandmother Gussie—were named for their maternal grandmother Gittel, my great-great-grandmother. (My daughter carries on the naming pattern as her Hebrew name is Rivka Gittel for my grandmother.)

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WT7-T1D : 3 June 2020), Sarah Goldfarb, 1937.

Certificate Number: 22138, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937

That brings me to Bessie. She was born in 1890, and I don’t know who she was named for. Sam’s mother was Dora Kleinman. Dora died not long after Sam’s brother Louis (Lazar) was born in 1859. Louis Goldfarb named his first daughter Dora in 1889 for his mother. It seems odd that Sam didn’t have a daughter named for his mother.4 It makes me think Sam and Sarah may have had another daughter named for Dora who died before they left Europe—unless Dora Kleinman had a double name and Bessie was named for her other name.

Julius I’s second wife was named Rebecca Kirschenbaum,5 so did Sam name Bessie for his stepmother Rebecca? Or was Bessie named for a Brod, possibly the same unknown ancestor for whom my great-grandmother Bessie was named? I don’t know.

After Bessie came Joseph. I don’t see any Josephs on the Goldfarb side, and Sarah Brod and Bessie Brod’s father was named Joseph Brod according to the two records depicted above. So I think it’s very likely that Joseph Goldfarb was named for his maternal grandfather, Joseph Brod.

Leo was the next son, born in 1899. I don’t have any clues as to his namesake. On the  1900 census, Leo  was listed as Lewis, and on the 1905 NYS census he was Louis. Only in 1910 did his name appear as Leo. Sam’s brother Louis was still living when Leo was born, but maybe Leo was named for the same ancestor for whom his uncle Louis was named.  Sam’s half-brother Max had a son named Lewis born in 1901, so perhaps he also was named for the same ancestor.6  I don’t see anyone else with an L name in the Brod family so I think Leo was named for a Goldfarb, not a Brod.

Sam and Sarah’s last child was Rose, and that’s a name that appears four times among Sam’s relatives.  Sam’s brother Louis named his second daughter Rose born in 1891. Sam’s half-brother Max named a daughter Rose in 1901, and Julius Jr. had a daughter named Rose born in 1919. I would assume that Max and Julius, Jr. named their daughters for their mother Rebecca, but who did Sam and Louis name their daughters Rose for? I don’t know. Perhaps their stepmother Rebecca, or perhaps a great-grandmother or other female relative.7

Just to add to the data set here, my great-grandmother Bessie had five children with my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman—Tillie, Chaim (Hyman), my grandmother Gussie, Frieda, and Sam. With his first wife Chaye, Joseph Brotman had four children: Abraham, David, Max, and Taube. Only the name Gussie is repeated among her sister Sarah’s children although Max Brotman, like Morris Goldfarb, was Moische in Europe.

To summarize my assumptions: Sam and Sarah’s son Julius was named for Sam’s father Julius. Their daughter Gussie and son Joseph were named for Sarah’s parents, Gittel and Joseph.  Morris and Rose are names that occur frequently in the Goldfarb family so those two children probably were named for a Goldfarb relative. Leo was originally Louis, a name that appears in the Goldfarb family, so I am inclined to think he was named for a Goldfarb.

But I am without a clue about the ancestor for whom Bessie was named. If my assumptions are correct, it would mean that four of Sarah and Sam’s children were named for a Goldfarb ancestor and only two were named for a Brod ancestor. That makes me think Bessie might have been named for a Brod, and maybe for the same relative for whom her aunt, my great-grandmother Bessie, was named. But I can’t be sure.

And sadly without records for those earlier generations, I probably never will know.


  1. KLG family history and various other sources and records. 
  2. Sam’s father Julius I had a son with his second wife Rebecca who was also named Julius; I will refer to him as Julius, Jr. That seems quite odd—unless Julius I died before Rebecca gave birth to Julius, Jr. Unfortunately I have no records to know for sure. What I do have is a family history compiled by Kay Goldfarb.  Kay’s book says that Julius died 1879-1880 and that Julius, his son, was born in 1880. So it seems probable that in fact Julius I did die before his son Julius Jr. was born. 
  3. KLG family history and various other sources and records. 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Ibid. 
  6. Ibid. 
  7. Ibid. 

My Goldschmidt Family Project: Looking Back and Looking Forward

With this post, I come to the end of my Goldschmidt research—at least until I get new updates or make new discoveries. I’ve done my best to find whatever records, stories, and photographs exist for Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann, my four-times great-grandparents, and their descendants.1

I started blogging about my Goldschmidt relatives a little over three years ago on January 12, 2018, making it the longest of any of my family research projects.  And it’s been such a rich and rewarding journey. I’ve connected with Goldschmidt/Goldsmith cousins in France, England, and all over the United States. Some of those cousins have roots in the US that are as deep as mine—going back to the 1840s when Simon Goldschmidt/Goldsmith arrived or the 1850s when my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein arrived; some are the children of those who were born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany, and were forced to leave their comfortable and successful lives to escape from the Nazis as recently as the 1930s or 1940s.

One thread that runs through so much of the Goldschmidt family is an interest in the arts and literature—whether in writing, as with Milton Goldsmith and Anna Seghers, or an interest in antiquarian books, as with Alfred Goldsmith and Emil Offenbacher, or in music like Florence Goldsmith, or  in creating art like William Sigmund and Martha Loewenthal Wolff, or by working as an art historian and curator like Yvonne Hackenbroch, and, of course, then there are the many, many Goldschmidt family members involved in collecting and dealing in art—from the Goldschmidt brothers Jacob Meier and Selig to Julius Falk Goldschmidt to the Freres Tedesco family and so on.

Alfred Goldsmith self-portrait, Joseph J. Felcone, The Old Book Table. A Record of its First Seventy-Five Years, 1931–2005 (New York: The Old Book Table, 2006), p. 5.

Painting by Martha Loewenthal Wolff

Of course, there were also many merchants, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and scientists in the Goldschmidt clan. But when I think of my father’s artistic ability and his passion for art, architecture, music, and literature, I attribute it to his Goldschmidt DNA. His mother was artistic, and she was the granddaughter of Eva Goldschmidt. My great-uncle Harold Schoenthal, also a grandchild of Eva Goldschmidt, was also an artist and an architect. My daughter is also very artistic, though she did not pursue it as a career. When I see my grandsons drawing, I think, “It must be their Goldschmidt DNA.” I may not be artistic, but I’d like to think that my love of reading and writing comes from that Goldschmidt DNA as well.

The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers

The Rabbi and The Priest by Milton Goldsmith

After three years of research, it’s hard to boil down in one post all that I have learned. That research has exposed me to so much of American Jewish history and German Jewish history—from the late eighteenth century right up to 2020. The Goldschmidts kept my brain busy during this pandemic time, and they provided me with some truly memorable Zoom calls with cousins.

It has been an amazing experience. I am indebted to so many of my Goldschmidt cousins that I fear if I make a list, I will leave someone out. But thank you to all of you who shared your family’s photographs, letters, memoirs, documents, and stories. I hope that I’ve served our extended family well by recording the stories of their lives for posterity. And please stay in touch! I want to meet as many of you as I can in person someday soon.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Madame Stumpf and Her Daughter, 1872. Courtesy of the National Gallery.
Once owned by the Freres Tedesco Gallery, Paris

A work from the Guelph Treasure
Reliquary of the arm of Saint Blaise (Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Dankwarderode Castle). User:Brunswyk, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons. Once owned by J&S Goldschmidt

It’s bittersweet to reach this point and know it’s time to move on to the next project. But I’ve gone as far as I can go in the Goldschmidt research—at least for now.  I need to decide what to do next. I’ve been dipping my toes in several ponds to see which one grabs my attention.

Before I reveal where I am going next, however, I need to take a break for a bit to catch my breath and to catch up on the research it will take to start that new project, whatever it may be. But first, I will introduce my new novel. So stay tuned!


  1. I would be remiss in my duties as a family historian if I didn’t mention that in addition to their four sons Meyer, Seligmann, Lehmann, and Simon, whom I’ve studied in depth, my four-times great-grandparents Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Seligmann had a daughter Jette Goldschmidt. She married David Gruenwald of Poembsen, Germany, and they had two children. One died as an infant or was stillborn, but the other, Jacob Gruenwald, was born in 1820, lived to adulthood, married Sarah Nethe, and had fourteen children born between 1847 and 1872. All of this information, however, is based purely on a secondary source, a report in the Alex Bernstein Collection at the Leo Baeck Institute. I’ve tried to locate more information about Jette’s descendants, but so far have not succeeded. If the day comes when I can, I will add Jette’s family to the blog.