My Father Wasn’t Wrong

In a prior post, I told the story of my father’s first impression of his second cousin Jane Schlesinger whom he met her for the first time when he was a young boy.  He thought Jane was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and told her so.  Jane, who was thirteen years older than my father, must have been quite charmed by this little boy, who was quite adorable himself.

John Nusbaum Cohen, Jr.

John Nusbaum Cohen, Jr.

When I heard the story and wrote the post, I wished that I had a photograph of my cousin Jane.  Now, like manna from heaven, I do.  I’ve been in touch with one of Jane’s grandchildren, and she sent me these two photographs of Jane and her husband Marvin.

Jane Schlesinger and her husband Marvin Bruner

Jane Schlesinger and her husband Marvin Bruner

jane-schlesinger-and-martin-bruner-2-edit

Jane (Schlesinger) and Marvin Bruner

My father was not wrong.  She was indeed a stunning woman.

 

A Review of My Novel, Pacific Street

I am very honored and flattered that Luanne Castle, who writes the wonderful genealogy blog The Family Kalamazoo and is a published poet as well, has chosen to blog about my novel Pacific Street.  I hope you will read her review and consider purchasing a copy of the book.  Thank you, Luanne!

pacific_street_cover_for_kindle

 

Here is a small excerpt from the review:

The story of Cohen’s grandparents, Isadore and Gussie, is an inspiring coming-to-America tale with all the resonance of actual experience. Cohen has painstakingly documented the early part of her relatives’ lives through historical research using official documents and has incorporated information shared through family stories.

She has researched the settings and cultures described and added her own imagination to infuse the book with appropriate details and descriptions. This is no dry historical telling, but a well-structured adventure full of tragedies and triumphs like a novel, although more accurately, it is creative nonfiction in the historical subgenre. 

As Cohen alternates the narratives of Isadore and Gussie (until their stories merge together near the end), the reader becomes one with the characters. The loneliness of both characters is excruciating, especially since family is so important to both of them.

 

You can read the rest of Luanne’s review here.  Check out the rest of her blog while you are there; she is a wonderful storyteller and an expert genealogist.

Thank you, Luanne! Your words mean a lot!

Aunt Dean: A Long and Difficult Life

It’s hard to imagine all the losses my great-great-aunt Brendena Katzenstein Schlesinger had already suffered by 1920 when she was 67 years old.  She had already lost her parents, one sister and all three of her brothers, her husband, and both of her daughters. Only her sister Hilda and her three sons were still living. She was living with her son Alfred in Philadelphia, and her two other sons, Joe and Sidney, were married and also living in Philadelphia. Brendena had one grandchild, Jane, the daughter of her son Sidney and his wife Nan.  Life had not been easy for her, and sadly, she had more heartbreak ahead.

(After reviewing several documents, I concluded that the family’s preferred spelling was Brendena, not Brendina, and have made that adjustment in this post.)

Fortunately, the 1920s did not bring further losses for the family.  In fact, 1923 brought two marriages to the family. First, on January 7, 1923, my grandmother Eva Schoenthal, Brendena’s niece, married my grandfather John Cohen and settled in Philadelphia.  Eva’s parents were still in Denver at that time, so I would imagine that Eva and Brendena became close to each other as Brendena and her sons were my grandmother’s only maternal relatives in Philadelphia at that time.

Eva Schoenthal and John Cohen, Jr. 1923

Eva Schoenthal and John Cohen, Jr. 1923

Also, in 1923, Alfred Schlesinger married Dorothy D. Steel; he was 44, she was 31. Dorothy was born in Philadelphia on May 16, 1892, the daughter of Clarence Steel and Lurline Oehlschager.  Her father, a flour merchant, died from heart failure brought on by typhoid fever in 1899 when Dorothy was only seven.  Her mother died seven years later in 1906 from tuberculosis. Dorothy was only fourteen and an orphan.  In 1910 she was living with her older married brother Richard and his family and working as a cashier in a department store. Ten years later in 1920 when she was 27, she was a boarder in someone’s home and working as a bookkeeper in an instrument factory.

Then three years later, Dorothy married Alfred Schlesinger.  My father remembers Dorothy as a no-nonsense woman who was very independent minded and serious.  It’s not surprising, given what her childhood was like. In 1930, Alfred and Dorothy were living in Cheltenham, a suburb of Philadelphia, and Alfred was an advertising executive.  My father remembers him as a very successful man who commuted to New York City for work.  What he most remembers about Alfred was that he drove a yellow convertible, smoked cigars, and had a gravelly voice. He was also very entertaining.

Alfred and Dorothy (Steele) Schlesinger 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2081; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0024; Image: 285.0; FHL microfilm: 2341815

Alfred and Dorothy (Steele) Schlesinger 1930 US census, lines 12 and 13
Year: 1930; Census Place: Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2081; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0024; Image: 285.0; FHL microfilm: 2341815

Alfred’s brother Sidney was also quite successful.  In 1930, he was an executive manager for a furniture company.  He and his wife Nan and daughter Jane as well as Nan’s mother were living on Ruscomb Street in Philadelphia.  My father has no memories of Sidney, who died when my father was a young boy, but from photographs he recalled that Sidney was an elegant dresser and had a waxed mustache.  My father knew Nan well; in fact, when my parents got engaged, Nan was the first of my father’s relatives to meet my mother, as Nan was living in New York City at that time as were they. My father described Nan as very perceptive about people and as a very self-possessed and good person. He described her as tall and gracious with classic features.

Sidney Schlesinger and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2136; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 1077; Image: 188.0; FHL microfilm: 2341870, lines 59-62

Sidney Schlesinger and family 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2136; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 1077; Image: 188.0; FHL microfilm: 2341870, lines 59-62

As for Sidney and Nan’s daughter Jane, my dad distinctly recalls his first impression of her, whom he met when he was quite a young boy.  Jane, he said, was stunning—she looked like a model.  He even recalls what she was wearing—jodhpurs or horseback riding pants.  He promptly told her that she was beautiful, even more beautiful than his mother.

Jodhpurs By Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jodhpurs
By Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Joe, the oldest Schlesinger brother, was living with his wife Marie and his mother Brendena on 19th Street in Philadelphia in 1930.  Joe was working in retail furniture sales. My father remembers him as a funny man who liked to tell jokes and Marie as a sweet, gentle, and caring woman with an open face and chiseled features.

S. Joseph Schlesinger and family 1930 US census, lines 3-5 Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0778; Image: 1013.0; FHL microfilm: 2341859

S. Joseph Schlesinger and family 1930 US census, lines 3-5
Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0778; Image: 1013.0; FHL microfilm: 2341859

Although the 1920s had been a good decade for the Schlesinger family, the 1930s brought further heartbreak.  Sidney Schlesinger died on December 19, 1935, of rectal cancer and bronchial pneumonia.  He was only a few days short of his 55th birthday. His wife Nan was only 49, and their daughter Jane was 22 when he died, and his mother Brendena had outlived yet another child.  Sidney was cremated at the Cheltenham crematorium.

Sidney Schlesinger death certificate Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 112501-114537

Sidney Schlesinger death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 112501-114537

And then, to compound that heartbreak, four months later Brendena lost another son.  S. Joseph Schlesinger died on April 22, 1936, when he was 60 years old.  He died from Hodgkin’s disease.  Joe was buried at Adath Jeshurun cemetery.  He was survived by his wife Marie, who was 46 years old when Joe died. They had had no children.

S. Joseph Schlesinger death certificate Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 036501-039500

S. Joseph Schlesinger death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 036501-039500

joe-schlesinger-death-notice

Brendena had thus outlived four of her five children.  Only her son Alfred was still alive as well as her daughters-in-law and her granddaughter Jane.  It’s really no wonder that my father recalls Brendena as an unapproachable woman who often said she wished she were dead and that her life was miserable.  It’s hard to imagine how she kept going.

Fortunately by then, my great-grandparents Hilda (Katzenstein) and Isadore Schoenthal had moved back to the east coast and were living in Montclair, New Jersey.  I would imagine that having her younger sister Hilda nearby must have been of some comfort to Brendena.

Brendena continued to live with her daughter-in-law Marie, Joe’s widow.  In 1940, they were living together on Erie Street in Philadelphia.  Interestingly, the census enumerator recorded Marie not as Brendena’s daughter-in-law but as her daughter.  Brendena was the one who provided the information, and although it might have just been that the enumerator didn’t hear her correctly (my father said she was quite hard of hearing and did not wear hearing aids), I’d like to think that that is how Brendena described her—as her daughter.

Brendina Schlesinger and Marie Wetherill Schlesinger 1940 US census Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3733; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 51-1441

Brendena Schlesinger and Marie Wetherill Schlesinger 1940 US census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3733; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 51-1441

Alfred and Dorothy were still living in Cheltenham in 1940, and Sidney’s widow Nan continued to live with her mother on Ruscomb Street at that time.  Her daughter Jane had married and was living in New York in 1940.

The following year on August 17, 1941, Brendena lost her remaining sibling, my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal.  As I wrote here, my great-grandmother was 77 years old when she died. Brendena was ten years older and had outlived her youngest sibling.  My father recalls that there was a resemblance between the two sisters, although Brendena was a larger woman.  Since I don’t have any photographs of Aunt Dean, I am including two of my great-grandmother Hilda:

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Isidore, Hilda (Katzenstein), and Eva Schoenthal

Isidore, Hilda (Katzenstein), and Eva Schoenthal

Brendena, the matriarch who had suffered so many losses, herself died at age 91 on January 21, 1945.  She was buried with her husband and three of the children who had predeceased her at Adath Jeshurun cemetery.

Brendina Katzenstein Schlesinger death certificate Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 008251-010950

Brendena Katzenstein Schlesinger death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 008251-010950

brendina-schlesinger-death-notice

Brendena was survived by her one remaining son, Alfred, her granddaughter Jane, and her three daughters-in-law as well as many nieces and nephews.  But Alfred did not survive her by many years. He died four years later on March 10, 1949. He was 69 years old and died from multiple myeloma; he also was buried at Adath Jeshurun cemetery.

Alfred Schlesinger death certificate Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 024151-026700

Alfred Schlesinger death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 024151-026700

alfred-schlesinger-obit

His wife Dorothy died two years later at age 59 on November 27, 1951.  She died of coronary occlusion, and her body was found in her home. Alfred and Dorothy had not had children, so there were no descendants.

Dorothy Steele Schlesinger death certificate Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 095401-097950

Dorothy Steele Schlesinger death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 095401-097950

Brendena’s two other daughters-in-law lived longer lives. Nan died in New York in July 1975 when she was 89 years old. Marie, who had taken care of her mother-in-law Brendena for nine years after her husband Joe died in 1936, retired to Florida, where she died at age 93 on August 31, 1981.

My great-great-aunt Brendena was the third of six siblings; she outlived them all.  She was the mother of five children; she outlived four of them.  From those five children, she had one grandchild, her granddaughter Jane.  I have just located one of her descendants and am hoping to learn more.

My Great-Great-Aunt Dean: The Story of A Strong Woman

Having completed the story of my great-great-uncle S.J. Katzenstein and his family, I am now going to turn to my great-grandmother’s sister, Brendina, who was the third child of Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt and just three years old when the family immigrated to the US.[1]  I have been looking forward to writing about Brendina because my father knew her (he refers to her as Aunt Dean, which is how she was known in the family), and he knew some of her children and her granddaughter.  He has been able to bring them to life for me in a way that has not been possible with so many of my other ancestors and their families.

As I wrote previously, Brendina was married to Jacob Schlesinger, a butcher who had, like Brendina, emigrated from Germany with his family.  Brendina and Jacob had five children: Heloise (1874), Solomon Joseph (known as Joe, born 1875), Alfred (1879), Sidney (1880), and Aimee (1887). As of 1900, they were all still living together in in Philadelphia, and Jacob listed his occupation on the 1900 census as a meat salesman.  Their oldest son, Solomon Joseph, was a manager of a laundry, and Alfred was managing a newspaper. Sidney was working as a clerk in a clothing store.  The two daughters, Heloise and Aimee, were not employed.

Brendina and Jacob Schlesinger 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1463; Enumeration District: 0421; FHL microfilm: 1241462

Brendina and Jacob Schlesinger 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1463; Enumeration District: 0421; FHL microfilm: 1241462

Ten years later, all five children were still living at home, ranging in age from 23 to 35.  Jacob had retired, but the three sons were all employed as was the younger daughter, Aimee.  Joseph was working as a salesman in a department store as was Sidney, and Alfred and Aimee were both working in advertising—Alfred as a manager, Aimee as a clerk. Heloise was not working outside the home.

Brendina Katzenstein Schlesinger and family 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 37, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1407; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0912; FHL microfilm: 1375420

Brendina Katzenstein Schlesinger and family
1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 37, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1407; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0912; FHL microfilm: 1375420

The years between 1910 and 1920 were eventful years for the Schlesinger family, some joyful, some quite tragic.

In 1911 Sidney Schlesinger was the first of the Schlesinger children to marry; he married Anna Levis.  My father remembers her fondly as his cousin Nan, as she was called.  Nan was the daughter of William R. Levis and Caroline Bopp.  Her father William, a plumber and son of a bricklayer, was born on December 25, 1860, in Philadelphia.  He married Caroline Bopp, daughter of Moritz Bopp, a liquor dealer, on December 25, 1882, in a Methodist church in Philadelphia.  Nan was born May 19, 1886, in Philadelphia.  Sadly, Nan’s father died on March 15, 1898.  He was only 37 years old and died from heart disease.  Nan was only eleven years old.

William Levis death certificate "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-678Q-WCM?cc=1320976&wc=9F51-DP8%3A1073236401 : 16 May 2014), > image 1267 of 1772; Philadelphia City Archives

William Levis death certificate
“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-678Q-WCM?cc=1320976&wc=9F51-DP8%3A1073236401 : 16 May 2014), > image 1267 of 1772; Philadelphia City Archives

Before marrying Sidney in 1911, Nan had been living with her mother, her uncle, and her grandfather Moritz Bopp.  She was working as a stenographer in a bolt factory where her uncle attended the furnace.   Nan was 25 when she married Sidney; he was 31. Sidney and Nan had a daughter Jane born on May 13, 1913, in Philadelphia.

Just a few months before Jane was born, the family suffered a loss on February 23, 1913, when Jacob Schlesinger died a few weeks before his seventieth birthday; he died from cerebral softening and myocarditis.  He was buried at Adath Jeshurun cemetery in Philadelphia.

Jacob Schlesinger death certificate Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 019891-023570

Jacob Schlesinger death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 019891-023570

Joe Schlesinger was the second child to marry; on July 11, 1915 he married Marie Wetherill in Philadelphia.  My father also has fond memories of his cousin Marie as a very sweet woman who cared for her mother-in-law Brendina for many years.  Marie was born on August 15, 1888. She was 27 when she married Joe, and he was 40.

I am sad that I’ve been unable yet to find out anything about Marie’s background or family history.  I did find a record of a Philadelphia birth certificate for a child born to a Francis M. Wetherill and his wife May on August 15, 1888, the same date given as Marie’s birth date on the SSDI and the Florida Death Index, but that child’s name was Emma Virginia M.  Wetherill.  Perhaps the M stood for Marie, but I can’t be sure.  Plus when I went to find the Wetherill family on the 1900 census, I could not find them, even though Marie would only have been twelve years old at that time.  If anyone has any suggestions for how I might learn more about Marie, please let me know.

possible-birth-record-for-marie

On October 29, 1915, the family suffered a terrible loss when Brendina’s oldest child Heloise died at age 41 of complications from diabetes.  Heloise had never married or worked out of the house so perhaps she had been suffering from diabetes for a long period of time. Like her father, Heloise was buried at Adath Jeshurun cemetery in Philadelphia.

Heloise Schlesinger death certificate Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 102051-105290

Heloise Schlesinger death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 102051-105290

As this obituary notes, “Her death caused great sorrow among a large circle of friends.” How very sad this must have been for her family and her friends.

The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, November 5, 1915, p. 12

The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, November 5, 1915, p. 12

 

Meanwhile, World War I was raging in Europe, and all three of Brendina’s sons registered for the World War I draft.  Joe was working for the Pennsylvania Furniture Company as a salesman and an inspector of some kind—can anyone decipher what that says?

S. Joseph Schlesinger World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907753; Draft Board: 29

S. Joseph Schlesinger World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907753; Draft Board: 29

Alfred was the secretary of a car advertising company:

Alfred Schlesinger World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907753; Draft Board: 29

Alfred Schlesinger
World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907753; Draft Board: 29

And Sidney was, like Joe, a furniture salesman but for Stern & Company:

Sidney Schlesinger World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907952; Draft Board: 43

Sidney Schlesinger World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907952; Draft Board: 43

Given that the three brothers were in their late 30s and early 40s during World War I, I do not believe any of them actually served in the war.

That was probably very fortunate as Brendina had already lost her husband and her daughter in less than three years. But the heartbreak did not end there.  On April 20, 1920, the youngest Schlesinger child, Aimee, died of breast cancer at age 33.

Aimee Schlesinger Steinberg death certificate Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 043501-046500

Aimee Schlesinger Steinberg death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 043501-046500

Aimee was married to Samuel Steinberg, a Russian immigrant who had immigrated to the US with his parents, Menashe and Deborah, in 1890 when he was just a baby.  His father was in the butter and eggs business in Philadelphia in 1900. By 1910 Menashe owned a store in Philadelphia where Samuel and his brother both worked.

When he registered for the World War I draft in June, 1917, Samuel was still single and working as a presser. Thus, he and Aimee could not have been married very long at the time of her death.  They were living in Philadelphia with Brendina and her son Alfred in 1920.  Samuel was a commercial traveler in the jewelry business at that time.

Aimee Schlesinger Steinberg and family 1920 census

Aimee Schlesinger Steinberg and family 1920 census

Philadelphia Inquirer April 22, 1920 p. 18

Philadelphia Inquirer April 22, 1920 p. 18

After Aimee died, Brendina was left with her three sons, Joseph, Alfred, and Sidney, who were all living in Philadelphia.  As noted above, in 1920 she was living with Alfred, who was still single and was in the advertising business.  Joe, like Alfred, was in advertising and living with his wife Marie in 1920. Sidney and Nan were living with their daughter Jane and Nan’s mother Caroline in 1920; Sidney was working as a furniture salesman.

Sidney Schlesinger and family 1920 census Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 42, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1643; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 1563; Image: 705

Sidney Schlesinger and family 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 42, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1643; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 1563; Image: 705

Thus, after losing her parents in the 1890s and two of brothers in the 1900s, Brendina lost her husband and two of her daughters (as well as her last surviving brother Jacob) between 1910 and 1920.   Her only surviving sibling was my great-grandmother Hilda, who had moved all the way to Denver by 1910.  It’s hard to imagine how Aunt Dean endured so many losses.  And yet she did, for she lived long enough for my father to have clear memories of her. More on that in my next post.

 

[1] I am skipping over Jacob Katzenstein for now because I have ordered a book about the Jewish community in Johnstown and am waiting until I’ve read it before I continue the story of his life after the 1889 flood.

Katzenstein to Kay, Part II

In my prior post, we saw how the family of S.J. Katzenstein had moved on from Little Washington, Pennsylvania, after S.J. died.  His daughter Moynelle married Bert Spanye, who was a very successful businessman in Cleveland, and all but one of the five Katzenstein sons as well as S.J.’s widow Henrietta had also moved to Cleveland. Two sons went to college, and three served in World War I.

Moynelle and Bert had two children, Edward and Margaret. When Bert retired in 1924, Edward was working as a salesman and still living at home with his family in Cleveland in 1924. Margaret was just thirteen.

Then on July 2, 1926, Edward died at age 23 from a “twisting of mesentery by ileus of small bowel.” According to my medical consultant, the mesentery contains the blood vessels to the intestines, and when it twists, it can lead to “dead bowel” syndrome—that is, a blockage of blood to the intestines. Even today this condition is quite lethal if not treated quickly (and sometimes even with treatment). Edward’s death certificate states that he was an apprentice for a lithography company at the time of his death.  What a terrible shock this must have been for his family.

Edward Spanye death certificate "Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PJ1-S35L?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-1PD%3A287601201%2C294566201 : 21 May 2014), 1926 > image 2692 of 3564.

Edward Spanye death certificate
“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PJ1-S35L?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-1PD%3A287601201%2C294566201 : 21 May 2014), 1926 > image 2692 of 3564.

 

As for the five Katzenstein brothers, all had changed their name to Kay by 1920, and none had yet married. On July 25, 1925, Milton (also known as M. Boyd Kay), who had by then relocated from Pittsburgh to Detroit, married Dorothy V. Reese.  He was 44, she was 27. The marriage did not last, as Dorothy divorced him one year later on December 20, 1926, on grounds of extreme cruelty. (The petition had been filed on August 9, 1926, just over a year after they’d married.)

Marriage register for Milton Kay and Dorothy Veese Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.

Marriage register for Milton Kay and Dorothy Veese
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.

Divorce of Milton Boyd Kay by Dorothy Veese 1926 Ancestry.com. Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Michigan. Divorce records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan

Divorce of Milton Boyd Kay by Dorothy Veese 1926
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Michigan. Divorce records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan

The other brothers—Howard, Earl, Ivan, and Vernon—are missing from the Cleveland directories for several years after 1921.  In 1927, however, three of them are listed in the directory for that year.  Earl was working as a salesman for the Scott-Ullmann Company and living with his sister and her family at 11338 Belleflower; Howard was a merchandise manager for The Ames Company, still living at 7100 Euclid Avenue, as was his brother Vernon, who was the secretary-treasurer of the company where his older brother Earl was a salesman, Scott-Ullman.  Ivan is not listed, and I am not sure where he was living at that time.

Kays in 1927 Cleveland directory Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1927 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Kays in 1927 Cleveland directory
Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1927
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

As of 1930, three of the brothers were still living in Cleveland. Vernon and Ivan were living with their mother. Ivan was a superintendent in a department store, and Vernon was the manager of an electric factory. Earl was living in a hotel, working as a salesman of electric fixtures. (I assume Earl and Vernon were both still working for Scott-Ullmann, which must have been a lighting company.)

Howard and Ivan Kay and their mother on 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: 1772; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0825; Image: 413.0; FHL microfilm: 2341506

Vernon and Ivan Kay and their mother on 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: 1772; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0825; Image: 413.0; FHL microfilm: 2341506

The oldest brother M. Boyd Kay was still living in Detroit in 1930; he was living in a hotel and practicing medicine. By 1932, he had relocated to Miami, Florida.

I couldn’t find Howard on the 1930 census, although I found his 7100 Euclid Avenue address on the census report.  He was not listed in what appears to have been a multi-family dwelling at that location.

I also could not find the Moynelle and her family on the 1930 census despite having the exact address of where they were living (11338 Belleflower Road, their home since at least 1910).  In 1930, Bert, Moynelle, and Margaret traveled together to Europe and listed their address as 11338 Belleflower Road in Cleveland.  Yet when I went through the enumeration district that includes that address on the 1930 census, that house number was not listed nor was the Spanye family.

On January 4, 1933, Moynelle and Bert’s daughter Margaret (also known as Mardi) married William Saul David Wolf. William, also a Cleveland native, was the son of Jacob Wolf and Jennie Schonberger and was working as a salesman when they married.

Marriage license of Margaret Spanye and William Wolf Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

Marriage license of Margaret Spanye and William Wolf
Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data: Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 2, 1933, p. 16

Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 2, 1933, p. 16

Margaret (also known as Mardi) and William had two children in the 1930s.

Meanwhile, none of the Katzenstein/Kay sons were married as 1935 began. Then, on June 1, 1935, the youngest child of S.J. Katzenstein, Vernon, married Beatrice L. Miller.  They were married by a rabbi in Cleveland.  Vernon was 43, Beatrice 29.  Vernon listed his occupation as an engineer.

Vernon Kay marriage license Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 173-174; Page: 165; Year Range: 1934 Oct - 1935 Aug

Vernon Kay marriage license
Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 173-174; Page: 165; Year Range: 1934 Oct – 1935 Aug

On June 1, 1936, Henrietta (Sigmund) Katzenstein died at age 84.  She was buried in Washington Cemetery in Washington, Pennsylvania, with her husband S. J. Katzenstein, who had died 35 years before. (This information was provided by the Washington Cemetery and is also found on FindAGrave and here.) She was survived by her six children, five of whom had lived nearby in Cleveland.  When she died, only two of her children were married, and she had just one grandchild, Margaret Spanye Wolf, her daughter Moynelle’s daughter.

Within a few years of Henrietta’s death, several of her sons married. Earl married Violet Heineman Willis on May 29, 1937. She had been married once before and widowed. She was 39 and working as a bookkeeper when they married.  Earl was 51 and living at the Hotel Statler and working as a salesman. They were married by a justice of the peace.

Marriage license for Earl Kay and VIolet WIllis Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 180-181; Page: 571; Year Range: 1937 Jan - 1937 Aug

Marriage license for Earl Kay and VIolet WIllis
Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 180-181; Page: 571; Year Range: 1937 Jan – 1937 Aug

On March 30, 1940, Milton Boyd Kay married Cassie Leopold Winkler in Miami. She was a widow who had previously lived in Pittsburgh before her first husband Leo Winkler died, so perhaps M. Boyd knew her from his days living there.  He was 59, she was 57. They were married by a county judge.

M Boyd Kay marriage to Cassie Winkler Ancestry.com. Florida, County Marriages, 1823-1982 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Florida Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

M Boyd Kay marriage to Cassie Winkler
Ancestry.com. Florida, County Marriages, 1823-1982 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data: Marriage Records. Florida Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

On July 15, 1940, Howard Kay married Estell Goodhart Kaufmann in Cleveland, though he was already residing in Miami by then; he was 57, she was 47 and had been widowed twice before marrying Howard. Estell had also grown up in Cleveland, so perhaps Howard had known her when he was younger. On the marriage registry, Estell gave her address as 11338 Belleflower Road, the address where Howard’s sister Moynelle and her family as well as his mother and he and his brothers had lived at various times over the years.  Howard reported his occupation as a hotel manager on the marriage record.

Howard Kay marriage to Estell Kaufmann Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 191-192; Page: 83; Year Range: 1940 Apr - 1940 Aug

Howard Kay marriage to Estell Kaufmann
Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 191-192; Page: 83; Year Range: 1940 Apr – 1940 Aug

Although I don’t have the exact date, Ivan was also married by 1940, as indicated on the 1940 census. His wife’s name was Rhea Kaufman, and in 1940, she was 50, Ivan was 55. Rhea was an instructor for a telegraph company and Ivan was still a superintendent in a department store.

Thus, within a few years after their mother died in 1936, all five Katzenstein/Kay sons were married whereas none had been married at the beginning of 1935.

In 1940, Moynelle and Bert Spanye were counted twice on the census. First, on April 9, they were included in the census report for Miami, Florida, where they were guests in the Triton Hotel, along with their daughter Margaret.  Moynelle’s brother Howard was also residing in the hotel and is listed as the hotel manager.

Howard Kay and Spanye family on 1940 US census Year: 1940; Census Place: Miami Beach, Dade, Florida; Roll: T627_581; Page: 83B; Enumeration District: 13-38B

Howard Kay and Spanye family on 1940 US census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Miami Beach, Dade, Florida; Roll: T627_581; Page: 83B; Enumeration District: 13-38B

But on April 12, 1940, Bert and Moynelle were enumerated in Cleveland at their home at 11338 Belleflower Road; Bert reported that he was now working in the real estate business. And Margaret was back with her husband and children in Cleveland by April 26, when they were enumerated. William was a salesman for a gas valve manufacturing company.

Six months later, on November 20, 1941, Bert Spanye died at age 73 in Miami, according to the Florida Death Index on Ancestry.  Three and a half years later Moynelle Katzenstein Spanye died on March 14, 1945 in Cleveland, according to the Ohio Deaths database on Ancestry. She was 76 and was survived by her daughter Margaret and her two grandchildren.  She also was survived by her five younger brothers, Milton, Howard, Ivan, Earl, and Vernon.

In 1945, Howard Kay and his wife Estell were living in Miami where Howard was now an account executive with Merrill Lynch. He died four years later on February 12, 1949, in Miami, and was buried at Mayfield Cemetery in Cleveland.  He was 66 years old. Estell died four years later on August 9, 1953, and she is buried with Howard at Mayfield Cemetery, according to information provided by the cemetery. She was 60 years old.

death-notice-for-howard-kay

M. Boyd Kay, aka Milton Boyd Katzenstein, died on October 13, 1952, in Miami, according to the Florida Death Index. He was 71.  He was buried in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he’d been born and where his parents were buried. His widow Cassie died in 1964 when she was 81, and she was buried at West View Cemetery in Pittsburgh, where her first husband Leo Winkler was buried.

The remaining siblings, Ivan, Earl, and Vernon, all lived much longer lives.  In 1942, Ivan and his wife Rhea were still living in Cleveland where he was employed by the May Company.  By 1945, they had moved to Miami as had Howard and Milton and their wives. Ivan lived in Miami until he died on July 6, 1972, according to the Florida Death Index.  He was 88 years old. His wife Rhea died a month later on August 7, 1972; she was 82. I do not know where they were buried.

Vernon Glyde Kay and his wife Beatrice were also still in Cleveland in 1942, but like his brothers, he also moved away. Although I’ve not found any records or even news articles about his life after 1942, his wife’s obituary revealed some information about their lives.  They lived in Chicago for a number of years and then in Hartsdale, New York.  When I read that, I realized that they were living only a few miles from where I was living as a child.  Vernon was my grandmother’s first cousin and was living close by, but I never met him and doubt even my father would have known who he was.

Vernon died on August 10, 1977; he was 85 years old.  His wife Beatrice died on December 19, 2006, almost 30 years later, in West Hartford, Connecticut.  She was just a few months shy of her 104th birthday.  Both Vernon and Beatrice were buried in Washington Cemetery in Washington, Pennsylvania. In Beatrice’s obituary, Vernon was described as “the love of her life.”

The last surviving child of S.J. Katzenstein and Henrietta Sigmund was Earl.  Like his brothers Howard and Ivan, in 1942 he and his wife Violet were still residing in Cleveland.  They were living at the Commodore Hotel, and Earl was working for Kay-Dee Tailoring Company.  He and Violet relocated to Miami by 1945, where he was retired.  But Earl and Violet did not stay in Miami.  By 1954, they had relocated to San Diego, California, where they lived for the rest of their lives. According to the California Death Index, Earl died on January 6, 1979. He was 93 years old. Violet died September 20, 1983; she was 86.  Like S.J. Katzenstein, his wife Henrietta, and their sons Vernon, Howard, and Milton, Earl and Violet were buried at Washington Cemetery.

The S.J. Katzenstein Mausoleum at Washington Cemetery Courtesy of Joe at FindAGrave https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/find-a-grave-prod/photos/2016/232/168667419_1471722303.jpg

The S.J. Katzenstein Mausoleum at Washington Cemetery
Courtesy of Joe at FindAGrave
https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/find-a-grave-prod/photos/2016/232/168667419_1471722303.jpg

Looking back at the children of S.J. Katzenstein and Henrietta Sigmund, they appear to have been a close family.  Five of the six lived close to each other for most of their adult lives—growing up in Washington, Pennsylvania, then moving to Cleveland, and finally retiring to Miami.  All five of the brothers married late in life, four not until after their mother died in 1936 when they were already in their 50s; none of the five brothers had children.  In fact, only their sister Moynelle had children, and only her daughter Margaret survived to adulthood and had children of her own.

Fortunately, for me, one of Moynelle’s descendants is my cousin Roger, whose husband David has been such a tremendous help to me in my research of the Katzenstein and Goldschmidt families.

From Katzenstein to Kay: America, the Land of Immigrants

This is the story of how the grandchildren of my great-great-grandparents became assimilated into American society. Their father, S. J. Katzenstein, was born in Germany and came to the US as a young boy; he became a successful business man in Washington, Pennsylvania, where his sister, my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein, had also lived after marrying my great-grandfather, Isidore Schoenthal.  His children, born in Washington, Pennsylvania, like my grandmother, grew up to become full-fledged Americans.

S.J. Katzenstein had died in 1901 when he was only 53 years old. He and his wife Henrietta Sigmund had six children: Moynelle (1879), Milton (1881), Howard (1882), Ivan (1884), Earl (1885), and Vernon (1892).  Moynelle, the oldest child, had married Bert Spanye on October 10, 1900, in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Moynelle Katzenstein and Bert Spanye marriage record Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

Moynelle Katzenstein and Bert Spanye marriage record
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

Bert was born September 24, 1868, in what was then a town in Hungary called Giralt. (Today it is known as Giraltovce and is in Slovakia).  According to a family genealogy website, Bert came to the US in 1887 with his uncle, CK Sunshine.  His parents, Emanuel and Rose Sonnenschein, did not emigrate.  Bert changed his surname from Sonnenschein to Spanye, unlike much of the rest of his extended family in the US who changed it to Sunshine.

According to an article written in the December 20, 1924 Cleveland Plain Dealer (p.15), when he first came to the US, Bert taught Latin, Greek, and German at Farmington College in Hiram, Ohio.  Then his uncle started him in business in a small Ohio town, and a few years later in February, 1899, Bert along with his uncle and another partner, Louis Black, started the Bailey & Company department store in Cleveland.  It became very successful.

When he and Moynelle were engaged,  the news was was written up in the June 17, 1900 Cleveland Plain Dealer (p. 10):

to-wed-pennsylvania-girl-mr-b-a-spanye-page-002

to-wed-pennsylvania-girl-mr-b-a-spanye-page-003

 

Then the company threw a surprise reception in his honor as described in the October 5, 1900 Cleveland Plain Dealer (p. 8):

an-employer-surprised-mr-bert-a-spanye-of-the-bailey-co-page-002

an-employer-surprised-mr-bert-a-spanye-of-the-bailey-co-page-003

After they married, they settled in Cleveland; their first child, Edward, was born on September 19, 1902. On the 1910 census, Bert, Moynelle, and their son Edward were living at 11338 Belleflower Road and Bert’s uncle Charles (CK) and Moynelle’s mother (listed as Hattie here) were living with them as well as two servants.

Bert and Moynelle (Katzenstein) Spanye 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 26, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T624_1176; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0388; FHL microfilm: 1375189

Bert and Moynelle (Katzenstein) Spanye 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 26, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T624_1176; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0388; FHL microfilm: 1375189

By that time at least three of Moynelle’s brothers had also relocated to Cleveland. Her brother Earl appears in the 1907 Cleveland directory, listing his occupation as a salesman (perhaps for his brother-in-law’s store).  Ivan Katzenstein is listed in the 1909 Cleveland directory as a department manager, and Earl as a clerk.  They and their mother Henrietta were all living at 11338 Belleflower Road, the home of Moynelle and Bert Spanye.

Katzensteins in 1909 Cleveland directory Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1909 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Katzensteins in 1909 Cleveland directory
Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1909
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

In 1910, Vernon, the youngest brother, and Ivan were living together as boarders. According to the 1910 census report, Vernon had no occupation listed (he was 18), and Ivan reported that he was a manager in a department store, again presumably the one owned in part by his brother-in-law Bert.

On June 26, 1911, Moynelle and Bert had their second child, Margaret.

Moynelle’s brother Howard had moved to Cleveland by 1912.  In the 1912 Cleveland directory, Howard is listed as a buyer for Bailey & Company, Earl as a department manager for Bailey & Company, and Ivan as a commercial traveler. They were all living together at 1946 East 71st Street NE in Cleveland.

Katzensteins in 1912 Cleveland directory Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1912 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

Katzensteins in 1912 Cleveland directory
Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1912
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

At that time, the youngest brother, Vernon, was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Class of 1913. I was able to find this class photo and a legend that helped me find Vernon in the photo:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Class of 1913 Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Class of 1913
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

vernon-katzenstein-in-mit-photo

Vernon Katzenstein, MIT Class of 1913

The only brother who did not move to Cleveland was the oldest, Milton. Milton was a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and a member of the class of 1905 at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

Milton Boyd Katzenstein, 1904 yearbook for the UPenn Medical School Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

Milton Boyd Katzenstein, 1904 yearbook for the UPenn Medical School
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

In 1910, he was practicing medicine in Pittsburgh and boarding with a family there.

Milton enlisted in the US Army in May, 1917, as a first lieutenant.  He served in the medical division from June 5, 1917 until March 28, 1919, including almost two years overseas in France during World War I.  He was promoted twice—to captain on November 24, 1917 and to major on November 19, 1918.

Milton Boyd Katzenstein military record Box Title : Kapp, Edward B - Kauffman, Frank (221) Source Information Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

Milton Boyd Katzenstein military record
Box Title : Kapp, Edward B – Kauffman, Frank (221)
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

Box Title : Kapp, Edward B - Kauffman, Frank (221) Source Information Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

Box Title : Kapp, Edward B – Kauffman, Frank (221)
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

He was not the only Katzenstein brother to serve in World War I.  According to The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War (Volume 9), Ivan Katzenstein joined the Ohio National Guard on August 13, 1917. He served in the field artillery in the Guard until August 31, 1918.  He then was sent to France where he served in the 135th Field Artillery, Company C, until July 5, 1919, and fought in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.  He was honorably discharged on July 11, 1919.

Title : The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War Volume 9 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Title : The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War Volume 9
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (A) General Files, Army and Navy (Boxes 2-4); Box #: 3; Folder #: 9; Box Info: (Box 3) Cleveland: Privates, H-P Description Folder Content Description : (Box 3) Cleveland: Privates, H-P

Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (A) General Files, Army and Navy (Boxes 2-4); Box #: 3; Folder #: 9; Box Info: (Box 3) Cleveland: Privates, H-P
Description
Folder Content Description : (Box 3) Cleveland: Privates, H-P

Vernon also served during World War I.  He was a first lieutenant in the Officers’ Reserve Corps beginning July 6, 1917, serving in the Ordnance Corps. He served in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I from December 3, 1917 until June 17, 1919, and was honorably discharged on June 25, 1919.

Title : The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War Volume 9 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Title : The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War Volume 9
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

When the US entered World War I, Howard Katzenstein was working as the assistant field director for the American Red Cross at Camp Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, according to his draft registration card:

Howard Katzenstein World War I draft registration Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831766; Draft Board: 07

Howard Katzenstein World War I draft registration
Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831766; Draft Board: 07

Earl Katzenstein was living in Cleveland and working as a traveling salesman for the S & S Shirt Company of Phillipsburg Center, Pennsylvania, according to his draft registration:

Earl Katzenstein World War I draft registration Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831766; Draft Board: 07

Earl Katzenstein World War I draft registration
Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831766; Draft Board: 07

By 1920, all of the Katzenstein brothers had adopted the surname Kay instead of Katzenstein.  Had they all decided that Katzenstein was too Jewish? Too German sounding after World War I? Too long? I don’t know. But like so many other children of immigrants, they changed their name and shedded part of their original identity.

Three of the Kay brothers were living in Cleveland.  According to the 1920 census, Howard and Vernon were living together in a boarding house at 1946 71st Street; Howard was working as a buyer in a dry goods store, and Vernon was a manager in an electric washing machine manufacturing business.

Howard and Vernon Katzenstein 1920 US census Year: 1920; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 22, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T625_1371; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 433; Image: 988

Howard and Vernon Katzenstein 1920 US census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 22, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T625_1371; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 433; Image: 988

Interestingly, the 1920 Cleveland directory shows both Ivan and Vernon living at 1943 East 107th Street, but Howard is not listed; the 1921 directory lists all three brothers. Ivan and Vernon were both still living at 1943 East 107th Street; Ivan had no occupation listed, and Vernon was the vice-president of the Bell Washer & Wringer Company (a laundry business, I’d assume). Howard was living at 7100 Euclid Avenue; he had no occupation listed. I cannot find Ivan on the 1920 census.

Howard, Ivan, and Vernon Kay 1921 Cleveland directory Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1921 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

Howard, Ivan, and Vernon Kay 1921 Cleveland directory
Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1921
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

Meanwhile, in 1920 Earl was living in a boarding house in St. Louis, working as a traveling salesman.

By 1920, Milton was again boarding with a family in Pittsburgh and practicing medicine. Here is his listing from the UPenn alumni magazine for 1922:

1922 Catalog of the University of Pennsylvania Ancestry.com. U.S., College Student Lists, 1763-1924 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: College Student Lists. Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society.

1922 Catalog of the University of Pennsylvania
Ancestry.com. U.S., College Student Lists, 1763-1924 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: College Student Lists. Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society.

 As for Moynelle Katzenstein and Bert Spanye, in 1920 they and their children were living with Moynelle’s mother Henrietta and four servants in their home at 11338 Belleflower Road.  Then in 1924, Bert retired from Bailey & Company after 25 years, as reported in the December 20, 1924 Cleveland Plain Dealer (p. 15):

bert-spanye-retires-page-002 bert-spanye-retires-page-003 bert-spanye-retires-page-004

Thus, by 1925, the children of S.J. Katzenstein and Henrietta Sigmund had in many ways achieved and perhaps exceeded the dreams their grandparents Gerson and Eva must have had when they left Germany in the 1850s. Moynelle had married an immigrant who had quickly become a highly successful businessman.   Two of the Kay/Katzenstein sons were graduates of two of America’s elite universities, one an engineer, the other a doctor.  Three had served their country in World War I, fighting against the country where their parents and grandparents were born.

All of them were giving back to America whatever America had given them. As immigrants have always done and will continue to do.

Continued in my next post.

Pacific Street: Inspired by Facts and Love

Some of you know that since I retired two and a half years ago, I’ve been working on a novel inspired by my grandparents’ lives and the discoveries I’ve made about them and their extended families through my genealogy research.  Well, I finally put my “pen” down and decided to call it done.

Amy Gussie and Isadore

My grandparents, Gussie Brotman and Isadore Goldschlager, and me

It’s been an exciting process for me because ever since I learned to read, I’ve wanted to write a novel.  All through my career when I was writing long, boring articles for law journals, I wished that instead I was writing a novel. Novels have been my refuge all my life. I love being transported to different times and places and seeing into the hearts and minds of all kinds of characters.  I just wanted a chance to try to create some characters of my own.  When I retired, I promised myself that I would give it a try.

One friend reprimanded me when I said I was trying to write a novel.  She said, “Don’t say that.  Say you are writing a novel.”  I was and am insecure about the whole thing.  I never took a fiction writing course, participated in a writing workshop, or wrote any fiction at all, not since I wrote stories as a young child. What did I know?

My only sources of information about writing a novel were all the novels I’d read starting when I read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White when I was eight years old.  That book transported me in ways that changed the way I felt about reading.  I cried so hard (spoiler alert) when Charlotte died.  And she was just a spider! A fictional spider! How had the author made her so real and moved me to care so much?

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte’s Web (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that I’ve written my own novel, I am even more in awe of the many great authors whose books have moved me so deeply. I am humbled by what those authors were able to do with words, and thus I feel presumptuous trying to promote my own book, despite my friend’s reprimand.

But it was a labor of love—love for family and love for the magic of the written word.  I wrote this book for my children and grandchildren so that they would have a taste of what their ancestors’ lives were like. I had lots of help and inspiration from my family and friends, as I acknowledge at the end of the book.  And so despite this aching feeling of insecurity, I do want to share and promote my book so that others will also know the story I’ve created about my grandparents—grounded in fact, but expanded upon by my imagination.

I hope that you will be tempted to read it.  You can find it on Amazon both as a paperback ($6.99) and as a Kindle ebook ($2.99) at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1541170369

If you do read it, I’d love your feedback.  Thank you!

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

Something I Never Expected to See

I want to share two documents that I thought I’d never see.  In preparing for our upcoming trip to Germany, I’ve been trying to find guides who can help me in the various places we plan to visit.  One of those guides is a man named Aaron.  Although Aaron is based in Cologne and will be our guide while we are there, he also asked where else we were visiting and whether we needed any help finding records.

I mentioned to him that probably the one place I had had the worst luck finding any records—online or elsewhere—was Schopfloch, the small town in Bavaria where my Nussbaum ancestors once lived.  Some of you may recall that all I had were the notes left behind by a researcher named Angelika Brosig, who died in 2013.  Angelika had a lot of information about the birthdates of the children of Amson Nussbaum and Voegele Welsch, my four-times great-grandparents, including a name and birthdate for my three-times great-grandfather, Josua Nussbaum, who became John Nusbaum in the United States.  I knew these facts were accurate because they were consistent with the information in the Nussbaum family bible kept first by my three-times great-grandmother Jeanette Dreyfuss Nusbaum and later by my great-grandmother Eva May Seligman Cohen.  But I had no images or transcriptions of original records

Even after contacting several people who knew Angelika Brosig and had worked with her, I had no luck figuring out where she’d gotten this information.  But Aaron had better luck—he found the death records for my four-times great-grandparents, Amson and Voegele.  This gives me hope that perhaps other records exist and that someday I may find them.

Death record of Voegelein Nussbaum

Death record of Voegelein Welsch Nussbaum, October 2, 1842

As transcribed and translated by Leon and Cathy from the German Genealogy group on Facebook, this says:

Vogelein Nussbaum, Wittwe des Amson Nussbaum, geb. Welsch, stirbt in einem Alter von 60 Jahren und 7 Monaten plötzlich am Schleimschlag Sonntag Abends am zweiten /2/ Oktober 1/2 5 Uhr 1842, und wird beerdigt Tags drauf am 3. dess. Abends 5 Uhr. Arzt wird nicht gebraucht. No. 132.

Vögelein Nussbaum, widow of Amson Nussbaum, born Welsch, dies at the age of 60 years and 7 months suddenly due to mucoid impaction on Sunday evening on 2nd October, half before 5 o’clock, 1842, and is buried on the next day in the evening 5 o’clock. Doctor is not needed.

death-record-of-amson-nusbaum-1

Death record of Amson Meier Nussbaum, 1837

Death record of Amson Meier Nussbaum, June 7, 1836

Leon and Cathy translated Amson’s death record to say:

Amson (Meier) Nussbaum, merchant, here no. 132, married, consumption, 8th this evening at 8 o’clock, 58 years old.

Thank you to Aaron for his persistence and hard work in locating these records. And thank you also to Leon and Cathy from the Facebook German Genealogy group!  Danke!!

Are These Two Photographs of the Same Woman?

Sharon, one of my readers and a fellow genealogy blogger, asked in response to my last post whether I thought the woman in this photograph of Lawrence Baer and his son John Degen Baer could be John’s grandmother. Certainly the way his hand rests on her shoulder suggests that she was someone he knew well and felt comfortable with:

Lawrence Baer, John Degen Baer, unknown person, 1924

Lawrence Baer, John Degen Baer, unknown person, 1924

John’s paternal grandmother was Amalia Hamberg, the woman in the photo I’d posted in an earlier post. People thought that photo was taken in the 1880s or about 40 years before the one above:

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

Amalia Hamberg and Jacob Baer

 

Could the woman in the top photo also be Amalia? In 1924, Amalia would have been 73 years old. Her face is obviously much thinner in the later photograph, but are the mouth, nose, and eyes similar? Do you think this is the same woman in both photographs?

And if any of Amalia’s descendants can help, please let me know.

(I tried to use the pictriev tool that Cathy Meder-Dempsey blogged about, but the photo of Amalia and Jacob was too small for pictriev to detect the faces.)