It’s Time for Romper Room! Do You Remember the Magic Mirror?

Do you remember Romper Room? If you are a baby boomer of a certain age, you probably do. Especially if you were a good Do Bee.

Well, one of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s great-granddaughters was one of the creators of Romper Room, Nancy Goldman Claster, the granddaughter of Mollie Sigmund. She was my fourth cousin, once removed.

Mollie Sigmund and her husband Harry Goldman both died in 1941, leaving behind their three children: Leman Edwin Goldman, Marguerite Goldman, and Adele Goldman Weil. Marguerite died on April 29, 1953; she was 68. Marguerite had never married or had children.1

L. Edwin Goldman died the following year on February 7, 1954. He was seventy.2 His wife Rita Strauss Goldman had predeceased him; she died on October 10, 1952.3 Edwin and Rita were survived by their three children, Nancy, Robert, and Sue.

Nancy achieved a fair amount of fame along with her husband Bert Claster for creating the Romper Room children’s television show in the 1950s, in which Nancy starred as the first ever Romper Room teacher, Miss Nancy. The show started in Baltimore and then was syndicated all over the US with different women playing the teachers.

Since I grew up in the 1950s and watched Romper Room religiously as a preschooler, I was very excited to learn that my cousin Nancy had been one of the creators and stars of the program. You can read more about Nancy and Bert Claster and Romper Room in Nancy and Bert’s obituaries4 and here and here. 

And here is a wonderful video of my cousin Nancy being interviewed about Romper Room with some clips from her on Romper Room back in the 1950s:

Bert Claster died March 11, 1984; he was 73.5 Nancy died on April 25, 1997, at age 82.6 They were survived by their three children.

L. Edwin and Rita Goldman’s son Robert became a lawyer like his father. Here is just a small excerpt from the lengthy obituary written about “Robbie” Goldman when he died in May, 2015, at the age of 98:

Mr. Goldman earned a law degree in 1941 from the University of Maryland School of Law where he was first in his class and served as editor of the law review. He was also a member of the Order of the Coif at Maryland.

After completing the Naval Reserve training program at Columbia University in 1942, the young lieutenant joined the crew of the light cruiser USS St. Louis, assigned to the Pacific Theater.

As the ship’s communications officer, Mr. Goldman participated in some of the most historic battles of the Pacific, including the invasions of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guam, the Philippines, Saipan and Tinian.

He survived the torpedoing of the St. Louis during the Battle of Kolombangara, which damaged the vessel’s bow but caused no loss of life or serious casualties. During the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944, the ship was attacked by kamikaze pilots that resulted in 15 crew members being killed.

Discharged in 1945, Mr. Goldman returned to Baltimore and joined his father’s law firm, Nyburg, Goldman & Walter, which in 1966 merged and became Frank, Bernstein, Conaway and Goldman. From 1966 to 1983, he was managing partner, and then of counsel from 1987 to 1992, when the firm was dissolved, and he joined DLA Piper, where he was of counsel until 2000.

The full obituary, which is filled with wonderfully laudatory quotations about Robert’s career as a lawyer and his personal attributes, can be found here.

L. Edwin and Rita’ Goldman’s third child was their daughter Sue. Although I could not locate a marriage record for Sue, her parents announced her engagement to Lee Norman Baker in the March 17, 1946, Baltimore Sun.7

Sue and Lee married and had three children together. Lee was a native of Baltimore also, born on May 30, 1915, to Charles and Nellie (Silberstein) Baker. In 1940, Lee was living with his parents and siblings in Baltimore where his father was a clothing manufacturer. Lee was working as a salesman in his father’s business. He then served as a captain in the US Army in Europe during World War II.8

Lee Norman Baker, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Maryland, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 18
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Lee became involved in the production of Romper Room with Bert Claster and Nancy Goldman Claster, as indicated by his listing in the 1959 Baltimore directory.9 He then went into the employment agency business, serving as an executive in one in Washington until 1965 when he formed his own agency. Sadly, Lee died six years later at the age of 55 on April 10, 1971.10 He was survived by his wife Sue and three children. Sue outlived him by 33 years; she died on February 29, 2004, when she was 83.11

Mollie Sigmund and Harry Goldman’s youngest child, Adele, had moved to Cleveland with her husband Raymond Weil and raised their children there. In 1940, they were living with all three children and two of their sons-in-law, as seen here.

Raymond Weil, 1940 US census, Census Place: Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03049; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 18-56
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Just three years later Adele lost her husband Raymond on May 1, 1943 when he was only 57; he died from a heart attack while in Baltimore. His obituary described him as a “widely known insurance man.” Raymond was survived by his wife Adele and their three children.12 Adele survived him by 22 years; she died at 77 on June 3, 1965, in Cleveland.13

As for Adele and Raymond’s three children, Robert predeceased his mother. He died on May 14, 1962; he was only 49 years old. Robert had become the president of the insurance agency founded by his father Raymond in Cleveland, Weil-Kaufman, Inc. He left behind his wife Ruth and three children as well as his mother Adele, his twin sister Marjorie, and his younger brother Donald.14

Marjorie and her husband Lester Aurbach continued to live in Cleveland with their children. Lester became the president of Industrial Publishing Corporation, a company that published trade magazines. He had started there in 1935, become an editor, then a vice-president by 1938, executive vice-president in 1952, and finally president in 1960.15Lester died on August 4, 1986. He was 79 years old.16 I could not find a death record for Marjorie, but one tree on Ancestry, owned by someone who appears to have been a close relative, recorded her date of death as August 20, 1999.17 She would have been 86 at that time. Marjorie and Lester were survived by their three children.

Adele and Raymond’s youngest child was Donald Weil. Donald was working as the assistant manager of the lamp department in a department store and living at home in 1940.18 After that, Donald’s story became somewhat confusing. More on that in my next post.

 


  1. Death notice, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 30 Apr 1953, Thu, Page 25 
  2. Death notice, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 08 Feb 1954, Mon • Page 18. Name: Leaman Edwin Goldman, Birth Date: abt 1884, Death Date: 7 Feb 1954
    Age at Death: 70, Burial Date: 8 Feb 1954, Burial Plot: Division: 2 Section: 15 Lot: 205 Grave: 2, Burial Place: Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Cemetery ID: USA-02900, Other Comments: Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). 
  3. Death notice, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 13 Oct 1952, Mon, Page 19. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/139167229 
  4. “‘Romper’ Star Dies,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 26, 1997, p. 4; “Nancy Claster,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 26, 1997, p. 36; “Bertram Claster Dies; Began Romper Room,” The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 12 Mar 1984, Mon, Page 17; “‘Romper Room’ Creator Dies,” Tulare Advance-Register, Tulare, California, 13 Mar 1984, Tue, Page 8. 
  5.  Name: Bertram Claster, Social Security Number: 172-01-3290, Birth Date: 14 Mar 1910, Death Date: Mar 1984, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6. SSN: 220050059, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  7. The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 17 Mar 1946, Sun, Page 76 
  8. Charles Baker and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland; Roll: m-t0627-01522; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 4-364, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. “Lee N. Baker,” The Baltimore Sun
    Baltimore, Maryland, 14 Apr 1971, Wed • Page 13 
  9. Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. “Lee N. Baker,” The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 14 Apr 1971, Wed • Page 13. SSN: 215036933, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  11. SSN: 220127765, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12. SSN: 272054468, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. “Raymond M. Weil,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 3, 1943, p. 9. 
  13.  Certificate: 42719; Volume: 18091, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  14.  Certificate: 34818; Volume: 16898, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007. “Robert H. Weil of Insurance Firm Dies,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 18, 1962, p. 46. 
  15. “Publisher Spins Web, Catches Business,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 29, 1964, p. 31. “Penton Publisher Lester Aurbach,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 5, 1986, p. 44. 
  16. “Penton Publisher Lester Aurbach,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 5, 1986, p. 44. Certificate: 059200; Volume: 26549, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  17. https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/4598404/person/-1578130104/facts 
  18. Donald Weil, 1940 US census, 1940 US census, Census Place: Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03049; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 18-56
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s Last Three Children: Henrietta, Joseph, and Mollie

After Simon’s death in 1927, only Henrietta, Joseph, and Mollie were left of Ella Goldschmidt and Albert Sigmund’s ten children. By the end of 1941, they were all gone. Henrietta’s story is told here. She died in 1936.

Joseph was still working in advertising in Denver as of the 1930 census1 when he was 74, but he died a few months later on October 30, 1930. According to his obituary, he had been ill with an intestinal disorder for a few weeks before his death.

The Denver Post, October 28, 1930, p. 8

Joseph was clearly well-regarded in Denver.  His obituary describes his success as an advertising writer:2

Mr. Sigmund was one of the first writers of advertising ‘copy’ to appreciate the vast possibilities of modern advertising. A business motto signed by “Sigmund the Ad Man,” which he adopted, became known far and wide. He employed enterprising, novel advertising to make his own business known to the public, as well as to promote the business of his clients.

Joseph was survived by his wife Emma and his two daughters Lenore and Celeste. Emma died six years after Joseph on October 7, 1936, in Denver. She was 76.3

Lenore, who had lost her first husband Henry Isaacs in 1912 and had married Edwin Weinberg in 1919, had a child in 1923. Lenore did not outlive her parents by many years; she died in Denver at the age of 59 on November 12, 1940.4 In addition to her husband and child, Lenore was survived by her sister Celeste.

Celeste and her second husband Hugo Rothenberg were living in Denver in 1940. Celeste’s daughter Marjorie, child of her first marriage to Abe Diamond, had married Edward Cowen on June 4, 1933; he was a salesman, born in New York.  Marjorie and Edward had one child in the 1930s, and in 1940 they were living together along with Celeste and Hugo. Edward and Hugo were both selling women’s lingerie.

Film Number: 001690066, Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Edwin Cowen household, 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00487; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 16-134A, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Hugo died the following year in February 1941; he was 62 years old.5 Celeste had now outlived not only her parents and her sister, but also two husbands. She herself died nine years later on August 30, 1950, at the age of 64.6

With the deaths of Henrietta and Joseph in the 1930s, Mollie was the one remaining child of Ella Goldschmidt and Albert Sigmund still living after 1936. In 1930, Mollie was living with her husband Harry Goldman in Baltimore where he was selling insurance. Their daughter Marguerite was also living with them, working as an accountant for an automobile business.7

Mollie and Harry’s son Leman Edwin Goldman was practicing law and living with his wife Rita and their three children, Nancy, Robert, and Sue, in 1930.

L Edwin Goldman and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0520; FHL microfilm: 2340605
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

By 1940 L.Edwin and Rita’s oldest child Nancy was married to Bertram Hugh Claster; I could not find a marriage record for them nor could I find them on the 1940 census, despite having two addresses that were listed on Bert’s World War II draft registration from October 16, 1940. But according to the draft registration, Bert was already married to Nancy and was working at that time for the Standard Beauty Supply Company in Baltimore. His obituary reported that at his death in 1984, he and Nancy had been married for 45 years, meaning they were married in around 1939.8

Bertram Claster, World War 2 draft registration, WWII Draft Registration CardsMarylandCClClaster, Bertram Hugh (1910)

Bert Claster was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on March 14, 1910, to Joseph Claster, a Russian immigrant, and Beatrice Aaronson, who was born in New York.9 Bert and Nancy would have three children. More on Bert and Nancy in a post to follow.

Mollie and Harry’s daughter Adele continued to live in Cleveland with her husband Raymond Weil, an insurance agent, and their three children, Marjorie, Robert, and Donald, in the 1920s and 1930s.10

By 1940, two of those children had married. Marjorie Weil married Lester P. Aurbach on September 10, 1933, in Cleveland; Lester was another Cleveland native, the son of Alexander Aurbach and Della Zuckerman, both immigrants from Poland, and Lester was born December 11, 1906. In 1930 he was working in the advertising department of General Electric in Cleveland and living with his parents; his father owned a hardware store.11

Marriage record of Marjorie Weil and Lester Aurbach, Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 169-170; Page: 64; Year Range: 1933 Feb – 1934 Jan, Ancestry.com. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973

Marjorie’s twin brother Robert married Ruth Steinbrenner on January 14, 1938, in Cleveland; she was born in Cleveland on December 9, 1915, to Philip Steinbrenner and Hulda Hoernig, both of whom were natives of Cleveland. Ruth’s father died from tuberculosis when she was just a young girl, and in 1930 she was living with her mother, stepfather Edward Donahue, and siblings.12

Marriage record of Robert Weil and Ruth Steinbrenner, Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 182-183; Page: 144; Year Range: 1937 Aug – 1938 May, Ancestry.com. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973

In 1940, Adele and her husband Raymond were housing all three of their children plus Marjorie’s husband Lester and Robert’s wife Ruth in their home in Cleveland Heights. In addition, there were two young grandchildren living in the household. Raymond was working in his insurance business, Donald was the assistant manager in the lamp department of a department store, Robert was the assistant manager in an insurance office (presumably his father’s), and Lester was the vice-president of a magazine publishing business.

Raymond Weil, 1940 US census, Census Place: Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03049; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 18-56
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Sadly, Adele and her siblings L. Edwin and Marguerite Goldman lost both their parents the following year. Mollie Sigmund Goldman died on November 1, 1941, in Cleveland; she was 79.13 Just seven weeks later, Mollie’s husband Judge Harry Goldman, one of the founders of the Baltimore Orioles, died on his 84th birthday, December 22, 1941. According to his obituary, he had been ill since Mollie’s death the month before.14

Mollie and Harry were survived by their three children and six grandchildren. More on them in my next post.

Thus, at the end of 1941, all ten of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s children were gone. She had outlived four of them before her own death in 1904. There were nineteen of her grandchildren still living in 1942 as well as numerous great-grandchildren already born or to come in the years that followed. Her legacy lived on.

 

 

 


  1. Joseph and Emma Sigmund, 1930 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0136; FHL microfilm: 2339973, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. “Joseph Sigmund, Advertising Man, Dies at Hospital,” The Denver Post, October 28, 1930, p. 8. 
  3. Name: Emma Sigmund, Birth Date: 1860, Death Date: 7 Oct 1936, Age at Death: 76, Burial Plot: 05-03-NS, Burial Place: Denver, Colorado, United States,
    JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  4. Name: Lenore Weinberg, Birth Date: abt 1881, Death Date: 12 Nov 1940, Age at Death: 59, Burial Plot: 05-03-SN, Burial Place: Denver, Colorado, United States
    JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  5. Name: Hugo Rothenburg, Birth Date: 7 Jun 1878, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 20 Feb 1941, SSN: 521016969, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. Name: Celeste Rothenburg, Birth Date: 16 Mar 1886, Death Date: 30 Aug 1950
    Age at Death: 64, Burial Plot: 05-11-SS, Burial Place: Denver, Colorado, United States
    JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  7. Harry Goldman and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0207; FHL microfilm: 2340592, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. “Bertram Claster Dies; Began Romper Room,” The Baltimore Sun
    Baltimore, Maryland, 12 Mar 1984, Mon • Page 17 
  9. Bertram Claster birth certificate, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1910; Box Number: 307; Certificate Number Range: 033576-036509, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1911. Joseph Claster and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Harrisburg, Dauphin, Pennsylvania; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0022; FHL microfilm: 2341760, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  10. Raymond Weil and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0571; FHL microfilm: 2341518, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  11. Name: Lester Philip Auerback, Birth Date: 11 Dec 1906, Birth Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, Father: Alexander Auerback. Mother: Adella Zuckerman Auerback
    FHL Film Number: 1877981, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973. Aurbach family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0449; FHL microfilm: 2341510, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6Q6S-BBR?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-BNG%3A287600101%2C293615301 : 21 May 2014), 1918 > 14591-17590 > image 512 of 3228. Donahue household, 1930 US census, Census Place: Shaker Heights, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0701; FHL microfilm: 2341522, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  13. Death notice, The Baltimore Evening Sun – 1 Nov 1941 – Page 12. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7890080 
  14. “Harry Goldman, 84, Baseball Figure Here Since ’90s, Dies,” The Evening Sun,
    Baltimore, Maryland, 26 Dec 1941, Fri • Page 38 

Was “Etta” Henrietta Iskowitz or her sister Esther Iskowitz? A Genealogy Adventure

Did Simon Sigmund’s son Harold marry Henrietta or Esther Iskowitz?

As of 1920, only four of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s ten children were still living: Henrietta, Joseph, Simon, and Mollie. And before the decade was over, one more would be gone. Simon Sigmund died on May 6, 1927, in Baltimore.1 He was 74. He was survived by his wife Helen and their son and only child, Harold.

Harold Sigmund married “Etta Iskowitz” in New York City on August 21, 1925.2  Their marriage record on FamilySearch showed Etta’s parents’ names as Abraham Iskowitz and Ray Guernsey. Her record with Social Security reports that she was born on February 25, 1900.3 But tracking Etta through the years on the census records presented some challenges because her parents had two daughters, one named Henrietta and one named Esther. Which one was Etta? The census records were quite confusing.

On the 1905 New York State census, I found Abram Ichkowitz living in the Lower East Side on Forsyth Street with his wife Ray and four children: Etta (8), Esther (4), Issi (2), and Joe (one month). All but Joe were born in Romania; Joe was born in the US. That would mean that the family emigrated after 1903 if Issi (the third child) was born in Romania two years before the 1905 New York census. Abram was a plasterer. I assumed the oldest daughter, Etta, was the one who married Harold.

Ichkowitz family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 08 E.D. 11; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 68, Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Five years later the “Ichkowitz” family appeared on the 1910 US census, living on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Abraham and his wife Rachel (presumably Ray) reported that they had immigrated in 1904. Abraham was working in building construction. They had six children now: Henrietta (Etta?) (12), Ettie (Esther?) (10), Isidor (7), Joseph (5), Solomon (3), and Mildred (nine months old). The first three were born in Romania, the younger three in the United States.  Which one was Etta, Henrietta or Ettie?

Ichkowitz family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 10, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1010; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0213; FHL microfilm: 1375023
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

That got even more confusing with the 1920 census. The family, the surname now spelled Iskowitz, had moved to the Bronx and out of the Lower East Side. Abraham was now a janitor. He and Rachel now had five children at home: Etta (19), Isadore (17), George (15), Jacob (13), and Mildred (10). Had Joseph changed his name to George? And Solomon his to Jacob? Obviously the Iskowitz family liked to change their names.

Iskowitz family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 1, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1131; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 71, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

And was the nineteen year old Etta living at home in 1920 Henrietta or Esther from the 1905 and 1910 census records? The age lines up better with Esther, who was ten in 1910 and four in 1905, but then what had happened to Henrietta?

The 1925 New York State census helped clarify matters. Abraham had died before the census was taken,4 and Ray is listed as a widow. Living with her are Etta (24), Irvin (presumably Isadore) (22), George (presumably once Joseph) (20), Jack (presumably Solomon/Jacob)(18), Mildred (15), and another daughter named Edith Shapiro (26) with her two children. I assume that Edith was formerly known as Henrietta and was the oldest daughter born in 1899 or so and that “Etta” was formerly Esther and was born in about 1901. Later in 1925 Etta/Esther, the second oldest daughter of Abraham and Rachel/Ray, married my cousin Harold Sigmund.

Iskowitz family, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 13; Assembly District: 03; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 46,  Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

Well, that was quite the rabbit hole, wasn’t it?

In 1930, Harold and Etta were living in Manhattan with Harold’s mother Helen;5 Harold and Etta had a business manufacturing cleaning fluids called Afta Chemical Corporation.

That company and Harold and Etta themselves were sued by their former employer, Nacto Cleaner Corporation in 1931. According to an affidavit submitted by Laval A. Cowan, the president of Nacto, in support of the complaint filed by Nacto against the Sigmunds and their company Afta:6

The defendant, Harold Sigmund… was formerly the president of plaintiff corporation. The defendant, Etta Sigmund, was formerly a director and employee of the plaintiff corporation and the defendant, Afta Chemical Corporation, is a corporation owned and controlled by Harold Sigmund one of the defendants. 

The plaintifl’ corporation is engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling a cleaning fluid known as Nacto. The defendant, Afta Chemical Corporation, is also manufacturing a cleaning fluid known as Afta. …[P]laintiff is seeking to have certain resolutions of its Board of Directors set aside on the ground that they were not passed at legal meetings. These resolutions, as the complaint alleges, having been illegally concocted by the defendant, Harold Sigmund, to authorize an increase in salary to himself and to bolster illegal expenditures amounting to $34,000.00.

…. The complaint alleges that defendant impoverished the corporation by illegal payments to himself in the guise of salary and in large and wasteful payments to others so that the business of plaintiff would be placed in such a condition that the defendant could obtain control thereof at his own price. …

After defendant, Harold Sigmund, was unsuccessful in wrecking the plaintiff corporation and had been found out and discharged, he started a competitive business dealing in a cleansing fluid known as Afta. That while defendant, Harold Sigmund, had still been president of plaintiff corporation he had hired a chemist named Foster D. Snell to make investigation and report to plaintiff corporation improvements in cleaning fluids in order to strengthen the position of plaintiff corporation in the field in which it was engaged in business.

That when Sigmund was unsuccessful in his attempt to wreck plaintiff corporation he took from the files of plaintiff corporation all the information received from said chemist and which he had not disclosed to any other persons interested in plaintiff corporation, tried to hire salesmen of plaintiff corporation and then started doing business under the trade name of Afta Chemical Corporation and used the formulae belonging to plaintiff to manufacture his cleaning fluid.

That thereafter he caused to be organized the Afta Chemical Corporation which he owns and controls. That after defendant, Harold Sigmund, had placed himself in business through use of plaintiff’s formulae, he immediately started a campaign of unfair busines methods in which he caused to be represented to customers of the plaintiff corporation that said corporation was out of business and that his company was the successor to the plaintiff. That said defendant, Harold Sigmund, also copied the language and form of plaintiff’s labels and containers.

Harold and Etta denied the allegations made against them. Unfortunately I was unable to learn the outcome of the lawsuit as there is no reported decision. But whether or not the Sigmunds were successful in defending themselves against these allegations, they were still in the cleaning fluid business ten years later and still living in Manhattan.7

Harold died in 1987 at the age of 95; Etta died at 94 in 1995. I guess working with cleaning fluids did not affect their lifespan.8

Harold and Etta did not have children, so there are no descendants for them or for Harold’s parents, Simon and Helen (Hirshberg) Sigmund.


  1. The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 07 May 1927, Sat • Page 18 
  2.  License Number: 21452, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 9, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:247H-5W9 : 10 February 2018), Harold Sigmund and Etta Iskowitz, 21 Aug 1925; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,643,402. 
  3. SSN: 109122202, Death Certificate Number: 109882, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  4. Certificate Number: 3708, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  5. Harold Sigmund and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 27B; Enumeration District: 1136; FHL microfilm: 2341316,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6. Affidavit of Laval A. Cowan in connection with Nacto Cleaner Corporation v. Sigmund filed in the Appellate Division, New York Supreme Court, December 30, 1931, found at https://books.google.com/books?id=t-F6gRKk77EC&pg=RA12-PA17&lpg=RA12-PA17&dq=nacto+cleaner+v+afta+chemical+corporation&source=bl&ots=XOaFVU1dOU&sig=ACfU3U1-Epx39uuGvkeOh-dgpeg_6ghflw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiUvLWfk5PmAhXDPn0KHYz2AzgQ6AEwAHoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=nacto%20cleaner%20v%20afta%20chemical%20corporation&f=false 
  7. Harold and Etta Sigmund, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02646; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 31-930, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8.  Name: Harold Sigmund, Social Security Number: 093-12-2485, Death Date: Jun 1987, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Etta Sigmund, SSN: 109122202, Death Certificate Number: 109882, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s Family in the 1910s: For Most, A Quiet Decade

With Leo’s death in 1913, only four of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s children were still living: Henrietta, Simon, Joseph, and Mollie. In addition, there were numerous surviving grandchildren: William’s five children, Henrietta’s six children, Simon’s son Harold, Joseph’s two daughters Lenore and Celeste, Leo’s two children Edna and Lloyd, Mollie’s three children, and May’s son, Felix Albert Cahn. I’ve already written about Joseph’s daughters and their tragic losses in the 1910s and about Leo’s death and his family’s status in the aftermath. For Ella’s other descendants, the 1910s were not as difficult.

For the most part, William and Adelaide Sigmund’s five children continued to live in Washington, DC, with their spouses and children in this decade.  Albert continued to live with his wife Mae and work in the jewelry business.1

Abe and his wife Helene had a baby girl Marjorie born on April 16, 1911, in Washington.2 They were living in DC in 1920 where Abe was in the women’s apparel business.3

Jeanette and her husband Sydney Kaufman also were living in DC and had a daughter, Virginia Adelaide (in honor of her grandmother Adelaide, who was still living at that time) on August 22, 1913;4 in 1920 they were living in DC where Sydney was in the men’s clothing business.5

Goldsmith Sigmund and his wife Sadye and son William also were living in DC, and like his brothers Albert and Abe and his brother-in-law Sydney, Goldsmith was a merchant; the 1920 census reported that his business was a sports store.6

Howard Sigmund’s wife Lesley gave birth to their daughter Audrey Frances on May 21, 1910.7 Howard, who did leave Washington for short stints in Boston, Baltimore, and Amsterdam, New York, between 1912 and 1914, had returned to Washington by 1914. In 1920, he and his family were living in DC where he was in the women’s clothing business, seemingly with his brother Abe.8

Evening Star, Washington, District of Columbia, 29 Sep 1912, Sun • Page 66

Evening Star, Washington, District of Columbia, 16 Feb 1913, Sun • Page 65

Evening Star, Washington, District of Columbia, 11 Oct 1914, Sun • Page 70

Ella’s daughter Henrietta Sigmund Katzenstein was now a widow living in Cleveland with her daughter Moynelle. Her family’s story during the 1910s can be found here at the blog.

Ella’s son Simon Sigmund was living in Baltimore during this decade and working in the fur business (separately from his father’s business had been run by Simon’s brother Leo.)9

Simon and Helen’s son Harold was now an adult. In 1917 he was working in the advertising department of The New York Times.10 On April 4, 1918, he was inducted into the US Army to serve in World War I. He was stationed overseas from May 1, 1918, until July 12, 1919; his responsibilities included being in the infantry and then working on Stars & Stripes in their advertising department.11

After the war Harold returned to New York City, and in 1920 he was working as an agent for a publishing company, Butterick Quarterlies.12 Meanwhile, his parents remained in Baltimore, and in 1920 Simon was still working in his furrier’s business.13

Mollie and Harry Goldman’s three children were also adults in the 1910s. All three had been living at home in 1910, and L. Edwin was practicing law and Marguerite had been working as a clerk in an insurance office, presumably her father’s office.

The youngest child Adele was also still living at home in 1910, but she was the first of Mollie and Harry’s children to marry. She married Raymond Weil on December 24, 1911, when she was 24 years old.

Raymond was born in Wichita, Kansas, on June 1, 1885, to Jacob Weil and Henrietta Wolf.  Raymond’s father died in 1898 when Raymond was only thirteen, and in 1900 he was living with his mother and siblings in Cleveland, working as a clerk for an insurance company.13 By 1910 he was an insurance agent still living in Cleveland with his mother and siblings.14

After marrying Raymond, Adele moved to Cleveland where they had three children in the 1910s. Twins Robert and Marjorie were born October 7, 1912, in Cleveland,15 and Donald was born on August 25, 1916.16 Raymond continued to work in the insurance business as shown on his World War I draft registration and the 1920 Cleveland directory.17

Adele’s brother Leman Edwin Goldman married Rita Strauss on June 24, 1913 in Baltimore.

Rita was born in Baltimore on July 6, 1887, to Abraham Strauss and Hannah Selz. Her parents were both German-born, and her father was a dry goods merchant. Her father died in 1905, and in 1910 Rita was living with her mother and siblings in Baltimore, not employed.18

L. Edwin and Rita had three children born between 1915 and 1920. Nancy was born on March 7, 1915,19 Robert on January 9, 1917,20 and Sue on September 7, 1920,21 all born in Baltimore. In 1920, L. Edwin Goldman was living with his mother-in-law Hannah and brother-in-law Henry as well as his wife and two older children (Rita being pregnant with Sue), and he was engaged in the general practice of law.22

Adele and L. Edwin’s sister Marguerite was living with their parents Mollie and Harry in Baltimore in 1920, working as bookkeeper for an automobile company. Judge Harry Goldman was the financial secretary of a fraternal order.23

Finally, I was most concerned about the fate of Felix Albert Cahn, the orphaned son of May Sigmund and Gerson Cahn. He had lost both of his parents before his fifth birthday. In 1910 he’d been living with his aunt/cousin Mollie and her family. In 1913, when he was just thirteen years old, F. Albert made the Baltimore newspaper for his charitable efforts raising money to help save sick babies.

The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland, 25 May 1913, Sun • Page 12

Did the tragic losses of his parents as a young boy give Albert a special empathy for sick babies? One would think so.

In May 1914, he was confirmed at the Har Sinai synagogue in Baltimore, along with his cousin T. Edna Sigmund, who had also lost a parent when her father Leo Sigmund died in 1913. Albert, as he was known, appeared to be on the path to a good life.

The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 27 May 1914, Wed • Page 4

In 1917 Albert entered the US Army to serve in World War I. According to a record found on Ancestry in their Maryland Military Men 1917-1919 database, Albert’s history in the Army was checkered at best. I have sent away for his military records to see if I can get more information, so I will wait until I receive them before reporting more on Albert’s life.

 

 


  1. Albert Sigmund, 1920 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_210; Page: 24B; Enumeration District: 166, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  2. SSN: 229809484, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  3. Abraham Sigmund and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_212; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 271,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  4. Virginia Kaufman Furman, passenger manifest, Year: 1931; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5019; Line: 21; Page Number: 9, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Sydney Kaufman and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_212; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 282, Enumeration District: 0282; Description: DC Precinct 10, bounded by Ontario Road, Lanier Place, Adams Mill Road NW, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  6. Goldsmith Sigmund and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_210; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 188,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7.  Social Security Number: 579-07-0855, Birth Date: 21 May 1910,Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  8. Howard Sigmund and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_212; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 282,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  9. Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1907, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. New York, New York, City Directory, 1917, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  11. Ancestry.com. New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919.
    Original data: New York State Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917–1919. Adjutant General’s Office. Series B0808. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. A Brief History of the Stars and Stripes, Official Newspaper of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, From February 8, 1918, to June 13, 1919 (Columbia Publishing Company, Washington, DC), p. 34 
  12. Printers’ Ink, Volume 109 (Decker Communications, Inc., 1919), P. 28; Harold Sigmund, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 5, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1194; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 445, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  13. Raymond Weil, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of Ohio; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Henrietta Weil and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Cleveland Ward 13, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0051; FHL microfilm: 1241253, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Marriage record of Jacob Weil and Henrietta Wolf, Film Number: 000877918, Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993. 
  14. Weil family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Cleveland Ward 21, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T624_1174; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0319; FHL microfilm: 1375187,
    Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  15. State File Numbers: 1912064139, 1912064140, Additional Information: Raymont, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Birth Index, 1908-1964. 
  16. State File Number: 1916067870, Additional Information: Raymont, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Birth Index, 1908-1964 
  17. Raymond Weil, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831942; Draft Board: 17, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1920,
    Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. I coulld not find the Weil family on the 1920 US census despite searching their address on stevemorse.org. Somehow it seems the enumerator missed their address. I even searched the neighboring enumeration districts thinking that perhaps stevemorse.org had mixed up the ED since Edgehill Road didn’t come up at all in the designated ED. But still nothing. 
  18. Birth certificate number A95750, https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagserm/cm1100/cm1134/000000/000005/pdf/msa_cm1134_000005.pdf. Abraham Strauss and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 21, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0274; FHL microfilm: 1240617, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Name: Abraham Strauss, Death Date: 12 Apr 1905, Burial Place: Baltimore, Maryland, USA, JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). Hannah Strauss and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 13, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_557; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0199; FHL microfilm: 1374570, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  19. SSN: 220050059, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  20. Robert Goldman, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Maryland, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 191, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  21. SSN: 220127765, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  22. Hannah Strauss and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 13, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T625_658; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 203, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  23. Harry Goldman and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 13, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T625_658; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 203, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 

Leo Sigmund: Loss of A Life, Loss of a Business

The extended Sigmund family suffered one more loss between 1910 and 1920 when Leo Sigmund, Ella and Albert’s son, died at age 54 on July 31, 1913. According to his obituary, he had suffered from a nervous condition for two years. Leo’s children were only thirteen (Tracy Edna) and eleven (Albert Lloyd) when their father died. As the obituary points out, Leo was the only remaining family member carrying on the hat and fur business started by Albert Sigmund in 1846, A. Sigmund & Son.

“Well-known Merchant Who Died Yesterday,” The Baltimore Sun, August 1, 1913, p. 12

The obituary is as much a tribute to Leo’s wife Claudia as it is to Leo; it describes how she took over and even improved the business while Leo was ill as well as nursing Leo and taking care of the household.

Unfortunately, Claudia found herself in a struggle to keep the business after Leo’s death. According to a complaint she filed in 1916 to have receivers appointed to the business, her own brother Michael Hirsch fraudulently induced her to sell him the business for far less than its value in the aftermath of Leo’s death. She claimed that the business was worth at least $45,000 (if valued at more than $60,000 in assets with $14,800 in liabilities) and that she sold it to Michael for only $8,000, leaving her with only $1,600 after paying off the debts.

“Receivers for Furriers,” The Baltimore Evening Sun, December 13, 1916, p. 9

“Receivers for Sigmund & Son,” The Baltimore Sun, December 14, 1916, p. 13

I don’t know whether Claudia ever received any compensation for the alleged fraud committed by her brother as I could find no story that reported on that question. As for Michael Hirsch, he and his wife started another business, and it also ended up in bankruptcy.1

In 1920 Claudia Hirsch Sigmund and her two children, now 20 and 18, were living in Baltimore with her mother and sister. Claudia was not employed outside the home, but her daughter T. Edna was working as a stenographer for a soil improvement company and her son A. Lloyd was an office helper in a straw hat factory.

And the business started by Albert Sigmund in 1846 and that supported his family for so many years was gone.

Claudia Hirsch Sigmund and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 13, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T625_658; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 203
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Fortunately, the 1910s were better years for the rest of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s children and grandchildren, as the next post will reveal.


  1. The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 02 Apr 1918, Tue • Page 15 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s Grandchildren: Eight Weddings between 1901 and 1910

Last time we saw that Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund died in 1904 after losing her daughter/granddaughter May the day prior to her own death. Ella was survived by five of her children: Henrietta in Washington, Pennsylvania; Joseph in Denver; and Simon, Leo, and Mollie in Baltimore. She also was survived by numerous grandchildren.

By the time Ella died, some of those grandchildren were adults and beginning to marry and have families of their own. For example, Henrietta’s daughter Moynelle had married Bert Spanye on October 19, 1900, and had given birth to Ella’s first great-grandchild, Edward Spanye, on September 19, 1902, in Cleveland, Ohio.

And all five of William Sigmund’s children married between 1901 and 1910. Albert married Mae J. Kaufman on January 15, 1901, in Washington, DC.1 Mae was the daughter of Charles Kaufman, a German immigrant, and Elizabeth Wetzler, a Maryland native. Mae was born in January 1877, in DC. Her father was a clothier there.2 In 1910 Albert and Mae were living in DC where Albert was the manager of a jewelry store known as The Ashley. They had no children.3

The next of William’s children to marry was his daughter Jeanette. She married Sydney C. Kaufman on January 28, 1903, in DC.4  Their wedding got a big write-up in the DC Evening Star, including pictures of both the bride and groom:

Sydney was the younger brother of Mae Kaufman, the wife of Jeannette’s brother Albert. Sydney was born on February 18, 1881, in DC,5 and in 1900 was living with his parents and siblings and working as a clerk in a clothing store, presumably his father’s.6 In 1910 Sydney and Jeannette were living in DC, and Jeannette’s mother Addie was living with them; Sydney was working as a clothing merchant on his own account. Sadly, it appears that Sydney and Jeannette had lost two children in the seven years they’d been married.

Sydney Kaufman and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 10, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_155; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0215; FHL microfilm: 1374168
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Albert and Jeanette’s brother Abraham Sigmund was next to marry, and he did not marry another Kaufman sibling. On January 14, 1907, he married Helene Eiseman,7 a native of DC, born on November 26, 1881, to Moses Eiseman and Bertha Kann8. Moses was also a clothing merchant and was German born; Bertha was born in Maryland. In 1910, Abraham and Helene were living in DC where Abraham was a dry goods merchant; Helene’s father, now a widower, was also living with them. They did not yet have any children.9

Washington DC Evening Star, January 15, 1907, p. 5

One year after Abraham married Helene, his younger brother Goldsmith married Sadye Breslau on January 18, 1908.10 Sadye was a native of DC, born there in about 1890 to Ferdinand Breslau and Clara Gross. Sadye’s father Ferdinand had died in 1905, but had been a milk dealer before his death.11 In 1910, Goldie was a clothing merchant in business with his brothers Abraham and Howard.12 Goldie and Sadye’s son William Ferdinand Sigmund, obviously named for his two grandfathers, was born on June 26, 1910, in Washington, DC.13

The Washington Times, January 20, 1908, p. 4

The youngest of William and Addie Sigmund’s children, Howard, was the last to marry. He married Lesley Wilhoite on April 18, 1909, in DC.14 Her parents were Jeremiah McRae Wilhoite and Frances E. Stith. Her mother was a widow by 1900, and in 1909, Lesley had been living with her mother in DC and working as a stenographer.15 In 1910, Lesley and Howard were lodgers in the household of others, and Howard was working with his brothers Abraham and Goldsmith in their store.16

Thus, all of William and Adelaide Sigmund’s children were married by 1910, though only one of those children yet had a child of his or her own.

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s four other children also saw their families growing between 1901 and 1910. Simon Sigmund’s son Harold became a teenager in that decade. In 1910 he was eighteen and still living at home with his parents and not employed outside the home; Simon continued to work as a fur merchant in Baltimore.17 Leo Sigmund’s children were still quite young in this decade as Tracy Edna was born in 1900 and Albert Lloyd in 1902. In 1910, Leo was also a fur merchant in Baltimore in what had been their father Albert’s business, A. Sigmund & Son.18

Mollie and her husband Harry Goldman were also still living in Baltimore where Harry was no longer a police constable, but in the insurance business. Their children were also adults by the end of the decade. Leman Edwin was still living at home, but practicing law. He had graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1905 and from the University of Maryland Law School in 1907.

His sister Marguerite was a clerk in an insurance office, presumably her father’s. The youngest sibling Adele was still at home, not working. Also living with the family was Felix Albert Cahn, the orphaned son of Mollie’s sister/niece May, who had died in 1904 just months after her husband Gerson died, leaving three-year-old Felix Albert behind. I was glad to see that Felix was being taken care of by May’s sister/aunt Mollie.

Harry Goldman and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_558; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0250; FHL microfilm: 1374571, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Joseph, the only son who was no longer living in Baltimore, continued to live in Denver in the first decade of the twentieth century and work in the advertising business.19 His daughters both married during those years. Lenore married Henry Isaacs on January 21, 1905, in Denver; Henry was a doctor and was born in Pennsylvania to Isaac E. Isaacs and Elizabeth Sampson in September 1880. He grew up in Pittsburgh and went to college and medical school in western Pennsylvania.20 It would be interesting to know how he met Lenore, who was living in Denver. After they married, they settled in the Pittsburgh area where in 1910 Henry was a doctor at Braddock Hospital in Braddock, Pennsylvania.21

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Lenore’s younger sister Celeste married two years after her sister on November 28, 1907 in Denver. She married Abe Diamond, who was born in Chicago in 1879 to Solomon A. Diamond, a Dutch immigrant, and Henrietta Kuhn, a French immigrant. In 1900 Abe was still living in Chicago with his parents and working as a salesman, but by the early 1900s he had relocated to Denver where he was a cigar salesman.22 In 1910, Celeste and Abe and their three-month-old daughter Marjorie were living in Denver where Abe continued to work as a cigar merchant.23

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Unfortunately, the marriages of both Celeste and her sister Lenore were cut short by painfully similar events in the next decade. More on that in my next post.

 


  1. Albert Sigmund and Mae Kaufman marriage record, FHL Film Number: 2108220
    Reference ID: Itm 1 p 1-2 cn 13295, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 
  2. Charles Kaufman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 1240161, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Albert Sigmund, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 7, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_152; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 0135; FHL microfilm: 1374165, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census; Washington, District of Columbia, City Directory, 1909, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  4. Marriage of Jeannette Sigmund and Sydney Kaufman, FHL Film Number: 2108264
    Reference ID: item 1 p 466 cn 20466, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 
  5. Sydney Kaufman, passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1931; Volume #: Roll 1931 – Certificates: 155476-155849, 27 Apr 1922-27 Apr 1922, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  6. Charles Kaufman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 1240161, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  7. Marriage of Helene K, Eiseman and Abraham Sigmund, FHL Film Number: 2108440, Reference ID: Pg276 CN 35876 Fr475, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 
  8. Birth record of Helene Eiseman, FHL Film Number: 2114651, Reference ID: cn 28339, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Select Births and Christenings, 1830-1955 
  9. Abraham Sigmund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 10, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_155; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0215; FHL microfilm: 1374168, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  10. Marriage record of Goldsmith Sigmund and Sadye Breslau. FHL Film Number: 2108443, Refence ID: cn 40018, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 
  11. Ferdinand Breslau family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0096; FHL microfilm: 1240162, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; https://www.findagrave.com/mem Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current 
  12. Goldie Sigmund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 8, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_153; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1374166, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  13.  Number: 578-07-5877; Issue State: District of Columbia; Issue Date: Before 1951,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14. Washington Evening Star, January 22, 1909, p. 7. 
  15. Lesley Wilhoite, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 1240159, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  16. Howard Sigmund, 1910 US census, Census Place: Precinct 10, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_155; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0215; FHL microfilm: 1374168, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. Title: Washington, District of Columbia, City Directory, 1909, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  17. Simon Sigmund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 14, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_557; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0236; FHL microfilm: 1374570, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  18. Leo Sigmund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_558; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0250; FHL microfilm: 1374571, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  19. Joseph Sigmund, 1910 US census, Census Place: Denver Ward 9, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_116; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1374129, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  20. “Dr. H. S. Isaacs,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb 21, 1912, p.11. 
  21. Ibid.; Henry Isaacs, 1910 US census, Census Place: Braddock Ward 1, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1293; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 0019; FHL microfilm: 1375306, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  22. Sol A. Diamond and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 11, Cook, Illinois; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0325; FHL microfilm: 1240258, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1906, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  23. Abe Diamond, 1910 census, Census Place: Denver Ward 10, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_116; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0130; FHL microfilm: 1374129, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund Did Not Have A Baby in Her Fifties: Mystery Solved

As of 1900, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund had over twenty grandchildren, but had lost her husband Albert and four of her ten children. Three of those children had died without any descendants: Jacob, Lena, and Stella.

William had left five children behind, and in 1900, all of them were still living with their mother Adelaide in Washington, DC. Albert (26) was a clerk in a jewelry store; Abraham (24) was working in men’s and women’s furnishings. Jeanette (20), Goldie (17), and Howard (13) were not working outside the home.

Adelaide Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0031; FHL microfilm: 1240159
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

There are two things to note about this census record. First, Goldie was a son, not a daughter. That threw me off until I found later records for Goldie, whose real name was Goldsmith. Second, the record reports that Adelaide had had seven children, only five of whom were still living. I knew that Herman had died in 1883, but I have not located the other child who was no longer living.

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s six surviving children were all married by 1900, and four of them were living in Baltimore.  Ella herself was living with her daughter May, May’s husband Gerson Cahn, a fur salesman, and their baby boy, Felix Albert Cahn (listed as Albert on the census).

Gerson Cahn and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Simon Sigmund was a dry goods salesman and was living with his wife Helen and son Harold in Baltimore.1 Leo Sigmund and his wife Claudia and infant daughter Tracy Edna were also living in Baltimore in 1900 where Leo was a hat merchant.2  Leo and Claudia’s second child Albert Lloyd Sigmund was born on September 17, 1902.3

The fourth of Ella’s children living in Baltimore in 1900 was her daughter Mollie, who was living with her three children and husband Harry Goldman.4 Although Harry was working as a police magistrate in 1900, his other activities are what he would become best known for. Harry Goldman, who was known as Judge, was one of the original organizers and investors in the team that would eventually become Baltimore’s American League baseball team, the Orioles, when the American League was formed in 1900. Here is the first Orioles team in 1901:

As a somewhat lapsed baseball fan, I loved reading the many articles describing how the American League was created and the obstacles it had to overcome as the older circuit, the National League, took extraordinary steps to try and prevent the creation of a league that would compete for audiences and players. For example, Harry Goldman located the land where the Baltimore’s stadium was to be built, and the National League tried to block that acquisition. Harry played such an instrumental role in the organization of the team and its league that he was named the first secretary-treasurer of Baltimore’s first American League team in 1900.5

The Baltimore Sun, November 17, 1900, p. 6.

Ella’s two remaining children were not living in Baltimore in 1900. Henrietta had long ago moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, with her husband S.J. Katzenstein. And by 1900, Joseph Sigmund had left Pittsburgh, where he had moved several years before. In 1900 he was living in Denver with his wife and children and working in advertising.

Joseph Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0059; FHL microfilm: 1240118
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Censu

Thus, in 1900, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund had four of her six surviving children living nearby in Baltimore, plus one living in Pennsylvania and one in Denver. The next four years would be terrible ones, however.

First, Ella’s son-in-law S.J. Katzenstein, Henrietta’s husband, died on December 7, 1901, at the age of 53. He left behind his wife Henrietta and six children, ranging in age from Moynelle, who was 22, to Vernon, who was only nine years old.

Then two years later on November 23, 1903, Ella lost another son-in-law when May’s husband Gerson Cahn died from pulmonary tuberculosis. He was only 31 years old.

But the family’s tragedy deepened when May herself died just four months later on March 18, 1904, at the age of 29, from pulmonary edema and heart failure. Their son Felix Albert was orphaned at just four years old.

When I recently received May’s death certificate, it answered a question I had asked in a recent post: Had Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund really had a child in her fifties?

May was not Ella and Albert’s biological child. She was the child of their daughter Lena and her husband Solomon Sigmund. Although her death certificate states that May was born on May 2, 1875, both the 1880 census record and the 1900 census record suggest that she was born in 1874, not 1875. That would mean she was just over a year old when her mother died on July 31, 1875.

So perhaps her grandparents Ella and Albert adopted her, legally or unofficially, and thus they identified her as their daughter on the 1880 census and as one of Albert’s children in his obituary. But it also explains why Ella reported only five living children on the 1900 census, not six.

Gerson Cahn and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

One question that remains unanswered is what happened to Lena’s husband and May’s father Solomon. I have not been able to find one reference or record that reveals where he was after Lena’s death. He is not listed in the Baltimore City Death Index for 1875-1880, so presumably he was still living in 1880 when May was living with her grandparents and listed as their daughter. So perhaps he had returned to Germany or just moved on to a new location in the US.6

Losing May after losing Lena as well as Jacob, Stella, and William must have been just too much for Ella to bear. She had now outlived four of her ten children as well as her husband Albert and now her granddaughter/adopted daughter May. Ella died the day after May on March 19, 1904, at the age of eighty-one from nephritis and diabetes.

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund, my first cousin, four times removed, had lived quite a challenging life. Born in Grebenstein, Germany, she was the oldest of seven children and lost her mother when she was only sixteen. Faced with financial burdens, she had taken on the responsibility of not only helping to care for those younger siblings but of earning a living as a milliner. Then when she was about twenty-one, she decided to strike out on her own and left Germany for the US, where she married Albert Sigmund and had ten children. Although Albert was a successful businessperson in Baltimore, Ella suffered far too many losses—five of her children predeceased her as well as her husband Albert. One has to wonder whether her dreams of a better life in the US were fulfilled, given how much she had endured as an adult.

But five of her children survived her as well as over twenty grandchildren, so her legacy did not end with her life, as we will see.

 


  1. Simon Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0208; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  2. Leo Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W23-G4M : 10 February 2018), Claudia Hirsch in entry for Albert Lloyd Sigmund, 24 Oct 1938; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,108,250. 
  4. Harry Goldman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  5. See, e.g., “The New Ball Club,” The Baltimore Sun, January 27, 1900, p. 6; “More Baseball War,” The Baltimore Sun, July 29, 1902, p. 6; Fred Lieb, The Baltimore Orioles: The History of a Colorful Team in Baltimore and St. Louis (SIU Press, 2005), pp. 91-95,111, 116, 147 
  6. I did find a Sol Sigmund of the same age and born in Germany on the 1900 census, living in St. Louis and married to Emma Lorber with two children, but I have no way to know if that man was the same man. If it was the same Solomon Sigmund, he never reappears with that family either. Sol Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: St Louis Ward 12, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0185; FHL microfilm: 1240894, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. By 1910 Emma was living with her sons and still listed as married, but Sol is not in the household. By 1920 Emma identified her marital status as divorced. Could this be the same Solomon Sigmund? And if so, where did he now disappear to? 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s Family in the 1890s: Years of Transition

Although the 1880s were mostly happy years for Ella and her family, William’s death in 1887 brought heartbreak to the family.

The next decade started off well for the family of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund. On January 16, 1891, Simon Sigmund married Helen Hirshberg, daughter of Henry and Mary Hirshberg, both of whom were German immigrants. Helen was born in Maryland in 1866. Her father owned a paint store in Baltimore.1 Simon and Helen had one child, a son Harold born in Baltimore one year after their marriage on January 4, 1892.2

Marriage record for Simon Sigmund and Helen Hirshberg, Maryland State Archives, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

Ella and Albert celebrated the birth of another grandchild in 1892 when Henrietta Sigmund Katzenstein gave birth to her sixth and final child a month later in Washington, Pennsylvania. Their son Vernon was born on February 8, 1892.

On December 2, 1893, Stella Sigmund married Samuel L. Goldman in Baltimore.  Does that name sound familiar? It should because Samuel Goldman was the brother of Emma Goldman, the wife of Joseph Sigmund, and of Harry Goldman, the husband of Molly Sigmund. So three Sigmund siblings married three Goldman siblings. And Samuel also was the father of Leman Poppi Goldman, husband of Flora Wolfe, my Schoenthal cousin.  Samuel was a widower when he married Stella; his first wife Amanda Kann had died on March 30, 1892, leaving him with six children ranging in age from seven to eighteen.3

Marriage record of Estella Sigmund and Samuel L Goldman, Maryland State Archives, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

But sadly Samuel was to become a widower again just a year and half after marrying Stella. She died on July 24, 1895, after being ill for several months. She was only 35 years old. Ella and Albert had outlived yet another child.  Stella was the fourth child to predecease them.

Obituary for Stella Sigmund Goldman, The Baltimore Sun,  Baltimore, Maryland
26 Jul 1895, Fri • Page 8

Meanwhile, Joseph Sigmund and his family left Baltimore in the 1890s for Pittsburgh. Joseph had run into financial problems with his business in Baltimore and had made an assignment for the benefit of creditors to a trustee in December 1891. He apparently had debts exceeding $40,000. According to the newspaper, a particularly warm winter had contributed to a drop in fur and hat sales.

The Baltimore Sun, December 30, 1891, p. 4

In 1893, lawsuits that had been filed by numerous creditors against Joseph Sigmund were settled:

Baltimore Sun, May 23, 1893, p. 8

In the aftermath of these losses and lawsuits, Joseph must have decided to leave Baltimore and get a fresh start in Pittsburgh. By 1896 he was working in the advertising business in Pittsburgh for the advertising firm Solomon & Ruben.4

Ella and her family suffered another loss on January 26, 1896 when her husband Albert died at age 77. The Baltimore Sun published this obituary the following day:

Obituary, Albert Sigmund, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland
27 Jan 1896, Mon • Page 7

But the end of the decade brought some better news as there were two more weddings. May Sigmund married Gerson Cahn in Baltimore on April 24, 1898.

Marriage record of Gerson Cahn and May Sigmund, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

Gerson was the son of Felix Cahn and Jenny Newmyer. His father was a German immigrant and was in the wholesale millinery business; his mother was born in either Maryland or DC and died when Felix was a young boy.5 Gerson and May had one child, a son born on November 6, 1899, named Felix Albert Cahn,6 who was obviously named for both of his grandfathers (though Gerson’s father was still living). In 1900, Gerson and May and their son Felix Albert (listed as Albert on the census) were living with May’s mother, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund, and two servants. Gerson was working as a fur salesman.

Gerson Cahn and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

The last of Ella and Albert Sigmund’s children to marry was their son Leo. He married Claudia Hirsch in Philadelphia in 1899.7 They would have two children born in the 1900s, Tracy Edna born in May 19008 and Albert Lloyd Sigmund, born September 17, 1902,9 the last-born grandchild of Ella and Albert, bringing the total number of grandchildren to 22.

As the 1890s drew to a close, there was one more transition in the family. Joseph Sigmund moved with his wife and daughters from Pittsburgh to Denver on the advice of his doctors:

“Joseph Sigmund Goes to Denver,” The Pittsburgh Daily Post, October 1, 1899, p. 23

Thus, as of 1900, Ella Goldschmidt was a widow and had outlived four of her ten children: Jacob, Lena, William, and Stella. The 1900 census record says she had five living children, but I count six: Henrietta, Simon, Joseph, Leo, Mollie, and May. Soon, however, there would only be five. Perhaps Ella foresaw the doom of one more of her children.

 


  1. Henry Hirshberg and family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: M593_573; Page: 72A; Family History Library Film: 552072, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  2. Harold Sigmund, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1766139; Draft Board: 120, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918  
  3. Amanda Goldman death notice, The Baltimore Sun, April 1, 1892, p. 2. 
  4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1896, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. “Advertising Man Taken by Death,” The Denver Post, October 28, 1930, p, 8. 
  5. Death certificate of Gerson Cahn. Marriage record of Felix Cahn and Jenny Newmyer, 1864, Film Number: 002079252, Ancestry.com. District of Columbia, Marriage Records, 1810-1953. What I have not yet been able to determine is whether Jenny Newmyer was somehow related to Adelaide Newmyer, wife of William Sigmund. I am awaiting receipt of Jenny’s death certifcate. 
  6. Maryland State Archives, Baltimore Birth Index, Certificate B5470, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/series.aspx?action=viewseries&id=cm1134 
  7. Marriage Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, Marriage Year: 1899
    Marriage License Number: 115918, Digital GSU Number: 4141922, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  8. Leo Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  9. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W23-G4M : 10 February 2018), Claudia Hirsch in entry for Albert Lloyd Sigmund, 24 Oct 1938; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,108,250. 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund and Her Family in the 1880s: Years of Growth

The 1870s were primarily years of growth for the family of Ella Goldschmidt and Albert Sigmund. Three of their children married, and several grandchildren were born. Aside from the tragic death of their daughter Lena in 1875 after a long struggle with cancer, these were primarily good years for Ella and Albert.

The 1880s also started out with more good news. Their son William and his wife Adelaide had three more children, Herman Sigmund was born on May 14, 1880,1 Goldsmith Meyer Sigmund (also known as Goldie) born October 13, 18822 and Howard Lee Sigmund, born June 21, 1886,3 all in Baltimore. William as well as his brother Joseph were working as hatters and furriers with their father Albert.

William Sigmund and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 505; Page: 477B; Enumeration District: 215
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

Joseph and his wife Emma also had children in the 1880s. Lenore was born on October 29, 1881,4 and her sister Celeste was born in Baltimore on June 12, 1886.5 And in Pennsylvania, Henrietta and S.J. Katzenstein added four more children to their family in the 1880s:  Milton (1881), Howard (1882), Ivan (1884), and Earl (1887).

In addition, one more of Ella and Albert’s children married in this decade. Their daughter Mollie married Harry Goldman on May 18, 1882, in Baltimore. Remember I warned you of more twists in the Goldman/Sigmund tree? Well, Harry Goldman was the younger brother of Emma Goldman, who’d married Mollie’s brother Joseph, and the younger brother of Samuel Goldman, whose son Leman Poppi Goldman was married to Flora Wolfe, a Schoenthal cousin. (Samuel returns in yet another twist in this tree, as you will see.) Harry was born on December 25, 1857, in Baltimore.6

Marriage record of Mollie Sigmund and Harry Goldman, Maryland State Archives, marriage registry, http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/viewer.aspx?page=marriage#goToPage

Mollie and Harry had three children in the 1880s: Leman Edwin on September 27, 1883,7 Marguerite on December 28, 1884,8 and Adele on August 28, 1887,9 all born in Baltimore. Thus, by the end of 1887, Ella and Albert Sigmund had fifteen grandchildren, most of whom were living near them in Baltimore. Life must have seemed quite grand.

But unfortunately, all that joy was tempered by tragic losses.  First, William and Adelaide’s son Herman died May 9, 1883; he was only three years old.10  Then Herman’s father, William Sigmund, died on April 30, 1887, in Baltimore from phthisis pulmonalis or what we now call tuberculosis.11

William Sigmund, 1887 death certificate 99566, Maryland State Archives

He was only forty years old and left behind his wife Adelaide, who was only 34, and five children ranging in age from Albert, who was thirteen, to Howard, who was only ten months old. Ella and Albert had outlived yet another child, having already lost their son Jacob and their daughter Lena.

And sadly, those were not the only children who would predecease them before 1900.

 


  1. Baltimore City Birth Index, found at https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagserm/cm1100/cm1134/000000/000002/pdf/msa_cm1134_000002.pdf 
  2. Goldsmith M. Sigmund World War I draft registration, Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556843; Draft Board: 08, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  3. Howard Sigmund, World War I draft registration, Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556845; Draft Board: 09, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  4. Maryland State Archives, Baltimore birth registry, https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagserm/cm1100/cm1134/000000/000003/pdf/msa_cm1134_000003.pdf 
  5. SSN: 523244049, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. See gravestone at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7890082 
  7. Leman Edwin Goldman, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Maryland; Registration County: Baltimore (Independent City); Roll: 1684137; Draft Board: 13, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  8. SSN: 216056370, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. SSN: 300400462, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  10. Baltimore death registry, Maryland State Archives, found at https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagsere/ce1/ce42/000000/000082/pdf/ce42-000082.pdf, p. 478, certificate number 66538. I have not yet received his death certificate. 
  11. Baltimore death registry, Maryland State Archives, https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/coagsere/ce1/ce42/000000/000082/pdf/ce42-000082.pdf, certificate number 99566. 

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund, Part I: Success in Baltimore

This is the first post about Ella Goldschmidt in the US. Please read first—I posted out of order.

Ella Goldschmidt was the first child of Meyer Goldschmidt and Lea Katzenstein. She was born in about 1823 in Grebenstein, Germany, and as described by her brother Selig, she had run a millinery business in her father’s home in the years after her mother died in 1839. Selig also wrote that after several years, Ella decided to seek better opportunities elsewhere and left the family to immigrate to the United States. Although I have not located a definite ship manifest for Ella, there is a manifest showing a 21-year-old woman named “Eliza” Goldschmidt who arrived in Philadelphia on June 2, 1845, on the ship Louise, sailing from Bremen, Germany.

Eliz Goldschmidt, passenger manifest, Departure Place: Bremen, Germany
Arrival Date: 2 Jun 1845, Arrival Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 
Ship: Louise, 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 United States Customs Service, 1745-1997; Record Group Number: 36; Series: M425
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962

That may have been Ella, though I can’t be sure. At any rate, I know that Ella had arrived by April 25, 1846, because on that date she married Albert Sigmund in Baltimore, Maryland. (Ella appears to have used numerous variations on Ella in the US, sometimes Helen, sometimes Elena, sometimes as here Helena.) Albert was also a German immigrant; he was born in Bavaria in 1819. According to one source, he came to Baltimore in 1841.

Marriage record of Albert Sigmund and “Helena Goldsmith.” Maryland County Marriages, 1658-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4JC-GYH : 16 March 2018), Albert Sigmond and Helena Goldsmith, 25 Apr 1846; citing Baltimore, , Maryland, United States, clerk of the circuit court from various counties; FHL microfilm 13,694.

Ella and Albert’s first child, William, was born in about 1847 as he was reported to be three years old on the 1850 census. His sister Lena was born the following year, and in 1850 the family was living in Baltimore where Albert was a customs house officer. His brother Philip was living with them, working as a cap maker. 1

Albert Sigmund and family, 1850 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 3, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_282; Page: 339B; Image: 109, Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census

Between 1851 and 1860, Ella and Albert had six more children, all born in Baltimore: Henrietta (1851),2 Simon (sometimes identified as Samuel or Solomon (1852), Jacob (about 1854), Joseph (1856), Leo(pold) (1858), and Stella (also identified as Hester and Estella) (1860).3

Also living with Ella and Albert in 1860 was Ella’s youngest sibling, Falk Goldschmidt. Falk had arrived on July 8, 1852 when he was only sixteen.

Falk Goldschmidt, passenger manifest, Source Citation
Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 116; Line: 24; List Number: 912, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Thus, Ella and Albert had a large household by 1860: eight children plus Albert’s father Herman and brother Philip and Ella’s brother Falk. Albert was working as a merchant, and he must have been doing quite well to house twelve people plus three servants.4

This advertisement from the November 23, 1858, Baltimore Daily Exchange (p.3) is for Albert’s fur business:

The Daily Exchange, Baltimore, Maryland, 23 Nov 1858, Tue • Page 3

In 1862, Ella gave birth to a ninth child, Mollie.5 Although the 1870 census lists Mollie’s (Mary here) birthplace as Maryland, every later census record reports her birthplace as New York. I’ve not found a birth record from either place to reach a conclusion as to which is right. One theory I’ve seen mentioned is that the family had moved to New York during the Civil War.

Albert and Ella thus continued to have a large household in 1870, but there were a few things on the 1870 census that confused me. This is how the census listed the children with their ages and occupations:

William (24, clerk in store),

Lena (22, at home),

Henrietta (19, at home),

Simon (10, clerk in store),

Joseph (14, at school),

Leo (12, at school),

Estella (10, at school),

Mary (presumably Mollie) (8, at school).

There were also two servants living in the household plus Albert’s father Herman and another Sigmund:

Solomon, listed as eighteen years old and working as a clerk in a store.

Albert Sigmund and family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 12, Baltimore, Maryland; Page: 248A; Family History Library Film: 552075
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

So what is confusing here? First of all, Simon should have been eighteen in 1870, not ten. Plus would a ten year old be working as a clerk when his older brothers Joseph and Leo were both in school? I chalked this up to a scrivener’s error—it should have been an 18, not a ten for his age.

But then I noticed Solomon Sigmund—eighteen years old and a clerk. Had the enumerator listed Simon twice, once as a ten year old and then as Solomon, the eighteen year old? Or was Solomon yet another member of the family? Since the 1870 census did not include relationship to the head of household as a reported fact, it’s hard to know.

UPDATE: Thanks to David Baron, I now know that Solomon Sigmund married Lena Sigmund in 1873 and thus was not one of Ella and Albert’s children, but more likely a nephew or cousin of Albert Sigmund who was living with the family.

The other troubling thing about this 1870 census record is that Ella and Albert’s son Jacob, who would have been about sixteen in 1870, is not listed at all. The 1870 Baltimore directory is consistent with this census; William and Simon are listed as clerks, living at the same address as their father, Albert, the furrier. There is no listing for Jacob, the next oldest son.

Title: Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1870, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [

So where was Jacob? Had he died? Moved away? I could not find one other record for Jacob aside from the 1860 census. I will keep digging to see if I can learn more about him, but since there do not appear to be any death records in Maryland before 1870, I am instead hoping to find a cemetery record somewhere in Baltimore.

UPDATE: Again, thank you to David Baron, who located a record of circumcisions that listed the following:

Family Name     Father     Infant       Date              No.
Siegmund          Asher      Uriel       2/4/1847         270
    ”                     Asher       Hayyim  3/8/1854         593
                                           (Henry Clay)
    ”                      Asher       Simon    7/4/1852        507
    ”                      Asher       Joseph   2/6/1856        685
David suggested that Asher was Albert Sigmund’s Hebrew name and that Uriel was William Sigmund’s Hebrew name. Simon and Joseph are obviously the sons with those names. And Hayyim (Henry Clay) could be Jacob, as the birth year lines up with Jacob’s age on the 1860 census. So now I need to search again for a child with that name.

 

Ella’s brother Falk was also no longer living with her family in 1870. In fact, Falk had returned to Germany where he had married Babette Carlebach on October 18, 1868, in Mannheim; they had their first child Meier on August 8, 1870 in Grabenhein, Germany.

Meier Falk Goldschmidt birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8845, Year Range: 1870, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Matthias Steinke of the German Genealogy group kindly translated this record as follows:

Goldschmidt, Meier
Legitimate son and first child of the salesman Falk Goldschmidt from Gräbenhein in the district Cassel (Kassel) and his wife Babette born Carlebach, married 18th October 1868 in Mannheim, was born here Bleichstreet Nr. 40, Monday the 8th August 1870 in the morning at 5:45 o’clock.
Reason for this entry was the declaration of the father.
Entered the 16th November 1870.
In fidem
Signature

Thus, much of the information about Ella’s first 25 years in the United States is based wholly on the census records. From those records, we can see that she and her husband Albert were the parents of nine children, eight of whom were still living with them in 1870. The next decade would bring many changes to the family: births, deaths, and several marriages.

 


  1. These birth years are based almost exclusively on census records; I could not locate birth records online and learned that Maryland did not require registration of births from 1800 through 1864 and that even after 1864, most births in Maryland were not recorded. Thus, I have had to rely on the census and a few death records or obituaries to infer the birth years for the children of Ella and Albert. 
  2. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PK5-9WV8?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-G6D%3A287599701%2C294514201 : 21 May 2014), 1936 > 34601-37500 > image 2425 of 3212. 
  3. Other than for Henrietta, for whom a birth date appeared on her death record, I have no records of precise birth dates for these other children. These dates are based on census records, as discussed also on Note 1. 
  4. The 1860 census record for Albert and his family is not easy to read as the writing is very faint, but the transcription and indices are FamilySearch and Ancestry are consistent. United States Census, 1860″, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M69Z-5QX : 12 December 2017), Albert Sigman, 1860. Census Place: Baltimore Ward 13, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: M653_464; Page: 101; Family History Library Film: 803464, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  5. Her gravestone says February 8, 1862. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7890080