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? 

Finally, A Baseball Legend in the Family… Sort of

Having finished the story of H.H. Mansbach and his family, I want to return to his two older siblings, Abraham and Henrietta.  As I wrote earlier, Abraham and Henrietta married siblings: Eliza and Gabriel Gump.  Abraham died on November 18, 1887, leaving Eliza with two children, Mollie, who was 21, and Jerome, who was nine.  Then Henrietta died on March 15, 1893, survived by her husband Gabriel and their four sons, Abraham, Louis, Harry, and Joseph. What happened to these surviving spouses and their children?  This post will be about Abraham Mansbach’s family, his wife Eliza, and children Mollie and Jerome.

According to the 1900 census, Mollie Mansbach, Abraham and Eliza’s daughter, married Herman Kerngood in 1886 when she was twenty years old.  Herman was born in Warburg, Germany, in 1859 and had immigrated to the US in the 1870s.  By 1880 he was living in Baltimore with his uncle, William Kerngood, working as a clerk in his uncle’s dry goods business. But Herman did not remain a clerk for long. He established the Alma Button Company (later Alma Manufacturing) in 1887, the same year he married Mollie Mansbach.

It grew to be a very successful business, according to this site about Baltimore’s history:

Founded in 1887 by 28-year-old German immigrant Herman Kerngood, the Alma Manufacturing Company manufactured a wide variety of metal clothing trimmings including buckles, clasps, fasteners and steel buttons. Before Kerngood started his operation, conveniently located alongside the Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks, textile companies in the United States had imported all their steel buttons from Germany. The firm produced around 35,000 specialized products (the “Superior Pantaloon Button” and “Perfect Trousers’ Hook” to name just a few) and could be found attached to hats, umbrellas, shoes and, of course, clothing produced at factories around the country.

Here is the drawing for one of the many patents obtained by Herman Kerngood for products and machinery used in his business, this one for studs for clasps awarded in 1896:

Another site describes more of Herman Kerngood’s entrepreneurial success:

At the beginning of the 20th century, Herman Kerngood formed a partnership with Moses Hecht, Benjamin F. Hecht, Nathan I. Hecht, S.B. Sonneborn, and Isaac Blum, to establish the American Steel Buckle Company, Inc. with an authorized capital stock of $1000.  The Hechts were of the same family that started Hecht Brothers and the Hecht Company chain of department stores in the Baltimore-Washington region, starting with a used furniture store founded by Samuel Hecht, in 1857.

In 1900, Mollie and Herman Kerngood were living with their two sons, Allen (11) and Morton (10) as well as Mollie’s mother Eliza (who for some reason is identified as Herman’s aunt on the census report).

Herman Kerngood and family 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 614; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0191; FHL microfilm: 1240614

Herman Kerngood and family 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 614; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0191; FHL microfilm: 1240614

I am not sure where Mollie’s brother Jerome was at the time of the 1900 census.  Although he is listed in the 1899 Baltimore directory as residing at the same address as his mother and his sister, 2007 McCulloh Street, he does not appear with them on the 1900 census, and he is missing from the Baltimore directory for the years between 1899 and 1906.  The only references I could find as to his whereabouts were two short news clippings from 1900:

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 25, 1900, p. 29

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 25, 1900, p. 29

On March 25, 1900, he was identified in the Philadelphia Inquirer as being from Baltimore and visiting his first cousin Bertie (Bertha) Mansbach in Cumberland, Maryland.  Bertha was the daughter of H.H. Mansbach, Jerome’s uncle. This is more evidence that despite the fact that H.H. and his brother Abraham served on opposite sides of the Civil War, there was some continuing family relationship afterwards.

The second news clipping about Jerome, from the Baltimore Sun and dated just six days later on March 31, 1900, states that Jerome was formerly from Baltimore and was visiting the city:

Baltimore Sun, March 31, 1900, p.12

Baltimore Sun, March 31, 1900, p.12

So where was Jerome living at that time? I don’t know, but as noted above, he does reappear in the Baltimore city directory in 1906, living at the same address where his sister and her family and his mother were living in 1900, McCulloh Street. In 1907, he is listed as a clerk living at the Hotel Forbes in Baltimore. But he is not listed in the Baltimore directory after 1907 for several years until he reappears in the 1914 edition.  Nor can I find him on the 1910 census.

I also had no luck locating his mother Eliza (Gump) Mansbach on the 1910 census nor in any directory or other record for that year.  The only members of the Abraham Mansbach family I could find on the 1910 census were Mollie (Mansbach) and Herman Kerngood and their two sons. Mollie and Herman were still living in Baltimore with their younger son Morton, who was now twenty. Both Herman and Morton were working in Alma Manufacturing, Morton as a salesman.  Their older son Allen, 21, was living with his uncle, Julius Kerngood, in New York City and working as a “commercial traveller” selling buttons, presumably for his father’s company.

Jerome Mansbach reappears in the 1914 Baltimore directory, listing himself as a commercial traveler, and has the same listing in 1915.  I’ve no idea where Jerome was between 1907 and 1914, but my best guess is that as a traveling salesman, he was on the road so much that he somehow was missed in the 1910 census and wasn’t settled enough to list himself in a city directory for those years.

But on July 15, 1915, Jerome did finally settle down.  He married Ida Herzog, daughter of Charles and Josephine (Schwartz) Herzog of Govans, Maryland, a neighborhood in Baltimore.


Ida’s father Charles was a Baltimore native, and her mother was born in New Jersey. Charles, the son of a beer brewer, was a lawyer, and Ida’s maternal grandfather, Andrew Schwartz, was a Methodist minister.  I can’t help but wonder how Ida’s grandfather felt about her marrying the son of a Jewish immigrant.

What really caught my eye in the marriage announcement, however, was the statement that Ida was the sister of “Buck” Herzog, “manager of the Cincinnati team.” I’d never heard of him before, but being a big baseball fan, I was curious as to whether the “Cincinnati team” meant the Cincinnati Reds.  Sure enough, it did, and it turns out that Buck Herzog was not only a manager, but a former Major League player who had played in the 1912 World Series and broken the record for most hits in a World Series, a record that stood for over fifty years.

Gabriel Schechter wrote a biography of Buck Herzog for the Society of American Baseball Research, from which this excerpt is taken:

Buck Herzog was one of the most versatile infielders in the history of the major leagues; his 1,493 games were divided almost equally among second base, shortstop, and third base. His motto, “When you get ’em down, choke ’em,” earned him the nickname “Choke ‘Em Charley.” John McGraw signed Herzog for the New York Giants in 1908, beginning a baseball love-hate relationship exceeded perhaps only by George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin. No player better exemplified McGraw’s ferocious fighting spirit than the 5’11”, 160 lb. Herzog, yet the two generally couldn’t stand each other. Over the course of a decade the Giants traded away the aggressive infielder three times and brought him back twice, both times experiencing immediate success when he re-entered the fold. “I hate his guts,” McGraw once said about Herzog, “but I want him on my club.”

Buck Herzog baseball card for the Boston Braves By Issued by: American Tobacco Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Buck Herzog baseball card for the Boston Braves
By Issued by: American Tobacco Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I realize that the connection is quite attenuated, but I still got a kick out of the fact that a distant cousin of mine married the sister of a genuine American baseball legend!