Morris Goldfarb’s Adventurous Sons, Martin, Irving, and Saul

We saw in the last post that Morris Goldfarb’s three sons, Martin, Irvin, and Saul lost their mother in 1938 when Saul was just eight years old and the two older boys were teenagers. Morris and his two older boys were working with him in his grocery store in 1940.

When the US entered World War II, Martin Goldfarb registered for the World War II draft. Martin’s draft registration indicates that he was continuing to work for his father as a grocery clerk at 679 Sutter Avenue in Brooklyn and living at 668 Sutter Avenue across the street.

Martin Goldfarb, World War II draft registration, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

As I wrote in the last post, Martin had been seriously injured as a child when he was hit by a car. His legs were badly damaged, and he was left with circulatory problems because of the surgery done to repair those injuries. Because of that, he was not able to serve in the military. Ann shared with me this photograph of her father Martin taken when he was in his 20s.

Martin Goldfarb, c. 1940s. Courtesy of Ann Lee

Martin married Marcia Berger in 1946.1 Marcia was born on February 28, 1926, in New York City, daughter of Isidore and Nettie Berger, who were Russian/Polish immigrants. Here is a beautiful photograph from their wedding day.

Marcia Berger and Martin Goldfarb, 1946. Courtesy of Ann Lee

Martin and Marcia had two children, Ann and Michael, and later moved to San Jose, California. Ann shared with me the story of the family’s move to California:2

My father had a grocery store in Canarsie [Brooklyn] when we lived in Oceanside, but the commute was too much.  So my father and a friend decided to start up a business in San Jose. We had a distant cousin there but my father’s friend also had family. Unfortunately the gentleman [the distant cousin] died but my father was determined to come anyway- sight unseen.  Sold our house and loaded up our black Dodge Pioneer and spent 3 weeks driving across country in December of 1961.  Michael and I are 5 1/2 years apart, and it wasn’t easy sitting in the backseat with a cooler between us.  We arrived in San Jose, stayed at the Civic Center Motel, and started looking for a house to rent.  We ended up renting a home on New Jersey Ave., which we thought was pretty funny.

I started high school at nearly 14 and Michael ended grammar school.  His NY style clothes didn’t fit with the California style of jeans and a T shirt.

My father proceeded to get a job in the food industry and we settled in.  From there my father had a NY style deli that ended up going out of business- San Jose wasn’t ready for our type of food.  Then he had a catering business for a long time, the local Temple provided many clients, and finally he had a restaurant called The Tasting Room.  One of the highlights was my father’s invention- the Surprise Sandwich.  A French roll filled with many different stuffings; it was similar to the current Hot Pocket.  Unfortunately it didn’t make the big time.

Martin died on April 8, 1972, in San Jose, California, after heart surgery; he was only 51.3 Like his mother Anna, he died far too young.

Marcia Berger and Martin Goldfarb Courtesy of the family

Martin’s brother Irvin (referred to on later documents as Irving and so I will also refer to him hereinafter as Irving) enlisted in the US Navy after the US entered World War II, according to his sister-in-law Kay.4 I cannot find any specific record for Irving’s military service as there are many Irving Goldfarbs and no way to be sure I am looking at the right one on either Fold3 or Ancestry because no other identifying information is included on the Navy Muster Rolls.

Irving married Hermina Perlmutter on March 13, 1953, in Denver, Colorado, where he was an accountant. Hermina was a native of Colorado, born there on December 19, 1918, to Ben Perlmutter and Belle Leopold, who were immigrants from Russia-Poland. Hermina and Irving had three children.5

Marriage certificate of Irving Goldfarb and Hermina Perlmutter, Denver County Clerk and Recorder’s Office; Denver, Colorado; Denver County Marriages, 1950-2017; Year: 1953 Colorado, U.S., Select County Marriages, 1863-2018

Then tragedy again struck the family of Morris Goldfarb when Irving was killed in a plane crash in January 1963. He was en route from Salt Lake City to Denver in a light plane with another accountant and two others when the plane went down in the Rocky Mountains in western Colorado. A search for the plane had to be called off because of bad weather. The plane was discovered five years later by two men hiking in the area. Irving’s auto insurance card was found at the crash site as well as other belongings and remains of the four victims. Irving was only forty years old when he died and was survived by his wife Hermina and their three young children.6

The youngest son of Morris and Anna (Greenbaum) Goldfarb was Saul, and he ended up on the other side of the world from his family in the United States. After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, Saul applied to veterinary school in many places and ended up choosing the University of Queensland Veterinary School in Brisbane, Australia, where he was the only Jewish student. He graduated from the vet school in 1962, and six years later married Kay Lergessner, a native of Brisbane. They settled first in San Francisco, but in 1972 returned to Australia. Saul and Kay had three children together including my cousin Becky. Saul developed a specialty in veterinary ophthalmology and was very well regarded.7

Wedding of Kay Lergessner and Saul Goldfarb. Martin Goldfarb to the right of Saul and Kay’s sister Helen to the left of Kay. 1968. Courtesy of the family

Unfortunately none of the sons of Morris Goldfarb lived long lives. We’ve seen that Martin died in 1972 at age 51 after heart surgery, and Irving died at 40 in a plane crash in 1963. Saul lived longer than his two brothers, but he suffered from a number of health problems and died at age 64 on October 23, 1994.8

Morris Goldfarb was an immigrant who left his homeland as a young boy and traveled across the world with his family. But once he married and settled in Brooklyn, he spent the rest of his life there. His three sons spent their entire youth in Brooklyn, but then they, also, made journeys far from their birthplace. Martin ended up in California, Irving in Colorado, and Saul in Australia. Their migrations seemed to mirror in some way the adventure their father experienced as a young boy. Martin, Irving, and Saul were survived by their wives and their children, the eight grandchildren of Morris Goldfarb and Anna Greenbaum.

Martin and Saul Goldfarb (and Mutty, the Siamese cat!)
Courtesy of the family

Thank you so much to my cousins Ann, Kay, and Becky for sharing the photographs and the family stories with me and for bringing Morris and Anna and their three sons to life.

  1. Martin Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 21 Feb 1946, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Marcia Berger, License Number: 4255, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  2. Email from Ann Lee, April 21, 2021. 
  3. Martin Goldfarb, Social Security #: 068145066, Birth Date: 26 May 1920
    Birth Place: New York, Death Date: 8 Apr 1972, Death Place: Santa Clara, Place: Santa Clara; Date: 8 Apr 1972; Social Security: 068145066, California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  4. KLG history. 
  5.  Hermina B Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 524-18-2988, Birth Date: 19 Dec 1918, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Colorado, Death Date: 5 Mar 2013,
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; Ben Perlmutter, Marriage Date: 28 Jun 1915, Marriage Place: Golden, Jefferson, Colorado, USA, Spouse: Belle Leopold, Film Number: 001690119, Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006 
  6. “Another Private Plane Missing,” Fort Collins Coloradoan
    Fort Collins, Colorado, 10 Jan 1963, Thu • Page 10; “Weather Halts Plane Search,” The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colorado, 11 Jan 1963, Fri • Page 9; “Plane Missing Five Years Located on Upper Poudre,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, Fort Collins, Colorado
    02 Sep 1968, Mon • Page 1. 
  7. KLG history. 
  8. Saul Goldfarb, Birth Date: 10 Jun 1930, Birth Place: New York Bro, New York
    Death Date: 15 Oct 1994, Father: Morris Goldfarb, Mother: Anna Greenberg
    SSN: 067242458, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. KLG history. 

Henry Goldsmith, Part VII: The Westward Migration

For many of Henry Goldsmith’s children and grandchildren, the 1930s were years of westward movement. I don’t know what motivated this migration to California. Was it inspired by the ill-fated Jack Goldsmith, who went there in 1932 to study law at the University of Southern California and died in 1933 when he was just 24? Or was it the promise of greater opportunities in the years of the Great Depression? Perhaps that was what had inspired Jack Goldsmith to move to California in the first place. I don’t know.

Jack’s parents SR and Rae Goldsmith were possibly the first of Henry Goldsmith’s children to relocate. By 1935, SR and Rae Goldsmith had moved to Los Angeles. In 1936, SR was practicing law there, and in 1940 he was working as a stockbroker.1

But by 1940 three more of Henry Goldsmith’s eight surviving children were living in Los Angeles as well as two of his grandchildren. In fact, it appears that those two grandchildren may have led the way.  By March 13, 1934, Eleanor Goldsmith, JW’s daughter, and her husband Julian Rosenbaum and their children were living in Los Angeles, as reflected in Julian’s application for veteran’s compensation:

Box Title: Rooney, Andrew – Rosentall, Sam (369), Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948

Eleanor’s brother J. Edison Goldsmith soon joined her in California. He graduated from medical school in 1935 and then took an internship at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles:

“Edison Goldsmith Medical Graduate,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, June 13, 1935, p. 2.

By July 1937, Eleanor and J. Edison’s parents, JW and Jennie Goldsmith, had also relocated to Los Angeles, as revealed in this news article about J. Edison’s engagement to Eleanor Heineman:

“Dr. J. Edison Goldsmith, Former Local Man, Is Engaged to Marry,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, July 24, 1937, p. 2.

J. Edison must have met his wife Eleanor while she was spending winters with her grandfather in Los Angeles. She was the daughter of Harry H. Heineman and Grace Livingston and was born on March 14, 1912 in Merrill, Wisconsin, where she was raised. Her father was a lumberman there.2 She and J. Edison were married on October 14, 1937, in Merrill, Wisconsin,3 and then settled in Los Angeles. In 1940 they were living with Eleanor’s mother Grace, and J. Edison was practicing medicine.3

“Merrill Girl Wed to California Man At Home Ceremony,” Wausau (WI) Daily Herald, October 15, 1937, p. 7

“Merrill Girl Wed to California Man At Home Ceremony,” Wausau (WI) Daily Herald, October 15, 1937, p. 7

In 1940, J. Edison’s parents JW and Jennie were sharing their household with yet another Goldsmith sibling, JW’s brother and long-time business partner Benjamin. That meant that there were now three Goldsmith brothers living in Los Angeles, SR, JW and Benjamin.

Benjamin and JW Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00404; Page: 64B; Enumeration District: 60-200 1940 United States Federal Census

And at some point before the 1940 census was taken, the Los Angeles Goldsmith brothers were joined by their sister Florence and her husband Lester Bernstein. Interestingly, Lester was enumerated twice on the 1940 census. On April 10, he was enumerated in Pittsburgh, living as a lodger with his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Helen and Edwin Meyer; he was working as a real estate salesman. And then on May 1, he was enumerated in Los Angeles, living with Florence and working as a business analyst in the oil industry. Perhaps he’d been waiting for a job to come through before relocating.4

The following year the family lost their oldest sibling when JW Goldsmith died on October 9, 1941, at the age of 69. He was survived by his wife Jennie, his two children Eleanor and J. Edison, and two grandchildren with one yet to come.5

The last of the Goldsmith siblings to relocate to Los Angeles was Oliver, but he did not relocate until after the 1940 census. Oliver’s reasons for moving may have stemmed from the loss of his wife Sally on September 30, 1937, in Reading, Pennsylvania,6 where they had been living since about 1930 and where Oliver was practicing law. Sally died from a fulminating streptococcal infection of the throat and larynx and from septicemia. She was only 47. Oliver stayed in Reading for several more years, and in 1940 he was living alone and practicing law there.7

But by 1942 Oliver had followed his other siblings to Los Angeles. When he registered for the World War II draft, he was living with his sister Florence Goldsmith Bernstein and working for New York Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles. There were then only three siblings left in Pennsylvania: Milton, Walter, and Helen.

Oliver Goldsmith, 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 California; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147 U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

The 1940s brought three more deaths to the family in Los Angeles. JW’s wife Jennie died on September 1, 1945, after suffering a heart attack; she was 72. JW and Jennie were survived by their two children and their grandchildren.8

Then Samuel Reginald “SR” Goldsmith died on June 1, 1948, in Los Angeles; he was 69.9 He was survived by his wife Rae, who died on April 26, 1972, at age 89 in Los Angeles.10 Their son Jack had predeceased them, as we saw.

Benjamin Goldsmith was the next to die; he died on September 25, 1955, in Los Angeles. He was 82.11

The Connellsville Daily Courier, October 25, 1955, p. 2

And he was followed three years later by his younger brother Oliver, who died on December 2, 1958.  He was only 71. Oliver had still been living with his sister Florence when he died. Neither Benjamin nor Oliver had children who survived them.12

Thus, by 1959, all four of the Goldsmith brothers who’d moved to Los Angeles had passed away. They were survived by the other four siblings: Florence in Los Angeles, and Milton, Walter, and Helen back in Pittsburgh. It’s interesting that the three siblings who stayed behind in Pennsylvania outlived the four brothers who’d moved west. Perhaps moving to California had been more stressful for the family than they expected.

More on the three who stayed behind—Milton, Walter, and Helen—in my next series of posts.


  1. California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968; S.R. and Rae Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00221; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 19-43, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Eleanor Heineman, Number: 560-56-6368; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1957, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Pedro/Wilmington/Los Angeles, California; NAI Number: 4486355; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Description NARA Roll Number: 058, California, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1959. Harry Heineman and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Merrill, Lincoln, Wisconsin; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0008; FHL microfilm: 2342314, 1930 United States Federal Census. Grace Livingston birth record, FHL Film Number: 1287900, Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922. 
  3. Edison and Eleanor Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00221; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 19-40, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. Lester and Florence Bernstein, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00405; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 60-205, 1940 United States Federal Census; Lester Bernstein, 1940 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03663; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 69-388, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  6.  Certificate Number: 85944, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 083001-086000, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  7. Oliver Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03679; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 70-35, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. “Mrs. J.W. Goldsmith,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, September 4, 1945, p. 2; 
  9. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  10.  Number: 549-66-0941; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1962, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-201 
  11. California, Death Index, 1940-1997. 
  12. California, Death Index, 1940-1997; “Oliver Goldsmith,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, December 30, 1958, p. 3. 

Finding Buddy and Junior and a New Second Cousin!

I’ve been on a long break from blogging since July 13, and it was wonderful to be with the extended family on our long-loved beach. And although I was not doing much research during this time, a family research discovery fell in my lap.  I made an amazing connection with a second cousin—yes, a SECOND cousin! Someone I had never known about and not found despite years of research.

Actually, my newly discovered second cousin found me—through the blog, of course. Over three and a half years ago I posted this question: Who Is The Little Boy? with the following photographs:

The man on the left is my great-grandfather Emanuel Cohen, and the woman next to him is my great-grandmother Eva Seligman Cohen. But I had no idea until last week who that little boy was. He resembled my father as a little boy, but he is not my father.  Here’s a photograph of my father at a similar age:

Doesn’t my dad resemble that little boy?

The little boy appeared in this photograph as well. I thought the man on the right was Stanley Cohen, my father’s uncle, my grandfather’s brother. But who was the man on the left? And who was the little boy?

And here he is again—same little boy with a man I believed might have been my grandfather or my great-uncle Maurice, but I was not sure.

So who was the little boy? The question had been left unanswered for three and a half years. Until last week.

My new cousin responded all these years later by telling me that the little boy was in fact her father—Maurice L. Cohen, Junior.  Maurice, who my father knew as Junior, was my father’s first cousin. He was born in 1917, making him nine years older than my father. Junior had a younger brother Buddy, born in 1922. They had both gone to camp with my father when he was a boy growing up in Philadelphia.  Junior and Buddy and their mother moved to California in around 1938 after their father Maurice L. Cohen Sr.’s death in 1931. My father never saw or heard from his cousins again.

In researching my Cohen family, I had not found anything more about Maurice, Jr., and my father thought he’d never married or had children. Well, it turned out that “Junior” had married and had a daughter, Marcy, who is my second cousin. And Marcy generously shared with me photographs and stories about her father, her uncle Bud, and even a photograph of her grandfather, who died long before she was born.

For one thing, I learned what drew the family to California. Junior had been attending the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania when he received a full scholarship to attend the College of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He decided to take advantage of the scholarship and moved to California to finish his education.  His mother Edna and younger brother Bud followed him to the West Coast (Bud was still in high school at the time), and none of them ever returned to live in Philadelphia again. Edna and Bud settled in Beverly Hills, and Bud eventually attended UCLA and later married. He and his wife Helga lived in Santa Monica and did not have children.

While at the College of the Pacific, Maurice, Jr., met his wife, Laverne “Nicky” Nicolas, who was from San Francisco. After completing college, Maurice served in World War II and then returned to California where he and Nicky settled in Sacramento. Their first child, Ronald Maurice Cohen, was born on June 2, 1943, and died just two and half months later on August 14, 1943. Marcy was born several years later. Maurice, Jr., was a budget analyst for the State of California until his retirement at age 65; he is reputed to have known more about California finances than anyone. He died on March 30, 1988, and his wife Nicky died five years later on May 1, 1993.

Here are some of the wonderful photographs that Marcy shared with me, bringing to life my father’s first cousins and their father Maurice, Sr., my great-uncle. Fortunately my father was with me when I received these photographs last week, and I had the great pleasure of sharing them with him and seeing his face light up with recognition when he saw the faces of Junior and Buddy, faces he had not seen in over 80 years.

Emanuel Philip “Buddy” Cohen, Maurice Cohen, Sr., and Maurice Cohen “Junior.”

My great-uncle Maurice Cohen, Sr.

Buddy and Junior Cohen, c. 1932, my first cousins, once removed.

Maurice L. Cohen, Jr., during World War II, US Navy

Emanuel Philip “Bud” Cohen

Maurice L Cohen, Jr.

Now that I know what Maurice, Sr., looked like, it’s clear to me that he is the man in the third photo above, standing with his son and namesake, Maurice, Jr.  I often express envy of those who have so many photographs of their ancestors and other relatives. And those people often tell me not to give up hope. This experience renewed my hope.

And I cannot tell you how happy I am to have connected with a second cousin after all these years. Thank you, Marcy, for finding me and for telling me who that little boy was!

Sidney Schoenthal, the Youngest Sibling: A Long Life, but a Short Post

The last-born and tenth child of Simon Schoenthal and Rose Mansbach was their son Sidney, born September 18, 1891.  There was a gap of almost twenty years between the oldest son, Harry, born in 1873, and Sidney.


The three youngest children of Simon and Rose Schoenthal Estelle, Hettie, and Sidney, 1904 Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

The three youngest children of Simon and Rose Schoenthal
Estelle, Hettie, and Sidney, 1904
Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein


Sidney was only thirteen when his father died in 1904, and as a teenager he worked with his older brothers in the family’s laundry business in Atlantic City, as seen in the 1911 directory for that city.


Incomparable Laundry Schoenthals brothers 1911 Atlantic City directory U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

Incomparable Laundry
Schoenthals brothers 1911 Atlantic City directory U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

But sometime between 1911 and 1914, Sidney left home for southern California and lived there for the rest of his life.  Of all the children of Simon Schoenthal and Rose Mansbach, Sidney was the one who spent the least amount of time in Atlantic City, living in Los Angeles for all but twenty of his almost hundred years of life.


Downtown Los Angeles c. 1910 By Pierce, C.C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Los Angeles c. 1910
By Pierce, C.C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1914 he was living with his brother Louis and working in his cigar business as a salesman in San Pedro, California.  He was living at the same address (930 ½  Santee) in 1915, now listed as part of Los Angeles.  The following year he was living at 1415 Winifred, working as a salesman for H.S. Webb. H.S. Webb is listed in the 1916 directory under the Cigars and Tobacco category, so Sidney had continued to be in the cigar business, although no longer working for Louis.

Location of the San Pedro region of the City o...

Location of the San Pedro region of the City of Los Angeles, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By 1918, Sidney was married, according to his draft registration for World War I.  He was working as a cigar salesman for United Cigars, once the largest chain of cigar stores in the US.


Sidney Schoenthal World War I draft registration Registration State: California; Registration County: Los Angeles; Roll: 1530897; Draft Board: 11

Sidney Schoenthal World War I draft registration
Registration State: California; Registration County: Los Angeles; Roll: 1530897; Draft Board: 11


As seen on the 1920 census record, Sidney had married Harriet Lehman, and they were living along with their infant son Stanley with Harriet’s parents, George and Amelia Lehman, and her brother William.  Harriet’s parents were German immigrants, and in 1920, her father was working as a waiter at a club in Los Angeles.  Sidney continued to work as a cigar salesman, as his father Simon had done and as his brother Jacob was doing back in Atlantic City.


1905 advertisement for the Henry Clay brand of...

1905 advertisement for the Henry Clay brand of cigars. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Sidney and Harriet had a second son Robert born in 1925.  In 1930 they were all still living in Los Angeles along with Harriet’s father George, who was now a widower and continuing to work as a waiter at a clubhouse.  Sidney was still a cigar salesman.

Living a life of remarkable consistency, Sidney was still a cigar salesman in 1940, living in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.   In 1942, he reported his employer to be Kelson Brothers, which is listed in the 1942 Los Angeles directory as a liquor business; perhaps they also sold cigars.


Sidney Schoenthal World War II draft registration U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration

Sidney Schoenthal World War II draft registration U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration

I found it interesting that Sidney listed someone named Sam Bornstein as the one who would always know his address and not Harriet.  Researching Sam Bornstein revealed that he was employed by the City of Los Angeles, married, and born in Chicago.  Perhaps he was a close friend and Sidney just didn’t think that naming his wife was the appropriate response.

Harriet Lehman Schoenthal died on February 12, 1956, in Los Angeles; she was only 62 years old. Her husband Sidney long outlived her.  Like so many of his siblings, Sidney lived a remarkably long life, dying on May 15, 1991, just four months short of his 100th birthday.  Sidney and Harriet both died and are buried in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, I could not find an obituary or any other information to fill out the years between 1956, when Harriet died, and 1991, when Sidney died.  In fact, I could not find one news article about Sidney.  I imagine he was like most of us—a man who worked hard, supported his family, and lived a good and decent but quiet life.  I would love to know more about him—to fill in the empty spaces between the census records, directories, and draft registrations.  Perhaps one of his descendants will find me, or perhaps I will find them.


Sidney Schoenthal courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoethal Stein

Sidney Schoenthal
courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoethal Stein


My next few posts will be about Sidney’s sister Hettie and her family.  I have been very fortunate to connect with Hettie’s family and learn a great deal about her and her life.  Unfortunately, they did not have any additional information about Sidney or his family.


Louis Mansbach Schoenthal: The Elusive Showman

The third surviving child of Simon and Rose (Mansbach) Schoenthal was their son Louis.

Louis Mansbach Schoenthal Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

Louis Mansbach Schoenthal
Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

Louis, born in 1878, was working as a cigar salesman on the 1900 census, living with his parents in Atlantic City.  In 1904, he was working with his younger brothers Maurice, Martin, and Jacob in a cigar, stationery, laundry, sporting goods, and pool hall business in Atlantic City.  I have a hard time imagining how they pulled off so many diverse businesses, but that’s what the 1904 directory reflects:

Atlantic City directory 1904

Atlantic City directory 1904 U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Louis married Mary Pomroy Dumbleton on October 27, 1906, in the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Camden, New Jersey.  Mary, who was fourteen years older than Louis, was a Pennsylvania native whose parents were Andrew J. Pomeroy, a Pennsylvania native and a Civil War veteran who had once worked as a painter, and Adelaide Mann.  Mary’s father had been disabled after the war and was living in a soldier’s home in Wisconsin from 1877 until he died on March 10, 1912.  Her mother, also a Pennsylvania native, died in 1875 when Mary was only eleven years old.  Although her two younger sisters were living with their grandparents in 1880, Mary, who was sixteen, was working in a hosiery mill in Philadelphia, living as a boarder in someone’s household.

Mary married William Dumbleton on December 21, 1882, when she was nineteen.  She was still married to him in 1900, living in Camden, New Jersey, but on December 18, 1900, her husband William died at age 38.

What a sad life Mary had lived to that point.  It sounds like something out of a novel by Charles Dickens.  Her mother died, and her father lived in a soldier’s home in Wisconsin, and Mary ended up boarding with another family, working in a mill.  She married at nineteen, only to become a widow when she was only 36 years old. She and William do not appear to have had any children.

It was six years later that Mary married Louis Schoenthal.

Marriage record of Louis schoenthal and Mary Pomroy Dumbleton Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 1093

Marriage record of Louis schoenthal and Mary Pomroy Dumbleton
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 1093


In 1908, Louis ran into some trouble when caught gambling:

Louis Schoenthal poker arrest 1908 Atl City


Eight policemen early this morning captured ten poker players in a gambling place on Atlantic avenue, near Delaware avenue, conducted, it is alleged, by Louis Schoenthal.  He was held for the grand jury by Justice Williams.  The players were so intent with the cards, a twenty-five cent limit game, that the officers had entered the room before they were seen.  The players were held under nominal bail, as all were well known, although they registered under fictitious names.

If he’d waited another seventy years or so, he’d have been able to play as much poker as he wanted in the casinos that now line the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.   Or maybe even owned a casino.

In 1909, Mary Schoenthal is listed without her husband in the Atlantic City directory for that year.  Where was Louis? By 1910, Louis was far from Atlantic City and was one of the few children of Simon and Rose never to live again in the World’s Playground. Instead, he and Mary moved to California and were living in Los Angeles in 1910. Although the census indexer listed his name as Morris and it certainly looks like it says Morris, I am quite certain that this was Louis and Mary Schoenthal, given the places of birth given for themselves and their parents as well as the occupation given for Louis/Morris.  He was the proprietor of a stationery store, continuing in the business in which he’d been engaged in Atlantic City.

"Morris" and Mary Schoenthal 1910 US census Year: 1910; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 72, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_82; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0168; FHL microfilm: 1374095

“Morris” and Mary Schoenthal 1910 US census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 72, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_82; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0168; FHL microfilm: 1374095

What had driven them to California? Was it his arrest for gambling? Or the lure of California itself, which drew so many people in the early 20th century? Had he changed his name to Morris to hide from the Atlantic City police? After all, his poker players had played under fictitious names so this was a practice with which Louis was familiar.  Is that why Mary was listed alone in 1909 in Atlantic City?

Searching for Louis and Mary in the Los Angeles directories proved extremely puzzling. There are no listings for Louis or Mary (or Morris) until 1912, when there is a listing for Mrs. Mary Schoenthal, living at 930 ½ Santee Street. In 1913, Louis finally shows up as Louis Schoenthal, also living at 930 ½ Santee, in the cigar business.  (His cousin Meyer L. Schoenthal is also now appearing in the Los Angeles directory; he was the son of Henry Schoenthal, as discussed here.)

Things got very confusing in 1914.  Now there are listings for Louis N. Schoenthal, Morris L. Schoenthal, and Sidney R. Schoenthal, all residing at 930 ½ Santee.  Morris is listed as the proprietor of Lou’s Place cigars, and both Louis and Sidney were working in that business as well, it would appear.  So who were Morris and Sidney?  Sidney is easy; he was the youngest child of Simon and Rose Schoenthal and the youngest brother of Louis.  But Morris?

My first thought was that Morris was Maurice Schoenthal, another younger brother, but Maurice (as well as the next brother, Martin) are both listed in the Chicago city directory for 1914, Maurice as a credit manager and Martin as a salesman, so Maurice could not have been the “Morris” listed in the Los Angeles directory for that.

In 1915 there is no listing for Louis Schoenthal at all, but there are listings for Meyer L. Schoenthal, Morris Schoenthal, and Sidney Schoenthal (residing at 930 Santee).   I am speculating that Morris was the same person as Louis; his listing is for a cigar, billiards, and barber shop.  Then, in 1916, the Los Angeles city directory has two listings for Louis Schoenthal, one, simply as Lou, who was a barber and cigar salesman, and one listed as Louis M, who was a clerk.  I don’t know whether Louis had two listings and two jobs or whether there happened to be another Louis M. Schoenthal in Los Angeles. Seems unlikely. The 1917 directory also has two Louis Schoenthals, both living on the same street, South Hill, but at different numbers and with different occupations:

1917 directory for Los Angeles

1917 directory for Los Angeles U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

What happened to Morris? (Sidney is gone also.) The 1918 directory has no listings for Morris or for Louis, but does have one for Sidney.  What was going on?

Louis’ World War I draft registration answers this in part:

Louis Schoenthal World War I draft registration Registration State: California; Registration County: San Francisco; Roll: 1544266; Draft Board: 13

Louis Schoenthal World War I draft registration
Registration State: California; Registration County: San Francisco; Roll: 1544266; Draft Board: 13


Here Louis is Louis Maurice Schoenthal, not Louis Mansbach Schoenthal, so he does seem to have altered his name a bit.  He is listed as married to Mary D. Schoenthal, residing at 480 Pine Street in San Francisco, working as a self-employed salesman in San Francisco.  So as of 1918, Louis and Mary had left Los Angeles for San Francisco.  On the 1920 census, Louis is listed as Lou living as a lodger in San Francisco, working as a clerk in a dry goods store.  Listed below him is Adel Schoenthal.  Was this Mary? Or a new wife? Mary’s mother was Adelaide, and she had a younger sister by the same name.  Was Mary now using an alias of some sort? Sheesh, these people are confusing!

The 1923 San Francisco directory has a listing for Louie M. Schoenthal, a salesman, at 480 Pine Street. By 1928 he had moved to 1124 O’Farrell Street and was a salesman for the Superfine Candy Company.  In 1929, living at the same address, his occupation was abbreviated as “confr mfr.”  Confectioner manufacturer?

Unfortunately, Louis is not listed in the 1930, 1931, 1932, or the 1933 San Francisco directory, nor can I find him on the 1930 US census.  I have no idea where he might have disappeared to during those years. In 1934, he resurfaces in San Francisco, however, living with Mary at 954 Eddy Street and working as a laborer.  In 1935 he is listed as Louis Schoental, living at 844 California, with no mention of Mary in the listing.  On the 1940 census, Louis was living in a hotel, alone, giving his marital status as single and his work status as retired.  He was 62 years old.  I cannot find any records for Mary after the 1934 directory listing.  I don’t know if they had divorced or she had died between 1934 and 1940.  He did not list himself as either divorced or widowed, so I cannot tell.

When Louis registered for the “old man’s draft” in 1942, he gave his name as Louis Mansbach Schoenthal this time.  He was still living in San Francisco, working at Sammy’s Fur Shop.  He provided Sammy’s name and address as the person who would always know his address.

Louis Schoenthal World War I draft registration World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; State Headquarters: California; Microfilm Roll: 603155

Louis Schoenthal World War II draft registration
World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; State Headquarters: California; Microfilm Roll: 603155



The only other information I found about Louis only added more confusion.  It seems that in the summer of 1946, Louis had a stroke that landed him in the hospital (Laguna Honda) for an extended time.  I only know this because of three mentions of his hospital stay in Billboard under the caption Showfolks of America.  Apparently, Louis became or had been a showfolk or a showman. Billboard, August 24, 1946, p. 73; September 7, 1946, p. 74; September 21, 1946, p. 69 (all found through Google Books).

What, you might ask (as I did), does that mean? I can’t really find a definitive explanation, but from what I did find both in these articles and the sections of Billboard where they appeared (under “Carnivals”) as well as in other sources, I believe that showfolk or showmen were the people who set up booths as vendors at outdoor carnivals or who performed at those outdoor venues.  Maybe when Louis was a candy salesman and/or manufacturer he had been working the carnival trade? Is that why he disappeared between 1929 and 1934—was he traveling with the carnival?  I wish I knew.

English: Cotton candy Ελληνικά: Μαλλί της γριάς

English: Cotton candy Ελληνικά: Μαλλί της γριάς (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the California Death Index, Louis Schoenthal died on June 26, 1956, in Napa, California.  He was 78 years old.  He died far away from all of his siblings; he was no longer married to Mary Dumbleton, and he had no children.   I wish I could have found out more about Louis.  There are so many questions left unanswered, and given that he has no direct descendants and lived so far from his family, I am not sure I will ever find the answers.



Part III: My Grandmother and Her Brothers 1942-2004


As I wrote in my last post, my Schoenthal great-grandparents died in 1941 and 1942.  At that time, three of their children were living on the East Coast: Harold in Montclair, New Jersey, Lester in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and my grandmother Eva in Philadelphia.

Gerson/Gary, the son whose asthma had taken them to Denver in 1907, continued to live in Denver with his wife Maude for many years, but in May, 1954 they decided to move to Desert Hot Springs, California, due to Gerson’s continuing health problems. The Desert Sentinel of Desert Hot Springs reported on June 10, 1954, p. 4, that, “Mr. and Mrs. Gary Sheridan are the lovely couple renting the Herb Ecclestone cottage for the summer. They are enamored of the village and will build a home here.” Sadly, within a few months of moving there, Gerson’s asthma finally took its toll, and he died at age 62.  As this article from the July 1, 1954, Desert Sentinel reported, it appears he and Maude had quickly made friends in their new home.

Gerson Schoenthal death Desert Sentinel July 1, 1954 p 1 Desert Hot Springs CA

How very sad that a fluke in the weather contributed to his death from the asthma he had battled for so many years.

Lester died five years later in August 1959, when he was seventy years old and had retired to Florida with his wife Juliet Grace “Julia” Beck.  She lived another fourteen years, dying in 1983, dying in and buried in Livingston County, Michigan.

Neither Lester nor Gerson had ever had children and thus have no descendants living today.  I never met Gerson or Lester, although I was two when Gerson died and seven when Lester died.  I had known virtually nothing about their lives before I started doing this research.


Harold Schoenthal

Harold Schoenthal


I did meet my great-uncle Harold, however. He had lived with his parents until they moved to Philadelphia in 1941 and had remained single.  When he was in his late 40s, he married May Gunther, and they had one child, my second cousin June.  Harold was in many ways a role model and mentor for my father.  He encouraged my father to pursue architecture, and my father took his advice and following in his footsteps, going to Columbia to study architecture.  Harold was not only a designer; he wrote poetry and painted.  He lived to 103, dying in 2004, in Montclair, New Jersey, where he had lived for almost eighty years.  Although I only saw him a handful of times, I remember him as a very gentle and kind man with a good sense of humor and a positive outlook on life.  I wish that I had been interested then in family history because he would have been an amazing source of information.


My Aunt Eva, my father, May and Harold Schoenthal

My Aunt Eva, my father, May and Harold Schoenthal

Uncle Harold and Aunt Eva

Aunt Eva and Great-Uncle Harold

Uncle Harold older


As for my grandmother, I knew almost nothing about her childhood before I started my research.  When I found the pictures and news stories about her in the Denver papers and in her high school yearbook, it made me think that she might have had a happy childhood growing up in Denver.  But her life was filled with challenges once she left Denver.  She was only eighteen and just out of high school when she married a man she had known for only half a year and who was nine years older than she was; within a year she had had a child and before she was twenty-three, she had two children.  She was living halfway across the country, far from her parents and two oldest brothers.  Only Harold was nearby.

Eva Schoenthal Cohen

Eva Schoenthal Cohen

Then her husband became disabled, and she just was not strong enough to deal with it all.  When she finally started getting her life back together in the early 1940s, she lost both of her parents within a year of each other. Soon thereafter both of her children became adults and left home.  She remarried in the 1950s to a very nice man named Frank Crocker who cared for her until she died in 1963 when she was 58 years old.

It was when she was married to Frank that I knew her, and we would see her a few times a year when we would make day trips to Philadelphia to visit. My clearest memory involves Frank more than my grandmother; he and I watched a Dodgers-Phillies game together on television during one of those visits, and if I remember correctly, Sandy Koufax was pitching.   I thought of that day when I saw last week that Sandy Koufax had turned eighty years old.

My memory of my grandmother is of someone who was fragile and insecure with a reserved and genteel presence.  But to be honest, I really did not know her well at all.  Doing this research has given me a somewhat fuller picture, and although she remains largely a mystery to me, at least I now know more about her brothers and her parents and the lives they led as well as more about her and her life.

My father and my grandmother at his graduation from Columbia, 1952

My father and my grandmother at his graduation from Columbia, 1952



Hart Cohen of DC: The Rest of the Story

It’s been a week since I last posted anything new about the DC Cohen family.  I had last written about Solomon Monroe Cohen and his family, the son of Moses, Jr., and Henrietta Cohen.  Although I will continue to try and fill the gaps left in the research of the children of Moses, Jr. and Henrietta Cohen, I am now going to move on to the other children of Moses, Sr., and Adeline Cohen, first focusing on their son Hart, who was born in 1851 in Maryland.

It was this Hart (whom I’ve referred to as Hart DC) who had me confused because of the similarities between some of his biographical facts and those of his first cousin, my great-grandfather Emanuel’s brother, Hart Cohen of Philadelphia.  They had the same name, were born the same year, and were both married to women named Henrietta. It was this Hart who led me to the discovery of the DC branch of the Cohen family. Hart and his wife Henrietta Baer had four children: Frances, Munroe, Isadore, and Jacob.   Their son Munroe was killed in an awful accident while working as a brakeman on the railroad in Kingston, New York, in 1903.  Isadore had married Frances David in 1907, so in 1910, Hart and Henrietta had two children living at home, Frances (32) and Jacob (25). Jacob was working as a chauffeur, and Hart was working in a jewelry store. On August 8, 1914, Hart’s wife Henrietta Baer Cohen died; she was only 62.

Isadore and Frances had had a son Monroe born in 1910, presumably named for Isadore’s brother. In 1916, they had another son, Burton.  In 1917, Isadore was working as a department manager for a hotel according to his World War I draft registration.

Isadore Baer Cohen World War I draft registration

Isadore Baer Cohen World War I draft registration

I found two World War I draft registrations for Jacob.  The earlier one, dated June, 1917, listed Jacob’s business as the concessions business and said he suffered from heart trouble.  His marital status was single, and he was living with his father and his sister Frances at 1802 7th Street NW in Washington.  The second one, dated September 1918, had a number of changes:  he was working in the restaurant business and was self-employed, he was married, and there was no mention of heart trouble.

Jacob M. Cohen World War I registration (first)

Jacob M. Cohen World War I registration (first)

Jacob M. Cohen World War I registration (second)

Jacob M. Cohen World War I registration (second)

According to the Philadelphia marriage index, Jacob had married Rose Serge in Philadelphia in 1918.  He was 33, and she was thirty when they married.   In 1918, they were living at 1802 7th Street with Jacob’s father and sister Frances.

In 1920, Hart and his daughter Frances were still living at 1802 7th Street, but Jacob and Rose had moved to their own place in Washington.  Jacob was still in the restaurant business.  Isadore and his family were also still living in Washington, and Isadore was still in the hotel business.

On August 10, 1926, Hart died at the age of 75.  His daughter Frances continued to live in the same residence at 1802 7th Street, now living alone and working as a retail merchant in the dry goods business, a business she had been working in since at least 1915.  She would continue to work in that business until her death in February, 1941, at age 62, the same age her mother had been when she died.  Frances’ death notice said that she had died suddenly. She was buried at Washington Hebrew Cemetery.  There is no mention of her brother Jacob in her death notice, only mention of her brother Isadore.  Frances never married or had children. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.

In 1930 Jacob and Rose were living in Philadelphia, where Jacob was the manager of a restaurant.  I could not find Jacob or Rose on the 1940 census, nor can I find a death record for Jacob, but given that he was not listed in his sister’s obituary and that he had had a history of heart trouble, my guess is that he had died before the 1940 census. He would have been younger than 55 years old when he died.  He and Rose did not have any children.

Although I could not find Rose on the 1940 census, she was still alive in 1949, as I found her on a ship manifest traveling to Hawaii. According to the ship manifest Rose was living at 41 Emory Street in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1949. Rose had lived in Jersey City as a child, and 41 Emory Street is where her mother had been living in 1925 and where two of her sisters were living in 1930. Obviously, Rose had returned to her hometown after Jacob died.  She was still alive in 1952 when her sister Minnie died, but after that I cannot find any mention or record for her.  I tried contacting the funeral home that had handled other deaths in the Serge family, Wien and Wien in New Jersey, but sadly their records for the Jersey City funeral home were burned in a fire fifteen years ago.  I also called the cemetery where Minnie is buried to see if they have any records for Jacob or Rose Cohen, but have not heard back from them.

As for Isadore, in 1930, he and his family were living in Chicago, where Isadore was working as a salesman in the paper industry.  His son Monroe was a clerk in the weather bureau there.  I wonder what prompted the move to Chicago and the career change for Isadore.

Isadore Baer Cohen and family 1930 census

Isadore Baer Cohen and family 1930 census

In 1940, the family was still living together in Chicago, and Isadore was a book salesman. Both Monroe and Burton had changed their surname from Cohen to Coulter, though their parents were still using Cohen.   Although Monroe was now 30 and Burton 24, there is no occupation listed for either of them on the 1940 census.

Isadore Baer Cohen and family 1940 census

Isadore Baer Cohen and family 1940 census

By 1942, Isadore had retired, according to his draft registration.  He gave Burton’s name as his contact person, which I found interesting since his wife Frances was still alive at that time.

Isadore Baer Cohen World War II draft registration

Isadore Baer Cohen World War II draft registration

Sometime between 1942 and 1949, Isadore and Frances moved to California, where Frances died in 1949.  Isadore died in 1958 when he was 77 years old.  He lived a much longer life than any of his siblings or his mother.  His father Hart was the only other one to live past seventy.

According to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune of September 8, 1996, Isadore’s son Monroe Coulter had enlisted in the Army Air Corps before World War II and was an electrical engineer.  He married Fannie Simon on November 25, 1942, in Chicago and appears to have settled in Illinois. They had two children.   Monroe worked on the Air Force missile program and retired from the military in 1970 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.  He was living in Itasca, Illinois, when he died on September 6, 1996, and is buried at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

His brother Burton moved to California in the 1950s.  He was married and had two children.  In 1952 he was working as the deputy county assessor in Alhambra, California, according to a directory for that city. Then, according to Sacramento city directories,  from at least 1959 through 1966 he lived in Sacramento and worked as an appraiser for the California Department of Equalization, a state agency responsible for administering the state tax laws.   Burton died in Los Angeles, California in 1978.  He was only 61 years old and thus was another family member who did not live to see seventy.

The family line of Hart and Henrietta Cohen thus is somewhat limited.  Of the four children of Hart and Henrietta, only Isadore lived past seventy, and only Isadore had children. Frances never married, and Jacob married, but did not have children. Munroe, Jacob, and Frances all died at relatively young ages, as did their mother Henrietta.  Although Munroe died in an accident, I do not know what led to the early deaths of Henrietta, Frances and Jacob, but will see if I can find out.

I am hoping that one of Isadore’s descendants will be able to provide a Y-DNA test to provide evidence of the genetic link between Moses Cohen, Sr., and my great-great-grandfather Jacob Cohen, but I am having some trouble making contact with them.  They are the only direct male genetic descendants of Moses Cohen, Sr. and thus my only option for finding that genetic connection between Moses and Jacob.  Maybe one of them will find this blog post and find me.