Bertha, Alice and Louis: Eluding the Census

The three youngest children of my three-times great-uncle Abraham Goldsmith and his second wife Frances Spanier were Bertha, Alice, and Louis. I was going to write a separate post for each of them, but as their stories started to unfold, I realized that their lives were so intertwined that it made more sense to combine their three stories into two posts.  These three siblings were all close in age, and all three ended up in New York City, as had their oldest (half) brother Milton and older (full) brother Alfred.

Bertha was born on August 16, 1878,1 Alice on August 29, 1880,2 and Louis on November 4, 1882, all in Philadelphia.3 In 1900, they were all still living with their parents and older half-sister Estelle in Philadelphia.  Bertha was working as a “saleslady,” Alice as a milliner, and Louis was still in school. Their father Abraham died two years later on January 27, 1902, as we have seen.

Abraham Goldsmith and family 1900 census
Philadelphia Ward 12, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Enumeration District: 0208 1900 United States Federal Census

In 1906, Bertha married Sampson Herbert Weinhandler, the son of Solomon Weinhandler and Hattie Loewenthal.4

Marriage license of Bertha Goldsmith and Sampson Weinhandler, FamilySearch database of Philadelphia marriage licenses

Sampson was born in New York on April 17, 1873,5 and grew up in New York City where his father, a Russian born immigrant, was the owner of a millinery store. Sampson’s mother Hattie was an immigrant from Germany.6  In 1905, Sampson was boarding in the household of others and was a practicing lawyer. He had graduated from City College of New York in 1893 and had received a law degree from Columbia University in 1896.7 A year after marrying Sampson, Bertha gave birth to their first child, Arthur, on May 22, 1907.8

Alfred, Bertha, Alice, and Louis Goldsmith lost their mother Frances the following year. She died on January 18, 1908, from a cerebral hemorrhage and apoplexy, i.e., a stroke.  She was only 52 years old.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 006001-010000 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

The 1910 census found Bertha and Sampson Weinhandler living at 531 West 112th Street in Manhattan with their son Arthur. Sampson was practicing law.9 On July 3, 1911, Bertha and Sampson’s second child was born; she was named Frances, presumably for Bertha’s recently deceased mother.10

Meanwhile, Bertha’s two younger siblings Alice and Louis were probably still in Philadelphia although I cannot find either Alice or Louis on the 1910 US census.  As we will see, these siblings had a way of eluding the census. There are three men named Louis Goldsmith in the 1911 Philadelphia directory, but I’ve no idea which one is my Louis or if any of them are. 11 According to his obituary, Louis was still in Philadelphia during this time period, working as sales and advertising director for the Snellenburg Clothing Company. 12

In February, 1914, Louis traveled from Naples, Italy, to New York, and listed his address as 1934 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia (an address I could not locate on the 1910 census);13 according to a passport application he filed in 1920, Louis spent several months living in France and Italy in 1913.14  In 1914 he founded his own advertising agency in Philadelphia, L.S. Goldsmith Advertising Agency.15

Louis Goldsmith 1920 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1313; Volume #: Roll 1313 – Certificates: 73626-73999, 29 Jul 1920-29 Jul 1920. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925


For Alice, I have no records at all between 1900 and 1914. In August of 1914, she traveled to Europe to join her brother Louis, according to the passenger manifest, so Louis must have returned to Europe, but I cannot find him on a passenger manifest later that year.16 I have no address or occupation for Alice from 1900 until 1918 (see below).

Meanwhile, Bertha, apparently more census-compliant than her younger siblings (perhaps because Sampson was a lawyer), showed up on the 1915 New York State census.  She and her family were now living at 235 West 103rd Street in New York City, and Sampson continued to practice law.17

Louis moved to New York City in 1915, according to his obituary. 18 His draft registration for World War I dated September 12, 1918, states that he was then living at 140 West 69th Street in New York City and working in his own advertising business. He listed his sister Alice Goldsmith as his contact person and gave her address as 2131 Green Street, Philadelphia. I could not find Alice living at that address on the 1910 census, but her sister Emily and her family were living there, so perhaps Alice had moved in at some point after 1910. But by 1920, neither Alice nor Emily’s family (Emily having passed away in 1917) was living at that address.

Louis Goldsmith, World War I draft registration
Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1766147; Draft Board: 124 U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

By 1920, Bertha’s husband Sampson Weinhandler had changed his name to Sampson Wayne, presumably to make it look either less Jewish or less German or perhaps both. In 1920 he and his family (also using the surname Wayne) were living at 235 West 103rd in Manhattan, and he was still practicing law.19

Once again, I had trouble finding either Alice or Louis on the 1920 census. But both applied for passports that year, and both listed their residential address as 140 West 69th Street, New York, New York, on their applications, which was the same address that Louis had listed as his address on his 1918 draft registration.20 (See Louis’ application above.) Alice was a witness for Louis on his application as to his birth (giving her address as 140 West 69th Street), and Bertha was a witness for Alice on her application as to her birth.

Louis Goldsmith, 1920 passport photo, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1313; Volume #: Roll 1313 – Certificates: 73626-73999, 29 Jul 1920-29 Jul 1920. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925.


Alice Goldsmith passport application and photo,
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1270; Volume #: Roll 1270 – Certificates: 57750-58125, 23 Jun 1920-24 Jun 1920 U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Both Alice and Louis also applied for passports again in 1923. Again, both gave 140 West 69th Street as their residential address. Both indicated that they were planning to visit several countries in Europe, staying for many months.21

So I had an address for both Alice and Louis to use to find them on the 1920 census, and I turned to to do a reverse census lookup.  But I had no luck. I found 140 West 69th Street on the 1920 census, but neither Louis nor Alice was listed as residing there. Nor can I find them elsewhere on the 1920 census.

Those passport applications thus did not help me find Alice or Louis on the 1920 census. But they did help me figure out something else. That is a story for my next post.


  1.  Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Goldsmith, 16 Aug 1878; citing bk 1878 p 23, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,319. 
  2. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Goldsmith, 29 Aug 1880; citing bk 1880 p 26, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,320. 
  3. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014), Louis Goldsmith, 04 Nov 1882; citing bk 1882 p 134, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,322. 
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Index, 1885–1951.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009. Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Clerk of the Orphans’ Court. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia marriage license index, 1885-1951.” Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
  5.  Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1766376; Draft Board: 134; U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  6. Weinhandler family, 1880 US Census, 1880; Census Place: New York City, New York, New York; Roll: 873; Page: 228A; Enumeration District: 148; and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. Weinhandler family, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0726; FHL microfilm: 1375040. 1910 United States Federal Census. Also, New York City, Compiled Marriage Index, 1600s-1800s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Genealogical Research Library, comp. New York City, Marriages, 1600s-1800s. 
  7. Media posted on Ancestry Family Tree (“Our Harris Family Tree”); New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 19 E.D. 23; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 28. New York, State Census, 1905. 
  8. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. 
  9. Bertha and Sampson Weinhandler, 1910 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 0726; FHL microfilm: 1375040. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  10.  Number: 090-32-7264; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1957-1958. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  11. 1911 Philadelphia City Directory, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  12.   “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. Another twist in my family tree: The Snellenburg Clothing Company was owned by the family of Caroline Snellenburg, who was married to my great-great-uncle Joseph Cohen. 
  13. Year: 1914; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2266; Line: 6; Page Number: 23. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  14.  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1313; Volume #: Roll 1313 – Certificates: 73626-73999, 29 Jul 1920-29 Jul 1920. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  15. “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. 
  16.  Year: 1914; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2364; Line: 1; Page Number: 145; New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  17. Weinhandler family, 1915 NYS Census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 03; Assembly District: 19; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 06. New York, State Census, 1915 
  18.   “Louis S. Goldsmith, Advertising Man, 75,” The New York Times, August 1, 1958. 
  19.   Wayne family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 11, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1204; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 810. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  20. Louis Goldsmith 1920 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1313; Volume #: Roll 1313 – Certificates: 73626-73999, 29 Jul 1920-29 Jul 1920. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. 
  21. Alice Goldsmith 1923 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2273; Volume #: Roll 2273 – Certificates: 293850-294349, 23 May 1923-23 May 1923. Louis Goldsmith 1923 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2185; Volume #: Roll 2185 – Certificates: 250726-251099, 21 Feb 1923-23 Feb 1923. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 

The Mystery of Fanny Wiler, Part II: Answers and Questions


With limited internet access, I am hampered, but here is Part II.

In Part I,  I presented the mystery of my cousin Fanny Wiler.  Was she the Fanny Wyler who married Max Michaelis in 1774? Was that Max Michaelis the man who set the awful fire that killed not only him but his daughter Rose in 1884?

Despite hours and hours of searching,  I still did not know for certain that the 1874 wedding was that of my cousin Fanny Wiler.  But I was feeling pretty certain.  I thought my Fanny had married Max Michaels, the one who was laborer, who had died sometime before 1890 and who had lived at 2133 East Thompson Street.  I was even pretty sure that this was the Max Michaels who killed himself and little Rose in the fire.  But then where were Fanny and Max in 1880?  I felt I was getting close.  But not close enough.  After the mistakes I made in my assumptions about Milton Josephs, I knew I needed to be more certain before I could reach any conclusions.

I had to find Max on that 1880 census.  I felt that if I found him with a wife named Fanny and a daughter Isabella and one more child (since Rose would not have been born yet in 1882), I’d be at least one step closer.  I once again tried every trick I knew to try and find who was living at 2133 East Thompson Street on the 1880 census.  And then I got smart.  I turned to the genealogy village.  There is a Facebook group for Philadelphia genealogy.  Certainly someone there would know something about Philadelphia geography and perhaps be able to help me?

You see, East Thompson Street is a very, very long street that runs many miles through Philadelphia.  There were probably a hundred EDs that included some portion of East Thompson Street.  Steve Morse’s site had given me about ten that were supposed to include the address of 2133, and I’d spent hours reading through those and never saw one address close to 2133.  Maybe someone in the Facebook group could help?

Sure enough, within ten minutes of posting my question, Ann,  a member of that group had an answer.  And it wasn’t simply an answer to the geography question.  She had located the family living at 2133 East Thompson Street on the 1880 census.  And their names? Mex Mcles is how it was indexed on  Mex?? Mcles??  Sigh.  No wonder I hadn’t found it.

Max Michaels 1880 with Charles

Max, Fanny, Isabella and Charles Michaels 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1184; Family History Film: 1255184; Page: 52A; Enumeration District: 521; Image: 0106


Anyway, I was elated.  I had the family.  Max worked in a glue factory and was 36 years old, thus born in 1844, so a bit younger than the Max on the marriage record and the Max who set the fire in 1884, but given the address, this was the same Max from the directories. His wife was Fannie, aged 32, so born in 1848.  Close enough to my Fanny.  Isabella was five, so born in 1874-1875.  And there was the other child.  Charles was three years old, so born in 1876 or 1877.  This was the family of the man who set the fire.  I was pretty certain of that.  The only curveball? The census said both Max and Fannie were born in Germany.  My Fanny was born in Pennsylvania.  The Fanny on the marriage record was born in Switzerland, not Germany.

My elation was soon tempered with that feeling of uncertainty.  OK, this was the Max Michaels who lived on East Thompson, who married a woman named Fanny, who had a daughter named Isabella.  This was the same Fanny and Isabella who lived at 918 Hutchinson Street when Isabella died in 1890. But was this my Fanny? Was this the Max who died in the 1884 fire? Did I yet have enough proof?

No. But I had a new person to search.  Charles Michaels. The son.  The child who was three in 1880.  And that opened up some new doors.  But they did not give me the answers.  Or at least not the answers I wanted.

Searching for Charles Michaels led me to an entry on the 1900 census.  In New York City.  Not Philadelphia.  The Charles Michaels on that census was born in July, 1877, in Pennsylvania.  That certainly was a possible match. The listing has Charles living with his mother Fanny Michaels, born November 1846.  That certainly could be my Fanny.  But born in Switzerland. Hmmm.  Like the Fanny Wyler on the marriage record, but not like my Fanny. The Fanny on the 1900 census reported that she had had three children, but only one was alive.  That made sense.  Rosa had died in the fire, Isabella had died in 1890.  Only Charles was alive. I was pretty certain that this was the Fanny Michaels who had lived in Philadelphia and whose husband Max had killed himself and their daughter Rose in a fire.

Except for one problem.

Also listed living with Fanny and Charles in 1900 in New York City? Max Michaels.  Born in Germany in 1841. A laborer.  That sure sounds like the Max who married Fanny Wyler in 1874 and who lived at 2133 East Thompson Street.  But he was supposed to be dead! Fanny had listed herself as a widow on those directories in Philadelphia.  I had a death certificate for a Max Michaels who burned himself to death.  How could Max be alive?  Would the census taker have included Fanny’s long dead husband?  By 1900 he had been dead at least ten years, according to the Philadelphia directories, or 16 years if he was the Max who killed himself in the fire.  I was mystified.  Confused.

Max, Fanny and Charles Michaels on 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1085; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0098; FHL microfilm: 1241085

Max, Fanny and Charles Michaels on 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1085; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0098; FHL microfilm: 1241085

But I continued on.  And I found Fanny Michaels on the 1910 census in NYC.  A widow.  Living as a boarder with someone named Nettie Rutlinger, also a widow.  Both listed their place of birth as Switzerland.  Fanny’s age lined up with my Fanny, more or less.  It said she was 60, meaning born in 1850.  In between the age of my Fanny and the age of the Fanny Wyler on the marriage record.  And now Max was dead.  If he wasn’t already dead before.  I didn’t find a Max Michaels in the NYC death records between 1900 and 1910 or in the Pennsylvania death records for that period.  I think the 1900 census taker had just made an error.  Perhaps Fanny was asked for her husband’s information and provided it without saying he was dead. I don’t know, but I am 99% sure that the 1900 Fanny is the same Fanny whose husband and daughter died in the fire in 1884.

I could not find Fanny on the 1920 census, so I searched for a death record through the IGG site and found this:

298 Michaels Fanny 67 y Jan 5 1913 502 (1913) Kings 1845 – 1846 1324260

That sounded like it could be the right Fanny, the wife of Max, mother of Isabella, Charles, and maybe Rosa.  I decided to search for a death notice and found this one through the Fulton History website, a collection of old newspapers, mostly from NYC:

Fanny Michaels death notice Brooklyn Eagle 1913

Fanny Michaels death notice Brooklyn Standard Union January 6, 1913 p. 3


So this seemed pretty conclusive.  The Fanny who died in 1913 was born in Switzerland.  Nettie was her sister, also born in Switzerland.  This was NOT my Fanny.  It, however, does seem that this Fanny was the one who married Max Michaels in Philadelphia in 1874.  She had only come to America a year before.  She had been the mother of Isabella and Charles.  And maybe Rose.  I still don’t know. I still don’t know whether that Fanny was married to the Max Michaels who killed himself and his daughter Rose.  But I think so.  Except for the fact that he seemed to be alive in 1900.

But I need not look any further because I am now convinced that whoever she was, that Fanny Michaels was not my cousin.  She was Fanny Wyler, born in Switzerland, not in Pennsylvania.  She, not my Fanny, married Max Michaelis, who was perhaps the same Max Michaels who killed himself and his daughter Rose in a fire.

What do you think?

And meanwhile, where is MY Fanny Wiler? Was she the one working as a servant in 1880? Where was she in 1870 when the rest of her family was living together in Philadelphia?

I have no idea.

For all that work, I am back where I started.  I have no idea what happened to my cousin Fanny Wiler.  But at least it was an intriguing and challenging ride while it lasted.

But how can I find the real Fanny Wiler?  HELP!



Was the Census Taker Incompetent? Lewis Cohen 1862-1924

Having now completed the stories of the seventeen children of Reuben and Sallie Cohen, I can return to Reuben’s siblings, the other children of my great-great-grandparents Jacob and Sarah Cohen.  Reuben was their sixth child, followed by three daughters, Maria, Hannah, and Elizabeth, about whom I have already written.  That means we are up to Jacob and Sarah’s tenth child, Lewis.

Lewis was born March 20, 1862, and grew up with his siblings at 136 South Street.  In 1880 when he was eighteen years old, he was working as a clerk, presumably with his brothers in his father’s pawnshop.  In 1886 when he was twenty-four he married Carrie Dannenbaum.  At that time he was working with his brother Joseph as a pawnbroker at 1001 South 10th Street and living at 404 South Second Street.  By 1910, Lewis and Carrie had a daughter Helen, who was listed as being sixteen, and they were all living at 2144 Green Street.  Lewis’ pawnshop was still on South 10th Street at 1537, where he remained for another decade or more.

Lewis Cohen 1910 census

Lewis Cohen 1910 census

The only real wrinkle I encountered in researching Lewis was a strange entry in the 1920 census.  On that census, Lewis and Carrie are listed as living with a son named Isidor Solis Cohen, 23 years old, who was working as a clerk in a department store.  If Lewis and Carrie had a 23 year old son in 1920, then where was he in 1910 when he was thirteen?

Lewis Cohen 1920 census

Lewis Cohen 1920 census

I could not find any later record for him either.  I found him on two other family trees as Lewis and Carrie’s son, but aside from the 1920 census, the only records relied on for support on those trees referred to different Isidor Cohens—one whose parents were born abroad and one whose parents were born in New York, whereas both Lewis and Carrie had been born in Pennsylvania.

The only source used on those trees aside from the 1920 census that referred to Isidor as Isidor Solis Cohen was a World War I draft registration, but on that form Isidor listed his contact person as J. Solis Cohen, MD.

Isidor Solis Cohen World War I draft registration

Isidor Solis Cohen World War I draft registration

A quick search revealed that Jacob Solis Cohen was a prominent Philadelphia surgeon whose family had come to the United States far earlier than my Cohen family and from Russia, not England.  I found Isidor living with Jacob Solis Cohen on the 1910 census along with his numerous siblings.  It seemed pretty clear to me that Isidor Solis Cohen was not the son of Lewis and Carrie, but of Jacob Solis Cohen, MD.

So how did he end up living with Lewis and Carrie in 1920? Or was this just some strange mistake by the census taker?  When I dug deeper and searched for the Solis Cohen family in 1920, I found something rather odd.  Except for one brother who had married between 1910 and 1920 and one sister who was hospitalized, all of Isidor’s siblings and his father Jacob were living at 2113 Chestnut Street, but their listings were spread throughout separate pages of the census for the enumeration district.  Jacob was listed with one daughter; three daughters were listed together on a different page; and one brother, Myer Solis Cohen, was listed not only apart from his sisters and father, but with two people a few years older than he named Ramsburgle.  What made that even stranger was that Myer, aged 42, was listed as the son of the Ramsburgles, aged 49 and 48.  Unless there was some truly miraculous event, there was no way Myer was their son.

Myer Solis Cohen the 42 year old "son" of the Ramsburgles, aged 49 and 48

Myer Solis Cohen the 42 year old “son” of the Ramsburgles, aged 49 and 48

Mixed in between the census pages listing all the other Solis Cohens was a page that listed Isidor as Lewis and Carrie’s son.  The address was not 2113 Chestnut, but an apartment building called the Coronado located on the same block at 22nd Street and Chestnut.  All of these inconsistencies in this enumeration district convinced me that the listing of Isidor as the son of Lewis and Carrie was wrong, just as the listing of his brother Myer as the son of the Ramsburgles was wrong.

Thus, I believe that Lewis and Carrie had one child, Helen.  Although the 1910 census gave her age as 16, it also said she was a cook for a private family.  Looking at that census, it looks like the census taker had some information for Helen confused with information for the family cook, Margaret Johns.  The numerous cross-outs make it rather hard to read.  This was a different census taker, I assume, from the one who later took the 1920 census of the Solis Cohen family, but another census taker who was not very careful.  Later census reports put Helen’s year of birth at about 1890.

At any rate, Helen was not 16 in 1910.  Later that same year on September 28, 1910, she married William Bacharach, and the marriage record filed with their synagogue indicated that Helen was then 22.  I know that this is the right Helen Cohen because the address given, 2144 Green Street, is the same address where Lewis, Carrie and Helen were living in 1910.

Helen Cohen marriage certificate

Lewis died on May 9, 1924, from an intestinal obstruction caused by carcinoma sigmoid or colon cancer.  He was 62 years old.  His widow Carrie died four years later on June 14, 1928, from endocarditis.

Carrie Cohen

Carrie Dannenbaum Cohen

Their daughter Helen and her husband William Bacharach had three children, Augustus, Lewis Cohen, and Jeanne. I am very lucky to be in touch with two of Helen and William’s descendants.   They were able to supply me with the photos posted here and with some of the information as well.   William Bacharach came from a family that, prior to Prohibition, had been in the liquor business, but when Prohibition became the law, the family sold the business and developed a business as pawnbrokers; family lore is that they sold their liquor business to a company that became part of what is today’s Seagram’s.  Thus, William, like the Cohens, was a pawnbroker and spent his career in the business.   He was very successful.

Helen Cohen Bacharach and her children c. 1927

Helen Cohen Bacharach and her children c. 1927

During the Depression, William and Helen purchased a large house with seven bedrooms in the Oak Lane neighborhood of Philadelphia.    They also were very involved with the historic Rodeph Shalom synagogue and with the Philadelphia Jewish community in general.  Helen died in 1950 from cancer, and  William donated money and charity work to Moss Rehab, where there is an award given yearly in his name there, according to one of their descendants.  After Helen’s death William moved to Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.  William died in 1973 in Tucson, Arizona, where he had retired.


Jeanne, WIlliam, and Helen Bacharach

Jeanne, William and Helen Bacharach

Grandpa Bacharach

William Bacharach


This is what I know about Helen and William’s three children, Augustus, Lewis and Jeanne.

Jeanne, Lewis, and Gus Bacharach

Lewis, Jeanne, and Augustus Bacharach

Helen and William’s son Augustus was their first born child, born on October 24, 1912.  He was still living at home and not employed in 1930, presumably still in high school, but by 1940 he had married Jane Sinberg and was working as a salesman (I cannot decipher the entry for the industry).   In 1950, Augustus was working in radio repairs, according to the city directory.  He seems to have lived in the Philadelphia area all his life. He and Jane had one child.  His wife Jane predeceased him by six years, dying in 1975.  Augustus thereafter married Carolyn Sundheim Ostroff Osser, who had been married and widowed twice and had two children.  Augustus died in December, 1981, leaving Carolyn a widow for a third time.

Helen and William’s second child, Lewis Cohen Bacharach, was born in August 22, 1914.  He continued the Bacharach and Cohen family pawnbroker tradition until the 1960s when he closed the last of the family’s pawnshops.  He and his wife Mary retired to Tucson, Arizona, and both lived full and long lives even after retirement.   I was able to find a few articles and their obituaries which beautifully capture their lives and their commitment to helping others.

First, this profile of Lewis C. Bacharach from the June 2008 newsletter from his retirement community, Evergreen Estates in Lancaster, PA:

Resident Spotlight: Lewis Bacharach

Lewis was raised in Philadelphia, PA, the middle child with one brother and one sister. A graduate of Northeast High School, Lewis studied business for two years at Temple University.  In 1942 Lewis began three years in the United States Army in New Guinea. It was while training at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, that he met Mary. She drove for the Red Cross Motor Corps and was volunteering for an evening of Bingo. That night Lewis offered Mary a cup of coffee and four dates later they were engaged. In July the Bacharach’s will celebrate their 65th anniversary. They are the parents of two children and have two grandchildren.

Lewis said, “Doing for others is what brought him and Mary together.” They were always involved in community having singly or together volunteered for the following organizations: Art League, Brandeis Book Club, Lions Club, Mobile Meals, United Order of True Sisters, Tucson Medical Center, the March of Dimes and Food Bank. In 1977 Lewis helped organize and establish the LaCanada Magee Neighborhood Association, a neighborhood of 5,000 homes in Arizona. Lewis has served as president of Wyndmoor Lions Club, Whitemarsh Village Association and The LaCanada Magee Neighborhood Association. Lewis and Mary served as docents at the Arizona Desert Museum, a world known organization, where they had the privilege of hosting people from around the world.

Lewis said he misses “doing for others.” These days he faithfully visits Mary who is recuperating in the nursing care unit at Brethren Village.

I also was able to obtain more information about Mary from her obituary in 2011:

Mary was a graduate of Maryland Art Institute and moved to New York City where she was a window decorator. She also taught at the Devereaux Foundation and was a founding mother in the Mothers March of Dimes, a co-founder of the Tuscan United Order of True Sisters, an organizer of the Whitemarsh Village Policemen’s Ball, and a member of the National Council of Jewish Women. As a little girl, she sat on Babe Ruth’s lap and studied dance at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Her love of art was a guiding light in her life and she encouraged her son to become an artist. She was always doing for others and enjoyed being a Cub Scout Den mother. Brandeis University bestowed upon her the honor of “Woman of Valor.” At the age of 90 Mary wrote and illustrated a children’s book called Big Black’s Neighbors. She was a member of Temple Emmanuel in Tucson, AZ and attended Shaarai Shomayim in Lancaster, PA.

(Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era (PA) – Monday, January 31, 2011)

Mary Bacharach

From Lewis’ obituary in 2013, I obtained this additional information:

[As a long time pawnbroker in Philadelphia, Lewis was] respected by his peers as well as his clients, among whom he was known for his honesty. In the ’60’s, he closed his business and went to work managing the bookstore of the Philadelphia Community College, where he stayed until retiring to Tucson, Arizona. During his time in Philadelphia, Lewis was involved in the Lions Club, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, and founded the Whitemarsh Village Association. While working and volunteering, he still found time to help his wife lead a Cub Scout Pack and raise his sons to value friendship, loyalty, and honor. He instilled the importance of a good name and the concept that a man’s word should be his bond.

When Lewis’s wife Mary visited Tucson in 1973, she fell in love with the desert. A few months after her visit, the house was sold and Lewis took on new challenges. Outgoing, gregarious (God help you if you went to the market with him; he knew and spoke with everyone), and willing to help anyone, he soon became part of the community. Along with Mary, he became a docent at the Desert Museum, where he loved introducing visitors to the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert. He started a neighborhood association in Casas Adobes East, where he fought to preserve the natural habitat and put limits on construction, and volunteered with the Food Bank. …. When other family members moved west, Lewis introduced them to his circle of friends and became the patriarch of the family, a role that he enjoyed.

Lewis and Mary returned to Pennsylvania while in their 90’s and moved to Evergreen Estates. When Mary’s health declined, necessitating a move to a skilled nursing facility, Lewis remained at Evergreen, visiting her faithfully until her death. Meanwhile, the wonderful staff and residents at Evergreen became his extended family and a source of support and camaraderie. He was a regular at the nightly pinochle gathering and enjoyed kibitzing in the evening over ginger ale. While in Lancaster, Lewis loved spending time with his children and grandchildren, and took pleasure in family gatherings and dinners, especially if there was a martini on the menu. He was proud of his extended family, and looked forward to his almost nightly chats with his niece … who kept him up on the news in Tucson.

(Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era (PA) – Friday, June 21, 2013)

Mr. Lewis C. Bacharach

Lewis Cohen Bacharach

Lewis and Mary were clearly well-loved not only by their children and grandchildren, but also by every community where they had lived during their long and meaningful lives.

Helen and William’s daughter Jeanne was born December 15, 1917.  She married Charles Towle, who became very well-known for his extensive collection of railroad related stamps.  According to Wikipedia, Charles L. Towle “was a stamp collector who studied postal history and wrote philatelic literature on the subject…. On the basis of his studies, Towle, co-authored with Henry Albert Meyer, and wrote Railroad Postmarks of the U.S., 1861-1886, and, in 1986 Towle wrote his four volume United States Rates and Station Agent Markings. Towle wrote extensively on transit markings and received numerous awards for his effort. For three years Towle edited The Heliograph, the journal of the Postal History Foundation.  … Towle was active in philatelic organizations, such as the Mobile Post Office Society, where he was president until he died, and as Chairman of the Board of the Western Postal History Museum, later renamed the Postal History Foundation.  ….Towle was named to the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame in 1991.”

Family members told me that Charles’ stamp collection was donated to the University of Michigan.  Charles and Jeanne lived in Dearborn, Michigan, for many years where Charles was the president of a railway company during the 1950s and 1960s.  Charles and Jeanne later moved back to Philadelphia and then to Tucson, Arizona, where Charles became very interested in mineralogy, eventually donating that collection to other museums. He and Jeanne were also very active in the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum along with Lewis and Mary Bacharach.

Jeanne died in 1976 of cancer, like her mother Mary.  Charles died in 1990.  They had four children who survived them and many grandchildren.

Jeanne Bacharach

Jeanne Bacharach Towle

Thus, Lewis Cohen, my great-granduncle, has a wonderful legacy in the many contributions and commitments to community made by his daughter and son-in-law and their children.




Did My Great-Grandfather’s First Cousin Live Two Separate Lives?

I have started tracking down the lives of the children of Jacob and Sarah Cohen, my great-great-grandparents, and all was going pretty well until I started to research their son Hart.  It seems he might have been living two lives, one in Philadelphia, one in Washington, DC.   Or perhaps not.  Here’s what I have found; see if you have any ideas on how to resolve this one.

The first mention of Hart, obviously named for his grandfather Hart Levy Cohen who was still alive when he was born, is on the 1860 US census, listing little Hart as nine years old, so born in 1850 or 1851, depending on whether his birthday was before or after June 7th, the date in 1860 when the census was taken.  Since he was not listed on the 1850 census taken on July 25, 1850, he was obviously born sometime between July 25, 1850 and June 7, 1851 if he was actually nine on June 7, 1860.

Jacob and Sarah Cohen and family 1860 US census

Jacob and Sarah Cohen and family 1860 US census

Things start getting weird in 1870.  I found two census reports for Jacob and Sarah and their children for 1870, one taken in June, one in November.  The second one is labeled “Second Enum” for second enumeration so for some reason the census taker went to the neighborhood twice.  What’s odd is that Hart is listed as 20 on the June version and 19 on the November version.  I’ve seen age mistakes so often that this did not faze me in the least, but it does not help pin down Hart’s precise birth date.

It is the 1880 census, however, that really threw me.  In 1880 there are also two census reports for Hart Cohen born in 1850 or 1851.  One is clearly the right Hart:  He was living in Philadelphia, working as a storekeeper, and was born in Pennsylvania of parents born in England. He is 30 years old, giving him a birth year of 1850 or 1851.  This Hart was married to a woman named Henreta or probably Henrietta and had three children, Jacob (6), Sarah (5), and Julia (4).  If Hart and Henrietta had a six year old child, then presumably they would have been married no later than 1873, and in fact I was able to find a record of a marriage of Hart Cohen to a Henrietta Brunswick in Philadelphia on February 12, 1873 in the Pennsylvania marriage index.

Hart Cohen and family Philadelphia 1880 US census

Hart Cohen and family Philadelphia 1880 US census

All seemed to be making sense until I found another 1880 census report for a Hart and Henrietta Cohen residing in Washington, DC. This Hart was also 30 years old.  I was ready to dismiss this as just as bizarre coincidence since this Hart was listed as having parents who were born in Germany.  His own birthplace was given as Washington, DC.  This seemed like it had to be a different person.  The DC Hart and Henrietta had one child, a daughter named Fanny who was only a year old.

Hart Cohen and family Washington, DC 1880 US census

Hart Cohen and family Washington, DC 1880 US census

I have a city directory for Philadelphia listing Hart Cohen as a pawnbroker in 1886, so I was convinced that the DC Hart was just a fluky coincidence of someone with the same name and age as my Hart marrying a woman also named Henrietta.  The 1890 census was destroyed by fire, so I had to skip ahead to 1900 to see if I could follow up on the two Hart and Henrietta Cohens.

I could not find the Philadelphia Hart and Henrietta on either the 1900 or the 1910 census, but I did find the DC Hart and Henrietta on both.  The 1900 census for the DC Hart provided a more specific birthdate—September, 1851—and had his birth place as Maryland, but this census listed his parents’ birthplace as England, not Germany as on the 1880 census. DC Hart was working in a jewelry store, a retail business not unlike those of my ancestors, so that seemed strange as well. Hart and Henrietta now had four children, Frances, Munroe, Isador and Jacob.  But this Jacob was only 14 in 1900 so could not be the same Jacob who was 6 in 1880 and thus born in 1874.  Once again I felt pretty certain that this was still not the same Hart Cohen who was Jacob and Sarah’s son.  Despite the fact that his parents were now reported to be English-born, that he was a jeweler, that he married a woman named Henrietta and that he was also 30 years old, I again said that this was just a coincidence.

Hart Cohen and family in Washington, DC 1900 US census

Hart Cohen and family in Washington, DC 1900 US census

On the 1910 census report for the DC Hart and Henrietta,  Hart still had a jewelry store and was married to Henrietta and living with Frances and Jacob, two of their children.  His birthplace was listed as Maryland, and now his parents’ birthplaces were reported as England for his father and Germany for his mother.  This also seemed to suggest that this was not the Philadelphia Hart.

Hart Cohen and family Washington, DC 1910 US Census

Hart Cohen and family Washington, DC 1910 US Census

But because I could not find the Philadelphia Hart on the 1900 or the 1910 census, I was a bit perplexed.  Could he have died? Had he moved to DC?   Even if that were the case, it would not explain the two 1880 census reports.  Was he living a double life, having two wives both named Henrietta, one in Philadelphia and one in DC, and two different sets of children?

I decided to search for a death record for any Hart Cohen born around 1850, and I found one dated January 3, 1911.  Since this   record was from the District of Columbia Selected Deaths and Burials database, I assumed that this related to the DC Hart especially since the report said that the deceased was living in DC at the time of his death, but on a closer look I saw that it said that he had been born and was buried in Philadelphia.

I then found a second record in the Philadelphia Death Certificates Index that made it quite clear that this was the Philadelphia Hart, not the DC Hart: it listed his parents’ names as Jacob Cohew (sic) and Rachel Jacobs, both of whom were born in England.

Pennsylvania Death Certificates Index

Pennsylvania Death Certificates Index


Further research revealed that Hart’s body had been moved from its original burial location twice by two of his children, Jesse Cohen and Sarah Cohen Jonas, ending in a move in 1944 to a location in Mt Sinai Cemetery where both his son Jacob H. Cohen and a Ralph Brunswick were also buried.  Since the Henrietta who married Jacob was born Henrietta Brunswick, this seemed (no pun intended) to be the final nail in the coffin establishing that the Jacob who died in January, 1911, was the Philadelphia Hart, son of Jacob and Sarah Cohen, my great-great grandparents.

If that conclusion is correct, then Philadelphia Hart was actually living in Washington, DC, at the time of his death in January, 1911, just nine months after the 1910 census recorded DC Hart (and no other Hart) living with his wife Henrietta and two children Frances and Jacob at 1806 4th Street.  Philadelphia Hart’s residence at his time of death was reported as 1737 N. 15th Street in Washington.  He was also a widower, and I was able to locate a death record for a Henrietta B. Cohen who was born in Lengnau, Switzerland and died in November, 1902.  Had he moved to DC after Henrietta died? If so, why? And what, if any connection, might there be to the “other” Hart and Henrietta?

The other Hart, the DC Hart, was still alive in 1920 and living with his daughter Frances in the District of Columbia.  He also was a widower at this time and retired.  The census report lists his and his parents’ birthplaces as DC, but that is clearly wrong, at least for his parents, whose birthplaces had previously been reported at various times as England and Germany.

Hart Cohen Washington, DC 1920 US Census

Hart Cohen Washington, DC 1920 US Census

My next find was a record of DC Hart’s death. He died August 10, 1926, in Washington, DC.  His parents’ names were listed on this record: Moses Cohen and Adeline Himmel.  His wife’s name was Henrietta Baer.  So not only did both Philadelphia Hart and  DC Hart marry women named Henrietta, they both married Henriettas  with a birth name that started with a B.  It is no wonder that I was confused, and there are numerous trees on that have mixed together the two Hart and Henrietta Cohen families.

Screenshot (3)

When I saw the name Moses Cohen as DC Hart’s father, it stopped me in my tracks.  Could this be my great-great grandfather Jacob’s brother Moses, the one I thought had stayed behind in England? So far I have not been able to find whether there is a connection.  Although I did find a ship manifest with a Moses Cohen emigrating from England to New York in 1848, the same year Jacob left England, I have no idea whether this is the right Moses Cohen.  Tracking Moses Cohen and Adeline Himmel, I know that they had a son also named Moses before Hart and that Moses the younger was born in Baden, Germany around 1839.  Adeline was born in Germany, and Moses must have gone there, married her, had Moses his son, and then moved sometime between 1839 and 1850 to the United States and settled in Maryland where DC Hart was born.

If this was in fact Moses, the son of Hart Levy Cohen, my three times great grandfather, it would explain why Moses named his son Hart.  It might also explain why Philadelphia Hart was living for some time in Washington.  Perhaps he wanted to be closer to his cousin DC Hart and his family.  On the other hand, if there is no connection, then it is just a very, very strange series of coincidences.

What do you think?



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Joseph Rosenzweig: The Process of Elimination

The other day I wrote about the steps I took to narrow down the thirteen possible Abraham Rosenzweigs in the 1915 NYS census to the one who I am reasonably certain was the Abraham who was the son of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig and thus my grandfather’s first cousin.  Over the last two days I have been engaged in the same process to determine which of the many Joseph Rosenzweigs I found in the US and NYS census reports was the younger brother of Abraham and also Gustave’s son.  I am once again reasonably certain that I have found the right Joseph, but I want to record the process I used to get there, both for my own record-keeping and to invite others to question my reasoning and my conclusions.

In many ways the search for the right Joseph was easier than the search for Abraham.  For one thing, there were far fewer Joseph Rosenzweigs than there were Abraham Rosenzweigs.  For another, Joseph was born in 1898 and thus was almost ten years younger than Abraham.  That meant that I had five census reports in which Joseph was living with his parents and siblings: 1900, when he was two years old, 1905 (seven years old), 1910 (twelve years old), 1915 (seventeen years old) and 1920 (22 years old).  I also found what is definitely Joseph’s draft registration and World War I service record; I know these are for the same Joseph because his address on these two forms, 1882 Bergen Street in Brooklyn, is the same address where the family was living in 1920 according to the 1920 US census.

From these documents I learned a fair amount about Joseph’s early adult life.  In 1915 he was employed as a driver’s helper, according to the 1915 census.

Rosenzweigs 1915

Rosenzweigs 1915

In 1917 when he registered for the draft he was working for the BRT, or the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, which eventually merged into the BMT or Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company.  It is difficult to decipher the handwriting, but it looks like he was a guard for the BRT, perhaps the same as being a driver’s helper as he had reported in 1915.

Joseph Rosenzweig draft registration World War I

Joseph Rosenzweig draft registration World War I

His draft registration also indicated that Joseph was the sole supporter of his mother at this time. By this time Gustave and Gussie had separated or divorced, and on the 1915 census two years before Gussie had been living not only with Joseph, but also with Abraham and Jacob, both already in the US Navy, and Lizzie and Rachel, both still in school and young teenagers. Apparently by 1917, only Joseph was providing support for his mother and presumably his two younger sisters.  According to the 1918 abstract of Joseph’s military service during World War I, he served as a Seaman, Second Class, in the US Navy at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from February 8, 1918 until November 11, 1918, Armistice Day, the end of World War I.

Joseph Rosenzweig military service

Joseph Rosenzweig military service

After the war, according to the 1920 US census, Joseph was still living with his mother and Jacob (Jack), Lizzie and Rachel (Ray) at 1882 Bergen Street and working as an operator in a millinery shop; in other words he was a hat maker.  It is this occupation that became critical to my analysis as I moved past the 1920 census to the 1925 NYS census and the 1930 and 1940 US census reports.

There are only two Joseph Rosenzweigs listed on the 1925 NYS census born in New York around 1898.  One was living with his parents, whose names were Aaron and Rose, so clearly not our Joseph.  The other Joseph was married to a woman named Sadie and had a four year old daughter named Irene.  They were living at 308 East 98th Street in Brooklyn, and most importantly, Joseph’s occupation is listed as a hatter.  His wife Sadie had been in the United States for 12 years and was born in Russia.  Although I have yet to find a marriage record for Joseph and Sadie, it appeared that they must have gotten married in 1920 since they already had a four year old child by 1925.  I will continue to search for their marriage certificate as it will provide more definite evidence that the Joseph who married Sadie was the son of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig.

Rosenzweigs 1920 census

Rosenzweigs 1920 census

Joseph and Sadie 1925

Joseph and Sadie 1925

Although I would like additional evidence to link this Joseph to Gustave, I am reasonably certain that it must be the right person.  The age and birthplace are correct, the occupation is the same as the occupation held by Joseph when he was still living at home with his mother, and there was only one other Joseph Rosenzweig listed in this age range in the 1925 NYS census.

Thus, I moved on to the 1930 census to see if any other Joseph Rosenzweigs were included there who could match the right criteria.  On the 1930 census I found two Joseph Rosenzweigs.  The first Joseph was born in 1898, but he was living with a brother named David, and Gustave and Gussie did not have a son named David who survived until 1930.  The second Joseph was the Joseph who married Sadie.  The census reported that he was born in 1897 and had been married to Sadie for ten years, making 1920 again the likely year of their marriage.  Sadie’s sister Tilda Kablanski was living with them, and they now had two daughters, Irene (nine years old) and Mildred (four years old).  They were still living on East 98th Street in Brooklyn, and Joseph was still employed as a hat maker.  There was also a John Rosenzweig who had Romanian parents, which looked promising, and he was living on Albany Avenue in Brooklyn, married to Ethel Bloom.  He was working as a postal clerk.  Although he was born in 1890 and thus older than Gustave’s son and had the wrong name, I held him aside as a possibility.

The only information in the 1930 census for the Joseph that married Sadie that conflicts with what I know about Joseph, Gustave’s son, is that it reports that his parents were born in Russia, not Romania.  I would be more troubled by this if I had not already seen so many errors on census reports: my grandmother’s name listed as Maurica when it was Gussie, my great-grandmother’s name given as Pauline when it was Bessie or Pessel, ages that are inaccurate, relationships described incorrectly, and so on.  I had to remind myself not to use this inconsistency to dismiss Joseph and Sadie; genealogists often are reminded that census takers took information often from neighbors or children or anyone who was around when the occupant was not home.  So given that there were only two Joseph Rosenzweigs of the right age born in NYC listed on the 1930 census, I decided that it was still more likely that the Joseph who married Sadie was Gustave’s son than the John who was almost ten years older and working as a postal clerk or the Joseph who was living with a brother named David.

Joseph and Sadie 1930 census

Joseph and Sadie 1930 census

So I moved ahead to the 1940 census to see if I could find anything that would help to nail down the identity of the correct Joseph.  There were four Josephs (plus the John who married Ethel; since his name was listed as John again, I decided that this was not a census taker’s mistake and eliminated him from my pile.)  Once again, there was Joseph who married Sadie, living with their two daughters Irene and Mildred on Rockaway Parkway in Brooklyn.  Joseph’s birth year was given as 1899 this time, and his occupation was still in hat-making.  There was a second Joseph married to a Sadye, living in Manhattan, but he was older (born in 1894). There was a third Joseph married to a Jenny, also living in Manhattan, who was a salesman of knit goods, but he was also older, born in 1893.  And finally there was a Joseph born in 1897, married to Sarah and living in the Bronx.  He was a clerk in a rubber factory.  Of the four Josephs, it still seemed to me that the one who was most likely Gustave’s son was the Joseph who married Sadie: he lived in Brooklyn, where our Joseph grew up; he was a hatter, which our Joseph had been in 1920; and he was the correct age, unlike two of the other three.

Joseph and Sadie 1940

Joseph and Sadie 1940

Obviously I cannot be 100% sure unless and until I can find a marriage certificate for Joseph and Sadie which reveals his parents’ names or unless and until I can find a descendant of Joseph and Sadie who may know whether their great-grandfather was named Gustave and whether their great-grandmother was named Gussie.  I have sent messages to a few of those descendants, and I am hoping that one of them will be able to help.  In the meantime I will continue to search for more evidence linking Joseph to my great-great uncle Gustave Rosenzweig, in particular the marriage certificate or the death certificate for the Joseph who married Sadie.

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