Dora Blumenfeld Livingston’s Children and Grandchildren: The Departure from Bloomington

By 1930, Dora Blumenfeld Livingston was gone, but seven of her eight children were still living as were her ten grandchildren, who ranged in age from Morton Livingston, who was thirty, to Ralph Livingston, who was two. This post and the three that follow will complete the story of those children and grandchildren, starting with Dora’s two oldest children and their families: Rosalie and Maurice.

Rosalie Livingston, widowed when her husband Albert died in 1928, moved to Chicago and was living with her son Morton in 1930.1 Morton had graduated from the University of Chicago in 1921 with a Bachelors of Philosophy, but had then returned to Bloomington until at least 1922.2 I don’t know when he moved back to Chicago, but in 1930 he was working there as a plumbing fixtures salesman.3

Morton Livingston, University of Chicago 1921 yearbook, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; School Name: University of Chicago; Year: 1921, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999

Morton married Helen Pflaum on January 14, 1932.4 She was the daughter of Abraham J. Pflaum and Harriet Ettenson and was born in Chicago on December 7, 1906.5 According to the newspaper article announcing their wedding, Morton’s mother Rosalie was living at the Chicago Beach Hotel at that time. Morton and Harriet had two children born in the 1930s. In 1940, they were all living in Chicago where Morton was now working as a salesman for an investment brokerage.6

Mrs. Morton Livingston, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 31 Jan 1932, Sun • Page 84

Rosalie was also still living at the Chicago Beach Hotel in 1940.7 She died three years later on July 19, 1943, in Chicago;8 she was 74 and was the second of Dora and Meyer’s children to die—twenty years after her brother Maurice and fifteen years after her husband Albert. She was survived by her son Morton, who died in Chicago in May 1984;9 his wife Helen had predeceased him in 1976.10 They were survived by their children.

Maurice Livingston had died in 1923, as we saw. His widow Bertha and their two daughters remained in Bloomington until at least 1930 where Bertha appears to have taken over Maurice’s role at the department store.11 On December 1, 1937, their older daughter Ruth married Stanton Robert Schiller in Chicago.12 Stanton was born in Chicago on September 4, 1912, and was the son of Morris H. Schiller and Mary Burnstein.13 In 1940 Stanton and Ruth were living in Chicago where he was a clothing salesman.14 They had two children born in the 1940s. Ruth later relocated to California where her mother and sister were living.

Ruth’s younger sister Betty married Herman Bendix, Jr. on October 30, 1938, in Los Angeles where she and her mother were then living. Betty had graduated from the University of Chicago. Herman was born in Denver on August 9, 1910, to Herman Bendix, Sr. and Clara Kohn.15 When Betty and Herman married, he was in business in Portland, Oregon, where they then settled and where in 1940 Herman was working as a traveling salesman for a ladies’ garment factory.16 By 1946 Betty and Herman had relocated to Los Angeles where her mother Bertha was still living.17 I have not been able to find any records of children born to Betty and Herman.

“Local Girl Becomes Bride in California,” The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois
03 Nov 1938, Thu • Page 8

Bertha died on October 7, 1957, in Los Angeles.18 She was survived by her two daughters, Ruth, who died in 1979, in Los Angeles,19 and Betty, who died in 1983, in Los Angeles.20

Thus, the families of both Rosalie and Maurice Livingston had left Bloomington, Illinois, behind by the time their children were adults. In fact, by 1940, as we will see, only two of the eight siblings were still in Bloomington.

Next, the third Livingston sibling, Sigmund.

 

 

 

 


  1. Rosalie and Morton Livingston, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 0129; FHL microfilm: 2340155, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. 1922 Bloomington directory, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. See Note 1. 
  4. Morton A. Livingston, Marriage Date: 14 Jan 1932, Spouse: Helen B. Pflaum, Marriage Location: Cook County, IL, Marriage license: {78E80849-0E1C-40E8-892B-84CEBC8682FF}, File Number: 1333793, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 
  5.  Helen P Livingston, Nationality: USA, Age: 55, Birth Date: 7 Dec 1906, Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA, Arrival Date: 12 Feb 1962, Arrival Place: Miami, Florida, USA
    Airline: BWIA, Flight Number: 406, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Manifests of Airplanes Arriving at Miami, Florida.; NAI Number: 2788541; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Arriving and Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1898-1963. “Out-of-Town Wedding,” St. Joseph (Missouri) News-Press, 13 Jun 1904, p. 6; Pflaum family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Chicago Ward 3, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_243; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0235; FHL microfilm: 1374256, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  6. Morton Livingston and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00928; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 103-245,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Rosalie Livingston, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00928; Page: 81B; Enumeration District: 103-238, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. Rosalie Livingston, Death Date: 19 Jul 1943, Death Location: Cook County, IL,
    File Number: 21087, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Deaths), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 
  9.  Morton Livingston, Social Security Number: 352-05-1727, Birth Date: 20 Oct 1900
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Illinois, Last Residence: 60035, Highland Park, Lake, Illinois, USA, Death Date: May 1984, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10.  Helen Livingston, Social Security Number: 325-38-3720, Birth Date: 7 Dec 1906
    Issue Year: 1962, Issue State: Illinois, Last Residence: 60035, Highland Park, Lake, Illinois, USA, Death Date: Oct 1976, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  11. Bertha Livingston and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0011; FHL microfilm: 2340270, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census  
  12. Ruth J. Livingston, Marriage Date: 1 Dec 1937, Spouse: Stanton R. Schiller
    Marriage Location: Cook County, IL, Marriage license: {2B03ABBF-478F-4796-AE43-5CD16AF78743}, File Number: 1557550, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL
    Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 
  13. Stanton Schiller, Birth Date: 4 Sep 1912, Birth Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Ethnicity: American, Gender: Male, Race: White, Father: Morris H Schiller, Mother: Mary Burnstein, FHL Film Number: 1288265, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 
  14. Stanton Schiller and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 103-267, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  15. Herman Bendix, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Oregon, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 8, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947; Bendix family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_162; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 242, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census.Clara Kohn, Age: 22, Gender: Female, Birth Year: abt 1883, Marriage Type: Marriage, Marriage Date: 25 Oct 1905, Marriage Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Spouse Name: Herman Bendix, Spouse Age: 30, Spouse Gender: Male, FHL Film Number: 1030393,  Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Marriages Index, 1871-1920 
  16. Herman and Betty Bendix, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Portland, Multnomah, Oregon; Roll: m-t0627-03385; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 37-24A,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  17. Mrs Betty Livingston Bendix, Residence Date: 1946, Street Address: 682 S Irolo St, Residence Place: Los Angeles, California, USA, Party Affiliation: Democrat, California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 
  18. Bertha August Livingston, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 29 Jan 1887, Birth Place: Other Country, Death Date: 7 Oct 1957, Death Place: Los Angeles, Father’s Surname: August, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  19. Ruth Loretta Schiller, Social Security #: 386070986, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 19 Dec 1913, Death Date: 26 Jun 1979, Death Place: Los Angeles, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  20. Betty Livingston Bendix, Social Security #: 572427551, Gender: Female
    Birth Date: 22 Jan 1916, Birth Place: Illinois, Death Date: 3 Aug 1983, Death Place: Los Angeles, Mother’s Maiden Name: August, Father’s Surname: Livingston, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 

Dora Blumenfeld Livingston and Her Family in the 1920s: Years of Loss

After Meyer Livingston died in 1915, his widow Dora and many of his children continued to live in Bloomington, Illinois, although some relocated to Chicago. And the family continued to grow.

Rosalie, the first-born child of Meyer and Dora, was living in Bloomington with her husband Albert Livingston and their son Morton in 1920; Albert was a dry goods merchant.1 Her brother Maurice and his wife Bertha and their two daughters Ruth and Betty May were also living in Bloomington, and Maurice listed his occupation as the proprietor of a department store.2

The second oldest son, Sigmund, married Hilda Freiler in Chicago on December 18, 1918. She was the daughter of Philip Freiler and Lizzie Ehrlich and was born on April 25, 1891, in Elgin, Illinois.3

Sigmund Livingston marriage, found at https://genealogy.zemon.name/gramps/ppl/0/d/b21ea1d3dd971e202d0.html Courtesy of Art Zemon

Here is a photograph of Sigmund and Hilda taken on their honeymoon.

Sigmund Livingston and Hilda Freilder on their honeymoon 1918. Courtesy of Art Zemon, found at https://genealogy.zemon.name/gramps/index.html

Sigmund and Hilda settled in Bloomington, where in 1920 Sigmund continued to practice law.4 Their son Richard was born on March 8, 1920, in Bloomington.5 There will be more on Sigmund and his career in a separate post.

Herman, the next oldest sibling, and his youngest brother Harold were still single and living at home with their mother Dora in 1920. Both Herman and Harold listed department store owner on the 1920 census as well as on their World War I draft registrations.6 Harold served in the Finances and Supplies Detachment of the Surgeon General’s Office of the US Army during World War I.7

Herman Livingston, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: McLean County, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Harold Livingston, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: McLean County, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Gussie, who had moved to Virginia, Illinois, with her husband Solomon Salzenstein after marrying him in 1906, had returned to Bloomington with her husband and their son James. In 1920 Solomon was working as a corn farmer.8

So in 1920 six of the eight Livingston children were still living in Bloomington. The other two, Alfred and Irvin, were in Chicago. On his 1918 registration for the draft, Alfred reported that he was the sales manager for a piano manufacturer; in 1920, he was living with his wife Eva and their daughter Miriam/Marion in Chicago, and now he described his occupation as “piano manufacturer.”9

Alfred Livingston, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Irvin was practicing law in Chicago and living with his wife Helen and their two older children in 1920.10 Their youngest child, Irvin, Jr., was born the following year.11

The 1920s brought many changes for the family, including some very sad losses. First, Maurice Livingston died on November 19, 1923, in Bloomington. He was only 52 years old, and making it even sadder, his two daughters Ruth and Betty were only ten and seven, respectively. His wife Bertha was only 37.12 The Pantagraph, the local Bloomington newspaper, published this obituary, which reported that Maurice had been in poor health for a few years, but died suddenly of a heart attack after a night at the theater with his family.

“M. Livingston Is Suddenly Taken,” The Pantagraph, November 20, 1923, p. 5

Just a year later, Gussie Livingston lost her husband Solomon Salzenstein on September 9, 1924, in Bloomington. He was only 55, and his only child James was just eleven when he lost his father. Gussie was 43.13

There was some good news in the 1920s when the two remaining single brothers married. Herman Livingston married Dorothy Ensel in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 14, 1922. Dorothy, the daughter of Gustave Ensel and Sophie Lieber, was born in Somerset, Kentucky, on November 4, 1882.14 Herman and Dorothy settled in Bloomington.

“Ensel-Livingston,” The Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal, March 12, 1922, p. 8

Harold, the youngest child of Dora and Meyer Livingston, married Marion Kunstadter, the daughter of Samuel Kunstadter and Theodora Hess, in May 1926 in Chicago. Marion was born on October 6, 1905, in Chicago. Harold and Marion also settled in Bloomington.15

But those two happy events were bookended by two more losses in the 1920s. On January 15, 1927, the family lost its matriarch, Dora Blumenfeld Livingston; she was 79 years old.16 She was survived by seven of her eight children and her grandchildren. Dora had successfully given birth to and raised eight children and left her homeland in Germany to settle in the middle of America with her husband Meyer and his many Livingston relatives in Bloomington, Illinois. That fateful decision meant that her children and their children were spared the horrors that many of her relatives who stayed in Germany had to endure.

Dora’s death was followed by another loss a year later. Dora’s oldest child, her daughter Rosalie, lost her husband Albert Livingston on January 7, 1928.17 He was 65 years old and was survived by Rosalie and their son Morton, who was 28.

Thus, in the span of just five years from 1923 to 1928, the family suffered four losses—Maurice, Solomon, Dora, and Albert. Fortunately, the decade ended with a birth. Harold Livingston’s wife Marion gave birth to Ralph Hirsch Livingston on November 17, 1928, in Bloomington.18 Ralph was the tenth grandchild of Dora and Meyer and the last to be born.

I found it interesting that although Dora and Meyer’s children grew up with so many siblings, one of those eight children had no children (Herman) and five had just one child (Rosalie, Sigmund, Alfred, Gussie, and Harold). Only Maurice (2) and Irvin (3) had multiple children. If not for the fact that these siblings appeared to stay connected to each other geographically and presumably otherwise, I might have thought their choices to have small families were a negative response to their own childhood experiences. And if not for the fact that the family was prosperous, I might have thought that it was an economic choice.

But perhaps it was just other forces—fertility issues, the desires of their spouses, or the demands of time. And of the times themselves.


  1. Albert Livingston and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bloomington Precinct 18, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T625_387; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 108, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  2. Maurice Livingston and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bloomington Precinct 11, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T625_386; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 101, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  3. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198509/hilda-v-livingston : accessed 02 November 2021), memorial page for Hilda V Freiler Livingston (25 Apr 1891–20 Feb 1962), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198509, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224). Phillip Feilen [sic], Gender: Male, Marriage Date: 8 Jul 1883, Marriage Place: Kane, Illinois, USA, Spouse Name: Lizzie Ehrlich, Spouse Gender: Female
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Marriage Index, 1860-1920. Freiler family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Elgin Ward 1, Kane, Illinois; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0092; FHL microfilm: 1240311, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4. Sigmund and Hilda Livingston, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bloomington Precinct 19, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T625_387; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 109,Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  5. Richard Mayor Livingston, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 8 Mar 1920
    Birth Place: Bloomington, Illinois, Death Date: 5 Oct 1994, Father: Livingston, Mother:
    Hilda V Feild, SSN: 322148741, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. Dora, Herman, and Harold Livingston, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bloomington Precinct 11, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T625_386; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 101, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7.  The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 437, Description Date Range: 14 Mar 1918-26 Jul 1918, Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service Arriving and Departing Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 
  8. Sol Salzenstein and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bloomington Precinct 1, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T625_386; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 91, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  9. Alfred Livingston and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_309; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 306,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  10. Irvin Livingston and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_309; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 305,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11. Irvin P Livingston, Birth Date: 2 Apr 1921, Birth Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
    Gender: Male, Father: Irvin L Livingston, Mother: Helen Baer, FHL Film Number: 1309494, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 
  12. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198500/maurice-livingston : accessed 02 November 2021), memorial page for Maurice Livingston (14 Jan 1871–19 Nov 1923), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198500, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  13. Sol. Salzenstein, Birth Date: 3 Dec 1868, Birth Place: Pleasant Plains, Ill
    Death Date: 9 Sep 1924, Death Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois, Burial Date: Sep 1924, Cemetery Name: Jewish, Death Age: 55, Occupation: Real Estate, Race: White
    Marital status: M, Gender: Male, Residence: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois, Father Name: Jacob Salzenstein, Father Birth Place: Germany, Mother Birth Place: Germany
    Spouse Name: Lussie [sic] Salzenstein, FHL Film Number: 1493146, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 
  14. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9199180/dorothy-livingston : accessed 02 November 2021), memorial page for Dorothy Ensel Livingston (4 Nov 1882–17 Nov 1953), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9199180, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224). Ensel family, 1880 US census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Somerset, Pulaski, Kentucky; Roll: 440; Page: 94C; Enumeration District: 086, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives; Frankfort, Kentucky.
    Description: Film 7017487: All Counties, Ancestry.com. Kentucky, U.S., Death Records, 1852-1965 
  15. Marion Kunstadter, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 1926, Marriage Place: Champaign, Illinois, USA, Spouse: Harold Livingston, Various Illinois County Courthouses; Marriage Records; Collection Title: Marriage Records, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1800-1940. Marian Kunstadter Livingston
    Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 6 Oct 1905, Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois
    Death Date: 29 Aug 1987, Father: Samuel Kunstadter, Mother: Theodora Hess
    SSN: 341206539, Death Certificate Number: 125588, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Marriage announcement, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 23 May 1926, Sun • Page 91 
  16. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198506/dora-livingston : accessed 02 November 2021), memorial page for Dora Blumenfeld Livingston (27 Jun 1848–15 Jan 1927), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198506, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  17. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198010/albert-livingston : accessed 02 November 2021), memorial page for Albert Livingston (31 Jan 1862–7 Jan 1928), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198010, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  18.  Ralph H. Livingston, Social Security Number: 351-20-2225, Birth Date: 17 Nov 1928, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Illinois, Last Residence: 94941, Mill Valley, Marin, California, USA, Death Date: 23 Feb 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Meier Blumenfeld’s Three American Children: Rosa, Sophie, and Hugo

Three of the nine children of Meier Blumenfeld and Sarah Strauss left Germany before the Nazi era and settled in Chicago, as we saw in my last post. First, the sisters Rosa and Sophie came in 1893 and moved to Kokomo, Indiana, where their uncle David Strauss was living. In 1900 Rosa was living with David and his family in Chicago, and Sophie may have returned to Germany, but returned to Chicago in 1905. Meanwhile, Hugo Blumenfeld, the only brother, arrived in 1904, and he also settled in Chicago.

Rosa married Ignaz Herzka in 1905, and they had one child, a daughter Elsa. Ignaz was a tailor. Hugo married Bertha Wolf in 1912, and they had two children. On his World War I draft registration, Hugo reported that he was working as a manufacturer with a firm called Deutsch, Blumenfeld & Strauss in Chicago.

Hugo Blumenfeld, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook,Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

In 1920, Ignaz, Rosa, Elsa, and Sophie were all in one household in Chicago. Ignaz was still a tailor, and Sophie was the manager of a delicatessen. Rosa was not employed outside the home.

Herzka household, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_310; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 340
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

In 1920 Hugo Blumenfeld was working as a traveling salesman and living with his family in Chicago. Hugo had become a US citizen in 1911.1

Sophie had filed a declaration of intention to become a US citizen on November 21, 1917, and her petition for naturalization on January 28, 1921. She took the oath to become a US citizen on February 24, 1922. Later that year she traveled abroad, perhaps to Germany to visit her family.2

Sophie Blumenfeld, petition for naturalization, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petitions For Naturalization, V· 96, No· 9401-9500, 1920-1921, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

Rosa was a witness on Sophie’s petition, and on Rosa’s 1924 passport application, she indicated that she was a naturalized citizen of the United States, but I cannot find naturalization papers for Rosa or for Ignaz. It appears, however, that all three Blumenfeld siblings were American citizens by 1924. Rosa and Ignaz traveled to Germany to visit family in the summer of 1924.

Rosa Blumenfeld Herzka, 1924 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2460; Volume #: Roll 2460 – Certificates: 387350-387849, 03 Apr 1924-04 Apr 1924, Ancestry.com. U.S., Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Perhaps these visits from his American aunts and uncle helped convince Otto Blum, the son of Dina Blumenfeld and nephew of Rosa, Sophie, and Hugo, to move to the US. We’ve seen that he arrived November 1, 1926, and reported that he was going to his uncle Hugo Blumenfeld in Chicago.

I cannot find Sophie or Rosa and her family on the 1930 census, so perhaps they were traveling then as well. In fact, Rosa appears on an August 1930 manifest for a ship sailing from Hamburg to New York. That may have been the family’s last trip back to Germany.3

Ignaz and Rosa’s daughter Elsa Herzka married Irving Blum in Chicago on September 21, 1931.4 Irving was born on January 7, 1900, in Chicago to Fred and Carrie Blum; he was working as a real estate salesman in 1930 and living with his parents and sister in Chicago.5 Elsa and Irving would have two children born in the 1930s.

With Hitler taking power in Germany, the Blumenfeld family in the US must have been very concerned about the family members remaining in Germany. Fortunately, Otto Blum’s brother Ernst Jacob Blum came with his wife Erna and two daughters on May 29, 1936, and also settled in Chicago, as already discussed. Sadly the two remaining sisters of Rosa, Sophie, and Hugo—Franziska and Johanna-–failed to leave Germany and were killed in the Holocaust.

But there was loss on this side of the Atlantic as well. Hugo Blumenfeld died on November 7, 1937, in Chicago.6 He was only 55 and was survived by his wife Bertha and two daughters. Bertha outlived him by 28 years and was 81 when she died in April 1965.7 In addition to their daughters, Hugo and Bertha are survived by five grandchildren.

In 1940 Rosa, Ignaz, and Sophie were all living together in Chicago. Ignaz was still in business as a tailor; Rosie and Sophie were not working.8 Rosa Blumenfeld Herzka died just two years later on January 8, 1942; she was 69.9 That was also the year that both Franziska and Johanna were killed by the Nazis. Rosa’s husband Ignaz died two years later on May 5, 1944.10 They were survived by their daughter Elsa and two grandchildren.

Thus, by the end of 1942, Sophie was the only surviving child of Meier Blumenfeld and Sarah Strauss. She died seven years later in December 1949; she was 75.11

Although two of Meier Blumenfeld and Sarah Strauss’s children were killed in the Holocaust, three of their children—Rosa, Sophie, and Hugo—and all their grandchildren ended up in the US, and because of that, today there are living descendants to carry on their family line.

Next, the story of Meier’s brother Baruch and his family.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Hugo Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 7, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_315; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 403, ncestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Hugo Blumenfeld, Naturalization Age: 29, Record Type: Naturalization, Birth Date: 1882, Birth Place: Germany, Naturalization Date: 1911, Naturalization Place: Illinois, Court: District and Circuit Courts, Northern District, Illinois, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950; NAI Number: M1285; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Record Group Number: RG 85, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  2. Sophie Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Year: 1922; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 13; Page Number: 44, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Rosa Herzka, ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 382; Page: 2890; Microfilm No.: K_1984, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  4. Elsa Herzka Marriage Date 21 Sep 1931 Spouse Irving M Blum Marriage Location Cook County, IL Marriage license{46572B06-0A28-41F2-9499-D268830B06C9} File Number1324805 Archive collection name Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages)Archive repository locationChicago, IL Archive repository nameCook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 
  5. Irving Blum, Social Security Number: 345-09-1004, Birth Date: 7 Jan 1900
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Illinois, Last Residence: 60649, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA, Death Date: Jun 1967, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Blum family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0160; FHL microfilm: 2340156,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6.  Hugo Blumenfeld, Birth Date: 25 Sep 1882, Birth Place: Marburg, Germany
    Death Date: 7 Nov 1937, Death Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Burial Date: 9 Nov 1937
    Burial Place: Chicago, Ill., Cemetery Name: Mt. Israel, Death Age: 55, Occupation: Insurance Agent, Race: White, Marital status: M, Gender: Male, Residence: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Father Name: Meyer Blumenfeld, Father Birth Place: Germany, Mother Name: Sarah Strauss, Mother Birth Place: Germany, Spouse Name: Bertha, FHL Film Number: 1953190, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 
  7. Obituary, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 07 Apr 1965, Wed • Page 74 
  8. Herzka household, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 103-258, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. Rosa Herzka, [Rosa Blumenfield], Birth Date: 5 Sep 1872, Birth Place: Marburg, Germany, Death Date: 8 Jan 1942, Death Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Burial Date: 9 Jan 1942, Burial Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Cemetery Name: Mt Israel, Death Age: 69, Occupation: Housewife, Race: White, Marital status: M, Gender: Female, Residence: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Father Name: Meyer Blumenfield, Father Birth Place: Germany, Mother Name: Sarah Strauss, Mother Birth Place: Germany
    Spouse Name: Ignatz G., FHL Film Number: 1953739, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 
  10. Ignaz G. Herzka, Birth Date: 29 Nov 1863, Birth Place: Szerat, Hungary
    Death Date: 5 May 1944, Death Place: Chicago, Cook Co , Illinois Burial Date: 8 May 1944, Burial Place: Chicago, Cook Co., Illinois, Cemetery Name: Mt. Israel, Death Age: 80, Occupation: Tailor, Race: White, Marital status: W, Gender: Male, Residence: Chicago, Cook Co., Ill., Father Name: Adolph Herzka, Father Birth Place: Szerat, Hungary, Mother Name: Minnie, Mother Birth Place: Hungary, Spouse Name: Rosa
    FHL Film Number: 1983247, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 
  11. Sophie Blumenfeld obituary, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois
    03 Dec 1949, Sat • Page 25 

Abraham Blumenfeld II’s Granddaughter Dina and Her Sons Ernst and Otto Blum

Tackling the Blumenfeld branch of my family tree will be a long process, given that the limb I am starting on—the limb based on my four-times great-uncle Moses Blumenfeld and his children—is already such a long limb. As we saw, Moses had only three children—Abraham II, Isaak, and Gelle. But Abraham II had eight children, seven of whom lived to adulthood.

And his first child Meier had nine, seven of whom lived to adulthood, as seen on this chart.

As discussed in my prior post, Meier was born on December 11, 1840 in Momberg and married Sarah Strauss, his first cousin, on January 10, 1866, in Amoeneburg. The first child of their eight children was Dina, who was born on April 20, 1867, in Momberg.

Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 608, p. 6

She married Moritz Blum on November 2, 1896, in Marburg, Germany. Moritz was born in Battenfeld, Germany, on December 14, 1861, to David Blum and Roschen Herstein. He was a merchant.

Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5609
Year Range: 1896, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Dina and Moritz had two children. Ernst Jacob Blum was born in Frankenburg, Germany, on November 10, 1897, and his brother Otto Blum was born on July 20, 1900, in Frankenburg.

Ernst Blum birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 3586
Year Range: 1897, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Otto Blum birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 3589
Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Moritz Blum died when he was 61 on February 17, 1923, in Frankenburg.1

Three years later Dina and Moritz’s younger son Otto left for the United States. He arrived in the US on November 1, 1926. According to the ship manifest, he was a clerk and was heading to Chicago where his uncle Hugo Blumenfeld, Dina’s younger brother, was then living.2 Indeed the 1930 US census finds him living with Hugo and his family in Chicago where Otto was working as a clerk in a mail order factory.

Otto Blum on 1930 US census with Hugo Blumenfeld, Year: 1930; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Page: 27B; Enumeration District: 0260; FHL microfilm: 2340159, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Meanwhile, back in Germany, Otto’s older brother Ernst Jacob had married Erna Bachrach on January 25, 1925, in Marburg.3 Erna was the daughter of Solomon Bachrach and Frederike Heilbrunn and was born in Frielendorf, Germany, on May 19, 1901.4 In 1926 their first child was born in Frankenburg, and a second child was born three years later.

Unfortunately Dina did not live to see the birth of this second grandchild. She died in Frankenburg on May 21, 1928, when she was 61.

Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Signatur: 3706
Year Range: 1928, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Dina also did not live to endure the Nazi persecution of the Jews that began a few years after her death. Fortunately, her son Otto was already in the United States, and in 1936, Ernst and his family also immigrated to escape the Nazis. Like his brother Otto, Ernst was headed for Chicago. He listed his uncle Ignaz Herzka as the person he was going to on the ship manifest. Ignaz Herzka was married to Rosa Blumenfeld, younger sister of Ernst’s (and Otto’s) mother Dina. Ernst reported that he was a merchant on the ship manifest.5

Ernst and his family settled in Chicago where in 1940 he was working as a salesman.6 His brother Otto is not listed in his household on the 1940 census, but by 1942 he was living at the same address as his brother Ernst, 5340 Cornell Avenue in Chicago. Otto was working for his uncle Ignaz Herzka who was a tailor. Ernst was working for a company called Hillman’s in Chicago. His 1942 petition for naturalization stated that he was working as a food clerk.

Ernst Blum, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 151, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Otto Blum, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 151, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Ernst Blum petition for naturalization, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21,  Petitions, V· 1032-1034, No· 254210-254835, 1942, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

Otto served in the US Army during World War II from October 16, 1942, until June 23, 1943. He was a private in the 976th Field Artillery Battalion, fighting against his native country and against Hitler.7 It does not appear that Ernst served during the war.

After the war Otto married Mary Shields on February 11, 1949, in Chicago.8 She was born in Indiana on February 23, 1904. I do not know her father’s name, but her mother was Mary Jane (Medda) Shields. Mary had been previously married to Irving Bartlett with whom she’d had one child.9 Otto and Mary did not have children together.

Otto Blum died on October 9, 1967, in Chicago; he was 61.10 He was survived by his widow Mary, who died sixteen years later on April 6, 1983, at 79.11

Ernst Jacob Blum also survived his younger brother Otto. He died October 2, 1985 at the age of 87 in Chicago.12 His wife Erna had predeceased him; she was 70 when she died on October 11, 1971, in Chicago.13 They were survived by one of their daughters and their grandchildren.

Thus, Dina Blumenfeld Blum was fortunate that her sons left Germany in time to survive the Holocaust, and she has living descendants today because of that.

Next, Dina’s younger sisters Karoline, about whom I know very little, and Franziska and Johanna, who were not as fortunate as Dina’s family when it came to the Holocaust.


  1.  Moriz Blum, Gender: männlich (Male), Age: 61, Birth Date: abt 1862
    Death Date: 17 Feb 1923, Death Place: Stadtbezirk-Frankenberg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Stadtbezirk-Frankenberg, Spouse: Dina, Certificate Number: 10, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Signatur: 3701,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2. Otto Blum, ship manifest, Year: 1926; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 8; Page Number: 42, Ship or Roll Number: Deutschland,
    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Erna Blum, Declaration of Intention, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21,
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  4. Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 191, p. 54. 
  5.  Ernst Blum, Gender: Male, Ethnicity/ Nationality: German;Hebrew (German), Marital status: Married, Age: 38, Birth Date: abt 1898, Birth Place: Germany
    Other Birth Place: Frankenberg, Last Known Residence: Frankenberg, Germany
    Place of Origin: Germany,Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany, Arrival Date: 29 May 1936, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Final Destination: Chicago, Illinois
    Years in US: Permanently, Citizenship Intention: Yes, Height: 5 Feet, 10 Inches
    Hair Color: Dark Blonde, Eye Color: Brown, Complexion: Fair, Money in Possession: $50, Person in Old Country: Salomon Bachrach, Person in Old Country Relationship: Son-In-Law, Person in Old Country Residence: Frielendorf, Person in US: Ignatz Hertzka, Person in US Relationship: Uncle, Ship Name: Hamburg, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 9; Page Number: 64, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Ernst Blum and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 103-262, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Otto Blum, Rank: PVT, Birth Date: 20 Jul 1900, Service Number: 36617489
    Service Branch: Army, Unit: Hq Battery 976th Field Artillery Battalion, Enlistment Date: 16 Oct 1942, Discharge Date: 23 Jun 1943, Death Date: 9 Oct 1967, Cemetery: Oak Woods, Cemetery Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA, National Archives at St. Louis, MO; St. Louis, MO, USA; Applications for Headstones, 1/1/1925 – 6/30/1970; NAID: NAID 596118; Record Group Number: 92; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1970 
  8. Otto Blum Marriage Date 11 Feb 1949 Spouse Mary BartlettMarriage Location Cook County, IL Marriage license{4D14C476-31B6-41F4-AF45-4CAA7C27AE2D} File Number 2071238 Archive collection name Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages) Archive repository location Chicago, IL Archive repository name Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 
  9. Mary E Fogarty, Spouse Name: Irving G Bartlett, Marriage Date: 3 Jun 1924
    Marriage County: Tippecanoe, Birth Date: 23 Feb 1903, Age: 21, Tippecanoe County, Indiana; Index to Marriage Record Jan. 1, 1921 to Dec. 31,, W. P. A. Original Record Located: County Clerk’s O; Book: M-39; Page: 558, Ancestry.com. Indiana, U.S., Marriage Index, 1800-1941. Mary E. Shields, [Mary E. Bartlett], Gender: Female
    Registration Year: 1929, Spouse: Irving Bartlett, Child: Mary Jane Bartlett, Certificate Number: 52941, Roll Number: 022, Agency: Indiana State Dept. of Health, Volume Range: 106 – 110, Ancestry.com. Indiana, U.S., Birth Certificates, 1907-1940 
  10. Otto Blum, Death Date: 9 Oct 1967, Death Location: Cook County, IL
    File Number: 672811, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Deaths), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 
  11. Obituary for Mary E. Blum, News-Press, Fort Myers, Florida
    08 Apr 1983, Fri • Page 30 
  12. Ernst Blum, Death Date: 2 Oct 1985, Death Location: Cook County, IL
    File Number: 6019403, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Deaths), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 
  13. Erna Blum, Death Date: 11 Oct 1971, Death Location: Cook County, IL
    File Number: 628510, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Deaths), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 

My Cousins Rosa, Sophie, and Hugo Blumenfeld: What Drew Them to America?

Three of the nine children of Meier Blumenfeld and Sarah Strauss—Rosa, Sophie, and Hugo—left Germany as young adults and immigrated to the United States. Why did they leave when their siblings stayed behind?

Rosa was born on September 5, 1872, in Marburg.

Rosa Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 584, S. 37

Her younger sister Sophie was born on May 30, 1874, in Marburg.

Sophie Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 584, S. 39

Finally, Hugo, the only son of Meier and Sarah, was born on September 25, 1882, in Marburg.

Hugo Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5561, Year Range: 1882, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

On June 26, 1893, when Rosa was almost 21 and Sophie was nineteen, they arrived in New York on the SS Ems, heading for Kokomo, Indiana, according to the ship manifest. Why did they leave home? And why Kokomo? Kokomo in the 1890s had a very small Jewish population; in fact, there were not enough Jews in Kokomo to establish and support a synagogue until 1942. Why would two young German Jewish women have immigrated to such a place?

Rosa and Sophie Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Year: 1893; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 1, Ship or Roll Number: Ems, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

I cannot find any records for either Rosa or Sophie in Kokomo, but in 1900 Rosa was living in Chicago as a boarder with David and Helen Strauss, both of whom had immigrated from Germany. When I saw the surname “Strauss,” I wondered if David Strauss was related to Sarah Strauss, Rosa’s mother.

Rosa Blumenfeld 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 32, Cook, Illinois; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 1025; FHL microfilm: 1240286
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

And so down the rabbit hole I went. And what did I find? David Strauss married Helen Heldman in 1892, and their son Herbert was born in Kokomo, Indiana, in March, 1893, just three months before Rosa and Sophie arrived in the US. Were they coming to care for the baby and help David and Helen? Was David related to their mother?1

I went back to the German records for Sarah Strauss’s parents Hirsch Strauss and Betty Loewenstein and found that indeed Sarah had a younger brother named David, born in 1852 so the right age to be the David Strauss living in Chicago with Sarah’s daughter Rosa in 1900.2 So Rosa was living with her uncle and his family in 1900, and he was obviously the reason she and Sophie had been heading to Kokomo in 1893.

But where was Sophie in 1900? I can’t be certain, but I believe she may have returned to Germany because I found her on another ship manifest coming to the US from Germany on November 2, 1905. Also, her naturalization papers indicate that she had been in the US continuously starting in 1905, not 1893.3

National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1903-1981; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Declarations V· 25-30 P 161 1917-1918
Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

Meanwhile, Sophie and Rosa’s little brother Hugo arrived on April 27, 1904. His ship manifest indicates that he was coming to his sister Rosa in Chicago and that he was a clerk.

Hugo Blumenfeld ship manifest, Year: 1904; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 102, Ship or Roll Number: Kronprinz Wilhelm
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 (last entry)

Thus, by 1905, three of Meier and Sarah’s children had settled in Chicago.

Rosa married Ignaz Herzka on January 4, 1905.4 Ignaz was born in Szerat, Hungary, on November 29, 1863, and had immigrated to the US in 1889. In 1900, he and his brother Nathan were living as boarders in Chicago and had their own tailor shop there.5

Rosa and Ignaz had an adopted daughter, Elsa, who, according to the 1910 census, was born in Hungary in 1903.6 This is consistent with what is reported on the 1920 census: that Elsa was born in Budapest, Hungary, and was adopted.7  However, Rosa’s 1924 passport application says that Elsa was born in Chicago on March 22, 1905. It also, however, says that Rosa and Ignaz married on January 4, 1904, when the Chicago marriage index says January 4, 1905.8 Later records including the 1940 US census also say that Elsa was born in Chicago, not Hungary.9  I am not sure which records are accurate with respect to either the date or place of Elsa’s birth.

In any event, in 1910, Ignaz continued to work as a tailor. Sophie was also living with Rosa, Ignaz, and their daughter Elsa in 1910; she was a saleswoman in a delicatessen.

Ignaz Herzka and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Chicago Ward 7, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_247; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0387; FHL microfilm: 1374260
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

I could not find Hugo on the 1910 census, and perhaps he had returned to Germany for a visit as he had in 1909.10 But in 1911 Hugo became a naturalized United States citizen.11 And on March 24, 1912, he married Bertha Wolf,12 who was also a German immigrant. She was born in Langenbruck, Germany, on March 19, 1884, to Rudolph Wolf and Rosa Stein.13 Hugo and Bertha had two daughters, Sylvia and Marjorie, both born in Chicago.

Thus, long before Hitler came to power, Rosa, Sophie, and Hugo Blumenfeld had all left Germany and were living in Chicago. Their decision to come to America was a blessing for the legacy of their parents Meier Blumenfeld and Sarah Strauss.

The next post will follow their lives from 1910 on.

 


  1. Dave Strauss, Gender: Male, Marriage Date: 8 Jun 1892, Marriage Place: Hamilton, Ohio, USA, Spouse: Helen Heldman, Film Number: 000344499, Ancestry.com. Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993. Herbert Dave Strauss
    Race: White, Marital status: Married, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1893, Birth Place: Indiana, USA
    Residence Date: 1917-1918, Street Address: 5833 Michigan Ave, Residence Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA, Draft Board: 15, Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  2. David Strauss birth record, Geburtsregister der Juden von Amöneburg 1814-1896 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 49), p. 6. 
  3. Sophie Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Year: 1905; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 30; Page Number: 12, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. 
  4. Rose Blumenfeld, Age: 28, Gender: Female, Birth Year: abt 1877
    Marriage Type: Marriage, Marriage Date: 4 Jan 1905, Marriage Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Spouse Name: Ignaz Herzka, Spouse Age: 40, Spouse Gender: Male
    FHL Film Number: 1030380, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Marriages Index, 1871-1920 
  5. Ignaz Herzka, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 32, Cook, Illinois; Page: 12; Enumeration District: 1034; FHL microfilm: 1240287, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  6. Elsa Herzka, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Chicago Ward 7, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_247; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0387; FHL microfilm: 1374260,
    Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  7. Elsa Herzka, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_310; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 340, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  8. Rosa Blumenfeld Herzka, 1924 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2460; Volume #: Roll 2460 – Certificates: 387350-387849, 03 Apr 1924-04 Apr 1924, Ancestry.com. U.S., Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  9. Rosa Herzka Blum, 1940 US census, Elsa Blum, Age: 35, Estimated Birth Year: abt 1905, Gender: Female, Race: White, Birthplace: Illinois, Marital Status: Married, Relation to Head of House: Wife, Home in 1940: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Map of Home in 1940: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Street: E 53rd Street, Sheet Number: 1B, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 103-271, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10.  Hugo Blumenfeld, Gender: männlich (Male), Ethnicity/Nationality: Deutschland (German), Marital status: verheiratet (Married), Residence Place: Chicago
    Departure Date: 8 Aug 1909, Departure Place: Hamburg, Deutschland (Germany)
    Arrival Place: Boulogne-sur-Mer; Southampton; New York, Ship Name: Blücher
    Shipping Line: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft), Ship Type: Dampfschiff, Ship Flag: Deutschland, Emigration: nein
    Accommodation: 2. Klasse, Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 213, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 213; Page: 1691; Microfilm No.: K_1809, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  11.  Hugo Blumenfeld, Naturalization Age: 29, Record Type: Naturalization
    Birth Date: 1882, Birth Place: Germany, Naturalization Date: 1911, Naturalization Place: Illinois, Court: District and Circuit Courts, Northern District, Illinois, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950; NAI Number: M1285; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Record Group Number: RG 85,
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  12. Hugo Blumenfeld, Age: 29, Gender: Male, Birth Year: abt 1883, Marriage Type: Marriage, Marriage Date: 24 Mar 1912, Marriage Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA
    Spouse Name: Bertha Wolf, Spouse Age: 24, Spouse Gender: Female
    FHL Film Number: 1030518, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, U.S., Marriages Index, 1871-1920 
  13. Bertha Wolf Blumenfeld, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 19 Mar 1884
    Birth Place: Langenbrucke, Federal Republic of Germany, Father: Rudolph Wolf
    Mother: Rosa Stein, SSN: 342408956, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Life of Frieda Bensew Loewenherz, Part II: 1913-1918

In my last post, I shared some excerpts from my cousin Frieda Bensew Loewenherz’s memoir, covering the years from her childhood in Germany, her immigration to the US in 1907, and her life in the US up through 1912. We left off with Frieda’s decision to take a new job, a decision that changed her life. Here is how she described her new workplace:

It was an importing firm, headed by an Austrian, Dr. Sokal, a brilliant man, Dr. of chemistry. . . . My work was interesting especially since a new project was to be worked out. It entailed the representation of a German firm in Cologne manufacturing accumulation plates for lead batteries and the import of them. I carried on the German correspondence, translating into English formulas, etc. and finally the contract.

But perhaps of more interest to her than her work was the man she met at her new job:

After a few weeks a new member of the firm arrived from Europe where he had been traveling and visiting his family in Leinberg and Vienna, etc. He was an engineer, Mr. Emanuel Loewenherz. Little did I think at our first meeting that I had met my destiny!

For a while their outward relationship was “strictly business,” but it seems that from the beginning their feelings were more personal than that.

In those days there was much more formality. We were both European born and reared and the rules were even more strict. Nobody could help being impressed by Mr. L’s bearings, his impeccable manners and old world politeness. And he was startlingly handsome! He was a graduate of the technical University of Berlin, widely travelled and very cultured as was his background. Before going to Europe he had been for many years with the Western Electric Co., also held important positions in New York. Little me was awed by this cosmopolitan man of the world! Now and then we had little conversations not related to business and I thought that would be as far as it would ever go….

Emanuel Loewenherz. Courtesy of Franz Loewenherz

And then things changed:

But in the spring of 1914 when I was again planning to see my parents and was given a leave of absence, Mr. L. invited me to dinner as a “”farewell party” at the Bismarck Hotel where he was at home, the owners being his friends. I was so excited I could not eat! The excellent dishes, the wines, ordered by a real connoisseur practically remained untouched by me. But we had a fine evening and I was walking on air!

My friend Clara A. and two other girls who were traveling with me had the usual send off at the station, friends, relatives, a regular delegation. “He” arrived with a great bunch of red roses and created quite a sensation. He was also the only one who did not kiss me goodbye — One of the girls whispered to me: “Frieda, red roses, that means something!” All I answered was “don’t be silly.”  I think I even meant it at that time- I was so unsophisticated! And then, on the boat, there was a special delivery letter awaiting me and a little later, a beautiful fruit basket was delivered to my cabin. I was speechless – Of course, I wrote him a warm letter of thanks, but rather formal – it was the trend of the times.

Frieda then went off and spent the summer of 1914 in Germany with her parents and was pursued by at least two other men. But her summer of family and fun was darkened by the threat of pending war. She wrote:

It was June 28, we were sitting at a table of a sidewalk cafe when suddenly [newspaper] “extras” appeared. We grabbed one — the headline said: “Austrian heir to the throne, Prince Ferdinand and wife, assassinated at Seraguro[Sarajevo]!” The shock was terrific, and we knew at once that this would mean war — there was, of course, hope it could be averted….the war clouds grew darker each day — the German press told us very little and only from their angle. Propaganda against Russia was vicious. And then came partial mobilization – and with it the spy craze, suspicion and all ugliness. The railroad, bridges, etc. were guarded by civilians pressed into service and rumors flew around day and night. On July 28 war started by Austria against Russia was declared and on August 2nd England declared war against Germany–World War I was on! Germans were a war loving people, their enthusiasm was boundless, they thought the war would be over that Christmas and, of course, they would be victorious.

My brother [Julius Bensev] and I had our own thoughts and personal concern: how to get back to America! We had return passage on the Hamburg America Line and the British blockade was tight. Our parents were worried for our sakes — we worried about them. Anxious weeks followed: We spent much time at the railroad station, to watch the mobilization. The military trains, westward and eastward bound, rolled in day and night, only about 15 minutes apart….The local women and young girls would meet the trains offering all kinds of food – this happened at every stop. Meanwhile the young men of my hometown had all left — each knowing where to report to his unit — I waved to many as they rode by, some never to return.

This month of August also brought in the first trains of wounded and prisoners of war. Of course the papers only reported the wonderful victories and, as if it were the most logical thing to do, the invasion of Belgium. There was no radio or TV in those days, and the papers brought only the German version, and only the censored.

At last we got word that it was feasible to reach Holland from where we hoped to get passage to the United States. To say goodbye to our parents was even worse this time under prevailing circumstances and they were very worried about our safety.

After several delays and obstacles, Julius and Frieda were able to board a ship from Amsterdam to New York, crowded with many others seeking to leave Europe.

It took us ten days to reach New York — it is hard to describe my emotions when I saw the statue of Liberty! There were tears of joy and I was not ashamed of mine.

After a visit with her relatives in Philadelphia, Frieda returned home to Chicago and to work and to Emanuel Loewenherz:

I did not do much work the first few days, and I must confess that I was rather excited at seeing “Mr. L” again! As he stated much much later when we had become friends that he was concerned when and how I would be able to get out of Germany. …. Our personal relationship kept growing although still rather formal. It was the trend of times and our upbringing! ….

We eventually addressed each other by our first names but with the prefix “Mr.” and “Miss”: how times have changed — I was so careful not to show my feelings and interpreted his as just being friendly. I blushed so easily in those days! During the day it was, of course, all business but when we went out which we did quite often, to dinner, plays, and concerts, I thrilled at the sight of him — but held myself in check and would not for the world reveal my feelings. I knew he was not indifferent either! His looks and attitude spoke volumes and we became better and more intimate friends.

We had a great many interesting discussions and occasional differences which added spice to our friendship. He later confessed that he led deliberately up to those to tease me and to see how well I could control myself! I had a flair for poetry and often after a particularly stimulating evening I would write a little note in verse to him. And so the years passed, filled also with anxiety about our families in Vienna and Germany.

Emanuel Loewenherz at KW Battery. Courtesy of Franz Loewenherz

But things became more difficult for Frieda and Emanuel and many, many others when the US entered the war against Germany and Austria in the spring of 1917:

It is impossible for me to describe the conditions here, hatred of the “Huns” or as the French called the Germans “Boches”– The history books have recorded all and I will contain myself to relating personal events. As “enemy aliens” we were both under suspicion. The amateurish American Protective League did in their zeal more harm than good. My room was ransacked while I was at the U.S. Dept. being questioned about my father’s activities, etc. My “Crime” consisted of getting an occasional note from a friend in Denmark who was in touch with my parents and my answers to them relayed by her. Just a few words to know they were alive. Finally I was released and returned to the office.

Manek [Emanuel’s nickname] was even worse off, he was being shadowed and every so often when he came back to the office after a business call he would tell me about the man following him. Finally he went to see Mr. Herman Paepcke who had financed the KW (and where I went every week for the payroll). He was one of the most prominent German-Americans in Chicago, a veteran of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. A very cultured, fine man with whom I had many interesting conversations. In fact he would have liked me to be his secretary but for understandable reasons I wanted to stay with KW. Mr. Paepcke arranged a meeting of a member of the Amer. Protective League with Manek at his office and things were explained in a most satisfactory way. Manek’s feelings were completely against Germany from the start of the war and the suspicions that he was a “spy” ridiculous. Mr. P. ended the interview by saying “aren’t we all Americans?” And: “Mr Loewenherz, you shall not be molested any more” –

Although I had learned about the anti-German discrimination that existed in this country during and after World War I, reading about it from the perspective of someone who experienced it directly—a young woman who had been living in the US for ten years and whose brothers had already become US citizens—was much more disturbing than reading about it in history books.

Despite those dark experiences, Frieda and Emanuel’s romance continued and deepened.

So things went on with us in a more normal way. Of course we did not speak German on the street or public places, only when we were absolutely sure that we could not be overheard. And there were things that we felt we could only express in that language. It became more and more intimate! I knew I was madly in love with him and felt that he was not indifferent. (Anything but — his looks and actions, yes, and his kisses when he took me home after an evening date expressed his feelings only too well). As he told me later he was in love with me long before I had any inkling but was not ready to declare himself. We were both mature people and our friendship was not based on Saturday night dates, we faced every day life in all its aspects together, war having a special meaning. Love can conquer all and it did!

On February 5, 1918, the fifth anniversary of their first meeting at KW, they became engaged to marry, and on May 4, 1918, they were married.

Emanuel and Frieda Loewenherz. Courtesy of Franz Loewenherz

Here is Frieda’s alien registration card dated sometime after she married Emanuel as well as a permit issued to her allowing her to live and work in Chicago but with the restriction that she was prohibited from the water front zone:

Courtesy of Franz Loewenherz

Courtesy of Franz Loewenherz

Emanuel became a US citizen in December, 1918, and as his wife Frieda automatically also became a US citizen. The war had ended a month before, and life returned to normal for the newlyweds.

But life would again become more complicated, as we will see in the final post based on Frieda’s memoir.


All excerpts from Frieda Loewenherz’s memoir and all the photographs in this post are published with the permission of Franz Loewenherz, her great-grandson. My deep gratitude to Franz for his generosity.

My Bensew Cousins Come to the US: The Children of Breine Mansbach Bensew

Breine Mansbach, my great-grandmother’s first cousin, was the oldest child of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach and the only one who did not immigrate to the United States with her siblings and her parents. But all but one of her children did immigrate, and this post and the two that follow will tell their story.

As I wrote back on January 19, 2018, Breine was born on September 27, 1844 in Maden, Germany. She married Jakob Bensew on February 3, 1870, in Maden, and then moved with him to Melsungen. When I first wrote about Breine, I thought that she and her husband Jakob had had six children—five sons and one daughter: William (1872), Julius (1875), Siegmund (1877), Heinemann (1879), Max (1882), and Frieda (1886). Since then I have discovered two more children whom I had not located back in January, Lester (1873) and Roschen (1870).1

Siegmund was born on July 20, 1877, and died before his fifth birthday on January 24, 1882 in Malsfeld, Germany, where the family was then living.

Siegmund Bensew birth, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 4408, 1877. Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Siegmund Bensew death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 4484. Year Range: 1882. Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The other seven children all survived to adulthood and all but Roschen immigrated to and settled in the US, though Roschen also may have traveled to the US before marrying and having a family back in Germany, as we will see below.

The first Bensew sibling to arrive was William, the oldest son, traveling as Willi Bensew on the SS EMS from Bremen and arriving in New York on August 15, 1885. On the manifest his age is fourteen, but if his US records are accurate, he was born in either February or November 1872 so would have been around thirteen in August 1885. (Birth records for 1872 for Melsungen, Germany were not available online.)1

Roschen, Lester, and Julius seem to have traveled together to the US with a departure from Hamburg on May 15, 1890.

Bensew siblings, ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1741 Month: Direkt Band 067 (2 Apr 1890 – 28 Jun 1890) Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

The manifest lists three Bensews traveling together, all from Melsungen, Germany, a 20-year old woman named Rosa, a 16 year old boy named Lasser, and a 14 year old girl named “Juls.” Both Lasser and Juls are identified as “Kaufmann” or merchant. I would think that Lasser was Lester, as Lester was born October 23, 18732 and would have been 16 in May 1890. And I also think that “Juls” was Julius, who would have been 14 in May 1890 as he was born on September 13, 1875;3 since Juls is identified as a Kaufmann—a male noun—I think the gender identification as weiblich (female) was a scrivener’s error. As for Rosa, Roschen was born on January 20, 1870,4 so would have been twenty in May 1890, the age given for Rosa on the manifest. So perhaps that was their big sister Roschen bringing them to America, but I have no later records for her in the US. And Roschen definitely married and raised her children in Germany, as we will see.

Thus, the three oldest Bensew brothers, William, Lester, and Julius, all left home as young teenagers. In America they changed the spelling of their name to Bensev—presumably to preserve the German pronunciation of their name. Otherwise, they would have been called Ben-SOO.

In 1890, William was already living in Denver.5 By 1894, he was joined by his younger brother Julius, and both were clerks for the M. Hyman Cigar Company,6 as they were in 1898 as well. They were living at 615 24th Street with their aunt Amelia Mansbach and her husband Henry Langer.

Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1898
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1898
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

In 1900, William was still in Denver, living with the Langers and working as a cigar salesman.

Henry Langer family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0031; FHL microfilm: 1240117
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

But Julius had left Denver and was living in Reading, Pennsylvania, working as a salesman.7

As for Lester, he was living in Philadelphia in 1896,8 working as a salesman. But after Julius left Denver for Pennsylvania, Lester left Pennsylvania for Denver. He came for a visit in 1899, and in 1902 he was living with his brother William and the Langer family and working as a manager for M. Hyman Cigar Company with his brother William, who was the secretary of the company.

Denver Rocky Mountain News, January 1, 1899, p. 6

It was also around this time that two more of the Bensew brothers arrived in the United States.  I could not find a ship manifest for Heinemann Bensew, who was born March 14, 1879, in Malsfeld,9 but according to his naturalization records, he arrived on September 30, 1902.10  The youngest brother Max, who was born on May 24, 1882,11 arrived on May 13, 1903. He was headed for Philadelphia to his uncle, J. Mansbach, i.e. Julius Mansbach, at 915 North 6th Street in Philadelphia:

Max Bensew, ship manifest, line 21, Year: 1903; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 0355; Line: 1; Page Number: 85
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Frieda Bensew, who was born February 21, 1886, in Melsungen,12 followed her older brothers to America four years later; she arrived on November 25, 1907.  On the manifest she listed that she, like Max, was going to her uncle, Julius Mansbach, in Philadelphia.13 In January, 1908, she visited her brother William in Denver.

Denver Post, January 7, 1908, p. 5

But in 1910, she was living in Chicago, where three of her five brothers were also living. Julius, Heinemann (listed as Hein here) and Max were living together in a boarding house in Chicago, and all three were working as clerks for Standard Oil:

Julius, Max and Heine Bensev 1910 US census,Census Place: Chicago Ward 23, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_266; Page: 2A;Enumeration District: 0982; FHL microfilm: 1374279
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Frieda was working as a stenographer for a publishing house and living a mile and half north of her brothers as a roomer with a widow, Sophie Rosenthal, and her adult daughter in 1910.12

Their oldest brother William was still in Denver in 1910. He had married Jessie Fannie Holzman on June 28, 1904, in Denver, in “one of the most elaborate of the numerous June wedding[s]” in Denver that year, as detailed in this wonderful article:

Denver Post July 2, 1905, p. 15

As noted in the article, prior to the wedding, Jessie had been living with David Kline and his wife Frances (Sands) Kline and is listed as their niece on the 1900 census.13 According to the article, Jessie’s father was Joseph Holzman; Joseph Holzman was a German immigrant who married Theresa Sands in Denver in 1877. Jessie was born in Denver on November 6, 1883, and her mother Theresa died when Jessie was eight years old in 1891. I assume that Frances Sands Kline must have been Theresa Sands Holzman’s sister since Jessie was Frances’ niece.14

William and Jessie had a daughter, Theodora, born on December 10, 1905,15 in Colorado. When M. Hyman retired in 1907, he transferred his cigar business to William and a partner, B. F. Meyer. In 1910, William and his family were living in Denver, and William continued to work as a cigar salesman.16

Denver Post, March 10, 1907, p. 2

Lester Bensev was also still in Colorado in 1910, but he had moved from Denver to Colorado Springs where he was the proprietor of a cigar store.17

Thus, by 1910, six of the seven children of Breine Mansbach and Jakob Bensew were living in the United States, four in Chicago and two in Colorado. Their parents were still living in Germany, as was their sister Roschen. Roschen married Joseph Stern, son of Jacob Stern and Esther Koppel, on April 10, 1899, in Kassel, Germany:

Marriage record of Roschen Bensew and Jozef Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 4611, 1899, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

On May 8, 1900, Roschen gave birth to her first child, Alfred Stern, in Kassel. 18 According to US records, Roschen and Joseph had a second son Edwin on January 6, 1905.19 Some family trees have three other children born to Roschen and Joseph Stern, but I have not yet been able to verify that information. The names Alice Stern, Frieda Stern, and Herbert Stern are too common for me to be able to know with certainty whether I am looking at the right person unless I can link them to Roschen and Joseph or some other member of the family, and so far I have not be able to do so. Thus, I will only write about Alfred and Edwin, both of whom ended up in the US, but not until after Hitler came to power.

 

 

 

 


  1. Willi Bensew, ship manifest, Year: 1885; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 489; Line: 1; List Number: 1017.
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. William Bensev, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0031; FHL microfilm: 1240117, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). 
  2. Lester Bensev, passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 68; Volume #: Roll 0068 – Certificates: 59167-60066, 09 Jul 1908-24 Jul 1908. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  3.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. SSN: 521019057. 
  4. Roschen Bensew marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 4611. 1899. Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  5. Ancestry.com. Denver, Colorado City Directory, 1890. 
  6.  Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1894, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. Julius Bensev, 1900 US census, Census Place: Reading Ward 3, Berks, Pennsylvania; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0053; FHL microfilm: 1241378,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1896, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  9. Heinemann Bensew birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 4410. Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  10. Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939N-FGS7-2?cc=1838804&wc=M6TM-Q6X%3A165129401 : 20 May 2014), B-524 to B-550 Gustov Joseph > image 983 of 6652; citing NARA microfilm publication M1285 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). The birth date on the naturalization record is March 22, 1879, whereas the German birth record says March 14, 1879. 
  11. Max Bensew birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 4413. Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  12. Frieda Bensev, 1910 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 25, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_269; Page: 2B;Enumeration District: 1094; FHL microfilm: 1374282, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  13. Kline household, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0030; FHL microfilm: 1240117, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  14. Joseph Holzman and Theresa Sands marriage record, and David Kline and Frances Sands marriage record, Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). “Colorado State Census, 1885,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939N-8TC6-W?cc=1807096&wc=M83M-BMS%3A149195601%2C149208301%2C149200101 : 1 April 2016), Arapahoe > Denver > Population > image 184 of 598; citing NARA microfilm publication M158 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Sands family, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Helena, Lewis and Clark, Montana Territory; Roll: M593_827; Page: 186B; Family History Library Film: 552326, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com. Web: Gallatin County, Montana, Death Index, 1856-2014.  
  15. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  16. William Bensev household, 1910 US census, Census Place: Denver Ward 8, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_115; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0104; FHL microfilm: 1374128, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  17. Lester Bensev, 1910 US census, Census Place: Colorado Springs Ward 2, El Paso, Colorado; Roll: T624_118; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0037; FHL microfilm: 1374131, Enumeration District: 0037, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  18. Alfred Stern birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5143, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  19. Edwin Stern, naturalization record, The National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Washington, DC; Naturalization Records, Colorado, 1876-1990; ARC Title: Naturalization Records Created by the U.S. District Court in Colorado, 1877-1952; NAI Number: M1192; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Colorado, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1868-1990. Edwin Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 232, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 

Days of Wine and Sichels

You might want to open a bottle of wine as you read this post.

As I wrote last time, Caroline Seligmann (my 4x-great-aunt) and Moses Morreau had two children, Levi and Klara. This post will focus on Klara and her descendants.

Klara was born in Worrstadt on July 9, 1838:

Klara Morreau birth record, July 9 1838
Morreau birth records 1838-29

 

I have not had success in finding a marriage record for Klara, but I know from her death record and her son’s birth record that she married Adolph (sometimes Adolf) Sichel. I have neither a birth nor a death record for Adolph, but I do have a photograph of Adolph’s gravestone in Bingen, which identifies his birth date as April 10, 1834. [1]

Adolph Sichel was the son of Hermann Sichel and Mathilde Neustadt of Sprendlingen, later Mainz. Hermann Sichel was the founder of the renowned wine producing and trading business, H. Sichel Sohne. Although it is beyond the scope of my blog to delve too deeply into the story of the Sichel wine business, a little background helps to shed light on Adolph, Klara, and their descendants. According to several sources, Hermann Sichel started the family wine business with his sons in 1856 in Mainz, Germany.

In 1883, the company expanded to Bordeaux, France, where it established an office to procure wines for sales by Sichel in Mainz, London, and New York City. The sons and eventually the grandsons worked in various branches of the business, some working in the French office, some in London, and some in Mainz. The business continued to expand and is still in business today; it is perhaps best known in popular culture as the maker of Blue Nun, a wine that was quite successful in the 1970s and 1980s. One writer described it as “a single, perfectly positioned product, a Liebfraumilch whose blandness seemed just the ticket for the hundreds of thousands of new wine drinkers, not just in the US but also in the UK. “

Adolph was not one of the sons who relocated from Germany. He and Klara had two children born and raised in Germany. Their daughter Camilla Margaretha Sichel was born on February 4, 1864, in Sprendlingen, according to Nazi documentation:

Camilla Sichel Blum info from Nazi files from MP

UPDATE: Aaron Knappstein was able to get a copy of Camilla’s birth record:

Camilla Alice Morreau birth record

Camilla Sichel married Jakob Blum, who was born April 3, 1853, in Nierstein, Germany. They had four children, all born in Mainz: Paul (1884), Willy (1886), Richard (1889), and Walter (1893):

Paul Blum birth record, September 7, 1884
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Birth Records, 1872-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Personenstandsregister Geburtenregister 1876-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Willy Blum birth record
February 21, 1886
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Birth Records, 1872-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Personenstandsregister Geburtenregister 1876-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Richard Blum birth record
June 8, 1889
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Birth Records, 1872-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Personenstandsregister Geburtenregister 1876-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Walter Blum birth record
August 4, 1893
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Birth Records, 1872-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Personenstandsregister Geburtenregister 1876-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Paul died as a young boy in 1890 and is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Mainz.

Paul Blum, Mainz Jewish Cemetery Courtesy of Camicalm Find A Grave Memorial# 176111502

Camilla Sichel Blum’s husband Jakob Blum died August 22, 1914; he was 61 years old:

Jakob Blum death record
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Deaths, 1876-1950 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950. Mainz Stadtarchiv.

He was buried in the Mainz Jewish cemetery where his young son Paul had also been buried:

Jakob Blum gravestone, Mainz Jewish Cemetery
Courtesy of Camicalm
Find A Grave Memorial# 177633476

His wife Camilla would survive him by almost thirrty years.

Adolph Sichel and Klara Morreau also had a son named Hermann. I found Hermann’s birth date and place, June 24, 1869, in Sprendlingen, in the Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime database on Ancestry, a horrifying but presumably reliable source, given the meticulousness with which the Nazis kept records on Jews:

Hermann Sichel in Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

On April 14, 1905, Hermann married Maria Franziska Trier, who was born on May 11, 1883, in Darmstadt, Germany, to Eugen Trier and Mathilde Neustadt. Maria was 21, and Hermann was 35.

Marriage record of Hermann Sichel and Maria Trier
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Signatur: 901; Laufende Nummer: 98

Hermann and Maria had two sons, Walter Adolph (1906) and Ernst Otto (1907).

Camilla and Hermann’s father Adolph Sichel died on April 30, 1900, as seen above on his gravestone; Hermann’s older son Walter Adolph was obviously named at least in part for Adolph. Klara Morreau Sichel died on April 2, 1919. Adolph and Klara are buried in Bingen.

Klara Morreau Sichel death record, Apr 2, 1919
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Deaths, 1876-1950 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950. Mainz Stadtarchiv.

Klara Morreau Sichel gravestone at Bingen Jewish cemetery
http://www.steinheim-institut.de/cgi-bin/epidat?id=bng-818&lang=de

The families of both Camilla Sichel Blum and Hermann Sichel remained in Germany until after Hitler came to power in 1933. Then they all left for either England or the United States.

Two of Camilla’s sons, Richard and Walter, ended up in the US. Walter arrived first—on April 27, 1939.

Walter Blum ship manifest 1939
Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6319; Line: 1; Page Number: 42
Description
Ship or Roll Number : Roll 6319
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line].

(Walter had actually visited the US many years before in 1921 when he was 27 years old; the ship manifest indicates that he was going to visit his “uncle” Albert Morreau in Cleveland. Albert was in fact his first cousin, once removed, his mother Klara Morreau’s first cousin.)

Walter Blum 1921 ship manifest
Ancestry.com. New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006.
Original data: Selected Passenger and Crew Lists and Manifests. National Archives, Washington, D.C.View all sources.

Richard arrived a few months after Walter on August 29, 1939, listing his brother Walter as the person he was going to:

Richard Blum 1939 ship manifest
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

On the 1940 census, both Richard and Walter were living in the Harper-Surf Hotel in Chicago. Richard was fifty, Walter 46. Both were unmarried and listed their occupations as liquor salesmen. Walter had changed his surname to Morrow, I assume to appear less German. It seems he chose a form of his grandmother Klara’s birth name, Morreau:

Richard Blum and Walter Morrow on 1940 US census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T627_929; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 103-268
CHICAGO CITY WARD 5 (TRACT 613 – PART)
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]

Walter had his name legally changed to Morrow on February 7, 1944, in Chicago, according to this notation on his birth record:

Notation on Walter Blum’s birth record regarding his name change; Walter Blum birth record
August 4, 1893
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Birth Records, 1872-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Personenstandsregister Geburtenregister 1876-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Both brothers registered for the World War II draft in 1942.  Richard was now living at the Hotel Aragon in Chicago and working for Geeting & Fromm, a Chicago wine importing business.

Richard Blum World War II draft registration
The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration), for The State of Illinois; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2097

Walter was still living at the Harper-Surf Hotel and working for Schenley Import Corporation, a liquor importing business.

Walter Blum Morrow draft registration World War II
The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration), for The State of Illinois; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2097

Both brothers also became naturalized citizens of the United States in 1944.

Richard died in 1961; his death notice reported that he was still a sales representative for Getting & Fromm at the time of his death.

Richard Blum death notice
July 9, 1961 Chicago Tribune, p. 71

Walter died on October 26, 1978, in Wiesbaden, German, according to a notation on his birth record; interestingly, he apparently had returned to live in Germany, as the US Social Security Death Index reported his last residence as Frankfurt, Germany.

Snip from Walter Blum Morrow’s birth record; Walter Blum birth record
August 4, 1893
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Birth Records, 1872-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Personenstandsregister Geburtenregister 1876-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Meanwhile, their older brother Willy, known as Wilhlem and then William, had immigrated to England. Although I don’t have any records showing when William left Germany, I believe that he must have been living in England before 1943, as his mother Camilla Sichel Blum died in York, England, in 1943 (England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2006).  William is listed as living in York on a 1956 UK passenger ship manifest for a ship departing from New York and sailing to Southampton, England. I assume that Camilla had been living in York with her oldest son, William, at the time of her death in 1943.

Willliam Blum 1956 ship manifest,
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1364; Item: 65

That 1956 manifest reports that William was married, a wine merchant, living at 13 Maple Grove, Fulford Road, York, England, and a citizen and permanent resident of England. I also found him listed in several phone books at the same address from 1958 until 1964. Aside from that I have no records of his whereabouts or his family or his death. I don’t know whether he was involved in the Sichel wine business or a different wine company. I also don’t know whether he was married or had children. I have contacted the York library and have requested a search of the newspapers and other records there, so hope to have an update soon.

As for the sons of Hermann Sichel and Maria Trier, they appear to have remained more directly connected to the Sichel wine business than their Blum cousins. Walter Adolph Sichel, the older brother, was in charge of the British side of the Sichel import business.  According to an article from the January 31, 1986 edition of The (London) Guardian (p. 10), Walter first came to England in 1928:

Anti-German feeling still lingered when young Sichel came to Britain in 1928 and travelled the country with his case of sample bottles from the family firm, H. Sichel Sohne of Mainz. Youthful persistence apart, he was lucky to have with him some of “the vintage of the century,” 1921. Potential customers found his wines easy to like, but impossible to pronounce.

(“The nun in the blue habit with something to smile about,” The (London) Guardian, January 31, 1986, p. 10)

Walter had moved permanently to England by 1935, as he is listed in the London Electoral Register for that year; also, he gave a London address on a ship manifest dated January 16, 1935.

Walter Sichel, 1935 ship manifest,
Year: 1935; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5597; Line: 1; Page Number: 93
Description
Ship or Roll Number : Roll 5597
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

In December 1936, Walter Sichel married Johanna Tuchler in Marylebone, England; Johanna (known as Thea) was born in 1913 in Berlin. (Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005)

Walter Sichel’s younger brother, Ernst Otto Sichel (generally known as Otto), immigrated to the US.. He first arrived for a four month visit in October 1936, entering the country in Buffalo; he listed agents of the Taylor Company as those he was coming to see, so I assume this was a business trip with the Taylor Wine Company in upstate New York.

Ernst Otto Sichel 1936 arrival in Buffalo, NY
The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Buffalo, Lewiston, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, New York, 1902-1954; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: M1480; Roll Number: 127

But Otto returned to settle permanently in the US on September 30, 1937.

Otto Sichel 1937 ship manifest
Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6054; Line: 1; Page Number: 8
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

By May 1938, Hermann Sichel and Maria Trier, Otto and Walter Sichel’s parents, had also left Germany as they listed themselves as residing in London on a ship manifest when they traveled to New York on that date. In August 1939, Otto listed them on a ship manifest as residing in Buckinghamshire, England, when he sailed from New York to England at that time.

Hermann and Maria Sichel on 1938 ship manifest
Ancestry.com. UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists. BT27. Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labour, Railways and Statistics Departments. Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.

Otto Sichel 1939 ship manifest—address of parents in England
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Hermann Sichel died on August 22, 1940, in Buckinghamshire. He was 71 years old; his wife Maria died in London in June 1967; she was 84. (England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2006)

In 1940, their son Otto was listed on the US census as a paying guest in a home on East 84th Street in New York City. There was a notation on his entry that I’ve never seen before: “No response to this after many calls.” Was Otto avoiding the enumerator? Or was he just away on business?

Otto Sichel, 1940 US census
Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: T627_2655; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 31-1339
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Perhaps this seeming evasiveness created some suspicion about Otto because in 1943 a request was sent by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service to the FBI to request clearance for Otto because he was “pro-German but anti-Hitler, and may be guilty of subversive activity.” I consider myself pro-American even when I do not like my country’s leaders or actions at certain times; I assume that that was how Otto felt—affection for the country of his birth, but opposed to its actions under the Nazis.

Inquiry into Otto Sichel
Ancestry.com. U.S. Subject Index to Correspondence and Case Files of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1903-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010

Otto must have passed the FBI investigation because on August 15, 1944, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States:

Ernst Otto Sichel naturalization papers 1944
Ancestry.com. Selected U.S. Naturalization Records – Original Documents, 1790-1974 [

On January 3, 1942, Otto married Margarete Frances Chalon in Westwood, New Jersey; Margarete was born in New York in 1919; she was 22 when they married, and Otto was 34. The marriage did not last, and they were divorced in Florida in 1949. The following year Otto married again; his second wife was Anne Marie Mayer. She was born in Germany in 1921. Otto and Anne Marie eventually moved to Port Washington, New York.

Otto died on May 10, 1972, in San Francisco. He was 65 years old. According to his obituary, he was the vice-president of Fromm & Sichel, a subsidiary of Jos. E. Seagram & Sons, at the time of his death and had been working for that company for twenty years. “E. Otto Sichel Dies; Wine Expert Was 65,” The New York Times, May 13, 1972 (p. 34).

Without going into the full corporate history, there are obvious links here between the various Sichel/Blum cousins—Richard Blum worked for the Chicago wine distributor Geeting & Fromm, which was founded in part by Paul Fromm, whose brother Alfred Fromm and Franz Sichel, first cousin of Walter Sichel and Richard Blum, founded the company where Walter Sichel worked, the San Francisco wine distributor Fromm & Sichel .

Finally, to bring this story back to its beginning, both Walter Blum and Otto Sichel listed a Mr. I(saac) Heller (“Hella” as spelled on Walter’s manifest) as the person sponsoring them in the US when they immigrated to the US in the 1930s:

Walter Blum 1939 manifest naming I Hella as friend going to in US
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867

Isaac Heller named as person Otto Sichel was going to on 1937 manifest
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Who was this friend Isaac Heller?

He was the brother of Leanora Heller Morreau. Yes, the Leanora I had researched back in 2014 to try and understand why she had tried to rescue Bettina Seligmann Arnfeld from Nazi Germany.  The same Leanora whose husband Albert was the grandson of Caroline Seligmann Morreau and a first cousin of Camilla Sichel Blum, Walter’s mother, and Hermann Sichel, Otto’s father.

Leanora may not have been able to help her late husband’s cousin Bettina Seligmann Arnfeld, but obviously she and her brother Isaac were able to help Albert’s cousins Walter Blum and Otto Sichel.

And so I lift a glass of wine (not Blue Nun, preferably a prosecco) to toast Leanora Heller Morreau! L’chaim!

by tracy ducasse (Flickr: [1]) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

[1] Unfortunately, the online records for Sprendlingen do not cover the years before 1870, and although there are some death records for the 1900s, the year 1900 is not included.

Quick Update on Lionel Heymann

In my last post, I discussed how I was puzzled to learn that Lionel Heymann had been a well-regarded photographer, but had listed his occupation as a waiter on the census records for 1930 and 1940.  Well, now I have found an explanation.

In the course of looking for a print of one of Lionel’s photographs to purchase (which I’ve not yet been able to locate), I found this bit of information about Lionel online, quoting from the catalog of  the Sixteenth Detroit International Salon of Photography, Photographic Society of Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1947.

“Started photography as a hobby by joining Fort Dearborn Camera Club in Chicago in 1928. Started professionally January 1945, and conducts a portrait studio in Blackstone Hotel. Conducts a weekly photographic class on portrait and paper negative process. Associated professionally with a photographer in Detroit, 1937-38.”

This explains so much.  First, it explains what Lionel was doing in Detroit when his brother Walter arrived from Germany.  Second, it explains why Lionel did not list photography as his occupation on the 1930 or 1940 census or on his World War II draft registration.  He did not become a professional photographer until 1945.

Lionel Heymann: His Other Life

In my earlier post, I wrote about the three sons of my great-great-aunt Rosalie Schoenthal and her husband Willy Heymann:  Lionel, Walter, and Max.  All three had left Germany and settled in Chicago by 1939.

The oldest brother, Lionel, had arrived first in the 1920s and had consistently reported on passenger manifests and census records that he worked as a hotel waiter.  So I was quite surprised when I found this obituary written when Lionel died in November, 1966:

 

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

Chicago Tribune, December 2, 1966, Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

According to the obituary, Lionel Heymann had had a long and distinguished career as a photographer.  The obituary states that he had retired in 1964 after 40 years as a photographer in Chicago, including 25 years as the photographer at the Blackstone Hotel.  That is, although Lionel consistently listed his occupation as a waiter on various government forms, if the obituary is for the same man, he had been working as a photographer since 1924—in other words, since his very earliest days in Chicago.

But was this in fact the same Lionel Heymann?  The name and age and residence in Chicago certainly made it seem so, but there were no named survivors in the obituary, just an unnamed sister living in Brazil.  Could this be my cousin?

I then found a death notice for Lionel Heymann on the same date in the same paper that contained further information about his surviving family:

 

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

Chicago Tribune, December 2, 1966, Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

This obviously was my cousin, whose two sisters-in-law were named Frieda and Lucy (or Lucie).  He was in fact the photographer described in the first obituary.

And he was not just a hotel photographer taking snapshots of guests. When I Googled his name and “photographer,” a number of links popped up, listing Lionel as an artist whose works are still being  auctioned by various art houses, online and elsewhere.  Lionel also wrote articles about photography and lectured frequently about the art of portrait photography. His works include portraits, nudes, architectural works, and highly stylized artistic photographs.

Here are two examples of the work done by Lionel Heymann; see the links above for others:

"The Shell", photograph by Lionel Heymann, April 1932 Camera Craft Magazine, accessed at http://s3.amazonaws.com/everystockphoto/fspid30/72/22/91/5/vintage-photograph-cameracraft-7222915-o.jpg

“The Shell”, photograph by Lionel Heymann, April 1932 Camera Craft Magazine, accessed at http://s3.amazonaws.com/everystockphoto/fspid30/72/22/91/5/vintage-photograph-cameracraft-7222915-o.jpg

 

Photograph by Lionel Heymann of Robert Maynard Hutchins, University of Chicago president (1929-1945) and chancellor (1945-1951), with team members of the Manhattan Project, the program established by the United States government to build the atomic bomb. Standing, from left: Mr. Hutchins, Walter H. Zinn, and Sumner Pike; seated: Farrington Daniels, and Enrico Fermi. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf digital item number, e.g., apf12345], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. accessed at http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/db.xqy?one=apf1-05063.xml

Photograph by Lionel Heymann of Robert Maynard Hutchins, University of Chicago president (1929-1945) and chancellor (1945-1951), with team members of the Manhattan Project, the program established by the United States government to build the atomic bomb. Standing, from left: Mr. Hutchins, Walter H. Zinn, and Sumner Pike; seated: Farrington Daniels, and Enrico Fermi. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf digital item number, e.g., apf12345], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. accessed at http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/db.xqy?one=apf1-05063.xml

 

Why hadn’t Lionel claimed on the census records and World War II draft registration that he was a photographer? Why wouldn’t he have wanted to reveal that information?  Was it just an avocation, not his livelihood?  Did that change after the 1940s?

UPDATE:  In the course of looking for a print of one of Lionel’s photographs to purchase (which I’ve not yet been able to locate), I found this bit of information about Lionel online, quoting from the catalog of  the Sixteenth Detroit International Salon of Photography, Photographic Society of Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1947.

“Started photography as a hobby by joining Fort Dearborn Camera Club in Chicago in 1928. Started professionally January 1945, and conducts a portrait studio in Blackstone Hotel. Conducts a weekly photographic class on portrait and paper negative process. Associated professionally with a photographer in Detroit, 1937-38.”

This explains so much.  First, it explains what Lionel was doing in Detroit when his brother Walter arrived in 1938.  Second, it explains why Lionel did not list photography as his occupation on the 1930 or 1940 census or on his World War II draft registration.

The obituary and death notice not only revealed that Lionel was a well-known photographer, but also provided more clues about his family.   First, who was this sister in the death notice named Henny Mosbach Rothschild? And was she the one described as living in Brazil in the obituary? And second, who was the nephew named Robert Heyman?

Since only one of Lionel’s brothers had had a child, I assume that this had to be Klaus Heymann, the son of Lionel’s brother Max. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to yet find out more about Klaus Heymann/Robert Heyman, but I have requested the military records of a Klaus Robert Heymann from the national archives and hope that those records will relate to my cousin.  If so, I will provide an update.

As for the sister named Henny Mosbach Rothschild, I will address her in my next post.