Don’t Believe Everything You Read on Public Records: An Update on Albert Kaufmann

It’s always good to be reminded that “official records” are only as accurate as the person who creates them and the information that person was able to obtain.

Back in December 2021, I wrote about Albert Kaufmann, the son of Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann. He was married first to Dorothy Schimmelfennig in Germany in 1928, but they divorced in 1932. Albert had immigrated to Brazil sometime after his divorce from Dorothy and married a woman named Georgina Correa, who was born in 1921 and almost twenty years younger than Albert. I assume they married sometime in the 1940s, but I have no record. Albert died in Brazil in 1986 at the age of 84.

I did not believe that Albert had had any children in part because I could find no birth records or any other record for a child and also because Albert’s death record reported that he had no children. Thus, I reported originally on my blog that Hedwig had no living descendants since her daughter Anna and her entire family had been killed in the Holocaust and because her son Albert had not had any children.

Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Registro Civil, 1829-2012,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 7 January 2019), Rio de Janeiro 02ª Circunscrição Óbitos 1985, Nov-1987, Jan image 172 of 304; Corregedor Geral da Justicia (Inspector General of Justice Offices), Rio de Janeiro.

But it turns out that Albert’s death record was wrong. And I never would have known except for the good fortune that another Blumenfeld cousin, Gail Levy, found my blog. Gail is the granddaughter of Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann’s brother, Ernst Blumenfeld. Thus, Gail’s father Paul Blumenfeld was Albert Kaufmann’s first cousin. Not only did Gail help me fill out Paul Blumenfeld’s branch of the family tree, she shared with me correspondence she’d had with another cousin, Paul St. George, who was, according to that correspondence, the grandson of Albert Kaufmann and Dorothy Schimmelfennig and thus Gail’s second cousin and my fifth cousin, once removed.

I contacted Paul, and he confirmed what he had told Gail—that his mother Inge Kaufmann was the daughter of Albert and Dorothy—and he shared with me Inge’s birth record from Berlin. She was born on November 23, 1928, nine months after her parents married on February 10, 1928.

Birth record of Inge Kaufmann. Courtesy of Paul St George

Transcribed birth record of Inge Kaufmann. Courtesy of Paul St George

Thus, the Brazil death record was wrong. Albert Kaufmann did have a child and does have living descendants, including my cousin Paul.

I asked Paul what he knew about his grandfather, but he had never met his grandfather and knew little about him. He only has one photograph of his grandfather, and he obtained it from Gail. It’s a 1980 photograph of Albert with his second wife Georgina or Gina with a New Year’s greeting on the reverse:

Albert and Gina Kaufmann. Courtesy of Paul St George

I also asked Paul about his grandmother Dorothy and his mother Inge. I knew from my research that Dorothy Schimmelfennig was born in England, married Albert Kaufmann in 1928, and died on March 31, 1938, in Berlin when she was a month shy of her thirtieth birthday. But I didn’t know the cause of her death. I had also wondered why she would have been in Berlin in 1938, given what was going on in Germany.

Paul told me that his grandmother Dorothy and his mother Inge went to England in 1933 and lived in London. But in 1938 Dorothy returned to Berlin, apparently just a few days before her untimely death on March 31, 1938.1 Paul told me that her death is listed as a suicide in the memorial book for victims of the Holocaust.  Also, the Arolsen Archives include a document that lists Dorothy’s cause of death as from poisoning (“Veronslvergiftug”).

AJDC Berlin Card File (Deportations) Subcollection 1.2.1, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives.

In addition, Paul told me that Dorothy is listed as a forced suicide in a 2007 book by Anna Fischer, Erzwungener Freitod: Spuren und Zeugnisse in Den Freitod Getriebner Juden der Jahre 1938-1945 in Berlin (translation: Forced Suicide: Traces and Testimonies in The Suicides of Driven Jews of the Years 1938-1945 in Berlin) (2007: Berlin : Text Verlag Edition Berlin).  Yad Vashem lists Dorothy as both murdered and as a suicide. There do not appear to be any more details, but it seems entirely possible that Dorothy felt hopeless and helpless in the face of Nazi persecution and became too despondent to go on with life in a world filled with so much hatred and fear. But as Paul wrote, it remains a mystery.

But what happened to young Inge Kaufmann, just ten years old at the time of her mother’s death in 1938? She was still in England, and Paul shared what happened to her after her mother’s death:2

My mother was looked after in England by a Jewish Charity (Central British Fund for German Jewry (CBF)). Some Jewish people in England could see the problems in Germany as early as 1933. They petitioned the UK government for permission to bring Jews from Germany to England. The UK government agreed but with strict rules. The refugee had to be self-supporting, looked after to a certain standard, and so on.

So this is why my mother did not live with a relative. Many if not most of these refugees did not live with a relative in England. Reasons against included over-crowding, too poor, etc. But a relative (Charlotte Pick) was a sponsor. She paid money to the charity and the charity bought clothes, shoes, etc. for my mum. My mother would have been housed in a series of homes in the Hemel Hempstead area. By housed I mean she had a room and meals. Those who provided the children with a place to live were not there to look after the children they housed. The charity did that. Also, my mother would have attended a normal local authority school near to the digs. The charity (now called World Jewish Relief) sent me her case file and that lists the monies and the check-up visits and so on.

Inge later attended the well-known St. Martin’s School for the Arts where she studied fashion and developed friendships with several people who became well-known artists. Paul, a well-known artist himself, recalls visiting the grand homes of these artists as a child, describing them as “full of clutter and the smell of oil paint and cake.”3

After she graduated, Inge became a costume designer for the theater, where she met Paul’s father, an acrobatic tap dancer born George Alexander Bernard, who adopted his stage name Buster St. George as his legal name. He was born in Manchester, England, to Alexander Bernard and Doris Matz on January 16, 1913. Inge and Buster were married in 1953 and had two sons, Julian and Paul. Paul was born in Norway while the theater group which employed them was on tour for performances of Kiss Me Kate. Inge and Buster divorced in 1957. Inge Kaufmann St. George, my fifth cousin, died on November 9, 2000; she was 71. Buster St. George died on October 10, 1986.4

I am very grateful that I was able to connect with my cousin Paul (via our mutual cousin Gail) and to learn that Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann’s son Albert did have a child, his daughter Inge, and that thus today Hedwig has living descendants, unlike what I believed before finding Gail and thus Paul. This experience was an important lesson in remembering that just because a record records a “fact” does not necessarily make it true.


  1. Email from Paul St George, January 13, 2022. 
  2. Email from Paul St George, January 7, 2022. 
  3. Email from Paul St. George, January 13, 2022. 
  4. Emails from Paul St George, January 7, 13, and 17, 2022. Buster St George
    Registration Date: Jul 1953, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Brighton, Inferred County: Sussex, Spouse: Inge Kaufmann, Volume Number: 5h
    Page Number: 280, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5h; Page: 280, England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005. Paul St. George Ancestry Family Tree, located at 

Who Arranged Baruch Blumenfeld’s Burial? An Update

This is just a quick update to the questions raised in last week’s post about the death certificate of my relative Baruch Blumenfeld. I was mystified by the fact that someone named Mary Farley had made the burial arrangements as indicated on what (I thought) was the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate.

But then a very astute reader, Lisa K of the GerSIG group on Facebook, noticed that that was not in fact the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate, but the reverse of a death certificate for someone named James B. Graham. Boy, was I embarrassed that I hadn’t noticed that!

I sent away again to the Family History Library for Baruch’s death certificate, pointing out that they had sent the wrong image, and I’ve now received the correct image. Here it is:

As you can see, although it’s a bit hard to read, the person who arranged for Baruch’s burial was “M  Neuberger,” identified as his niece.

Some of you may recall that in 1920 Baruch was living with a widow and her daughter named Getta and Emma Neuberger. I am assuming Emma was the M Neuberger who arranged Baruch’s burial. Perhaps the person taking the information heard Emma as M.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047 1920 United States Federal Census

But was she in fact Baruch’s niece? I don’t think so. Getta Neuberger and her family came from Thalmassing, Germany, in Bavaria in the early 1900s.1 Thalmassing is over 200 miles from Momberg where Baruch had lived in Germany. All of Baruch’s siblings married people from the Hesse region, and none of them were named Neuberger or Schwab, Getta’s birth surname. Anything is possible, I suppose, but my guess is that Emma Neuberger saw Baruch like an uncle and thus called herself his niece in order to arrange his burial.

Getta Schwab Neuberger died in 1930,2 and Emma died in 1933.3 Like Baruch Blumenfeld, they are buried at Union Fields cemetery in Queens, New York. They may have been the closest thing he had to a family after leaving his family behind in Germany.

  1. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, Name: Getta Neuburger, Gender: weiblich (Female), Ethnicity/Nationality: Bayern, Marital status: verheiratet (Married), Departure Age: 60, Birth Date: abt 1846, Residence Place: Thalmässing, Departure Date: 27 Okt 1906 (27 Oct 1906), Departure Place: Hamburg, Deutschland (Germany), Arrival Place: Cuxhaven; Boulogne-sur-Mer; Plymouth; New York, Ship Name: Pennsylvania
    Shipping Clerk: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft), 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 183
    Household Members: Getta Neuburger 60, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 183; Page: 2591; Microfilm No.: K_1797, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  2. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch ( : 3 June 2020), Getta Newberger, 1930. 
  3. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch ( : 3 June 2020), Emma Neuburger, 1933. 

Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die, Part II

The mystery of where and when Baruch Blumenfeld died led me down several rabbit holes to answer several questions. Did Baruch Blumenfeld move to New York and leave his wife Emma and his daughters and his grandchildren behind? Was the 1920 census accurate in reporting that he had immigrated to the US in 1869 and become a US citizen in 1875? If so, how did he marry Emma in 1872 and father two children between 1872 and 1875? And did he really die in New York City in 1923?

I turned to several Facebook groups for further help to confirm that this was the correct Baruch. First, I asked on Tracing the Tribe for help finding more information about the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York. My fellow Blumenfeld cousin Tova Levi suggested that I try and find a connection to the family with whom Baruch was living in 1920. That led me to search for Getta and Emma Neuberger and their place of origin, including locating their extended family in New York and searching for naturalization records that might reveal where they came from in Germany.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047 Source Information 1920 United States Federal Census

After hours of searching and getting help from the New York City genealogy group, the German genealogy group, and the GerSIG group, including from Sandy Hahn Lanman and Matt Luders, I concluded that the Neuberger family came from Thalmassig in Bavaria, not anywhere near Hesse where Baruch had lived, and that thus it was unlikely that my Baruch would have known them before coming to the US.

Steph Mayer, one of the members of the German Genealogy group, also was very helpful. She made several suggestions, including sending me a link to the entry for Baruch Blumenfeld on, an important Germany genealogy website. Steph recommended that I email the contact person, Hartwig Faber, to see if he had any additional information.

And so I did, and Hartwig helped solve one part of this mystery. He noted that on the 1900 marriage record for Baruch’s daughter Charlotte, Baruch is described as living at an unknown distance. That is, by 1900 Baruch’s whereabouts were no longer known by his family.

Marriage record of Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld and Hermann Hammel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6510
Year Range: 1900, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Here is the transcription and translation of that part of the record:

Tochter des in unbekannter Ferne weilenden Kaufmanns Baruch Abraham Blumenfeld und der nochlebenden Ehefrau Emma geb. Docter wohnhaft in Neustadt.

Daughter of the merchant Baruch Abraham Blumenfeld, living in unknown distance, and the still living wife Emma, née Docter, living in Neustadt.

That record supports the possibility that Baruch did immigrate to the US and did die in New York in 1923.

But I can’t still cannot find a Baruch Blumenfeld on any ship manifest even when I search without limiting by dates or with wildcards on the name.

I also have had no luck finding any naturalization papers for him. I’ve gone through indexed and unindexed records on Ancestry and FamilySearch, and the only citizenship record that came close was a declaration of intention dated October 8, 1873 by a Baruch Blum. In that era declarations carried no identifying information other than the name and country of origin, so that doesn’t help very much. And I remain skeptical that Baruch would have been in the US at that time, given that he married Emma in 1872 and had a baby later that year and a second three years later.

I also cannot find a Baruch Blumenfeld on any census record in the US except the 1920 census. If he really immigrated to the US in 1869, he should have appeared on the 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910 US census enumerations.

I did find a German-born Benny Blumenfeld living as a boarder in New York in 1915 on the New York State census of that year. He was 72, so born in or close to 1843. He had no occupation. Could that be Baruch? Maybe. It says he’s been in the US for 32 years or since 1883. That would make a lot more sense than 1869, the year given on the 1920 census. There’s even a young man listed below, also a boarder in the same household, who was a butcher. Do you think this could be my Baruch?

Benny Blumenfeld 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 10; Assembly District: 10; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 38, District: A·D· 10 E·D· 10, New York, U.S., State Census, 1915

But there is no one else with a similar name and age that I could locate on the 1900 or 1910 US census. My working hypothesis at this point is that Baruch Blumenfeld took on an assumed name when he immigrated and then changed it back years later.

When I received the copy of the actual death certificate for the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York in 1923, I was even more certain that he was the same person as my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld.

The first page of that certificate first of all made it clear that his mother’s surname was Strauss, not Lhauss. Secondly, his age is given as 80 years and eight months. Since he died in September, 1923, that means he was born in January, 1843. My Baruch was born on January 29, 1843. This definitely supports the conclusion that this was my Baruch Blumenfeld.

One other interesting bit of information is included on first page of the certificate. It reports that he had been living in the US and in New York for 42 years or since 1881. That would make a lot more sense than the year given on the 1920 census—1869. By 1881 both of Baruch’s daughters were born, and he very well might have left Germany around that time.

I was feeling pretty excited that I had enough information to confirm that this was my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld—until I looked at the reverse side of the certificate.

It indicated that Mary Farley, a sister of the deceased, had hired the undertaker to take care of Baruch’s burial. Mary Farley? A sister? There were many Mary Farleys living in the US 1923—too many to count. If I limited my search to New York City, I found 32 registered to vote in New York in 1924.1 I also searched for a Mary Farley born in Germany living in or near New York who might be the woman named on the death certificate. I only found one woman with that name born in Germany; she lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and was married to a native-born American named John Farley. Her maiden name was Richardt, not Blumenfeld.

UPDATE!! Thank you so much to Lisa K of the GerSIG group on Facebook for pointing out that this is NOT the reverse of the death certificate for Baruch Blumenfeld, but for someone named James Graham. So Mary Farley must have been HIS sister. I’ve now ordered a correct version of the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate.

I very much doubt any one of the many possible Mary Farleys was Baruch’s sister. Friend, neighbor, whatever—she likely said she was the sister so she could arrange the burial for him.

What do you think? Have I convinced you that the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York in 1923 was the same man born in Momberg, Germany, on January 29, 1843, to Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss? Please share you thoughts in the comments.

I am so very grateful to the genealogy village for all the help I’ve received to try and learn what happened to my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld.

The “Disappearance” of Arthur Cohen, My Grandfather’s First Cousin

Way back in July, 2014, I wrote about my great-grandfather Emanuel Cohen’s youngest sibling, his brother Abraham, the thirteenth child of my great-great-grandparents Jacob Cohen and Sarah Jacobs. What I reported was that Abraham, born in Philadelphia on March 29, 1866, had married Sallie McGonigal in 1886, and they had five children, but three of those children died in childhood. Only two children survived—their son Leslie, their second child, and their son Arthur, their fifth and youngest child. There were almost twenty years between the two boys: Leslie was born in 1889, Arthur in 1907.  They lost their mother Sallie to the dreadful flu epidemic on March 14, 1919.

Gravestone for Sallie and Abraham Cohen, courtesy of Michael DeVane

Abraham Cohen remarried in 1920, and I was able to trace Abraham and his son Leslie up through their deaths, as described here.

But Arthur’s story was unfinished. The last record I had for him was the 1930 census when he was living with his father Abraham and stepmother Elizabeth in Philadelphia and working in a gas station. He was 23 at the time. After that, he disappeared. I could find other Arthur Cohens who matched in some ways, but not in others. Thus, I was unable to find anything after 1930 that was definitely about my Arthur Cohen.

Abe Cohen and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0505; FHL microfilm: 2341874 1930 United States Federal Censu

Until, that is, about a month ago when I received a comment on the blog from someone named Michael DeVane, who wrote, “I came across your blog while searching for information on Abraham Cohen, my grandfather. My father was Arthur Cohen. You really helped me fill in some of the missing information on my family. If you want to reach out to me, I will gladly help fill in some missing information to our family tree.” I immediately wrote back to Michael, and we arranged to chat by telephone a few days later.

To prepare for the conversation, I went back to all the research I’d done about Abraham and his family. One thing puzzled me. If Michael’s father was Arthur Cohen, why was his surname DeVane? Well, that clue led me to find more information, and then my conversation with Michael confirmed what I’d uncovered and added more insights. There was a very good reason that I’d not been able to find Arthur Cohen after 1930. By 1931, he’d changed his name to Arthur DeVane.

Once I knew that Arthur had in fact changed his name to DeVane, I located a marriage in the Philadelphia marriage index for Arthur DeVane and Ruth Bussard dated 1931. 1 Michael found in his family records the following document that confirmed that this marriage record was indeed for his father, born Arthur Cohen. It is his father’s baptismal certificate under the name Arthur Cohen with his parents identified.

On the reverse, it notes that Arthur changed his name to DeVane and that he married Ruth Bussard on September 30, 1931, at St. Agnes Church in Philadelphia. Michael thought he might contact the church authorities to see if the record for the name change can be located.

Michael had understood that his father changed his name from Cohen to avoid anti-Semitism, but now we both wonder whether it also had to do with the marriage to Ruth Bussard. Perhaps she didn’t want to take on such an obviously Jewish name. As you can see from the headstone above, both of Arthur’s parents identified as Catholic and are buried in a Catholic cemetery, so Arthur was neither raised Jewish nor identified himself as Jewish.

In any event, the marriage to Ruth did not last. In September 1939, Ruth filed for divorce, and in February 1940, divorce was granted.2 Ruth remarried later that year.3

On the 1940 census, Arthur was living as a lodger with a family, listing his marital status as single and his occupation as a signal man for the railroad.4

On January 8, 1942, Arthur DeVane enlisted in the US armed services and served during World War II until September 5, 1945, including almost two and a half years serving overseas.5 During that time, while stationed in England , he met his second wife, Nellie Keep. Nellie was born April 1, 1917, in Oxford, England to Edward Keep and Nellie Massey. She and Arthur were married in New Hampshire on December 18, 1947. Like Arthur, Nellie had been previously married and divorced.

Marriage record of Arthur Devane and Nellie Keep, New England Historical Genealogical Society; New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records, Concord, New Hampshire, Ancestry,com. New Hampshire, Marriage and Divorce Records, 1659-1947

The record for their marriage is interesting. Arthur reported that his father’s name was Leslie DeVane, not Abraham Cohen, the true name of his father. He also reported that his father had been a jeweler, when in truth, like so many of my Cohen relatives, Abraham had been a pawnbroker. Michael wasn’t sure whether Arthur did this to hide his background from his new wife or for some other reason, but Nellie did at some point know the truth of Arthur’s family background because she revealed it to Michael.

Part of the family lore is that Arthur had hoped to take over his father’s pawnbroker business, but that his father Abraham lost the business when his second wife Elizabeth died in 1939 and her family acquired it and apparently pushed Abraham out. That is why, as noted in my earlier post, Abraham’s death certificate in 1944 listed his occupation as elevator operator—a job he’d had to take after losing his business.

Abraham Cohen death certificate.

That meant Arthur also lost the business. Instead, Arthur ended up rejoining the military and spent most of his career serving his country in the US Air Force, as has his son Michael. Arthur was stationed over the years in England, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. He retired as a master sergeant in the Air Force after twenty years of service.

Arthur DeVane, born Arthur Cohen, died on April 16, 1976, in Burlington, New Jersey. He was sixty-eight years old.6  He was survived by his wife Nellie, who died in 2005, 7 and their three children and their grandchildren.

Michael kindly shared with me the following photograph of his father as a boy.

Arthur Cohen (later DeVane). Courtesy of Michael DeVane

I saw some similarity between young Arthur and his first cousin, once removed, my grandfather John Nusbaum Cohen, Sr., as a little boy, but it could just be the haircut.

John Cohen Sr as a baby

Michael also shared the following photograph of his father Arthur in 1948:

Arthur DeVane, 1948. Courtesy of Michael DeVane

I don’t see many resemblances here to either my father or my grandfather, except perhaps around the mouth and the large forehead.

John N. Cohen, Sr., 1921

John N. Cohen, Jr. c. 1945

I am so grateful to my cousin Michael, my father’s second cousin, for finding me and sharing his father’s story and photographs with me.



  1. Arthur J DeVane, Gender: Male, Spouse: Ruth H Bussard, Spouse Gender: Female
    Marriage Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, Marriage Year: 1931
    Marriage License Number: 606549, Digital GSU Number: 4141671, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  2. The Philadelphia Inquirer – 27 Feb 1940 – Page 11, found at 
  3. Ruth Devane, Gender: Female, Spouse: Marturano, Spouse Gender: Male
    Marriage Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, Marriage Year: 1940
    Marriage License Number: 716706, Digital GSU Number: 4141873, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  4.  Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03723; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 51-1118, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Arthur J DeVane, Birth Date: 9 Dec 1907, Birth Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Gender: Male, Residence Date: 2 May 1950, Residence Place: Upper Darby, Delaware, Pennsylvania, USA, Pennsylvania, World War II Veteran Compensation Application Files, 1950-1966 
  6. Arthur Devane, Social Security Number: 182-10-8245, Birth Date: 9 Dec 1907
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Pennsylvania, Last Residence: 08016, Burlington, Burlington, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: Apr 1976, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  7.  Nellie A Devane, Social Security Number: 144-38-3406, Birth Date: 1 Apr 1917
    Issue Year: 1963, Issue State: New Jersey, Death Date: 26 Jun 2005, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

The Families of Kiele Stern Loewenthal and Abraham Stern: An Update

My last post provided new information about the descendants of Kiele Stern Loewenthal’s daughter Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher. Today I will look at updates for the family of Kiele Stern Loewenthal’s daughter Helene Loewenthal Schultze and specifically updates for her only child, Elisabeth Auguste Aloysia Schultze, daughter of Helene’s second husband Oskar Schultze. I had several gaps in the story of Elisabeth.

First, I did not have Elisabeth’s birth record, and Aaron Knappstein located it for me:

Elisabeth was born on December 3, 1914, in Coblenz, Germany. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned from this record was that Helene, her mother, was identifying as “ohne,” or without, religion. As I wrote about here, Elisabeth’s mother Helene was born Jewish, but her father Oskar Schultze was Protestant. But both Helene and Elisabeth were included on the 1939 Minority census in Germany.

The notes at the bottom of the record indicate that Elisabeth was married in February 24,1955, in Hamburg and that she died on November 23, 1991 in Bad Krozingen.

That helped Aaron locate Elisabeth’s marriage record and death record. Here is the marriage record.

This document shows that Elisabeth married Ulrich Carl Albert Wilke on February 24, 1955, in Hamburg, Germany. Ulrich was born on August 16, 1906, in Hamburg; his parents were Emil Ludwig Gustav Wilke and Catherine Wilhelmine Frieda Auguste Schreiber. The marriage record states that Ulrich was a bank clerk and that Elisabeth was a merchant. She was 41 when they married, and he was 49. The marriage record indicates that neither had children, and as far as I know, Elisabeth and Ulrich also did not have children. Both Elisabeth and Ulrich reported that they were Lutheran.

In the upper left-hand margin of the marriage record is a note indicating that Elisabeth left the church in 1969. Aaron explained to me that this could have been done to avoid the religion tax or it could have indicated that she was not religious and did not want to pay a tax to support the church.

The second note in the left-hand margin reports that Ulrich died on December 5, 1984.

The third document that Aaron located about Elisabeth Schultze Wilke is a transcription of her death record.

From this document I know that she died in Bad Krozingen on November 23, 1991 and that she identified as “evanglische” (Protestant), so perhaps she had returned to the church between her marriage and her death. Elisabeth was 77 when she died.

Thanks to Aaron Knappstein, I now have a much more complete story of Elisabeth’s life; what’s still missing is the story of where she was and how she managed during the 1940s, and that may remain a mystery as she had no children to carry on her story.

I also have updates that relate to the descendants of Kiele Stern’s brother Abraham Stern and his children. These updates came from Abraham’s great-grandson Rafi Stern, who has previously shared photographs and information about his relatives. This time he sent two documents in German.

The first is a letter written by his uncle Erich Stern to Erich’s brother and Rafi’s father Guenther Stern. Erich and Guenther were the sons of Siegfried Salmon Stern, son of Abraham Stern and Johanna Goldschmidt. I discussed this letter in the earlier post, but now have a scan of the original letter in German. It is the letter Eric wrote describing in the first paragraph what had happened to the family on Kristallnacht. As you can see, it is dated November 13, 1938, just a few days after that nightmarish event throughout Germany.

The remaining two paragraphs are rather vague but appear to concern the family’s property and business and how to protect it from the Nazis.

Thank you for your various letters.
Unfortunately we have very bad news from Frankfurt. Uncle Siegfried, who wanted to go to Palestine with your family on Sunday, was arrested on Friday, as well as Aunt Sittah, Maguerite and Helmuth. Aba had fled and no one knew where. Really horrible conditions. Bickhardts still seem to be undisturbed.

Under these circumstances, I personally think it is more correct if you do not entrust Mr. Goldschmidt with the handling of the matter, since he cannot do the thing in the future. An Aryan lawyer, as I hear, is also not allowed to accept new Jewish customers, but if you turned to Peters, that [problem]would also disappear.  [I assume this means that because the family had previously used Peters, the prohibition against new clients would not apply.] Please write to him immediately. The matter can surely also be processed via the foreign exchange office in Cologne, since we are responsible here. Please let me know about it immediately. I will not enclose the list of assets with you, because maybe it will not be required in Cologne. I am also very reluctant to submit a list of 35 & 38, because I do not know about Eburonenstrasse and have given only very vague information about the general property registration.

As far as the matter of the foreign  papers, Father gave the matter to one of his lawyers (I don’t know his name), who is said to have first-class relationships. I haven’t heard anything yet. Father took it on the condition that if the lawyer got all or part of the papers in my name, we would share them.

Did you hear about the transfer of the proceeds from the sale of Kaiserstrasse to our accounts?
Greeting and kiss. Yours, Erich

Rafi also sent me a memoir written by his great-aunt, Siegfried’s sister Alice Lea Stern Oppenheimer.  It’s 58 pages long and in German, and since my German group is not meeting this summer, I am going to try to read it myself to keep up with my German. I will report back once I’ve accomplished that task.

Thank you again to Aaron Knappstein and to Rafi Stern for helping to tell the stories of these descendants of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Ella Goldschmidt, Part II: The 1870s, Gains and A Heartbreaking Loss

As of the 1870 census, Ella Goldschmidt and her husband Albert Sigmund, a furrier, had eight children living at home, ranging in age from William, who was 24, to Mollie, who was eight. Jacob, who had been listed as six on the 1860 census, was not listed on the 1870 census, but no records have yet been found to explain what happened to him.

Twelve years after giving birth to Mollie in 1862, Ella apparently had another child, a daughter May born in 1874. As with all of Ella’s prior children, I cannot locate a birth record for May because Maryland birth records start in 1875, but am relying solely on two census records, specifically the 1880 and 1900 US census records.1 Ella would have been over fifty years old in 1874, according to her death certificate. The 1880 census lists Ella as 55 and May as 6, meaning Ella was at least 49 when May was born.  Could May really be her biological child? Or was she perhaps adopted or an out-of-wedlock child of one of Ella and Albert’s older children or another relative?

Meanwhile, Ella and Albert’s oldest child, William, had married Adelaide or Addie  Newmeyer (sometimes spelled Newmyer or Neumyer or Newmyre and even Neumeir) in September 1873 and was having children of his own by the time his baby sister May was born in 1874. Adelaide was born in about 1851 or 1852 in Pennsylvania, depending on the census record.

In 1870 Adelaide was living with her mother Fanny Newmyer and her six other children in Washington, DC. The 1871 Washington directory lists Fanny as the widow of Abraham,2 but the 1860 census includes the household of a John and Fanny Newmyre living in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, with their five oldest children. Adelaide appears to be listed as Alice on that census, but her siblings’ names match those on later census records. Since records for some of Adelaide’s siblings indicate they were born in Lock Haven, I concluded that this was Adelaide’s family on the 1860 census.3

Newmyre family, 1860 census, Census Place: Lock Haven, Clinton, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1097; Page: 274; Family History Library Film: 805097, 1860 United States Federal Census

Census Place: Washington Ward 4, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: M593_124; Page: 814A; Family History Library Film: 545623, Washington Ward 4, 1870 United States Federal Census

I could find no other records for John Newmeyer, no matter how many wild cards or spellings I tried, but I did find a directory listing Abraham Newmeyer in Washington, DC, in 1863 as a peddler4 and a Civil War draft registration dated 1863 for Abram Newmyer, a 44 year old native of Bavaria.  I believe that Adelaide’s father was Abraham Newmeyer and that the family had left Lock Haven for Washington some time between 1860 and 1863.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 5 of 5, U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865

William and Adelaide’s first child Albert Sigmund was born on August 12, 1874, in Baltimore, according to his World War I draft registration. 4

Their second child was named Abraham, born on April 27, 1876,5 bolstering my conclusion that Abraham was the name of Adelaide’s father. William and Adelaide had a third child Jeannette born sometime between 1878 and 1879. She is listed as two on the 1880 census, but later census records have her born in June 1879 or even as late as 1881. I searched the Baltimore birth index for 1877, 1878, and 1879, and could not find her listed. The closest I could find was a child born on  October 7, 1879, to a William and Addie Smith, but I need to get the birth certificate to be sure that this is the correct couple. At any rate, Jeannette is listed on the 1880 census, so she had to have been born before that was taken.

The 1880 census lists a fourth child, one month old, named Herman living in the household. I found a listing in the 1880 Baltimore birth registry for a child born May 14, 1880, to “William and Annie Sigmon” which I assume must refer to Herman. In 1880, they were all living in Baltimore where William was working as a clerk in the tax office.

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

In 1875, Ella and Albert’s daughter Henrietta married her second cousin Scholum Joseph Katzenstein, the oldest child of my great-great-grandparents, Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt. Henrietta and Scholum Joseph were both the great-grandchildren of Jacob Falck Goldschmidt and Eva Seligmann, my four-times great-grandparents. Their mothers Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund and Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein were first cousins.

I have already written about Henrietta and Scholum Joseph when I wrote about my Katzenstein relatives. You can find their stories here, here, here, and here. Thus, I will not repeat the stories of Henrietta and her descendants in telling the story of her parents and siblings, except to point out that Henrietta had six children, a daughter Moynelle born in 1879 and five sons, all born between 1881 and 1892, and that she was living in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Thus, Ella and Albert had become grandparents during the 1870s as well as having a new child May. But not all the news was good for their family. On July 31, 1875, their oldest daughter Lena died from cancer of the neck at age 27; according to her death certificate, she had been ill for over ten years.

Her death notice paid tribute to her courage:

UPDATE: Thank you to David Baron, who pointed out to me after I’d first posted this that this death notice mentions Solomon Sigmund as Lena’s husband. Somehow I completely overlooked that. I assume that this is the same Solomon Sigmund who was eighteen years old and living with Lena’s family in 1870 and that he must have been a relative of Albert Sigmund—a nephew or cousin. Once David pointed this out to me, I also located a marriage record for Lena and Solomon:

Sol Sigmund Lena Sigmund marriage 1873 MD state archives

I was unable to find any definite record for Solomon Sigmund after Lena’s death. Perhaps he returned to Germany. There were many other men with that name, but no way for me to connect any of them to Lena’s family.

On September 22, 1880, Ella and Albert’s son Joseph married Emma Goldman (not THAT Emma Goldman) in Baltimore.

Emma Goldman was born in about 1860 in Maryland and was the daughter of Leman Goldman and Henrietta Goldschmidt.6 When I saw Emma’s parents’ names, something rang a bell. Sure enough, there was another twisted branch on my family tree.  Emma’s brother Samuel L. Goldman was the father of Leman Poppi Goldman, who married Flora Wolfe, the daughter of Amalie Schoenthal, the sister of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal.

And it gets even more twisted.  Stay tuned…

Thus, as of the end of 1880, Ella and Albert had lost one child, Lena. Three of their children, William, Henrietta, and Joseph, had married, and they had four grandchildren, William’s three children and Henrietta’s daughter. Ella and Albert were living with their remaining children, Simon (listed here as Samuel, 27), Leo (22), Stella (20), Mollie (18), and six-year-old May. Simon/Samuel and Leo were working as clerks, and Albert continued to work as a fur merchant.

Albert Sigmund and family 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 501; Page: 116C; Enumeration District: 110 and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

The next twenty years would bring many changes, some good, some bad.



  1. Albert Sigmund and family, 1870 US census,  Census Place: Baltimore Ward 12, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M593_576; Page: 248A; Family History Library Film: 552075, 1870 United States Federal Census; 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 501; Page: 116C; Enumeration District: 110, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  2. Publication Title: Washington, District of Columbia, City Directory, 1871, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Harriet Harris obituary, The Daily Record, Long Branch, New Jersey, 11 Feb 1937, Thu • Page 3 
  4. Albert Sigmund, World War I draft registration, Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556838; Draft Board: 07, U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.  I find it interesting that they gave their child the same name as William’s father even though he, Albert the elder, was still living, although naming a child for someone still living is fairly common on this side of my family tree. 
  5. Abraham Newmeyer, World War I draft registration, Registration State: District of Columbia; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1556845; Draft Board: 09, U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. 
  6. Leman Goldman family, 1870 census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 7, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: M593_574; Page: 117A; Family History Library Film: 552073, 1870 United States Federal Census 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part X: A Son’s Loving Tribute to His Mother

This is Part X of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, so generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart VPart VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  and Part IX at the links.

This is by far the sweetest and saddest page in Milton Goldsmith’s album, a page dedicated to his beloved mother, Cecelia Adler Goldsmith, who died in 1874 when Milton was thirteen years old:

It reads:

Our beloved Mother, who alas, passed away too early and whose death brought not only sorrow, but all kinds of misfortune.

She was the only child of Samuel and Sarah Adler, was born in Germany, but arrived in Philadelphia at the age of one year.  She grew to womanhood, a very beautiful girl;- rather short in stature, round in figure, a head of brown ringlets, – a belle among the Jewesses of her day and circle. She had many admirers.  Father proposed to her over a plate of ice-cream on “Simchas Torah”, a Jewish holiday.  It was in every way a “Love-match” which was only terminated at her death.  She died of peritonitis, which to-day would be called Apendicitis [sic]. A perfect wife, – a wonderful mother, – A woman whose children call her blessed.

She died Nov. 8th 1874, at the age of 35 years. I was 13 at the time of her death, the oldest of six children.

It’s interesting to read what Milton thought was the cause of his mother’s death, which conflicts with her death certificate. According to the death certificate, she died from apoplexia nervosa:

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 May 2014), 004010206 > image 874 of 1214; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

In the upper left corner, Milton inserted a piece of Cecelia’s wedding veil:

In the lower right corner, he inserted a piece of fabric from one of her ball gowns.

What a sweet and sentimental thing for a son to do. How devastated he and his father and siblings must have been when Cecelia died.


Jacob Goldsmith, The final chapter: What happened to his son Frank?

As of 1930, only six of Jacob Goldsmith’s fourteen children were still living: Annie, Celia, Frank, Rebecca, Florence, and Gertrude. As seen in my prior posts, Eva died in 1928. In addition, I have written about the deaths of Gertrude in 1937 and Rebecca in 1940. There remain therefore just four siblings to discuss, and by 1945, they were all deceased.

Annie and Celia, the two oldest remaining siblings, both died in 1933. Celia, who’d been living with her sister Florence and her family in 1930, died on January 15, 1933, in Denver, and was buried in Philadelphia on January 18, 1933. She was 73 years old.  Celia never married and has no living descendants.1

Her sister Annie died four months later, on May 29, 1933, in San Francisco.2 She was 77 and was survived by her three children, Josephine, Harry, and Fanny. Sadly, Harry did not outlive his mother by much more than a year. He died at 53 on August 4, 1934, in San Francisco.3 He was survived by his wife Rose, who died in 1969, and his two sisters, Josephine and Fanny. But Josephine also was not destined for a long life. She died less than three years after her brother Harry on April 23, 1937; she was 59. Like their father Augustus who’d died when he was fifty, Josephine and Harry were not blessed with longevity.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 05 March 2019), memorial page for Fannie Mendelsohn Frank (unknown–1 Sep 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100371723, citing Home of Peace Cemetery and Emanu-El Mausoleum, Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Diane Reich (contributor 40197331) .

Of Augustus and Annie’s children, only Fanny lived a good long life. She was 93 when she died on September 1, 1974.4 According to her death notice in the San Francisco Chronicle, she had been a dealer in Oriental art objects.5 Like Josephine, Fanny had never married and had no children, nor did their brother Harry. Thus, there are no living descendants of Annie Goldsmith Frank.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 05 March 2019), memorial page for Fannie Mendelsohn Frank (unknown–1 Sep 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100371723, citing Home of Peace Cemetery and Emanu-El Mausoleum, Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Diane Reich (contributor 40197331) .

The third remaining child of Jacob Goldsmith was Florence Goldsmith Emanuel. In 1930, Florence was living with her husband Jerry Emanuel in Denver as well as their nephew Bernard, the son of Gertrude Goldsmith and Jacob Emanuel, and Florence’s sister Celia. Jerry was working as a clerk in a wholesale tobacco business. In 1940, they were still living in Denver, now with Jerry’s sister Grace in their home, and Jerry was working as a salesman for a wholesale liquor business.6

Emanuel family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0137; FHL microfilm: 2339973 1930 United States Federal Census

Florence Goldsmith Emanuel died on August 4, 1942, at the age of 73. Her husband Jerry survived her by another seventeen years. He died on June 16, 1959, and is buried with Florence in Denver. He was 89. Florence and Jerry did not have children, so like so many of Florence’s siblings, there are no living descendants.7

That brings me to the last remaining child of Jacob Goldsmith and Fannie Silverman, their son Frank. In 1930, Frank and his wife Barbara were living in Atlantic City, and Frank was retired.8 On July 25, 1937, Barbara died in Philadelphia; she was 67. Like Frank’s parents and many of his siblings, she was buried at Mt Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia; in fact, she was buried in the same lot as Celia and Rachel Goldsmith and one lot over from her in-laws Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith.9

I mention this because for the longest time I was having no luck finding out when or where Frank Goldsmith died or was buried. In 1940, he was living as a widower in the Albemarle Hotel in Atlantic City, and the 1941 Atlantic City directory lists Frank as a resident.9 But after that he disappeared. I couldn’t find any obituaries or death records, but what really mystified me was that there was no record of his burial with his wife Barbara and his other family members at Mt Sinai cemetery.

I contacted Mt Sinai and learned that the plot that had been reserved for Frank is still unused. Barbara is buried with Frank’s sisters Celia and Rachel and one lot over from Frank’s parents. But Frank is not there. Here are two of the Mt Sinai burial records showing that Barbara and Celia are buried right near each other in lots owned by Frank.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,  Mt· Sinai Cemetery, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013

I also hired a researcher to search the New Jersey death certificates in Trenton (since they are not available online). She came up empty. So what had happened to Frank?

Well, once again Tracing the Tribe, the Jewish genealogy Facebook group, came to the rescue. I posted a question there and received many responses, most of them suggestions for things I’d already done. But one member,  Katherine Dailey Block, found a 1920 newspaper article that mentioned Frank that I had never seen:

“To Leave for Florida,” Harrisburg Telegraph, December 30, 1920, p. 4.

That raised the possibility that Frank might have spent time in Florida more than this one time. I had made the mistake of assuming that, having lived his whole life in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he must have died in one of those two states. Now I broadened the search to Florida. (Doing a fifty-state search was not helpful since the name Frank Goldsmith is quite common, and I had no way to figure out whether any of them was my Frank.) And this result came up:

Florida Death Index, 1877-1998,” database, FamilySearch ( : 25 December 2014), Frank F. Goldsmith, 1945; from “Florida Death Index, 1877-1998,” index, Ancestry ( : 2004); citing vol. 1148, certificate number 9912, Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, Jacksonville.

A Frank F. Goldsmith had died in Tampa, Florida in 1945. Could this be my Frank? Tampa is on the opposite coast from Jacksonville as well as much further south. That made me doubt whether this was the same Frank F. Goldsmith. But then I found this record from the 1945 Florida census; notice the second to last entry on the page:

Census Year: 1945, Locality: Precinct 2, County: Hillsborough, Page: 43, Line: 32
Archive Series #: S1371, Roll 20, Frank F. Goldsmith 65 Florida, State Census, 1867-1945

There was Frank F. Goldsmith, and when I saw that he was born in Pennsylvania, I was delighted, figuring that this could be my Frank. On the other hand, the census reported that this Frank was 65 years old in 1945 whereas my Frank would have been 82. But it seemed worth ordering a copy of the death certificate from the Florida vital records office to see if it contained information that would either confirm or disprove my hope that this was my cousin Frank.

Unfortunately, here is the death certificate:

As you can see, it has no information about this Frank F. Goldsmith’s wife, parents, birth place, occupation, or much of anything that would help me tie him to my Frank F. Goldsmith. In fact, the age and birth date on the certificate are inconsistent with my Frank Goldsmith, who was born in June 1863, according to the 1900 census, not June of 1878.

Despite these blanks and inconsistencies, my hunch is that this is my Frank. Why? Both Franks have a birth date in June. And on later census records, Frank’s estimated birth year based on his reported age moved later than 1863—1868 in 1910, 1876 in 1920, and 1870 in 1930 and 1940. He seemed to be getting younger as time went on. Maybe by 1945, he was giving a birth year of 1878. And by 1945 there was no one left to inform the hospital of his family’s names or his birth date or age so perhaps whoever completed the death certificate (looks like someone from the funeral home) was just guessing at his age and birth date.

In addition, there is no other Frank F. Goldsmith who fits the parameters of the Frank on the death certificate. Finally, this Frank was to be buried in the “Jew cemetery,” so we know that he was Jewish.

So what do you think? Is this enough to tie the Frank F. Goldsmith who died in Florida to my Frank F. Goldsmith? I know these are thin reeds upon which to make a case, but I think they may have to be enough.

In any event, like his sisters Rachel, Celia, Annie, Emma, Eva and Florence, and his brother Felix, Frank Goldsmith has no living descendants. In fact, it is quite remarkable how few living descendants Jacob Goldsmith and Fannie Silverman have, considering that they had had fourteen children. Five of those fourteen children did not have children of their own: Emma, Rachel, Celia, Frank, and Florence. Four of Jacob and Fannie’s children had no grandchildren: Annie had three children, but none of them had children. Eva had one son, Sidney, who did not have any children, and the same was true of Gertrude’s son Bernard and Felix’s two children Ethel and Clarence. From fourteen children, Jacob and Fannie had twenty grandchildren and only twelve great-grandchildren, and a number of those great-grandchildren also did not have children. From my count, there were only ten great-great-grandchildren. With each generation, instead of growing, the family became smaller.

But that is not the legacy of Jacob and Fannie Goldsmith. Rather, theirs is the remarkable story of two young German immigrants settling in western Pennsylvania and then Philadelphia, raising fourteen children who eventually spanned the continent. From all appearances, many of those fourteen children stayed close, both geographically and presumably emotionally. Many of them lived together, especially the daughters who spent years in Denver together. Like so many first-generation Americans, these fourteen children provided evidence to their parents that the risks they took leaving their home country behind and crossing the ocean were worthwhile. Yes, there was plenty of heartbreak along the way, but overall Jacob, Fannie, and their fourteen children lived comfortably and free from oppression.


  1. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 
  2. California, Death Index, 1905-1939 
  3. California, Death Index, 1905-1939 
  4.  Number: 562-66-4663; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1962, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  5. San Francisco Chronicle, September 4, 1974, p. 35 
  6. Florence Emanuel, 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00490; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 16-221B, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  8. Frank Goldsmith, 1930 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0011; FHL microfilm: 2341043, 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,  Mt· Sinai Cemetery, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 

The Mansbachs in the 1920s: First the Bad News, Then the Good News

As seen in the last two posts, the years between 1910 and 1920 were primarily years of growth for the children of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach. Unfortunately the next decade was not as happy a time; the family suffered a number of losses as the children of Sarah and Abraham entered their sixties and seventies.

1926 was a particularly bad year. First, Louis Mansbach, Sarah and Abraham’s oldest son, died in Philadelphia from myocarditis on April 2, 1926, at age 77:

Louis Mansbach death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 037001-040000. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

A couple of observations about this death certificate. One, Louis was a veterinarian, but the certificate says he was a doctor; while a vet is a doctor in one sense of the word, it’s still odd that he is identified this way and not as a veterinarian.

Secondly, the informant was Richard Rattin, and I have no idea who that was. Louis’s son-in-law was David Rattin, husband of Rebecca Mansbach. He lived at 1638 North Franklin Street in Philadelphia. But as far as I can tell, David had no siblings, and his father had died long ago. I cannot find any Richard Rattin during this period or any other time in Philadelphia (or elsewhere). Could David have signed using the wrong first name? Did someone forge his signature with the wrong first name? And if so, why?

Third, I was struck by the fact that the informant did not know the names of Louis Mansbach’s parents. I see this so often, and it makes me sad that so quickly the names were forgotten, but it also makes me feel good to know that I am filling in that gap for descendants who might otherwise never know who their ancestors were.

But more tragically than Louis Mansbach’s own death was the death of his daughter, Rebecca Mansbach Rattin. She died less than a month later on April 30, 1926, from meningitis; she was not yet 29 years old. She left behind her husband David and two young daughters, Ruth, who was only seven, and Virginia, who was born on June 27, 1923 and two months shy of her third birthday when she lost her mother.

Rebecca Mansbach Rattin death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 040001-043000 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Thus, just as Rebecca had lost her mother Cora when she was a young girl, Rebecca’s daughters lost their mother when they were young girls.

David Rattin was the informant on his wife’s death certificate. Comparing this death certificate with that for Louis above, it does not appear to be the same handwriting or signature, does it? (Also, it says that Rebecca’s father was born in Alsace Lorraine, which is not correct; he was born in Maden in the state of Hesse.) So who was Richard Rattin? Did someone else fill in the death certificate for Louis and just sign the wrong name? It appears that Rebecca had been ill since January, her father since February, so perhaps David Rattin was just too overwhelmed when Louis died to deal with the details of the death certificate.

UPDATE: Frank, a member of Tracing the Tribe, commented that it was likely that David Rattin/Richard Rattin did not sign either certificate, and when I compared the signature on David’s draft registration with the two death certificates, I realized that Frank was right: David had not signed or filled out either form. The registrar or some third party did in each case. And it seems likely that in the case of Louis Mansbach’s death certificate, whoever did fill it out just got David’s first name wrong on the line identifying the informant.

Then the third family death came when Amelia Mansbach Langer died two months after her brother Louis and niece Rebecca; she died in Denver on July 18, 1926, at age 72.1 She had been predeceased by her husband Henry Langer, who had died on October 25, 1921.2 Henry had died the day after his 91st birthday in Denver, where he had lived since at least 1880.

“Death Claims Mother of Joseph H. Langer, Post Photographer,” The Denver Post, July 16, 1926, p. 17

Colorado Springs Gazette, October 26, 1921, p. 3

Amelia and Henry’s son Joseph remained in Denver as a photographer for the Denver Post, but by 1930 their younger son Lester had moved to Kansas City, where he continued to work as photographer. He was living in a large boarding house as a lodger in 1930.3 More on the Langer brothers in my next post.

Meanwhile, back in Melsungen, Germany, Breine Mansbach Bensew, the oldest child of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach, died on May 31, 1922, at age 77. Her husband Jakob Bensew died three years later on April 25, 1925, in Kassel, Germany; he was 85.

Death record for Breine Mansbach Bensew
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 4684

Death record for Jakob Bensew, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5599 Description Year Range: 1925 Source Information Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Thus, by 1926, the only children of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach still living were Bert, Hannah, Meyer, and Julius. For them and their children, there were some happier events in the 1920s.

Bert Mansbach’s son Alvin moved to Chicago in 1921 to go to the Western Electric School.

Albuquerque Morning Journal, February 2, 1921, p. 7

At some point thereafter Alvin moved to New York City, where on May 12, 1927, he married Lucille Nelson, a native New Yorker, born in about 1897 to Louis Nelson and Bertha Heineman.4 Finding Lucille’s background was another research adventure as I had to work backwards from the listing of her aunt Marian Heineman in Alvin and Lucille’s household on the 1930 census to find Lucille’s parents.  In 1930, Alvin and Lucille (and Lucille’s aunt) were living on West End Avenue in New York City, and Alvin was working as an engineer for the telephone company. They had a daughter Betty born on February 22, 1932, in New York.5

Alvin Mansbach 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0421; FHL microfilm: 2341289 1930 United States Federal Census

Alvin’s sister Corinne and her husband Herbert Kahn and daughter Rosalynn were still living in Trinidad in 1930, where Herbert was in the produce business.6 And Alvin and Corinne’s parents were still in Albuquerque. In January 1927, Bert suffered injuries after being hit by a car. In 1930, Bert and Rosa were living in Albuquerque, and Bert was working as a salesman in a retail store.7

“Man Struck by Car Painfully Injured But Is Improving,” Albuquerque Journal, January 22, 1927, p. 8

In 1930 Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg and her husband Gerson were still living in Philadelphia, where Gerson was a “dealer” in “goods.”8 Their daughter Reta had had a second child, a boy, in 1923,9 and in 1930 Reta and her family were also living in Philadelphia where her husband Elmor Alkus continued to work in the towel business.10 Hannah’s third child, Katinka Dannenberg Olsho, was living with her husband Sidney and son Edward in Philadelphia in 1930, where Sidney continued to practice medicine.11

Hannah and Gerson’s son Arthur married Marion Loeb Stein in 1922 in Philadelphia.12 Marion was born on September 11, 1888, in Pennsylvania to Leo and Rosetta Loeb and grew up in Philadelphia.13 Marion was a widow when she married Arthur. On March 15, 1915, she had married Milton C. Stein, who became ill on their honeymoon and died on August 1, 1915; he was only 31.  Reading these two newspaper articles in sequence made me quite sad for Marion:

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, March 15, 1915, p. 9

“Laid at Rest,” Allentown (PA) Democrat, August 4, 1915, p. 12

But she and Arthur Dannenberg had a long marriage together and had two children born in the 1920s, so I hope she did find happiness after experiencing the tragic loss of her new husband in 1915.

Meyer and Ida (Jaffa) Mansbach’s two children were both married in the 1920s. Their daughter Edith married Herbert Marshutz on July 9, 1924, in Detroit. Herbert was an optometrist, born March 12, 1894, in Los Angeles, where he had grown up and where he was residing at the time of their marriage. Herbert was the son of Siegfried Marshutz, who was born in Bavaria, and Hattie Wolfstein, who was born in Walla Walla, Washington.14 Herbert and Edith would have two children. In 1930, they were living in Los Angeles, where Herbert continued to practice optometry.15

Marriage record, Edith Mansbach and Herbert Marshutz, Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 179; Film Description: 1924 Wayne Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [

By 1930, Edith’s parents Meyer and Ida had also moved to Los Angeles. I don’t know whether they had moved there to be closer to their daughter Edith or whether they had moved to Los Angeles before Edith even married Herbert and somehow connected him to their daughter. Meyer was working as a millinery salesman in 1930 in Los Angeles.16

Meyer and Ida’s son Arthur Jaffa Mansbach also married in the 1920s. In 1926, he married Gertrude Heller in Milwaukee, where she was born on September 6, 1901, to Henry Heller and Frederika Grothey.17 Arthur and Gertrude would have one daughter, and in 1930 they were living in Detroit where Arthur was the vice-president of a retail store.18

Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, April 2, 1926, p. 2

Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, July 23, 1926, p.2

Finally, Julius Mansbach and his wife Frieda and son Alfred were still living in Germany in the 1920s, but according to Alfred’s son Art, Alfred came to the United States in 192919 to go to college in Chicago. In 1930 Alfred was living with Emanuel Loewenherz and his wife Frieda and son Walter in New Trier, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Alfred was listed as the cousin of the wife of the head of the household, that is, Emanuel’s wife Frieda.

Alfred Mansbach with Loewenherz family, 1930 US census, Census Place: New Trier, Cook, Illinois; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 2223; FHL microfilm: 2340238 1930 United States Federal Census

Frieda Loewenherz was born Frieda Bensew and was the daughter of Jakob Bensew and Breine Mansbach. Breine Mansbach Bensew was the daughter of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach and sister of Alfred’s father Julius, making Frieda Bensew Loewenherz Alfred’s first cousin through his father Julius:

But I believe that Alfred may also have been Frieda Bensew Loewenherz’s cousin through his mother as well. Alfred’s mother was also born with the name Frieda Bensew. Although I haven’t been able to figure out the connection, my hunch is that the two Frieda Bensews were somehow related. More on the Bensew cousins in posts to come.

Thus, the 1920s were years of transition for the children of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach. Three of them died in this decade, and their children were adults marrying and raising their own children, the great-grandchildren of Sarah and Abraham.



  1.  JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). 
  2. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current. MEMORIAL ID 79956101. 
  3. Lester Langer, 1930 US census, Census Place: Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0018; FHL microfilm: 2340928. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  4. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937, Certificate Number 13376. Lucille Nelson, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 53; Assembly District: 03; City: New York; County: Queens; Page: 46. New York, State Census, 1915 
  5. New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965, Certificate Number 5591 
  6. Herbert Kahn and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Trinidad, Las Animas, Colorado; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0046; FHL microfilm: 2339980. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  7. Bert and Rosa Mansbach, 1930 US census, Census Place: Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0010; FHL microfilm: 2341127. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. Gerson Dannenberg household, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0778; FHL microfilm: 2341859. 1930 United States Federal Census  
  9. Warren Alkus, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 23. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  10. Elmor Alkus household, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 23A; Enumeration District: 1030; FHL microfilm: 2341867. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  11. Sidney Olsho household, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0627; FHL microfilm: 2341838. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951, Marriage License Number: 465401.  
  13.  Number: 188-36-8650; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1962; U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.  Loeb family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 9; Enumeration District: 0408; FHL microfilm: 1241461. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  14. Herbert Marshutz World War I draft registration, Registration State: California; Registration County: Los Angeles; Roll: 1530901; Draft Board: 2. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Marshutz household on 1910 US census,  Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 72, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_82; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0185; FHL microfilm: 1374095. 1910 United States Federal Census. Marriage record of Sigfreid Marshutz and Hattie Wolfstein, California, County Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, 1849-1980. 
  15. Herbert Marshutz household, 1930 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0107; FHL microfilm: 2339871; 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16. Meyer Mansbach household, 1930 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0108; FHL microfilm: 2339871; 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  17. Wisconsin, Birth Index, 1820-1907, Reel: 0198 Record: 002612. Wisconsin, Births and Christenings Index, 1801-1928, FHL Film Number: 1013697. 
  18. Arthur Mansbach household, 1930 US census, Census Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0363; FHL microfilm: 2340781; 1930 United States Federal Census 
  19. Alfred Mansbach, ship manifest, Year: 1929; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4639; Line: 1; Page Number: 104; New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957