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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


  1. Simon Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0208; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  2. Leo Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W23-G4M : 10 February 2018), Claudia Hirsch in entry for Albert Lloyd Sigmund, 24 Oct 1938; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,108,250. 
  4. Harry Goldman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 16, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0209; FHL microfilm: 1240615, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  5. See, e.g., “The New Ball Club,” The Baltimore Sun, January 27, 1900, p. 6; “More Baseball War,” The Baltimore Sun, July 29, 1902, p. 6; Fred Lieb, The Baltimore Orioles: The History of a Colorful Team in Baltimore and St. Louis (SIU Press, 2005), pp. 91-95,111, 116, 147 
  6. I did find a Sol Sigmund of the same age and born in Germany on the 1900 census, living in St. Louis and married to Emma Lorber with two children, but I have no way to know if that man was the same man. If it was the same Solomon Sigmund, he never reappears with that family either. Sol Sigmund and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: St Louis Ward 12, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0185; FHL microfilm: 1240894, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. By 1910 Emma was living with her sons and still listed as married, but Sol is not in the household. By 1920 Emma identified her marital status as divorced. Could this be the same Solomon Sigmund? And if so, where did he now disappear to? 

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, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com 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
Ancestry.com 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, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census; 1880 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 501; Page: 116C; Enumeration District: 110, Ancestry.com 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, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-69HW-K75?cc=1320976&wc=9F52-L29%3A1073307201 : 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 (https://www.findagrave.com : 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 (https://www.findagrave.com : 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
Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VV91-P84 : 25 December 2014), Frank F. Goldsmith, 1945; from “Florida Death Index, 1877-1998,” index, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : 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
Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 
  2. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1905-1939 
  3. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1905-1939 
  4.  Number: 562-66-4663; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1962, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,  Mt· Sinai Cemetery, Ancestry.com. 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.  Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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 Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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
Ancestry.com. 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.  Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  4. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 
  5. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951, Marriage License Number: 465401.  
  13.  Number: 188-36-8650; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1962; Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 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.
    Ancestry.com. 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. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. Marriage record of Sigfreid Marshutz and Hattie Wolfstein, Ancestry.com. 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; Ancestry.com. 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; Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  17. Ancestry.com. Wisconsin, Birth Index, 1820-1907, Reel: 0198 Record: 002612. Ancestry.com. 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; Ancestry.com. 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; Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 

Rosa Goldschmidt and Her Family: The Final Chapter

This is the final post about the family of my three-times great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt and her husband Bernhard Metz.  In 1900, Rosa and Bernhard and three of their four surviving children were all living together in New York; Bernhard was still in the import-export business, and his sons Edwin and Joseph were merchants. Their daughter Hattie was working as a saleswoman, and her husband George Gattel was a commissioner. Rosa and Bernhard had already lost three of their children: Siegfried had died in 1880, Emily in 1885, and Bertha in 1892;  also, their oldest son Paul had abandoned the family and disappeared in 1900.

Bernhard Metz family 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0661; FHL microfilm: 1241110
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Rosa, Bernhard, Hattie and her husband George, Edwin, and Joseph were all still living together in 1905. Edwin was a “nit goods salesman;” Joseph was a dry goods clerk, George Gattel was some kind of salesman, and Bernhard was a commercial merchant. There were also two boarders and two servants living in the household at 209 East 61st Street.

Bernhard Metz family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 24 E.D. 16; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 48. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Things changed between 1905 and 1910. We saw that Edwin, who had married Gertrude Becker in 1903, was living in Chicago in 1910. The youngest sibling, Joseph George Metz, also married during those years. He married Florence W. Wolf on December 31, 1905.

New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2497-DHX : 10 February 2018), Joseph Metz and Florence Wolf, 31 Dec 1905; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,558,583.

Florence was the daughter of Louis Wolf and Rebecca Stiefel, and she was born on September 20, 1884, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.1 Florence was living in New York City in 1900 with her parents and siblings; her father was a manufacturer.2 Florence and Joseph had their first child, Robert, on August 19, 1907, in New York.3

In 1910, Joseph Metz was enumerated as the head of household at 149 West 135th Street; in addition to his wife Florence and their son Robert (2), his parents Rosa and Bernhard were living there as well as two servants. Joseph was a ladies’ underwear manufacturer, and his father Bernhard was working as an insurance agent.

Joseph Metz and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0710; FHL microfilm: 1375040
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Not too far away at 607 West 136th Street, Joseph’s sister Hattie was living with her husband George Gattel; George was now a silk merchant. Living with them was Hattie’s niece, the daughter of her deceased sister Bertha, eighteen-year-old Bertha Katzenstein. As you may recall, Rosa and Bernhard’s daughter Bertha Metz died shortly after the birth of her daughter Bertha from puerperal fever. I don’t know whether the child was named Bertha before her mother died or afterwards in her memory.

Hattie Metz Gattel and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0709; FHL microfilm: 1375040
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Bertha Katzenstein’s father Adolf had remarried in 1895, three years after the death of his first wife Bertha Metz. His second wife, Lisbeth Schierstad, was a German immigrant like Adolf.4 I could not locate Adolf, Lisbeth or Bertha (the daughter) on the 1900 US census. Since Adolf was in the import-export business and traveled many times to Europe, I suppose that he and Lisbeth and Bertha might have been abroad when the 1900 census was taken. But Adolf and Lisbeth are listed on the 1905 New York State census, and Bertha was not with them at that time,5 nor was she with her grandparents or aunt or uncles. She would have been only thirteen at the time. Was she in boarding school? Still abroad? I don’t know. At any rate, in 1910, Bertha was back in New York City, living with her aunt Hattie.

Thus, in 1910, Rosa and Bernhard had only two of their seven children still living nearby: Hattie and Joseph. Paul had disappeared, Edwin was in Chicago, and Siegfried, Emily, and Bertha had passed away. They had five grandchildren: Bertha’s daughter Bertha Katzenstein, Edwin’s son Walter, Joseph’s son Robert, and the two sons of Paul Metz, Elwood and George.

On May 16, 1911, my three-times great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt Metz passed away at age 73 from colon and liver cancer as well as kidney disease.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMM-ZTL : 20 March 2015), Rosa Metz, 16 May 1911; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives

When I first opened this death certificate, I panicked. It showed Rosa’s parents as Jacob Goldsmith and Gretchen Stern, not Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander. Had I been researching the wrong Rosa Goldschmidt? But then I noticed her very specific age—73 years, 6 months, 19 days. Using a web date calculator, I determined that since she died on May 16, 1911, that meant she was born on October 27, 1837. Bingo! That is EXACTLY the date for Rosa’s birth on the Oberlistingen birth register, showing her parents as Seligmann and Hincka. Phew! But where in the world did the family come up with the names Jacob Goldsmith and Gertrude Stern?? I don’t know.

Two years after Rosa’s death her son Joseph named his second child for her; Rosalind Metz was born on May 21, 1913, in New York City.6

The following year Bernhard Metz died on August 10, 1914, in New York; he was 81.7

Meanwhile, Bertha Katzenstein was married on February 9, 1913, in Harburg, Germany, to Hermann Nathan. It was this fact that also led me to think that she had been living abroad for some part of her childhood. She was only twenty when she married, and six years later they were divorced on July 3, 1919, in Hannover, Germany. (Thank you to Matthias Steinke of the German Genealogy group for translating this document for me.)

Unfortunately that is the last document or record I have for Bertha Katzenstein. I don’t know whether she returned to the US, but if she did, I can’t find her in the US nor can I find her in Germany—not as Bertha Nathan or Bertha Katzenstein. If she remarried, I have no record of it and thus do not know her married name.

Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1920.
Original data: Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland. Certificate Number: 62
Reference Number: 332-5_11409

In 1920, Hattie and George Gattel were still living in New York City, and George was still selling silk. Ten years later they were still living in New York, and George was no longer working.8 Hattie died on December 11, 1930, at the age of 66;9 George died less than a year later on September 24, 1931.10  He was seventy. Having lost both of their children as babies, they have no direct descendants.

Joseph Getz, the remaining and youngest sibling, must have hit some hard times after 1910. In 1915, he and his wife Florence were living with Florence’s mother and brother Milton at 243 West 99th Street, and Joseph had no occupation listed on the 1915 New York State census.11 Their two young children, Robert, who would have been eight, and Rosalind, who was two, were not listed with them nor can I find them elsewhere on the New York State census. Could they have been omitted by mistake? Or were they living some place outside of New York, perhaps with a different relative?

I don’t know, but in 1920 Robert and Rosalind were again living with their parents in New York City; Joseph was now a commercial traveler. Florence’s mother Rebecca Wolf was also living with them.12 In 1925 they were all still living together, and Joseph was now an insurance broker.13 Five years later the 1930 US census shows them all living at the same place, Joseph still working as an insurance broker.

Joseph Metz and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0465; FHL microfilm: 2341292
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Joseph and Florence’s two children married in the 1930s.  Robert married Anna Steinhardt on June 29, 1934, and Rosalind married John L. Swartz on June 2, 1935.

Certificate Number: 17141, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937.  Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003, Ancestry.com

Certificate Number: 11535, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003, Ancestry.com

Sadly, the decade ended with Joseph’s death on March 4, 1939. He was sixty years old.14 His wife Florence outlived him by more than 25 years, dying at 85 in  September 1965.15 They were survived by their children and grandchildren.

With that, I come to the conclusion of the story of Rosa Goldschmidt, her husband Bernhard Metz, and their seven children. It was quite a wild ride at times. Rosa’s children faced many challenges and provided me with many research challenges. She was the youngest child of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander. She was the second to last of their children to come to the US.

Her oldest sister and Seligmann and Hincka’s oldest child, Sarah, was the very last of the Goldschmidt siblings to come to the US. Her story comes next.

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 058221651 
  2. Louis Wolf and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0832; FHL microfilm: 1241118. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, 1878-1909. Certificate Number: 3926. 
  4.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937, Certificate Number: 13289. Lisbeth Schierstad Katzenstein passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1744; Volume #: Roll 1744 – Certificates: 85500-85875, 23 Sep 1921-24 Sep 1921. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  5. Adolf Katzenstein, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 31 E.D. 14; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 42. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905 
  6.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965, Certificate Number 27?? (not legible on index) 
  7.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 , Certificate Number: 23969. 
  8. Hattie and George Gattel, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 7, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1197; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 555.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0385; FHL microfilm: 2341288. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number: 28089 
  10. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 22939 
  11.  New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 16; Assembly District: 17; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 01. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 
  12. Joseph Metz and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1226; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 1489. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  13. Joseph Metz and family, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 34; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 10. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 
  14. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 5487. 
  15. New York Times, September 13, 1965, p. 35. 

Heartbreak after Heartbreak: Eight Tragic Deaths in Less than Eight Years

As seen in my earlier posts, by 1900 Levi Goldsmith and his wife Henrietta Lebenbach had both passed away, but they were survived by eight children. Thank you to my cousin Julian Reinheimer for this photograph of the headstones of Levi and Henrietta:

Courtesy of Julian Reinheimer

(I note that Levi’s name is spelled Levy on both stones; records are inconsistent about how he spelled his name, and since I’ve thus far used Levi, I have decided to stick with that spelling for consistency’s sake.)

All of Levi and Henrietta’s children except for their son George were married by 1900, and almost all of those who married had at least one child. Five grandchildren had died very young, but twelve were still living as of 1900. That would not be true in seven years.

The year 1900 saw the births of two more grandchildren. Felix Goldsmith and his wife Bertha Umstadter had their fourth child in Virginia in May 1900, a daughter named Minna.1 And Blanche Goldsmith and her husband Max Greenbaum also had a baby in May of that year, a son named Levis Greenbaum, another grandchild named for Levi Goldsmith.2 He was their third child, but their first two—Ethel and Leah—had died very young.

As of the taking of the 1900 census in June, Eva Goldsmith had separated from her husband Nathan Anathan. On the 1900 census, Eva is listed as a widow, living in Philadelphia with her two daughters, Helen (21) and Bessie (17) and eight boarders. Helen was working as a school teacher, and Bessie was still in school. I assumed that Nathan had died, but then I found him living in Chicago, working as a tobacconist and reporting that his marital status was single. I am quite sure that it is the same Nathan Anathan since he listed his birthplace as Philadelphia, he is the right age, his surname is quite unusual, and he was still in the tobacco business. Further searching revealed that Nathan died (under the name Nathan Nathan) in Chicago on April 9, 1907.3

Eva Goldsmith Anathan and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0710; FHL microfilm: 1241470
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Nathan Anathan, 1900 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 1, Cook, Illinois; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0020; FHL microfilm: 1240245
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

The 1900 census reported that Estella and her husband Solomon (listed as Samuel here) Rothschild were living in Philadelphia with their three sons, Jerome (16), Leonard (12), and Herbert (6), and two servants.  The boys were all at school, and Solomon reported his occupation as “gentleman.” He is also listed without an occupation in the 1899 Philadelphia directory, though earlier directories list him as being in the millinery business.4

Rothschild family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0711; FHL microfilm: 1241471
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Levi and Henrietta’s oldest son, George Goldsmith, was living in Philadelphia as a lodger and working as a druggist in 1900.5 His younger brother Felix was living with his wife Bertha in Norfolk, Virginia, with their four children Frances (Fannie here, 11), Lee (7), Hortense (2), and the newborn Minna, who was a month old at that time. Bertha reported that she had given birth to six children, four still living, but I have not yet been able to find the other two children, so there must have been two more grandchildren who died very young. Felix was in the clothing business. They also had a nurse and a cook living with them.

Felix Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Norfolk Ward 1, Norfolk City, Virginia; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0086; FHL microfilm: 1241735
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

The third oldest son, Isadore, and his wife Mary were living as boarders in Philadelphia. They had no children. For his occupation, Isadore listed that he “lives on income.” 6 I wondered where that income came from. More on Isadore in my next post.

Isadore’s next youngest sibling was Helen Goldsmith, and she and her husband Harry Loeb were living in Dubois, Pennsylvania, with their two children, Armand (6) and Henriete (4); Harry was working as a lumberman. They had one servant living with them as well.

Harry Loeb and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Dubois Ward 2, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 1241396
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Blanche, the youngest daughter, was living with her husband Max Greenbaum and her newborn son Levis in Philadelphia, where Max was a dentist. They also had a servant living with them. Although Blanche had lost two children before 1900, she reported that she had only given birth to one child. 7

The youngest Goldsmith sibling, Sylvester, was living in Addison, Indiana, with his wife Ida and their two children Henrietta (4) and Louis (1), as well as Sylvester’s mother-in-law. Sylvester was working as a clothing salesman.8

Unfortunately, during the next seven years the family suffered loss after loss of many of its members including far too many children as well as adults who died too young.

First, on October 30, 1900, just five months after the birth of his daughter Minna, Felix Goldsmith died. He was only 37 years old and left behind not only his infant daughter, but three other young children.

“Mr. Goldsmith’s Funeral,” Norfolk Virginia-Pilot, November 1, 1900, p. 2

According to his obituary in the Norfolk Virginia-Pilot of November 1, 1900 (p. 2), Felix died after being quite ill for two years. The paper described him as a “well-known and highly-esteemed citizen.” It also reported that after high school, Felix had taken “a medical course of study with the intention of being a physician.” Instead he became “an excellent businessman and was quite successful in his enterprises.” What a terrible loss this must have been for his family and his community.

1901 brought two new babies to the extended family in the same week. Harold Goldsmith was born on February 2, 1901, to Sylvester Goldsmith and his wife Ida in Indiana.9 Then six days later Helen Goldsmith Loeb gave birth to her third child, a boy they named Leonard Loeb, presumably for Helen’s father Levi.10

Whatever joy that may have brought to the extended family must have been dashed when little Levis Greenbaum, son of Blanche Goldsmith and Max Greenbaum, died in Philadelphia five months later on July 15, 1901.  According to the death register, he died from toxemic collapse.  With help from my brother and some people in Tracing the Tribe, I’ve determined that Levi most likely died from what today we would call septic shock from a bacterial infection. He was just over a year old when he died. And he was the third child of Blanche and Max to die before reaching age five. I can’t imagine how devastated they must have been.

Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-65Y7-7PQ?cc=1320976&wc=9FRH-C68%3A1073327701 : 16 May 2014), 004047862 > image 394 of 687; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

 

And then, just seven months after the death of little Levis, his cousin Leonard Levi Rothschild, son of Estella Goldsmith and Solomon Rothschild, died on February 2, 1902. He was only thirteen years old. Within the space of just seven months, two of the namesakes of Levi Goldsmith had died as children. Leonard died from gangrenous stomatitis or noma, which according to Wikipedia is “is a rapidly progressive, polymicrobial, often gangrenous infection of the mouth or genitals.” Today it is associated with malnutrition, poor hygiene, and unsafe drinking water. Given the family’s status on the 1900 census, it is hard to imagine that Leonard was malnourished or had poor hygiene.

Leonard Rothschild death certificate, “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-63B7-4Z1?cc=1320976&wc=9F5C-L2S%3A1073221501 : 16 May 2014), 004009533 > image 376 of 1778; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Sylvester Goldsmith and his wife Ida Simms experienced both a tragic loss and the birth of a new child in 1903. On February 15, 1903, their seven-year-old daughter Henrietta died from the measles. She was the eighth grandchild of Levi and Henrietta Goldsmith to die as a child.11

And then eight months to the day later, Ida gave birth to a boy they named Blanchard. 12 Was Ida already pregnant when Henrietta died? That must have been a very bittersweet and frightening pregnancy.

Fortunately 1904 brought no deaths to the family (as well as no births), but the heartbreak began again on January 9, 1905, when Estella Goldsmith Rothschild died from mitral regurgitation and pulmonary edema at age 45.She left behind her husband Solomon and her two surviving sons, Jerome (21) and Herbert (11). Had the loss of her two other sons, Stanley and Leonard, affected her health? It certainly is possible.

Estella Goldsmith Rothschild death certificate, “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68KD-GL?cc=1320976&wc=9FRY-W38%3A1073113702 : 16 May 2014), 004008757 > image 316 of 534; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Estella’s memory was honored a year later when her brother Sylvester’s wife Ida gave birth to another child on February 8, 1906 and named her Estella Rothschild Goldsmith.

Estella Rothschild Goldsmith birth certificate, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Box Number: 5; Certificate Number: 14402
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1910

April 1907 started out with good news when Blanche Goldsmith and Max Greenbaum had a new child, Helen Estelle Greenbaum, on April 7, 1907, also named in memory of Estella Goldsmith Rothschild.

Helen Estelle Greenbaum birth certificate, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Box Number: 100; Certificate Number: 104056
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1910

Two days later Nathan Anathan, Eva’s estranged husband, died in Chicago.13 Then Mary Wheeler, Isadore Goldsmith’s wife, died on April 17, 1907, from a stroke; she was 54.14

Six months later on October 11, 1907, Isadore himself died from a cerebral hemorrhage to which acute alcoholism was found to be a contributing factor. He was only 43 years old; from the death certificate it appears that he died after about a day in the Gibbons Sanitarium in Philadelphia. When I saw that, I decided to look further into Isadore’s life. More on that in my next post.

Isidore Goldsmith Death Certificate, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68DJ-WR?cc=1320976&wc=9FRT-N38%3A1073183102 : 16 May 2014), 004008905 > image 483 of 536; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Looking back on what the extended family experienced between 1900 and 1907 is mind-boggling. Three of the children of Levi and Henrietta Goldsmith died before their 50th birthdays. Felix was only 37, Estella was 45, and Isadore was 43. In addition, Isadore’s wife Mary and Eva’s estranged husband Nathan died in April 1907.

Even more tragic, three more of their grandchildren died: Levis Greenbaum was only a year old, Leonard Rothschild was thirteen, and Henrietta Goldsmith was seven. That meant that eight of the grandchildren of Levi and Henrietta died as children.

What would the next decade bring for the five children of Levi and Henrietta who remained and for the surviving grandchildren? More to come in a subsequent post.


  1. Minna Goldsmith Goodman, ship manifest, Year: 1932; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5138; Line: 28; Page Number: 182. Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
  2. Levis Greenbaum, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0710; FHL microfilm: 1241470. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N7HF-SQZ : 8 March 2018), Nathan Nathan, 09 Apr 1907; citing , Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference 10463, record number 37, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,239,756. 
  4. Philadelphia city directories, 1879, 1881, 1889, 1890, 1894, 1899, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  5. George W. Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0418; FHL microfilm: 1241462. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  6. Isadore Goldsmith. 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0808; FHL microfilm: 1241473. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  7. Max Greenbaum and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Dubois Ward 2, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 1241396.
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  8. Sylvester Goldsmith and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Addison, Shelby, Indiana; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0104; FHL microfilm: 1240402. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. 
  9.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. SSN: 288073757. 
  10. Leonard Loeb, 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: 1495. Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  11. Death record of Henrietta Goldsmith, February 15, 1903, Clearfield County, PA Death Records, 1893 – 1905. PAGE: g-89-1 & g-89-2. NO: 3. Found at http://files.usgwarchives.net/pa/clearfield/vitals/deaths/goldsmith-henrietta.txt 
  12.  Number: 138-03-2325; Issue State: New Jersey; Issue Date: Before 1951.
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. (An eerie note: On the 1910 census, Sylvester is listed with four children, and he and Ida did have four living children at that time, but the names listed on the census included Henrietta, who had died, instead of their still-living son Louis. Sylvester Goldsmith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Du Bois Ward 1, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1331; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0074; FHL microfilm: 1375344. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  13. See Note 3, above. 
  14. Mary Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 038171-041450. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 

Always Something New for Me to Learn: The “Hidden” Databases on FamilySearch

After writing about the two oldest sons of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecilia Adler, I am glad to be able to turn to their daughter Rose. Rose was born on October 19, 1866, in Philadelphia, and as I wrote here, she married Sidney Morris Stern on May 25, 1892, when she was 26. Sidney was born January 14, 1861, in Philadelphia, and was the son of Morris Stern and Matilda Bamberger, who were German-born immigrants. His father was in the retail clothing business.  Sidney was a jeweler.

(Am I the only one who finds it amusing that Sidney the jeweler married someone whose surname was Goldsmith?)

UPDATE: Thanks to a question asked by my cousin Jennifer about Sidney’s mother Matilda Bamberger, I discovered another twist in my crazy family tree. In looking to answer Jennifer’s question, I realized that I had two women named Matilda Bamberger on my tree, both married to Morris Stern. They were obviously duplicates.  Looking more closely, I realized that Matilda and Morris Stern’s daughter Clara Stern was the mother of Julian Simsohn, who married Edwin Goldsmith’s daughter Cecile. In another words, Cecile married the nephew of her Aunt Rose’s husband Sidney.

That earlier post also reported that Rose and Sidney’s first child, Sylvan Goldsmith Stern, was born on March 2, 1893. Two years later Rose gave birth to twin boys, Allan Goldsmith Stern and Howard Eugene Stern, on August 6, 1895. I could not find Rose and her family on the 1900 census despite having their address in 1899, 1900, and 1901, but based on listings in the Philadelphia directories for those years,1 I know that she was living in Philadelphia with her husband Sidney and their two younger sons, Allan and Howard. Sidney was in the jewelry business with his brother Eugene.

However, their oldest son Sylvan, who was seven at the time, was not living with them in 1900. He was living at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Philadelphia; according to the census record, he could not read, write or speak English at that time. From later records I learned that Sylvan was completely deaf.

Sylvan Stern, 1900 US Census
Pennsylvania Institution for Deaf and Dumb, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 1043
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

By 1910, however, Sylvan was living at home and could now read and write and was in school. The family continued to live in Philadelphia and was joined by Rose’s younger sister Estelle, who was working as a schoolteacher. Sidney listed his occupation as wholesale jeweler. They also had two servants living in the home, one doing “chamber work” and the other a cook:

Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern and family, 1910 US census
Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1413; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1193; FHL microfilm: 1375426
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In 1915, when he was 22, Sylvan was living in Riverton, New Jersey, in a household with four other men: two men from Holland whom I presume were brothers, Peter and Anthony Hooydonk, a German immigrant named Ferdinand Frohlich, and a Pennsylvania native named John Peguesse.  All five men were in their early twenties and all were working in the florist business. Riverton is a small residential community about fifteen miles from Philadelphia across the Delaware River.

Sylvan Stern 1915 New Jersey census
New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-06; Film Number: 8
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1915

While Sylvan was working in Riverton in 1915, his two younger brothers were in college: Allan was a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania,2 and his twin Howard was a student at Cornell University.3

In 1917-1918, all three of Rose and Sidney’s sons registered for the World War I draft. Sylvan reported that he was living at 1613 Poplar Street in Philadelphia, but working as a nurseryman in Riverton, New Jersey, for Henry A. Dreer, Inc. He also reported that he was totally deaf.

Sylvan Stern, World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50 Description Draft Card: S Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Allan was living at the same address and reported that he was a college student, and Howard, also living at the same address, was employed as a farm laborer by Florex Gardens in North Wales, Pennsylvania, which is about 25 miles from Philadelphia. Allan served in the Army’s Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC, from March 15, 1918, until January 8, 1919, when he was honorably discharged.4  I did not find any record of military service for Sylvan or Howard.

Allan Stern World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Howard Stern, World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907959; Draft Board: 50.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

In 1920, the whole family was still living at 1613 Poplar Street in Philadelphia. Sidney was retired at age 59, but his three sons were all employed. Sylvan and Howard were both working as florists in their own business, and Allan was employed as an electrical engineer. Rose’s sister Estelle was still living with them, now working as the director of a girls’ camp. 5

All three Stern brothers were married in the 1920s. First, on May 26, 1921, Sylvan Goldsmith Stern married Beatrice A. Osserman, the daughter of Simon E. Osserman and Dora Kessner in New York City. According to a source I found, Beatrice was, like Sylvan, deaf; she was born in New York City on October 30, 1899.  Her parents were immigrants from Russia/Latvia, and her father was in the real estate business in 1920.6  This news item from the Philadelphia Evening Ledger reported that one of the bridesmaids was Dorothy G. Gerson, Sylvan’s first cousin and the daughter of his mother’s sister, Emily Goldsmith Gerson.

Philadelphia Evening Ledger, May 23, 1921, p. 11

Sylvan and Beatrice had two children during the 1920s.

Howard Stern was the second son of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern to marry; in 1926 he married Madeline Kind Kohn,7 another Philadelphia native; she was born on June 3, 1898, the daughter of Joseph Kohn and Clara Kind.8 Madeline’s father was a shirt manufacturer. Here is Madeline’s high school yearbook picture from 1916:

Madeline Kind Kohn,
U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: Record Book of William Penn High School for Girls June Class, 1916; Year: 1916
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Howard and Madeline would have two children.

The last son to marry was Allan Stern, and his wife’s story is quite tragic. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Marriage Index on Ancestry reports that Allan married Gladys Fliegelman,9 daughter of Harry Fliegelman and Gussye Fridenberg, in 1928, but I learned an important lesson about that index while researching their marriage. More below.

Gladys was born on April 23, 1904, in Philadelphia.10  Two years later on June 30, 1906, her mother Gussye suffered complications after giving birth to a second child and died six weeks later on July 17, 1906, from parenchymatous nephritis or kidney disease.

Gussye Fliegeman death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 065461-068420
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Thus, Gladys lost her mother when she was just a toddler. Harry Fliegelman remarried in 1910, and in 1920, they were all living together in Philadelphia, where Harry was a furniture merchant.11

In 1924, Gladys graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women; her photograph appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer with some of her classmates. She is in the middle of the photograph on the right.

Gladys Fliegelman School of Design graduation,
The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 1924, p, 17

And then I thought that Allan and Gladys were married in 1928, as the Ancestry.com database indicated. But I was confused when I found this will that she wrote on January 30, 1929:

Gladys Fliegelman Stern will
Probate Records (District of Columbia), 1801-1930; Author: District of Columbia. Register of Wills; Probate Place: District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.

Gladys refers to herself as “a single woman, at present, and entering into a marriage with Allan G. Stern of Washington, District of Columbia, on January 31, 1929.” Since the Ancestry database of Philadelphia marriages indicated that they were married in 1928, why did she describe herself as single on January 30, 1929?

And this is where I learned something new. In discussing something completely different on the Tracing the Tribe Facebook page, a member there named Sharon Roth pointed out that FamilySearch has images of the Philadelphia marriage licenses and certificates.  They are not indexed for searching, but once you know the marriage license number from the index on Ancestry or FamilySearch, you can find the underlying documents by searching through the database of images by date and number.

This was a database that I could not find when I searched the FamilySearch records listings, so I am not sure how I would have found it without Sharon’s help. You can find the two databases here and here. Thank you to Sharon and to Amberly of The Genealogy Girl for showing me how to find these databases through the catalog on FamilySearch so that I now can find all these “hidden” databases. Amberly had actually blogged about this over a year ago, but I’d forgotten about her tips.  You can learn more from her blog here.

With this new information, I was able to find the license and the rabbi’s certificate of marriage for Allan and Gladys.  Now I know that although their marriage license was issued on December 31, 1928, they were not in fact married until January 31, 1929, the day after Gladys drew up her will.

Marriage record of Allan G. Stern and Gladys Fliegelmen, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, marriage records, Marriages, 568600-568799, 1928, pp. 358-359. FamilySearch.org

Returning to the will, its contents strike me as somewhat odd. Gladys bequeathed all her property and income to any issue she might have at the time of her death; that is, whereas one might assume that her husband would inherit before her children, Gladys wanted her estate to go directly to her children. Moreover, her will provides that if she died without issue, her sister would inherit all her personal possessions. Allan would only inherit 25% of her income and only for as long as he did not remarry. Gladys’ sister and brother would receive the other 75% of her income and the principal when Allan died.

Now call me a romantic, but this seems like a rather unromantic way to start a marriage—leaving your husband such a limited part of your estate.

Tragically, this will took on far more significance not long after Allan and Gladys married.  On February 6, 1930, a week after their first anniversary, Gladys took her own life by jumping from the seventh floor of Emergency Hospital in Washington; she had been a patient in the hospital for six months after an earlier suicide attempt when she had jumped from the fourth floor of the apartment building where she and Allan had been living. In its article about this tragedy, the Philadelphia Inquirer described her as a poetess.12  An article from a different paper reported that she had been “despondent because of poor health.”13

Thus, the new decade began on a heartbreaking note for the family of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern and their sons, especially for their son Allan.

I was not surprised that I could not find Allan on the 1930 census, although he is listed in the 1930 Washington, D.C., directory as an engineer for Fred S. Gichner, residing at 3100 Connecticut Avenue; in the 1931 directory he was still working at Fred S. Gichner, but now residing at 3405 Woodley Road.  On the 1930 census, I found a Gichner family living at 3405 Woodley Road so it would appear that Allan may have moved in with his employer’s family after his wife’s death, although he was not listed at either address on the 1930 census.14

The rest of the family of Rose Goldsmith and Sidney Stern all continued to live in Philadelphia in 1930.  Sidney was retired,15 Sylvan was now working as a packer in a sporting goods business,16 and Howard was practicing law.17

Sadly, my cousin Rose Goldsmith Stern died less than a year after her daughter-in-law Gladys. Rose was 64 when she died on January 24, 1931, from heart disease: hypertension and arteriosclerosis leading to myocarditis and angina pectoris. Her obituary reported that she died from a heart attack. It also stated that Rose had been the manager of the Beth Israel Association for the Deaf and the national chairwoman of the Council of Jewish Women.18

Rose Goldsmith Stern death certificate,
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 001001-004000.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Rose was survived by her husband Sidney and her three sons and four grandchildren as well as seven of her siblings. Her husband Sidney continued to live in Philadelphia. In 1940 he was living in the Majestic Hotel where his sister-in-law Estelle Goldsmith and brother-in-law Edwin M. Goldsmith were also living.19 Sidney died on October 19, 1942, also of heart disease.20

Sylvan Stern and his family continued to live in Philadelphia in 1940, and Sylvan was still working as a packer in a sporting goods store at that time.21 According to his 1942 draft registration, his employer was Edward K. Tryon Company.22 Sylvan died on December 21, 1960.  He was 67 years old. He was survived by his wife and children and his two brothers.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Allan Goldsmith Stern remarried several years after the death of his first wife Gladys.  In 1940 he and his second wife Margaret were living in Washington, D.C., where Allan was an engineer for an ornamental iron company, which his draft registration revealed was still Fred S. Gichner Iron Works.23  I could not find any other information about Margaret, but in 1956 Allan married for a third time; his third wife was Alma Hollander.24

Allan Stern died on June 9, 1964, from cancer, according to his obituary in the Washington Evening Star. The obituary reported that in addition to his long career at Fred S. Gichner, Allan had been a founding member of the Beth El Congregation of Maryland and had helped establish the Kaufman Camp for Underprivileged Children on Chesapeake Bay. He was survived by his wife Alma and his brother Howard.25

Howard Stern was the only of Rose Goldsmith’s sons to live beyond his 60s. In 1940 he was living with his family in Philadelphia and practicing law, which his draft registration in 1942 revealed was his own practice.26 Howard died on July 10, 1989, just a few weeks short of his 94th birthday. He was survived by his children.27

The family of Rose Goldsmith Stern certainly faced a number of challenges. But overall, they appear to have been a family that overcame those challenges, found professional success, and gave back to society in many ways.

Thank you once again to Sharon and to Amberly for their help!

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Philadelphia city directories, 1899, 1900, 1901, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  2. University of Pennsylvania Yearbook, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: The Record; Year: 1915. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  3. Cornell Yearbook, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1916. Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  4.  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania. “Allan G. Stern, Official of Gichner Iron Works,” Philadelphia Evening Star, June 10, 1964, p. 37. 
  5.   Family of Sidney Stern, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 47, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1646; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1791. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  6. Simon Osserman and family, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 21, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1224; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 1445. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7. Marriage of Howard Stern and Madeline Kind Kohn, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141829 
  8. Madeline Kind Kuhn Passport Application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1494; Volume #: Roll 1494 – Certificates: 141500-141875, 12 Feb 1921-15 Feb 1921. 
  9. Marriage of Allan Stern and Gladys Fliegelman, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141829 
  10.  District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1961,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F7TK-SXY : accessed 1 May 2018), Gladys Stern, 06 Feb 1930, District of Columbia, United States; citing reference ID 325790, District Records Center, Washington D.C.; FHL microfilm 2,116,108. 
  11. Harry Fliegelman and family, 1920 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1065. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. “Poetess Dies in Plunge,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 1930, p. 7. 
  13. “Woman Ends Life Because of Illness,” The Dayton Herald,” February 6, 1930, p. 33. 
  14. Washington, DC, City Directories, 1930, 1931, 1929, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  15. Sidney and Rose Goldsmith Stern, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0397. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16. Sylvan Stern and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1077. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  17. Howard Stern and family, 1930 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 1029.
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  18. “Mrs. Rose Goldsmith Stern,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 1931, p. 17. 
  19. Sidney Stern, 1940 US Census,  Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  20. Sidney Stern, death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 085451-088100. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 86311 
  21. Sylvan Stern and family, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 51-2119. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  22. Sidney Stern, 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 Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  23. Allan and Margaret Stern, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: m-t0627-00563; Page: 66B; Enumeration District: 1-307, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census.  Allan Stern, 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 Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1939. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  24. “Alma Stern,” Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, September 23, 1979, p. 49. 
  25.  “Allan G. Stern, Official of Gichner Iron Works,” Philadelphia Evening Star, June 10, 1964, p. 37. 
  26. Howard Stern, 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 Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951. Source Information
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  27. Number: 167-32-5823; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1956-1958. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.  

How Did My Great-Aunt Frieda’s Death Certificate End Up There?

This is a mystery without a solution—yet. Perhaps one of you can help me solve it.

Many months ago I received a message on Ancestry from a member named Dale who told me that she had a stamped and certified copy of the death certificate for my great-aunt Frieda Brotman.  Frieda was my grandmother’s younger sister, and she had been married to Harry Coopersmith for about a year when she died shortly after giving birth to their son Max.  Max had died as well.

Frieda Brotman Coopersmith death cert

 

Dale had been going through her parents’ papers and found not only Frieda’s death certificate, but military records for Frieda’s husband Harry Coopersmith and two photographs that Dale thought might be of Harry. She had seen that I had Frieda and Harry on my Ancestry tree and wondered if I was interested in the papers.

Well, of course, I was more than interested. Dale kindly offered to send me the documents and photographs. And since then we have been trying to figure out why these papers would have been among her parents’ belongings.  Since both of Dale’s parents have passed away, she had no one to ask.

Dale believed that these papers had belonged at one time to her great-aunt Anna Yurdin Haas.  Anna was her father’s mother’s sister. She was born in New York City to Russian immigrant parents in about 1895 and had lived in upper Manhattan as a child; in 1920 when she was 25, she was living with several of her younger siblings in the Bronx, working as a clerk in an office.

Anna Yurdin and family 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 5, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1137; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 286

On the 1930 census, Anna reported that she was married to Burton Haas, and they were living at 7035 Broadway in Queens.  Burton Haas came from a whole different class—he grew up on Central Park West in Manhattan; his parents were American born from German and Austrian backgrounds. He went to Dartmouth. He served overseas during World War I, enlisting on June 14, 1917 and being honorably discharged on May 6, 1919.

According to the 1930 census, Anna and Burton had been married about eight years in 1930, meaning they had married in about 1922.  There were no children living with them. Burton was a real estate broker, Anna a cashier for a theater. In 1940 they were still living in Queens at 35-30 73rd Street and had been in the same place in 1935. There were still no children. Burton was still a real estate broker, and Anna was the assistant treasurer of a theater.

Anna Yurdin and Burton Haas on the 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Queens, Queens, New York; Roll: 1590; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0197; FHL microfilm: 2341325

Then things get a little odd. On August 9, 1940, Burton Haas and Anna Yurdin were married in Norfolk, Virginia. At that point they had in fact been living together and holding themselves out as husband and wife for almost twenty years. But perhaps they had never really married until 1940.

Anna Yurdin and Burton Haas marriage record
Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Marriages, 1936-2014; Roll: 101166979

On his World War II draft card in 1942, Burton reported that he had his own business at 62 West 45th Street in Manhattan; they were still living at the same address in Queens. Burton died a year later on July 21, 1943, in Queens.  Anna died in 1983; they are both buried at Linden Hill Jewish cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens. Anna never remarried.

Comparing this to Harry and Frieda’s timeline, I see no overlap. While Anna grew up in upper Manhattan and then lived in the Bronx and finally Queens and Burton also grew up in upper Manhattan and went to college, Harry and Frieda were both born and raised in the Lower East Side.  Harry had served in the US Army from August 31, 1919, until his honorable discharge on September 6, 1922, so he did not overlap in the service at all with Burton Haas.

Harry married Frieda in 1923. Frieda had worked in a sweatshop as a finisher with feathers until she married Harry. They were still living on the Lower East Side in a tenement when she died on May 10, 1924, just days after giving birth to their son Max.

After Frieda died, Harry quickly married again. He married Nettie Lichtenstein sometime in 1924, presumably outside of New York City as no marriage records were located for them. Nettie was a recent immigrant; according to the 1930 census, she had arrived in 1920.  Their first son David was born on June 16, 1925 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Two more sons followed— Lawrence in 1926 and Samuel in 1928, both born in New York. In 1930 Harry and his family were still living in the Lower East Side. Harry was working as a taxi driver.

Harry Coopersmith and family 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1550; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0148; FHL microfilm: 2341285

By 1940, Harry’s family was in pieces.  Nettie was institutionalized at Kings Park State Hospital in Smithtown, Long Island, and the three boys were living in Island Park, Hempstead, Long Island, as boarders (I assume as foster children) with the family of Jacob and Pauline Davis and their sons. I have not found any familial connection between the Davis family and Harry or Nettie. Jacob was in the printing business, and he and Pauline had been living in Island Park since at least 1930. Before that, they had lived in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, nowhere near Harry or Nettie. I have no idea how they ended up with the three Coopersmith boys. Neither one ever lived on the Lower East Side.

Coopersmith sons boarding with David family 1940
Year: 1940; Census Place: Hempstead, Nassau, New York; Roll: T627_2685; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 30-82

Harry does not appear anywhere on the 1940 census and does not resurface on any records until 1945 when military records report that he was still living on the Lower East Side and had enlisted in the New York Guard on April 23, 1945 and had been discharged on June 26, 1946.

Harry Coopersmith New York Guard record
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; Collection: New York, New York Guard Service Cards and Enlistment Records, 1906-1918, 1940-1948; Series: B2000; Film Number: 45

The last records I have for Harry are his veteran’s burial records, showing that he died on January 14, 1956 and was buried at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. Interestingly, a plot next to Harry was to be reserved for his widow Nettie, who was then residing in Bohemia, New York, also on Long Island. I don’t know if Harry had been living with her at the time of his death.

Given the absence of any overlap in places lived or worked between Harry and Anna Yurdin Haas or Harry and Burton Haas, I have no idea how or why Anna would have come into possession of Harry’s military papers or Frieda’s death certificate.

As for the two photographs, I am not even sure that they are pictures of Harry. I sent them to Harry’s grandson, but he had never met his grandfather and did not have any pictures of him. He sent me a picture of himself, and perhaps there is some slight resemblance, but not enough to determine if the photographs are of Harry Coopersmith.

Harrys grandson

Assuming they are photographs of Harry, they were likely taken in the 1940s, according to Ava Cohn, the expert in photography analysis. That would mean that the person who somehow came to possess these documents knew Harry in the 1940s.  He is in his military uniform in one of the photographs, so that means the photograph was probably taken some time in 1945 to 1946 since that was when Harry was in the New York Guard. At that point Anna Yurdin Haas was a widow, living in Queens, New York. Perhaps she and Harry somehow became friends or lovers.  After all, Harry’s wife Nettie was institutionalized, his sons were in foster care of some kind, and Harry was on his own. That seems like one possible explanation for how these papers ended up in Anna Yurdin’s possession.

The other possibility is that the papers never belonged to Anna Yurdin, but perhaps to Dale’s father Howard Halpern. Dale is not entirely certain that they had belonged to Anna. If they belonged instead to her father, how would he have known Harry?

Howard Halpern was the son of David Halpern and Anna Yurdin’s sister May Yurdin (sometimes identified as Mary). He was born in 1919 in New York and lived in the Bronx in 1920, but by 1925 had moved to Queens, living in the same Jackson Heights neighborhood where his aunt Anna and her husband Burton were living in 1930 and thereafter.  By 1930, however, Howard and his parents and brother had moved to Long Beach, Long Island, and were no longer in Queens. They were still living there in 1940.

Halpern family 1940
Year: 1940; Census Place: Long Beach, Nassau, New York; Roll: T627_2690; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 30-209

Maybe Howard knew one of Harry’s sons. They were a bit younger than Howard, but Howard lived in Long Beach starting in 1930, and Harry’s sons were in Island Park in Hempstead by 1940. The two towns are about a mile apart, as seen on this map.

Howard had a younger brother Alvin, born in 1925, who would have been the same age as David Coopersmith and only a year older than Lawrence and three years older than Samuel.  According to the current Island Park School District webpage, today students in Island Park have a choice of attending two high schools in the area, one of them being Long Beach High School. That might also have been true in the 1940s when the Coopersmith boys and Howard and Alvin Halpern were in high school.

So my second hunch is that Alvin and his brother Howard knew the Coopersmith sons from Long Beach High School or from Hebrew school or some other community sports or activity.

But that doesn’t solve the mystery of why Howard Halpern had Frieda Brotman Coopersmith’s death certificate or Harry’s discharge papers. That the Coopersmith boys had their father’s military discharge papers is somewhat understandable—but why would they have had the death certificate for their father’s first wife, a woman with whom they had no connection at all? And why would Dale’s father Howard have ended up with those papers?

I don’t know. But David Coopersmith named his son Lee Howard Coopersmith—perhaps for his childhood friend Howard Halpern? If he was such a close friend, wouldn’t Dale have heard of him?

As I mentioned above, I have been in touch with one of Harry’s grandsons, but he had no information that shed light on this mystery. I am now trying to contact Harry’s great-granddaughter, who has a tree on Ancestry. Perhaps she will know. At the very least, she might be able to tell me if the photographs are indeed of Harry Coopersmith. But it’s been almost two months, and she has not responded to me.

Let me know your thoughts.

 

Rosenzweig Update: Who Signed that Death Certificate?

One of the biggest mysteries I encountered in researching my Rosenzweig cousins was the mystery of Lilly Rosenzweig, the first child of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig.  Lilly was my grandfather Isadore Goldschlager’s first cousin.  Lilly had married Toscano Bartolino in 1901 and had had a child William with him, born March 9, 1902.  Then just two years later on April 27, 1904, Toscano had died from kidney disease at age 27, leaving Lilly a twenty year old widow with a two year old child.

Bartolini Rosenzweig marriage certificate

Bartolini Rosenzweig marriage certificate

 

William Bartolini birth certificate

William Bartolini birth certificate

Toscano Bartolini death certificate

Toscano Bartolini death certificate

 

Lilly and her son William were living with Gustave and Gussie in 1905, but by 1910, William was no longer living with his mother and grandparents, but was in St. John’s Home for Boys in Brooklyn.

Gustave Rosenzweig family on the 1905 NYS census

Gustave Rosenzweig family on the 1905 NYS census

William Bartolini 1910 at St John's Home, Brooklyn

William Bartolini 1910 at St John’s Home, Brooklyn

 

Lilly was still living with her parents in 1910 and working as a nurse.  In 1915, William was at a different residential home, but I could not find Lilly at all on the 1915 NYS census nor could I find her anywhere after that.  None of the great-grandchildren of Gustave and Gussie knew what had happened to her, except that they thought she had remarried and moved to New Jersey at some point.  No one knew her married name or whether she had more children.  I was stuck and could not get any further.

I thought I had a new clue when I obtained Gustave’s 1944 death certificate.  It was signed by an informant I thought might be Lilly.  I posted the signature on the blog, hoping someone would be able to decipher it more clearly than I could, but every possible reading of the signature led me nowhere, even using wildcard searches and as many variations as I could.  I put Lilly aside and figured it was a lost cause.

Gustav Rosenzweig death cert 1

And then? Well, this past weekend I received a call from Harriet, one of Lilly’s nieces.  She not only remembered Lilly well—she remembered the first name of her second husband—Carmen. And she said they had lived in Jersey City. She remembered Lilly fondly and described her as funny and fun-loving, like all the Rosenzweig siblings.

So I now had two more clues.  Lilly had married someone named Carmen, and they had lived in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Armed with just those additional pieces of information, I was able to design a search on FamilySearch using the two first names and the location.  The first result on the results list was a Lilly and Carmen Dorme living in Rutherford, New Jersey in 1940.

Carmen and Lillian Dorme 1940 US census

Carmen and Lillian Dorme 1940 US census

 

Rutherford was not Jersey City, but it was close by, so I decided to try that surname.  Using Dorme, I was able to search more thoroughly and found that Lilly and Carmen Dorme were already married by 1918 when Carmen  (using Carmine Dormes then) registered for the World War I draft and that they were living in Jersey City.  This had to be my long-missing cousin Lilly.

Carmine Dormes World War I draft registration

Carmine Dormes World War I draft registration

 

After that, I was also able to find Lilly and Carmen in several Jersey City directories and in the 1930 US census, which revealed that Lilly and Carmen had a child, Louis, who was then sixteen years old.

Dorme family on the 1930 US census

Dorme family on the 1930 US census

Further searching uncovered a Louis Dorme’s entry on the Social Security Death Index, indicating that he was born in New York on May 13, 1913, and had died in 1977.  This was consistent with the age and birthplace for Louis on the 1930 census, so I am reasonably certain that this is the correct person.

I still cannot find the family on the 1920 census, and since they were living in Jersey City both before and after 1920, I assumed that they would have been there then as well.  But although Carmen is listed in both the 1918 and the 1925 Jersey City directories, he is not in the 1922 directory (the intermediate years are not available online).  Harriet thought that Lilly had served as a nurse overseas during World War I, so perhaps that is where the family was located during that period.  I cannot, however, find a military record for Carmen, so I have no way to know for sure where they were during that period.

And although I do know when Louis died (1977) and when Carmen died (1962) from the SSDI, I cannot find Lilly on the SSDI nor can I find any other record of her death.  Harriet does remember Lilly’s death (in fact, Harriet’s mother reported that Lilly’s last words was a request for a corned beef sandwich!), but not the specific year or place.

But I do have one clue, and it goes back to Gustave’s death certificate.  As soon as I saw that Lilly’s married name was Dorme, something clicked in my head.  I went back to look at Gustave’s death certificate, and now it seemed strikingly clear that the informant’s name was L. Dorme.

Lilly as informant

How could I not have seen that or found her before?  I just don’t know.  But now I knew that it was in fact Lilly who signed her father’s death certificate.  And so I know that she was still alive as of October 16, 1944, when Gustave died.  I am sure with a few more clues I will be able to narrow down the year and perhaps find her death record as well.

So in the space of one afternoon with the help of a new cousin, I was able to resolve one of the biggest questions I had remaining about my grandfather’s Rosenzweig first cousins.  Thank you, Harriet!