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!

 

Boy, Is My Face Red. The Real Story of Milton Josephs’ Death and a Few Important Research Lessons

In my earlier post this morning, I wrote about little Milton Josephs, not yet two years old, whose cause of death was listed as marasmus on the Federal Census Mortality Schedule for 1880.  I was horrified that a child living in Philadelphia in a middle class home in 1880 could have died from starvation.

My medical consultant, whose expertise is in pediatrics and anesthesia (and who is also my brother, for those of you who haven’t figured it out), also thought that it seemed strange that a child would have died from severe malnutrition without there being some other underlying cause such as cancer or some syndrome that prevented him from being able to absorb nutrients.

His questions made me go back to see if I could find the actual death certificate for Milton on line.  My initial searches on both ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org had failed to pick up Milton’s death certificate no matter how I tried searching or spelling his name.  But this time I realized there was another way to search.  Ancestry.com had a record for Milton in the index of Philadelphia death certificates, but no image of that actual certificate.  But the record included the FHL film number, that is, the catalog number for the microfilm in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

For some reason, I’d never before tried searching by the FHL number on FamilySearch.   I know to those out there who are experienced genealogists this must seem like a terrible rookie mistake, and I am quite embarrassed that I’d never thought to do that before.

But it worked. Plugging the film number into the FamilySearch search engine resulted in the retrieval of this document:

Milton Joseph's death certificate  "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11063-42231-79?cc=1320976 : accessed 14 December 2014), 004058647 > image 406 of 969; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Milton Joseph’s death certificate
“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11063-42231-79?cc=1320976 : accessed 14 December 2014), 004058647 > image 406 of 969; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

It is a bit hard to read, but if you look carefully you can see that on the certificate it says Milton died from bronchial pneumonia, not marasmus.  My brother agreed that this was a much more likely cause of death for a boy living at home with his family in Philadelphia than starvation, and he thought it was unlikely that somehow marasmus led to pneumonia or vice versa.

Then why would the 1880 Federal Census Mortality Schedule have said the cause of death was marasmus? Well, once again I am embarrassed.  I looked more closely at the mortality schedule, and sure, it says M. Josephs, and sure, ancestry.com retrieved it as relating to Milton Josephs, but I should have looked more closely.  Because now that I have looked again, I realize that the schedule says that M. Josephs was 5/12, that is, five months old.

Milton Joseph on the Federal Mortality Schedule 1880

Milton Joseph on the Federal Mortality Schedule 1880

And a little more research uncovered the death of a child name Mike Josephs who died of marasmus in December 1879 at five months of age.  So stupid mistake number two:  I too quickly assumed that M. Josephs was Milton without reading the document carefully and without even stopping to think that Milton had died in November, 1880, too late to have been listed on the Federal Census Mortality Schedule for 1880, which was dated May 31, 1880.

So I apologize for my carelesness and for maligning the reputation of my ancestors whose son died from pneumonia, not starvation.

Do I feel any better about Milton, knowing that he did not die from starvation?  I suppose that I better understand how a toddler can die from pneumonia than starvation, especially in the era before antibiotics.  But no, I don’t feel better.  A little boy died what still must have been a painful death, and his family still lost a beloved child.

And another family, that of Mike Josephs, did lose a five month old baby to starvation.

There is no good news here, but I did learn a few important lessons.  Thanks to my brother, I was able to find my mistakes and set the record straight.

Solomon Monroe Cohen/Cole: Post Script

Yesterday I received a copy of the death certificate of Sol Cole, who died on June 11, 1938.

I learned a number of things from this document.  First, Sol died of heart disease when he was only 58 years old.  He had had hypertension and arteriosclerosis for fifteen years and myocarditis for over a year, and then for a week before he died, he suffered from coronary thrombosis and finally acute cardiac failure.  He had been under the same doctor’s care for close to a year and had been living in New York City for about the same period of time.

sol cole death cert page 1

He had been living at 12 West 72nd Street in what was then a hotel, located less than a block from Central Park.  The certificate indicates that he was working up until a month before he died as a manager in the furniture business, the same industry he had been working in for 35 years, starting in Detroit, then in Columbus, and ultimately in New York City.

sol cole death cert page 2

The certificate also corroborated the fact that Estelle had predeceased him, as he was a widower at the time of his death.  Sol’s remains were cremated by Ferncliff Crematory, and both of his sons, Ralph and Robert, signed a sworn statement to the New York City Department of Health that it had been their father’s wish to be cremated.  I called Ferncliff to see if they had any records for Estelle, but they did not; they only had records for Sol.  Although I cannot be certain, my hunch is that Sol moved to New York after Estelle died since there is no record of her death in New York City nor were her remains handled by the same institution.  I still do not know when or where Estelle died, but I will focus on Ohio as that is where I know she was living as of 1935.

Number Thirteen, the Caboose: Abraham Cohen 1866-1944

Caboose 995 at the Transportation Museum.

Caboose 995 at the Transportation Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of the thirteen children born to my great-great-grandparents Jacob and Sarah Cohen, only one was still alive in 1928.  He was also the only one to live through not only the 1930s, but into the 1940s as well.  He was one of only three to live into his seventies and the only one to live past 75 years old.  He was also the last born, the baby of the family, Abraham.  Like all his siblings, he had a life that had plenty of heartbreak.

Abraham was born on March 29, 1866.  His oldest sibling, Fanny, was twenty years old when he was born and was married that same year.  Joseph, his oldest brother, was married two years later.  But in 1870 Abraham had ten older siblings still living in his household at 136 South Street.  His first real heartbreak occurred when he was thirteen and his mother Sarah died in 1879.  Fortunately he still had six siblings living at home as well as his father. By the time he was fourteen in 1880, he was already working in his father Jacob’s store.

On February 9, 1886, Abraham married Sallie McGonigal, daughter of James and Sarah McGonigal, in Camden, New Jersey.  Their first child, Sallie, was born in 1886.  I do not have a birth record for her, but sadly, I do have her death certificate.  Sallie died on November 1, 1892, when she was six and a half years old from scarlet fever. She was buried in at Old Cathedral Catholic Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Sallie Cohen death certificate

Sallie Cohen death certificate

Assuming that the child Sallie was born then in April or May, 1886, either she was born very premature or Sallie was already pregnant when they married. Abraham and Sallie would both have been only twenty when they married, although their marriage record listed their birth years as 1864, not 1866.  I am speculating here, but since they were married out of state and under age and since it seems likely that Sallie was pregnant and since Sallie was apparently Catholic and Abraham was Jewish, I am going to venture a guess that their parents did not approve of the relationship.

But Abraham and Sallie’s marriage survived.  They had a second child, Leslie Joseph Cohen, who was born on May 20, 1889.[1] In December, 1891, they had a third child, Ethel, who only lived four weeks.  She died from convulsions on January 27, 1892.

Ethel Cohen death certificate

Ethel Cohen death certificate

Then ten months later, they lost Sallie to scarlet fever. Sometime after those deaths, the family moved from where they had been living at 622 Annapolis Street to 707 Wharton Street, where they remained for many years.

The young couple weathered those terrible tragedies and had a fourth child, Raymond, on February 15, 1894.  He died eight months later from gastroenteritis and was also buried in Old Cathedral Catholic Cemetery with his sisters Sallie and Ethel.

Raymond Cohen death certificate

Raymond Cohen death certificate

In the space of just over two years Abraham and Sallie had lost three young children.  Three years later, Abraham and Sallie lost another male baby to premature birth on October 11, 1897; he was stillborn.  Interestingly, that baby was buried at Mt Zion cemetery.  Would a Catholic cemetery not accept a stillborn baby?

Stillborn baby Cohen death certificate

Stillborn baby Cohen death certificate

In 1900, Abraham, Sallie and their one surviving child, Leslie, were still living at 707 Wharton Street, and Abraham was working as …. a pawnbroker, of course.

Abraham Cohen and family 1900 census

Abraham Cohen and family 1900 census

Unless I missed the birth and death of other children, it seems that after not having any children for over ten years, Abraham and Sallie had one more baby.  Arthur was born on December 9, 1907, according to the Pennsylvania birth index. Assuming that Sallie was born in 1866, she was over 40 years old when he was born.  In the 1910 census, Abraham, Sallie, Leslie, and Arthur were all living at 2433 North 17th Street; in addition, Sallie’s sister, Mary McGonigal, was living with them as well as a servant whose duties were described as “nurse girl.”  I assume she was taking care of Arthur.  Abraham was still working as a pawnbroker.  Leslie was nineteen and an apprentice machinist.  Arthur was two years old.

Abraham Cohen 1910 census

Abraham Cohen 1910 census

In 1917 Leslie registered for the draft.  He was working as a machinist at Remington Arms in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, where his Aunt Hannah’s husband, Martin Wolf, was also employed during that period.

Leslie Cohen World War I draft registration

Leslie Cohen World War I draft registration

 

Leslie served in the military from 1917 to 1919, according to one record.[2]  He served in Aero Squadron 490, as seen on his headstone below.  I was able to track down a detailed five page document from Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919,  describing the service of  Leslie’s squadron during World War I by using the Fold3.com website.

490 Squadron report, p. 1

490 Squadron report, p. 1

I cannot capture all the details of his squadron’s service, but in brief, the squadron trained in San Antonio, Texas; they then traveled by train and boat from there to Long Island City in New York to await their orders to ship overseas.   They received those orders and shipped out of New York to England on November 22, 1917.

leslie service partial quote

The report details the rather uncomfortable conditions the men encountered while traveling from New York to Halifax to Liverpool, England over a sixteen day period, although they did not face any danger from enemy forces while traveling.  They arrived in Liverpool on December 8, 1917, and then left for France on December 13, 1917, where they were first stationed at Saint Maixent and then at Romorantin.  In both locations, the squadron was engaged in building barracks and other buildings for the soldiers.  They also built over sixteen miles of railroad.  The report described in detail the facilities at their second location and the work that was done.  It ends after the Armistice was signed, saying that the squadron was awaiting their orders to return to the United States.  Leslie J. Cohen is listed three times in the course of the report on the roster of men who served with the 490 Squadron, including on the final page shown below.

Leslie J. Cohen on roster

Leslie J. Cohen on roster

(M990;Publication Title: Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919
Publisher: NARA
National Archives Catalog ID: 631392
National Archives Catalog Title: Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, compiled 07/05/1917 – 08/31/1919, documenting the period 05/26/1917 – 03/31/1919
Record Group: 120
Short Description: NARA M990. Historical narratives, reports, photographs, and other records that document administrative, technical, and tactical activities of the Air Service in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.
Roll: 0021
Series: E
Series Description: Squadron Histories)

Back home in Philadelphia, Abraham’s wife  Sallie died on March 14, 1919, and surprisingly was buried not with her children at Old Cathedral Catholic Cemetery, but at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania. The family was residing at 5926 Cobbs Creek Parkway when she died, which was only a mile from Holy Cross Cemetery; nevertheless, Cathedral Cemetery, where so many of her children were buried, was only three miles away.  I wonder why she was not buried with her children.  Sallie died from influenza, pneumonia and bronchitis.  This was the time of the deady Spanish flu epidemic that killed millions of people worldwide.  Sally was about  fifty years old when she died, and her son Arthur was only eleven years old.

Sallie McGonigal Cohen death certificate 1919

Sallie McGonigal Cohen death certificate 1919

As of January 10, 1920, when the next census was taken, Abraham, now a widower, was still living at 5926 Cobbs Creek Parkway with his sons Leslie and Arthur, his sister-in-law Mary McGonigal, and a servant.  Abraham was still a pawnbroker; Leslie was a machinist in the shipyard, having returned from military service.  Arthur was in school.

Sometime later in 1920, Abraham married Elizabeth Beisswagner Grady, whose husband Robert Grady had died in 1918 and, interestingly, is also buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania.  Had Abraham met her at the cemetery? At the church? Elizabeth had several children from her first marriage, though all would have been adults by 1920.  Abraham was 54 when they married, Elizabeth was 46.

In 1927, Leslie reenlisted in the army, and on the 1930 census he is listed as a soldier in the US Army, stationed at Fort Hancock in Middletown Township, New Jersey.  He served from August 23, 1927 until August 22, 1930, when he was honorably discharged.

Leslie Cohen 1930 census

Leslie Cohen 1930 census

In the 1931 directory for the city of Richmond, Virginia, Leslie is listed with his wife Emma L. and was employed as a machinist.  Thus, sometime between the date of the 1930 census and the date of the Richmond directory, he had gotten married and moved to Richmond. He was later admitted to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Virginia on October 24, 1932, and released on February 3, 1933.  I cannot tell from the record why he was admitted or why he stayed for over three months in the hospital.  The hospital record also indicated that he was married to an Elizabeth L. Cohen (presumably a mistake; other records corroborate that her name was Emma), living in Washington, DC.

Leslie Cohen VA Hospital record

Leslie Cohen VA Hospital record

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, Abraham, Elizabeth, and Arthur were living at 5530 Walnut Street according to the 1930 census.  Abraham was still working as a pawnbroker, and Arthur was working as a porter at a gas station.  Abraham, who was now 64 years old, had outlived all his siblings at this point as well as his first wife and several of his children.  I find it interesting that neither of his two sons became pawnbrokers, given the Cohen family’s overall involvement in that industry.

Abraham’s second wife Elizabeth died on August 4, 1939, from heart disease.  They had been living on Spruce Street, where Abraham is listed as living alone on the 1940 census.  He was still working as a pawnbroker at age 74.  Elizabeth was buried with her first husband Robert Grady at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon.

Abraham died on April 29, 1944, when he was 78 years old.  He also was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon with his first wife Sallie.  His death certificate was subject to a coroner’s inquest for some reason, but the inquest found that he died from arteriosclerosis.

Abraham death certificate 1944

Abraham death certificate 1944

abraham cohen amended death cert

 

The only strange thing about his death certificate is the description of his occupation: elevator operator.  After a lifelong career as a pawnbroker, why would Abraham have become an elevator operator?  The informant on his death certificate was Bernard Sluizer, Abraham’s brother-in-law, the widower of Abraham’s sister Elizabeth. Bernard would die just four months later.  Why would Bernard have been the informant? Well, all of Abraham’s siblings had died many years earlier, as had all their spouses except for Bernard and Jonas’ wife Sarah. Leslie was living in Richmond, Virginia.  I don’t know where Arthur was at that time.

Leslie and his wife Emma continued to live in Richmond, Virginia during the 1930s and 1940s.  According to the 1940 census, Emma was almost twenty years older than Leslie.  She is reported to have been 67 in 1940 while he was 48.  Leslie also appears never to have returned to his skilled position as a machinist.  On various Richmond directories throughout this period, his occupation is described as a helper, one time specifying at a Blue Plate Foods.  It is obviously hard to make too many inferences, but given his hospitalization and his low skilled employment afterward, it would seem that Leslie might have been disabled in some way after his second service in the army.   Leslie died on May 13, 1966, and is buried at Fort Harrison National Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

Leslie Joseph Cohen headstone

As for Arthur, I just am not sure.  There were two Arthur Cohens living in the Philadelphia area who were born in Pennsylvania in or about 1907, according to the 1940 census.  Both were married. One was working as a manager in a bottling company, the other as a mechanic in a garage.  Since Arthur was working in a gas station in 1930, I am inclined to think that it is more likely that he was the second Arthur, who was married to a woman named Claire.  They were living in Upper Darby, a Philadelphia suburb in 1940, but had been living in Philadelphia in 1935, according to the 1940 census.  If this is the right Arthur Cohen, it seems that he and Claire moved out to California at some point, living in Burbank in the 1970s and 1980s, and then to Las Vegas thereafter where Claire died on June 11, 1998.  I am still not positive I have the correct Arthur, so will continue to look for more records or documents to corroborate my hunch.

Thus, there are some loose ends here.  I don’t know the full story of Leslie and his wife Emma, but if the ages on the 1940 census are correct, it seems very unlikely that there were any children.  Arthur’s story is even more unfinished.  Without a marriage record or a death certificate, it’s impossible to be sure that I have found the right person.  I also do not have any idea whether Arthur had children.

Looking back over Abraham’s life is painful.  He lost so much—his mother when he was just 13, his father nine years later, and all his siblings between 1911 and 1927.    Three of his children died when they were very young, and he outlived two wives.  One son had moved away to Richmond, Virginia, possibly disabled in some way.  The other one seems to have disappeared or moved out west at some point.  I have this sad image of Abraham as a man in his seventies, living alone, working as an elevator operator, and having only his brother-in-law Bernard Sluizer around as his family (and perhaps many nieces and nephews as well).

I hope I am wrong.

************

That brings to an end, for now, the long story of the thirteen children of Jacob and Sarah Cohen, my great-great-grandparents.  I will reflect on what I’ve learned about them and try and synthesize it all in my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

[1]   Leslie’s birth year changed from record to record.  Sometimes it was 1891, sometimes 1892, sometimes 1893.  The record closest to his birth year was the 1900 census, which indicated that he was then 11 years old, giving him a birth year of 1889.  However, on the 1910 census, his age was 19, meaning he was born in 1891.  His two draft registrations also vary.  His headstone says 1892.  They all say his birthday was May 20, regardless of the year.

[2] Ancestry.com. U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

Original data: Historical Register of National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1749, 282 rolls); Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

The Genealogy Village: An Update on Maria Cohen and William Levy

Over three weeks ago, I blogged about Maria Cohen, Jacob and Sarah’s seventh child, and her life.  She had married William Levy, and they had had four sons, one of whom committed suicide as a teenager, and two others who predeceased her, Lewis, who died when he was 38 in 1915 only five years after marrying Emma Fogle, and Jacob, who died the following year when he also was only 38.  Only one son, Isaac, survived her.

At the time I wrote the blog, I could not find any records for Maria or William after 1900, except as names on their sons’ death certificates.  I did not know when either of them died.  In addition, although I had a death certificate for their son Lewis and was able to find his headstone through FindAGrave, I was confused by the fact that the headstone referred to Lewis and his wife Emma as father and mother, but I had no record of any child born to Lewis and Emma.  I put those questions aside after much searching, figuring I would return.

So I returned to Maria and William after the updates to the Pennsylvania death certificate database earlier this week.   First, I called Adath Jeshurun cemetery in Philadelphia to see if Maria and William were buried there.  Since all three of the sons who had died were buried there, I assumed that Maria and William would have been also, and that hunch paid off.  The very helpful woman at Adath Jeshurun gave me the dates that Maria and William died and were buried.

William had died September 10, 1906 when Maria was only 49 and had already lost her son Benjamin.  She would lose two more sons in the next ten years.  Maria herself died March 24, 1925.  I now had their dates of death, but still no death certificates.  Even with the new update, I could not find a death certificate for either William or Maria even though both had died before 1944.  I was bewildered.

I then searched for all people named Levy who died in 1925 and finally found Maria—spelled Mrriac in the ancestry.com index.  What?? Mrriac?? No wonder I couldn’t find it.  But it was clearly Maria—daughter of Jacob Cohen and “Sallie Jacob.”  She had died from diabetes and myocarditis and had been living at 5035 Funston Street in Philadelphia at the time of her death.  The informant on the certificate was Mr. S. Levy of the same address.  Since her only surviving child was her son Isaac Harry Levy, I had no idea who S. Levy was, unless he was the son of Lewis and Emma Levy.

Maria Cohen death certificate 1925

Maria Cohen death certificate 1925

I still could not find William Levy’s death certificate nor could I figure out how to find Lewis and Emma’s child.  I turned to others for help.  There is a Pennsylvania Genealogy group on Facebook and also a Tracing the Tribe group focused on Jewish genealogy.  I posted my questions on both groups, and within a few minutes, someone on the TTT group suggested I search the Pennsylvania death index by William’s date of death instead of by his name, and tada! There it was.  William also had died from diabetes.

William Levy death certificate 1906

William Levy death certificate 1906

But that still left me without an answer to the next question: who was the child of Emma and Lewis Levy?  Another half hour later I had that answer as well.  Somehow someone else with fresh eyes found Emma Levy, a widow, on the 1920 census, living with an eight year old daughter named Henrietta as well as two relatives named Fogel.  This was obviously the right Emma, and I now knew her daughter’s name.

Emma Levy 1920 census

Emma Levy 1920 census

They also appeared together on the 1930 census, but on the 1940 census, Henrietta was gone.  Now I need to find her married name.  Two kind people from the Pennsylvania group are continuing to help me.

I still do not know who Mr. S. Levy was on Maria’s death certificate, nor do I know what happened to Henrietta. I also have not found Maria on the 1920 census.  But with the help of others, I am able to put some closure on the sad life of Maria and William Levy.

Pennsylvania, I love you!

OK, perhaps a bit of an overstatement, but yesterday morning I woke up to read online that the Pennsylvania death certificates up through 1944 were now available on ancestry.com.  (Previously, only those up through 1924 were available.)  As soon as I’d had my breakfast, I started searching for all my previously researched Cohen relatives who died between 1925 and 1944 to find their death certificates.  Within a half an hour I had found eleven of them.  Although they did not contain any amazing revelations, I was able to learn when and why several of my relatives had died.

I have updated the relevant blog posts for Hannah Cohen, Lewis Weil, Rachel Cohen, Martin A. Wolf and his wife Marie Morgan, Laura Wolf, Harry Frechie, and Samuel Rosenblatt, Jr.  I also have certificates for Reuben Cohen, Sr., Emanuel Cohen, and Abraham Cohen which will be discussed in later posts.  The only one of these that I was particularly interested in was that of Samuel Rosenblatt, Jr., who had died when he was only twenty and was his parents’ only child; he died of leukemia.  Laura and Martin A. Wolf, siblings and the children of Hannah and Martin Wolf, also died at relatively young ages—in their 40s, Laura of diabetes and Martin A. of ulcerative colitis.

If you are interested in seeing the certificates, I have posted them at the relevant blog posts as linked to above.

It was good to put some closure on some of those lives, although sad to be reminded again of how many of my ancestors died so young.  Thank you to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for opening up your records so that family histories can be told.