James Seligman: More Items from Wolfgang

When I wrote the recent post about the news articles my cousin Wolfgang had found about our Seligman(n) relatives, I had forgotten that a month earlier Wolfgang had sent me some other items he’d found about our relative, James Seligman—brother of Bernard, my great-great-grandfather, and August, Wolfgang’s great-grandfather. Somehow that earlier email had gotten lost in the mess that is my inbox. My apologies to Wolfgang!

A little more background on James: He was the youngest child of Babette Schoenfeld and Moritz Seligmann, born in about 1853 in Gau-Algesheim. By the time he was 28 in 1881 he had immigrated England where he was a wine merchant in Kilpin, Yorkshire, in conjunction with his brothers August and Hieronymus, who were living in Germany. He took sole control over that business in 1891.

London Gazette, March 20, 1891

In 1887, James married Henrietta Walker Templeton in London. In 1901, they were living in Scotland, but by the 1920s they had returned to England and were living in Birmingham where he remained for the rest of his life.

Henrietta died on October 4, 1928, and a year later in December 1929, James married his second wife Clara Elizabeth Perry. Clara was 45 years younger than James; she was 31 when they married, he was 76. He died just three months after they married on March 11, 1930. Clara remarried two years later and died in 1981. James did not have children with either of his wives.

Wolfgang found an obituary for James in the March 14, 1930 issue of the Birmingham Gazette:

b Birmingham Daily Gazette, March 14, 1930, p. 3

Mr. James Seligman

Death of Birmingham Hotel Expert

The death has occurred at the age of 77 of Mr. James Seligman, of 11 Yately-road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Formerly in business in Scotland, where he owned a number of hotels, Mr. Seligman was managing director of the Grand and Midland Hotels, Birmingham, and of the King’s Head Hotel, Sheffield.

He was an expert on all business matters connected with hotel management, and was often consulted by proprietors and managers of hotel establishments in all parts of the country.

He was the sole proprietor of Seligman and Co., wine merchanges, Colmore-row, Birmingham, and although ill in bed, was dealing with business affairs up to within a few hours of his death.

A great lover of music, Mr. Seligman was a regular concert-goer and an enthusiastic supporter of musical societies.

A funeral service will be held at Perry Barr Crematorium on Saturday.

From the obituary, Wolfgang knew where James had lived and captured this photograph of the former residence from Google Maps:

James Seligman residence in Birmingham, England

He also sent me this photograph of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham where James had been the managing director:

Grand Hotel, Colmore Road, Birmingham, England 1894

Interestingly, Wolfgang located an ad for Seligman’s Wine Merchants in the October 30, 1969, Birmingham Daily Post. It was still located on Colmore Row in Birmingham and called Seligman’s almost forty years after James died in 1930.

Birmingham Daily Post, October 30, 1969, p. 3

Thank you again to Wolfgang for sharing these items which shed more light on the personality and life of James Seligman, my three-times great-uncle and Wolfgang’s great-great-uncle.

Days of Wine and Sichels

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

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

Klara was born in Worrstadt on July 9, 1838:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Camilla Sichel Blum info from Nazi files from MP

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

Camilla Alice Morreau birth record

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His wife Camilla would survive him by almost thirrty years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who was this friend Isaac Heller?

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

The Benefits of Teamwork: Part I

In my recent post, I mentioned that I had been working with two other researchers on the mystery of the three Selinger men who married my Cohen cousins.  Frederick Selinger had married my cousin Rachel Cohen in 1880 in Washington, DC.  Rachel was the daughter of Moses Cohen, my three times great-uncle (brother of my great-great-grandfather Jacob).  Julius Selinger had married Augusta Cohen in 1884 in Washington, DC; Augusta was the daughter of Moses Cohen, Jr. and niece of Rachel Cohen.  Finally, Alfred Selinger had married Fannie Cohen in Washington, DC, in 1893.  Fannie was also a daughter of Moses Cohen, Jr., also a niece of Rachel Cohen, and a sister of Augusta Cohen.

Julius and Augusta Cohen Selinger passport photos 1922

Julius and Augusta Cohen Selinger passport photos 1922

 

Way back on July 22, 2014, when I first posted about the three Selinger men, I had speculated that they all had to be related.  Both Julius and Frederick had documents indicating that they had been born in Hurben, Germany.  Alfred and Julius had lived together in DC before they’d married, and Alfred had traveled with Julius and Augusta to Europe before he married Augusta’s sister Fannie.  But I had nothing to support that speculation besides that circumstantial evidence.

Then a month later on August 5, 2014, I wrote about the marriage of Eleanor Selinger to Henry Abbot.  Eleanor was the daughter of Julius Selinger and Augusta Cohen; Henry was the son of Hyams Auerbach (Abbot) and Helena Selinger (some records say Ellen or Helen).  I was curious as to whether Helena Selinger was somehow related to Julius and the other Selinger men, Alfred and Frederick.  I thought that she might be since how else would an American woman have met an Englishman? And the shared name seemed too uncommon to be pure coincidence.

 

Eleanor Selinger Abbot and Abbot family-page-001

Eleanor Selinger Abbot (center) with the Abbot family Courtesy of Val Collinson

 

As I wrote then, I had contacted the owner of an Ancestry family tree who turned out to be Eleanor Selinger and Henry Abbot’s great-niece: Val Collinson.  Val and I exchanged a lot of information, but we could not at that time find any definitive evidence linking Helena Selinger, her great-grandmother, to Frederick or Julius or Alfred.  All were born in Germany, but it seemed from the records in different locations.  Helena’s marriage record indicated that her father’s name was Abraham Selinger, whereas Julius had indicated on his passport application that his father was Sigmund Selinger.  We were stumped.  And that was that.  Or so I thought.

Fast forward a full year to August, 2015, when I received a comment on my earlier blog post about Eleanor Selinger and Henry Abbot from someone named Shirley Allen, whose grandparents were Jacob Rosenthal and Fanny Selinger:

Fanny Selinger Rosenthal and her husband Jacob Rosenthal and children Gladys, Daniel, and Alfred Courtesy of Shirley Allen

Fanny Selinger Rosenthal and her husband Jacob Rosenthal and their children Gladys, Daniel, and Alfred
Courtesy of Shirley Allen

I’ve been delving into my paternal (Rosenthal) family history. I’ve found that my grandfather Jacob Rosenthal was married to Fanny Selinger. Unfortunately I haven’t found anything further about Fanny other than she was born in Germany, probably in 1857. However, I’ve recently come upon a wonderful paper lace invitation to the 1873 wedding of Hyams Auerbach and Helena Selinger that you referred to. What I don’t know is why Fanny would have been invited. Clearly she and Helena were related – but how ?

Needless to say, I was intrigued.  Maybe Fanny Selinger was related to Helena and/or maybe she was related to Julius, Frederick, and Alfred.  Shirley and I communicated by email, and we both started digging.

Invitation to the wedding of Helena Selinger and Hyms Auerbach Courtesy of Shirley Allen

Invitation to the wedding of Helena Selinger and Hyms Auerbach
Courtesy of Shirley Allen

 

I found a website called Jewish Genealogy of Bavarian Swabia (JGBS) that had records for Hurben and located 25 Selingers in their database, including those for Alfred and for Julius, who were the sons of Seligman Selinger and Breinle Hofstadter and thus were brothers, as I had suspected. Shirley and I both thought that Seligman Selinger had been Americanized to Sigmund by Julius on his passport application and that the birth records for Julius and Alfred confirmed that they were in fact brothers.

I also found a birth record for Helena Selinger, whose father was Abraham Selinger, not Seligman Selinger.  Abraham and his wife Rosalia Wilhelmsdoerfer had six children listed: Seligman (1842), Raphael (1843), Pauline (1845), Karolina (1847), Heinrich (1848), and Helena (1849). Pauline, Karolina, and Heinrich had all died as young children, leaving Seligman, Raphael, and Helena as the surviving children of Abraham.  Here is Helena’s birth record from Hurben in August 1849.

Helena Selinger birth record from Hurben http://jgbs.org/SuperSearch.php?Sp=3&Book=birth&Com=11

Helena Selinger birth record from Hurben (third from bottom)
http://jgbs.org/SuperSearch.php?Sp=3&Book=birth&Com=11

 

But what about Frederick?  And Fanny? And was there a connection between Helena’s father Abraham and the father of Julius and Alfred, Seligman Selinger?

A little more digging on the JGBS site revealed that both Abraham Selinger and Seligman Selinger were the sons of Joachim Selinger, thus confirming that they were brothers and thus that Helena was a first cousin to Julius and Alfred.

Marriage record from Hurben for Abraham Selinger, son of Joachim, and Rosalia Wilhelmsdoerfer http://jgbs.org/detail.php?book=marriage&id=%206671&mode=

Marriage record from Hurben for Abraham Selinger, son of Joachim, and Rosalia Wilhelmsdoerfer (second in page)
http://jgbs.org/detail.php?book=marriage&id=%206671&mode=

 

Seligmann Selinger, son of Joachim, marriage to Breinle Hoftsadter

Seligmann Selinger, son of Joachim, marriage to Breinle Hoftsadter (second from bottom) 1848 http://jgbs.org/detail.php?book=marriage&id=%206695&mode=

 

That meant that Eleanor Selinger, daughter of Julius Selinger, had married her second cousin, Henry Abbot, son of Helena Selinger.

 

But that still left us wondering about Frederick Selinger and Shirley’s great-grandmother Fanny Selinger.  How did they fit into this picture?

I contacted Ralph Bloch, the webmaster for the JGBS website, and he was extremely helpful.  More helpful than I realized at the time, but more on that later.  Ralph also could not find any evidence that Fanny was born in Hurben, and he reassured me that the birth records for Hurben were quite complete.  He even searched through the original pages to be sure that Fanny hadn’t somehow been missed when the records were indexed. (There was a Fany Selinger born in the 1830s, but that would have been far too early for Shirley’s ancestor.) Ralph also sent a photograph of Seligman Selinger’s headstone, which confirmed that his father’s name was Joachim or Chaim, his Hebrew name.

Seligman Selinger gravestone

 

So once again we hit the brick wall.  We still had not found either Frederick or Fanny.  Shirley said she would pursue it on her end, and I turned back to the other research I’d been doing when I received Shirley’s comment.

Not much happened again until late November when I heard again from Shirley, telling me that she had received a copy of Fanny Selinger’s marriage certificate, which revealed that Fanny was the daughter of Abraham Selinger.  Now we could link Fanny to Helena, also the daughter of Abraham, as well as to Julius and Alfred, Abraham’s nephews. But we didn’t know if Fanny and Helena were both the daughters of Rosalia Wilhelmsdoerfer.

Shirley’s research of UK records showed that by 1871 Abraham was married to a woman named Gali, and we assumed that Abraham had left Hurben at some point, that his first wife Rosalia had died, and that he had had several children with Gali.  That is what the UK census records from 1871 seemed to reflect. Abraham and Gali were living with Sigfried (28), Helena (20), Cornelia (18), and Oskar (4).  But there was neither a Fanny nor a Frederick.

 

Abraham Selinger and family 1881 UK census Class: RG10; Piece: 555; Folio: 86; Page: 3; GSU roll: 823397 Description Enumeration District : 10 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1871 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1871.

Abraham Selinger and family 1881 UK census
Class: RG10; Piece: 555; Folio: 86; Page: 3; GSU roll: 823397
Description
Enumeration District : 10
Source Information
Ancestry.com. 1871 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1871.

Abraham died in 1880, and in 1881, Gali was living with four children, but aside from Oskar (13), they were all different from those on the 1871 census: Morris (28), Flora (surname Wallach) (25), and Sidney (23).  Now I was really confused.  Who were these people, and where had they been in 1871?  Flora was presumably married to someone named Wallach and now a widow, but Morris would have been eighteen in 1871 and Sidney only thirteen. Where were they living?  Who were they? None of those children were listed on the Hurben birth register on the JGBS site; in fact, there were no children listed for Abraham Selinger and any wife in Hurben after Helena’s birth in 1849.

Gali Selinger and family 1881 UK census Class: RG11; Piece: 472; Folio: 118; Page: 55; GSU roll: 1341103 Description Enumeration District : 9 Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881

Gali Selinger and family 1881 UK census
Class: RG11; Piece: 472; Folio: 118; Page: 55; GSU roll: 1341103
Description
Enumeration District : 9 Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881

I assumed that Morris, Flora, Sidney, and Oscar, all born after 1850, were born in a different place and perhaps to a different mother.  Certainly Oskar had to be Gali’s child since he was so much younger than all the rest and only four on the 1871 census.

Searching again on Ancestry, I found a new record:  an entry for Abraham, Rosalia, Seligman, and Raphael Selinger on the Mannheim, Germany, family register dated November 26, 1848.  What were they doing in Mannheim? By that time the three younger children, Pauline, Karolina, and Heinrich, had died.  Perhaps they needed a change of scenery.  But what about Helena? She was born in Hurben in 1849.

Then I found a second Mannheim family register that included Helena, the final entry on the page:

 

Abraham Selinger and family, Mannheim register Ancestry.com. Mannheim, Germany, Family Registers, 1760-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Polizeipräsidium Mannheim Familienbögen, 1800-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mannheim — Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Mannheim, Germany.

Abraham Selinger and family, Mannheim register
Ancestry.com. Mannheim, Germany, Family Registers, 1760-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Polizeipräsidium Mannheim Familienbögen, 1800-1900. Digital images. Stadtarchiv Mannheim — Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Mannheim, Germany.

My friends in the German Genealogy group,  Heike Keohane, Matthias Steinke, and Bradley Hernlem, came to my rescue and translated it to read, “Helene, his daughter, here born the 22 August 1849.”  So Helena’s birth is entered on the Hurben birth records (on the same date) and on the Mannheim records.  I’ve no idea which is the correct birthplace; maybe Rosalia went home to Hurben to give birth and returned to Mannheim afterwards where the family was living.

But perhaps now I could find out where Frederick was born, not to mention Morris, Flora, Sidney, and Oscar. Maybe they were born in Mannheim.  I checked the Mannheim birth records from 1853 through 1866 and found not one person named Selinger.  I checked over and over, looking at each page until my eyes were blurry.  There were no Selingers born in Mannheim during that period that I could find.

Then I discovered that Oskar Selinger had listed Ansbach as his birth place on his UK naturalization papers and thought that perhaps the family had moved from Mannheim to Ansbach.

Oscar Selinger UK naturalization papers The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Duplicate Certificates of Naturalisation, Declarations of British Nationality, and Declarations of Alienage; Class: HO 334; Piece: 54 Description Description : Piece 054: Certificate Numbers A20701 - A21000

Oscar Selinger UK naturalization papers
The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Duplicate Certificates of Naturalisation, Declarations of British Nationality, and Declarations of Alienage; Class: HO 334; Piece: 54
Description
Description : Piece 054: Certificate Numbers A20701 – A21000

I had no luck locating Ansbach birth records for that period, and by then it was Thanksgiving, and other matters distracted me, and I put the Selinger mystery on the back burner.

To be continued…..

Mystery Photo: One More Try

Although my stats show a lot of visitors, I’ve gotten very little feedback on my last two posts (and I am very grateful for the feedback I did receive), so perhaps I am just asking questions that can’t be answered—or that need to be answered by an expert.  But here is one last attempt to figure out who these people are in this photograph.  Please let me know what you think.  On the advice of my cousin Pete, I consulted a few web sites providing fashion information for the purpose of dating photographs, and it seems very likely that this photograph was taken sometime between 1890 and 1905.  I can’t narrow it down much more than that based on the clothing.

Who are these people?

Who are these people? When was this taken?

 

Today I am focused primarily on the man on the right, who is labeled Onkel Adolf.

Onkle Adolf

 

I have only found two Adolfs in the extended Seligmann family.  One is Adolf Arnfeld, Bettina Seligmann‘s husband, but this is Bettina, and she is not in the group photo, so that makes no sense.

Bettina Arnfeld nee Seligmann

Bettina Arnfeld nee Seligmann

 

The second Adolf was Adolf Seligman, my three-times-great-uncle who immigrated to Santa Fe and settled there.  He did make a trip to Germany in 1900, so this photo might have been taken then.  Adolf was born in 1843, so if the photo was taken in 1900, he would have been 57.  Certainly the man in the photograph looks about that age.

adolf 1894 europe trip

Date: Saturday, November 10, 1900 Paper: New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM) Volume: 37 Issue: 226 Page: 4

Fortunately, Adolf’s granddaughter Davita recently contacted me after finding the blog, and she sent me this photograph of her grandfather on a trip to Egypt.  Adolf died in 1920 when he was 77, and I would guess he was between 65 and 70 when this photograph was taken.  Is this the same man as Onkel Adolf in the group photo above?

Adolph Seligman in Egypt

Onkle Adolf

To me there is similarity in the eyes, mouth and ears, but the older man has a fuller face (just as the older “Babetta” has a fuller face than the younger one).  What do you think?

The other man in the group photograph is labeled Onkel Jakob.  Since I can’t find a Jakob Seligmann who would fit into this photograph, I am wondering whether it could be James Seligman, the brother who immigrated to England and whose estate was the reason for all those Westminster Bank family trees.  Perhaps James was born Jacob and Anglicized his name when he immigrated?  Since I have no birth record for James, I do not know.

(UPDATE:  I checked with some people from the German Genealogy Group, and several people confirmed that James was not a name used for boys in Germany in the 19th century; the German equivalent was Jakob.  James was an English name.  Thus, I am now persuaded that this was in fact James/Jakob Seligmann.)

Onkel Jakob

 

If the two men are Babetta’s sons Adolf and James, it would make sense that the two women are either their wives or their sisters. Adolf married Lucille Gorman in 1902 when she was nineteen and he was sixty.  The woman standing next to Adolf does not look that young nor is she labeled with any name that looks like Lucille or Lucy.  James Seligman’s wife’s name was Henrietta, and the name above the woman next to him does not look at all like Henrietta.

So could they be sisters of Adolf and James? Could the two women be two daughters of Moritz and Babetta whom I just had not yet found?  After all, I had no birth record for James, but only learned of him because of the settlement of his estate.  Perhaps there were other children born to Moritz and Babetta.  There is a six year gap between Pauline’s birth in 1847 and James in 1853, time enough for two more daughters.

One other reason I think this is possible is that Davita told me that her grandfather Adolf’s favorite sister was Minnie, depicted with him in the photograph in Egypt.

gramdfather Adolph and great aunt Minnie_rev

 

But I have no record of a sister named Minnie.  Both Bernard and Adolf named a daughter Minnie, so this does seem to suggest there was a Minnie in the family.  But….neither of the women in the group photo is labeled Minnie.

Here is a closeup of Minnie from the Egypt photo and a closeup of the woman on the left in the group photo.

Minnie Seligmann

 

Is this Martha Oppenhimer?

Same person? The nose and mouth are similar, as is the hair.  Again, the woman in the Egypt photo has a fuller face, and it’s hard to compare the eyes since she is squinting into the sun, but it could be the same person, couldn’t it?

But that name above her head doesn’t look like Minnie to me.

Tante Glori

So who are these people? I am as confused now as I was when I started.  Please let me know what you think!

“Brothers and Sisters in England and in Germany” and My Lost Inheritance

When Bernard Seligman died in 1903, his obituary listed among his survivors not only his brother Adolph, but also “other brothers and sisters in England and in Germany.”  Thus far, I have only found one other definite sibling, a brother named James, and one possible sibling, a brother named August.  I am still working on locating records from Gau-Algesheim to see if I can locate any other siblings or other relatives of my great-great-grandfather.

My belief that August may be a sibling is based on two records I found on ancestry.com.  One is a birth record for August Seligmann, born on December 10, 1841, in Algesheim, Rheinhessen, Germany, to Maritz Seligmann and Barbara Schonfeld.  The second is a marriage record for August Seligmann to Rosa Bergmann on March 5, 1875, in Frankfort-Main.  I know that this record is for the same August Seligmann as the birth record because the birth date and the parents’ names match those on the birth record.  Why do I think that August Seligmann was Bernard’s brother? Because Adolph’s death certificate said his father’s name was Morris and because other sources state that Bernard’s parents’ names were Moritz and Babette.  The place of birth and the date of birth also make it likely that August was my great-great-great-uncle and that Maritz Seligmann and Barbara Schonfeld were my three-times great-grandparents.  Now if I could only get access to Gau-Algesheim records, I might find the other missing family members.  If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.  Meanwhile, I will continue to scour the resources I have to see if I can find them.

Gau-Algesheim. Langgasse.

Gau-Algesheim. Langgasse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one other brother I know of for certain I only know about because of my cousin Pete.  Pete informed me about James Seligman, our English relative, and he himself only had known about James because of an estate settlement back in the 1980s involving James’ estate.  (I do not know whether my father or my aunt Eva or my cousin Marjorie ever were contacted about this inheritance, but given the amount at stake and how much time has passed, it’s not worth the trouble of finding out.  Pete said his share was a little more than $100, and it took years before he received payment.)

James Seligman was born in about 1853 in Germany, and by 1881 he had settled in Kilpin, Yorkshire, England and was living as a “visitor” in Kilpin Lodge, according to the 1881 England and Wales census. (England and Wales Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X3FK-ZVF : accessed 30 Sep 2014), James Seligmare in household of George H Anderton, Kilpin, Yorkshire (East Riding), England; citing “1881 England, Scotland and Wales census,” index and images, findmypast.co.uk (www.findmypast.co.uk : Brightsolid, n.d.); PRO RG 11/, p. , The National Archives of the UK, Public Record Office, Kew, Surrey)  The census listed his occupation as a wine merchant.  On May 21, 1886, James became a naturalized British citizen.  He was residing in Lewisham, Kent County, England at that time, unmarried, and employed as wine merchant.

James Seligman naturalization UK

James Seligman naturalization p 2

The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Duplicate Certificates of Naturalisation, Declarations of British Nationality, and Declarations of Alienage; Class: HO 334; Piece: 13.

James married Henrietta Walker Templeton in 1887 in the Marylebone district of London.  In 1901 they were living on Buchanan Street in Glasgow, Scotland, where James was now employed as a “hotel keeper,” according to the 1901 Scotland census.  From the census record it appears that there were about thirty people residing in this hotel.  James and Henrietta did not have any children listed as living with them, and according to Pete, they never did have any children, and I did not find any children listed on the BMD index who might have been their children.

Buchanan Street, Glasgow, Scotland.

Buchanan Street, Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t have another record for James after 1901 until 1922 when he and Henrietta are listed as residing at 11 Woodbourne Road in Birmingham, England, on the Midlands, England, Electoral Register for that year.  They also appear at the same address on the 1925 and 1927 electoral registers.

 

Henrietta died on October 4, 1928, and is buried in Harborne, Stafford, England.  About a year later, James married Clara Elizabeth Parry.  He was seventy-six at that time, and his new bride was thirty years old, so like his brother Adolph in Santa Fe, James also married a much younger woman in this second marriage.  He died less than six months later on March 31, 1930, in Birmingham, and, like his first wife Henrietta, was buried in Harborne.

Clara, his young widow, did not die until about 1977.  It was after then that a search was made for James’ heirs, as Clara and James had not had any children, and James had died intestate.  Here is a copy of the letter that Pete’s sister received in January, 1980, regarding the estate of James Seligman.

Jan 22 1980 bank to joan

An investigation was done to find James’ heirs, and a family tree was created that included my father, his sister, and his cousin Marjorie as well as the other grandchildren of Bernard Seligman and the descendants of Adolph Seligman as the potential heirs to this estate. There are  several errors and omissions on this tree, which makes me wonder about the thoroughness of the search. I would post the tree except that there are references to living people with their birth dates and other identifying information and so out of concern for their privacy, I am not posting it.

That, unfortunately, is all I know about James Seligman and about August Seligman.  I have nothing specific to tie James to Bernard aside from this estate settlement and only those two German records to connect August with Bernard.  I remain hopeful that I will at some point find more records for the other Seligman(n)s who were my great-great-grandfather’s siblings and parents and other relatives.

 

Did Eleanor Selinger Marry an English Cousin? And Did She Remember Her American Roots?

In my post about the children of Julius and Augusta Selinger, I wrote about the marriage of their daughter Eleanor to an Englishman, Henry Abbot.  Henry Abbot was the son of Hyams Auerbach (some members of the family changed the name to Abbot at some point) and Helen (or Ellen or Helena) Selinger.  I had wondered whether there was any familial connection between Helen Selinger and Eleanor’s father, Julius Selinger.  Both were born in Germany, and they were three years apart in age:  Helen was born in 1850, Julius in 1853.

As I wrote then, I was in touch with one of Henry and Eleanor Abbot’s relatives on the Abbot side, Henry’s great-niece, Valentine Ann Abbot Collinson, and was hoping that she would be able to provide some clues to determine whether the two different Selingers were related.  Over the last several days I received a number of documents about Helen Selinger and her family from Val that could help answer that question, including this photograph. Val believes that the woman seated in the center of the photograph is Eleanor Selinger Abbot with her husband Henry seated to her right.  The others are other members of the Abbot/Auerbach family.

Eleanor Selinger Abbot and Abbot family-page-001

The oldest document is the English marriage certificate of Hyams Auerbach and Ellen Selinger, dated March 19, 1873.  According to the certificate, Hyams was a furrier whose father was deceased, and Ellen was the daughter of Abraham Selinger, a teacher.

 

Hyams Auerbach and Ellen Selinger marriage certificate

Hyams Auerbach and Ellen Selinger marriage certificate

 

Since Julius Selinger’s passport application indicated that his father’s name was Sigmund, I knew that Julius and Ellen/Helena did not have the same father.    But could they still be cousins? I do not know Alfred or Frederick Selinger’s fathers’ names, so it still seemed possible that there was some familial connection among the various Selingers.

The next document was the 1881 English census for the Auerbach family.

 

Hyams Auerbach and family 1881 English census

Hyams Auerbach and family 1881 English census

 

This is definitely the right family; the page preceding this one includes as its last entry Hyams Auerbach, the furrier.  His wife’s name was given as Lenchen, which is the German equivalent of Helen.  Her place of birth was reported to be Baden.  This was the second clue that there might not be any familial relationship between Helen Selinger and Julius Selinger.  Julius and Frederick Selinger were both from Hurben in the region of Bavaria, not from Baden, an entirely separate region of what became united Germany in the late 19th century, although perhaps no more than a few hours away.  I then checked JewishGen.org and found that Selinger was not an uncommon name for Jews in Germany, especially if other spelling variations were included.  This makes it harder to assume any family connection between the DC Selingers and Helen Selinger.

 

I do have the names of two other members of Helen’s family; in addition to her father Abraham, her mother’s name was Gali.  She died in 1899, and her son, Helen’s brother, Sidney Selinger, was with her at her death.  If I can find a way to research the family in Baden, I might find a possible link to the Hurben Selingers, though it seems unlikely.

Perhaps the most intriguing document that I received from Val was an account of the distribution of the estate of Eleanor Selinger Abbot.  Eleanor died in 1979, and her will was probated on January 23, 1980.  The executor’s report on the distribution of the estate listed seven named beneficiaries, including two whose names were familiar:  Marjorie Christian and Ellen Kleinfeld.

Who were Marjorie Christian and Ellen Kleinfeld?  They were born Marjorie and Ellen Rosenstock, daughters of Felix Rosenstock and Marjorie Greenberg.  Marjorie Greenberg was the daughter of Jacob Greenberg and Ella Cohen.  Ella Cohen was the daughter of Moses, Jr., and Henrietta Cohen.  She died at age 29, leaving behind her eight year old daughter Marjorie and her husband Jacob.  (Ellen Rosenstock Kleinfield was named in memory of her grandmother Ella.)  I have just received Ella’s death certificate, and it says that she died from an abdominal hemorrhage caused by an “extra uterus pregnancy,” which is what we would now call an ectopic pregnancy.  How tragic it must have been for Marjorie and her father Jacob to lose Ella in such an awful way.

 

Ella Cohen Greenberg death certificate 1904

Ella Cohen Greenberg death certificate 1904

 

1904 19 Jan Ella greenberg death cert#2383  pg2  004006272_00860

As I wrote earlier, Jacob remarried a few years after Ella died and had a son Theodore with his new wife Hattie.  Since Jacob lived in New York, I had wondered whether he and Marjorie had maintained much contact with Ella’s family after Ella died. Well, Eleanor’s will would certainly indicate that there was a continuing relationship.  Eleanor, who never had children of her own, left part of her estate to her Aunt Ella’s granddaughters.  Her first cousin Marjorie Greenberg Rosenstock had died in 1964, but obviously despite living in England since 1926, Eleanor had enough of a relationship with her American family and in particular with her cousin Marjorie Greenberg to leave part of her estate to Marjorie’s daughters.

Marjorie Rosenstock Christian died on July 18, 2013.  According to her obituary as published on July 24, 2013 in the Washington Post, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in math and chemistry from Hunter College and then earned her Master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Maryland. (See more at: http://search.ancestry.com/search/obit/viewbody.aspx?db=web-obituary&pid=219473182&kw=Rosenstock+Christian+Marjorie&cpp=2013%5c07%5c26%5ccp_12269788.html&bhr=http%3a%2f%2fwww.legacy.com%2fobituaries%2fwashingtonpost%2fobituary.aspx%3fn%3dmarjorie-christian%26pid%3d166008840#sthash.E4eCxeTg.dpuf .)  She was married to Jack Christian, who died in 2011, and had three children.

I was very fortunate to speak with her sister Ellen Rosenstock Kleinfeld, my fourth cousin, who told me that she remembers Eleanor Selinger Abbot well and that Eleanor had visited with her family many times  over the years, including one trip to Long Island during a hurricane after Ellen was married and had children.   Unfortunately, I did not learn any more about how Eleanor met Henry or whether the various Selingers were related.  Ellen was married to Herman Kleinfeld and had two children.

Thus, from one thread in one family I found a link to another part of the family, tying together the lives of Ella Cohen and her descendants with the life of her niece Eleanor, the daughter of Augusta Cohen Selinger.   Eleanor may not have married a cousin, but she kept her ties to her American cousins.  She also brought the Cohen family back to its prior home in London.

 

 

 

The Children of Augusta Cohen and Julius Selinger

 

Julius and Augusta Cohen Selinger passport photos 1922

Julius and Augusta Cohen Selinger passport photos 1922

Moses, Jr., and Henrietta’s daughter Augusta celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband Julius Selinger in 1909, as described in my earlier post.  Their children were all still living at home as of 1910, but the next two decades would see them all finding their own independent paths.  Julius continued to work as a jeweler in his store, Selinger’s, and in 1922, he and Augusta along with their daughter Eleanor traveled to Germany, the British Isles, and France, apparently for health reasons, according to Julius’ passport application.  That application contains photographs of both Augusta and Julius, shown above.

Sydney, their oldest son, had become an optician as early as 1906 when he was 21 years old.  Although he was still living at home in 1910, on September 3, 1917 he married a woman named Grace Bloch.  Although I have not yet found an official marriage record,  I know from other records that Grace, Sydney’s wife, was born November 20, 1895 or 1896 in Danville, Pennsylvania, and I found this newspaper announcement of  the marriage of Sidney Selinger of Washington, DC, and a Ruth Bloch, daughter of Samuel Bloch,  in Danville, Pennsylvania.

Sydney and Grace Selinger marriage announcement 1917

Sydney and Grace Selinger marriage announcement 1917

(Sunday, September 9, 1917, Evening Star (Washington (DC), DC)   Page: 27)

I am not sure why the paper gave her name as Ruth, as every census report shows that Samuel Bloch’s daughter was named Grace.  But since they also spelled Sydney’s name incorrectly, I assume it was just an error.

Sydney and Grace did not have children, and they lived in Washington, DC, at least until 1940.  They both seemed to be working in the retail jewelry business in 1940, and even in 1930 Sydney listed his occupation as in the jewelry business, no longer as an optician, presumably in the family jewelry store, Selinger’s.  By 1956 Sydney and Grace had moved to Hollywood, Florida, where they lived for the rest of their lives.  Sydney died in May, 1967, and Grace three years later in May, 1970.

Selinger ad

Harry, the second son of Augusta and Julius Selinger, was in the Selinger’s jewelry business from at least 1910 when he was 22 until at least 1935, the date of the last record I have for him.  Harry claimed an exemption from the draft for unspecified physical reasons in 1917 and was still single at that time.  He married Mary Jessop on August 22, 1924, when he was 36; it appears that he and Mary did not have children either as there were none listed as living with them on the 1930 census when Mary was 43, six years older than Harry.  I could find no record of either Mary or Harry after 1935.

Both of the next two sons, Jerome and Maurice, became doctors.  I believe these may have been the first descendants of Hart Levy and Rachel Cohen to become doctors.  Both also served in World War I, as depicted in this picture of Jerome and Maurice in the Washington Evening Star in 1919.

Selinger brothers 1919 WW 1

(Sunday, January 5, 1919,Evening Star (Washington (DC), DC), Page: 62 )

Jerome served overseas from August 7, 1917 until March 1, 1919, serving as a doctor in a mobile hospital unit overseas.  Maurice also was already a doctor when he registered for the draft in 1917 and thus also must have served in a medical role during the war.  He graduated from Georgetown Medical School in 1915. (Wednesday, June 16, 1915, Evening Star (Washington (DC), DC)   Page: 11)

Jerome married a widow named Ethel Chase Keith in 1921. Ethel was born Ethel Bird Chase in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, on November 7, 1886, the daughter of Plimpton Beverly Chase and Anna Bird and a descendant of one of the oldest families in central Ohio. (Their home, the Beverly Mansion, is now used as an event venue.)

Ethel was a 1910 graduate of Bryn Mawr College. (Register of Alumnae and Former Students By Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, 1922, p. 28)      She had married Benjamin Franklin Keith in Washington, DC, on October 19, 1913, when she was 26, and he was 67.  Benjamin F. Keith was a widower, and he died the following year on March 26, 1914, just six months after marrying the much-younger Ethel Bird Chase.   Mr. Keith was a well-known entertainer and theater owner in Boston; the B.F. Keith Opera House was named in his memory (now just known as the Boston Opera House).

So how did Jerome meet Ethel, I wondered.  I found a passenger manifest dated August 23, 1914, just over five months after Keith’s death, listing Ethel Chase Keith as a passenger on a ship sailing from Liverpool, England, to Quebec, Canada.  At first I thought she was traveling alone, but then I noticed that the entries above hers were for a Harold B. Chase, born in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, obviously Ethel’s brother, and Harold’s wife Ruth Caroline Chase.

Ship manifest dated August 23, 1914 for the Megantic from Liverpool to Quebec

Ship manifest dated August 23, 1914 for the Megantic from Liverpool to Quebec

The names seemed familiar, so I checked my family tree, and sure enough, Myer Cohen, Sr., Jerome’s uncle, had a daughter Ruth who married a man named Harold Chase just about a year before in October 29, 1913, the same month that Ethel had married Benjamin F. Keith.  So Ethel must have either known Jerome already, as he was Ruth’s first cousin, or she was introduced to him by her brother and sister-in-law.  It appears that Ethel was living with Ruth and Harold at that time as well as traveling with them.  Unlike the case with  her first husband who was more than forty years older than she, this time Ethel married a man three years her junior.

Jerome and Ethel had two daughters, born in 1923 and 1928.  They lived in Huntington on Long Island, NY, then in Manhattan, and then in Fairfield County in Connecticut.  They were active in various charitable activities, and for some time Jerome was the health director for the town of New Canaan, Connecticut.  Jerome and Ethel did a great deal of traveling, according to the numerous passenger manifests.  According to Wikipedia, Ethel died in 1971.  Jerome lived until April, 1984, and was 94 when he died.

His younger brother and fellow doctor Maurice returned to Washington DC after World War I where he practiced medicine (a general practice, according to the 1930 census).  He was living with his parents and sister in 1920 and practicing medicine.  He married a woman named Mildred ( I have not yet located a marriage record for Maurice and Mildred).  Mildred was born December 23, 1899, in Easton, Pennsylvania, according to one ship manifest.  On the 1930 census they reported that they had been married for five years, so I am assuming they were married in 1925 or so.

Maurice Selinger and family 1930 census

Maurice Selinger and family 1930 census

They had two sons, one born in 1926 and the other in 1934.  In 1940, Maurice was still in a private medical practice, and in addition to his wife Mildred and their two sons, his father Julius was living with them.  Julius was now a widower, as Augusta had died in 1936 at age seventy.  Although I cannot find a death record for Julius, he was 87 in 1940, so I imagine that he died sometime in the next decade.  Maurice died on August 26, 1965, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  His wife Mildred died March 27, 1981, and is buried beside him.

The youngest child and only daughter of Augusta and Julius was Eleanor.  Eleanor was still living at home in 1920, working as a bookkeeper at the jewelry store.  During the decade from 1910 to 1920, her comings and goings were recorded regularly in the Washington Evening Star—whether it was visiting her cousin Aimee Cohen in Baltimore or friends or other relatives, there were numerous society tidbits about her visits.  In 1922, she went with her parents to Europe, including England.  In 1924 she was still living at home and working as a bookkeeper.  In 1925 she traveled alone to England, and then I lost all evidence of her on ancestry.com.

Washington Star, January 16, 1916

Washington Star, January 16, 1916

I finally found a marriage record for her in familysearch.org; she married Henry Mortimer Abbot on March 25, 1926.  But then I could not find her as Eleanor Abbot.  A little more digging, and I finally realized that she and Henry were living in London.  Their marriage record said he was born in England, and the passenger manifest dated April 14, 1926, showed Eleanor and Henry Abbot traveling to England.  But then the 1928 directory for Washington, DC, listed Eleanor Abbot as residing in Washington without any listing for Henry.  I thought perhaps she had divorced Henry or perhaps he had died, but then there were many trips by Eleanor alone almost every other year through the 1920s and 1930s between England and the US.  I was quite perplexed.

Fortunately, I was able to find another family tree on ancestry.com which listed both Henry Abbot and Eleanor Selinger.  What was particularly interesting to me was that this tree revealed that Henry Abbot was originally Henry Auerbach, son of Hyams Auerbach and Helen Selinger.  Another Selinger? Helen Selinger was born in 1850 in Germany, according to that tree, making her a contemporary of Julius and Frederick Selinger, who were also born in Germany in the 1850s.  Could Helen be Julius’ sister or cousin? Had she arranged for her son to meet and marry Eleanor, his cousin? I don’t know the answer to those questions just yet, but I have a lead that may help me find out.

I contacted the owner of the Auerbach tree, and she wrote back to me telling me that Henry Auerbach/Abbot was her great-uncle, her father’s brother, and that she had visited Eleanor and Henry many times at their home in London and that they never had children.  She said that her father’s family, the Auerbach/Abbot family, was in the fur business and made many trips back and forth to the United States for business.  I asked her for more information about Henry and Eleanor and am awaiting her response.  Henry died in 1965, and Eleanor died in 1979.

Thus, the five children of Augusta Cohen and Julius Selinger all thrived as adults and seem to have had comfortable lives.  Three of their four sons stayed in Washington, DC, although Sydney eventually retired to Florida.  Two sons ended up in the family jewelry business, Sydney and Harry.  Two sons ended up as doctors, one in Washington and the other in New York and then Connecticut, and their daughter, a bookkeeper, ended up marrying an Englishman and moving to London.  Of the five children, only the two sons who were doctors had children, two each, so that Augusta and Julius had four grandchildren.  Two of their children, Jerome and Eleanor,  seem to have met their spouses through a family connection. Their parents, an immigrant and the daughter of an immigrant, must have been very proud of their children and their accomplishments.

 

 

 

 

 

Science versus Inference:  Was Moses Cohen the Brother of Jacob Cohen?

The case for concluding that Moses Cohen, Sr., who lived in Baltimore (1850) and Washington, D.C. (1860), was the brother of my great-great-grandfather Jacob Cohen is built almost entirely on inference.  As I’ve described before, I have tentatively concluded that they were brothers based on the following bits of evidence:

  1. The 1841 English census that lists as the children of Hart and Sarah Cohen the following: Elizabeth (20), Moses (20), Jacob (15), and John (14).

    Hart Cohen and family 1841 English census

    Hart Cohen and family 1841 English census

  2. A passenger manifest for the ship New York Packet, dated July 7, 1848, that lists the following passengers: Jacob Cohen, Sarah Cohen, Fanny Cohen, Moses Cohen, and an infant named John Cohen.  Jacob Cohen and family ship manifestMoses Cohen page on ship manifestSource Citation
    Year: 1848
    Description
    Ship or Roll Number : Roll 073
    Source InformationAncestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
    Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957. Microfilm Publication T715, 8892 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives at Washington, D.C.Supplemental Manifests of Alien Passengers and Crew Members Who Arrived on Vessels at New York, New York, Who Were Inspected for Admission, and Related Index, compiled 1887-1952. Microfilm Publication A3461, 21 rolls. ARC ID: 3887372. RG 85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Index to Alien Crewmen Who Were Discharged or Who Deserted at New York, New York, May 1917-Nov. 1957. Microfilm Publication A3417. ARC ID: 4497925. National Archives at Washington, D.C.Passenger Lists, 1962-1972, and Crew Lists, 1943-1972, of Vessels Arriving at Oswego, New York. Microfilm Publication A3426. ARC ID: 4441521. National Archives at Washington, D.C.
  3. Headstones that identify the Hebrew name of the father of both Jacob and Moses Cohen as Naftali Ha Cohen (Hart being the Dutch and English equivalent of a deer, the tribe symbol for the tribe of Naftali)
    Jacob Cohen headstone cropped and enhanced

    Jacob Cohen’s headstone

    Moses Cohen, Sr. headstone

    Moses Cohen, Sr. headstone

  4. The fact that both Jacob and Moses named a son Hart, the same name as Jacob’s, and presumably Moses,’ father, Hart Levy Cohen.
  5. The fact that Moses had a granddaughter named Grace Cohen and that a bridesmaid of one of Jacob’s granddaughters was a Grace Cohen from Washington, DC.

These five bits of evidence were enough for me to reach the tentative conclusion that Jacob and Moses were brothers and that therefore the descendants of Moses Cohen were also my relatives.  There was also additional “evidence” in my failure to find a Moses Cohen other than the DC Moses who fit as well; there were two Moses Cohens of the right age on the 1851 English census, but neither was the right one.  I sent for marriage certificates for both of them, and they were not the sons of Hart and Rachel. I’ve already dug fairly deeply into the history of Moses Cohen and his children and grandchildren based on that hunch and those bits of evidence.

But I wanted something more scientific and definitive.  I was very fortunate to find someone who was a direct descendant of Moses’ son, Moses, Jr.  He had already done a DNA test with FamilyTreeDNA, so I asked my brother to do the same so that we could compare the results.  That was almost two months ago, and I finally received the results late last week.  I was very disappointed to see that my brother was not in the same haplogroup with the descendant of Moses, Jr., meaning that there was no genetic link between the two.  I was bewildered and discouraged.  I looked at all the hours I had spent researching Moses’ family and felt as if I had wasted a tremendous amount of time.

I am in touch with the wife of the Moses, Jr., descendant who was tested, and she also was disappointed, but not as surprised as I was.  She told me that there was a family story suggesting that Moses, Jr., had been adopted and was not in fact the biological child of Moses, Sr.   Suddenly, other bits of evidence started to make more sense.

The earliest document I have for Moses, Jr. is the 1850 US census. It lists Moses, Sr., living in Baltimore with his wife Adeline and eleven year old son Moses, Jr. Moses, Jr., is reported to have been born in Germany, and since he was eleven, born in 1839.

Moses Cohen and family 1850 census

Moses Cohen and family 1850 census

Other documents record his year of birth as 1840.  But Moses, Sr., was living in London in 1841, as seen on the English census of that year.  I had been confused by that before, but had assumed it was some error.

Also, Moses, Sr. is variously reported to have been born in years ranging from 1820 to 1828, depending on the document. His headstone says he was 32 in 1860 when he died, giving him a birth year of 1828.  Even assuming it was 1820, he would only have been twenty when Moses, Jr., was born.  How would he have met a German woman at such a young age, had a child with her in Germany, but then been living without her in London a year or more after the child was born? And where were Adeline and Moses, Jr.,  in 1848 when Moses emigrated from London to the US on the same ship with his brother Jacob?

I decided I needed to find out more about Adeline, the woman who married Moses and the mother of Moses, Jr.  I know that her birth name was Himmel from a birth record for their son Hart.  I cannot find a passenger list for Adeline or Moses, Jr., nor can I find a birth record or a marriage record linking Moses, Sr. and Adeline with Moses, Jr.  The earliest document I have found for Adeline is the 1850 US census above.

That 1850 census, seen above, show that living in the home next door to Adeline and Moses was a family with the surname Himmel: Jacob, Hannah and Moses Himmel.  Jacob, like Adeline, was born in Germany.  Both Jacob and Adeline Himmel had sons named Moses.  I am going to guess that Adeline was Jacob’s sister, though I’ve yet to find anything to corroborate that.

So this is my new challenge: to find records that will indicate where and when Moses, Jr., was born and where and when Moses, Sr., married his mother Adeline.  I am also going to focus on finding a biological descendant of Moses, Sr., so that perhaps I can find some scientific evidence to back up my inferences.  In the meantime, I am going to continue to assume that Moses, Sr., was the older brother of my great-great-grandfather and thus to tell his story as best I can as well as the story of his children and grandchildren, including Moses, Jr.

 

 

 

 

My Great-Great-Grandparents’ Marriage Certificate: Small Details Reveal So Much

As I celebrate the newest member of my extended family, I am also thinking about my great-great-grandparents, Jacob and Sarah Cohen.  A while back I had sent for their marriage certificate from the General Register Office in England, and the certificate arrived just a few days before Remy was born.  It confirms a number of facts I already knew—that Sarah’s birth name was Jacobs, that her father’s first name was Reuben, that she and Jacob married on October 24, 1844, that Hart, Jacob’s father, was a dealer as was Reuben Jacobs, Sarah’s father (a glass dealer?) and Jacob himself, and that they all lived in Spitalfields, Christchurch, Middlesex County, in England.  But the marriage certificate also revealed a few other interesting details.

Jacob Cohen and Sarah Jacobs marriage certificate

Jacob Cohen and Sarah Jacobs marriage certificate

For example, according to the certificate, Jacob was still a minor, but Sarah was of “full” age.  All the documents I have for Sarah, both from England and the US, place her at least two years younger than Jacob.  I wondered: Was the age of majority younger for women in England in 1844 than it was for men?  The 1841 census puts Rachel’s age that year as 15, meaning she was 18 when she married Jacob, whereas Jacob was only 20.  (When I think about how young they were and then how many children their marriage produced and how many years they were married, it is astounding.)

I did a little research and learned that although a girl could marry at 12 and a boy at 14, parental consent was necessary if either was under 21.  Both men and women were considered minors before they were 21; there was not a double standard.[1] That leaves me perplexed. Was Rachel older or younger than Jacob?  Was the marriage certificate right and all the other documents wrong? One would think that a marriage certificate would be more accurate than census reports, but perhaps this was just a mistake.

Sarah and Jacob marriage cropped

The certificate also indicates that, as with Hart Levy Cohen on his wife Rachel’s death certificate, Jacob and Sarah could not sign the document, but only left their marks on it.  Another question is thus raised: how literate was the population of England at this time?

A little quick research revealed that the literacy rate in England in 1840 was somewhere between 67% and 75% for the working class population.[2]  Another source indicated that based on the ability of brides and bridegrooms to sign their marriage certificates, the literacy rate was even lower among women at that time—around 50%, .  That same source, however, suggested that since writing was taught after reading, simply because someone could not sign his or her name did not mean that he or she could not read.[3]

A third interesting detail on the certificate is that it appears that both Jacob and Sarah were residing at 8 Landers Building at the time they were married.  Since it is not likely they were living together before they were married, this would mean that their families were living in the same building.  Were they childhood friends?  Had their parents as neighbors arranged the marriage? Were they all related in some way? It also appears that the marriage had taken place at this same location, not at a synagogue.  But the record from Synagogue Scribes indicated that they were married at the Great Synagogue, as were Hart and Rachel.  I assume that this was this just a civil certificate completed to comply with civil, not religious, law.  I find it interesting that it states that the ceremony was done “according to the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion” despite the fact that it is not a religious document.

It is quite amazing to me how much information and how many questions can be mined from one simple document.  Receiving this document was very exciting, as with receiving Rachel’s death certificate from England.  It ties me directly to my ancestors—people who were born almost 200 years ago, but with whom I have a direct and easily established connection.

 

 

 

[1] See the discussion on RootsChat at http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=643885.0 and also at BritishGenealogy.com at http://www.british-genealogy.com/forums/showthread.php/57256-Age-at-Marriage-Minor

[2]  R.S. Schofield, “Dimensions of Illiteracy in England, 1750-1850) in Literacy and Social Development In the West: A Reader (edited by Harvey J. Graff) (1981), p.201.

[3] “Introduction,” Aspects of the Victorian Book, at http://www.bl.uk/collections/early/victorian/pr_intro.html

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My Great-Great Grandmother Rachel Jacobs Cohen: Her Death Certificate

I have received a certified copy of my great-great grandmother’s death certificate from the General Register Office in London.  This is my first English vital record, and I was quite excited to receive it.  It amazes me that I can obtain a record that is over 150 years old from a foreign country just by clicking on the keys of a computer.  Below is a scan of the document and also a cropped version to highlight the actual text on the certificate.

Rachel Jacobs Cohen  death certificate

Rachel Jacobs Cohen death certificate

rachel jacobs cohen death cert 1851 cropped

There are a number of things that interest me about the information on this document.  First is Rachel’s date of death, January 9, 1851.  When I had searched through the BMD Index for this certificate, there were a number of Rachel Cohens who might have been the right person.  I guessed that it was this one based on the date.  Although Lewis and Jacob, Rachel’s sons, had left for the US in 1846 and 1848, respectively, Rachel’s husband and other children, Elizabeth and Jonas, did not leave until 1851.  I had a hunch that they did not leave because Rachel was ill and not able to make the journey, so they waited until after she died.

As the certificate shows, Rachel’s cause of death was “scirehus paylonis” and exhaustion, and it seems she had been ill for a year.  As best I can tell, scrirehus paylonis would be translated to schirrous pylonis or cancer of the stomach.  (My medical expert should feel free to correct this.)  I found some English writings on line in which that term was used to refer to what we would call stomach cancer.

The certificate also indicates where the family was living—in Landers Buildings in Christchurch, Spitalfields, in the Registration District of Whitechapel, County of Middlesex.  It also confirms that Hart Levy Cohen was a clothes dealer.

Perhaps most interesting and surprising to me is that Hart signed the certificate with a mark, an X, not with a signature.  Was he not able to sign his name? Was he illiterate? It’s so hard for me to imagine not being able to read and write that I found this shocking and disturbing.

 

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