Why I Love the Internet: The World Wide Web


Internet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Internet continues to provide me with so much more than access to information.  Through my blog, Ancestry, Facebook, Google, and ordinary old email, I continue to find and be found by cousins all over the world.  In the last two weeks, I have seen my network of cousins expand and greatly enrich my knowledge and understanding of my family history.  So a few updates.

First, I heard from a relative of Margaret Swem, the wife of Felix Schoenthal, my Boston relative, and she filled me in on the background and family of Margaret.  Quite interesting information that I will add to the post about Felix and his family.  Once again, having a blog proved useful because Margaret’s relative found my blog by Googling Margaret Swem’s name.

Second, an Israeli second cousin, once removed, of my husband found me through my tree on Ancestry.  I haven’t even done very much yet on my husband’s family, but through this new cousin we’ve learned a great deal about the Shrage family in Zabarazh, a town once in Galicia but now part of Ukraine.  It’s been very exciting learning from our new Israeli cousin.

Third, I’ve heard from a descendant of Hettie Schoenthal, one of Simon Schoenthal’s younger children about whom I’ve yet to blog.  This new cousin has shared some of Hettie’s own remembrances of her life as well as other stories.  I am looking forward to incorporating some of those into the blog as well as some photographs.

Fourth, I’ve been in touch with two British relatives of the UK Selinger cousins, relatives of Julius, Alfred, and Frederick Selinger, all of whom married my Cohen relatives.  I then put the two of them in touch as they had not previously known each other despite being cousins.  That gave me great satisfaction, and now all three of us are hunting for answers about the connections among some of the Selingers.

Fifth, I am in touch with a Goldfarb cousin and hoping to learn more about this recently discovered branch of my Brotman family line.  I just received a huge package of information that I need to go through, enter into my tree, and research.

Sixth, another Hamberg cousin just contacted me this morning.

And last but definitely not least, my cousin Wolfgang in Germany sent me new information about our Seligmann family line.  He and his mother received four new documents about our ancestors.  The first reveals two more generations back in the line of Jacob Seligmann, my four-times great-grandfather from Gaulsheim, Germany.  I will be blogging separately about these documents and what they revealed in the next few days before I return again to the children of Simon Schoenthal.

English: internet Español: internet

English: internet Español: internet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Turning on my computer in the morning has become a real treat, waiting to see who has found me, who has responded to my inquiries, and which cousin has new information to share.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my good fortune.  Sure, there are still many people who don’t reply to my emails or Facebook messages, but for every person I have found or who has found me, I am so deeply grateful.  The family tree keeps growing, and with it so does the world-wide web of fascinating and generous people whom  I can call my cousins.

A Package from Germany, Part II: Did Moritz Seligmann Have Two Wives?

Gau-Algesheim, Rathaus am Marktplatz

Gau-Algesheim, Rathaus am Marktplatz (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (Town Hall)

As I mentioned in my last post, the package I received from Germany included both a book about Gau-Algesheim and photocopies of the birth records for Bernard Seligman and his siblings.  Unfortunately for me, the birth records were all in German and were half in Germanic font and half in handwritten old German script.  I could pick out names, and most meaningfully, I could see the signature of my great-great-great-grandfather Moritz Seligmann on all the records.  But I could not read any of the text.  Not the typeface print on the form, and certainly not the handwritten script.

Bernard Seligman's birth record

Bernard Seligman’s birth record

JewishGen has a function called ViewMate where you can upload documents and ask JewishGen members for help in translation.  I decided to try that first.  Unfortunately, ViewMate limits the size of the documents you can upload to a relatively small size, and once I reduced the records to the requisite size, they were hardly legible.  Plus ViewMate takes several days; your document has to be submitted to the site, approved, and then it will be posted.  Then you have to send an email to the listserv and ask for help in translating the documents up uploaded.  Then you have to wait for someone to see your email and respond.  And you can only do five documents in a week.  This seemed a bit frustrating for me in this day of instant communications.

So I turned once again to Facebook.  There is a group on Facebook for German Genealogy, and I asked a question about obtaining translations of German records.  Someone there referred me to a different group that exists just for that purpose: German Genealogy Transcriptions.  I joined the group, and I posted the record for Bernhard Seligmann depicted above, asking if anyone could help me translate it and other records like it.

Within two hours, I heard from a group member, Matthias Steinke, who translated that first document and then spent the next couple of hours—no exaggeration—helping me with all the others.  I was just blown away by his generosity as well as his ability to decipher that script from a small scanned photograph of the document.  Matthias, if you are reading this, once again I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So what does that birth record for Bernhard Seligmann say?  This is the translation Matthias provided, as modified based on some of the later records he reviewed:

In the year thousand eighteen hundred thirtyandseven, the twentythird November at eleven o´clock pre midday came to me, Quirin Ewen, mayor and official for the civil registration of the comunity Gau-Algesheim, county Ober-Ingelheim, Moritz Seligmann, thirtyseven years old, merchant, residing in Gau-Algesheim and declared, that at the twentythird November Eighteen hundred thirtyseven at one o´clock in the morning in the Blosselgasse nr. 98, Babetta nee Schönfeld, twentyseven years old, wife of the named Moritz Seligmann, here residing gave birth to a child of male sex, who was showed to me and who got the first name Bernhard. The declaration and showing happened in presence of the witnesses: 1. Johann Kleissinger, thirty years old, church-clerk in Gau-Algesheim residing 2. Johann Wessel (?), thirtyfive years old, tax-messenger in Gau-Algesheim residing. [signatures]

There were nine records all together, and for the others I only needed the basic data: names, ages, dates, and addresses, since I now knew what the form template was asking based on this first translation.  All the basic dates and names for the children were consistent with the information I had been originally provided by Bernie Brettschneider from Gau-Algesheim, but now I had copies of the actual records to verify that information.

Plus I now had an address for where the family was living during the years from Sigmund’s birth in 1829 until Paulina’s birth in 1847.  Although the house numbers vary, throughout all those years the Seligmann family was living on Flossergasse (apparently rafter alley). (Bernard’s said Blossergasse, but all the others said Flossergasse.)   I was able to locate Flosserstrasse on the map as well as Langgasse where August and Hyronimus later lived.  I assume Flossergasse was either off of Flosserstrasse or the street was renamed at some point.


But the records also revealed a mystery.  For Sigmund (1829), Carolina (1833), and Benjamin (1835), the mother’s name is Eva nee Schonfeld.  But starting with Bernhard in 1837, the mother’s name is given as Babetta or Barbara nee Schonfeld for Bernhard (1837), Hyronimus (1839), August (1841), Adolph (1843), Mathilde (1845), and Paulina (1847).

At first I thought that Eva had changed her name, but Matthias pointed out that the ages did not quite line up.  Not all the birth records included a reference to the age of the mother, but in  March, 1833 Eva was 26, meaning a birth year of 1806/7, depending on the month of her birthday. In May, 1835, she was 28, so that is consistent with the same birth year range.  But on Bernhard’s birth record, Babette nee Schonfeld is 27 in 1837, meaning a birth year of 1809 or 1810.  Two years later on December 14, 1839, she was 30, meaning her birth year was most likely in 1809.  The other birth records are also consistent with a birth year for Babette in 1809.

So unless Eva both changed her name and lied about her age on the later birth records, it would appear that Sigmund, Carolina, and Benjamin had a different mother than their younger siblings and also perhaps that Moritz married Eva’s younger sister sometime between 1835 when Benjamin was born and 1837 when my great-great-grandfather was born.

Thanks again to Matthias Steinke for his incredible generosity and great skills in transcribing and translating from German to English.  Thank you also to Ralph Baer who has also  been a tremendous help. Ralph is the JewishGenner who has been helping me with my Nussbaum/Dreyfuss relatives as well as generally with German records and German translations.  Both Ralph and Matthias are also helping me with the Gau-Algesheim book as I try and confirm and understand the passages about the Seligmanns.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am filled with gratitude for all the help I have received as I continue on this path to find my family—from the readers who comment and send me helpful suggestions to the people on Facebook who jump in to help, to the people at various libraries and historical societies who respond to my inquiries, and to the people at JewishGen who have helped me solve many mysteries.  As I’ve said several times, the generosity of the genealogy community is an inspiration.  If only the whole world was as giving and helpful as the people I have met in the genealogy world.



To Reveal or Not: More Thoughts on the Ethics of Genealogy

My post yesterday prompted a lot of comments both here on the blog and also in two genealogy groups I follow on Facebook, Tracing the Tribe, which is a Jewish genealogy group, and the Ancestry.com group.  I am very grateful for all the thoughts and discussion, and I have a better idea of where to draw the line between revealing and not revealing information.   I will try to summarize the viewpoints articulated by those who participated in these discussions.

Generally speaking, there are two different views.  One view is that telling the truth is an important principle in reporting the results of genealogy research.  Genealogy is a form of history, and without all the details, we are distorting history.  If we delete information, we are not giving a full picture of a family’s history.  In fact, we are whitewashing the information and creating a picture that presents people as perfect when in reality people are always flawed, make mistakes, endure hardships, suffer from illnesses, marital problems, financial problems, and so on.  What is the point of history if it is not truthful?

On the other hand, many people argue that there is a need to respect the privacy and feelings of others and thus to keep certain information that may hurt someone or embarrass them from being disclosed, both publicly and to those it might hurt or embarrass.  Several people mentioned the traditional Jewish principles of not doing anything to shame or embarrass another and of  lashon hara—not to say anything about anyone, whether true or false, whether flattering or insulting.  My rabbi and dear friend Rabbi Herbert Schwartz also reminded me that even God did not reveal the truth all the time and that lying is sometimes better than truth-telling when the feelings of others are involved.


IAJGS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One person pointed me to the website for the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies)  and its statement of ethical principles for genealogists.  Among the guidelines they espouse is one that suggests that information that is more than 75 years old may be disclosed.  Quoting from the IAJGS website:

Regarding the “right to privacy” versus the “freedom of information” area of potential conflict:

  • Data more than 75 years old should be regarded as sufficiently historical to be available, without restriction.
  • More recent data should be evaluated in the light of sensitivities of the living versus the importance of disseminating information.
  • Generally, a request from an individual that certain information about themselves or close relatives be kept private should be respected.
  • It if is decided not to publish any particular piece of information, there should be a clear statement to that effect so that the reader is not misled by the omission.

Ethics statement approved by the IAJGS Board of Directors 2 November 2002

The website also includes the Ten Commandments in Genealogy written by Rabbi Malcolm Stern.  These include the following:

9. The sensitivities of living people must be respected and the memory of the deceased likewise, but for the latter it is permitted to record the objective facts about them.

All parties seem to agree that anything about a living person should not be disclosed.  I agree whole-heartedly with that point of view, and I only provide information about anyone living if they consent first.  I keep the details of my family tree on password-protected pages for that reason, i.e., that they include living descendants.

So where do I come out on this debate?  As I said, my views are more clear now than they were before, but they are not yet truly defined.  I agree with both views.  I honor the principle of truth.  As someone who loves history and who is educated in the law, I believe that knowing the truth is important to each of us personally and to our society as a whole.  But I also embrace the need to avoid harming another person if at all possible.  I would hate to think that something I write causes pain to another, but I also know that that pain is rooted in the truth I’ve revealed, not simply in the fact that I have revealed it.

For me that means that, as we lawyers like to say, it depends.  It depends on the circumstances.  Here are some of the circumstances I will and do consider before writing about something that might be upsetting to another person:

  1. Are these documented facts or just allegations? If the latter, I must indicate that they are only allegations or perhaps not even report them at all.  If it was information from a newspaper article, I will quote that source; if it is something that I was told by a relative, I would not report it unless I could find sufficient corroboration.
  2. How long ago did these events occur? I like the 75 year rule adopted by the IAJGS, meaning anything before 1940 would be considered generally publishable if documented.  For me, I might even use a 100 year rule, meaning anything before 1914 is publishable if documented.  However, even in those circumstances, I might still hesitate to reveal the information if there is some other reason not to do so.  For example, if a living descendant asks me not to do so (see #4 below) or if the facts are relatively insignificant.
  3. If I do reveal those older facts, I may also take steps to protect the identity of any living descendants of that person.  For example, if someone who lived 120 years ago committed a crime, is it necessary to reveal the names of his or her children or grandchildren in a blog post about that person? By making it less obvious who the descendants are, it will be harder for others to make that connection. If a descendant, say, a great-grandchild, looks hard enough, they might find out that their great-grandparent committed a crime, but if they look that hard, they also likely would have found it the same way I did—from publicly available records.
  4. For information that is more recent than 75 years, I would only reveal that information if I am sure that either there are no living direct descendants or if I am in touch with living descendants and am able to discuss the facts with them and get their permission to write about it on the blog.  I do not generally think it is my role to tell someone something that may upset them; I am not a psychologist and am not able to deal with the reactions I might cause.  But if I know that that person already knows the information, then I am more willing to let them know that I have learned about it from some public source and then to talk to them about it.  If I can’t find the living descendants, then I would not reveal information that is more recent than 1940.
  5. If a descendant asks me not to write about something on the blog, I will not do so.  Yes, that may distort history, but this is personal history, family history—not the kind that changes society or reveals the truth about how political decisions are made.  This is not a cover-up that will affect many people, if any, outside of one particular family.

Do these principles/guidelines make sense? I am still struggling with this, and I know that not everyone will agree.  The truth-seekers will not be happy with me for holding back some information; those who do not believe in revealing upsetting information will not be happy that I will reveal that information in certain circumstances.  I know that my thoughts and my practice will evolve over time, and I know that I will continue to struggle and to seek counsel from all of you.

Thank you to everyone who commented, both here and on Facebook, and for helping me think through this difficult issue.



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.

Why Don’t They Trust Me?

Almost every aspect of doing family history research is rewarding.  Finding new family members, finding documents, looking at photographs, even puzzling through mysteries that you cannot solve—all are rewarding in different ways.  Sometimes it is frustrating not to be able to find a key document, but there are always new documents to be found and hope for finding the ones that are missing.

But what I do find most frustrating is not being able to persuade a newly found relative that I am not a stalker or a scammer or some other type of crazy person.  Whenever I have located a new relative, I always send a message explaining why I think we are related (in some detail) and a link both to my blog and to my work website.  If they are on Facebook, I give them access to my Facebook page.  I try to do whatever I can to reassure people that I am not after them or their money, that I am not interested in anything other than making the connection and possibly learning more about our shared family history.

I understand that not everyone is interested in this stuff, and that’s okay.  There are lots of things I have no interest in that other people find fascinating—investments, cars, basketball, cooking.  It makes life interesting—we are not all going to be interested in the same things.  Variety is the spice of life, and all that.  But what I don’t understand is people who won’t even respond, even if just to tell me that they are not interested. I assume they just don’t trust me, and that makes me sad.

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Is there a Yelp for Genealogy Resources?

The always helpful and amazing Renee did it again.  I asked her for help finding Nathan and Gertrude Mintz and their daughter Susanne, and within hours she had located an obituary for Gertrude, naming her daughter Susan and granddaughters and great-grandchild.  A second obituary for Susan’s husband revealed another great-grandchild.  So now I have some living descendants to track down and contact.  I’ve already reached out to one, but have not yet heard back.  Perhaps we will be able to learn what happened to Harry, Zusi and Nathan after Hyman died and the family seems to have split apart or disappeared.

I would like to be able to find this kind of information myself.  I asked Renee how she had found these materials, and once again it was two resources to which I do not subscribe or have access: Geni.com and PeopleFinders.  It’s all quite overwhelming.  There are so many different sources and websites. There are an amazing number of free resources: Familysearch.org, FindAGrave.com, fultonhistory.com, JRI-Poland, stevemorse.org, italiangen.org, Google, Facebook, the White Pages, for example. JewishGen.org and Gesher Galicia are free, but if you want full access, you need to pay or make a contribution. All of these sites are tremendously helpful, especially for finding people before 1940, but to find people after that date requires access to other resources since the census reports and vital records dated after 1940 are not publicly available.  To find someone after 1940 or so requires access to obituaries, phone books, newspaper articles, marriage announcements, and other more modern databases.

There are also a very large number of paid sites.  Each time I’ve asked Renee how she found a source, usually a wedding announcement or an obituary, I’ve checked out that database or website and subscribed to a few.  For example, newspapers.com and genealogybank.com are two sites to which I have subscribed but that have been almost useless to me.  I don’t know whether I am using them incorrectly or just unlucky, but I’ve found almost nothing of value on those sites.   So I’ve become a little reluctant to plop down my credit card for more sites without figuring out whether they are worth the investment.

Some of the sites are not that expensive—$25 a year; others are far more expensive.  For example, Geni.com, the site Renee used this time, costs $125 a year.  They do offer a free 14-day trial, however, so I might at least try that.  There are also so many other sites—Intelius, PeopleFinders—the list goes on and on.  I am confused and overwhelmed.  Do I really need any of these? Do I need all of them?  Where do I draw the line?

Maybe somewhere there is a source that rates these sources for genealogy research value.  Maybe some of the genealogists who are reading this post can point me to that source or provide me with some guidance.  What are the best sources for locating obituaries, wedding announcements and other information relating to people living after 1940? Why have both newspapers.com and genealogybank.com proven to be so useless to me?  Is Geni.com worth the price?

Let me know what you think.  Thanks!

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Playing detective: Searching for Gold(schlagers)

My first genealogical search efforts about a year and half ago related to my grandfather’s family, the Goldschlagers.  I started there because I figured (somewhat incorrectly) that Goldschlager was an uncommon name and thus would be an easier family to research, unlike Cohen, Brotman, Schoenthal, Seligman—my other family lines.  I also was very curious about my grandfather’s life because I had always heard about how he had walked out of Romania.  It also helped that we knew where he had lived in Romania, the city of Iasi (sometimes spelled Jassy, sometimes Yassy) and that we knew the names of his parents and siblings.

I started by focusing on finding other descendants of the Goldschlager clan.  We knew that Isadore had a brother David and a sister Betty.  My brother had already found some of the relevant records from Ellis Island.  We also knew that David had had two sons, Murray and Sidney, and that Betty had had two daughters, Frieda and Estelle. I figured that I would start with Murray and Sidney since I assumed (again incorrectly) that since they were men, their names would be Goldschlager and they would be easy to find.

I was not very experienced in my research techniques back then and did not get very far.  Since the US Census records are only available up through the 1940 census, I could not get too far using ancestry.com at that point.  I was lucky, however, to find Sidney Goldschlager’s obituary by googling his name.  From that obituary, I learned that his brother Murray had changed his last name to Leonard and was living with his wife Edna in Tucson, Arizona.  (Murray and Edna were listed as survivors of Sidney along with his wife Nora; there were no others mentioned, so I assumed (this time correctly) that Sidney and Nora had not had children.)

Once I knew that Murray was using the name Murray Leonard, I searched for him online by googling his name and Tucson and found a news article about the closing of a chain of women’s clothing stores called Vicky Wayne in the Tuscon area owned by Murray and Edna Leonard.  After that, however, I hit a wall.  Although I could find a telephone listing for Murray Leonard, I was not comfortable making a telephone call blindly. At that point I gave up and turned to searching for Frieda and Estelle, but because I had no idea what their married names were, that ended up as a dead end also.  That was, as I said, about a year and half ago.  I figured I had done all I could do to find the Goldschlagers.

Then this past summer I got an email from a man who was also searching for Goldschlagers.  He had seen my family tree on ancestry.com and was interested in sharing information.  Although we were not able to find any connection between our trees, he did inspire me to start looking again.  He gave me the name of a researcher he had found in Iasi, Romania, and I contacted him to look for records for my Goldschlager ancestors.  As I wrote in my prior post about the Goldschlagers, he was able to obtain several records about my grandfather, about my great-grandparents, and about David, my great-uncle.

Those findings were what really lit a fire for me and inspired me to start my research again.  Although I did not get any further with finding Goldschlagers, it was at that point that I turned to the Brotman line and became fully immersed in learning how to do genealogical research.

With the benefit of this new knowledge and the tools I now knew how to use, I returned to researching my Goldschlager relatives.  This time I knew to dig deeper in order to find other descendants. First, I was able to find some records for Betty and her daughters.  I found a census report for Betty Feuerstein living with her husband Isadore, her mother (listed as Gussie Gold), and her two daughters in Bayshore, Long Island.

Betty Feuerstein and family 1940 census

Betty Feuerstein and family 1940 census

By researching the Feuerstein family, I was able to link with a descendant of that family, who sent me pictures of Frieda and of Betty.  He also knew their married names; Frieda married Abe Adler, and Estelle married I. Kenner, known as Kenny. I found a listing for an Estelle Kenner in Florida, but that’s as far as I have gotten.  My contact did not know whether they had had children or where Frieda had lived.

Last week I returned to the search for David’s descendants. I re-read the article about the Vicky Wayne stores and saw that the stores had been named for a niece of Murray and Edna Leonard.  I googled Vicky Wayne and found many references to a mail order clothing store and then ultimately a reference to the name in an obituary for a woman named Anne Steinberg.  I read the obituary and saw that Anna was survived by two sisters, Faye and Edna.  I thought that perhaps Edna Leonard was Anne’s sister, and so I searched for a record on ancestry that would have listed three sisters on a census named Anne, Edna and Faye.  I found one, the daughters of Ben and Sarah Kaufman living in NYC.

Kaufman family 1930 census

Kaufman family 1930 census

From there I looked at the names of Anne’s children in the obituary and googled them and searched for them on Facebook.  Once I found a few of them on Facebook, I looked to see if they had any friends with the last name Leonard, figuring that Murray and Edna’s children would be cousins of Anna’s children and grandchildren.  Sure enough, Anne’s daughter had a “friend” named Richard Leonard from Tucson, now living in Australia.  I contacted Richard through Facebook and LinkedIn, and within an hour I’d heard back from him, confirming that he is Murray and Edna’s son, David Goldschlager’s grandson, and my second cousin. I had indeed found another Goldschlager descendant.

Richard and I spoke at length by Skype (despite a 13 hour time difference) the other night, and he filled me in on his parents and his grandparents.  His father, though born in Scranton, PA, had grown up in the Bronx and is a loyal Yankee fan (sigh…), as is Richard.  His parents had moved to Tucson in 1958  shortly after marrying in NYC.  Edna’s sister Anna had moved there, and they all worked in the business together, eventually dividing it into two parts, the mail order business and the retail stores.  Sometime in the early 1970s, Murray moved his parents, David and Rebecca Goldschlager, to Tucson as well, where they lived nearby and where Richard was able to see them often.

Richard said that his grandfather did not talk to him about his life in Romania or his family, but was more focused on the present and enjoyed spending time with Richard as he was growing up.  I’ve asked Richard to see if his father, now 92, knows any more about David’s life and family, and he said that he will do so and let me know what he learns.  I also asked Richard if he knew anything about our great-aunt Betty or her daughters Frieda and Estelle, but unfortunately he did not.

Once again, I am amazed by how much you can find in public sources if you are persistent and thorough enough.  I will continue to look for Frieda and Estelle and their descendants, if any.  Now I am expanding the search, looking for other possible relatives of the Goldschlager family.  I believe I have found my great-grandmother’s sister and her family, but that’s a post for another day.

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