The Bensew Daughters, Roschen and Frieda: Who Was Mrs. Hon?

My last post covered the lives of the five sons of Breine Mansbach and Jakob Bensew: William, Lester, Julius, Heine, and Max. Breine and Jakob Bensew also had two daughters, Roschen, their first child, who was born in 1870, and Frieda, their last child, who was born in 1886. This post is about them and their families.

As we have seen, Roschen may have come to the US in 1890 with two of her brothers, but if she did, she returned to Germany where she married Josef Stern in 1899 and had at least two children born in Kassel, Alfred, born in 1900, and Edwin, born in 1905. According to some researchers, Roschen and Josef had three other children, but so far I have not found any evidence of those children in either German or US records. And although I was able to find a death record for Josef, who died in Kassel, Germany on February 2, 1927,1 I’ve been unable to find a record of Roschen’s death.

What I know about their sons Alfred and Edwin is that both immigrated to the US in 1937 to escape Nazi Germany. Edwin, the younger brother, was the first to leave Germany. He arrived in New York on January 6, 1937, listing his age as 31, his marital status as single, his occupation as merchant, and birthplace as Kassel, Germany. He reported that he was leaving behind his brother, “A. Stern,” of Berlin, Germany, and going to his uncle, “W. Bensev,” i.e., William Bensev, of Denver, Colorado. William was his mother Roschen’s brother.

Edwin Stern, passenger manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5923; Line: 1; Page Number: 108
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Edwin’s brother Alfred followed ten months later. He arrived on October, 1937, listing his age as 37, occupation as bank clerk, and birthplace as Kassel. The manifest indicates that Alfred was married and resided in Berlin, and he reported on the manifest that the person he was going to was his uncle, “J. Loewenherz” of Winnetka, Illinois. I believe this was really Emanuel Loewenherz, who was married to Alfred’s aunt Frieda Bensev, his mother Roschen’s little sister.

Alfred Stern, passenger manifest, p. 1, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6066; Line: 1; Page Number: 23
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Alfred also indicated that the person he was leaving behind was his wife Rita of the same address in Berlin. But there was also a second name listed in the column for those the person left behind, a Mrs. Hon of Nice, France, identified as his mother.

The form asks the person to provide the name of “the nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came or, if none there, then in country of which a citizen or subject.” Since Alfred came from Germany and was a citizen or subject of only Germany, supplying the name of someone in France would not have been correct. Is that why his wife’s name is written in instead? Was the Mrs. Hon in Nice, France, actually Alfred’s mother Roschen Bensew Stern? If so, I cannot find her. If anyone has any suggestions, please help!

I was a little worried that Alfred had left his wife behind, so was relieved to see on the 1940 census that Alfred, Rita, and their three-year-old daughter Renate (later Renee) were safely living in New York City where Alfred was working as a clerk for the telegraph company. Rita’s mother Elizabeth Garde and sister Charlotte Garde were also living with them.

Alfred Stern household, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02673; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 31-2013
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Alfred’s brother Edwin Stern had gone to Denver to live with his uncle William Bensev. On the 1940 census, William not only had his wife Jessie, daughter Theodora, and three brothers—Heine, Max, and Julius—living with him.  He also had taken in his nephew Edwin, who was working as a salesman in a department store:

William Bensev household 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00488; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 16-149
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

In 1942 when he registered for the draft, Edwin was still living with his uncle William and working for the May Company, the department store. Edwin served in the US military from May 1, 1942, until March 13, 1945.2 I unfortunately was not able to find out any information about Edwin during or after his service in World War II. He died on May 6, 1980, in San Francisco, California; he was 75.3 I do not know if he ever married or had children.

Edwin Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 232
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Alfred Stern seems to have stayed in the New York City area for the rest of his life. As with Edwin Stern, the fact that his name is so common made it impossible to determine much else about his life. He died on August 7, 1991; he was 91 years old.4

Breine and Jakob Bensew’s other daughter Frieda had been in the US since 1907 and in 1910 was living in Chicago and working as a stenographer, as discussed here. Sometime in 1918, Frieda married Emanuel Loewenherz. I have no marriage record, but Emanuel did not arrive in the US until January 30, 1913.5 On his naturalization papers signed on April 22, 1918, he wrote that he was not married.6 But when he registered for the World War II draft, he was married to Frieda; unfortunately, there is no date on his registration card:

Emanuel Loewenherz, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1452380; Draft Board: 01
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Emanuel was born in “Piwowsczyrna, Austria,” on October 5, 1882, according to his naturalization papers; the closest match I could find on a current map is Piwniczna-Zdrój, Poland.7 When he registered for the draft, he and Frieda were living in Chicago, and he was working as a work manager for the K.W. Battery Company. On the 1920 census, they were still living in Chicago, and Emanuel now reported his occupation as a machine engineer for a manufacturing company. Their son Walter was born later that year on August 6, 1920, in Chicago.8

Emanuel Loewenherz household, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 1, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_305; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 10
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

In 1927 Emanuel, Frieda, and young Walter traveled together on the SS Deutschland to Hamburg, Germany. In 1930 they again made a trip to Hamburg.9 In 1930 the family was living in New Trier, Illinois, a town about 20 miles north of Chicago. Emanuel owned a home worth $20,000—or equivalent to about $300,000 in today’s dollars. Emanuel had gone from being a work manager and then a machine engineer to being the president of the battery company. Also living with Emanuel, Frieda and Walter was Alfred Mansbach, Frieda’s cousin and the son of Julius Mansbach and the other Frieda Bensew. The family was at the same address in 1940; Alfred Mansbach was no longer living with them, but a nephew named Micha Loewenherz was. Emanuel was still the president of the battery company.10

Loewenherz household, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: New Trier, Cook, Illinois; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 2223; FHL microfilm: 2340238
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Walter Loewenherz enlisted in the military on October 6, 1942.11 On March 20, 1943, he married Beatrice Ganzoff in Comanche, Oklahoma. Since Beatrice, like Walter, was a Chicago native and resident, I assume they married in Oklahoma because Walter was stationed there.

Ancestry.com. Oklahoma, County Marriage Records, 1890-1995

Emanuel Loewenherz died in December 1963 in Chicago; he was 81.12 His wife, my cousin Frieda Bensew Loewenherz, died on December 17, 1975, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when she was 89.13

According to his obituary,14 Walter Loewenherz became president of the K.W. Battery Company, succeeding his father. He eventually moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was an active member of several civic and charitable organizations in both Chicago and Fort Lauderdale. He died when he was only 65 years old on November 16, 1985, in Fort Lauderdale. His wife Beatrice died on June 30, 2005, also in Fort Lauderdale; she was 84.15  Beatrice was quite an accomplished woman.  According to her obituary, she was Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University and a Fulbright Scholar. She taught at  Sunset Ridge School in Northfield, Illinois, and Nova Southeastern in Florida and was active in many civic organizations. After retiring, Beatrice and Walter had lived in a sailboat off of St. Bart’s before settling in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.16They were survived by their four children.

With this post, I have written about all the children of my three-times great-aunt, Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach. Moreover, I have now written about all the children of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander except for the one child who never left Germany: Biele or Betty Goldschmidt. Her story comes next.


  1.  Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5608, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  3.  Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997, Social Security #: 524052638. 
  4.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 059125292. 
  5. Emanuel Loewenherz, passenger manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1827, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934. 
  6. Emanuel Loewenherz, naturalization records, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906 – 1991; NAI Number: 6756404; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21,  Petitions, v 64-68, no 6270-6700, 1918,
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991. 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, SSN: 329163469. 
  9. Loewenherz family on passenger manifests, Year: 1927; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3997; Line: 8; Page Number: 163, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists. Year: 1930; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4885; Line: 3; Page Number: 90, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  10. Loewenherz household, 1940 US census, Census Place: New Trier, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00783; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 16-322, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. 
  12. Number: 340-07-2609; Issue State: Illinois; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Number: 356-38-3307; Issue State: Illinois; Issue Date: 1963,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14.  Fort Lauderdale News, 16 Nov 1985, Page 15 
  15. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 329019705. 
  16.  Evanston Review, obit for Dr. Beatrice Loewenherz, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/111A841C55ED24D8-111A841C55ED24D8 : accessed 28 September 2018); South Florida Sun-Sentinel () , obit for Loewenherz, Beatrice, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/10B49B19E169FC50-10B49B19E169FC50 : accessed 28 September 2018) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


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

Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach’s Grandchildren Come of Age: Philadelphia 1910-1920

The years between 1910 and 1920 were years of growth for the children of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach who were living in the US.  Their children, Sarah and Abraham’s grandchildren, were becoming adults and starting households of their own. This post will cover the Philadelphia siblings, Hannah and Louis, and their brother Julius, who was living in Germany with his family. The Colorado siblings will be discussed in the next post.

The two Philadelphia siblings, Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg and Louis Mansbach, saw their daughters marry in this decade. Hannah’s older daughter Reta married Elmor Alkus in Philadelphia in 1912.1 Elmor was, like Reta, born in Pennsylvania in 1889; his parents were Morris and Henrietta Alkus, both of whom were born in Germany. Elmor’s father Morris was a wool merchant. In 1910, Elmor was a commercial traveler selling notions.2 Reta and Elmor’s first child, Elaine, was born on April 22, 1914, in Philadelphia.3 In 1920, they were all living in Philadelphia, and Elmor was now the owner of a towel supply company. I assume that his father-in-law Gerson Dannenberg had taken him into his business.4

Hannah’s younger daughter Katinka married Sidney Olsho in 1916 in Philadelphia.5 Sidney, the son of Jacob Olshoffsky (later shortened to Olsho) and Louisa Galeski, was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, on January 22, 1879, making him fifteen years older than Katinka. He was 37 when they married, she 22. He was a doctor. His parents were German immigrants, and his father was a dry goods merchant.6 Sidney and Katinka had a son, Edward, born on February 6, 1919, in Philadelphia. In 1920, they were living in Philadelphia where Sidney was practicing as an eye, ear, nose and throat physician (amusingly, it was transcribed as “dye, oat, nas, thead” on Ancestry).

Sidney Olsho and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 8, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1619; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 181
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Sidney wasn’t the only doctor in Hannah’s family. Her son Arthur Dannenberg was also a physician, according to his World War I draft registration. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania medical school in 1913 and had trained as a pediatrician:

Arthur Dannenberg, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907646; Draft Board: 26
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

University of Pennsylvania alumni directory, Publication Year: 1917
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935

Arthur served in the US Army from August 10, 1917, until August 1, 1919, and was promoted to a captain in May, 1918. He served primarily at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia in the medical corps and did not serve overseas.7 After the war, Arthur returned home and was living with his parents, Hannah and Gerson Dannenberg, in Philadelphia in 1920.  Arthur was practicing medicine, and his father Gerson was a merchant in the towel business.8

Louis Mansbach’s daughter Rebecca also married in this decade. Rebecca married David Rattin in Philadelphia in 1917.9 David was born on September 10, 1886 or 1887 (records conflict), in Alsace, Germany, to Isadore and Sophia Rattin. They immigrated when David was just a toddler in 1888. David’s father must have died either before they immigrated or shortly thereafter as by 1895, his mother was listed as a widow in the Philadelphia directory.10 So like Rebecca, David had lost a parent when he was a young child.

I believe that this is David, living in the Jewish Home for children in 1900 (line 21):

David Rattin in Jewish Home, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 9; Enumeration District: 0512; FHL microfilm: 1241464
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

By 1910, David was reunited with his mother, who was living on her own income, presumably from the boarders who were living in their home:

David Rattin, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1394; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0359; FHL microfilm: 1375407
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In 1912, David graduated from the University of Pennsylvania law school, and in 1918, when he registered for the draft, he was working as an attorney.11 Rebecca and David’s first child Ruth was born on April 28, 1919.12 In 1920 they were living in Philadelphia along with David’s mother Sophia, and David was practicing law.13

University of Pennsylvania alumni directory, Publication Year: 1917
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935

Louis Mansbach was also still living in Philadelphia in 1920 and continued to practice as a veterinarian. He was living with Moses Dannenberg, who although listed as Louis’s cousin was more likely his brother-in-law, brother of Gerson Dannenberg, Hannah Mansbach’s husband, because in 1910, Moses had been living with Gerson and Hannah and listed as Gerson’s brother. 14

Meanwhile, Julius Mansbach and his wife Frieda Bensew and their children Beatrice and Alfred were living in Wunstorf, Germany, in the 1910s. Art Mansbach shared this adorable photograph of  his father Alfred in 1916 when he was six:

Alfred Mansbach, 1916. Courtesy of Art Mansbach

The one very sad note in this decade was the death of Beatrice Mansbach, the daughter of Julius Mansbach and Frieda Bensew. Beatrice died in 1918 from the Spanish influenza, according to her nephew Art Mansbach. She was only fourteen years old. These photographs of Beatrice taken when she was just a little girl help to preserve the memory of this young girl whose beautiful life was cut short.

 

 


  1. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951, Marriage License Number: 289763. 
  2. Alkus family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1403; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0765; FHL microfilm: 1375416. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 191222552. 
  4. Elmor and Reta Alkus, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 42, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1643; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 1578.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  5. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951, Marriage License Number: 350034. 
  6. Sidney Olsho death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Box Number: 2408; Certificate Number Range: 099851-102700. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Olsho family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1402; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0630; FHL microfilm: 1375415.  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  7. Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (D) Officers-Army (Boxes 11-14); Box #: 11; Folder #: 14; Box Info: (Box 11) D-Deg. Ancestry.com. U.S., WWI Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921 
  8. Dannenberg family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 969. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  9. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951, Marriage License Number: 363508. 
  10. David Rattin, naturalization papers, National Archives; Washington, D.C.; Record Group Title: M1522. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Federal Naturalization Records, 1795-1931. David Rattin, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907616; Draft Board: 13, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Philadelphia City directory, 1895, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. David Rattin, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907616; Draft Board: 13. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  12. Issue State: Wisconsin; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; 
  13. David Rattin and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1616; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 471.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  14. Louis Mansbach, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1616; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 455.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 

(Re)introducing Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach and Her Family

Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach, c. 1899
Courtesy of Art Mansbach

I have already told in two earlier posts the beginning of the story of Sarah Goldschmidt, my three-times great aunt and oldest child of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander, but that was almost nine months ago. I had moved away from Sarah to tell the story of her younger siblings who had immigrated to the US thirty or so years before Sarah arrived. Now it is once again Sarah’s turn. But first a brief refresher on those earlier posts. Some of this material is covered in more depth in those earlier posts, and some is newly updated.

Sarah Goldschmidt was born December 1, 1818, in Oberlistingen; she married Abraham Mansbach on October 31, 1843.

Marriage record of Sarah (Sarchen) Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach
Trauregister der Juden von Gudensberg 1825-1900 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 386)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 14

Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach had ten children: Breine (1844), Hewa “Hedwig (1846), Leiser “Louis” (1849), Jacob (1851), Merla “Amalie/Amelia” (1853), Berthold (1856), Hannah (1858), Meyer (1860), Kathinka (1862), and Julius (1865).1

Jacob, the fourth child, born on June 23, 1851, died on September 13, 1853. He was just two years old.

Jacob Mansbach death record
HHStAW Fonds 365 No 387, p. 47

Hedwig was born on November 20, 1846. On February 16, 1875, she married David Rothschild of Zierenberg, Germany. Sadly, Hedwig died nine months to the day later on November 16, 1875.

Hedwig/Hewa Mansbach birth record HHStAW Fonds 365 No 384, p.43

Death record for Hedwig Mansbach Rothschild
Description: Geburten, Heiraten Tote 1874-1875
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1730-1875

All but one of Sarah and Abraham’s eight other children emigrated to the United States.  The one who remained in Germany was their oldest child, Breine. She was born on September 27, 1844, and she married Jacob Bensew on February 3, 1870; Jacob was born on January 15, 1840, in Malsfeld, Germany, the son of Heinemann Bensew and Roschen Goldberg.

Breine Mansbach birth record
HHStAW Fonds 365 No 384, p. 39

marriage record for Breine Mansbach and Jacob Bensew
HHStAW Fonds 365 No 386, p. 35

Breine and Jacob had eight children—six sons and two daughters: Roschen (1870), William (1872), Lester (1873), Julius (1875), Siegmund (1877), Heinemann (1879), Max (1882), and Frieda (1886). Siegmund died in 1882 when he was five, but the six of the other seven Bensew children would eventually immigrate to the United States. Breine and Jacob stayed behind, however, and lived the rest of their lives in Germany, as did their daughter Roschen. Breine died in Melsungen, Germany, on May 31, 1922, and her husband Jacob in Kassel, Germany, on April 25, 1925. More on the Bensew family in posts to come. 2

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

This post will now focus on the seven children of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach who immigrated to the US: Louis, Amalia/Amelia, Berthold, Hannah, Meyer, Kathinka, and Julius.

Thanks to my cousin Art Mansbach, I have some photographs of Sarah and Abraham and their family.  Here is one of Sarah and Abraham and their youngest child, Julius in about 1870:

Abraham Mansbach, Julius Mansbach, and Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach c. 1870
Courtesy of the Mansbach family

The photograph below is of Sarah with her two youngest sons, Julius and Meyer, taken in about 1874, when Meyer would have been fourteen and Julius nine:

Julius Mansbach, Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach, and Meyer Mansbach c. 1874
Courtesy of the Mansbach family

It was about this time that Abraham and Sarah’s older children began immigrating to the US. Although I was unable to find passenger manifests for all the Mansbach children, the earliest one I could find was for Merla/Amalie/Amelia. She was born December 10, 1853, in Maden, Germany. She (as Amalie) sailed to the US in 1872 with my great-great-uncle Henry Schoenthal and his new wife Helene Lilienfeld, as I discussed here.

Birth record of Merla Mansbach, Archives for the State of Hessen, Jewish records, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 384, p. 55

Henry Schoenthal and Helene Lilienfeld 1872 ship manifest lines 95 to 98
Year: 1872; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 359; Line: 1; List Number: 484

I have no record of Amalie from the time of her arrival until the 1880 census, but I assume she must have been living in Pennsylvania, probably in Philadelphia, because according to the 1900 census, in 1879, she married Henry Langer. Henry was 22 years older than Amalie, born in 1831 in Austria; he had immigrated to the US in 1856, and in the 1870s he was living in Philadelphia, working as a furrier, according to the Philadelphia directory for 1870 and a newspaper listing in 1877.3

Amalie and Henry relocated to Denver by December 17, 1879, when their first child, Joseph Henry Langer, was born.4 According to the 1880 census, Henry continued to work as a furrier in Denver:

H and A Langer and son 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Roll: 88; Page: 116C; Enumeration District: 005

Amalie and Henry’s second child, Lester Sylvester Langer was born in Colorado on January 1, 1884.5

Berthold may have been the next child of Sarah and Abraham to arrive from Germany; he was born on February 23, 1856. Although I cannot find a passenger manifest for him, the 1920 census reports that he immigrated to the US in 1874.6 In 1877, he is listed in the Philadelphia directory working as a clerk.7 But by 1880, he  had relocated to Trinidad, Colorado, where he was living with his cousin, who was also named Abraham Mansbach and was the grandson of Marum Mansbach. Abraham  was a merchant, and Bert was working as a clerk, presumably in his cousin’s store.

Birth record of Berthold Mansbach, Archives for the State of Hessen, Jewish records, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 384, p. 59

Bert Mansbach 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Trinidad, Las Animas, Colorado; Roll: 92; Page: 65D; Enumeration District: 066

But not all the Mansbach siblings chose to settle out west. Sarah and Abraham Mansbach’s oldest son Leiser/Louis Mansbach, who was born on March 10, 1849, came to the US on December 16, 1876:

Birth record of Louis “Leser” Mansbach, Archives for the State of Hessen, Jewish records, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 384, p. 47

(The long note to the left of the birth record is extremely difficult to read, even by those used to reading German script, but thanks to the efforts of Cathy Meder-Dempsey and a man from the German Genealogy Transcriptions group on Facebook, I now believe that it merely says that the date of birth was provided by the synagogue.)

Louis (Lasser) Mansbach ship manifest
Year: 1876; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 406; Line: 1; List Number: 1160
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

In 1880, Louis was living with my great-great-grandparents, Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt; Eva was his aunt, his mother Sarah’s sister. My great-grandmother Hilda, who was then sixteen, was also living at home and thus must have known her first cousin Louis quite well. Louis was 31 years old and was a veterinary surgeon.

Louis Mansbach in the household of Gerson Katzenstein 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Page: 274B; Enumeration District: 219

For Hannah Mansbach, I was unable to locate a birth record, but other records establish that she was born on February 6, 1858. I also have no ship manifest, and census records indicate three different years of arrival: 1880 on the 1900 census, 1881 on the 1920 and 1930 census records, and 1885 on the 1910 census. Usually I’d assume the one closest in time, the 1900 census, would be the most reliable, but at best I can say she arrived sometime between 1880 and 1885.  Since the rest of the family had arrived by 1882, I think 1880-1881 is more likely.8

Census records also conflict regarding the arrival date for Meyer Mansbach. He was born on June 21, 1860. The 1900 census reports that he arrived in 1879, but the 1910 and 1930 census records both report 1882 as his date of arrival.9

Birth record of Meyer Mansbach, Archives for the State of Hessen, Jewish records, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 384, p. 65

For Julius, who was born on November 7, 1865, I found information about his arrival on his passport applications, of which there were three—in 1900, 1903, and 1908. Although all three provide the same date of arrival (June 12, 1881) and the same port of departure (Bremen), they each have a different name for the ship.10 Julius would have been not yet sixteen when he immigrated, perhaps explaining why he didn’t remember the name of the ship. This photograph of Julius at age 13 may capture how young he was only three years later when he left home by himself:

Julius Mansbach, Age 13, c. 1878
Courtesy of Art Mansbach

It thus seems reasonable to conclude that Hannah, Meyer, and Julius had all arrived by 1881-1882.

On October 23, 1882, they were joined by their parents, my three-times great-aunt Sarah Goldschmidt and her husband Abraham Mansbach, and their youngest sister Kathinka.

Abraham Mansbach II and family on passenger manifest
Year: 1882; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 459; Line: 1; List Number: 1509

Given that all four sons are adults in this photograph, I believe it was taken shortly after Sarah and Abraham had immigrated to the United States:

Abraham Mansbach and his four sons
Courtesy of Art Mansbach

The next post will pick up with the Mansbach siblings and their parents between 1882 and 1900.

 


  1. Sources for births to be provided as I write about each child. 
  2. Sources for the children’s births will be provided when I write about each child in later posts. 
  3. Henry Langer on the 1900 US Census; Year: 1900; Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Roll: 117; Page: 2;Enumeration District: 0031; FHL microfilm: 1240117′; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1870,
    Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  4. Joseph Langer, Passport Application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 933; Volume #: Roll 0933 – Certificates: 122000-122249, 27 Sep 1919-28 Sep 1919 
  5. Lester Langer, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Colorado; Registration County: Denver; Roll: 1561841; Draft Board: 5. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  6. Berthold Mansbach, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Albuquerque Ward 3, Bernalillo, New Mexico; Roll: T625_1074; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 18 
  7. Title: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1877. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  8. Hannah Mansbach death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 071201-073500,Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966, Certificate Number 72276. Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg on the 1900-1930 US Census records: Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1463; Page: 9; Enumeration District: 0425;FHL microfilm: 1241462; Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1399; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0692; FHL microfilm: 1375412; Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 969; Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0778; FHL microfilm: 2341859 
  9. Meyer Mansbach on 1900-1930 US Census records: Year: 1900; Census Place: Trinidad, Las Animas, Colorado; Roll: 126; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1240126; Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1399; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0692; FHL microfilm: 1375412; Year: 1930; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: 136; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0108; FHL microfilm: 2339871 
  10. Julius Mansbach 1900 passport application
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, 1795-1905; Roll #: 550; Volume #: Roll 550 – 07 May 1900-11 May 1900. Julius Mansbach 1903 passport application
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Emergency Passport Applications (Issued Abroad), 1877-1907; Roll #: 41; Volume #: Volume 075: Germany. Julius Mansbach 1908 passport application
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 74; Volume #: Roll 0074 – Certificates: 64339-65243, 20 Nov 1908-15 Dec 1908. 

Rosa Goldschmidt and Bernhard Metz: Two Immigrants Who Found Success and Heartbreak in America

As of September 1853, all four of the sons of Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander, my 3x-great-grandparents, had immigrated to Philadelphia: Jacob, Abraham, Meyer, and Levi. Seligmann and Hincka still had their four daughters in Germany, however: Sarah, Eva, Bette, and Rosa.

Three of those daughters eventually followed their brothers to Philadelphia. First, my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein immigrated with her husband Gerson and their three oldest children in 1856, as I wrote about here and in several other posts. Then in 1860, Seligmann and Hincka’s youngest child Rosa followed her older siblings to Philadelphia. Sarah, the oldest sibling, would be the last to arrive, coming with her husband in 1882, years after some of her children had already immigrated, as discussed previously. Of the eight siblings, only Bette never left Germany.

The next set of posts will focus on Rosa Goldschmidt and her family. If the stories about her brother Levi and his descendants were overwhelmingly sad, the search for the stories of Rosa’s family was one of the most baffling, surprising, and challenging I’ve encountered since I first started searching for my family history. Stay tuned for some  surprising research successes and discoveries. But first some background on Rosa and her early years in the US, where she experienced both great happiness and terrible sadness.

Rosa Goldschmidt was born on October 27, 1837, in Oberlistingen, Germany.

Roschen Goldschmidt birth record, Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden

She left Germany when she was 22 and arrived in New York City on July 9, 1860.

Roschen Goldschmidt passenger manifest, Year: 1860; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 202; Line: 14; List Number: 597
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

I assume she must have settled in Philadelphia where all her older siblings were living and where, on January 20, 1864, she married Bernhardt Metz.1 Bernhardt (later Bernhard) was born in Prussia in 1832 and had immigrated in the mid-1850s. He was in the “cloak and mantilla” business in 1862, according to the Philadelphia directory.2

Rosa and Bernhard’s first child, a daughter named Hattie, was born on November 23, 1864.3 A second child, a son named Paul, was born on November 1, 1866.4 Then came another daughter, Emily, born on February 9, 1868.5 A fourth child was born on October 17, 1869, a daughter named Bertha.6 On the 1870 census, they were all living together in Philadelphia. Bernhard was a cloak manufacturer, and he had $10,000 worth of real property and $2000 of personal property. There were two servants living with them also. Like Rosa’s brothers, Bernhard was doing well as a new immigrant in America.

Bernhard Metz family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 66, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1407; Page: 438B; Family History Library Film: 552906. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census.

Rosa and Bernhard had three more sons in the 1870s: Siegfried, born in about 1872 in Pennsylvania,7 Edwin Joseph, born on December 16, 1874, in New York City,8 and Joseph George Metz, born on September 14, 1878, in Philadelphia.9 Thus, it appears that at least for some part of the 1870s, Rosa and Bernhard and their children were living in New York, but then returned to Philadelphia by 1878 where their youngest child was born.

That is also consistent with what I found in the Philadelphia directories. Bernhard had been in business with his brother Joseph since at least the 1860s, and it appears from various directory listings that they must have had business in New York City because in the 1872 Philadelphia directory, Bernhard is listed as residing in New York. However, in 1878 he is listed with a Philadelphia residence.10

But their good fortune changed in 1880. On the 1880 census, Bernhard and Rosa and six of their seven children were listed as living in Philadelphia where Bernhard was working as a merchant.11 Sadly, their son Siegfried had died of cholera morbus (or what we would call gastroenteritis today) on May 19, 1880, in Philadelphia; he was only eight years old.12

Soon thereafter they must have moved back to New York City because Bernhard is listed in several New York City directories in the 1880s and 1890s.13

And the family suffered another tragic loss after moving to New York. On April 3, 1885, Rosa and Bernhard’s seventeen-year-old daughter Emily died from pneumonia [?] in New York City.  The death certificate states that she had lived in New York City for three years at the time of her death, meaning the family had moved to New York in 1882. Emily died in the family residence at 427 East 57th Street. I can’t imagine how losing the second of their seven children affected the family.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WJG-J4D : 10 February 2018), Emilie Metz, 03 Apr 1885; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,373,964.

Sadly, those were not the only losses the family suffered in the next decade or so.

On October 20, 1887, the oldest daughter Hattie married George Gattel,14 who was born in Berlin, Germany, on June 4, 1861, the son of Moritz Gattel and Ernestine Metzenberg.15 George had immigrated in 1882, and on both his naturalization index card in 1887 and his passport application in 1888, he listed his occupation as salesman.16

Roll Description: G-325; G-400, Ancestry.com. U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project)

Hattie and George had an unnamed son born on October 10, 1890;17 I have no further record of that baby, so I assume he may have died. Then Hattie and George had a second child, a daughter Emily born in August 1892,18 obviously named for Hattie’s sister Emily who had died seven years before. In a cruel twist of fate, baby Emily Gattel died less than seven months later on March 25, 1893. Like her namesake, she died from pneumonia. Hattie and her husband George Gattel did not have any more children after the death of their daughter Emily in 1893.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WVQ-KFH : 10 February 2018), Emily Gattel, 25 Mar 1893; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,412,519.

The losses did not end there. Rosa and Bernhard’s youngest daughter Bertha married Adolf Katzenstein on July 1, 1891, in New York City.19 Adolf was, like George Gattel, a German immigrant; he was born in Einbeck, Germany, on May 5, 1860, according to his passport applications. Those same documents state that he immigrated in April, 1882. Several passport applications report that he was in the import business.20

Bertha and Adolf had a daughter born on April 23, 1892, in New York City. Tragically, Bertha herself died less than two weeks later on May 4, 1892, from puerperal fever, a fever caused by a uterine infection following childbirth.  Bertha and Adolf’s daughter, also named Bertha, was yet another child destined to grow up without her mother.

Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 [

Thus, by 1900, Rosa and Bernhard had lost one of their four sons, Siegfried, two of their three daughters, Emily and Bertha, and two grandchildren, Hattie’s two babies. They were living at 209 East 61st in New York City with and their two youngest sons, Edwin and Joseph George (here listed as George J.), and with their remaining daughter Hattie and her husband George Gattel. Bernhard was still in the import-export business, and Edwin and Joseph George were merchants. Hattie was working as a saleswoman, and her husband George was a commissioner (of what, I do not know). So three of the four surviving adult Metz siblings were living with their parents in 1900.

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

But where was Paul Metz, the oldest son of Rosa and Bernhard, in 1900?

That proved to be quite the mystery.


Wishing all my friends and family who observe Yom Kippur an easy and meaningful fast!

 

 


  1. Pennsylvania Marriages, 1709-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V26Y-SX9 : 6 December 2014), Bernhard Metz and Rosa Goldsmith, 20 Jan 1864; citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,765,018. 
  2. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 23969. Bernhard Metz and family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 66, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1407; Page: 438B; Family History Library Film: 552906. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census. 1862 Philadelphia directory, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  3. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBYP-P32 : 10 March 2018), Metz, 23 Nov 1864; citing bk 1864 p 329, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,309. 
  4. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBY8-TXS : 10 March 2018), Metz, 01 Nov 1866; citing bk 1866 p 320, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,310. 
  5. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBY8-ZHF : 10 March 2018), Metz, 09 Feb 1868; citing bk 1868 p 20, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,311. 
  6. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VB13-98Y : 10 March 2018), Metz, 17 Oct 1869; citing bk 1869 p 253, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,313. The Philadelphia birth index shows an October birthdate, but the 1900 census indicates she was born in December, 1869. I assume the birth index is more reliable. 
  7. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Non-Population Census Schedules for Pennsylvania, 1850-1880: Mortality; Archive Collection: M1838; Archive Roll Number: 11; Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 465. Ancestry.com. U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885. 
  8. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:27B5-NVH : 11 February 2018), Edwin Jos. Metz, 16 Dec 1874; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 149827 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,085. 
  9. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBBV-FMH : 9 March 2018), U Metz, 14 Sep 1878; citing p 62, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,319. 
  10. Philadelphia city directories, 1862-1878, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. Bernhard Metz and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1186;Page: 290C; Enumeration District: 589. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  12. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-623Q-33?cc=1320976&wc=9FR7-82S%3A1073111102 : 16 May 2014), 004008623 > image 181 of 488; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 
  13. New York City directories, 1880, 1884, 1886, 1889, 1894, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  14.  New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2434-KSD : 10 February 2018), George Gattel and Hattie Metz, 20 Oct 1887; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,571,009. 
  15. Ancestry.com. Prussian Provinces, Selected Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1661-1944. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24H4-BHF : 10 February 2018), George Gattel and Hattie Metz, 20 Oct 1887; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,671,683. 
  16. George Gattel, ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1727, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934. George Gattel, 1888 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 315; Volume #: Roll 315 – 01 Oct 1888-31 Oct 1888. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  17. New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMB-7ZW : 11 February 2018), Gattel, 10 Oct 1890; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 31192 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,236. 
  18.  New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WVQ-KFH : 10 February 2018), Emily Gattel, 25 Mar 1893; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,412,519. 
  19.  New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24H2-13L : 10 February 2018), Adolf Katzenstein and Bertha Metz, 01 Jul 1891; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,452,194. 
  20. E.g, 1892 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 397; Volume #: Roll 397 – 01 Jul 1892-13 Jul 1892. 1896 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 459; Volume #: Roll 459 – 01 Feb 1896-29 Feb 1896.  Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 

Levi Goldsmith: The Last Brother to Arrive from Oberlistingen

Before the break, I finished the story of my three-times great-uncle Meyer Goldsmith and his family. Today I turn to his brother, my three-times great-uncle Levi Goldsmith.

A year after the arrival of his younger brother Meyer and three years after his other younger brother Abraham’s arrival and at least four years after his older brother Jacob’s arrival, Levi Goldschmidt, the second-oldest and remaining son of Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander, immigrated to the United States. Levi (sometimes spelled Levy) was born November 10, 1824, in Oberlistingen,1 and he came to the US on September 20, 1853, and settled where his brothers had settled—in Philadelphia. For his family, life in America brought more than a fair share of tragedy.

Levy Goldschmidt passenger manifest, Year: 1853; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 132; Line: 44; List Number: 991 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

On March 21, 1855, Levi married Henrietta (sometimes Henryette) Lebenbach,2 who was born April 11, 1835, in Willebedassen, Germany.3 I’ve been unable to find anything else yet about Henrietta’s background, but I did determine that Willebedassen is only seventeen miles from Oberlistingen. Maybe Levi and Henrietta knew each other in Germany.  I could not find anyone else with the name Lebenbach in Philadelphia or elsewhere who might have been her parents or siblings, so perhaps she came alone. One of her children’s death records show her birth name as Lowenberg; one shows it as Lobenberg.4  None of the other children’s certificates had any birth name for Henrietta, so I am inclined to take her marriage record with her name as Lebenbach as the most reliable. Is it possible that this is Henrietta on this ship manifest? I don’t know.

Does this say H Lowenberg? Could it be Henrietta? Year: 1849; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 081; Line: 1; List Number: 866
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

By 1860, Levi and Henrietta had two children, Eva (yes, yet another Eva Goldsmith), born February 11, 1856,5 in Philadelphia, and Estella (yes, another Estella Goldsmith) born May 15, 18596 in Philadelphia. Another unnamed child was born in between Eva and Estella, but he died from smallpox on December 26, 1857, when he was only eight weeks old. This was only the first of many childhood deaths the extended family experienced.

Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JFV5-BY6 : 8 March 2018), Henrietta Goldsmith in entry for Goldsmith, 26 Dec 1857; citing , Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,976,713.

Like his brothers, Levi changed his name from Goldschmidt to Goldsmith, and in 1860 he owned $7500 worth of real estate and was working in a clothing store. As noted in my post about his brother Abraham, Levi and Abraham were in the clothing business together by 1861, doing business as Goldsmith Brothers.

Levi Goldsmith, 1860 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 13, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1163; Page: 856; Family History Library Film: 805163
Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census

By 1870, Levi and Henrietta had eight children. In addition to Eva and Estella, there was George (1861), Felix (1862), Isadore (1864), Helen (1865), Blanche (1868), and Sylvester (1869). Levi (spelled Levy here) claimed to have $25,000 worth of real estate and $50,000 worth of personal property. During the 1870s Levi continued to be in the clothing business with his brother Abraham. Obviously they were doing very well.

Levi Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20 District 64, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1406; Page: 293B; Family History Library Film: 552905
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

On September 22, 1875, Levi and Henrietta’s oldest child Eva married Nathan Anathan (I know—interesting name).7  Nathan was a native Philadelphian, born on May 25, 1849, to Marum Anathan and Fanny Teller,8 who were both German-born immigrants. Nathan’s father was a wholesale tobacconist, and in 1870 Nathan was working as a clerk in a store.9

Nathan and Eva’s first child was born prematurely on June 24, 1876 and did not survive.10 A second child, Morton Goldsmith Anathan, was born June 18, 1877; sadly that child also did not live very long. He died before his first birthday on March 12, 1878, from diptheria.11 Fortunately, Nathan and Eva’s third child lived to adulthood. Helen Esther Anathan was born on March 7, 1879.12 In 1880, Nathan, Eva, and Helen were living in Philadelphia, and Nathan’s occupation was, like his father, in the tobacco business. Another daughter was born on February 23, 1883, named Bessie Goldsmith Anathan.13

Nathan Anathan and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1188; Page: 101A; Enumeration District: 618
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

As for Levi and Henrietta, in 1880 they were living with their remaining seven children, and Levi continued to work in the clothing business.

Levy Goldsmith and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1179; Page: 93B; Enumeration District: 389
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

In 1883, Levi and Henrietta’s second daughter Estella married Solomon Rothschild, who proved to be a real mystery man. I could not find one record for him before the 1900 census when he was already married to Estella.14 I do not have a real marriage record for them, nor can I find him on any earlier census record. I didn’t know the names of his parents or where they were from. According to the 1900 census record and those that follow, Solomon was born in Pennsylvania, but his death certificate says he was born in Germany on August 3, 1851.15  In fact, the only reason I knew that Estella married Solomon Rothschild is from some of the death records of their children.16

And then I hit some good luck. From various Philadelphia directories,17 I determined that Solomon was in a millinery business called J. Rothschild & Co. and that J. Rothschild was Jacob Rothschild, who was living in New York. Searching for Jacob Rothschild, I found this obituary and learned that Jacob had married a cousin named Regina Rothschild. (Since Jacob is not really a relative, I’ve only snipped the headline here, but Jacob’ story is quite a rags to riches saga—a fatherless boy who came alone to the US at 13, started a millinery business in New York that expanded to several other cities, and became a very wealthy real estate mogul and hotel owner; you can find the whole obituary here):

The New York Times, April 5, 1911, p. 9

And from there, I found a tree on Ancestry that identified one of Regina’s siblings as the Solomon Rothschild who married Estella Goldsmith. I contacted the owner of that tree, who generously shared with me several records, including this one, Solomon’s birth record showing that his parents were Hirsch Rothschild and Jette Wachtel and that Solomon was born on August 3, 1851, in Oberaula, Germany.

Birth record of Salomon Rothschild, Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberaula 1824-1871 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 648)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden

I still have no records for Solomon in the US prior to the 1900 census, except for those directory listings, but I am willing to assume from the 1900 census that he married Estella in 1883. Estella and Solomon’s first child, Jerome Joseph Rothschild, was born on January 6, 1884.18 A second child, Stanley, was born on January 29, 1886,19 and died from gastroenteritis on March 30, 1887; he was only fourteen months old.

Stanley Rothschild death certificate, “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-67W7-L8N?cc=1320976&wc=9F5B-BZ9%3A1073304502 : 16 May 2014), 004010199 > image 414 of 1305; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Felix Goldsmith also married in the 1880s. On September 15, 1886, he married Bertha Umstadter in Virginia.20 Bertha was the daughter of Jacob Umstadter and Fannie Sarlouis, both born in Germany.  Bertha was born on November 4, 1860, in Peterburg, Virginia.21

Meanwhile, as I’ve written about before, Levi and Abraham ran into business problems in the 1880s. According to the 1881 Philadelphia directory, their business, Goldsmith Brothers, was in liquidation at that time. In 1883, Abraham and Levi were joined by their brother Meyer in the business.

Whether the Goldsmith Brothers business would have survived with all three brothers involved is not clear, but on December 29, 1886, Levi Goldsmith died from meningitis; he was 62 years old.

Levy Goldsmith death certificate, “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6913-HH9?cc=1320976&wc=9FRJ-K68%3A1073335202 : 16 May 2014), 004058561 > image 459 of 1239; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

And as I’ve written before, Goldsmith Brothers soon dissolved.  Abraham continued in the clothing business for some time with his sons, and Meyer soon moved to New York City with his family where he continued to be in the clothing business.

The Philadelphia Times ran this obituary of Levi on December 30, 1886:

Philadelphia Times, December 30,1886, p. 2

Two of Levi’s children honored his memory by naming their next born children in his honor. Estella and Solomon named their second child, who was born on February 14, 1888, Leonard Levi Rothschild.22 Felix and Bertha named their first child, born on February 24, 1889, Frances Lee Goldsmith.23 I assume that the middles names were for their recently deceased grandfather Levi.

The 1890s would bring more marriages, more babies, and sadly, more deaths. In fact, the overall story of Levi Goldsmith’s family is filled with tragic deaths like those of Levi and Henrietta’s unnamed son who died of smallpox, of Eva’s first two babies who died before their first birthdays, and of Estella’s son Stanley who died from gastroenteritis as a toddler.

 


  1. I am relying for this date on the work of others, as I have no online access to the original records. For the most part, I am relying on the amazing research of Jozef Jacobs, my fifth cousin, another descendant of Jakob Falcke Goldschmidt, as well as my third cousin, once removed Julian Reinheimer, and, as always, David Baron. 
  2. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 792. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 
  3. See Footnote 1. 
  4. Blanche Goldsmith Greenbaum death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 054451-056880. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate 55235. Isadore Goldsmith death certificate, “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68DJ-WR?cc=1320976&wc=9FRT-N38%3A1073183102 : 16 May 2014), 004008905 > image 483 of 536; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 
  5. See Footnote 1. 
  6. See Footnote 1. 
  7. Pennsylvania Marriages, 1709-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V26B-T32 : 11 February 2018), Nathen Anathan and Eva Goldsmith, 22 Sep 1875; citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,769,061. 
  8.  Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 1112. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013 
  9. Anathan family, 1870 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 35, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1396; Page: 171A; Family History Library Film: 552895. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  10. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JFXK-F8L : 9 March 2018), Anathan, 24 Jun 1876; citing , Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 2,027,459. 
  11. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JNJP-25K : 9 March 2018), Moreton Anathan, 12 Mar 1878; citing , Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 2,030,361 
  12. Number: 187-36-8712; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1962.
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Bessie Simon death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 076001-079000. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  14. Rothschild family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0711; FHL microfilm: 1241471. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  15. Solomon Rothschild death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 120341-123308. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  16. E.g., Jerome Rothschild death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Box Number: 2396; Certificate Number Range: 065951-068800. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  17. Philadelphia City directories, 1889, 1890, 1894, 1899, 1901, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  18. Jerome Rothschild death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Box Number: 2396; Certificate Number Range: 065951-068800. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate 068602-64. 
  19. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1M3-5CC : 10 March 2018), Sol Rothschild in entry for Stanley S. Rothschild, 29 Jan 1886; citing bk 1886 p 24, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,325. 
  20. Ancestry.com. Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940. FHL Film Number: 32982. 
  21.  Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X5VN-QG4 : 10 March 2018), Jacob Umstadter, 04 Nov 1860; citing Norfolk, Virginia, reference p 44; FHL microfilm 2,048,450. Michael Umstadter death certificate, Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014. Certificate Range: 27285-27850. Ancestry.com. Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014 
  22. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-63B7-4Z1?cc=1320976&wc=9F5C-L2S%3A1073221501 : 16 May 2014), 004009533 > image 376 of 1778; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 
  23. Frances Lee Goldsmith, passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1700; Volume #: Roll 1700 – Certificates: 69000-69375, 26 Jul 1921-26 Jul 1921. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 

My Uncle, The Criminal? If The Shoe Fits….

Before I turn to my three-times great-uncle Meyer and his family, I want to write about another uncle—my four-times great-uncle Simon Goldchmidt, brother of my three-times great-grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt.

Back in January, I wrote about Simon Goldschmidt, including the fact that he had been in legal trouble in Germany before immigrating to the US. David Baron had located a record that indicated that in 1826 Simon was charged with burglary and attempted robbery. (HStAM Fonds 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No G 40.) I then wrote in that post:

I requested a copy of the file from the Marburg archives and learned that the file covers Simon’s appeal of a ten year sentence for his criminal activity. The listing online indicates that the date of appellate decision was December 24, 1830.

The contact person at the Marburg archives did not reveal the outcome of the appeal, so I am now hoping to find someone who might be able to go to Marburg and provide me with a summary (in English) of the judgment. (I could order a copy, but it would be costly and in German. My German has improved, but 130 pages of a legal decision would be too great a challenge!)

Well, with the help of three wonderful women in Germany, I’ve been able to obtain a copy of the report, have it transcribed, and then have it translated.  First, Floriane Pfeiffer-Ditschler from the German Genealogy group on Facebook volunteered to go to the archives in Marburg and scan the entire 130 pages of the documents in the file.1 She sent it to me as a PDF, and it’s too long to post on the blog, but I will post just a few pages in this post so that you can see how difficult it is to read. If you’re interested in seeing the entire document, let me know.

Cover page of file, HStAM 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No. G 40

Neither Floriane nor I could decipher the text, so I turned to my friend Julia Drinnenberg, who had been one of my wonderful guides during my visit to Germany last year. Julia also found the handwriting difficult to read, so she recruited her friend Gabriele Hafermaas to help. Gabriele transcribed the text, which Julia then translated it into English. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to these three women for their help.  It took many, many hours of work for them to produce a document that I can read.

The file contained three documents: the original trial court opinion finding Simon guilty, Simon’s application for appellate review, and the appellate court’s opinion. Because the documents are quite lengthy and at times repetitive, I thought it best to write up a summary.

The alleged crime took place on the night of May 16, 1826. The trial, however, did not take place until four years later.  At this time we do not have any information to explain the long delay between the crime and the trial, but Julia is consulting with a judge and legal historian in Germany, so perhaps he will have some answers.

The trial court reached its decision on May 14, 1830.

Simon Goldschmidt, first page of trial court opinion
HStAM 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No. G 40

According to the trial court’s opinion, on the evening of May 16, 1826, someone broke into the home of eighty-year-old Georg Wolf, a resident of Oberlistingen.  There was a hole in the wall of his home and a ladder lying on the ground in front of his sitting room. The court found that someone used violent force to break into the sitting room, using the ladder to push the door open and even breaking an iron bar that served as a lock on that door. There was a struggle between Wolf and the burglar, during which Wolf claimed he had bitten the hands of the assailant and scratched and pinched his face and neck.

When neighbors heard Wolf’s cries for help, the assailant ran away.  According to Wolf and several witnesses, a pair of shoes was left behind, which Wolf claimed had belonged to the assailant. Wolf described the assailant as a small and flexible man with frizzy hair, wearing a long black cape and speaking with a Yiddish accent.

Based on this description, Simon Goldschmidt, a 32-year-old tailor, was thought to be the assailant, and local authorities went the next morning to his home to investigate. Witnesses testified that Simon had injuries on his face and hands that were consistent with Wolf’s testimony and that he fit the physical description provided by Wolf. Simon denied the charges and claimed that he had injured himself when he fell on a stack of logs in the corridor while going to the toilet in the middle of the night.

The trial court did not find Simon’s assertion that his injuries came from such a fall credible for several reasons.  The court did not find it believable that Simon had used the toilet in the corridor because he had a “night stool” in his room for bathroom use. Simon claimed he could not use the night stool because Jewish law prohibited sharing of the night stool while his wife was menstruating, but the court cited the testimony of a rabbi stating that there was no such prohibition under Jewish law. There also was no evidence that Simon’s wife was in fact menstruating at the time of the crime. Furthermore, the court found that Simon’s injuries were not consistent with falling on logs, citing the testimony of a doctor that Simon appeared to have bite marks on his hands and bruising on his face.

In addition, in a page torn from Cinderella or the OJ Simpson trial, the trial court found that the shoes left behind by the assailant fit Simon as well as his wife. A shoemaker testified that he had made the shoes for Simon’s wife and repaired them. He was able to identify them by the way the heels were worn down on one side. Simon denied that the shoes were his or his wife’s, saying that her shoes had been stolen. The trial court did not find this assertion credible because the theft of the shoes had never been reported to the police.

Cinderella
By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

The fact that Simon was wearing dirty socks covered with thick straw and half-dry black mud when the authorities came to investigate was also relied on by the trial court in its analysis. Simon claimed his socks were dirty from walking inside his house and from walking outside to his well. The trial court was not persuaded, finding evidence that Simon was ordinarily a tidy man, that his floors did not have dirt like that found on his socks, and that the walkway to the well had a stone path. Witnesses also testified that the dirty socks were like those of someone who walked through the village without shoes.

There was also some discussion in the trial court opinion about the fact that Simon had plans to go to the estate of the aristocratic von Malsburg family the morning of the investigation.  Julia and I were not sure what this all meant, but as best I can tell, Simon was wearing boots when the authorities arrived and claimed it was because he was planning to go to the Malsburg estate. The court seems to have concluded that this was not the case, but that Simon had put on boots to hide his dirty socks, which were only revealed when the investigator asked him to remove his boots.

Based on its evaluation of the evidence, the trial court concluded that Simon was guilty of attempted theft with burglary and attempted robbery with murder and sentenced him to ten years in prison with his legs shackled. The court considered as an aggravating factor in determining its sentence that Simon had not voluntarily called off his attempted crime, but only left because he was afraid of being caught when Wolf called for help.

End of trial court opinoin
HStAM 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No. G 40

Although the court observed that the usual penalty for a crime of this nature would be twelve to fifteen years in prison, it noted that the case had been delayed for two years due to an overload of pending cases and therefore reduced the usual penalty and sentenced Simon to ten years in prison. The court’s mention of a two-year delay is confusing since the crime was in 1826 and the trial decision in 1830. Simon had been incarcerated for four years while awaiting trial.

On July 22, 1830, Simon appealed the trial court’s verdict, making many of the same arguments that he made at trial, but with some additional details. For one thing, he claimed that he had not reported the theft of his wife’s shoes because of their low value. As to the fact that he was wearing boots the morning after the crime, he asserted that it was insulting to claim that a tailor would not ordinarily be wearing shoes.

Simon Goldschmidt’s application for appearl, first page
HStAM 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No. G 40

With respect to his dirty socks, Simon asserted that the stones on the walkway to the well were quite distant from each other and that the humid weather had made the ground very muddy. And as for his claim that he injured himself from a fall when he went to the toilet in the corridor, he asserted that he left the bedroom because he did not want to make a stench inside and that he believed, even if incorrectly, that under Jewish law he and his wife could not share a night stool while she was menstruating.

Simon also pointed out that Wolf had not specifically identified him, but had only given a general description of the person who attacked him. In addition, Simon asserted his overall good reputation as a factor mitigating against his guilt.

The appellate court issued its decision on December 24, 1830. Its opinion is far more detailed and thorough than the trial court opinion and raises some additional issues. For example, the appellate court pointed out that Simon had been having financial problems and thus had a motive for stealing from Wolf. The court also mentioned that Simon knew that Wolf had money because he and his brothers had at one time borrowed money from Wolf.

Appellate decision, first page
HStAM 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No. G 40

Simon’s response was that his financial problems were only temporary and that everyone in the village knew that Wolf had money and might have stolen from him. Simon also argued that since Wolf had loaned money to him and his brothers, it would not make sense for him to steal from him. The court concluded that the evidence of Simon’s financial problems supported the trial court’s guilty verdict, although only circumstantially.

(If I were representing Simon, I might also have argued that since Wolf knew Simon, he should have been able to identify him as the assailant rather than merely providing a general description.)

The appellate court also considered Wolf’s description of his assailant and whether it clearly identified Simon. Despite some inconsistencies in the evidence regarding the description of the assailant’s “singing voice” and hair, the court found that this evidence nevertheless pointed towards Simon’s guilt.

With respect to the fact that Simon was wearing boots when the authorities came to investigate early on the morning after the crime, the court found that it was not Simon’s usual practice to wear boots and that his story that he was planning to walk to the Malsburg estate was not supported by any witnesses. But the court considered this only relevant to the claim that Simon was trying to hide the dirt on his socks.

The evidence that the appellate court seemed to consider most persuasive of Simon’s guilt was the evidence relating to the shoes left at Wolf’s house and the dirt on Simon’s socks. In the court’s weighing of the evidence, it concluded that the shoes belonged to Simon and his wife and that he got his socks dirty when he ran home through the town without his shoes.

The appellate court also considered very persuasive the evidence of Simon’s injuries and concluded that Simon’s story about falling on logs was not credible. In response to the assertion that Simon did not use the night stool because his wife was menstruating, the prosecution argued that Simon’s wife could not have been menstruating because she was breastfeeding [presumably Jakob, their first child born in 1825]. I was impressed by the court’s response to this assertion—that women can menstruate even while breastfeeding—because that is a fact that I would not have thought was commonly known in 1830.

But the court nevertheless found that it was not likely that Simon’s injuries were sustained in a fall, given the doctor’s testimony that there were bite marks and the fact that the injuries were in multiple locations on Simon’s body, not on one side as one would expect from a fall. Also, Simon couldn’t give a convincing description of the fall and refused to show his injuries. Thus, the court dismissed Simon’s assertion that he was injured in a fall.

After weighing all the evidence, the appellate court thus upheld the verdict. However, it reduced the sentence from ten years to four years because Wolf’s injuries were not dangerous or life-threatening and because Simon had not used any lethal weapons.  It thus reduced the original charges against Simon to attempted robbery. The court also observed that the delay in trial was not Simon’s fault and took that into consideration in reducing his sentence. Simon was released from prison after the appellate court’s decision.

Last page of appellate decision, HStAM 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No. G 40

As noted in my earlier post, Simon’s first wife Eveline died in 1840, and in 1844 my four-times great-uncle Simon Goldschmidt married Fradchen Schoenthal, the sister of my great-great-grandfather Levi Schoenthal and thus my three-times great-aunt. Fradchen and Simon left for the United States not long after. Simon was the second member of the Goldschmidt family to immigrate to the US, following his oldest son Jakob, and Fradchen was the first Schoenthal to immigrate.

Passenger manifest for Simon Goldschmidt, Fradchen Schoenthal and Eva
Ancestry.com. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964. Original data: Selected Passenger and Crew Lists and Manifests. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

I can’t help but wonder whether their decision to leave Germany was in some part motivated by a desire to leave behind Simon’s criminal past and start over in a new country. If so, well, then I have to say that I am awfully glad that Simon was convicted of this crime because in many ways it was that event that led ultimately to the emigration of my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein (Simon’s niece) and my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal (Fradchen’s nephew), who later married Eva Goldschmidt’s daughter, Hilda Katzenstein.

Thus, in some ways Simon’s crime may have led to the merging of three of my paternal family lines—Goldschmidt, Schoenthal, and Katzenstein—in America.  How very strange.

 

.

 

 

 


  1.  HStAM 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No. G 40. 

Milton Goldsmith: A Victim of Conscience

In my last post we saw what my cousin Milton Goldsmith predicted for the 21st century; in this post, we will start to look at his life in the 20th century.

In 1900, Milton was recently married to Sophie Hyman of New York City, and the newlywed couple were living in Philadelphia where Milton continued to make a living as a clothing merchant. Their first child, Rosalind, was born on February 1, 1901, in Philadelphia,1 and a second daughter, Madeleine, followed on May 20, 1904, also in Philadelphia.2

By this time Milton had published his first novel, Rabbi and Priest (1891), as discussed here, as well as a second novel, A Victim of Conscience (1903).3

A Victim of Conscience takes place in the 1850s in a city that is unnamed but (based on the street names) is most likely Philadelphia. The main character is a recent German Jewish immigrant named Isaac Schwartz.  He has been in America for four years at the beginning of the novel and is living in dire poverty, desperate for a way to earn enough money to support his family. He finally decides to go to California to join the gold rush. There he encounters anti-Semitism and abuse and ultimately commits the crime that makes him a “victim of conscience.”

The principal theme of the book is atonement. Isaac seeks advice from a rabbi about how to atone for his crime and is discouraged by some of the rigidity of Jewish law. He then considers converting to Catholicism and studies with a priest, but ultimately decides that he can’t accept the notion that mere faith in Christ as his savior will provide salvation. In the end he learns that Judaism can provide a path to forgiveness and expiation for his sins.

The book’s focus is thus on Isaac’s struggle with his conscience and how religion affects that struggle. But the book is of more interest to me in the way that it reflects the way my cousin Milton understood his own family’s story—their life in Germany, their reasons for leaving Germany, and the life they found when they first settled in the US fifty years before he wrote this book. A few excerpts will illustrate what I mean.

Although I have no reason to assume that Milton was being at all autobiographical in describing the lives of some of his characters, I did wonder whether this description of Isaac’s life in Germany was based on his father Abraham’s life in Oberlistingen before emigrating:4

Isaac’s father, old Meyer Schwartz, was a power in his native village of D. He was in fair circumstances, and educated as far as education went in those days; for the Jews, rich and poor alike, were denied the privileges of the village schools, and were limited in their instruction to the teachings of their “Cheders ” and the scraps of information which they could impart one to the other. Old Schwartz was a profound Talmud scholar, and was deemed as wise as he was devout, which was no equivocal compliment, for he was pious indeed. … It was [his] ambition to make a Rabbi of [Isaac], but in spite of his earnest and painstaking instruction, Isaac never got beyond the general outlines of the law and the Talmud. Buying and selling afforded him more pleasure than poring over parchments, and, after a vain effort to keep him to his studies, old Schwartz reluctantly allowed him to follow his own inclinations.

Milton also provided some background for the reasons so many German Jews emigrated:5

In those days the Jews in Germany had few rights and many grievances. Harsh measures were devised, stringent laws enacted to drive them out of the country, or at least to restrict their increase. The possession and cultivation of land, the study of a profession, the following of the fine arts, were all interdicted. Buying and selling, borrowing and lending, were the only channels in which the Israelites were allowed to exercise their ingenuity, and grievous was their condition in consequence. Worse still, a Jew was not allowed to marry until some co-religionist in the community had died or had moved away.

His main character Isaac decides to emigrate because he wants to marry the woman he loves, Lena, and cannot stay in his home community and do so.

Milton also described the hard lives of the Jews who made a living as peddlers after coming to the US, as his father Abraham probably did:6

A number of peddlers were among the visitors, stalwart young fellows but lately arrived from Germany, who, with a heavy pack on their shoulders, or, if their means allowed, with horse and wagon, wandered through the State, hawking a varied assortment of merchandise, and seeking to master the American tongue while they accumulated American dollars. It was a hard experience, but a salutary one. For the pious Jews, peddling meant untold privations, a total abstinence of all food except eggs and such “Kosher” dried meats as they could carry with them. It meant a weary trudging through unfamiliar villages, over stony roads, amid hostile surroundings, from Sunday morning until Friday evening, and a short rest on the Sabbath in some synagogue town.

It was a career which might well have daunted the most enterprising youth, and yet thousands of “greenhorns ” adopted it, thrived at it, became wealthy through it. It was not considered degrading in those pioneer days, but eminently proper for a new arrival.

19th century etching of a peddler by Granger found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/1-peddler-19th-century-granger.html

The book also sheds light on the lives of German Jewish families in Philadelphia during that time period—the level of observance of Jewish law, the economic and social conditions, and the relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. The book is likely more valuable today for what it reveals about its times than for its literary merit, but for me, it was a worthwhile read.

Thus, by 1903, Milton had published two novels and written many essays, short stories, and even a musical. He and his family must have decided that it was time to leave Philadelphia and move to New York City where he might have more opportunities to pursue his literary career.

You can download a free copy of A Victim of Conscience here.


  1. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBYW-R9L : 9 March 2018), Rosalind Goldsmith, 01 Feb 1901; citing bk 1901 p 107, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 1,289,340. 
  2. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VBBL-N5K : 8 December 2014), Madeline Goldsmith, 29 May 1904; citing cn 22583, Department of Records; FHL microfilm 2,110,933. 
  3. Milton Goldsmith, A Victim of Conscience (Henry T. Coates & Co., 1903). 
  4. Ibid., p.6. 
  5. Ibid., p. 7. 
  6. Ibid., pp. 84-85. 

Schutzjuden

Back on January 12, 2018, I wrote about my four-times great-grandfather Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt who in 1724 was the first Jew to receive a Schutzbrief in the town of Oberlistingen. I received a couple of comments and questions about the practice of obtaining a Schutzbrief, so I decided to do some additional research to get a better understanding.

Unfortunately, there is not much written online about this practice.  I asked in the Jewish genealogy groups on Facebook and received a recommendation for a book by Mordechai Breuer and Michael Graetz entitled German-Jewish History in Modern Times, Volume I: Tradition and Enlightenment 1600-1780 (Michael A. Meyer, ed., William Templer, translator) (Columbia University Press 1996)(hereinafter “Breuer-Graetz”). Another person recommended a different book, Mathilda Wertheim Stein’s The Way It Was: The Jewish World of Rural Hesse (FrederickMax Publications 2000)(hereinafter “Stein”). What follows is based on just these two sources and is not meant to be a comprehensive summary of German Jewish history by any means, but merely a brief overview of the practice of issuing letters of protection or Schutzbriefe.

In 1236, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II declared that Jews were servi camerae nostril—that is, permanent servants of the emperor.1   Jews were subject to many restrictions; for example, they were not allowed to bear arms; they were required to pay onerous taxes to the empire; and they were prohibited from many areas of trade and from guilds.2 Because of these restrictions, many Jews made their living as moneylenders and pawnbrokers, fields that were were considered un-Christian. As a result, many Jews developed experience in finance and in facilitating trade.3

It was during this era that a class of “protected Jews” or Schutzjuden developed. Frederick II instituted a policy whereby territorial rulers could take over the oversight and taxation of Jewish.4  As explained by Stein, “When the emperor needed funds, he granted his right over the Jews to territorial feudal lords and free cities.  They in turn charged a regular fee for letters of protection to the Jews living within their domain. As a result, Jews became the subjects of the feudal lords, who furnished a letter of protection (Schutzbrief). Letters of protection had to be renewed periodically for a fee set by the sovereign and they generated a good income.”5  According to Stein, “Many a palace in [Hesse] was built with money exacted from Jews who paid excessively for the privilege of living under wretched conditions at the pleasure of the sovereign.” 6 But the payment for protection at least ensured the Schutzjuden some rights as well as some protection against anti-Semitic violence and abuse.7

By the 16th century, there was some liberalization in the treatment of Jewish residents. According to Breuer-Graetz, those in power at this time “gradually came to view the Jews in a different light: not as individuals bereft of all rights, but as human beings with a basic right to toleration, though no more than that.”8

But Jewish security was still very much dependent on the local nobles, and at the same time the nobles often found themselves depending on the Jews for their expertise in commercial and economic matters.9  During the Thirty Years War in the 17th century, many Jews played a critical role in financing and procuring supplies for the nobles’ armies.10  This led to the development of a class of Jews known as Court Jews who were very wealthy and protected by the nobles though still treated as outsiders.  The Court Jews also played an important role within their own Jewish communities, acting as tax collectors for the nobles and as advocates and benefactors for Jewish residents who needed financial help or who were having legal problems.  Court Jews also hired other Jews to work as their servants in their homes.11 Other Jewish residents worked as peddlers and traders, often as cattle and horse traders.12

The practice of Schutzjuden also was somewhat liberalized during this period in some places. In earlier times, a letter of protection (Schutzbrief) was issued to just one individual and for a limited time, usually just a few years.  Now in some localities letters of protection lasted for the lifetime of an individual and were granted to larger numbers of people. To acquire a letter of protection, Jews were required to pay a substantial annual fee.13

“One important feature of these letters of protection was the specification of a precise territorial area in which they were valid. The patron could cancel the privilege at any time, and there was generally a fixed number of authorized protected Jews.“14  The entire household of a protected Jew was also covered by the letter of protection, including servants. Jews who were not covered by a Schutzbrief were part of an underclass known as “unvergleitet” Jews; they had no right to reside in a community and were dependent on manual labor or begging to survive.15

Even those with protection had quite circumscribed rights. They were still prohibited from most areas of trade, and they could own no real estate other than their home. They were subjected to many taxes and fees in addition to their annual fee for protection, and those taxes were substantially higher than the taxes paid by their Christian neighbors. If an individual Jew did not fulfill his or her personal obligations, the entire Jewish community was responsible for the debts of that individual. Breuer-Graetz observed that the non-Jewish peasant community was in some ways worse off financially than the Schutzjuden, but in many ways had more legal rights than their Jewish neighbors.16

There were many regional variations in Schutzbrief practice. According to Stein, “Renewal of a Schutzbrief was customary in the region of Hesse, but each case was handled individually at the discretion of the local feudal lord with whom terms had to be continually renegotiated.”17 Stein cites as one example a Schutzbrief that was valid for only four years and subject to carrying on an approved business and paying the yearly fee in advance.18 In some towns in Hesse the granting of a Schutzbrief was subject to two other requirements: the ability to read and write and the possession of sufficient wealth.19  A couple wishing to marry often had to wait until a place in a town or village was available before they could marry.20

An example of a Schutzbrief from the Hesse region in 1678 Source: HStAM II A 2 Judenachen 1646-1814

The 18th century saw the dawn of the so-called Age of Enlightenment, but for the Jewish residents it was hardly that.  It was during this time that my ancestor Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt became the first protected Jew in the town of Oberlistingen. Jews were still forced to endure both heavier taxation and greater legal restrictions. “Increased difficulties were likewise encountered in connection with the granting of protection. In many places there was a rigorous expulsion of poor, ‘unprotected’ Jews; the children of protected Jews were not accepted for permanent residence unless the parents were wealthy or had proven their worth by the establishment of manufactories.” 21

During the reign of Frederick the Great (1740-1786), treatment of Jews worsened. He considered Jews “the most dangerous of all sects”22, and despite his view that the state’s most important function was to ensure the welfare of all its subjects, he did not extend that view to his Jewish subjects. “Rather, they remained nothing but an instrument for furthering the welfare of the state and its development into a great European power.”23

Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, painting by
Anton Graff [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Revised General Code of 1750 placed Jews in a number classes from most privileged to least privileged. As described by Breuer-Graetz,24 these categories were:

  1. Generalpriviligierte: the smallest and most elite level. They could purchase land and homes without a permit, work as merchants, and pass on their rights to their children.
  2. Ordentliche Schutzjuden: privileged protected Jews; they could not choose their residence without a permit and could only pass on their rights to one of their children.
  3. Ausserodentliche Schuzjuden: unprivileged protected Jews; only permitted to reside in the town if they had a useful profession or trade and could provide one of their children with the right of residence if the child had sufficient assets.
  4. Community employees, including rabbis.
  5. Unprotected Jews: they required the patronage of a protected Jew and could only marry if their spouse was someone from the top two classes. Children of the privileged protected Jews who did not share in the right to inherit were also placed in this class as were children of community employees.
  6. Servants employed by those in the first class.

According to Breuer-Graez, the purpose of this system of classification was “to curb the growth of the legitimate Jewish population and to put a halt on the illegal influx of unprotected Jews.” 25 It was also a means of raising revenue since each of those who obtained protection paid hefty amounts for that privilege.

This oppressive government-imposed treatment of Jews as outsiders with limited rights lasted for another century. It was not until the 19th century that various Germanic states began to emancipate their Jewish residents and grant them full legal rights as citizens; unfortunately, that did not end anti-Semitism and the violence and discrimination it engendered, as we saw most tragically in the 20th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 28-29. 
  2. Breuer-Graetz. pp. 29-30. 
  3. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 30-31. 
  4. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 29-30. 
  5. Stein, p 6. 
  6. Stein, p.6. 
  7. Stein, p. 20. 
  8. Breuer-Graetz, p. 65. 
  9. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 75-77. 
  10. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 104-117. 
  11. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 117-122. 
  12. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 123-134. 
  13. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 135-136. 
  14. Breuer-Graetz, p. 136. 
  15. Breuer-Graetz, pp.136-137. 
  16. Breuer-Graetz, pp. 137-143. 
  17. Stein, p. 22. 
  18. Stein, p. 22. 
  19. Stein, p. 20. 
  20. Stein, p. 18. 
  21. Breuer-Graetz, p. 145. 
  22. Breuer-Graetz, p. 147. 
  23. Breuer-Graetz, p. 147. 
  24. Breuer-Graetz, 148-149. 
  25. Breuer-Graetz, p. 149. 

The Goldschmidts Come to America

I was all set to be logical and sequential and report on each of the children of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann and Hincka (Alexander) Goldschmidt, starting with their oldest child Sarah Goldschmidt and her husband Abraham Mansbach II. I began their story in this post, but then I realized that I could not tell the rest of the story of the children of Sarah and Abraham without some background regarding the other members of the Goldschmidt family.

What triggered this realization was this ship manifest:

Henry Schoenthal and Helene Lilienfeld with Analie Mansbach on 1872 ship manifest lines 95 to 98
Year: 1872; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 359; Line: 1; List Number: 484

Notice that this is the 1872 manifest for Henry Schoenthal, the brother of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal. Henry had settled in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1866, but then returned to Germany to marry Helen Lilienfeld. Then on May 24, 1872, Henry and Helen returned to the US, as shown on this manifest.

Why am I talking about a Schoenthal in the context of telling the story of the Goldschmidts?

Because on that manifest (lines 6 and 7, above) were two eighteen-year-old women both named Amalie Mansbach who were apparently sailing with Henry and Helen (lines 5 and 8). I believe that one of those two Amalie Mansbachs was Merla Mansbach, the daughter of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach II. Merla Mansbach was born on December 10, 1853, meaning she would have been eighteen in May, 1872.

Birth record of Merla Mansbach
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 384, p. 55

But why would Merla Mansbach be sailing with Henry Schoenthal? He was from Sielen, his wife Helen was from Gudensberg, and Merla was from Maden—all towns within a reasonable distance of each other in the Hesse region of Germany, with Maden and Gudensberg being very near each other. There had to be a connection.

 

And that drove me back to my earlier posts about Henry Schoenthal and how he ended up in Washington, Pennsylvania, a small town in western Pennsylvania about 30 miles from Pittsburgh. And those posts reminded me that Henry was not the first Schoenthal to settle in western Pennsylvania—his father Levi’s sister (my three-times great-aunt) Fradchen Schoenthal had preceded him some twenty years before.

And Fradchen Schoenthal was married to Simon Falcke Goldschmidt, the brother of Seligmann Goldschmidt and great-uncle of Merla/Amalie Mansbach:

 

So I am going to digress a bit from the story of the family of my three-times great-grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt to tell the story of his younger brother Simon Falcke Goldschmidt because telling the story of the Goldschmidt’s immigration to the United States has to start with Simon, who was the first to arrive.

Simon was the youngest of the four sons of Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann; according to numerous US records, he was born in 1795. In 1822, he married Eveline Katzenstein of Grebenstein (no known familial connection to my Katzensteins). Together they had five children: Jacob (1825), Lena (1828), Hewa “Eva” (1836), Joseph (1837), and Jesajas (1839), all born in Oberlistingen.

Notice the large gap between Lena, born in 1828, and the next child Hewa born in 1836.[1]

David Baron located a record that perhaps provides a reason for that gap; it seems that in 1826 Simon was charged with burglary and attempted robbery. (HStAM Fonds 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No G 40.) I requested a copy of the file from the Marburg archives and learned that the file covers Simon’s appeal of a ten year sentence for his criminal activity. The listing online indicates that the date of appellate decision was December 24, 1830.

The contact person at the Marburg archives did not reveal the outcome of the appeal, so I am now hoping to find someone who might be able to go to Marburg and provide me with a summary (in English) of the judgment. (I could order a copy, but it would be costly and in German. My German has improved, but 130 pages of a legal decision would be too great a challenge!)

Since Simon and Eveline had three more children beginning in 1836, I suppose it’s possible he served some of that ten year sentence. Sadly, Simon and Eveline’s last two babies did not survive. Both Joseph and Jesajas died in infancy.

Joseph Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 6

Josajas Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 7

And then Simon lost his wife Eveline as well. She died on August 19, 1840, in Oberlistingen:

Eveline Katzenstein Goldschmidt death record
Sterberegister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1827-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 671), p. 8

Simon was left on his own to raise his fifteen year old son Jacob, twelve year old daughter Lena, and four year old Hewa/Eva.

Four years after Eveline’s death he married my three-times great-aunt Fradchen Schoenthal on September 10, 1844. Fradchen, the daughter of my three-times great-grandparents Heinemann Schoenthal and Hendel Berenstein, was 37 years old when she married Simon. Thus, as early as 1844, my Schoenthal and Goldschmidt lines had merged, explaining why Merla/Amalia Mansbach would have been sailing with Henry Schoenthal in 1872.

Marriage of Simon Goldschmidt and Fradchen Schoenthal
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 669, S. 11

A year after marrying, Simon and Fradchen left Germany for the United States, arriving in Baltimore with Simon’s youngest daughter Eva on September 20, 1845.

Passenger manifest for Simon Goldschmidt, Fanny Schoenthal and Eva Goldschmidt
Ancestry.com. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964 [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.

They must have settled first in Baltimore because Simon and Fradchen had two children who were born there, Henry on January 10, 1847, and Hannah on June 5, 1848. I assume that Henry was named for Heinemann Schoenthal and Hannah for Hendel Berenstein Schoenthal, their maternal grandparents and my three-times great-grandparents.

By 1850, Simon and Fradchen (also known as Fanny) were living in Pittsburgh with Henry and Hannah as well as two of Simon’s children from his first marriage, Lena and Eva. Simon was working as a tailor and had Americanized his surname to Goldsmith.[2]

Simon Goldschmidt and family 1850 census
Year: 1850; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_745; Page: 135A; Image: 274

Simon lost his second wife Fradchen/Fanny soon thereafter; she died on August 11, 1850, at age 43. (The year on the headstone appears to be incorrect; based on the age given on both the marriage record and manifest, Fradchen’s birth year would have been 1807, not 1800. The 1850 census said she was then 39, not 50. Plus it’s unlikely she had children at ages 47 and 48.) She left behind two very young children, Henry and Hannah, as well as her three stepchildren, Jacob, Lena, and Eva, and her husband Simon.

 

Meanwhile, Simon’s son Jacob from his first marriage had settled in Washington, Pennsylvania, by 1850; he was working as a tailor and living with two other men who were tailors. Like his father Simon, Jacob had changed his surname to Goldsmith.

Jacob Goldsmith (Simon’s son) 1850 US census
Year: 1850; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_834; Page: 363A; Image: 244

Sometime after 1850 Jacob married Fannie Silverman. (The 1900 census reports that Jacob, who was then widowed, had been married 51 years, but given that he was still single in 1850, that seems unlikely).

Jacob and Fannie had thirteen children between 1853 and 1871—first, six daughters, then three sons, then another four daughters. Wow. I will report on them in more detail in a later post.  For now, I will only name those born between 1853 and 1860: Ellena (1853), Emma (1854), Anna (1855), Rachel (1857), Leonora (1858), and Celia (1860). Six daughters in seven years.

Sometime after Fradchen died, Simon moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, to be with his son Jacob. In 1860, Simon and his two youngest children, Henry and Hannah, were living with Simon’s son Jacob and Jacob’s wife Fannie and their six daughters. Henry and Hannah were only five and six years older than their oldest nieces, Emma and Anna. I assume that Simon needed Fannie and Jacob’s help in raising Henry and Hannah.

Jacob Goldsmith and family 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Image: 627; Family History Library Film: 805192

Simon’s other two children, Lena and Hewa/Eva, were married and on their own by 1860. Lena had married another German immigrant, Gustave Basch in 1856. In 1860, they were living in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, with their first two children, Frank (1858) and Jacob (1859).

Lena Goldschmidt and Gustave Basch and sons 1860 census Year: 1860; Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1110; Page: 422; Family History Library Film: 805110

 

The story of Simon’s other daughter Eva has already been told. She married Marcus Bohm, an immigrant from Warsaw, Poland, and they had a daughter born in 1862 named Ella who married my great-great-uncle Jacob Katzenstein (son of Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt and thus also Ella’s cousin). Ella and one of her sons died in the Johnstown flood in 1889.  With Ella Bohm’s marriage to Jacob Katzenstein, my Goldschmidt and Katzenstein lines had merged.

I won’t repeat the research and story of Eva Goldsmith and Marcus Bohm, but despite further searching, I unfortunately have not yet found any record for either their marriage or Eva’s death. What I have concluded, however, is that Eva had died by 1870 because by then her daughter Ella was living with Eva’s brother Jacob Goldsmith.

Jacob Goldsmith and family on the 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thus, by 1860, all the members of the family of Simon Goldschmidt were living in western Pennsylvania, most of them in Washington, Pennsylvania, where Fradchen’s nephew Henry Schoenthal would arrive six years later, soon followed by his siblings.

By the 1880s, there were thus familial connections between the Goldschmidt family and the Schoenthal family and also between the Goldschmidt family and the Katzenstein family.  These overlapping connections laid the groundwork for the 1888 marriage of my great-grandparents, Isidore Schoenthal and Hilda Katzenstein, whose mother was a Goldschmidt. It’s amazing to see how the many lines in the family came together in the pairing of two of my direct ancestors.

——

[1] I do not have German birth records for Jacob or Lena, only US records. For the last three children, I was able to locate Oberlistingen birth records.

[2] The names on this census are switched around. Simon’s wife was Fanny, not Lena, and his daughter was Eva, not Fanny. Another reminder of how unreliable census records can be.