Simon Goldschmidt: From German Criminal to American Grandfather

Before my break, I noted that I had finished writing about the descendants of Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hinka Alexander, my three-times great-grandparents, and the descendants of Seligmann’s brother, Lehmann Goldschmidt.

Now I would like to turn to Seligmann’s youngest sibling, Simon Goldschmidt, whose story I’ve already told in bits and pieces at other times because his second wife, Fradchen Schoenthal, was the sister of my Schoenthal great-great-grandfather Levi Schoenthal, and because one of his grandchildren, Ella Bohm, married my great-great-uncle Jacob Katzenstein.

But let me tie together those bits and pieces into one story so that I can continue Simon’s story with some background. Simon was born in Oberlistingen in about 1795 to Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann (no connection to my Seligmanns). In 1822, he married Eveline Katzenstein of Grebenstein (no known familial connection to my Katzensteins). Their first child, Jacob, was born in about 1825 in Oberlistingen. 1

In May, 1826, Simon was charged with burglary and attempted robbery.2  As I wrote about at length in this post, in 1830 there was a trial, and Simon was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison with his legs shackled. Simon appealed, and on December 24, 1830, the appellate court upheld the verdict, but reduced the sentence from ten years to four years because the victim’s injuries were not dangerous or life-threatening and because Simon had not used any lethal weapons. The court also observed that the delay in trial was not Simon’s fault and took that into consideration in reducing his sentence.

Simon and Eveline had four more children after Jacob: Lena (1828),3 born while he was awaiting trial, and three born after he was released, Hewa “Eva” (1836), Joseph (1837), and Jesajas (1839), all born in Oberlistingen. Sadly, Simon and Eveline’s last two babies did not survive. Both Joseph and Jesajas died in infancy.

Eva (Hewa) Goldschmidt birth record, Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p.7

 

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

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

A year after the death of Jesajas, Simon’s wife Eveline died on August 19, 1840. Simon was left on his own to raise his fifteen-year-old son Jacob, twelve-year-old daughter Lena, and four-year-old Eva.

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

Simon’s son Jacob left Germany that same year and immigrated to the US.4  By 1850, Jacob was living in Washington, Pennsylvania, working as a tailor and living with two other men who were tailors, and 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

On September 10, 1844, Simon married Fradchen Schoenthal, my three-times great-aunt, in Oberlistingen. Fradchen was already 37 at that time, and Simon was 49.

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

Almost exactly a year later, Simon and Fradchen arrived in the United States along with Simon’s youngest daughter, Eva, who was then nine years old.

Simon, Fradchen, and Eva Goldschmidt on 1845 passenger manifest
The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85

They must have settled first in Baltimore because Simon and Fradchen had two children who were born there, Henry on January 10, 1847,5 and Hannah on June 5, 1848.6 Since Henry and Hannah’s mother and father were both my blood relatives, they are my double cousins: first cousins, three times removed through Fradchen, and first cousins, four times removed through Simon.

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

Simon lost his second wife Fradchen soon thereafter; she died on August 11, 1850, at age 43. Once again Simon was left with young children—Henry was three, Hannah was two.

Fanny Schoenthal Goldsmith Troy Hill Pittsburgh

By 1853, Simon’s son Jacob had married Fannie Silverman, also a German immigrant, and together they had six daughters born between 1853 and 1860: Ellena (1853)7, Emma (1854),8 Annie (1855),9 Rachel (1857),10 Leonora (1858),11 and Celia (1860).12  By 1860, Simon and his two youngest children, Henry and Hannah, had moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, and were living with Jacob and Fannie and their six daughters. Henry and Hannah were only five and six years older than their oldest niece, Ellena.

Simon 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 daughter Lena married another German immigrant, Gustavus Basch in 1856.13 In 1860, they were living in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, with their first two children, Frank (1858) and Jacob (1859). Connellsville is under fifty miles from Washington, Pennsylvania, where Lena’s father Simon and her brother Jacob were then living.

Basch family, 1860 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1110; Page: 421; Family History Library Film: 805110 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census

As for Simon’s youngest child with Eveline, his daughter Eva, her whereabouts in 1860 are unknown. I cannot find her anywhere on the 1860 census. More on Eva here and here and in a subsequent post.

Thus, by 1860, all the members of the family of Simon Goldschmidt (except possibly Eva) were living in western Pennsylvania, most of them in Washington, Pennsylvania.  That was as far as I’d gotten with Simon’s story in my earlier posts. Now I can pick up with Simon and his children in the years after 1860.

 

 


  1. I don’t have original birth or marriage records for these facts, but have relied on various US records as well as the research of others to reach these conclusions. 
  2.  HStAM Fonds 261 Kriminalakten 1822-1836 No G 40. See the linked post for more information about my source for this information. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. Web: Columbus, Ohio, Green Lawn Cemetery Index, 1780-2010 
  4. Jacob Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Denver, Arapahoe, Colorado; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0072; FHL microfilm: 1240119, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  5. Henry Goldsmith, passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 156; Volume #: Roll 0156 – Certificates: 69177-70076, 01 Apr 1912-11 Apr 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  6. Hannah Goldsmith Benedict, death certificate, Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan, Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950, File Number: 007791. 
  7. Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein, death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 061391-064480, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  8. Emma Goldsmith, death certificate, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JX5B-3PG : 9 March 2018), Emma Goldsmith, 06 Jan 1902; citing cn14552, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,853,338. 
  9. Annie Goldsmith, 1860 US census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Family History Library Film: 805192, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  10. Rachel Goldsmith, 1860 US census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Family History Library Film: 805192, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  11. Leonora Goldsmith, 1860 US census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Family History Library Film: 805192, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  12. Celia Goldsmith, 1860 US census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Family History Library Film: 805192, Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  13. Lena and Gustavus Basch, 1900 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 6, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0068; FHL microfilm: 1241268, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 

Season’s Greetings!

With my last post I completed the stories I’ve been able to find about all the children and descendants of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hinka Alexander as well as those of Seligmann’s brother Lehmann Goldschmidt and his wife Ranchen Frank. It has been a full year since I started blogging about the Goldschmidts, and I am not nearly done. Now I need to sort out what to write about next regarding  the remaining Goldschmidt relatives.

In the meantime, I will be taking a break from blogging for the next couple of weeks. So for now, I wish all who celebrate Christmas a joyous and happy holiday, and my hope for everyone is that 2019 will bring good health, happiness, and a world that is less filled with hate and corruption and more filled with love and justice.

Before I go for 2018, here are three short updates about other family history matters that happened this fall while I was focusing on my Goldschmidt/Goldsmith relatives.

Last month I had lunch with two of my Katzenstein cousins, my fourth cousins Marsha and Carl. Marsha and Carl are third cousins to each other and are descendants of Rahel Katzenstein and Jacob Katz. Rahel was the sister of my great-great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein. We are all three-times great-grandchildren of Scholem Katzenstein and Breine Blumenfeld.  We spent three hours, along with Carl’s wife and my husband, eating and mostly talking and laughing and sharing our stories—past and present. Even though I did not know Carl or Marsha growing up nor did they know each other growing up, we definitely have bonded and are more than just cousins.  We are friends.

My cousins Carl and Marsha

Three descendants of Scholem Katzenstein and Breine Blumenfeld

I also recently heard from my cousin Jean. Jean is my third cousin. We are both great-great-granddaughters of David Rosenzweig and Esther Gelberman. Jean is descended from their daughter Tillie Rosenzweig and her husband Yankel Srulovici (later Strolowitz, then Adler), and I am descended from their daughter Ghitla Rosenzweig and her husband Moritz Goldschlager. Jean sent me this beautiful photograph of her great-aunt and my grandfather’s first cousin, Bertha Adler. I wrote about Bertha here and here. Bertha had been married to Benjamin Bloom, but the marriage did not last, and Bertha did not have any children. I am so delighted that I now know what she looked like. I love how simply elegant she looks. She was 71 years old when this picture was taken and died just four years later.

Bertha Adler Bloom, 1956. Courtesy of Jean Cohen

This is my great-grandmother Ghitla Rosenzweig Goldschlager, Bertha’s aunt. I definitely see a slight family resemblance. Do you?

Ghitla Rosenzweig Goldschlager

Finally, another amazing small world story. I recently posted about my cousin Arthur Mansbach Dannnenberg, the son of Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg and grandson of Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach, my great-great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein’s sister. He was a pediatrician in Philadelphia, and his obituary described in detail what a dedicated doctor he had been.

I received a comment on that post from my fourth cousin Meg, who is a descendant of Abraham Goldschmidt/Goldsmith, who was also a sibling of Eva Goldschmidt and Sarah Goldschmidt. Meg commented that  Dr. Arthur Dannenberg  was the pediatrician who saved her sister’s life in 1946 when she was 10 months old and had meningitis.

What we don’t know is whether Meg’s mother Jean realized that their pediatrician was also her second cousin, once removed. Meg certainly did not know that.

Once again, merry Christmas to all who celebrate and happy New Year! Thank you all for continuing to follow me on my journey!

 

 

 

Catherine Goldsmith Lambert: An Update

Back on July 10, 2018, I wrote about Samuel Goldsmith, the son of Meyer Goldsmith, who died in 1907 when he was just forty years old, leaving behind his wife Helen Rau and toddler daughter Catherine. From my research I knew that after Samuel died, Helen and Catherine lived in France for many years, rarely returning to the US until the Nazis invaded France in 1940. At that point Catherine was married to Gerard Lambert, a Frenchman, with whom she had two children born in the 1930s. Eventually, Helen, Catherine, Gerard, and the two children settled in the US. But there were many unanswered questions. I ended my discussion about Catherine and her family by noting that “I hope I can connect with her descendants at some point.”

Well, thanks to the miracle of the internet and Facebook, that point has arrived. I have been in touch with Catherine’s son Alan, who has generously answered my questions and filled in some of the gaps in the story of his family. With his permission, I am able to share his story here. Most of this information came directly from Alan, though some was discovered by additional research. Alan also shared this wonderful photograph of his mother, Catherine Goldsmith Lambert:

Catherine Goldsmith Lambert
Courtesy of Alan Lambert

Alan told me that his grandmother Helen Rau Goldsmith went to France to work as a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue after Samuel died and took her young daughter Catherine with her. Helen’s sister Emma Rau had served as a nurse during World War I and had settled in Paris after the war, so Helen and little Catherine joined her there. Alan shared with me this photograph of his great-aunt Emma’s glass and sterling silver hip flask, which she carried throughout her service during the war.

Emma Rau’s World War I glass flask
Courtesy of Alan Lambert

Catherine grew up and went to school in France and married Gerard Lambert sometime before 1934. Gerard was born in 1904 in St. Quentin, France;1 he was a captain in the French army and then served during World War II in the Free French army and the US’s Office of Strategic Services (the OSS).

UPDATE: According to Alan, his parents had both attended the Beaux Arts in Paris as he became an architect (Architecte Diplome par le Gouvernement) and she a skilled sculptress. Alan’s architectural career was interrupted by the war.

Meanwhile, with the rise of Nazism in Germany and the threat of war, the family decided it was time to leave France. Fortunately, Helen had contacts back in the United States to help them escape. Her sister Adelaide Rau had married Julius Rosenwald on January 19, 1930, in Chicago.2 Julius had been one of the founders and the president of the Sears, Roebuck Company. It was a second marriage for both. She was sixty, and he was 67. Sadly, Julius died only two years later on January 6, 1932, leaving Adelaide once again a widow.3

But Adelaide now had the resources and connections to help get Helen, Catherine, and the children out of France in 19384 and to support them once they got to the United States. According to Alan, he and his mother and sister first lived in New Jersey when they left France but then moved to California where Adelaide was living. Emma and Helen were also living there.

After his service in World War II ended, Gerard Lambert joined them in the US, working in Washington, DC, doing import-export work, but then moved to London to work for the US government’s Military Production and Supply Board. Catherine and the children joined him there for some time. Alan left London to attend Stanford University, and soon thereafter Helen and her daughter also returned to California. Catherine and Gerard divorced, and Gerard returned to France and to his career as an architect. One of his projects was the South African embassy building in Paris.  Gerard died in France in 1986.

South African embassy in Paris
By Celette [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

As for Catherine, her son Alan described her as “an intensely intelligent and artistic person.” She developed hearing problems as well as vision problems and became involved in researching and educating others about ways to assist those with hearing impairments, including through lip reading and other means. She worked with Lucelia M. Moore and Boris V. Morkovin, who wrote Through the Barriers of Deafness and Isolation: Oral Communication of the Hearing-Impaired Child in Life Situations (Macmillan Company, 1960), as well as a number of other works on this topic. Catherine died in California on October 7, 1981.5

Here is a letter Catherine received in 1948 from Eleanor Roosevelt related to Catherine’s efforts to assist those with hearing impairments:

 

I am very grateful to my cousin Alan for sharing his family’s story and these images with me and for allowing me to share it with all of you.

 

 

 


  1. Gerard Lambert, passenger manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 7236; Line: 1; Page Number: 58,
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  2. Chicago Tribune, 09 Jan 1930, Thu, Page 1 
  3. FHL Film Number: 1684326, Ancestry.com. Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 
  4. Catherine Lambert and children, passenger manifest, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6227; Line: 1; Page Number: 30, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5.  Number: 100-16-2554; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Max Goldschmidt: A Survivor

As seen in my last few posts, although my cousin Betty Goldschmidt and her husband (and our cousin) Jacob Goldschmidt had eight children, I only have adult records for one of them, their son Berthold. Berthold and his wife Mathilde Freudenstein had seven children, but their son Siegfried Goldschmidt was the only child of the seven to live long enough to marry and have a child of his own; Siegfried and his wife Frieda Fanny Pless had one child, a son Max born November 30, 1924, in Frankfurt, Germany.

Siegfried and his wife were among the six million murdered in the Holocaust, but their young son Max, the last known remaining descendant of Betty and Jacob, survived. Max was only eight years old when Hitler came to power and not yet eighteen when his parents were deported in 1942. How had he survived? At first all I knew was that he had immigrated to the US from Israel in 1948, but thanks  to the generous assistance of Elan Oren of the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook, I have been able to piece together much of the story of Max’s life.

Elan located Max’s file in the Israeli archives, which revealed that Max had escaped to Switzerland at some point during the Nazi era. After the war, Max sailed on the ship Plus Ultra from Barcelona, Spain, to Haifa, arriving in Haifa on June 19, 1945.

From Max Goldschmidt Israeli immigration file: Ship manifest for the Plus Ultra from Barcelona to Haifa, arriving June 19, 1945. Max is on line 94. http://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/?fbclid=IwAR1y3d5C1X3pi2R1_jyX0MAbgeHLQoNhL6TM7F5P7ZT7CE4sFJgPPuql11A#/Archive/0b0717068002258e/File/0b071706856dcab1

Max’s file in the Israeli archives did not reveal how or when he got to Switzerland or to Barcelona, but Max’s A-file—his US immigration file—from the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) revealed further details.1 According to a German police certificate included in Max’s application to the US Consul in Palestine for an immigration visa in 1947, Max lived in Warburg, Germany, from April 1927 until September 1936. That is also where his parents were residing during that time, according to records  at Yad Vashem.

On Max’s 1947 US visa application he stated that he’d immigrated to Switzerland in January 1939. He was only fourteen at that time. He lived in Basel, Switzerland, from January, 1939, until May, 1945, when he must then have left for Barcelona and ultimately Palestine. As for how he escaped from Germany in 1939, Elan Oren suggested that a Zionist youth group such as HeHalutz  might have helped him get out of Germany.

After arriving in Haifa, Max was transferred to Atlit, a detention camp built by the British, who were then in control of what was then Palestine. With the help of Elan Oren and his translation of Max’s Israeli naturalization file, I learned that Max left Atlit and first lived in Petach Tikvah and then moved to Tel Aviv to live with the Laks family. (More on them in a bit.)

Document that states that Max moved from Petah Tikvah to Tel Aviv where the Laks family lived. Translated by Elan Oren. http://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/?fbclid=IwAR1y3d5C1X3pi2R1_jyX0MAbgeHLQoNhL6TM7F5P7ZT7CE4sFJgPPuql11A#/Archive/0b0717068002258e/File/0b071706856dcab1

But Max decided not to settle permanently in Israel. Max left Haifa on January 29, 1948, and arrived in New York on February 14, 1948. The manifest lists Max’s occupation as a gardener, his primary languages as English and Hebrew, his last residence as Tel Aviv, Palestine, and his birthplace as Frankfort [sic], Germany.

Max Goldschmidt passenger manifest, Year: 1948; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 7546; Line: 19; Page Number: 197, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

The second page of the manifest lists a friend named Pinil Laks as the contact person from Max’s prior residence of Tel Aviv and an uncle “Bernh Laks” of Blackwood, New Jersey, as the person he was going to join in the United States.

So who were the Laks? Bernhard Laks, also known as Bernhard Lachs, Berek Laks, and Bernard Laks, was married to Rosa Pless,2 who must have been a sister of Frieda Pless Goldschmidt, Max’s mother, since Max identified Bernard as his uncle and Rosa as his aunt on various documents.  Moreover, Bernard Laks (then spelled Bernhard Lachs) was one of the witnesses on the marriage record for Max’s parents, Siegfried and Frieda.

Bernhard Lachs as witness on the marriage record of Siegfried Goldschmidt and Frieda Fanny Pless. Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

When Max arrived at Ellis Island on February 14, 1948, he was denied admission to the United States because he did not have in his possession the immigration visa that he had been granted by the US consul in Palestine on November 17, 1947. A hearing was held on February 18, 1948 before a Board of Special Inquiry, at which Max testified that he had last seen his visa on the day he embarked from Haifa while at customs, that he had left it with his other papers in his baggage, and that while at sea he’d discovered that the visa was missing.

Max also testified that he had no relatives living outside of the US and no money. He stated that he was coming to the US in order to join his relatives, the Laks family of Blackwood, New Jersey, and that his uncle Bernard Laks had paid for his ticket from Haifa. In addition, Max presented an affidavit from Bernard and Rosa Laks in which they, as “his sole surviving relatives,” promised to “receive and care for [Max] and …not permit him to became a public charge.”

Although the Board of Special Inquiry found that Max had a valid Palestinian passport with a stamp indicating that a visa had been issued to him by the US Consulate in Jerusalem, they concluded that he was not admissible without possession of the actual visa. On February 20, 1948, however, the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization (INS) recommended that the decision to deport Max be deferred for ninety days to give him time to locate the visa or to obtain a certified copy.

On March 3, 1948, the ninety day stay was granted, and Max was also granted parole during that period, meaning that on March 4, 1948, he was allowed to enter the country though he was required to report in writing on a monthly basis to the Deportation and Parole Section at Ellis Island. Max had thus been detained for eighteen days at Ellis Island before his parole.

On March 18, 1948, his attorney wrote to INS to notify them that the American Consulate in Jerusalem had confirmed that Max had been granted a visa on November 17, 1947, and that the Visa Division in Washington, DC, had been so notified.  On April 8, 1948, the State Department submitted a certified copy of the visa. However, it was not until four months later on August 11, 1948, that an order was entered to re-open Max’s case. A new hearing was scheduled for September 15, 1948.  Fortunately, Max had better luck at this hearing, and he was granted legal admission into the country on September 15, 1948, more than seven months after arriving at Ellis Island on February 14, 1948. (I assume Max had received extensions of the 90 day parole period initially granted in March, 1948.)

Then began the next chapter of his life and more experiences with the slowly grinding wheels of American bureaucracy. He started the process of becoming a US citizen on October 1, 1948, just two weeks after entering the country officially.  But before Max’s papers could be processed, he was inducted into the US Army on January 1, 1949, the very day the government had scheduled a meeting to discuss his citizenship application. He amended his address to reflect that he was now stationed at Fort Dix in New Jersey as a member of the 9th Infantry Division. He was honorably discharged from the army on November 2, 1951, and on March 11, 1955, a certification of his service was issued to INS. His formal petition for naturalization was filed on October 14, 1955, with Bernard and Rosa Laks attesting to his character.

On January 24, 1956, the government received reports from the army that on January 2, 1951, while serving in the army, Max had “stated in substance … that if the Army is an example of democracy, he would take communism” and that on June 4, 1951 while giving a training lecture to his unit, “he introduced the Crusades as an illustrative example in this history of warfare, and then proceeded to interject his own thoughts on the persecution of Jews by Christians at the time of the Crusades, allegedly making rather strong remarks about the Roman Catholic Church. [Max] has at various times in the past tried to turn a topic of conversation into ‘making a case’ for Zionism.”

I suppose Max took the meaning of the First Amendment more literally than the US Army thought appropriate. Whether this had any impact on his citizenship application is not clear. On a page of examiner’s notes dated November 9, 1956, the examiner gave Max a final rating of “deny,” but then that was crossed out, and on May 17, 1957, his application was granted and he was finally issued a certificate of naturalization; he also changed his name to Goldsmith at that time. Despite his service in the US Army, it had taken almost eight years to complete the process of becoming a citizen.

Two months later in July 1957, Max married Shirley Larve in Trenton, New Jersey.3 Shirley was born in Trenton on May 29, 1923, to Joseph and Anna Larve.4 She was 34 when they married, and Max was 32. They did not have any children.

Shirley died at age 70 on July 24, 1993, in Broward County in Florida.5 Her obituary in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on August 15, 1993, filled in some of the gaps in their lives between 1957 and 1993.  Here are some excerpts:

…Shirley worked during WWII for the U.S. Army Finance Dept. and later for 25 years for the Department of Motor Vehicles, State of NJ, retired supervisor in 1985. Married Max Goldsmith July, 1957, an immigrant to the U.S.A. They resided at various locations throughout the U.S.A. … Her life was devoted to her husband, being a true companion to him who had lost his family of 68 members during the Nazi era.

She served two terms as President of the Ladys Auxiliary of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. Post 697 in Levittown, PA. A life member in the American Red Star of David for Israel. In 1989 she received the Lady of the Year award of the Star-Faye Post 672. She was very mild mannered, yet forceful. A lady in her own right. Always unpretending with an inherent sense of justice. She had her golds [goals?] and she never let go until accomplished. She had little patience for people who sat around and complained. Although small in stature yet big in ability and courage.

Shirley and Max thus lived in or near Trenton, New Jersey until 1985 when she retired after 25 years working for the Department of Motor Vehicles. (Levittown, Pennsylvania, is less than eight miles from Trenton.) By 1990, they had moved to Pompano Beach, Florida.6

I am troubled by the reference in her obituary to 68 members of Max’s family being killed in the Holocaust. Who were those 68 people? How were they related to Max? Were they his mother’s relatives? Or were they Goldschmidts I just haven’t found? It haunts me.

Max died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, eleven years after Shirley on July 2, 2004, at age 80.7  He’d endured a great deal in his life—fleeing from his homeland and his family as a young teenager, the murder of his parents, the move to Palestine and then to the US, and all the hassles he endured to become first a legal resident and then a  citizen of the United States.

But I was very comforted after reading Shirley’s obituary; I assume that Max wrote it himself. It is clear from his words that he loved her very deeply and that he felt loved and taken care of by her.  It is wonderful to know how devoted they were to each other, especially after all he’d been through in the first 32 years of his life.

Max Goldsmith, my third cousin, once removed, was a true survivor.  As best I can tell, he was the only and last surviving descendant of  his great-grandparents, Betty Goldschmidt and Jacob Goldschmidt, two first cousins who married each other, both grandchildren of Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann, my four-times great-grandparents. By remembering Max, I hope to honor not only him, but all those who came before him.

 

 

 


  1. The references in this post to documents relating to Max’s immigration to the US are all from his A-file from USCIS, copies of which are in my possession. References to his immigration to Palestine and his time there are from the Israeli archives here
  2. On the 1937 passenger manifest for Berek and Rosa Laks, the person they named as their closest relative living in their former residence of Frankfurt was E.Pless, identified as Berek’s mother-in-law and Rosa’s mother. From this I inferred that Rosa’s birth name was Pless and that she was the sister of Frieda Pless Goldschmidt, Max’s mother.  Laks family, passenger manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York;Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957;Microfilm Roll: Roll 6022; Line: 1; Page Number: 127, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Certificate Number: 21705, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1957; Surname Range: L – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,SSN: 146160447 
  5. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,SSN: 146160447 
  6.  Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1. Original data: Voter Registration Lists, Public Record Filings, Historical Residential Records, and Other Household Database Listings. 
  7.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 129240166 

Rosa Goldschmidt and Her Family: The Final Chapter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


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

The Search for Edwin Metz

As of 1900, my 3x-great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt and her husband Bernhard Metz had four children still living: Hattie, Paul, Edwin, and Joseph. I’ve discussed Paul Metz, aka Joseph Raymond, aka George Raymond’s disappearance in 1900. This post will discuss his younger brother Edwin, who was also proved to be elusive.

Searching for Edwin Metz was not nearly the wild ride I experienced in searching for his brother Paul, but it sure had its challenges. As of 1900, he was still living with his parents Rosa and Bernhard in New York City, working as a merchant.1 In the 1905 New York State census the household included Bernhard and Rosa, Hattie and her husband George Gattel, Edwin, and Joseph. This enumerator had the worst handwriting! Can you decipher what Edwin was doing? It sure had me confused, but as you will see, I eventually figured it out. Answer to follow.

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

The next record I had for Edwin Metz was the 1910 census, or at least I thought this was Edwin. He is listed with a wife Gertrude and four-year-old son Walter, living in Chicago and working as a salesman—of what, once I again I could not tell:

Edwin Metz and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_246; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0369; FHL microfilm: 1374259
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

I thought this was probably the right Edwin Metz since the age (35) and birth place (New York) and birth places of the parents (both Germany) were right, but I wasn’t sure. What made verification difficult was that I could not find one other record for Edwin Metz. He was not on any later census record, and I could not find a marriage record or a death record or even a newspaper article about him.

I focused my search then on Gertrude and Walter, which was also difficult because I did not know Gertrude’s birth name or anything else about her, except what that 1910 census revealed: that she was then 33, born in Indiana in about 1877 to parents who were both born in Germany. And I knew that Walter was born in New York in about 1906. Not much to go on, but enough to get a start.

First, I found a marriage record dated May 20, 1918, for a Gertrude B. Metz and an Isaac Lederer in the Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index on Ancestry.2 I then was able to find Isaac and Gertrude on the 1920 census with Isaac’s son Joseph and his stepson Walter R. Metz, now 13, living in Chicago. I was quite certain this was the same Gertrude and same Walter who had been living with Edwin Metz in 1910 because the names, ages, and birth places lined up. But where was Edwin? Had he died? Or had Gertrude divorced him? And was he even my Edwin anyway?

Isaac Lederer and family 1920 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 3, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_313; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 164
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Then I found entries on the 1915 South Dakota census for Gertrude Metz and Walter Metz. South Dakota? That surprised me. But they lined up with the Gertrude and Walter I’d found on the 1910 and 1920 US census records: Gertrude was 38, born in 1877, in Indiana, and her parents were born in Germany. Walter was nine, born in 1906, in New York, to a father born in New York and a mother born in Indiana. And most importantly, Gertrude listed her marital status as widowed.

Gertrude Metz, South Dakota State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMHN-CGX : 5 August 2017), Gertrude B Metz; citing State Historical Society, Pierre; FHL microfilm 2,283,681.

Walter Metz, South Dakota State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMHN-CPH : 5 August 2017), Walter R Metz; citing State Historical Society, Pierre; FHL microfilm 2,283,681.

Had Edwin died, or was Gertrude doing what many divorced women did in those days, hiding her status as a divorced woman? And why were they in South Dakota? The town where they were living, Mitchell, was a town with a population in 1910 of about 6500 people, located well over 600 miles from Chicago, where Edwin, Gertrude, and Walter had been living in 1910. How had Gertrude and Walter ended up in Mitchell?

My hunch was that Gertrude had family in South Dakota, so I searched for a Gertrude born in Indiana in about 1877 who was living in South Dakota, and I found Gertrude Kleist on the 1900 census, living in Mitchell, South Dakota, with her parents Emil and Mina, both born in Germany. Her father was a peddler, and Gertrude was a music teacher.

Gertrude Kleist and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Mitchell, Davison, South Dakota; Page: 20; Enumeration District: 0112; FHL microfilm: 1241548
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

But that got me no closer to finding Edwin Metz. I went back to my newspaper searching. In my earlier search for Edwin, I’d had to limit my searches to New York and Chicago because the name was so common that I was overwhelmed with thousands of results. This time I decided to search for Edwin Metz in South Dakota, figuring that it was a crazy long shot.

But it wasn’t.  I found this from the July 10, 1913 edition of the Mitchell (South Dakota) Capital (p. 7):

From this legal notice I knew that Edwin Metz had died sometime before July 1913, and Gertrude was a widow with a seven-year-old little boy. I then found “Edward” Metz on the South Dakota death index; he had died on June 12, 1913, in Davison County, South Dakota.3 It seemed likely that the Gertrude Kleist I’d found on the 1900 census living in Mitchell, South Dakota, was the same woman as Gertrude Metz.

But how had a woman from Mitchell, South Dakota, met and married a man from New York City? Well, knowing now that Gertrude was from Mitchell, I searched for Metz in the Mitchell Capital newspaper on genealogybank.com and found this treasure published on October 9, 1903 (p. 6):

At first I was confused that Gertrude’s name was Becker, not Kleist as I had thought. I was surprised that there could be two Gertrudes in Mitchell, South Dakota, both born around the same time and both in Indiana, with parents born in Germany.

And then I found Gertrude Becker and her family enumerated on the 1900 census; this is clearly the same family as the “Kleist” family in the page depicted above—Emil and Mina, both born in Germany, with daughters Gertrude and Margery and a son Delvin born in Indiana. The Becker and the Kleist entries are nearly identical, except Gertrude has no occupation listed and Emil has moved from being a “peddler” to being a “clothing dealer.”  Once I searched for earlier and later records for the Becker family, it was clear that their name was not Kleist, or hadn’t been for a long time.

Somehow they were counted twice on the 1900 census, once as Becker and once as Kleist. The Becker enumeration was on June 4, the Kleist on June 11, and one was in District 112, the other in District 113. I suppose it is possible the family moved between June 4 and June 11, but it seems unlikely they’d changed their surname from Becker to Kleist.

Gertrude Becker and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Mitchell, Davison, South Dakota; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1241548 Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Without transcribing the entire wedding article, I can point out several revealing portions. First, Edwin Metz was from New York City and was working for “the firm of S. Ascher & Co., importers of fancy knit goods.” Looking back now at the 1905 New York State census when my Edwin was living with his parents, I think the enumerator wrote “nit goods salesman” as Edwin’s occupation. Bad handwriting AND bad spelling. And now reading the 1910 US census for Edwin, I can see that it clearly says “knit goods.” (Amazing what context does to help decipher bad handwriting.) So I am persuaded that the Edwin Metz who married Gertrude from South Dakota was in fact my cousin Edwin.

I also learned that Edwin had “made a very favorable impression” on the people of Mitchell and that he was a “pleasant and affable gentleman and full worthy of the charming bride he takes away from us.”

Gertrude was described in particularly glowing terms:

Coming here as a little maiden the bride has grown to womanhood in this city and has always been prominent in musical and social circles. She is possessed with a beautiful soprano voice of high cultivation and times without number has her music brought pleasure to hundreds of hearers. Always generous with her musical ability she has responded many times to assist in musical entertainments that have been enhanced by her presence. She has been a great favorite socially and was the life of any party of which she formed a number. Her going away will be much regretted by her hundreds of friends and a void will be created that will be hard to fill.

But if Edwin and Gertrude were married in October, 1903, why wasn’t she living with him on the 1905 census in New York? The New York census does not record marital status, so I don’t know. Perhaps she had just been left off by mistake? Edwin and Gertrude’s son Walter was born on February 28, 1906, so certainly in 1905 they had to have been living together for some time.

I also was surprised to see that a rabbi performed the ceremony; he came from the “Jewish church” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is over seventy miles east of Mitchell; back then, that must have been a long journey. It also saddened me that none of Edwin’s family attended the wedding. I’d like to think it wasn’t that they didn’t approve or that Edwin was estranged from his family, but just that the time and cost of traveling from New York to South Dakota kept them from attending.

The wedding article was also very informative about the details of the wedding, including the lavish and extensive menu, the clothing, and the names of the twenty guests. The article also hinted that Gertrude may have already been living in New York, as “A portion of the presents were sent here and a large number were sent to her New York residence.” Perhaps that refers to her future residence, but I like to imagine that Gertrude had come to New York City to pursue her musical career, as the article describes her considerable talent. That would also explain how Edwin and Gertrude met, although it is also possible that Emil Becker, the clothing dealer, met Edwin, the knit clothing salesman, and introduced him to his daughter.

That left me with a few remaining questions: why was Edwin in South Dakota in 1913 when he died? Was it a visit, or were they living in Mitchell at that point? Edwin was only 38 when he died—what caused his death? And where is he buried?

And then, as I was first writing that very paragraph, I went back to genealogybank.com one more time and searched for Edwin Metz between June 1, 1913, and July 31, 1913, and found an obituary for Edwin—why hadn’t it shown up before? I don’t know. But here it is:

“Edwin Metz Passes Away,” The Mitchell Capital, June 19, 1913, p. 7

This doesn’t tell me everything, but it does tell me that Edwin had suffered from “nervous trouble” since early 1912, and it suggests that he and Gertrude had moved to Mitchell for family support.  Edwin died in the home of his in-laws, and his brother-in-law accompanied his body back to New York for burial. Gertrude was herself too ill to go.

Of course, every answer leads to more questions.  What kind of “nervous trouble”? Why was he being buried in New York and not in South Dakota or Chicago, the two places he and Gertrude had lived together?

As for Gertrude and Walter, as noted above, Gertrude remarried five years after Edwin’s death and relocated back to Chicago with her second husband, Isaac S. Lederer. Isaac was also widowed and, like Gertrude, had a young son. In 1920,4 they were all still living together in Chicago, as they were in 1930 as well.5 By then, Walter was working in the retail dry goods business, his stepbrother Joseph was a broker, and Isaac was retired. Isaac died the following year at the age of 61. He was buried with his first wife Carrie in Chicago.6

Walter Metz married Marjorie Isaacs in 1933:

1933, Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963), Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003

And in 1940 they were living in Chicago with their son. Walter owned a retail lighting fixtures store.7 Meanwhile, his mother Gertrude was also still living in Chicago in 1940; she was 63 and had been widowed twice.8

Sadly, my cousin Walter Metz inherited some of the bad luck of the Goldsmith family and died at a young age like his father Edwin. He was only 57 when he suffered a heart attack on March 1, 1963, while on a cruise in the Caribbean with his wife Marjorie.9 He was survived by his wife, son, and his mother Gertrude Becker Metz Lederer, who was about 87 at the time. Despite searching every way I can imagine, I have found no clue as to when Gertrude died, though I would assume it was within ten years after her son Walter’s death.  Was she buried with her first husband, just as her second husband Isaac was buried with his first wife? I do not know. I cannot find her. I have contacted the cemetery where Edwin is buried to see if she is buried there and am awaiting an answer.

UPDATE: I just heard from the cemetery; Gertrude Metz Lederer is not buried with Edwin at Beth El Cemetery in New York.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Bernhard Metz and 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 
  2. Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Indexes, 1912-1942. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. South Dakota, Death Index, 1879-1955. Certificate Number: 34853
    Page Number: 503.
     
  4. See image above. 
  5. Isaac Lederer and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0210; FHL microfilm: 2340158. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/131191424 
  7. Walter Metz and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00928; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 103-245. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. Gertrude Metz, 1940 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 103-283. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. “Walter R. Metz,” Chicago Tribune, March 3, 1963, p. 36. 

The Paul Metz Story: The Brick Wall Tumbles Down

Finally, the brick wall hiding Paul Metz came (mostly) down.

One of the newspaper articles about the disappearance of George B. Metz in 1923 had revealed an important bit of information about the mysterious disappearance of George’s father, Paul Metz, 23 years before. According to statements made by the family quoted in that article, Paul (referred to as Joseph Metz in the news story) had disappeared with his son Elwood around the time that George Metz was born in 1900. According to that same article, no one in the family had heard from either of them since.1

I decided to focus my next search on Elwood. The first name is unusual enough that I thought I had a better chance of finding him than his father Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond. But I also worried that Paul might have changed Elwood’s name to avoid being found.

Fortunately, Paul Metz was not that devious. After much searching, I found an obituary for an Elwood Raymond who died at age 82 on June 26, 1980, in Florida.2 Why did I think this might be the right person? Well, not only did the age match up (my Elwood was born in 1898), this Elwood had come to Florida 65 years earlier from his “native New York City,” meaning he was born in New York, just as my Elwood had been. And Paul Metz had once used the alias Joseph Raymond.

That led me to search for more information about Elwood Raymond in Florida. What I learned was that by 1916, Elwood had attained a degree of fame in Florida—he was reputedly the roller skating champion of the South, according to this article from the Orlando Sentinel of October 20, 1916 (p. 6):

Conrad located this photograph of Elwood as a skater:

Elwood Raymond

Elwood also served as a sergeant in the US Army in World War I and was seriously injured in June, 1918, at the Battle of Chateau Thievry in France, as reported in this article about his bravery and his injury; the article also revealed that Elwood Raymond had a father still living in Ocala, Florida.:

The Ocala Evening Star, 15 Oct 1918, Tue, Page 4

And this article revealed the name of that father:

The Ocala Evening Star, 04 Sep 1919, Thu, Page 3

George Raymond! So Paul Metz had gone from Joseph Raymond to George Raymond! Did he select the name George in some way to connect to the son he had abandoned as an infant, Conrad’s father George? Was it just coincidence that the man who next partnered with Gertrude was also named George—George W. Keller? It all seemed just a bit strange.

On September 1, 1919, the Ocala Evening Star reported that Elwood Raymond was returning home and intending to stay in Ocala:

The Ocala Evening Star, 01 Sep 1919, Mon, Page 3

In 1920, Elwood was lodging with two other men in Ocala, working as a skater at the fire station. I am not sure what that means, but the other two men were also working at the fire station, one as an electrician and one as a laborer.

Elwood Raymond’s occupation (in yellow) on the 1920 US census, Census Place: Ocala Ward 2, Marion, Florida; Roll: T625_226; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 116
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

On April 20, 1921, the Ocala Evening Star published this little news item (p.4):

The Ocala Evening Star, 20 Apr 1921, Wed, Page 4

So Elwood was now the chief of the fire department (not just a skater!). And his father George Raymond was staying with him in Ocala and making it his headquarters while traveling—for work? What kind of work?

On January 26, 1922, the Ocala paper reported on Elwood Raymond’s marriage to Ethelyn Adams:

The Ocala Evening Star, 26 Jan 1922, Thu, Page 1

Ethelyn was the daughter of George and Rosa Adam; she was born on January 27, 1904, in Oklahoma, and was living with her parents in Alma, Kansas, in 1910 where her father was a farmer; in 1920, they were living in Kansas City, Missouri, and her father was retired.  According to the wedding announcement, they had moved to Ocala during 1921, having previously lived in Orlando, Florida.3

The wedding announcement is also interesting in that it describes Elwood as “the only son of Mr. George Raymond.” It would thus appear that at least as of 1922, Elwood was unaware of his brother George B. Metz.

There were a number of other articles in the Ocala newspaper about Elwood in his role as fire chief, and then on March 8, 1922 the Ocala Evening Star reported that Elwood had resigned as chief of the fire department. 4 And this news item revealed why—Elwood and Ethelyn were moving to Orlando:

The Ocala Evening Star, 27 Apr 1922, Thu, Page 4

On September 4, 1922, the Ocala Evening Star reported that Ethelyn and Elwood had a new baby, a son.5 Two years later they had a daughter.

In 1930 Elwood, Ethelyn, and their two children were living in Oneco, Florida, where Elwood was employed as a letter carrier for the US Post Office.  Ethelyn’s mother Rosa was also living with them and operating a fruit farm.

Elwood Raymond, 1930 US census, Census Place: Oneco, Manatee, Florida; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0031; FHL microfilm: 2340059
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Where was Elwood’s father “George Raymond” in the 1920s? Or for that matter any time between 1900 and 1930? In 1905 he was in Augusta, Georgia:

Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle of December 12, 1905 (p. 10)

So in 1905 George was still a piano tuner and possibly still conning—a graduate of a Boston conservatory? Eight years with Steinway & Sons in New York? I’ve seen no evidence of that, but I suppose it is possible. It looks like George and Elwood had been heading south and eventually ended up in Florida.

Conrad found this 1916 article, which also seems of doubtful truth:

“Skater Inherits Big Fortune; Show is Off,” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) · 27 Jan 1916, Thu · Page 13

Who is this “uncle” who left George Raymond (or is it Elwood Raymond) a fortune? None of George’s known uncles or Elwood’s known uncles died in 1915; Bernhard Metz died in 1914, however. Was Paul/George somehow trying to claim a share of the estate? Or was this just an excuse to get out of the Clearwater performance?

And this advertisement reveals that George was still tuning pianos in 1920 in Florida:

The Ocala Evening Star (Ocala, Florida) · 10 Mar 1920, Wed · Page 1

Aside from the mentions in the news clippings above, I have no other information about Paul Metz/George Raymond’s whereabouts, his job, his life. He was living in Georgia in 1905 and in Florida at least from 1915 until 1922, given the newspaper articles. But before or after? I don’t know. I found no other trace of him as Paul Metz or Joseph Raymond or George Raymond. If he used another name, I have no idea what that might have been. And I have no idea why he had kidnapped his son Elwood and abandoned his wife and newborn son George in 1900.

But what I did find was this obituary dated June 26, 1934:

 

The Tampa Tribune, 27 Jun 1934, Wed, Page 2

The obituary states that George Raymond had been living in Manatee County, Florida, for six years, and had previously been in Philadelphia. My guess is that the reporter confused the birth place with his prior residence. I found no evidence that Paul/George had returned to Philadelphia in the 1920s.

More importantly, the obituary reveals that by the time Paul Metz/George Raymond died in 1934, he had either revealed to Elwood that he had another son, or Elwood had discovered it on his own. Interestingly, the obituary refers to this son as “George Raymond,” as if he were his father’s namesake. And as if they had an actual relationship.

When I shared all this with Conrad, he revealed to me for the first time that Elwood had contacted George B. Metz sometime after 1934. We don’t know how Elwood learned about his brother George—did his father have a deathbed confession? How did Elwood even find him if he thought his brother’s name was George Raymond? Neither Conrad nor I know the answers, but Conrad shared this photograph of Elwood Raymond and George Metz together, showing that after their father died, the two brothers who had been separated since George Metz’s birth in 1900 had eventually gotten together many years later:

Elwood Raymond and George Metz

Conrad also learned from a cousin that Paul Metz/George Raymond died in the state hospital in Chattahoochee, Florida, in Gadsden County; this is consistent with the listing in the Florida Death Index. The cousin also told him that George Raymond (Paul Metz) had been in the state hospital for several years for psychiatric treatment and for drug and alcohol abuse. That seems credible, given Paul’s earlier history as an opium user and his long history of lying and stealing.

Thus, together Conrad and I had pieced together the long and twisting path of his grandfather’s life, the man who was born Paul Metz and died as George Raymond. There are still gaps in the story, but at least we know the beginning, a bigger part of the middle, and the end. It was one wild roller coaster ride, and I never could have done it without Conrad’s collaboration.

 

 

 

 


  1. “Metz in California, Denver Police Think,” The New York Times, September 14, 1923, p. 22. 
  2. Tampa Bay Times, 28 Jun 1980, Sat, Main Edition, Page 29. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Indexes, 1908-2004. George Adam and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Alma, Wabaunsee, Kansas; Roll: T624_459; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0132; FHL microfilm: 1374472. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. George Adam and family 1920 US census, Census Place: Kansas City Ward 16, Jackson, Missouri; Roll: T625_928; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 264. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  4.  The Ocala Evening Star, 08 Mar 1922, Wed, Page 1. 
  5. The Ocala Evening Star, 04 Sep 1922, Mon, Page 4. 

The Paul Metz Mystery, Part II

As seen in my last post, my cousin Conrad and I came to the conclusion that his grandfather, Paul Metz, had used a false name (Joseph Raymond) on his marriage certificate when he married Gertrude Cone and thus that Paul Metz was in fact the first husband of Gertrude Amelia Cone and the father of their two sons, Elwood, born February 19, 1898, and George, born July 6, 1900.

But Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond was not on the 1900 census with Gertrude and Elwood (George was born after the census enumeration). Where was he? I thought that if we searched for information about Gertrude, Elwood, and George, we might find the answer to what happened to Paul.

According to Conrad, Gertrude next appeared on the 1905 New York State census; she was living in Mount Vernon, New York, with a man named George W. Keller, who was 26. Gertrude is listed as his mother, but she was only 25, so that cannot be right. Apparently that enumerator listed all the wives as “mothers” on that particular census report. There were two children living with them: a son named George, who was five, and a daughter named Ida J., who was two months old.

Gertrude Keller and family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: E.D. 01; City: Mount Vernon Ward 04; County: Westchester. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

At first I wasn’t sure why Conrad thought this was his grandmother Gertrude. The New York State census does not identify the state where the individuals were born or much else about them, so I was uncertain. But Conrad knew that his grandmother had at one time been married to George Washington Keller; in fact, he knew of her only with the surname Keller. And he knew he had an “aunt” named Ida Jane. So this had to be Gertrude and her son George (Metz) and daughter Ida on the 1905 NYS census living with George W. Keller.

But neither Conrad nor I could locate a marriage record for Gertrude and George W. Keller. Nor could we find a birth record for Ida. Was she in fact the daughter of George Keller and Gertrude Cone? Could Paul Metz have been her father? Well, I found Ida on the 1910 census living with her grandparents—George Keller and Ida Keller, who were George W. Keller’s parents.1  From that I concluded that Ida was in fact the daughter of George W. Keller. But why was she living with her grandparents? Where was her father George? And where was her mother Gertrude?

Ida Keller, 1910 US census, Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 34, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1002; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 1583; FHL microfilm: 1375015
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Well, on January 26, 1910, Gertrude had obtained a license to marry another man, William Blumann.2 But on the 1910 census, she was living with a man named William T. Smith. He was a “railroad man.” Living with them was George B. Metz, Paul Metz’s son. The census record reported that it was a second marriage for both William and Gertrude and that Gertrude had three living children, though only George was living with her. It also reported that Gertrude and William Smith had been married for less than a year.

William Smith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1014; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0311; FHL microfilm: 1375027
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Was William Smith the same person as William Blumann? Was William Blumann/William T. Smith another alias for Paul Metz? And what had happened to George W. Keller? To answer the first question first, there is this horrifying news article that reveals that in fact William Blumann was the same person as William T. Smith:

“Mother Saved by Son, Madman Ends Own Life,” Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Evening-News, January 20, 1914, p. 2.

So George Metz, just thirteen years old, had saved his mother Gertrude’s life.  This poor young man had witnessed the attempted murder of his mother and the suicide of his stepfather. And also it appears he had been abandoned by his own father, Paul Metz, and another stepfather as well, George W. Keller. He also had lost two siblings somewhere along the way—Elwood and Ida. In thirteen years he had suffered more trauma and loss than most of us experience in a lifetime.

Meanwhile, in 1909 George’s stepfather George W. Keller had married Laurie Ellis Fredette,3 and in 1910 they were living in Mount Vernon, the same town where George W. Keller had previously lived with Gertrude, George Metz, and Ida.4 But Laurie Fredette died on January 27, 1918, in the Bronx,5 leaving George W. Keller a widower. And thus both George W. Keller and Gertrude Cone Raymond/Metz Blumann/Smith were widowed and unmarried as of January 27, 1918.

In 1920 George W. Keller and Gertrude were living together again, listed this time as husband and wife on the census, although we’ve yet to find a marriage record for George W. Keller and Gertrude. They were living at 2020 Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx. George was working for the railroad just as William Blumann Smith had been.

George W Keller and household, 1920 US census, Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 7, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1140; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 373
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Living with George and Gertrude as their son was “George Elwood Keller,” a nineteen-year-old born in New Jersey who was working in a glass factory. The census record states that both his parents were born in New York.So who was this? Was it Elwood “Raymond,” who would have been 22 in 1920, or was it George Metz, who would have been turning 20 in 1920? Only George was born in New Jersey, and his father—Paul Metz—was born in Pennsylvania, not New York. Conrad and I concluded that this had to be George, not Elwood—in large part because Conrad knew that his father had been living with Gertrude at that time whereas Elwood’s whereabouts during that time were unknown.

Why then would this young man have been listed as George Elwood? It looks like the census enumerator first wrote Elwood and then squeezed in George. Strange… Perhaps Gertrude had her two sons confused.

Even more confusing to me was the fact that this same census record also listed a daughter in the household named Florence, fourteen years old, also born in New Jersey with parents both born in New York. Who in the world was Florence?? Ida Jane Keller would have been fourteen, going on fifteen in 1920. But she was born in New York. Since neither Conrad nor I could find any child of George and/or Gertrude who was named Florence or born in New Jersey in 1905-1906 nor could we find any later record for a Florence Keller of that age who fit, we concluded that “Florence” was really Ida. But why would she be listed as Florence, not Ida? Those names aren’t even close.

You can imagine that by now I was ready to throw a brick at the computer. My head was spinning, and I was drawing more timelines and charts than I’d ever had to before. And things did not get much clearer as I moved forward in time.

In 1921 Ida J. Keller married Eugene Merker in the Bronx.6 But that marriage did not last long because by 1925 Ida was apparently separated from Eugene Merker and living at 1976 Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx with her grandparents George and Ida Keller, her father George W. Keller, and her daughter from her marriage to Eugene; they were living down the block from where Gertrude and George had been living with her son George Metz and their daughter Ida in 1920. Ida was eventually divorced from Eugene in 1930.7 It also appears that by 1925 her father George W. Keller was no longer living with Gertrude. I could not find him on the 1930 census, but I did find that he died in 1936.8

Keller family, 1920 US census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 21; Assembly District: 07; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 12. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

So I had gotten this far, but I still had no answers for the whereabouts of Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond or Elwood Metz/Raymond. Neither Gertrude nor William Blumann Smith nor George W. Keller nor Ida Jane were related to me in anyway except through a chain of marriages. I had researched them and gone in all those circles to try and find Paul Metz and Elwood to no avail.

And then things got stranger. And finally, the brick wall started to fall.

 


  1. Ancestry.com. New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936. Film Number: 001031478. 
  2.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 1. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995. License Number: 2449. 
  3. Ancestry.com. New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936. Film Number: 001031478. 
  4. George W. Keller household, 1910 US census, Census Place: MT Vernon Ward 2, Westchester, New York; Roll: T624_1089; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0062; FHL microfilm: 1375102. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  5.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number: 766. 
  6.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995. License Number: 5510. 
  7. Ancestry.com. Bronx County, New York, Divorce and Civil Case Records, 1914-1995. Volume Number: 2, Page Number: 485, File Number: 1969 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Certificate Number: 1374. 

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 

The Final Chapter on Levi Goldsmith and His Family

When Sylvester Goldsmith, the youngest child of Levi and Henrietta Goldsmith, died at age 44 in 1914, he left behind his wife Ida and five young children: Louis (16), Harold (13), Blanchard (11), Estelle (8), and Sarah Frances (2). We saw that Ida stayed in Dubois, Pennsylvania, with Louis, Estelle, and Sarah Frances, but that Harold and Blanchard were sent to Dayton, Ohio, for some time after their father’s death. By 1930, Louis had married Helen Heckman and was working on the railroad in Dubois. Estelle and Sarah Frances were still living with their mother in Dubois, and Estelle was working as a stenographer. Harold was married and still living in Dayton, working as a polisher according to the 1933 Dayton directory, and Blanchard was working as a plasterer and living in Atlantic City.

Louis and his wife Helen were living in Dubois for much of the 1930s, but by 1940 they had moved to Little Valley, New York, where Louis was a clerk for the B&O Railroad. As of 1940, they did not have any children.

Louis Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Little Valley, Cattaraugus, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02505; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 5-31
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Harold and his wife Martha and their child were still living in Dayton in 1940, where Harold was working as a polisher for an electric motor company.1 They were still living in Dayton as late as 1944, but by 1946 they had relocated to Dubois, where Harold’s mother Ida was still living. Perhaps Harold moved back to help care for his mother after Louis moved to New York State. In 1948, he was working for the Vulcan Soot Blower Corporation, and in 1955 he was working as a janitor at the Dubois Deposit Bank at that time.2

By 1940 Blanchard Goldsmith had married a woman named Eleanor, and they were living in Atlantic City where Blanchard was working as a bartender. But I had a hard time finding a marriage record or birth name for Eleanor. There was also a family of three living with them as boarders and a niece, fifteen-year-old Evelyn Carson. The niece’s name was the one clue I had to learn more about Eleanor.

Blanchard Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02300; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1-26
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

It took some digging, but I found an Evelyn Carson of the same age and birth state on a Border Crossing document traveling with two siblings, Emily and William Carson, with a father W. Carson living in Toronto.

Library and Archives Canada; 1908-1935 Border Entries; Roll: T-15368
Ancestry.com. Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935

That led me to search for Emily, William, and Evelyn Carson, and I found the two sisters living with a grandmother named Elizabeth Rourke in Philadelphia in 1940 (Evelyn seemed to be listed twice on the 1940 census).3 Searching backwards, I found that Elizabeth Rourke, born O’Neill, had married Michael Rourke, and they had several children, including an Eleanor and a Gertrude. Gertrude had married a William Carson.4 Putting it all together, I concluded that the Eleanor who married Blanchard Goldsmith must have been Eleanor Rourke, daughter of Elizabeth O’Neill and Michael Rourke. That was quite a long loop just to find a birth name for Blanchard’s first wife—especially since the marriage did not last very long.

In 1950, Blanchard was listed as a bartender in the Atlantic City directory with a different wife named Patricia.5 It also took some digging to find more about Patricia.  She was born Patricia Barry, daughter of Joseph Barry, a sheet metal contractor, and Irene Field. She was born on December 29, 1916, in Atlantic City. She had been previously married to John L. Roth, with whom she’d had one child.6 She and Blanchard would then have two children of their own.

As for Sylvester’s two surviving daughters, Estelle remained in Dubois and by 1936 was married to Harry Lindahl, a moulder for the Dubois Iron Works company, according to the Dubois directory for that year. In 1940 they were living in Dubois with their child, and Harry was still working at the foundry.7

Sarah Frances, now using Frances, also remained in Dubois, where she married her sister Estelle’s brother-in-law, John Lindahl. John and his brother Harry were the sons of Charlie Lindahl, a Swedish immigrant, and Nettie Dinger, a Pennsylvania native.8 In 1940 John was working in a print shop, Frances was working as a stenographer in a wholesale tire store, and they had one child.  Frances’ mother Ida Simms Goldsmith was also living with them.

John Lindahl and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Dubois, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03470; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 17-43
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Ida died on December 24, 1960, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, at the age of 86.9 And unlike her husband and so many of his siblings and nieces and nephews as well as their first child Helen, her other children all lived long lives. Louis died on December 5, 1987, at the age of 89.10 Estelle died in April 1990; she was 84. 11 Harold died on May 28, 1994, at age 93.12 Blanchard was 91 when he died December 4, 1994, six months after his brother Harold.13 And Frances, the youngest child of Sylvester Goldsmith, who was the youngest child of Levi Goldsmith, died on September 28, 2000, when she was 88.14

Thus, unlike so many of their extended family members, the five children of Sylvester Goldsmith and Ida Simms who lived to adulthood all made it past 80, and two of them made it into their 90s. They must have gotten their longevity from their mother’s DNA, not that of their father or grandfather.

Thus, I come to the end of the saga of my three-times great-uncle Levi Goldsmith and his family, one of the saddest chapters I’ve researched in a while. There were so many premature deaths that at times it seemed almost unbelievable. Why did Levi draw the short straw when his brothers Jacob, Abraham, and Meyer all seemed to find much good fortune (although each also had a fair amount of heartbreak)? I don’t know. It just shows that heartbreaking stories are not fairly distributed evenly among family members.  Some people just suffer more than their fair share.

 

 


  1. Harold Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03253; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 94-85. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Dayton, Ohio, city directory, 1944, Dubois, Pennsylvania, city directory, 1946, 1948, 1955, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  3. Evelyn Carson with Elizabeth Rourke, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03736; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 51-1599. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. Michael Rourke and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 26, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1400; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0578; FHL microfilm: 1375413. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. William and Gertrude Carson, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 48, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1648; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 1814. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  5. Atlantic City city directory, 1950, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  6. Patricia Roth, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02300;Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1-19. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Harry Lindahl and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Sandy, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03471; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 17-81. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. Charles Lindahl and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Sandy, Clearfield, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1553; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 106. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  9.  Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 114001-116700. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Certificate Number: 114311-60 
  10. Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  11. Number: 170-26-3884; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014  
  12.  Number: 288-07-3757; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014  
  13. Ancestry.com. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 
  14. Number: 200-05-3391; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014