Photographs of My Hecht Cousins

Thanks to one grandson and three great-granddaughters of my great-aunt Taube “Tillie” Brotman Hecht, I have some photographs to share of Taube and Jacob’s children and grandchildren.

Harry Hecht’s granddaughter Jan shared these two photographs of Harry, Sophie, and their three children. The first is from Helene Hecht’s Sweet Sixteen celebration in 1944, and the second is from her sister’s Claire’s Sweet Sixteen in 1945:

Harry Hecht, Helene Hecht, Ed Hecht, Sophie Slotnick Hecht, and Claire Hecht 1944. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Helene Hecht, Harry Hecht, Claire Hecht, Sophie Slotnick Hecht, Ed Hecht 1945.
Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Taube Brotman Hecht’s grandson Jerry shared these photographs of four of the Hecht sisters with him, probably taken in the 1940s:

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jerry Oshinsky, and Shirley Hecht Tushinsky Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Jerold Oshinsky, Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jean Hecht Gross, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky c. 1947 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Ida Hecht Goldfarb’s granddaughters Sue and Debrah shared this photograph of the Hecht sisters and their families at a Hanukkah celebration in the 1950s:

Seated left to right: Joan Tushinsky, Sylvia Goldfarb Leyner Horowitz, Neil Horowitz, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Evelyn Goldfarb Block, Susan Leyner, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Renee Gross, Jean Hecht Gross, Etta Hecht Schwartz. Standing left to right: Julius Goldfarb, Sam Oshinsky, Louis Tushinsky, Sam Block, Ethel Goldfarb Rothman, Louis Gross, Gertrude Goldfarb Levy, Herbert Rothman, Stan Rappaport, Ben Levy, unknown c. 1955 Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol and Sue Leyner Wartur

And Sue shared this photograph of the Hecht family at her wedding in 1959:

Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jean Hecht Gross, Louis Gross, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Louis Tushinsky, Joan Tushinsky. Standing are Sam Oshinsky, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Jerold Oshinsky. 1959. Courtesy of Sue Leyner Wartur

Jerry shared this undated photograph of Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, and Shirley Hecht Tushinsky:

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky. Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

By the late 1950s, the family began to suffer losses of these Hecht siblings. Both of the Hecht brothers died in 1959. Harry Hecht died on February 11, 1959; he was 66 years old.1 His wife Sophie and their three children survived him. Sophie died sixteen years later on June 8, 1975; she was 81.2 There would be seven grandchildren to survive them.

Courtesy of Jan Huttner

Courtesy of Jan Huttner

David Hecht died ten months after his older brother Harry. He was 63 when he died on December 7, 1959.3

Sue shared this Hecht family photograph taken in 1961, the last photograph I have of all the Hecht sisters and their families:

Rear, left to right: Evelyn Goldfarb Block, Jerry Oshinsky, Renee Gross Rappaport, Stan Rappaport, Joan Tushinsky, Lou Tushinsky, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Lou Gross, Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz, Susan Leyner. Middle row, left to right: Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Jean Hecht Gross, Etta Hecht Schwartz. Front row, Toby and Jennifer Rappaport

Ida Hecht Goldfarb was the first Hecht sister to pass away. She died seven years after her brothers Harry and David on March 7, 1966, at the age of 71; she was survived by her husband Julius and their four daughters and nine grandchildren. Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968; he was 81.

Etta Hecht Schwartz was 77 when she died on February 4, 1976;4 her husband Nathan Schwartz had predeceased her in November 1965 when he was 72.5

Shirley Hecht Tushinsky died on December 20, 1980, when she was 77;6 her husband Louis Tushinsky had predeceased her. He’d died on December 6, 1977, when he also was 77.7They were survived by their daughter Joan.

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky and her husband Samuel Oshinsky both died in 1991.  Ruth was 86 when she died on February 7, 1991,8 and Samuel was 79 when he died on July 4, 1991.9 They were survived by their son Jerold and his family.

Jean Hecht Gross outlived all her siblings as well as her husband Louis Gross, who died on July 26, 1992, when he was 96.10 Jean was just a few months shy of her 101st birthday when she died on February 3, 2001.11 She was survived by her daughter Renee and her family.

The Hecht siblings—Harry, Ida, David, Etta, Jean, Shirley, Ruth, and Evelyn— were my mother’s (half) first cousins, yet as far as I know, she never knew them. Their children, Taube and Jacob’s grandchildren, are my (half) second cousins—including my cousin Jerry. Jan, Sue, and Debrah are my half second cousins, once removed.11 I am so grateful to them all for helping me tell the story of these two families, the Hechts and the Goldfarbs.

 

 


  1. Harry Sidney Hecht, Record Type: Military Service, Birth Date: 24 May 1892
    Military Date: 9 May 1919, Residence Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 11 Feb 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940 
  2.  Sophie Hecht, Social Security Number: 140-18-4807
    Birth Date: 25 Apr 1894, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey
    Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975,
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  3. David Hecht, Age: 63, Birth Date: abt 1896, Death Date: 7 Dec 1959
    Death Place: Brooklyn, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 24385,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  4.  Etta Schwartz, Death Date: 4 Feb 1976, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1976; Surname Range: O-Z; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  5.  Nathan Schwartz, Social Security Number: 132-09-5377, Birth Date: 27 Apr 1893
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: Nov 1965, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Shirley Tushinsky, Social Security Number: 063-52-2110, Birth Date: 3 May 1903
    Issue Year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11239, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File; Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/64008057/shirley-tushinsky : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Shirley Tushinsky (3 May 1903–20 Dec 1980), Find a Grave Memorial ID 64008057, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Erice Wilcox (contributor 47002678) . 
  7.  Louis Tushinsky, Social Security Number: 102-09-9667, Birth Date: 15 May 1900
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11239, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1977, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/64008131/louis-tushinsky : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Louis Tushinsky (3 May 1901–6 Dec 1977), Find a Grave Memorial ID 64008131, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Erice Wilcox (contributor 47002678) . 
  8. Ruth Oshinsky, Age at Death: 86, Birth Date: 2 Jun 1904, Death Date: 7 Feb 1991
    Death Place: Palm Beach, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  9. Samuel H Oshinsky, Age at Death: 79, Birth Date: 25 Jan 1912, Death Date: 4 Jul 1991, Death Place: Palm Beach, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  10.  Louis Gross, Social Security Number: 080-28-8420, Birth Date: 22 Oct 1895
    Issue Year: 1952-1953, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11374, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 26 Jul 1992, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/88019160/louis-gross : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Louis Gross (1896–26 Jul 1992), Find a Grave Memorial ID 88019160, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by DMC (contributor 47184694) . 
  11. Sue and Debrah are also my third cousins through Ida Hecht’s husband Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother’s first cousin, and so my double cousins, as I discussed in earlier posts

Taube Brotman Hecht’s Family: Some Tragic Times

When the 1930 census was taken, the Hecht family was divided between Brooklyn and Jersey City. Taube and Jacob were living with David, Ruth, and Evelyn in Jersey City. Jacob was not working, but the three adult children were all employed. Ida Hecht and her husband Julius Goldfarb and their four daughters were also in Jersey City as were Jean Hecht and her husband Louis Gross and their daughter and Etta Hecht and her husband Nathan Schwartz. Brooklyn was home to Harry Hecht, his wife Sophie Slotnick, and their children and to Shirley Hecht and her husband Louis Tushinsky.

Unfortunately, 1930 did not end well for the Hecht family. Jacob Hecht died on October 21, 1930; he was 67 years old.1 The family remembers him not only as a fine tailor who sewed beautiful clothing for his daughters but also as a “bucher,” a learner or student.2

The next major lifecycle event for the family was Evelyn Hecht’s marriage to Samuel Oshinsky in 1938.3 Samuel was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 25, 1912, to Harry and Dora Oshinsky. He grew up in Brooklyn, and his father was an operator in a coat factory just as Evelyn’s father Jacob had been.4 In 1930 Samuel was working as a shipping clerk in a wholesale house.5

Here are two sweet photographs of Samuel and Evelyn, courtesy of their son Jerry.

Evelyn Hecht and Samuel Oshinsky. c. 1938 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Samuel Oshinsky and Evelyn Hecht, c. 1938. Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

After marrying, Evelyn and Samuel moved into the same building where her mother Taube was living with David and Ruth (formerly Rose) in Jersey City. According to the 1940 census, Samuel was working as a bartender in a tavern, Evelyn was a clerk in a pencil factory, and Evelyn’s sister Ruth was an assistant in a doctor’s office. David was not employed.  On his World War II draft registration, Sam Oshinsky reported that he was self-employed.6  There was no World War II draft registration for David.

Hecht and Oshinsky, 1940 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Harry Hecht and his family were also living in Jersey City in 1940, and like his brother-in-law Samuel Oshinsky, Harry was working as a bartender in a tavern.7 Were they working in the same tavern? Could it have been my great-uncle Hyman Brotman’s bar in Jersey City? Harry’s World War II registration reports that he worked at Sherman’s Bar in Jersey City. My great-uncle Hyman was known as Herman in business. His wife’s name was Sophie. I have a hunch that both Harry and Samuel were working for Hyman; he was, after all, Harry and Evelyn’s uncle, their mother Taube’s half-brother. And Harry had been working for him in 1925 in Jersey City.  But I can’t prove that’s where they were working.

Harry Hecht, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of New Jersey; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1986, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Harry’s granddaughter Jan shared this adorable photograph of her mother Helene, Harry and Sophie’s oldest child.

Helene Hecht, 1933. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Etta Hecht and her husband Nathan Schwartz were also living in Jersey City in 1940, and Nathan was working as a salesman. But by 1942 when Nathan registered for the World War II draft, he was living in Brooklyn and working for the Drake School in New York City.8

Jean Hecht and Louis Gross had also left Jersey City for New York by 1940. They and their daughter were living on West 74th Street in Manhattan, and Louis was the owner of a liquor store at 206 West End Avenue in Manhattan, according to his World War II draft registration.9

Shirley Hecht and Louis Tushinsky and their daughter were also in New York in 1940, though in Brooklyn. Louis described his occupation on the 1940 census as a chauffeur for a taxi company.  On his World War II draft registration he reported that he had his own business.10

Evelyn Hecht and Samuel Oshinsky’s son Jerold was born in the early 1940s, giving Taube her tenth and last-born grandchild. Here is a photograph of Evelyn, Sam, and Jerold:

Sam Oshinsky, Jerry Oshinsky, Evelyn Hecht Oshinsky c. 1943 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Overall, by 1942, the family of my great-aunt Taube Brotman Hecht was doing fairly well. Taube had ten grandchildren, and her children were all living fairly close by—some in Jersey City, and no one further than New York City.

And then tragedy struck. On August 12, 1943, Taube’s daughter Evelyn Hecht Oshinsky died after a long illness, according to an obituary in the Jersey Journal; the family reports that she had leukemia. She was only 35 years old and left behind her husband Samuel and a very young child, their son Jerold.11

As often happened when a father was left with a young motherless child, Samuel turned to Evelyn’s sister Ruth, and in January 1944, Ruth and Samuel applied for a marriage license. They were married soon thereafter.12 Ruth became Jerold’s adoptive mother and, according to Jerold, raised him with as much love and devotion as if she’d given birth to him herself. In his memoir he wrote, “She devoted her life to mine, and I think that whatever value system I have today came from the unconditional love of my father Sam and my mother Ruth, the only mother I knew…”13

But that was not the end of the family’s heartbreak. In February 1944, after a snowstorm that left the sidewalks and roads slippery, Taube fell and broke her leg after falling in Jersey City.

Jersey Journal, February 12, 1944, p. 6

That in itself was not tragic. But that fall ultimately led to Taube’s death five months later on July 23, 1944. According to her death certificate, her death was caused by osteomyelitis “following injuries received in accidental fall on sidewalk.” The Mayo Clinic defined osteomyelitis as follows: “Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs.”

Tillie Hecht death certificate, 1944 NJ Death Certificates, Microfilm 921 (Trenton, NJ: State Archives)

Taube “Tillie” Brotman Hecht was “about 71” at the time of her death, according to the informant on her death certificate, her son Harry. She had lived a challenging but, I hope, fulfilling life. She had arrived in the US from Tarnobrzeg in today’s Poland, possibly alone and as at most a young teenager. She married Jacob Hecht in 1891 and gave birth to and raised eight children to adulthood. She never became a US citizen and was never wealthy. She and Jacob raised those children on the earnings of a tailor in a sweatshop in New York City. They moved at least every few years if not more often between 1892 and 1925 or so when they moved to Jersey City.

Taube lost her husband Jacob in 1930 not many years after the move to Jersey City, and then in 1943, she lost her youngest child Evelyn, who was only 35 years old. And then less than a year after losing Evelyn, she herself succumbed from an illness caused by an unfortunate accident.

Taube was the lost sister of my grandmother Gussie Brotman for so many years of my research, discovered only by the serendipity of seeing the name “Mrs. Taube Hecht” in my aunt’s baby book from 1917. I am so glad that I found her and that I could tell her story.


  1. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/131974364/jacob-hecht : accessed 16 June 2021), memorial page for Jacob Hecht (1863–21 Oct 1930), Find a Grave Memorial ID 131974364, citing Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) . 
  2. Email from Sue Wartur, September 28, 2016. 
  3.  Evelyn Hecht, Marriage Date: 1938, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Samuel H Oshinsky, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1938; Surname Range: A – Z; Reel Number: 36, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. Samuel H Oshinsky, Birth Date: 25 Jan 1912, Birth Place: Brookyn, New York, Death Date: 4 Jul 1991, Claim Date: 4 Feb 1974, Father: Harry Oshinsky, Mother:
    Dora Unk, SSN: 152206742, Citizenship or Alien Status: U.S. citizen, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; Oshinsky family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 19, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1174; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 1159, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census.  . 
  5. Samuel Oshinsky, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0355; FHL microfilm: 2341268, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6. Samuel Oshinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 494, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  7. Harry Hecht, World War II draft registration, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  8. Schwartz, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02402; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 24-58, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Nat L. Schwartz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  9. Gross, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02636; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 31-572, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Louis Gross, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  10. Tushinsky, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02586; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 24-1544, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census;  Louis Tushinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  11. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/130163022/evelyn-oshinsky : accessed 16 June 2021), memorial page for Evelyn Oshinsky (unknown–1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 130163022, citing Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) ; “Mrs. Evelyn Oshinsky,” Jersey Journal, August 13, 1943, p. 10. Unpublished memoir of Jerold Oshinsky, Part I, p. 3 (2012). 
  12.  Ruth Hecht, Marriage Date: 1944, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Samuel Oshinsky, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1944; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016; Jersey Journal, January 27, 1944, p. 19. 
  13. Unpublished memoir of Jerold Oshinsky, Part I, p. 3 (2012) 

Taube Brotman Hecht’s Family Expands in the 1920s: Weddings and Grandchildren

My cousin Harry Hecht served valiantly in World War I and returned home safely. In 1920, he was back from the war and living at home in New York City with his parents Jacob and Taube (Tillie) Hecht and his seven siblings at 10 East 4th Street, revealing yet another move for the Hecht family.

The 1920 census reports that Jacob was 57, Taube was 47, and both now said they were born in Poland, a reflection of post-World War I boundary changes. Jacob said he immigrated to the US in 1887, and Taube said she arrived in 1885. Jacob was still an operator in a cloak factory; according to family lore, Jacob was a very talented tailor and clothing maker and made beautiful clothing for his daughters.1 He and Taube were still not US citizens.

Harry was a department store salesman; when he completed his Jewish Servicemen Questionnaire after his service, he wrote that he was working at Gimbels.2 David was a clerk for the War Department, and three of the sisters were working as stenographers: Etta, “Augusta” (Gussie), and Sadie.  The two youngest children, Rebecca (Rose, later Ruth) and Eva, were in school. The siblings now ranged from eleven year old Eva up to 27 year old Harry.

Hecht family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1188; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 226 Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

So Taube and Jacob still had a very large household in 1920. Fortunately by this time most of their children were working and Jacob no longer had to provide for them all on his earnings as a cloakmaker in a sweatshop.

In December 1924 Etta Hecht, the second oldest daughter and fourth child, married Nathan Louis Schwartz. 3 Nathan was born on May 27, 1893, in Romania, the son of Joseph and Esther Schwartz. They immigrated to the US in 1901 and settled in New York. Nathan was an artist; his World War I draft registration listed his occupation as “Jappanar.” From what I can find, it means that he created works that were varnished like works of Japanese art. His draft registration, however, says he was taking courses in medicine at Columbia as well.4

A Japanned tea tray. Elliott Brown from Birmingham, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

By 1925, the family had once again relocated, this time to Jersey City, New Jersey, where Taube and Jacob’s oldest daughter Ida was living. Ida and Julius now had four daughters, Sylvia (1915), Gertrude (1917), Ethel (1923), and Evelyn (1925). Perhaps the lure of all those grandchildren was too much for Jacob and Taube, so they left New York and moved to New Jersey. Family lore5 is that Julius and Ida bought a house for Ida’s parents.

The 1925 Jersey City directory shows that Jacob was working as a tailor and Jean (formerly Gussie) and Shirley (formerly Sadie) were stenographers; they were living at 306 4th Street in Jersey City, presumably also with Taube and the younger children.

Hechts in 1925 Jersey City directory, Title : Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1925 Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Harry was also living in Jersey City, but at a different address, 364 Newark Street; most interesting to me is that he was working for my great-uncle and his first cousin, Herman Brotman. Herman is also listed in that 1925 Jersey City directory, and his place of business was at the same address Harry gave for his residence, 364 Newark Street.6

Two years later Harry married Sophie Slotnick in New York on May 9, in 1927.7 Sophie was born on April 25, 1894,8 in Russia, to Chaim Hersh Zolonitsky and Hadassah Hodes Levin. She arrived the US on August 21, 1911, as Shifre Zlotnitsky and said she was meeting her brother Alter (later Arthur) in New York.9 In 1915, she was living in New York with her sister Rose,10 and in 1920 she was living in Victoria, Texas with her brother Ed.11 But after Ed married in 1925, she returned to New York and in 1927, married Harry Hecht.

Here is a photograph of Harry and Sophie, courtesy of their granddaughter Jan:

Harry Hecht and Sophie Slotnick. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Sophie and Harry had their first child Helene on October 4, 1928, in Brooklyn.12 They would have two more children in the next several years. In 1930 they were living in Brooklyn, and Harry was the proprietor of a store.13

Harry Hecht and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1357; FHL microfilm: 2341257, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Jean Hecht also married around this time. She married Louis Gross, and the 1930 census indicates that they had been married two years at the time of enumeration so presumably in 1928.14 Louis was born Lieb on October 22, 1895, in Bojanow in what is now Poland to Herz (Harris in the US) Gross  and Chave (Eva in the US) Zuckerbrod.15  Louis and his mother and siblings immigrated to the US in 1906.16 Like Jean’s father Jacob, Louis’ father was a tailor. When he registered for the draft in 1917, Louis was working as a clerk for the Hy Grade Wine Company.17 In 1920, he was working in a candy store and living with his family in the Bronx.18

After Louis and Jean married, they settled in Jersey City, and in 1930, Louis was the owner of a luncheonette. They had one daughter who was born in 1930.

Gross family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 38B; Enumeration District: 0076; FHL microfilm: 2341087, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Shirley Hecht was the third Hecht child to marry before 1930. According to the 1930 census, she’d been married to Louis Tuchinsky (later spelled Tushinsky) for a year when the census was enumerated.19 He was born in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine) on May 4, 1900, and had immigrated when he was ten with his parents Jacob and Rose Tuchinsky.20 In 1920 Louis had been working as a spinner in a cotton and silk business and living with his parents on the Lower East Side.21

After they married, Shirley and Louis were living in Brooklyn. Louis was an operator in a shirt factory, and Shirley was doing clerical work in an office. Shirley and Louis had one daughter born in the 1930s.

Louis and Shirley Tushinsky 1930 census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0211; FHL microfilm: 2341254, District: 0211, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Thus, by 1930, four of the children of Jacob and Taube Hecht were married: Harry, Ida, Jean, and Shirley. Harry and Shirley were living in Brooklyn, and Ida and Jean were living in Jersey City where Jacob and Taube also continued to live. Still at home living with their parents were David (34), Rose (24), and Eva (22), now called Evelyn. Jacob and Taube were still not US citizens, and Jacob was no longer employed. David was working as a real estate broker, and Rose and Evelyn were stenographers.

Jacob and Tillie Hecht 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1353; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0100; Image: 602.0; FHL microfilm: 2341088

I decided to track all the places Jacob and Taube had lived since they married. Between 1892 and 1930 they lived in at least nine places.

Finally Jacob and Taube seemed to have settled in one place, Jersey City, and Jacob was no longer responsible for supporting all those children. In fact, now it appears that their children were supporting them.

But unfortunately Jacob did not get to enjoy that luxury for very long.

 

 


  1. Email from Sue Wartur, September 28, 2016. 
  2. Harry S Hecht, Legal Residence: New York City, New York, Birth Date: 24 May 1892, Birth Place: New York City, New York, Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (B) Casualties (Boxes 6-9); Box #: 6; Folder #: 6; Box Info: (Box 6) H-Hez, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921 
  3. Etta Hecht, Maiden Name: Hecht, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: Dec 1924
    Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA, Spouse: N S, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1920-1929; Surname Range: H – K, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M8-21J?cc=1999177&wc=MDSY-XZ9%3A326209701%2C329738001 : 7 November 2018), New York Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1918 vol 308, no 76051-76300 image 446 of 662; Citing multiple County Clerk offices of New York. Schwartz family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1188; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 226, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Nathan Schwartz, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  5. See note 1. 
  6. Herman Brotman, Title: Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1925, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. Harry S Hecht, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 9 May 1927
    Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Sophie Slotnick, License Number: 7376, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  8. Sophie Hecht, Social Security Number: 140-18-4807, Birth Date: 25 Apr 1894
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. Shifre Zlotnitsky, ship manifest, Year: 1911; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 21; Page Number: 170, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/75777178/haddasa-hodes-zolotnitzky : accessed 08 June 2021), memorial page for Haddasa Hodes Zolotnitzky (unknown–23 Nov 1924), Find a Grave Memorial ID 75777178, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  10. Sophie Zlotnick, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 16; Assembly District: 08; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 135, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915 
  11. Sophie Zlotnick, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Victoria, Texas; Roll: T625_1847; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 154, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. Helene Huttner, Social Security Number: 149-16-9540, Birth Date: 4 Oct 1928
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 80904, Colorado Springs, El Paso, Colorado, USA, Last Benefit: 33446, Delray Beach, Palm Beach, Florida, USA, Death Date: 27 Nov 2007, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Harry Hecht and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1357; FHL microfilm: 2341257, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  14. Louis and Jean Gross, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 38B; Enumeration District: 0076; FHL microfilm: 2341087,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  15. Louis (Lieb) Gross, Declaration of Intention and Petition for Naturalization, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 170, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944; Gross family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 11, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1012; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 1661; FHL microfilm: 1375025, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  16. Ship manifest, Year: 1906; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 27; Page Number: 93, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  17. Louis Gross, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: Bronx, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  18. Gross family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 4, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1136; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 249,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  19. Dochinsky [Tushinsky], 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0211; FHL microfilm: 2341254,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  20. Louis Tushinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Name Range: Schur, Samuel-Urban, George, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947; Tuchinsky, 1920 census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1186; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 116, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  21. Tuchinsky, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1186; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 116,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 

The Growing Family of Taube Brotman and Jacob Hecht: An Exercise in Deciphering Census Records

Although the evidence of Taube Brotman’s life before 1892 is very limited, beginning with her son Harry’s birth certificate, we have evidence of her life after arriving in the US, probably in 1887.

Harry Hecht birth certificate

The birth record for Harry indicates that he was born at 33 East Houston Street in New York City on May 24, 1892, that his parents were Jacob Hecht and Toba Brotman and that they were living at that same address. Jacob was 25 and working as a cloaks operator, that is, in a sweatshop, and Toba was 20, suggesting a birth year of 1872. Both reported that they were born in Austria. Harry was Toba’s first child.

Where it says there are now seven children living, you might be puzzled. But this birth certificate was not filed until 1906, fourteen years after Harry’s birth, for reasons that are not clear. As we will see, Jacob and Taube Hecht were not very conscientious about filing records with the city. But by 1906, Jacob and Taube did in fact have seven children.

The 1900 census is the next source of information about Taube’s early years in the US.  It is rich with information, but also filled with errors and almost illegible cross outs. First, it gives Taube’s name as Mitilda—probably because she was already using Tillie at that time. They were living at 64 Broome Street in New York City, about a block away from Taube’s father, my great-grandfather, Joseph Brotman, and his family (including my grandmother Gussie, Taube’s sister) at 81 Ridge Street.

 

According to the census, Taube had been married to Jacob Hecht (spelled Hect here) for nine years at the time of enumeration, meaning they were likely married in about 1891. Unfortunately, I cannot find a marriage record for them. Jacob was working as a tailor, probably meaning he was still a cloak maker in a sweatshop on the Lower East Side.

Contrary to Harry’s birth record, the 1900 census reported that Jacob and Taube were both born in Russia, not Austria. Of course, neither is strictly accurate since Taube was born in Galicia, a province of the Austrian-Hungary Empire that bordered what was then Russia (now Ukraine). According to the census, Jacob had been in the US for twelve years, yet it says he immigrated in what looks like 1880? Or 1887? And the census says that Taube had been here for fifteen years, but then says she immigrated in 1875, written over 1885. Oy, that poor enumerator… he must have had a really hard time understanding whoever was giving him the information.

By 1900, Jacob and Taube had four children, all living with them: Harry was eight, born in 1892; “Annie” (actually Ida) was seven, born in May 1893; David was four, and although the year is crossed out, he likely was born in 1896, and Yette (later Etta) was seven months old and born in October 1889. Obviously that should be 1899 or Yette would have been eleven years old, not seven months old. As I discussed here, I have been unable to find birth records for three of those four children, only the later-filed certificate for Harry shown above.

Hecht family 1900 US census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1094; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0290; FHL microfilm: 1241094

Five years later, the Hecht family had moved to 22 Mangin Street, about a half mile from where they’d been living in 1900, according to the 1905 New York State census. This enumerator seems to have had an easier time recording the family information. Taube is now listed as Tillie, as she was known in the US. Her age is reported as 35, meaning she was born in 1870; Jacob was 42, and now both once again report their birthplace as Austria. Jacob had been in the US for 17 years, Taube for 20. Neither was yet a citizen of the United States. Jacob was still making cloaks.

Hecht family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 14; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 64, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905

They now had six children, two daughters having been born since 1900: Harry was 13, Ida 11, David 9, Etta 6, and the two most recent additions were Gussie (later Jean), who was five, and Sadie {later Shirley), who was two. Also living with them was another Sadie, listed as Jacob’s mother. She was 65 and had been in the US for 12 years. I find it rather odd that Taube and Jacob would have named a child Sadie if Jacob’s mother was Sadie and still living. And I cannot find any other record for the older Sadie Hecht, so I am wondering whether this was an enumeration error.

By 1910, the family had moved again and grown again. They now were living at 48 Boerum Street in Brooklyn. Jacob was still working as an operator in a coat shop and had filed his papers to become a citizen. On this census, both he and Taube (Tillie) gave “Aust Polish” as their birthplace. Jacob was 48, Taube 38. He had immigrated in 1886, she in 1884, according to the census record. And they’d been married for nineteen years, or in 1891, consistent with what was reported on the 1900 census.

Hecht family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings, New York; Roll: T624_964; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0329; FHL microfilm: 1374977 Description Enumeration District: 0329 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

There were now eight children. Harry, now eighteen, was working as a bookkeeper in a department store. Ida was seventeen and a “button holer” operator. David was 14, Etta 11, Gussie 9, and Sadie was six. The two new additions were Rose (later Ruth), four years old, and Eva (later Evelyn), who was two. Eva is the only other Hecht child for whom I have a birth record:

Eva Hecht birth certificate

Eva was born on January 30, 1908, at 38 Montrose Avenue in Brooklyn, where the family was then residing, so they had moved again between 1908 and 1910 when they were living on Boerum Street. Note the errors on this record: Jacob is identifed as Joseph, and Taube’s birth name is listed as Rothman, not Brotman. Taube’s age is given as 37 here, meaning a birth year of 1872. Both Taube and Jacob reported that they were born in Austria.

With Eva’s birth, the Hecht family was complete. There were eight children ranging from Harry born in 1892 to Eva born sixteen years later in 1908. The next decade would see most of those children join the work force and one marry and have children of her own.

The Mystery of Taube Brotman Hecht, My Great-Aunt

My next project is to write about my great-aunt Taube1 Brotman Hecht and her family.  I wrote about the Hecht family back in 2016 when I discovered Taube at the same time I discovered my Goldfarb family in my aunt’s baby book and grandparents’ address book.  It was a long and twisting path to figure out that “Mrs. Taube Hecht” in that baby book was my grandmother’s half-sister, Taube Brotman.

My aunt’s 1917 baby book. Taube Hecht is the last guest listed.

Those earlier posts in 2016 focused on my research methodology and the path I followed to figure out that Taube Hecht was my grandmother’s sister. Now I want to go back and tell her story and the story of her children and grandchildren in a more complete way. If you are interested in learning how I found Taube and how I determined that she was my great-aunt, you can read the earlier posts here, here, and here.

Let me now start with what I do and don’t know about Taube’s early life. As with all my Brod and Brotman relatives, I have no European records, but need to rely on American records.

Taube was born sometime between 1870 and 1875 according to various census records. The 1900 US census says she was born in March 1875.2 The 1905 NYS census says she was born in 1870.3 According to the 1910 US census, she was then 38, giving her a birth year of 1872.4  She reported that she was 40 on the 1915 NYS census, meaning she was born in 1875.5 In 1920 her age was reported as 47,6 and in 1930 she was 58, meaning a birth year of 1872 or 1873.7  In 1940 she shaved some years off her age, reporting that was 60, thus born in 1880.8 And her death record in 1944 says she was “about 71.”9 All in all, I’d say Taube was born sometime in the 1870s.

Her father was my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman, as stated on her death record; her mother was not named, but I know from records from her brothers David and Max that their mother was Chaye Fortgang, Joseph Brotman’s first wife. Taube’s US records all say she was born in Austria or Poland,9 and I have nothing more specific than that. Presumably like the rest of her family she was born in or near Tarnobrzeg in what is now Poland, then Galicia and part of the Austria-Hungary Empire.

According to family lore as discussed here, Taube left for the US when she was ten years old. I found ship manifests listing a young girl named Taube Brodt sailing from Hamburg on the Moravia to New York in July 1887. Both the Hamburg manifest and the New York manifest report that Taube was eleven. According to both manifests, she was coming from “Tarnowschek.” And on the Hamburg manifest she is grouped with a woman named Eva Singer and her baby, Ascher Singer.

Taube Brodt 1887 NY ship manifest
Year: 1887; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 509; Line: 1; List Number: 911

Taube Brodt ship manifest 1887
Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1736
Description
Month : Direkt Band 059 (3 Jul 1887 – 29 Dez 1887)

I can’t be positive this is my Taube. The spelling of the name Brodt was also used by other family members (along with Brod, Brodmann, Broadman, Brothman, and so on).  The age is close to what the various birth years for Taube would suggest if a bit younger, but also close to family lore. And Tarnowschek certainly sounds like Tarnobrzeg.

But who were Eva and Ascher Singer? And why was Taube with them? I have spent more hours than I care to count trying to find Eva and Ascher after they got to America. I’ve had no luck. I have gone down more rabbit holes, hit more dead ends, and searched in more ways and more places than was probably justified. Especially since I have nothing to show for my efforts. I found an Ascher Singer who was the right age, but he was from Bukovina, Romania. That was as close as I came. And who knows? Even if I found the Singers, it probably wouldn’t reveal anything about Taube.

Why would Taube have left Europe in 1887? By that time her mother had died, and my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman had married his second wife, my great-grandmother Bessie Brod. They’d already had two children together by 1887. But Joseph Brotman and Taube’s full brothers Abraham, David, and Max were still in Europe in 1887. Joseph immigrated to the US  in 188910 as did his oldest sons Abraham and David. Max came in 1890.11

David and Abe Brodmann on the Portia 1889, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII B 1 Band 079; Page: 1373; Microfilm No.: S_13156, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

So if Taube came in 1887, she left her whole family back in Europe. What did she do when she got here especially if she was only eleven? Even if we take a birth year of 1872, she would only have been fifteen when she arrived in 1887.  Where did she go?

Family lore says she stayed with her two older brothers, but then she had to have arrived after 1889 when Abraham and David immigrated, not in 1887. And if she did come after Abraham and David,  she was already a teenager, maybe even seventeen, certainly not ten. And why can’t I find her on another manifest?

Family lore also says her brothers sent her to St Louis to learn English. I can’t find any evidence of that.  There were several people with the surname Brod listed in the 1889 St. Louis directory, but I’ve no idea whether they were relatives. And why would her brothers, who lived in NYC when they immigrated, send their sister all the way to St. Louis? It doesn’t make sense to me. But sadly, without the 1890 census, I cannot find Taube in St. Louis, New York, or anywhere else in the US.

So Taube’s arrival and early years in America remain a mystery. Fortunately from about 1891 on, there is better evidence of her life. And I will start there next time.

Taube Brotman Hecht


  1. Taube was also known as Toba, her name in Hebrew, and Tillie, a later Americanization of her name. Because my grandmother also had a full sister whose Americanized name was Tillie, I will refer to Taube as Taube to prevent confusion. 
  2. Hecht family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0290; FHL microfilm: 1241094, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Hecht family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 14; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 64, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905 
  4. Hecht family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings, New York; Roll: T624_964; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0329; FHL microfilm: 1374977, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  5. Hecht family, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 06; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 85, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915 
  6. Hecht family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1188; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 226,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7. Hecht family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0100; FHL microfilm: 2341088, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. Hecht family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. See census citations above. 
  10. Yossel Brod, ship manifest, Year: 1889; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 36; List Number: 244, Description
    Ship or Roll Number: Aurania, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  11. Morske Brodmann, Year: 1890; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 25; List Number: 804, Ship or Roll Number: City of Chicago, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 

My Cousins Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht: Lives Well Lived

Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother Gussie’s first cousin, and Ida Hecht, my grandmother Gussie’s half-sister’s daughter, knew each other as teenagers when their families were living next door to each other on Avenue C in New York City. They married in 1913, had four daughters, and by 1940 had created a happy and comfortable life for themselves and their daughters in Jersey City, New Jersey, supported by their real estate investments and their liquor business.

Julius Goldfarb had been forced out of the liquor business by Prohibition, but once Prohibition ended, he returned to it, now as the owner of a liquor store in Jersey City called Stuyvesant Wine and Liquor. He also continued to be involved in real estate and was prospering in both businesses.

But starting in 1939, the store was repeatedly the target of robberies. We already saw the news article about that first robbery where Julius was held up by three armed gunmen who then locked him in a storeroom closet. He lost $220 in that crime.

Julius was robbed again in 1941. A single armed robber walked behind the counter and forced Julius to lie on the floor; he then stole $124 from Julius. This time, however, Julius was insured for the loss.

“Holdup in Boulevard Liquor Store,” Jersey Journal, April 15, 1941, p, 1

But Julius and Ida’s life was not overshadowed by these events. Rather, they were enjoying life with their growing family—their four daughters and their grandchildren. Julius and Ida’s oldest daughter Sylvia remarried on October 31, 1942. Her second husband was George Horowitz; he was also a native of Jersey City and was born on September 16, 1912, to Abraham Horowitz and Sophie Margulies. George was working as a photographer for Sun-Ray Studios in Jersey City in 1942. Sylvia and George would have one child together born several years later.1

The third of Julius and Ida’s daughters, Ethel, became engaged to Herbert Rothman in May 1944; he was then a corporal in the US Army stationed at Camp Ruston in Louisiana. Herbert was the son of Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger and was born on July 26, 1922, in New York. At the time of their engagement, Ethel was attending New York University. Ethel and Herbert were married in November, 1945, and had two sons. Herbert ended up working in the liquor business with Julius.2

Evelyn Goldfarb was briefly married in the 1940s to a man named Seymour Hutchinson, but that marriage did not last or produce any children.3 As noted below, Evelyn would remarry some years later.

Here is a beautiful photograph of three of the four daughters of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, my double cousins, Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel:

Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel Goldfarb c. 1942 Courtesy of Sue Wartur

And here is a photograph of Julius and Ida with their youngest daughter Evelyn in 1951.

Julius, Evelyn, and Ida Goldfarb 1951. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

My cousin Sue recalls many happy times with her grandparents Ida and Julius. She wrote to me about the beach house on Long Island where Julius and Ida and their extended family would spend their summers:

“From spring until late fall, sometimes until after the High Holy Days, my grandparents would be at their beach house, steps from the Atlantic, in Long Beach, Long Island. [My grandfather Julius] would arrive in the wee hours of Sat night/Sunday morning, his car laden with Sunday papers, his favorite…eggplants and grapefuits, and sodas and chips from the store. We had huge family spreads on the beach…cousins, aunts, uncles, and Grandma’s sister Jean and family, whose “dacha” was just around the corner.” 4

This is a photograph of Ida and Julius at their summer cottage in Long Beach and then a photograph of Julius on the beach:

Ida and Julius at their summer cottage on Long Beach, LI. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius Goldfarb, Long Beach, NY. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Meanwhile, Julius continued to have trouble at his store. In June 1951 Julius was again robbed; this time he was forced to lie on the floor of the lavatory at the back of his store while the robber made off with almost $100.5

Julius was not present in the store for the next robbery in July 1952. Instead his son-in-law Herbert Rothman, husband of Ethel, was the victim. He and two other employees were locked in the storeroom by two thieves armed with penknives. This time the criminals made off with $150.  The news story about this robbery refers to it as the fourth holdup of the store in the past year, so there must have been other robberies that did not appear in the paper.6

But it appears that Julius finally received more protection from the local police after this event. When another attempted robbery occurred in November 1952 while Herbert Rothman was working at the store, two plainclothes detectives stopped the holdup, and when the robber pointed his “toy gun” at them, one of those detectives shot and seriously wounded him.7

I don’t know whether that was the last time the store was the site of a robbery, but that was the last article reporting one that I could find in the Jersey City newspapers.

Not long before this last robbery, on October 25, 1952, Evelyn Goldfarb married her second husband, Samuel Block. He was also a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, born there on September 17, 1922, the son of Meyer Block and Gussie Greenberg. Evelyn and Samuel had two children born in the 1950s.8

Thus, by 1952 all four of Julius and Ida’s daughters were married. And in 1959, their first-born granddaughter, my cousin Sue, was married, and Julius and Ida were there to celebrate. Thank you to Sue for sharing some of her beautiful wedding photographs.

Sue (Leyner) and Larry Wartur, 1959. Courtesy of Sue Wartur.

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

In the end there were nine grandchildren who survived Ida and Julius as well as their four daughters and sons-in-law. Ida died on March 7, 1966, in Jersey City; she was 71.9 Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968, also in Jersey City. He was 83.10

Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht had lived a full and interesting life together. Born in Galicia, Julius came to the US when he was ten years old and had to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. According to his granddaughter Sue, he remained a religious man all his life. He belonged to an Orthodox synagogue where Sue would watch him praying from her seat in the women’s section above the main sanctuary. Ida also was quite observant. Sue remembered that Ida always lit candles on Friday night, went to services on Saturday morning, and studied Torah at home.

But Julius also adapted to American life. He was a success both in the real estate and liquor businesses and more than once survived attacks on his business and himself, determined to protect his livelihood and his family. Ida contributed to that success not only on the homefront, but also by working with Julius in both the liquor and real estate businesses.

Their granddaughter Sue reminded me that what we see in newspapers and records is only a small part of the lives people lived and that while the news articles might leave an impression of a life darkened by robberies and crime, that was not how Julius and Ida saw their life. Rather, it was a life filled with joy and faith and love.

Sue wrote that even long after Julius and Ida’s four daughters were grown and married with children of their own, they always thought of 24 Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City as their home. That itself is a testament to the warm and loving family life that Julius and Ida created for their children and grandchildren.


I will be taking a short break from blogging in the next week or so. See you with more Goldfarb history when I return.


  1. Family records. George Horowitz, Birth Date: 16 Sep 1912, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 23 Sep 1999, Father: Abraham Horowitz, Mother:
    Sophie Marqulies, SSN: 140077673, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. George Horowitz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 303, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  2. “Miss Ethel Goldfarb To Wed Corp. Rothman,” Jersey Journal, May 16, 1944, p. 22. New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1945; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016. Herbert Rothman, Birth Date: 26 Jul 1922
    Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WF-8T8 : 10 February 2018), Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger, 20 Sep 1921; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,292. 
  3.  Evelyn Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 1 Oct 1945, Marriage License Place: Queens, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Seymour M Hutchinson, License Number: 5965, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Queens, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  4. Email from Sue Wartur, April 14, 2021. 
  5. “Fat Thug Gets $100 in Holdup,” Jersey Journal, June 29, 1951, p. 1. 
  6. “Store Held Up Fourth Time,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 1. 
  7. “Shots Fell ‘Toy Gun’ Bandit,” Jersey Journal, November 17, 1952, p. 1. 
  8. “Evelyn Goldfarb,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 10. “Miss Goldfarb, Jersey City, Wed to Samuel Block,” Hudson Dispatch, October 1952. Samuel Block
    Gender: Male, Birth Date: 17 Sep 1922, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey
    Death Date: 3 Nov 1988, Father: Meyer Block, Mother:Gussie Greenberg
    SSN: 140185188, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9.  Ida Goldfarb, Death Date: Mar 1966, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1966; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000.Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017. Family records. 
  10. Julius Goldfarb, Death Date: 20 Nov 1968, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1968; Surname Range: A-G; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 

Double Cousins…Everywhere!

The best part of my discoveries of the Goldfarb and Hecht families is that I have found more new cousins, three of whom are my double cousins—Sue, Debrah, and Lisa. They are descendants of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht. Sue’s daughter Lisa shared this wonderful wedding photograph of Julius and Ida.

julius-ida-goldfarb-wedding-from-lisa-wartur

Wedding photograph of Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother’s first cousin, and Ida Hecht, my grandmother’s niece. Courtesy of the Goldfarb/Hecht family

 

Julius was the son of Sarah Goldfarb, my great-grandmother’s sister; Ida was the daughter of Tillie Hecht, my grandmother’s half-sister.   So I am related to both of them.

Julius and Ida had four daughters, Sylvia, Gertrude, Ethel and Evelyn. Sue, Sylvia’s daughter, shared with me this precious photograph of her grandmother Ida holding her as a baby:

ida-hecht-goldfarb-and-her-granddaughter-sue-1938

Ida Hecht Goldfarb and granddaughter Sue

And Debrah shared this photograph of her grandparents, Julius and Ida, with her mother Evelyn:

 

Julius, Evelyn, and Ida (Hecht) Goldfarb

Julius, Evelyn, and Ida (Hecht) Goldfarb

One thing I wanted to define is how, if at all, Julius and Ida were related to each other, aside from being husband and wife.  Hecht/Goldfarb family lore says Julius and Ida were “distant cousins.”

Julius was the son of Sarah Goldfarb.  Sarah’s sister Bessie Brotman was the stepmother of Ida’s mother, Toba, as Bessie married Toba’s father Joseph after his Toba’s mother died.  Although that makes things complicated, it does not alone create any genetic connection between Julius and Ida since Bessie (and thus Sarah) had no blood relationship with Toba.

relationship-bessie-brod-to-tillie-brotman

But if Brotman family lore is correct and Bessie and her husband Joseph Brotman were first cousins, then Joseph Brotman and Bessie’s sister Sarah were also first cousins. Sarah’s son Julius married Ida, who was the granddaughter of Sarah’s first cousin Joseph, making Julius and Ida second cousins, once removed.

relationship-of-julius-goldfarb-to-ida-hecht-better

That is, assuming that Joseph and Sarah were first cousins as Brotman family lore reports, Ida and Julius were in fact “distant cousins,” as Hecht/Goldfarb family lore indicates.  So maybe together the Brotman family lore and the Hecht/Goldfarb family lore validate each other.

Sue and Debrah, who are granddaughters of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, thus are both the great-granddaughters of Sarah Brotman Goldfarb, making them my third cousins on my great-grandmother Bessie’s side, and the great-great-granddaughters of Joseph Brotman, making them also my second cousins, once removed, on my great-grandfather Joseph’s side. (Lisa is one more step removed on both sides.) Renee is my second cousin; her mother Jean Hecht was my mother’s first cousin; her grandmother Toba was my grandmother Gussie’s half-sister. And then I’ve also found a cousin Jan, whose grandfather was Harry Hecht, Toba’s son, and my mother’s first cousin.

inset-from-harry-hecht-photo

Harry Hecht and his wife and children 1945 Courtesy of the family

And, of course, if my great-grandparents Joseph and Bessie Brotman were in fact first cousins, the relationships get even more convoluted. But I think I will skip that calculation.  At least for now.  Maybe some brave soul out there wants to try and figure it out?

With all this shared DNA, I was very curious to see if there were any family resemblances among the various members of the Goldfarb, Hecht, and Brotman families.  My newly found double cousins Debrah, Sue, and Lisa shared some family photos with me, including this one of Toba/ Taube/Tillie Brotman Hecht:

toba-tillie-brotman-hecht

Toba/Taube/Tillie Brotman Hecht Courtesy of the Goldfarb/Hecht family

Here is a photograph of her brother Max Brotman that I’d earlier received from his family:

Max Brotman

Max Brotman, courtesy of the family

Do you see a resemblance? Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of Toba’s other full siblings, Abraham and David, to help with the comparison.

But here are photographs of Toba’s half-siblings, Hyman, Tillie (Ressler), Sam, and my grandmother Gussie:

Hyman Brotman

Hyman Brotman

Tilly Brotman

Tilly Brotman Ressler

Sam Brotman

Sam Brotman

Gussie Brotman

Gussie Brotman Goldschlager

I can see some similarities—in particular in the shape of the noses.  But it appears that Max and Toba do not have faces that are as round as those of their half-siblings.  Perhaps the shape of their faces was a genetic trait they inherited from their mother Chaye, not their father Joseph Brotman.

Here is one other photograph of the extended Goldfarb and Hecht family.

goldfarb-hecht-family-gathering

Goldfarb Hecht family gathering for Chanukah

Standing on the far left is Julius Goldfarb.  Seated at the head of the table is Ida Hecht Goldfarb.  On the right side of the table starting at the front are two of Ida’s sister, Etta and Jean Hecht.  Also in the photograph are Julius and Ida’s four daughters as well as their spouses and a few of the grandchildren and other cousins.

It’s sad to think that in 1917 Julius and Ida were close enough to my grandmother that they came to visit when my aunt was born, as did Ida’s mother, my grandmother’s sister Toba Hecht, but somehow the families all lost touch, and my mother only has a few  memories of some of the Goldfarbs from her childhood.

On the other hand, I feel very fortunate that now, almost a century after my aunt was born, I know who the Goldfarbs and Hechts were and I am in touch with a number of these “new”  cousins of mine.

 

The Goldfarbs and the Hechts: Some Lingering Questions and Some Answers

Finding the woman I believe to have been my grandmother’s long missing sister was definitely one of those high points in my research that I will always remember.  I had spent hours and hours searching for the elusive Sophie years before. I had completely given up on ever finding her.  I even wondered whether she’d been a figment of my aunt’s very creative imagination. But she wasn’t.  My aunt just had the wrong name.

That she ended up being named Toba or Taube or Tillie and not Sophie certainly is a lesson in not relying too heavily on family lore, and it is also one of the many perplexing things about this discovery and how it fits with family stories.

max mason

Hecht family lore said that Taube had two brothers who had arrived in the US before she did, but I have no evidence that there were two Brotman brothers here before 1887 when Taube arrived.  Joseph Brotman had three sons in Galicia with his first wife Chaye and one with his second wife, my great-grandmother, Bessie.  His oldest sons, Abraham and David, came to the US in 1889, the same year that Joseph immigrated; Max came in 1890. His next son, Hyman, was born in 1883 and came to the US with my great-grandmother Bessie in 1891.  None of these European born sons was here in 1887 when Taube arrived, at least as far as I can tell.

Of course, it is possible that I have missed a child or missed an earlier manifest.  Or it is possible that the Hecht family lore is not correct, just as my aunt’s document naming the missing sister as Sophie is seemingly not correct.  I don’t know which is more likely.

There’s also the mystery of Eva Singer and Ascher Singer, the two people who sailed from Tarnobrzeg on the Moravia apparently with Taube Brodt.  Were they really sailing with her or just bracketed on the manifest to show they were all from the same town? And what happened to the Singers after they got to the United States?

Taube Brodt ship manifest 1887 Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1736 Description Month : Direkt Band 059 (3 Jul 1887 - 29 Dez 1887)

Taube Brodt ship manifest 1887
Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1736
Description
Month : Direkt Band 059 (3 Jul 1887 – 29 Dez 1887)

More importantly, what happened to Taube after she arrived if, in fact, she did not have two brothers living here already? Did she really go to St. Louis, as Hecht family lore indicates?

How I wish we had the 1890 census.  Perhaps if it still existed, I would have found that my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman was living in 1890 with his four children from his first marriage: Abraham, David, Max, and Taube.  But the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire, taking the answers with it.

I searched the 1890 New York City police census and the 1892 New York census on Ancestry, but alas, none of the Brotmans appears on those either.  I’ve searched in city directories for both New York and St. Louis, but again with no luck. There is a J. Brodman in the 1891 NYC directory, a “pedlar” living on Ridge Street; that could be my great-grandfather, but I certainly can’t tell for sure; plus it doesn’t help me find Taube as there is no listing for her nor, for that matter, for Abraham, David, or Max.

I thus don’t know where Taube was from the time she arrived in the US in 1887 until she gave birth to her first son, Harry, in 1892.  But from there on, I have been able to find her story—up to her sad death in 1944.

tillie-hecht-death-certificate

As her death certificate reported. she died from osteomyelitis after a fall on the sidewalk. The Mayo Clinic defined osteomyelitis as follows: “Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs.”  According to my medical consultant, today osteomyelitis rarely results in death, but back in 1944, antibiotic treatment was not as effective.

I also have an answer to the question I posed in my last post; I had asked for help in deciphering Ida Hecht’s occupation on the 1910 census:

Ida Hecht occupation on 1910 census

Ida Hecht occupation on 1910 census

Several readers, here and on Facebook, responded to my question with “button holer.” I wasn’t sure what that was, but another commenter did.  Bob Brotman (no relationship yet found to my Brotmans) wrote that it meant buttonhole maker, and explained, “In 1910 it was a specialized skill in the sweat shops and worth higher pay than most of the piece work. Women who sewed their own clothing at home would take the almost finished garments to a buttonhole maker for this final touch. Special buttonhole making machines were used commercially in the late 1800’s. Home sewing machines could not make decent buttonholes until the 1950’s.” Live and learn—always something new!

But other questions remain unanswered. There is the question of whether Brod, Brodman, Brotman, etc., are different names or different versions of the same name.  Were my great-grandparents both really named Brod or Brotman? Or was one a Brod, the other a Brotman?

I posted a question on the JewishGen listserv about whether Brod and Brotman were the same or different names, and I received conflicting responses.  One person, referring to Alexander Beider’s Dictionary of Surnames for the Russian Empire, wrote that Brotman is just another form of the surname Brot, meaning bread or bread man. Another person suggested that Brotman was an Americanization of Brod and that people often forgot the original name once they immigrated.

But another person said that they are two different names; this person said Brotman means “bread man” whereas Brot is a toponym for the place where people “ford” rivers, Brodt being a Slavic word for “ford.”  And then Stanley Diamond of JRI Poland wrote that both names existed in the Tarnobrzeg region and seemed to come from different families. So I am just as confused as I was before I asked the question.

Also, I still don’t know how, if at all, my great-grandparents Joseph and Bessie were related to each other. If they were first cousins, through what relationship? Were their fathers brothers? Or was it that one’s mother and the other’s father were siblings? Or were their mother’s sisters? I don’t know.

As has happened time and again with my Brotman line, I can only move forward in inches, but at least I am moving forward.  I have found a woman I believe to have been my great-grandmother’s sister—Sarah Brod/Brotman Goldfarb.  I have also found a woman I believe to have been my grandmother’s half-sister—Toba/Taube/Tillie Brotman Hecht.  And it all started with the discovery of my aunt’s 1917 baby book and two names that were not familiar to me.[1]  Once again, I am indebted to my Aunt Elaine, who would have been 99 years old tomorrow.

Aunt Elaine baby book 5

Can I say with 100% certainty that I am right about either one? No, but I am probably as right about it as I can get.  Having checked again to see if there were any new records discovered in Tarnobrzeg and learning that there have not been (and will not be, apparently), this may be the best I can do.

In my next post I will share some of the photos of my Hecht and Goldfarb cousins and compare them to my known Brotman relatives to see if there are any family resemblances.

 

[1] There are still other names in the baby that I will investigate more completely, though nothing has yet turned up that’s been helpful.

Oh, Happy Day! Tillie Hecht Mystery, Part II

I was just about to throw in the towel.  I couldn’t find one additional clue about Taube Brotman Hecht and whether she was related to me.  There were no records online to help.

According to the 1900 and 1905 census records, Jacob Hecht and his wife Tillie lived in the Lower East Side and then by 1910 had moved to Brooklyn.  Jacob was a tailor, and in 1910 their son Harry was working as a bookkeeper in a department store and their daughter Ida was also employed, but I can’t quite make out her job: operator in a button or butter something?

jacob-and-tillie-hecht-1910-census

Jacob and Tillie Hecht 1910 US census Year: 1910; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings, New York; Roll: T624_964; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0329; FHL microfilm: 1374977

Ida Hecht occupation on 1910 census

Ida Hecht occupation on 1910 census

In 1913, Ida married Julius Goldfarb, as noted in an earlier post.  In 1915, Jacob and Tillie Hecht and their other seven children were living in the same building as Sam and Sarah Goldfarb, Ida’s in-laws, and Hyman and Sophie Brotman, my grandmother’s brother and his wife.  Jacob was working as a tailor, and Harry was working as a salesman; the other children were still in school.

sam-goldfarb-and-family-1915-ny-census-bottom-left-and-top-right

Hecht family 1915 NY census;  New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 06; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 85

Jacob and Tillie Hecht still had the seven other children living with them in 1920, now on East 4th Street in New York City; Jacob continued to work as an operator in a cloak factory and Harry as a salesman in a department store.  David Hecht was working as a clerk for the War Department, and Etta, Gussie (listed as Augusta here) and Sadie were all working as stenographers.  The two youngest children, Rose (listed as Rebecca here) and Eva, were not yet employed.

jacob-and-tillie-hecht-1920-us-census

Jacob and Tillie Hecht and family, 1920 US census Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1188; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 226; Image: 1055

Meanwhile, Ida and her husband Julius Goldfarb and their children had by 1920 moved to Jersey City, NJ, where Julius was in the liquor business.  Within five years, almost all of the Hecht family had followed them to Jersey City, including Jacob and Tillie.  As you can see from this segment from the 1925 Jersey City directory, Jacob and Tillie were now living at 306 4th Street, and right above their listing is a listing for their son Harry.  He was working as a clerk for none other than Herman Brotman: my great-uncle, my grandmother’s brother Hymie.  Another piece of the puzzle was fitting together.

Hechts in 1925 Jersey City directory Title : Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1925 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Hechts in 1925 Jersey City directory
Title : Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1925
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

But there were two other Hechts listed here at the same address as Jacob and Tillie: Jean and Shirley, both working as stenographers.  I wasn’t sure which daughter was now using Jean and which was now using Shirley, but I guessed that Jean was probably Gussie and Shirley was probably Sadie. David, Etta, Rose, and Eva were not listed.  I could not find them elsewhere either.  Was Etta married? Rose and Eva were young enough that they could have still been in school, but where was David, who would have been 29 in 1925?

Fortunately, I was able to find a few of the Hechts on the 1930 census, which answered some of those questions.  In 1930, Jacob and Tillie were still living in Jersey City with David, Rose, and Eva (listed as Evelyn here).  Jacob was no longer working, but David was working as a real estate broker and Rose and Eva were both working as stenographers.

Jacob and Tillie Hecht 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1353; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0100; Image: 602.0; FHL microfilm: 2341088

Jacob and Tillie Hecht 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1353; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0100; Image: 602.0; FHL microfilm: 2341088

Their son Harry Hecht had moved to Brooklyn by 1930 and was now married to a woman named Sophie; they had two children.  Harry was the proprietor of a store.

Harry Hecht and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1522; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1357; Image: 271.0; FHL microfilm: 2341257

Harry Hecht and family 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1522; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1357; Image: 271.0; FHL microfilm: 2341257

As for Etta, Gussie, and Sadie, I assumed they were married, but I couldn’t find them.  And at that point I hit a wall. I could not find any of the Hecht daughters on the NYC marriage index.  Because the family had moved to New Jersey, and New Jersey has so far refused to put even an index of its birth, marriage, or death records online, there was no simple way for me to find marriage records for them in New Jersey. I assumed that Gussie/Jean and Sadie/Shirley had married between 1925 and 1930 and that Etta had married between 1920 and 1925, but paying for a search for these certificates did not seem like a wise use of my resources.

I already had two documents that said that Tillie Hecht’s birth name had been Taube or Toba Brotman: her son Harry’s birth certificate and her daughter Ida’s marriage certificate; there was also a ship manifest for a Taube Brodt from Tarnobrzeg.    In addition, I had found this entry on the SSACI for a Jean Gross, giving me not only information about Jean Hecht’s married name, but also another confirmation that Taube’s birth name was Toba Brotman:

Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

The additional marriage certificates for the remaining daughters might have given me further confirmation that their mother’s birth name was Taube/Toba Brotman, but what I really wanted to know was who Taube’s parents were.  And that meant finding either her marriage certificate or her death certificate, not her children’s marriage certificates.  But before I could do that, I wanted some rough idea of when she died so that I could make a reasonable request of my researcher in Trenton.

That meant finding the 1940 census to see if Tillie Hecht was still alive in 1940.  The New Jersey archives allows public access to death certificates up to 1955; I had to hope that Tillie had died in New Jersey before 1955.

I was able to find Tillie Hecht on the 1940 census; she was still living in Jersey City at 306 East 4th Street.

Tillie Hecht and family 1940 US census Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2401; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 24-50

Tillie Hecht and family 1940 US census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2401; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 24-50

She was now a widow, so Jacob had died since the 1930 census. It also says she was sixty years old whereas Tillie would really have been at least sixty-four.  There were two adult children living with her: Dave, who was listed as 35 and not employed, and Ruth, who was 26 and working as an assistant in a doctor’s office.  David Hecht should have been 45 in 1950, and Rose would have been 36. Had Rose changed her name from Rebecca (1930) to Ruth in 1940?  Had Tillie shaved ten years off the ages of herself and both of her children, or was there possibly another Tillie Hecht living in Jersey City, born in Austria?

I decided to assume for search purposes that this was the right Tillie Hecht and to ask my researcher to see if she could find a death certificate for a Taube or Tillie Hecht between 1940 and 1955.  And then I waited.

But while I was waiting, I also emailed Tillie’s great-granddaughter Sue and asked her what she knew about her Hecht relatives: what were the married names of her grandmother’s sisters? When did Jacob and Tillie and their children die? Did she know anything else that might help me find out how Tillie Brotman Hecht was related to my Brotmans, if at all?

Sue then spoke to her cousin Renee, one of Tillie’s grandchildren (Jean Hecht’s daughter), and filled me in on what Renee had told her.  It was an email filled with a great deal of information, but the part that was most critical to solving my question about Tillie Hecht was this one:

Tillie (Toba) Brotman came to U.S. at 10 years of age she thinks. 2 brothers were already here…redheads …or at least one was. The brothers sent Tillie to a house in St. Louis…to work…learn English, or both. Renee remembers her mother and Aunt Etta (also a Hecht girl) taking the subway to Brooklyn to see “The Uncle” who must have been one of Tillie’s brothers.

I read this paragraph several times, trying to sort out what it meant.  First, the fact that Tillie had come to the US at ten was consistent with the Taube Brodt I’d found on the 1887 ship manifest, listing Taube as eleven at that time.

Second, Renee reported that Taube had had two brothers here already— and that they were redheads.  That stopped me in my tracks—my mother, my aunt, my grandmother, my grandmother’s sisters—all were redheads.  Red hair is recessive and not all that common.  Could this just be coincidence? A Brotman from Tarnobrzeg with red hair had to be related to my family.

My grandmother with her two daughters, my Aunt Elaine and my mother 1933

My grandmother with her two daughters, my Aunt Elaine and my mother 1933.  All redheads.

But who were these two brothers? And why did they send Taube to St. Louis? I had no record of any Brotman from my family arriving before 1887 when Taube Brodt arrived.

I then read Sue’s email again.  This time a different paragraph jumped out at me:

Renee recalls meeting a cousin also named Renee who she thinks was the daughter of one of Tillie’s brothers. As she recalls, they owned a hardware store on Lexington Ave. and 59th in NYC.  Renee thought that both Renees were named for an Aunt Irene.

A big, loud bell went off in my slow-witted brain.  I knew who that second Renee was.  She was Renee Brotman, daughter of Max Brotman, my grandmother’s older half-brother.  Renee had married Charles Haber, and they owned a hardware store on Lexington Avenue and 59th Street in New York City.  I emailed Renee’s daughter Judy to confirm that that was in fact the address.

Max, Sophie, Rosalie and Renee

Max, Sophie, Rosalie and Renee Brotman. Max was my grandmother’s half-brother.

Suddenly I knew exactly who Toba Brotman, aka Taube Brodt, aka Tillie Hecht, was.

She was my grandmother’s half-sister, the missing sibling I had long ago, years ago, given up on ever finding.  I had searched and searched and found not one shred of a clue.  I only knew she existed because my Aunt Elaine had listed all of the children of Joseph Brotman, including those with his first wife Chaye, on her family tree.  There had been a daughter named Sophie, according to my aunt.

Family Tree drawn by Elaine Goldschlager Lehbraum

Family Tree drawn by Elaine Goldschlager Lehbraum

max mason

My aunt had all the other names right—could she have been mistaken about Sophie’s name? Was it really Toba or Taube or Tillie?

Plus there was another thing that troubled me: if Tillie Hecht was really my grandmother’s sister, it meant that my grandmother had two sisters using the name Tillie: her full sister Tillie, the one my mother knew well, Tillie Brotman Ressler, and this other half-sister Tillie Brotman Hecht.  How could there be two sisters with the same first name?

Tilly Ressler 1944

Tilly Brotman Ressler 1944.  My grandmother’s sister. And also a redhead.

But then I thought some more.  Tillie Hecht’s original name had been Toba; Tillie Ressler’s original name had been Tema.  They were not given the same name at birth; they both had just adopted the same Americanized nickname in the United States.  Maybe that’s why my aunt thought of Tillie Hecht as Sophie? Maybe some in the family still called her Toba or Taube and that sounded like Sophie to my aunt? (Those of us who knew her well knew how my Aunt Elaine could mangle a name.)

And who was this Aunt Irene that the two Renees were named for? A clue for that came from my cousin Judy; she said her mother Renee had originally been named Ida, but it was changed to Irene soon after she was born.  Irene then evolved into Renee.  When I saw “Ida,” I recalled that Ida was often a secular name for girls named Chaye.  Chaye was the name of Joseph Brotman’s first wife, the mother of Abraham, David, Max, and “Sophie.” Max Brotman had named his daughter Ida (then Irene) for his mother Chaye.  If Tillie Brotman Hecht was in fact “Sophie,” it made sense that she also named her first daughter Ida for her mother Chaye.

It all made sense.  But I knew better than to rely on family lore.  I needed some kind of official record to back up my hypothesis.

And then it arrived.  Tillie Hecht’s death certificate:

tillie-hecht-death-certificate

Her father was Joseph Brotman, my great-grandfather. Tillie Hecht, born Toba Brotman, was my grandmother’s half-sister.  The Hecht children, all eight of them, were my mother’s first cousins.  I had found the long missing Sophie, only she was really Toba.

There were still questions to address, but for the moment, I just was content to wallow in the joyous mud of discovery.

 

Who was Tillie Hecht? Another Brotman Mystery

If you had asked me three years ago when I started this blog whether I’d still be finding new Brotman relatives three years later, I’d have laughed. I had so little information about even my great-grandparents.  And yet here I am in 2016 having found a whole new Brotman/Brod family of relatives based on a name in a baby book from 1917.

The discovery of Julius Goldfarb and his family, in particular his mother Sarah Brotman/Brod, was a true blessing.  Now I have corroboration of where my great-grandparents lived in Poland, and I have a better picture of my grandmother’s extended family and the people who were part of her life when she was a child and an adult.  I also have several newly discovered living cousins who have already enriched my life.

Even more amazing to me is the most recent discovery of Taube Hecht because that discovery was even more far-fetched.  Remember that in my aunt’s baby book the last name on the list of visitors was Mrs. Taube Hecht.  At first I’d had no idea who she was.

Aunt Elaine baby book 5

Then while researching Julius Goldfarb to figure out how he was related to my grandmother, I obtained a copy of his marriage certificate.  Julius Goldfarb had married Ida Hecht, and on their marriage certificate it said her father was Jacob Hecht and her mother’s name was originally Taube Brotman, now Taube Hecht.  I had wondered whether Ida’s mother was also somehow related to my grandmother’s family.

goldfarb-hecht-marriage-page-3

In researching Taube Brotman Hecht, I learned that she was also known as Tillie and that she’d had eight children with Jacob Hecht: Harry (1892); Ida (1894); David (1896); Gussie (1899?); Etta (1900); Sadie (1903); Rose (1906); and Eva (1908).

On the 1915 New York State census, the Hecht family was living in the same building on Avenue C in New York City as Sam and Sarah Brotman/Brod Goldfarb and as Hyman Brotman, my great-uncle, and his family.  It certainly seemed possible that Taube was related to my Brotman great-grandparents and to Sarah Brotman/Brod Goldfarb.

sam-goldfarb-and-family-1915-ny-census-bottom-left-and-top-right

1915 NYS census with the Hecht family, the Goldfarb family, and the family of Hyman Brotman

So I jumped for joy—perhaps another relative, another set of clues about my Brod/Brotman relatives.  And then I jumped back into the research, hoping that Taube Brotman Hecht would provide more clues about my elusive relatives from Galicia.  I figured that with eight Hecht children to research, I would undoubtedly find more clues from birth, marriage, and death certificates.  But alas, the Hechts proved to be far more elusive than I’d hoped.

I started by searching for birth certificates.  Since I knew from the Goldfarb family records provided to me by my cousin Sue that Ida Hecht Goldfarb was born in New York City on October 19, 1894, and that the Hechts were still living in New York City in 1910 when the US census was taken, it seemed quite likely that all eight children, born between 1892 and 1908, were also born in New York City.  I searched the New York City birth records databases on Ancestry, FamilySearch, and Steve Morse’s website, and I could only find birth records listed for two of those eight children: the firstborn, Harry, and the last born child, Eva.  The other six children are just not there at all, no matter how I spelled their names, no matter how many wildcards I used.  Jacob and Taube must not have filed a birth certificate at all for those other six children.

In addition, when I asked my regular researcher at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to find Harry’s birth certificate, she was unable to do so because it was a certificate marked “S,” meaning a later filed certificate.  Those are not on the microfilms at the FHL.  Instead I had to ask someone in NYC to go to the archives there to dig up Harry’s birth certificate.  It hadn’t been filed until 1906 when Harry was already fourteen years old.  I wonder what would have prompted the family to file it at that point in time.

harry-hecht-birth-certificate-resized

But the certificate is quite interesting.  It shows that in 1892, Jacob and Taube (“Toba” here, the Hebrew name) were living at 33 East Houston Street in New York City, that they were both born in Austria, and that Jacob (like Sam Goldfarb) was a cloaks operator.  Jacob was 25 when Harry was born, Toba only twenty, meaning they were born in about 1867 and 1872, respectively.

And most importantly, Harry’s birth certificate records Toba’s name before marriage as Toba Brotman.  Brotman! I was right that Ida’s marriage certificate said “Brotman,” not Braitmer as it had been indexed.  And, of course, this meant that there was a real chance that Toba, like Sarah Goldfarb, was related to my great-grandparents in some way.

And then I looked at the certificate I’d ordered for Eva Hecht.

eva-hecht-birth-certificate-resized

She was born on January 30, 1908, at 38 Montrose Avenue in Brooklyn.  On the 1910 census, the Hecht family was living at 48 Boerum Street in Brooklyn, which is right around the block from 38 Montrose Avenue.  So far, so good.  But then I looked at her parents’ names: JOSEPH Hecht and Tillie ROTHMAN.  Was this in fact the same Eva Hecht? The father was 40 years old, meaning born in about 1868; the mother was 37, so born about 1871. Those years were very close to the ages Jacob and Taube would have been in 1908.  Both parents were born in Austria, as were Jacob and Taube.  And the father “Joseph” was a tailor, as was Jacob Hecht.

Given all these similarities and the fact that by that time Taube was using Tillie on the census records, I have to believe that this is in fact a birth certificate for Eva Hecht, daughter of Jacob and Tillie/Taube/Toba Hecht.  And if it has Jacob’s first name wrong, it could very well have Tillie’s birth surname wrong.  Rothman does sound like Brotman, and many family members spelled Brotman as Brothman.  Perhaps the person filing the birth certificate, Mrs. Ida Goldman, just had bad hearing or the family’s accents were hard for her to understand.

So I had one new solid piece of evidence that Taube Hecht was born Toba Brotman and one rather shaky document that was at least somewhat supportive of that assumption. And, of course, I had Ida’s marriage certificate as well.  What else might I find? If there were no more birth certificates, could I find other marriage certificates or death certificates? Would the census records provide any more clues? So I decided to start from the beginning and search for records about the Hecht family.

The earliest census on which they appear is the 1900 US census.  The family was then living at 64 Broome Street on the Lower East Side.  The information for Jacob Hecht (spelled “Hect” here and indexed by Ancestry as “Hast,” making this a tough one to find) has some inconsistencies.   His birth year is 1870, so a year or two later than the other records indicated.  His birth place is Russia, not Austria.  But he is working as a tailor.  His wife’s name is listed as Mitilda, which certainly could be Tillie, and she also is listed as born in Russia, not Austria.  Her birth year is given as 1875, also several years later than her children’s birth records indicated.

Hecht family 1900 US census Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1094; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0290; FHL microfilm: 1241094

Hecht family 1900 US census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1094; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0290; FHL microfilm: 1241094

The names of their children also have some consistencies, some differences.  The first born, Harry, was born in 1892; that was consistent with Harry Hecht’s birth record.  The second child, however, is listed as Annie, born in 1893.  That should be Ida, the second child, who, according to the Goldfarb family papers, was born in 1894.  The third child, David, was reported to be four years old (the birth year is not very legible); that is consistent with David’s name and birth year on later census reports.  The fourth child is Yetta, who is listed on later reports as Etta; she is reported to have been seven months old when the census was enumerated in June 9, 1900, meaning she would have been born in October, 1899, not October 1889, as the census record has it recorded.  A birth year of 1899 is consistent with later census reports for Etta.

What this census record also revealed was that Jacob and “Miltilda” had been married for nine years, or in 1891.  It also said that Jacob had been in the US for only twelve years and arrived in 1887 (though it looks like 1777).  “Mitilda” had arrived earlier and had been in the country for fifteen years or since 1885 (though it looks like 1875 was written over it).  With this additional information, I searched for both a marriage record for Jacob and Taube/Tillie/Mitilda and for immigration records.

I had no luck finding a marriage record in the New York City marriage databases on Ancestry, FamilySearch, or Steve Morse’s website.  I guess it’s not surprising that a couple who failed to file birth certificates for their children also had failed to file a marriage record.  I am still hoping that some record will show up.

As for immigration records, I am fairly certain that I found the ship manifests for Taube.  I found two manifests, first a German manifest for the ship Moravia, dated July 9, 1887, sailing to New York from Hamburg.  On that manifest is a passenger named Taube Brodt, an eleven year old girl, and her name is bracketed with two other passengers, Eva Singer, a 38 year old woman, and an eleven month old baby named Ascher Singer, presumably the son of Eva.  And all three are listed as last residing in “Tarnobchek.”  That is, Tarnobrzeg—the home of my great-grandparents Joseph Brotman and Bessie Brod.

Taube Brodt ship manifest 1887 Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1736 Description Month : Direkt Band 059 (3 Jul 1887 - 29 Dez 1887)

Taube Brodt ship manifest 1887
Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1736
Description
Month : Direkt Band 059 (3 Jul 1887 – 29 Dez 1887)

The second manifest is also for the Moravia, but is the American manifest, written in English, and dated July 21, 1887, the arrival date in New York; it also lists Taube Brodt and the Singers as coming from Tarnobchek.

Taube Brodt 1887 NY ship manifest Year: 1887; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 509; Line: 1; List Number: 911

Taube Brodt 1887 NY ship manifest
Year: 1887; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 509; Line: 1; List Number: 911

But who were Eva and Ascher Singer? And why was this eleven year old child traveling with them? My great-grandfather arrived in 1889, my great-grandmother 1891; Sarah Brod/Brotman Goldfarb didn’t arrive until 1896.  So if Taube Brodt was their relative, who was she going to and why was she leaving home at such a young age? And where did Taube Brodt and Eva and Ascher Singer end up after they disembarked in New York City in July 1887?

Although I can find many women named Eva Singer, there is only one born in Austria who arrived in 1887 and who had a son who would have been born in 1886.  But that Eva’s son’s name is Herman, and that Eva was older than the one who sailed on the Moravia with Taube.  Maybe that is the right Eva, and Ascher became Herman.  That Eva’s birth name was Goldman, according to the listings in the SSCAI for two of her children.

And I had little luck finding an Ascher Singer.  The only record I could find that might fit was a marriage record dated 1910 for an Ascher Singer marrying Lena Laufer.  I ordered that marriage record, and it shows that Ascher’s parents were Seide Singer and Taube Druckman.

singer-laufer-marriage-page-1

When I saw the name Taube, I wondered—could Ascher have been Taube Brodt’s baby, not Eva’s? Maybe Taube wasn’t only eleven.  Taube’s age on the census records and her children’s birth certificates suggest she was born in 1871 or 1872, not 1876, as the ship manifest would suggest.  So maybe she was really fifteen, not eleven, when she emigrated.

But that is the only record I can find for Ascher Singer, and there is no way to know for sure whether it is the same person who sailed with Taube on the Moravia in 1887 or whether Taube Druckman was really Taube Brodt.

Plus even if this is the right Eva or the right Ascher, I’ve no idea how they are connected to Taube Brodt or anyone else in my family. And maybe they weren’t.  Maybe Taube just happened to be traveling with them.  But then where was she going and to whom? And was this even the same person who married Jacob Hecht in about 1891? If so, she would have been only 15 in 1891 if she was eleven in 1887.  Maybe Taube Brodt isn’t even Toba/Taube/Tillie Brotman Hecht?

Now what could I do?  Besides pull my hair out.  I kept on looking.

And then the most amazing thing happened. One of my toughest brick walls came tumbling down and when I least expected it.