My grandmother’s first cousin Morris Goldfarb, Sam and Sarah (Brod) Goldfarb’s second child, was born in Grebow in what is now Poland on August 15, 1886,1 and was almost ten years old when he came to America with his mother and siblings. He lived in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, and then on the Lower East Side with his parents until he married Anna Grinbaum (later spelled Greenbaum) in 1919. At that time he was working as a cloakmaker in a sweatshop in New York.
By 1925, Morris and Anna had two sons, Martin, born in 1920, and Irvin, born in 1922. They were living in the same apartment building at 526 Williams Avenue in Brooklyn as Sam and Sarah and Morris’ sister Rose. Morris was no longer working in a sweatshop as a tailor but now had his own grocery store.
Here is a baby picture of little Martin Goldfarb shared with me by his daughter Ann.
I asked the amazing people in the Free Photo Restoration group on Facebook if they could edit this photo, and here is one of the results:
This is the building in Brooklyn where the Goldfarbs were living in 1925:
Five years later in 1930, Morris and his family were living at 542 Williams Avenue, and Morris was still the proprietor of a grocery store. His father Sam had died in 1926, and his mother Sarah and two of his younger siblings Leo and Rose were living across the street at 526 Williams Avenue. Morris’ wife Anna must have been pregnant when the 1930 census was enumerated because she gave birth to their third son Saul on June 10, 1930.2
I love this sweet photograph of Morris Goldfarb holding Saul in 1932, shared with me by Saul’s widow Kay and their children Becky and Jim:
Sometime during this period, Martin Goldfarb was hit by a car in Brooklyn and seriously injured, leaving him with a lifetime of circulation problems following surgery to repair his injured legs.3
According to a family history compiled by Saul Goldfarb’s wife Kay,4 Morris’ grocery store was not terribly lucrative, but was successful enough to support his growing family. The Depression years, however, were hard for the family, and Morris had to pay “protection money” to gangsters to keep the store going. The boys went to a Brooklyn public school with many other children of immigrants, including Danny Kaye, a classmate of Martin Goldfarb.
The family shared this wonderful photograph of Morris in his grocery store:
Tragedy again struck the family on October 6, 1938, when Anna died from a ruptured appendix.5 She was only 41 when she died and left behind her three sons. Martin was eighteen, Irvin was sixteen, and Saul was only eight when they lost their mother.
This is a beautiful photograph of Anna, shared with me by her granddaughter Ann, Martin Goldfarb’s daughter and Anna’s namesake.
On the 1940 census Morris was listed as a widower living with his three sons; his sister Rose was living with them also. Perhaps Rose moved in with Morris to help with the three sons.
This census record has several errors. First, it lists Rose as 25 when she was in fact 38; she was working as an operator in a curtain business, presumably a sweatshop. The second error is that it lists nine-year-old Saul as a bookkeeper in the grocery business; that must have been Irvin’s occupation as there is no occupation listed for him, and he was now 18 years old. It make more sense that Morris and his two oldest sons would be working together in his grocery store and that Saul would have been in school.
Morris’ sister Rose married in early 1941,6 and it was around this time that a rabbi arranged a second marriage for Morris to help him and his sons. According to the family history written by Saul’s wife Kay, Morris was briefly married to a woman named Lena Weiss, a widow with two children of her own, but the marriage was over by sometime around 1942-1943.7 In 1945, Morris married for a third time. His third wife was Mollie Kaminsky Rosen, a widow with one son.8
Morris Goldfarb was 64 when he died on January 29, 1951.9 He is buried at Mount Hebron cemetery in New York where his first wife Anna is also buried.10 He had lived a full but challenging life. Born in Grebow, Poland, Morris came to the US as a young boy, having to learn a new language and a new culture. He lived and worked in Brooklyn for his entire adult life, making a living in his own grocery store. He faced personal obstacles when his son Martin was badly injured in a car accident, and then when his first wife Anna died a sudden death in 1938. Morris raised his sons on his own after her death until he married again. He must have been a strong and resilient man.
His sons also faced challenges in their adult lives, as we will see in the next post.
- Morris Goldfarb, Marital status: Single, Birth Date: 15 Aug 1886, Birth Place: Galicia, Austria, Residence Date: 1917-1918, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 ↩
- Saul Goldfarb, Birth Date: 10 Jun 1930, Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 234??, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965 ↩
- Email from Ann Lee, April 20, 2021. ↩
- Unpublished family history written by Kay Lergessner Goldfarb (hereinafter referred to as KLG history.”) ↩
Anna Goldfarb, Age: 41, Birth Year: abt 1897, Death Date: 6 Oct 1938
Death Place: Kings, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 19378, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. KLG history. ↩
Rose Goldfarb. Marriage License Date: 29 Jan 1941
Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Spouse: Max Levine, License Number: 1699, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 ↩
- KLG history ↩
- Mollie Kaminsky, Maiden Name: Kaminsky, Marriage Date: 1945, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Morris Goldfarb, 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 ↩
- Morris Goldfarb, Death Date: 29 Jan 1951, Death Place: Brooklyn, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 2007, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 ↩
- Find a Grave, database and images, (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764408/morris-goldfarb : accessed 25 April 2021), memorial page for Morris Goldfarb (unknown–29 Jan 1951), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764408, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585); Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764294/anna-goldfarb : accessed 25 April 2021), memorial page for Anna Goldfarb (unknown–6 Oct 1938), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764294, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). ↩