Leo and Rose Goldfarb: The Two Youngest Children of Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb

When Sarah Brod Goldfarb died on July 2, 1937, her two youngest children, Leo and Rose, were the only ones not yet married. Both had been living with their mother Sarah in Brooklyn in 1930, and Leo at that time was a real estate salesman.1

In July 1938, just over a year after his mother’s death, Leo married Sarah “Syd” Ort.2 Syd, as she was known, was born in New York on January 2, 1910,3 making her almost eleven years younger than Leo, who was 38 when they married. Syd was the daughter of Samuel and Gussie Ort, who both had immigrated from Russia. Sam had his own tailor shop, and in 1930 Syd was living with her parents and siblings in Brooklyn and was a bookkeeper at a bank.4 Here is Syd’s picture from the 1927 Thomas Jefferson High School yearbook.

Sarah Ort, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; School Name: Thomas Jefferson High School; Year: 1927
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999

I could not find Leo and Syd on the 1940 census. I had their 1942 address from Leo’s World War II draft registration—1068 Winthrop Street in Brooklyn—but they were not listed at that address on the 1940 census. Looking at Google Maps, I realized that 1068 Winthrop Street was one block away from where my grandparents and mother were living in 1940—1010 Rutland Road.

 

Leo and Syd had two sons born in the 1940s; I had a wonderful conversation with their son Ted last week. And on the very same day I also received a message from my mother’s childhood best friend, Beatie, who also lived at 1010 Rutland Road where my mother lived. I asked Beatie if she recalled ever meeting any of the Goldfarbs, and she said that she recalled meeting a woman named Syd coming to visit my grandmother with two little boys. Now I know that one of those little boys was my cousin Ted.

In 1942, Leo was working for Harry Hittner of Hittner Brothers in Jersey City, New Jersey.  The 1940 census shows Harry Hittner as the part owner of a bar and grill. His brother Samuel, living right next door, was the other part owner. I don’t know what Leo’s role was in this business.5

Leo Goldfarb, World War II draft card, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

My cousin Alyce shared these photographs of Leo and Syd with various members of the family.

Syd Ort and Leo Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Betty Amer Goldfarb and Syd Ort Goldfarb Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Leo Goldfarb, Syd Ort Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Selma Goldfarb, Joe Goldfarb, Francine Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Leo Goldfarb and Joe Goldfarb Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

According to Leo’s son Ted, after the war Leo was a salesman at Martin’s Department Store in downtown Brooklyn for many years. As Ted said, Leo never made a lot of money, but in those days a good salesman could make enough to support a family of four comfortably in Brooklyn.6

Leo and Syd lived at 1068 Winthrop Street until 1963 when they moved to an apartment at Bath Beach in Brooklyn not far from Coney Island. They lived there the remainder of their lives.  Leo was 75 when he died on June 13, 1975.7 Syd died ten years later on February 13, 1985; she was also 75 at her death.8

The information I initially had about Sarah and Sam’s youngest child Rose was  very limited. I couldn’t find her on the 1940 census, but knew from family records and family members that she had married someone named Max Levine. Max Levine is such a common name that I was having no luck learning more about Max and Rose until I spoke to Ted Goldfarb. He gave me three huge hints that helped me find the right Max: he had been married once before marrying Rose, he had worked in Bayonne, New Jersey, and he and Rose had lived in Jersey City.9

From those hints I found Max’s death notice and obituary and learned that Max was born in Poland, was living in Jersey City, and had been a baker at the Troum Bakery in Bayonne.

Max Levine, Jersey Journal, July 10, 1974, p. 7

That led me to Max’s other records. His World War I draft registration finds him already living in Bayonne and working as a baker, married to his first wife, and claiming exemption due to “ill health.” It also indicates that he was born in Lublin, Russia, or what is today Poland.

Max Levine, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Hudson, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

On the 1920 census he was living in Bayonne, working as a baker, and living with his first wife and their first child. The census record also reports that he immigrated from Poland in 1912.10 In 1930 Max was still living in Bayonne, working as a baker, and living with his wife and two children.11

By 1940, Max’s first marriage must have ended because he was living with his two children but not his first wife in Brooklyn at 571 Williams Avenue and working as a baker.12 Rose Goldfarb had been living at 526 Williams Avenue in 1930, so Max must have met her in his new neighborhood. They married early in 1941; Max was 46, Rose was 39.13 They must soon thereafter have settled in Jersey City where their son was born a couple of years later.

Max died, as his obituary noted, on July 8, 1974; he was 79.14 Rose died 23 years later on August 11, 1997, at the age of 95. 15

In the message from my mother’s dear friend Beatie, she also mentioned Rose. She didn’t recall her name, but said that Syd had a sister or other relative who would visit my grandmother at 1010 Rutland Road when my mother and Beatie were young girls. That must have been Rose Goldfarb, my grandmother’s first cousin and Syd Goldfarb’s sister-in-law.

I have just three photographs of Rose, two from Alyce, and one from Steve Malzberg:

Rose Goldfarb Levine, Joe Goldfarb, and Gussie Brotman Goldschlager Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Rose (Goldfarb) and Max Levine, c 1960
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Max and Rose (Goldfarb) Levine, 1970.
Courtesy of Steve Malzberg

That brings me to the end of the story of my great-great-aunt Sarah Brod and her husband Sam Goldfarb and their seven children. What a wonderful journey this has been to find and connect with so many of my Goldfarb cousins. It’s remarkable to me that through the magic of genealogy, DNA testing, and the internet, I now have connected with so many of the descendants of Sarah Brod Goldfarb. Of Sarah and Sam’s seven children, six of whom had children, I am now in touch with at least one grandchild and a few great-grandchildren of five of those six Goldfarb siblings: Julius, Morris, Bessie, Joe, and Leo. And just two months ago I was only in touch with the descendants of one—Julius. I am so grateful and look forward to continuing these new relationships.

 

 


  1. Leo Goldfarb, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; FHL microfilm: 2341228, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. Leo Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 23 Jun 1938, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:Sarah Ort, License Number: 12499, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  3.  Sarah Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 054-01-4309, Birth Date: 2 Jan 1910
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1985, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. Sam Ort, 1930 US census, Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; FHL microfilm: 2341228, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  5. Hittner family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02405; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 24-145, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Phone conversation with Ted Goldfarb, May 26, 2021. 
  7. Leo Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 101-10-1222, Birth Date: 10 Sep 1899
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, 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. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764375/leo-goldfarb : accessed 20 May 2021), memorial page for Leo Goldfarb (unknown–13 Jun 1975), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764375, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  8. Sarah Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 054-01-4309, Birth Date: 2 Jan 1910
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1985, 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/77764444/sarah-goldfarb : accessed 20 May 2021), memorial page for Sarah Goldfarb (unknown–13 Feb 1985), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764444, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) . 
  9. Phone conversation with Ted Goldfarb, May 27, 2021. 
  10. Max Levine, 1920 census, Census Place: Bayonne Ward 2, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1041; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 12, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11. Max Levine, 1930 census, Census Place: Bayonne, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0202; FHL microfilm: 2341082, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. Max Levine, 1940 census, Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02548; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 24-85, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  13. 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 
  14.  Max Levine, Death Date: 8 Jul 1974, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1974; Surname Range: H-O; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  15.  Rose Levine, Social Security Number: 099-01-5824, Birth Date: 9 Feb 1902
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 08043, Voorhees, Camden, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: 11 Aug 1997, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg and Her Four Sons, Members of the Greatest Generation

Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb’s fourth child1 and second daughter was Bessie, born in 1890 in Galicia. She was just six years old2 when she came to the US with her mother and settled in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, and then the Lower East Side of New York City. Bessie married Meyer Malzberg in 1914 in Detroit, and I’ve yet to learn what took them from New York to Detroit. Although they appear to have been in Detroit for a few years, they soon returned to New York and eventually settled in New Jersey near Bessie’s  brothers Julius and Joseph.

By 1930, Meyer and Bessie had four sons: Norman, born in 1915, Gustave, born in 1919, Burton, born in 1923, and finally Saul, born in 1928. That gave Sarah two grandsons named Saul—Bessie’s son and Morris’ son, born in 1930.  I assume they were both named in memory of their grandfather Samuel, who died in 1926, although Saul and Samuel are different biblical names (Samuel was actually known as Shlomo or Solomon in Europe).

Here (again) are the two photographs that we believe are the Malzbergs with Sarah Brod Goldfarb—first, with Bessie and Meyer, second, with two of their sons.

Meyer, like his brother-in-law Julius, was for some time in the liquor business. But with Prohibition, his livelihood was threatened, and his bar was one of many that were padlocked by the authorities in 1929.3

The 1930 census shows that a year later Meyer was the owner of a delicatessen instead.  The family was living in North Bergen, New Jersey, where they owned their own home, valued at $15,000, and had a radio.

Meyer Malzberg and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: North Bergen, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 0351; FHL microfilm: 2341093, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

In 1931, Gustave Malzberg, then twelve years old, was injured when he was hit by a car—as had happened to his cousin Martin Goldfarb.  The Malzbergs won a lawsuit against the driver and were awarded $175 in damages. That would be the equivalent of about $2777 dollars in today’s money. As far as I know, unlike Martin Goldfarb, Gustave did not suffer any long-term consequences from his injuries.

“Father of North Bergen Boy Injured by Auto Awarded $175,” Jersey Journal, March 4, 1931, p. 4.

Meanwhile, Bessie and Meyer’s oldest son Norman was becoming well-known in the area for his chess prowess. I found close to one hundred news articles4 in the New Jersey papers starting in 1931 when Norman was 16 describing his success as a chess player. He also wrote columns for the newspaper about chess and chess strategy. In 1934 he was the champion of the Jersey City Chess Club and retained that title for six years until 1940. By that time Norman was 24 and in law school.

Jersey Journal, December 29, 1934, p. 11.

The 1940 census5 shows that Meyer Malzberg, like his brother-in-law Julius Goldfarb, had returned to the liquor business once Prohibition ended. He was now a wholesale liquor salesman as was his son Norman, who was working his way through law school at the John Marshall College of Law in Jersey City.6 Meyer and Bessie’s three younger sons were still in school and not employed out of the home.

But soon their world would change as the US entered World War II in December 1941. Norman had already registered for the draft on October 16, 1940, listing his employer as Federal Wine & Liquor Company in Jersey City, presumably his father’s business. He was living at home with his parents at 87 Van Wagenen Avenue in Jersey City.

Norman Malzberg, 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: 409, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Gustave registered on the same day as his older brother. He listed himself as self-employed, and like Norman, he was living at home in Jersey City. He was now 21 years old. Gustave enlisted on February 27, 1941, almost a year before Pearl Harbor. He was honorably discharged on December 2, 1945.7

Gustave Malzberg 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: 409, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Burton was too young to register in 1940, but he registered in June 1942. He was working for American Home Products Corporation and living at home with his parents in Jersey City.

Burton Malzberg 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: 409, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

The four Malzberg brothers all served during World War II. Norman served with the Medical Administration Corps in France, and Gustave was in an anti-aircraft unit stationed in Seattle.8

Although Saul was only sixteen at the time, he enlisted in April 1944 when he would have been only sixteen. According to his son Mark, Saul served in the Pacific Theater near the end of the war in Guam, the Phillipines, and the Panama Canal Zone.9

Burton’s military service was particularly harrowing. He enlisted on May 17, 1943, and was an infantryman in the Army and sent to France. In December, 1944, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was captured by the Germans.10 The Jersey Journal reported in September, 1944, that the family had not heard from Burton for seven weeks at that time, but that the Army had informed them that he had been “slightly wounded.” A later article in February 1945 reported that in fact Burton was a prisoner of war. He was liberated when the war ended a few months later. According to family lore, his war experiences haunted him long after the war ended.

Here is a photograph of Burton with the note he inscribed on the back:

Burton Malzberg, September 1943. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Jersey Journal, September 29 1944, p. 7.

Jersey Journal, February 1, 1945, p. 5.

Meyer Malzberg and Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg lived to see their sons return from the war, get married, and father nine Malzberg grandchildren. Meyer was 75 when he died on January 11, 1966;11 Bessie died five years later on November 9, 1971. She was 81.12

When Norman returned from the war, he took and passed the New Jersey bar and began practicing law. One of his long-time clients was the Allied Grocers Association, an association of independent grocery stores. He also became involved in various Jewish communal and religious organizations including his synagogue and the Jewish War Veterans branch in Jersey City.13

In 1964 when he was 49, Norman married Thelma “Toby” Diller, the daughter of Philip Diller and Jenny Englart. She was born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1926. Norman and Toby had two children together.14

In December 1974, Norman was sworn in as an acting judge in the Jersey City Municipal Court. After three years, he decided not to continue because of a possible conflict of interest for one of his associates and returned to private practice. He continued practicing law until his death on July 10, 1999, at the age of 84 from pancreatic cancer.15

Jersey Journal, December 24, 1974, p. 3

Gustave Malzberg married Barbara Weinberg in 1957. She was born in Brooklyn, and she and Gustave settled in Brooklyn where they had two children. According to his son Steve, Gustave “worked in retail his whole life. He was a hard working loving caring man who always provided for his family.”  Steve said that his father’s greatest joy was holding his grandchild the night he was born and watching him grow for almost ten years until Gustave passed away in Brooklyn on September 14, 2009, at the age of 90.16

Burton Malzberg married Evelyn Ginsberg on June 2, 1947, in New York. Evelyn was born in New York in 1927 to Jacob and Esther Ginsberg.17 She and Burton had two children together, but later divorced. Evelyn made a name for herself many years later when she graduated from New Jersey City University in 2011 at the age of 84. Burton later married Jeanie Jones in December 1974 in Jersey City.18 Burton died on March 5, 1994; he was seventy years old. Like his brother Norman, he died from pancreatic cancer19

Saul Malzberg married Anita Spector in Newark, New Jersey, in 1954.20 Anita was born in Jersey City on May 26, 1931, to Benjamin Spector and Sadie Berman. A year after marrying, Saul graduated from Rutgers University. Saul and Anita had three children together. Saul worked as a credit manager for many years primarily for the Homelite division of Textron in North Arlington, New Jersey, before purchasing and running Union Center Card and Gift in Union, New Jersey. Sadly, his wife Anita died when she was only 46 on January 14, 1978.21 Saul remarried in 1997; his second wife was Beryl Baranker.22 Saul was 75 when he died from a bile duct carcinoma on August 14, 2003.22

My cousin Alyce shared these photographs from her brother’s bar mitzvah in 1960 of three of the Malzberg sons and their wives:

Evelyn Ginsberg, Burt Malzberg, Marcia Berger Goldfarb, seated. Standing, Gus Malzberg and Barbara Weinberg. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Saul and Anita (Spector) Malzberg, 1960. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Gustave’s son Steve shared this photograph of the Malzbergs at Mark Malzberg’s bar mitzvah in 1970. It includes his grandmother Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg and all four of her sons and their wives as well as her sister Rose Goldfarb Levine and her husband Max and Joe Goldfarb’s son Marvin and his wife Florence. How proud Bessie must have been of her four sons.

Standing, Burt Malzberg, Max Levine, Rose Goldfarb Levine, Gustave Malzberg, Barbara Weinberg Malzberg, Saul and Anita (Spector) Malzberg. Seated, Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg, Toby (Diller) and Norman Malzberg, Marvin and Florence (Glasser) Goldfarb. 1970 Courtesy of Steve Malzberg and Mark Malzberg

My grandmother’s first cousin Bessie Goldfarb was born in Galicia and just six years old when she came to America. Like her older brothers Julius and Morris, she adapted to her new country and new language and raised four American-born sons, all of whom served their country during World War II. One son endured life in a German POW camp during that service. Bessie and Meyer Malzberg were immigrants whose sons protected their parents’ adopted country. The sons of Bessie Goldfarb and Meyer Malzberg are evidence of the many contributions immigrants have made to America. We should all be very proud of them.

Thank you to Steve, Mark, and Alyce for their contributions to this post.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. As we have seen, Sam and Sarah’s third child and oldest daughter Gussie died during the pandemic of 1918-1919. 
  2. The 1896 ship manifest for Bessie’s arrival says she was two, but every record after that suggests she was born in 1890, including the 1900 census, which shows her age as ten. Goldfarb family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Page: 17; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. 
  3. “120 More Hudson Saloons Face Padlocking by Drewen,” Jersey Journal, December 17, 1929, p.8. 
  4. E.g., “Berger Bows to Malzberg,” Jersey Journal, March 25, 1935, p. 18; “Chess Crown to Malzberg,” Jersey Journal, February 15, 1938, p., 14. 
  5. Meyer Malzberg and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02409; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 24-282, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. “2 Sworn as Acting Judges,” Jersey Journal, December 24, 1974, p. 3. 
  7.  National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 04603; Reel: 182, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  8. “No Word from Wounded Son,” Jersey Journal, September 29, 1944, p. 7. 
  9. Saul Malzberg, Birth Date: 23 Jan 1928, Death Date: 14 Aug 2003, SSN: 141206478, Enlistment Branch: A, Enlistment Date: 12 Apr 1944, Discharge Date: 9 Jan 1947, Page number: 1, Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010. I am not sure how to reconcile that with the draft registration dated 1946 when he was of draft age. Saul Malzberg draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947. 
  10. National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 05842; Reel: 248, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. Kay Lergessner Goldfarb family history. 
  11. Meyer Malzberg, Social Security Number: 140-03-9072, Birth Date: 8 Sep 1890
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Death Date: Jan 1966, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12. Bessie Malzberg, Death Date: 9 Nov 1971, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1971; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  13. E.g.,”56 Pass N.J. Attorney Test,” Jersey Journal, January 16, 1947, p. 16; “Feldman Installed by Grover Post,” Jersey Journal, February 18, 1947, p. 2; “Allied Grocers Oppose Gross Tax,” Jersey Journal, February 18, 1949, p. 3; “Synagogue Officers,” Jersey Journal, March 20, 1959, p, 17. 
  14. Norman Malzberg, Marriage Date: Sep 1964, Marriage Place: Bergenfield, Bergen, New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Thelma Diller, Certificate Number: 30323
    New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1964; Surname Range: A – K, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016. Family tree records from Sue Wartur. Phillip Diller, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Bayonne, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0226; FHL microfilm: 2341083, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  15. “Malzberg Quits Municipal Post, Jersey Journal, January 28, 1977. p. 2; “Norman Malzberg,” Jersey Journal, July 12, 1999, p. 8; Norman Malzberg, Social Security Number: 140-03-9073, Birth Date: 2 May 1915, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA
    Death Date: 10 Jul 1999, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Email from Mark Malzberg, May 20, 2021. 
  16. Gustave Malzberg, Marriage License Date: 1957, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Barbara Weinberg, License Number: 9079, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018; Gustave Daniel Malzberg, Social Security Number: 138-12-3855, Birth Date: 4 Jun 1919, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 11223, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, Death Date: 14 Sep 2009, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Email from Steve Malzberg, May 18, 2021. 
  17. Burton Malzberg, Marriage License Date: 2 Jun 1947, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Evelyn Ginsberg, License Number: 16808, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 25, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018; Jacob Ginsberg and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 0779; FHL microfilm: 2341266, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. 
  18. Jeanie O Jones, Maiden Name: Jones, Marriage Date: Dec 1974, Marriage Place: Jersey, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Burton Malzberg, Certificate Number: 54178, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1974; Surname Range: A-K, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  19. Burton Malzberg, Age: 70, Birth Date: 23 Mar 1923, Death Date: 5 Mar 1994
    Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1994; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017. Email from Mark Malzberg, May 20, 2021. 
  20. Saul Malzberg, Marriage Date: Jul 1954, Marriage Place: Newark, Essex, New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Anita Spector, Certificate Number: 20102, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1954; Surname Range: L – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  21. Anita Spector, [Anita Malzberg], Birth Date: 26 May 1931, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: Jan 1978, Father: Benjamin Spector, Mother: Sadie Berman
    SSN: 140245456, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  22.  Saul Malzberg, Social Security Number: 141-20-6478, Birth Date: 23 Jan 1928
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 08831, Jamesburg, Middlesex, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: 14 Aug 2003, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Email from Mark Malzberg, May 20, 2021. 

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 

Julius Goldfarb, My Grandmother’s First Cousin: An American Success Story

In 1937, Sarah Brod Goldfarb died, leaving behind her six surviving children, my grandmother’s first cousins: Julius, Morris, Bessie, Joe, Leo, and Rose. Now I want to go back and focus on each of them and their lives as adults.

I will start with Sam and Sarah Goldfarb’s first born child, Julius. We’ve seen that he married Ida Hecht in 1913 and that they settled in Jersey City, New Jersey, where they had four daughters, Sylvia, Gertrude, Ethel, and Evelyn. Those four daughters were related to me both through Ida, my great-aunt Taube Brotman Hecht’s daughter, and through Julius, my great-great-aunt Sarah Brod Goldfarb’s son. We also know that when he registered for the draft in 1917, Julius was a saloon keeper in his own business.

Julius Goldfarb World War I draft registration
Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Hudson; Roll: 1712213; Draft Board: 10

In 1920, Julius Goldfarb was living in Jersey City and still working in the liquor business, according to the 1920 US census.1 But the times were changing, and soon Julius would face the restrictions of Prohibition. Some of the consequences of Prohibition are illustrated in this article involving Julius’ saloon:

“Sells Booze to Wife, Husband Has Him Held,” Jersey Journal, November 7, 1921, p. 8

The headline of the article seemed to suggest that a woman could not buy herself a drink at a bar if her husband did not allow it, and the bartender could be arrested for selling it to her. But the crime was not that specific; it was for selling alcohol to anyone because as of January 17, 1920, liquor sales were prohibited everywhere in the US by virtue of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act. In fact, it’s remarkable that Julius even admitted to being in the liquor business on the 1920 census.

The article refers to the Van Ness Act, a New Jersey law enacted in 1921 and named for Jennie Van Ness, an ardent prohibitionist, New Jersey legislator, and women’s suffrage activist. The law was not targeted specifically against sales to women, however; it was a general prohibition law penalizing the sale of alcohol modeled after and intended to reinforce the federal Volstead Act. Van Ness’ sponsorship of that law cost her the next legislative election because so many in New Jersey were opposed to Prohibition.

But how did Julius even have a saloon in November 1921 if sales of liquor were illegal because of Prohibition? Julius still listed his occupation as “sal,” presumably saloon, on the 1922 Jersey City directory, so obviously he wasn’t hiding anything. It seems many bars and “speakeasies” continued to exist in the area. Perhaps at least for some time the police looked the other way.

Julius, however, soon transitioned to the real estate business. This article from the October 9, 1924, Jersey Journal discusses a legal issue regarding the assignment of options, an issue outside of the scope of this blog but one relevant to my former career. But what is of genealogical interest are the facts that raised the issue:

“Is An Option on Real Estate Assignable?,” Jersey Journal, October 9, 1924, p. 5

According to the article, Julius and Ida Goldfarb had entered into a contract with Alfred Strohmeier in which they agreed to sell him a piece of property and also granted him an option to buy an adjoining piece of property. Strohmeier assigned the contract—including the option—to Edward Ornstein, and the Goldfarbs refused to grant Ornstein that option, arguing that an assignment of an option is not enforceable. I don’t know how this specific case was resolved, but under general principles of contract law, an option is considered assignable unless the contract itself provides otherwise.

The 1930 census confirmed that Julius was now in the real estate business as he listed his occupation as “Proprietor, Real Estate.” Interestingly, however, Julius was renting the home where he lived at 701 Hudson Boulevard in Jersey City in 1930, according to the census. Although the census doesn’t reflect it, Ida was also very involved in the real estate business; acording to her granddaughter Sue, she enjoyed the buying and selling of homes. Sylvia (15), Gertrude (13), and Ethel (7) were all in school, and Evelyn (5) was at home.

Julius Goldfarb and family 1930 US census, lines 40-45
Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1352; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0075; Image: 209.0; FHL microfilm: 2341087

By 1934, the Goldfarb family had moved to 24 Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City. Although I couldn’t find the exact house number on Google maps, this was a street of mostly private homes, and Julius now owned his home, the home the family would live in for many years to come. He also owned a building at 115 Fairview Street where he was the landlord and was sued by a tenant who was injured by falling in the lobby:

Jersey Journal, July 27, 1934, p. 20

Google Maps has this image of that apartment building. It certainly suggests that Julius was doing well investing in real estate, a fact confirmed by his granddaughter Sue:

Meanwhile, the daughters of Julius and Ida were growing up. Sylvia was engaged to Louis Leyner in 1935 and married him later that year. Louis was born on December 25, 1912, in Bayonne, New Jersey, to Isaac Lehner and Anna Pearlman. He graduated in 1931 from New York University with a degree in industrial engineering.2

“Miss Goldfarb Betrothed to Lew Leyner,” Jersey Journal, October 29, 1935, p. 13

Julius and Ida became grandparents a few years later when my cousin Sue was born in Jersey City.

Here is a photograph of Ida Hecht Goldfarb with her granddaughter Sue:

Ida Hecht Goldfarb and Sue Leyner, July 1938. Courtesy of Sue Leyner Wartur.

In 1938 Sylvia’s younger sister Gertrude married Benjamin Levy.3 They settled in Jersey City and were living there in 1940. Benjamin was working as a salesman.4 They would later have three children born in Jersey City.

By this time, Prohibition was long over, and Julius had returned to the liquor business. Ida worked for sometime with him in the store just as she worked with him in the real estate business; Sue described Ida as “ahead of her times” and as a very cultured and sophisticated woman even though she’d had to leave school after eighth grade to support her family. Sue said Ida had “exquisite taste in music, decor, clothing and jewelry, china, silver and fur and she designed her own hats.  She could recite the entire poem Evangeline from memory, took me to my first opera, and gave me a Saturday matinee subscription to the Metropolitan Opera as a high school graduation gift.”5

In 1939,  Julius experienced the first in a long series of very frightening robberies at his store on the Boulevard in Jersey City.

1″$220 Holdup in Liquor Store,” Jersey Journal, March 6, 1939, p. 1

I was surprised to see that there is still a liquor store named Stuyvesant Liquor at that location in Jersey City:

Julius’ granddaughter Sue told me that Julius owned that entire strip of stores at one time and was quite successful with his real estate investments as well as his liquor business.

In 1940, Julius and Ida still had their two younger daughters Ethel and Evelyn living at home as well as Sylvia. Although still listed as married, Sylvia and Louis Leyner were living separately on the 1940 census, Sylvia with her parents, and Louis elsewhere in northern New Jersey. They would soon thereafter divorce.

Julius Goldfarb and family 1940 census lines 13-17
Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2406; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 24-197

Julius continued to be in the liquor business in 1940, and as we will see in the next post, that business continued to be a target for crime in the 1940s and 1950s. But, more importantly, as remembered by their granddaughter Sue, Julius and Ida lived a good life and created a warm and loving home for their four daughters.

 

 


  1. Julius Goldfarb and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Jersey City Ward 3, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1043; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 135, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  2. “Louis Leyner, East Asheville,” Asheville Citizen-Times
    Asheville, North Carolina, 06 Jan 2011, Thu • Page 10 
  3. Gertrude Goldfarb, Maiden Name: Goldfarb, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 1938
    Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Benjamin Levy, 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. Benjamin and Gertrude Levy, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02408; Page: 66B; Enumeration District: 24-246, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Email from Sue Wartur, April 23, 2021. 

The Goldfarbs 1910-1915: A Growing Family

We saw in the last post that Sarah Brotman and Sam Goldfarb and were living in Pittsgrove, New Jersey with six children in 1900. By 1905, however, they had moved to the Lower East Side of New York City and were living across the street from my great-grandmother Bessie and her three youngest children including my grandmother. Their seventh and last child Rosie was born in 1902. By 1910, my Goldfarb relatives had moved to Avenue C in New York.

In 1915, Sam and Sarah were still living at 131 Avenue C with five of their seven children: Morris (25), Bessie (23), Joseph (17), Leo (15), and Rosie (13)(top of next page, see below). Sam and his son Morris were still working as tailors, and Joseph was an office clerk.

Sam Goldfarb and 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

But this census revealed other important information. Living in the same building as Sam and Sarah Goldfarb in 1915 were two other families of great importance to the family history. First, listed almost immediately below the Goldfarbs on the 1915 New York State census was the family of Hyman Brotman, my grandmother’s brother, and thus Sarah’s nephew. He was a first cousin of Sarah’s children.

Second, right below Hyman’s family was the family of Jacob Hecht. As I wrote about in a post a few years back, Jacob Hecht was married to Taube/Toba/Tillie Brotman, my grandmother’s half-sister. Like Sam Goldfarb and Hyman Brotman, Jacob Hecht was a tailor.

Rosie Goldfarb, Hyman Brotman and family, and Jacob Hecht, 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

The Hecht family also has great significance to the story of the Goldfarb family because Jacob and Taube (Brotman) Hecht’s daughter Ida married Sam and Sarah (Brod) Goldfarb’s son Julius on November 20, 1913, in New York. In other words, my great-grandmother Bessie’s stepgranddaughter Ida Hecht married Bessie’s nephew Julius Goldfarb.

Marriage certificate of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:243Y-5QW : 10 February 2018), Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, 20 Nov 1913; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,613,807.

Julius and Ida’s great-granddaughter Lisa shared this photograph of Julius and Ida on their wedding day:

Julius and Ida (Hecht) Goldfarb on the wedding day in 1913. Courtesy of the family.

Despite the fact—or maybe because of the fact—that Julius’ parents and Ida’s parents were living in New York in the same building in 1915, Julius and Ida were living in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1915. Julius described his occupation as a liquor dealer. Ida and Julius had one daughter at that point, Sylvia, who was born on May 7, 1915, less than a month before the enumeration of the 1915 New Jersey census on June 1, 1915.1

Also living with Ida and Julius was Joseph Goldfarb, Julius’ brother, who was then 17 and working as a bartender. I guess Joseph also was ready to get out of New York and perhaps thought living with his brother and working as a bartender would be more fun than being an office clerk. Julius and Ida also had a servant living with them, an eighteen-year-old named Annie, who was born in Hungary.

Julius Goldfarb and family, 1915 NJ census, New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-13; Film Number: 32, Jersey City Ward 3 – Jersey City Ward 5, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., State Census, 1915

Although Bessie Goldfarb was listed as living with her parents on the 1915 New York State census, she was already married by that point. On August 9, 1914, Bessie married Meyer Malzberg in Detroit, Michigan. According to the marriage register, both were then residing in Detroit. How did Bessie end up in Detroit, I wondered? And how did she meet Meyer? I wrote about this back in 2016 as well, and I still don’t know the answers.

Meyer Malzberg and Bessie Goldfarb marriage record 1914
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952. Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.

But I can tell a little more now about Bessie’s husband Meyer Malzberg. Meyer, the son of Herman Malzberg and Sarah or Selma Kaplan (records vary), was born on September 8, 1890 in Bialystok in what was then part of the Russian Empire and now is in Poland. He immigrated to the US in November 1900, according to his July 12, 1910 Declaration of Intention, but on the 1910 US census, it says that he came in 1902 as did his sisters Dora and Ida and that his father came in 1900.2  I found a ship manifest for his father, and in fact he arrived on February 27, 1903, and I found a ship manifest for the two sisters, and they arrived on September 30, 1903.3 But no matter how I looked or where I looked I couldn’t find a manifest for Meyer’s arrival.

Meyer Malzberg declaration of intention, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21
Vol 084-086 12 July-17 Aug 1910 (No 41487-42986), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

In any event, by 1905 fifteen year old Meyer was living with his widowed father and sisters on East 98th Street in New York; Meyer was in school, and his father was working as a cigar maker.4 In 1910, Meyer was working as a stock clerk for a department store and was still living with his father and sisters on 98th Street.5 For those unfamiliar with New York City, 98th Street is not anywhere near Avenue C where the Goldfarbs were living at that time. So I don’t know how Bessie Goldfarb met Meyer Malzberg.

I also don’t know how or why they ended up in Detroit. At first I thought perhaps Meyer had relatives there, but the Malzbergs I found in Detroit arrived there after Bessie and Meyer wed in 1914.

And why was Bessie back in New York with her parents when the 1915 New York State census was enumerated? As I speculated before, here’s my best guess. Bessie gave birth to her first child, Norman Malzberg, on May 2, 1915.6 The census record’s date is preprinted as June 1, but my guess is that it was actually enumerated earlier. Or alternatively, somehow little newborn Norman wasn’t included in the census. In any event, my hunch is that Bessie came home to her parents to give birth rather than be all alone without family in Detroit.

But where was her husband Meyer? I don’t know where he was when Norman was born, but two years later on June 5, 1917, he was still in Detroit when he registered for the World War I draft. He was supporting his wife, child, and his father, and he was working as a driver for the Detroit Creamery Company.

Meyer Malzberg World War I draft registration
Registration State: Michigan; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 2024027; Draft Board: 06, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Thus, by 1915, three of Sam and Sarah Goldfarb’s children were married: Gussie, Bessie, and Julius. They had two grandchildren: Bessie’s son Norman and Julius’ daughter Sylvia. Gussie was living in Brooklyn with her husband, Max, who worked in the men’s clothing business. They did not have children. Julius was in Jersey City with his family and with his brother Joseph. The other Goldfarb children were still living at home on Avenue C, as was Bessie–at least temporarily.

More changes came in the next decade or so.

 

 


  1. Sylvia Goldfarb Leyner, [Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz], Birth Date: 7 May 1915
    Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 3 Jul 1999, Father: Juluis Goldfarb
    Mother: Ida Hecht, SSN: 147188949, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. Herman Malzberg and family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1016; Page: 30A; Enumeration District: 0354; FHL microfilm: 1375029, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  3. Chaim Malzberg ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 068 A; Page: 780; Microfilm No.: K_1742, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934. Dora and Ida Malzberg (Dvaire and Ita) manifest, Year: 1903; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 19; Page Number: 79, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. 
  4. Herman Malzberg and family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 32 E.D. 05; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 90, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905 
  5. Herman Malzberg and family, Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1016; Page: 30A; Enumeration District: 0354; FHL microfilm: 1375029, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  6. Norman Malzberg, Birth Date: 2 May 1915, Birth Place: New York City, New York,
    Death Date: 10 Jul 1999, Father: Meyer Malzberg Mother: Bessie Goldfarb
    SSN: 140039073, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Who was Sarah Goldfarb? The Plot Thickens

My search for answers as to how Sarah Goldfarb was related to my grandmother’s family had thus far led me to conflicting evidence.  Three of her children had listed her birth name as a version of Brotman on their marriage records, and the death record of her daughter Gussie also listed Sarah’s birth name as Brotman. Brotman, of course, was my great-grandfather Joseph’s surname.

katz-gussie-death

Two records, however, indicated that her birth name might have been Brod.  The birth record of her daughter Rosie in 1902 indicated that her birth name was something different—Braud, which appeared to be a phonetic equivalent to Brod. Brod or Brot was what I believed was the birth name of my great-grandmother Bessie.  And the marriage record of Sarah’s son Morris in 1919 reported Sarah’s birth name to have been Brod.

goldfarb-grinbaum-marriage-page-1

So was Sarah a sister of Joseph or a sister of Bessie? Since she had named one child Bessie and one Joseph, the naming patterns weren’t helpful and were in fact bewildering.  Was neither Joseph nor Bessie her sibling?

And their residences in the US also presented confusing evidence.  Sarah first had lived near the Brotmans, who settled in Pittsgrove, New Jersey; then she and Sam had moved across the street from my great-grandmother Bessie after Joseph Brotman died in 1901.  Had Sarah moved to help her sister? Or her sister-in-law? Nothing was definitive.

As I indicated in my last post, a great-grandchild of Sam and Sarah Goldfarb, my cousin Sue, sent me extensive family history notes that someone in her extended family had compiled back in the 1980s.  I will refer to these materials as the “Goldfarb family research.” There were no original documents in these papers, but rather handwritten charts and notes that someone had recorded based on the research he or she had done.

I scoured those notes looking for additional clues.  Most of the information about Sam and Sarah Goldfarb confirmed what I’d already found.  There was also a lot of information about Sam Goldfarb’s siblings and their families and descendants.  Although these were not my genetic relatives, I nevertheless added them to my family tree and looked at the notes carefully, thinking that this information might also lead me to clues about my own relatives. Most importantly, the genealogist who compiled the Goldfarb family research agreed with my conclusion that the Sam and Sarah had come from Grebow, Poland, the same town I had visited in 2015 and the town that my great-uncles David and Abraham Brotman had listed as their home on their ship manifest in 1889.  That was reassuring.

David and Abe Brodmann on the Portia 1889

David and Abe Brodmann on the Portia 1889 Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: S_13156

Perhaps the most useful part of the Goldfarb family research were the notes that reflected more recent marriages and births and deaths than I had yet located and the names of descendants and their spouses. For example, although I had been able to find information that indicated that Joseph Goldfarb, Sam and Sarah’s fifth child, had married a woman named Rebecca “Betty” Amer, I did not know when or where they had married. According to the Goldfarb family research, Joe and Betty had married on September 17, 1922, in Brooklyn.  But I cannot find any entry in the NYC marriage index on either Ancestry or FamilySearch or through Steve Morse’s website to confirm that.

Since their first child Marvin was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1923, I thought that perhaps Joe and Betty had married in New Jersey, not Brooklyn.  I asked my researcher in New Jersey whether she could find a marriage record for them in New Jersey, but after a diligent search, she was unable to find a marriage record there either. Perhaps Joe and Betty never filed a marriage certificate?

Meanwhile, I continued searching for the Goldfarbs going forward from 1920 where I’d left off.  In 1925, Sam and Sarah were still living on Williams Avenue in Brooklyn with their daughter Rose, who was now 22.  Sam (listed here as Solomon) was no longer working.  Living at the same address were Sam and Sarah’s son Morris and his family; Morris was a grocery store owner.

Sam and Sarah Goldfarb 1920 US census Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 2, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1146; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 82; Image: 21

Sam and Sarah Goldfarb 1920 US census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 2, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1146; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 82; Image: 21

In 1925, Julius and Ida Goldfarb were living in Jersey City, according to the Jersey City directory for that year.  Listed right above Julius is a Joseph Goldfarb, and listed right below him is a Leo Goldfarb.  Although I could not be sure, I assumed that these were Julius’ brothers Joe and Leo (especially since Leo was not living with his parents in Brooklyn according to the 1925 NY census).

Jersey City directory 1925 Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory

Jersey City directory 1925
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory

That was then confirmed when I searched for their sister Bessie (Goldfarb) and her husband Meyer Malzberg.  I had not been able to find them on the 1920 US census nor on the 1925 NY census, but when I saw that their child Burton was born in 1923 in Jersey City, I decided to check that 1925 Jersey City directory for the Malzberg family.  Sure enough, there they were living at 247 Montgomery Street in Jersey City, the same address listed for Leo Goldfarb.  So in 1925, four of Sam and Sarah’s six surviving children were living in Jersey City; only Rose and Morris were still living in Brooklyn.

1925 Jersey City directory Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

1925 Jersey City directory
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

Then on October 4, 1926, Sam (Solomon) Goldfarb died at age seventy.  I ordered a copy of his death certificate:

goldfarb-samuel-death-page-1

Sam had died from heart disease.  His father’s name was Julius; obviously, Sam and Sarah had named their firstborn son for Sam’s father.

But the one item that made me stop when I obtained this record was Sam’s birthplace: “Tarnobjek, Austria.”  I knew this must have been Tarnobrzeg—the very town I had visited in 2015, the place also known as Dzikow, the place I had long assumed was the home of my great-grandparents, Bessie Brod and Joseph Brotman, and that is only a few miles from Grebow.  Here was one more piece of the puzzle helping me corroborate that Tarnobrzeg and its immediate environs was where my great-grandparents had lived before emigrating from Galicia.

After Sam died, Sarah continued to live on Williams Avenue with her daughter Rose, and by 1930 her son Leo had moved back there as well.  He was working as real estate salesman. Morris was also still living on Williams Avenue, though now in a different building down the block; he was still the owner of a grocery store.

Sarah Goldfarb 1930 US census

Sarah Goldfarb 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1493; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; Image: 15.0; FHL microfilm: 2341228

Julius and Joe Goldfarb and their families were still living in Jersey City in 1930; Julius was the owner of a real estate business, and Joe was working as a salesman for a biscuit company.  Bessie was also living in New Jersey in North Bergen where her husband Meyer Malzberg owned a delicatessen.

Julius Goldfarb and family 1930 US census, lines 40-45 Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1352; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0075; Image: 209.0; FHL microfilm: 2341087

Julius Goldfarb and family 1930 US census, lines 40-45
Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1352; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0075; Image: 209.0; FHL microfilm: 2341087

Bessie Goldfarb and Meyer Malzberg 1930 US census

Bessie Goldfarb and Meyer Malzberg 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: North Bergen, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1358; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 0351; Image: 859.0; FHL microfilm: 2341093

Joseph Goldfarb and family 1930 US census

Joseph Goldfarb and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1355; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 0152; Image: 753.0; FHL microfilm: 2341090

Sarah Goldfarb, like her husband Sam, died when she was seventy years old; she died on July 2, 1937.  Her death certificate was the most important and the most revealing of all the vital records I ordered for the Goldfarb family:

goldfarb-sarah-death-page-1 goldfarb-sarah-death-page-2-resized

Her son Joseph, the informant on the death certificate, reported that Sarah, who died from hypertension complicated by diabetes, was the daughter of Joseph Brod and Gittel Schwartz. I stared at this record for many minutes.  This was a huge revelation.

Joseph is the same name listed on my great-grandmother Bessie’s death certificate as the name of her father.  That certificate had named her mother as Bessie Broat, but I was and remain convinced that the informant, Bessie’s bereaved second husband Philip Moskowitz, was confused and thought he’d been asked for Bessie’s maiden name, not her mother’s maiden name.  Notice also that Bessie, like Sarah, suffered from diabetes.

Bessie was Joseph's second wife and mother of five children

Bessie Brotman Moskowitz

In addition, on Bessie’s marriage certificate from her marriage to Philip, she had given her father’s name as Josef Brotman and her mother’s as Gitel Brotman.

bessie philip marriage certificate

Things were starting to make more sense—to some degree.  It was starting to look like Sarah Goldfarb was my great-grandmother’s sister, not my great-grandfather’s sister.  Sarah and Bessie both had parents named Joseph and Gittel.  They both had suffered from diabetes. They both had daughters named Gussie or Gittel.

The naming patterns are fascinating.  In Eastern Europe, Ashkenazi Jews followed certain traditions in naming their children.  First, a child was to be named for a deceased relative, not a living relative.  Second, although there were no strict rules, generally children were named for the closest deceased relative—a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, and so on.

Sam and Sarah named their first son Julius for Sam’s father; their second son Morris was not named for Sarah’s father Joseph, suggesting that Joseph Brod was still alive when Morris was born.  But when her third son was born in 1897, she did name him Joseph, presumably for her father, who must have by that time died. That would mean that my presumed great-great-grandfather Joseph Brod died between 1886 and 1897.

The same rules would generally apply to the naming of daughters. Sam and Sarah named their first daughter Gittel, presumably for Sarah and Bessie’s mother Gittel Schwartz Brod.  Gittel (Gussie) Goldfarb was born in 1890, suggesting that Sarah and Bessie’s mother was deceased by then. My great-grandmother Bessie named her first daughter Tillie in 1884, which might indicate that her mother Gittel was still alive.  But when she had my grandmother in 1895, her second daughter, she named her Gittel, presumably for her mother. Thus, Gittel Schwartz, my presumed great-great-grandmother, must have died between 1884 when Tillie was born and 1890 when Gittel Goldfarb was born.

So at first I thought I had solved the mystery and thought that Sarah had to have been Bessie’s sister.  But then things started getting murky again.  Why did some records refer to Sarah’s birth name as Brotman, some as Brod? Why did records sometimes refer to Bessie’s birth name as Brot or Brod, sometimes as Brotman? What the heck did this all mean? Were these really two versions of the same name?

And then I recalled that the ship manifest that I had assumed was possibly the one listing my great-grandfather used the name Yossel Brod.  I wasn’t sure this was in fact my great-grandfather, but if it was, why was he using the name Brod, not Brotman?

Joseph Brotman ship manifest

Yossel Brod on ship manifest Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: S_13155

I know that family lore says that my great-grandparents, Joseph Brotman and Bessie Brod, were cousins.  I know also that sometimes children in Eastern Europe used their mother’s names as surnames, not their father’s names.  Could Joseph Brotman, my great-grandfather, have been the son of a woman named Brod who was a sibling of the Joseph Brod who fathered Sarah and Bessie? Or was it the other way around? I have no record for Joseph Brotman’s mother’s name aside from the reference on his death certificate to “Yetta.” Moses Brotman’s death certificate lists his mother as Sadie Burstein.  Neither helps me here at all. And I’ve no idea how accurate either is anyway.

Unfortunately, the Goldfarb family research papers did not shed any further light on this question either, but merely contained the same information I’d found on the actual records about Sam and Sarah.

What am I to make of this? I have asked one of the Goldfarb descendants to take a DNA test, but given my experiences with DNA testing, I don’t hold out hope for much clarity from the results. But it’s worth a try.  If anyone else has any ideas or reactions, please let me know your thoughts.

The big question remains: was Sarah Brot(man) Goldfarb a sibling of my great-grandmother Bessie? Or a sibling of my great-grandfather Joseph? What do you think?

And perhaps even more importantly, are Brod/Brot/Brodman/Brothman/Brotman all really the same surname?

But the story continues when I turned to the question of … who was Taube Hecht? And it gets even better.

 

 

 

Who was Sarah Goldfarb? Searching for Answers

In my last post, I described the research path I followed to determine whether and how Julius and Joe Goldfarb were related to my grandmother Gussie Brotman. After much searching, I had established the following with some degree of certainty:

Julius and Joseph Goldfarb were both sons of Sam and Sarah Goldfarb.  Sarah and Sam had lived in Grombow/Grebow, Poland, before immigrating to the United States, which was the same town my great-uncles Abraham Brotman and David Brotman had listed as their home on the ship manifest when they immigrated in 1889.  Sam Goldfarb had arrived in 1892, Sarah in 1896.  Sarah came with four children, Julius (Joel), Morris (Moische), Gussie (Gitel), and Bessie (Pesie).  They had sailed to Philadelphia, and in 1900, they were living in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, where my great-grandfather’s brother Moses Brotman was also residing.  By that time, Sarah and Sam (called Solomon on the 1900 census) had had two more children: Joseph and Leo (or Lewis).  Sam was working as a tailor, perhaps even in my grandmother’s first cousin Abraham Brotman’s factory in Pittsgrove, New Jersey.

Sam Goldfarb and family 1900 US census Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Roll: 993; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993

Sam Goldfarb and family 1900 US census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Roll: 993; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993

By 1902, Sam and Sarah had moved to the Lower East Side of New York City where their seventh child, Rosie, was born on February 9, 1902.  They were living across the street from my grandmother and her family on Ridge Street; my great-grandmother Bessie (Brod) Brotman was then a widow, as my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman had died in 1901.  According to the 1905 census, Sam Goldfarb was working as a cloak maker.

Sam Goldfarb and family 1905 NY census New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 06; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 32

Sam Goldfarb and family 1905 NY census
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 06; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 32

In 1910, the Goldfarbs were living on Avenue C in New York, and Sam was still working as a tailor in a cloak factory.  Their son Julius was working as a conductor on a street car, and Morris as a cutter in a neckwear factory.

Sam Goldfarb and family 1910 US census, lines 8-17 Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 11, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1012; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0259; FHL microfilm: 1375025

Sam Goldfarb and family 1910 US census, lines 8-17
Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 11, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1012; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0259; FHL microfilm: 1375025

In April 1910, Sam and Sarah’s daughter Gussie married Max Katz, a window decorator who was born in Russia; on the 1910 census, Gussie and Max are listed as living with Max’s parents in Brooklyn. According to the marriage index on FamilySearch, Gussie Goldfarb’s mother’s birth name was “Brohmen,” one of the clues that made me think that Sarah was a relative of my great-grandfather, Joseph Brotman.

In 1915, Gussie and Max had moved out on their own and were living on Malta Street in Brooklyn.  Max was working in the men’s clothing business.

Gussie Goldfarb and Max Katz 1915 NY census New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 51; Assembly District: 22; City: New York; County: Kings; Page: 148

Gussie Goldfarb and Max Katz 1915 NY census
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 51; Assembly District: 22; City: New York; County: Kings; Page: 148

I found another clue for Sarah’s birth name on her son Julius’ marriage license, as indexed on FamilySearch: Sarah Brothman.  Julius married Ida Hecht in November, 1913. In 1915, Sam and Sarah and the remaining five unmarried children (Morris, Bessie, Joe, Leo, and Rose) were still living on Avenue C in the same building as my great-uncle Hyman Brotman and his family.  Sam was still working as a tailor, as was his son Morris.

Based on these two New York City marriage index listings, one for the marriage of Gussie Goldfarb and one for the marriage of Julius Goldfarb, it looked like their mother Sarah’s birth name was Brothman or Brohmen.  To find out more, I would need to order the actual records plus any other vital records that might reveal Sarah’s parentage and family.  So I ordered these two marriage records; I also ordered the birth record for Sarah and Sam’s last child, Rosie.

The marriage record for Gussie was consistent with the information on the NYC marriage index, except that it was evident that Gussie’s mother’s name was not spelled Brohmen, but Brotmen, on the actual certificate.

katz-goldfarb-marriage-page-1 katz-goldfarb-marriage-page-2

The actual marriage record for Julius Brotman and Ida Hecht was also consistent with what I’d seen on the index in terms of Sarah’s birth name—Brothman.  But the record revealed a new mystery.

goldfarb-hecht-marriage-page-3 goldfarb-hecht-marriage-page-4

Ida’s mother’s birth name certainly looks like it was Taube Brotman, doesn’t it? (The index said Braitmer.) Who was this? Perhaps Taube Hecht had come to see my aunt as a baby not simply because her daughter Ida was married to my grandmother’s cousin Julius; maybe she came because she herself was a Brotman relative.  I decided to put that mystery aside for the time being and focus on Sarah Goldfarb.

And Rosie Goldfarb’s birth record made me really scratch my head. It gave Sarah Goldfarb’s name before marriage as S. Braud or maybe Brand.  Not Brotman or Brothman or Brotmen.  I was confused.  Was it Brod? Was Sarah actually my great-grandmother Bessie Brod’s sister, and not the sister of my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman.  Obviously I needed to do more digging.

goldfarb-rosie-birth

Having first worked backward in time, I now worked from 1915 forward to see what else I might find to help me determine if Sarah Goldfarb was a Brod or a Brotman.  Both Julius and his brother Morris registered for the draft in World War I.  I’d already seen the draft registration card for Julius, but had not seen the card for Morris.  It added no new information, but confirmed that he was born in “Grombow Galicia Austria.”[1]

morris-goldfard-ww1-draft-reg

Morris Goldfarb World War I draft registration Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1765780; Draft Board: 104

On February 2, 1919, Morris married Anna Grinbaum in Brooklyn, according to the NYC marriage index.  I ordered a copy of his marriage record, and his record listed his mother’s birth name as Sarah Brod.  Now I had two records that indicated Sarah’s birth name was not Brotman, like my great-grandfather, but Brod, like my great-grandmother.  I wanted to hit my head against the wall!

goldfarb-grinbaum-marriage-page-1

 

Tragedy struck the Goldfarb family when Sarah and Sam’s oldest daughter, Gussie, died on May 13, 1919 at age 29 from acute lobar pneumonia.  As far as I can tell, Gussie and her husband Max Katz had not had any children.  On Gussie’s death certificate, her parents’ names are listed as Solomon Goldfarb and Sarah Brotman.  Another point for Brotman.

katz-gussie-death

In 1920, Sam and Sarah only had three children still living with them: Joe (22), Leo (20), and Rose (18).  Joe and Leo were both working as clerks for an express company, and Rose was working as a dressmaker.  Sam was no longer working; he was now 64 years old. They were living on Williams Avenue in Brooklyn; I now knew that the “S. Goldfarb” on Williams Avenue listed in my grandfather’s notebook had to be either Sam or Sarah Goldfarb.

Sam and Sarah Goldfarb 1920 US census Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 2, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1146; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 82; Image: 21

Sam and Sarah Goldfarb 1920 US census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 2, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1146; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 82; Image: 21

Grandpa notebook 13 more addresses Joe Goldfarb

But where was their daughter Bessie? She had been living with the family in 1915, so I assumed she had married sometime between 1915 and 1920.  I searched for her in the NYC marriage index, but there was no listing for a Bessie Goldfarb.  Instead I found this record from the Michigan marriage database on Ancestry:

meyer-malzberg-and-bessie-goldfarb-marriage-record-from-michigan-p-1

Meyer Malzberg and Bessie Goldfarb marriage record 1914 Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.

Meyer Malzberg and Bessie Goldfarb marriage record 1914
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.

The top image shows the bride and groom, Bessie Goldfarb and Meyer Malzberg, their ages, and that they were residing in Detroit.  It also shows their birthplaces, and for Bessie it is Austria.  The lower image shows the father’s first name, Sam for Bessie, and then the mother’s birth names.  Although it is partly hidden by the fold on the page, it definitely looks like “ah Brothman.”

This is most definitely my cousin Bessie Goldfarb: she was born in “Austria,” her father was named Sam, her mother Sarah Brothman.  But why was she a resident of Detroit? And how did she knew Meyer Malzberg?  And most confusing, if she married him on August 9, 1914 as this record reports, was she really living back in Brooklyn when the NY census was taken in 1915?

It got even more bewildering.  In 1910, Meyer Malzberg was living with his father and sister in New York City, working as a stock clerk in a department store.  In fact, although he was born in Russia, he and his family had been living in New York City since their arrival in about 1900 (records conflict).  So what were he and Bessie doing in Detroit in 1914?

In June, 1917, when Meyer registered for the World War I draft, he was still living in Detroit, working as a driver for the Detroit Creamery Company.  He also claimed an exemption from service because he was supporting his father, his wife, and a child.  So by 1917, Meyer and Bessie had had a child.

Meyer Malzberg World War I draft registration Registration State: Michigan; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 2024027; Draft Board: 06

Meyer Malzberg World War I draft registration
Registration State: Michigan; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 2024027; Draft Board: 06

But if Meyer and Bessie had had a child between 1914 and 1917, why was Bessie living with her parents in New York in 1915 while Meyer was still apparently living in Detroit? A little more research revealed that that first child, a son named Norman, was born in New York in May, 1915; although the NY census is dated on the form as June 1, 1915, it must have been actually enumerated before then since the baby is not listed.

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

My best guess is that Bessie had come back to New York to have her baby where her family was living while Meyer stayed in Detroit to earn a living.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find Bessie and Meyer on the 1920 census, but their second child Gustave was born in Brooklyn in 1919 and their two youngest sons Burton and Saul were born in Jersey City in the 1920s.

Obviously, the stay in Detroit was relatively short-lived, and Meyer and Bessie had returned to the New York metropolitan area before 1920.  In fact, when I looked back at my grandfather’s notebook, I noticed that there was an entry for M. Malzberg at 361 2d Street, JC, or Jersey CIty:

Grandpa notebook 13 more addresses Joe Goldfarb

Bessie’s brother Julius and his family were also living in Jersey City in 1920, and Julius was continuing to work in the liquor business; by 1920, they had two young daughters, Sylvia and Gertrude.

Julius Goldfarb and family 1920 US census lines 70-73 Year: 1920; Census Place: Jersey City Ward 3, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1043; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 135; Image: 1104

Julius Goldfarb and family 1920 US census
lines 70-73
Year: 1920; Census Place: Jersey City Ward 3, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1043; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 135; Image: 1104

To review: as of 1920, Sam and Sarah Goldfarb were living with their children Joe, Leo, and Rose in Brooklyn; Julius and Ida were living in Jersey City; Morris and Anna were probably living in Brooklyn; Gussie was deceased; and Bessie and Meyer were living in either Jersey City or in Brooklyn.

At this point in my research, I started to move beyond 1920 and to look for living descendants to see what I might learn about the family and specifically about Sarah Goldfarb.  I was very fortunate to find two of the descendants of Julius and Ida (Hecht) Goldfarb.  And they provided me with extensive family history notes that a member of the Goldfarb family had researched years before.  More on what I learned from that research in my next post.

But for now, a summary of the clues I’d found so far about Sarah Goldfarb’s connection to my grandmother: three marriage records and one death record for Sarah’s children indicated that Sarah’s birth name had been “Brot(h)man,” but one marriage record for Morris and one birth record for Rose said it was “Brod” or “Braud.”

The evidence seemed to weigh in favor of Sarah being perhaps a sibling of my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman.  Also pointing in that direction was the fact that when they first came to the US, Sam and Sarah had lived in the same town as Moses Brotman, my great-grandfather’s brother.

But then by 1902, Sarah and Sam had moved across the street from my great-grandmother after my great-grandfather had died.  Did that suggest that Sarah was Bessie’s sister and had moved to New York to be closer to her widowed sister? Was Sarah a Brod, not a Brotman, as the wedding certificate for Morris and Rose’s birth certificate indicated?

Plus there were some conflicting clues raised by the naming pattern.  If Sarah had a sister named Bessie (my great-grandmother), would she have named a child Bessie? But Sarah also had a son named Joseph who was born before my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman died.  Would she have given a son the same name as her brother?  Ashkenazi Jews don’t name their children after living relatives, so these name choices certainly confused the matter.

The evidence certainly was not conclusive.  I needed more.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Although the documents I found spelled the town several different ways, Grembow, Grombow, and Grebow, I believe that the last is the correct spelling.  I searched JewishGen, and the only town with a name similar to those names that had had a Jewish community before the Holocaust was Grebow, the town I visited in 2015, the town right near Tarnobrzeg.

Rosenzweig Update: Who Signed that Death Certificate?

One of the biggest mysteries I encountered in researching my Rosenzweig cousins was the mystery of Lilly Rosenzweig, the first child of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig.  Lilly was my grandfather Isadore Goldschlager’s first cousin.  Lilly had married Toscano Bartolino in 1901 and had had a child William with him, born March 9, 1902.  Then just two years later on April 27, 1904, Toscano had died from kidney disease at age 27, leaving Lilly a twenty year old widow with a two year old child.

Bartolini Rosenzweig marriage certificate

Bartolini Rosenzweig marriage certificate

 

William Bartolini birth certificate

William Bartolini birth certificate

Toscano Bartolini death certificate

Toscano Bartolini death certificate

 

Lilly and her son William were living with Gustave and Gussie in 1905, but by 1910, William was no longer living with his mother and grandparents, but was in St. John’s Home for Boys in Brooklyn.

Gustave Rosenzweig family on the 1905 NYS census

Gustave Rosenzweig family on the 1905 NYS census

William Bartolini 1910 at St John's Home, Brooklyn

William Bartolini 1910 at St John’s Home, Brooklyn

 

Lilly was still living with her parents in 1910 and working as a nurse.  In 1915, William was at a different residential home, but I could not find Lilly at all on the 1915 NYS census nor could I find her anywhere after that.  None of the great-grandchildren of Gustave and Gussie knew what had happened to her, except that they thought she had remarried and moved to New Jersey at some point.  No one knew her married name or whether she had more children.  I was stuck and could not get any further.

I thought I had a new clue when I obtained Gustave’s 1944 death certificate.  It was signed by an informant I thought might be Lilly.  I posted the signature on the blog, hoping someone would be able to decipher it more clearly than I could, but every possible reading of the signature led me nowhere, even using wildcard searches and as many variations as I could.  I put Lilly aside and figured it was a lost cause.

Gustav Rosenzweig death cert 1

And then? Well, this past weekend I received a call from Harriet, one of Lilly’s nieces.  She not only remembered Lilly well—she remembered the first name of her second husband—Carmen. And she said they had lived in Jersey City. She remembered Lilly fondly and described her as funny and fun-loving, like all the Rosenzweig siblings.

So I now had two more clues.  Lilly had married someone named Carmen, and they had lived in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Armed with just those additional pieces of information, I was able to design a search on FamilySearch using the two first names and the location.  The first result on the results list was a Lilly and Carmen Dorme living in Rutherford, New Jersey in 1940.

Carmen and Lillian Dorme 1940 US census

Carmen and Lillian Dorme 1940 US census

 

Rutherford was not Jersey City, but it was close by, so I decided to try that surname.  Using Dorme, I was able to search more thoroughly and found that Lilly and Carmen Dorme were already married by 1918 when Carmen  (using Carmine Dormes then) registered for the World War I draft and that they were living in Jersey City.  This had to be my long-missing cousin Lilly.

Carmine Dormes World War I draft registration

Carmine Dormes World War I draft registration

 

After that, I was also able to find Lilly and Carmen in several Jersey City directories and in the 1930 US census, which revealed that Lilly and Carmen had a child, Louis, who was then sixteen years old.

Dorme family on the 1930 US census

Dorme family on the 1930 US census

Further searching uncovered a Louis Dorme’s entry on the Social Security Death Index, indicating that he was born in New York on May 13, 1913, and had died in 1977.  This was consistent with the age and birthplace for Louis on the 1930 census, so I am reasonably certain that this is the correct person.

I still cannot find the family on the 1920 census, and since they were living in Jersey City both before and after 1920, I assumed that they would have been there then as well.  But although Carmen is listed in both the 1918 and the 1925 Jersey City directories, he is not in the 1922 directory (the intermediate years are not available online).  Harriet thought that Lilly had served as a nurse overseas during World War I, so perhaps that is where the family was located during that period.  I cannot, however, find a military record for Carmen, so I have no way to know for sure where they were during that period.

And although I do know when Louis died (1977) and when Carmen died (1962) from the SSDI, I cannot find Lilly on the SSDI nor can I find any other record of her death.  Harriet does remember Lilly’s death (in fact, Harriet’s mother reported that Lilly’s last words was a request for a corned beef sandwich!), but not the specific year or place.

But I do have one clue, and it goes back to Gustave’s death certificate.  As soon as I saw that Lilly’s married name was Dorme, something clicked in my head.  I went back to look at Gustave’s death certificate, and now it seemed strikingly clear that the informant’s name was L. Dorme.

Lilly as informant

How could I not have seen that or found her before?  I just don’t know.  But now I knew that it was in fact Lilly who signed her father’s death certificate.  And so I know that she was still alive as of October 16, 1944, when Gustave died.  I am sure with a few more clues I will be able to narrow down the year and perhaps find her death record as well.

So in the space of one afternoon with the help of a new cousin, I was able to resolve one of the biggest questions I had remaining about my grandfather’s Rosenzweig first cousins.  Thank you, Harriet!