Nothing Is Better Than Getting First Hand Information about Relatives from One Who Knew Them Well

I’ve been very fortunate to connect with Henry Goldsmith’s great-grandson Robin, my fourth cousin, and he has generously shared with me some additional insights into the lives of his grandparents Milton and Luba, his parents Norman and Emphia, and other family members. As noted in the footnotes below, a good deal of the anecdotal information in this post came from Robin.

As we saw in my last post, Milton Goldsmith lost his first wife Luba on October 7, 1931. He continued to live with his two sons, Norman, who was, like his parents, a doctor, and Albert, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and receive a master’s degree from Harvard. And then on March 17, 1941, Milton married his cousin, Fannie Goldsmith, the great-granddaughter of Simon Goldsmith, who was also Milton’s grandfather. Milton and Fannie remained married for the rest of their lives.

On March 24, 1944, Milton’s son Norman married Emphia Margaret Fisher in Washington, DC.1

“Indiana Girl Weds Health Surgeon,” The Pittsburgh Press, March 29, 1944, p. 18

Emphia was born on April 17, 1910, in North Judson, Indiana.2 Her father Albert Fisher was born in Ohio and was, according to his grandson, a “classic country doctor” in North Judson; Emphia’s mother Noi Collins was born in Indiana and taught in a one-room school. Emphia attended Ward-Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, and Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, before graduating from the University of Chicago.   In 1940, Emphia was living with her parents and working as a laboratory technician; she later worked as a lab technician in a Chicago hospital.3

During World War II, Emphia moved to Washington, DC and worked as a mapmaker at Fort Meade. At the same time, Norman was serving with the US Public Health Service in DC. They married and moved to Gramercy Park in New York City, where Norman started a dermatology private practice. Emphia returned briefly to North Judson to be with her mother and sister Janet for the birth of her only child, Robin. Robin was born in a Chicago hospital. As recounted by Robin himself, “Two weeks later, long before it was common, Emphia and the baby boy in a basket flew from Chicago to join Norman in New York.” Sadly, Norman had contracted multiple sclerosis, and as he began having greater difficulty walking, the family moved to “the easier-to-get-around” Lancaster, Pennsylvania,  where Norman continued to practice medicine, now in an office on the same floor as the family’s apartment.4

According to Robin, “family members visited Norman and his family fairly frequently in Lancaster. Milton and Fannie visited on their way to annual medical society meetings in Atlantic City and at other times. Albert and Amelia [his wife, see below] and Walter Goldsmith’s children Edison and Edna came quite often. Florence Goldsmith Bernstein and Rae, SR’s widow, each visited at least once. In turn, Emphia and [Robin] visited Pittsburgh probably at least once a year and saw the rest of the relatives there, including seeing Walter for dental services and later for cousin Malcolm Meyer’s (Mac)’s optometry.”

Milton’s younger son Albert remained in Pittsburgh where he was a teacher and also a lecturer on art history at the University of Pittsburgh; he also participated in multiple musical activities, as reported in this profile from 1950:

“Who’s Who in Pittsburgh Music Circles,” The Pittsburgh Press, June 4, 1950, p. 75

Although Albert was not married when this profile was written, sometime not long after its publication, he married Amelia Wheeler, who was born on August 13, 1905,5 making her ten years older than Albert and about 45 when they married. Amelia was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Pittsburgh, the daughter of George and Amelia Wheeler.6 In 1940, she was living with her widowed mother and siblings and grandparents in Pittsburgh.  Like Albert, she was a public school teacher.7

Milton’s older son Norman Goldsmith was not destined to live a long life. He died on October 8, 1953, from multiple sclerosis. He was only 46 years old, and according to his death certificate, he’d been struggling with MS for 25 years or since he was only 21.

Norman Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 086101-088800, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a wonderful obituary that not only noted Norman’s professional accomplishments as a dermatologist despite being confined to a wheelchair, but also his successful career as a writer. (Recall that Norman had taken a writing course at the University of Pittsburgh with his mother Luba after he’d graduated from Cornell and before starting medical school.) Norman wrote numerous fiction and medical articles, drew a comic strip about Agent X-9, and published two books, The Atlantic City Murder Mystery and You and Your Skin. He was featured in a book, When Doctors Are Patients.

“Dr. Goldsmith, Physician and Author, Dies,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 10, 1953, p. 8.

After Norman’s death, his widow Emphia and son Robin continued living in Lancaster, though they moved from their downtown apartment house to a single-family house just outside the city. 8

In 1961, when Robin was in his freshman year of college, Emphia suffered a severe stroke while visiting her family in North Judson, Indiana, where Emphia had been born and raised and where her family lived. Robin wrote, “After years of hospitalization, she was able to move back to her mother’s home and navigate the small town despite her diminished physical and speech capacity.”9

Emphia and her sister attended Robin’s 1971 wedding in Rochester, New Hampshire, as did Albert (who, according to Robin, drove through a snowstorm from Pittsburgh because he was afraid planes would not be flying) and Edwin (Rex) and Helen (Goldsmith) Meyer’s son Edgar and his wife Esther, who had moved back from Vienna to Southboro, Massachusetts.10

Emphia died in Indiana, where she’d been born and raised, in January 1974 when she was 63. She and Norman are both buried in North Judson, Indiana.11

Meanwhile, Milton Goldsmith continued to practice medicine well into his 80s. He died at age 90 on January 10, 1968.10 His obituary appeared in both the Pittsburgh Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 11 Both obituaries noted his pioneering work in treating diabetes as one of the first doctors to use insulin. Milton was survived by his wife Fanniey, his son Albert, and his grandson, Robin. As noted in the prior post, Fannie died on July 27, 1975, at the age of 85.

As for Albert, he, like his father Milton, lived a long life. He died at the age of 93 on October 20, 2008.12 His obituary described him as a retired Pittsburgh public school teacher of home-bound children, a teacher of employees-children with special needs at the Children’s Institute, and a teacher of current events at the Vintage Adult Day Care center. Albert’s wife Amelia had predeceased him by almost forty years; she’d died on October 2, 1970.  Albert’s nephew, his brother Norman’s son, was named as his survivor as well as Albert’s first cousin Malcolm Meyer, son of Helen Goldsmith Meyer. 13 More on him in my next post.

Milton Goldsmith, my double cousin, was a very accomplished man—a top scholar in school and a successful doctor who did important work in treating diabetes. His first wife Luba was also very accomplished—the first woman to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, she was also a writer and lecturer. Norman Goldsmith followed in his parents’ footsteps and was also a doctor who did important work and published books. Both Luba and Norman died far too young. But Milton remarried and lived a long life with his second wife, his cousin Fannie. And his son Albert, who followed his own path and did not become a doctor, had a long career as a teacher of children with special needs and was also an accomplished musician.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my cousin Robin, Milton’s only grandchild, for sharing his stories with me and giving me real insights into Milton and his family.




  1. Film Number: 002319414, District of Columbia, Marriage Records, 1810-1953 
  2. Certificate Number: 44190, Roll Number: 021, Agency: Indiana State Dept. of Health, Volume Range: 350 – 354, Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940 
  3. Albert Fisher and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: North Judson, Starke, Indiana; Roll: m-t0627-01095; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 75-12, 1940 United States Federal Census. The other information in this paragraph came from Norman and Emphia’s son Robin. 
  4. Publication Title: Lancaster, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1946, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. The other information in this paragraph came from Norman and Emphia’s son Robin. 
  5.  Number: 208-18-3381; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. I could not find a marriage record for Albert and Amelia, but only newspaper items naming her as Mrs. Albert Goldsmith starting in about 1950, so I am estimating that they were married sometime after the June 4, 1950, profile of Albert in the Pittsburgh newspaper. 
  6. George Wheeler and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 18, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1305; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0523; FHL microfilm: 1375318, 1910 United States Federal Census 
  7. Amelia Wheeler, 1940 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03667; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 69-517, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1960, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. The other information in this paragraph came from Norman and Emphia’s son Robin. 
  9. Information from Robin, Norman and Emphia’s son. 
  10. Estate and Proceedings Indexes, 1788-1971; Author: Allegheny County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Notes: Proceedings Index, Vol 091-092, Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993; Number: 187-36-9987; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1962, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  11. “Rites Slated for Retired Oakland MD,” The Pittsburgh Press, January 11, 1968, p. 14; “Dr. Milton Goldsmith, Pioneer on Diabetes,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 11, 1968, p. 26. 
  12.  Issue State: Massachusetts; Issue Date: Before 1951, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 26 Oct 2008, p. 42 

Meyer Goldsmith: Another Clothier and More Double Cousins

Having now finished the stories of the families of two of my three-times great-uncles, Jacob and Abraham, I am going to turn to their youngest brother, Meyer, because he was the next to immigrate to the United States. I have been very fortunate to connect with one of Meyer’s descendants, who has generously shared photographs and stories with me, as you will see.

Meyer was the youngest son of Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander, my three-times great-grandparents. He was born October 25, 1834, in Oberlistingen, Germany.1

Birth record of Rafael/Meyer Goldschmidt 1834
Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 5

Meyer arrived in the US on July 8, 1852, when he was seventeen years old.

Meier Goldschmidt passenger manifest
Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 116; Line: 1; List Number: 895

In 1859, he married Helena Hohenfels,2 daughter of Jordan Hohenfels and Adelaide Freinsberg. Helena came with her mother and siblings from Berge, Germany to the US in 1846 and settled in Philadelphia. 3 Meyer and Helena’s descendant shared these amazing photographs of Jordan and Adelaide Hohenfels:

Adelaide Hohenfels Courtesy of the family

Jordan Hohenfels. Courtesy of the family

We also believe that these photographs may be of Meyer and Helena:

Possibly Helena Hohenfels and Meyer Goldsmith


Meyer and Helena’s first child Eugene was born on October 6, 1859,4 in Newton, New Jersey, which is about 100 miles north of Philadelphia and sixty miles west of New York City. In 1860 Meyer, Helena, and their infant son Eugene were living in Newton, New Jersey; Meyer was working as a “merchant tailor” and had $4000 worth of personal property. Also living with them were a servant and a thirteen-year-old boy named George Stone from the Hesse region, whose relationship to the family I’ve not determined. Like Jacob and Abraham, by this time Meyer had changed the spelling of his surname to Goldsmith.

Meyer Goldsmith and Helene Hohenfels 1860 census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Newton, Sussex, New Jersey; Roll: M653_709; Page: 605; Family History Library Film: 803709

By 1863 or so, Meyer and his family had relocated to Philadelphia where Meyer continued to be a clothing merchant. In 1867, Meyer filed a complaint and charges were brought against a man named John L. Rich, who apparently took delivery of $2809 worth of merchandise and failed to pay Meyer for those goods.

“An Absconding Merchant Takes $2800 Worth of Goods With Him,” The Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, December 28, 1867, p. 5.

As of 1870 Meyer and Helena had five children: Eugene (1859), Heloise (1860), Maurice/Morris/Murray (1863), Samuel (1867), and Rosa (1869). Helena’s mother Adelaide was also living with them in 1870. Meyer was working as a wholesale clothier and claimed $2000 in personal property. (I guess all those children ate into the $4000 worth of savings they’d had in 1860!) A sixth child, Florence, would be born in 1872.

Meyer Goldsmith 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 13 District 39, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1397; Page: 465A; Family History Library Film: 552896

In 1880, Meyer was still in the clothing business in Philadelphia, and his son Eugene, now 20, was working as a salesman. His second son Morris, seventeen, was employed as a clerk.  Their daughter Heloise was not employed, and the three younger children were all in school. Meyer’s mother-in-law Adelaide Hohenfels was still living with them as was a nephew named “Julius Stein” (actually spelled Stine); Julius was sixteen and working as a stock clerk. He was Helena’s sister’s son. I assume that Eugene, Maurice, and Julius were all working with Meyer in the clothing business.

Meyer Goldsmith and family 1880 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Page: 276B; Enumeration District: 219 and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

As I wrote about here, in the early 1880s, Meyer’s brothers Abraham and Levi ran into financial problems in their clothing business, and in 1883, they joined with their brother Meyer in the clothing business, using the name Goldsmith Brothers. The three brothers continued in business together for several years, but Levi died on December 29, 1886, and the business failed soon afterwards.

Two months after Levi’s death, Goldsmith Brothers was forced to make an assignment of its assets to another clothing business. The paper reported that at that time Goldsmith Brothers had assets of almost $70,000 but liabilities of over $142,000. From this report it appears that the creditors of Goldsmith Brothers were prepared to take 33 1/3 cents on the dollar for the money owed to them.

“The Creditors of Goldsmith Brothers,” The Philadelphia Times, February 13, 1887, p. 2.

Three days later there was a detailed update on the appraisal of the assets of the business, showing that the company had net assets of $69,306.73:

“Goldsmith Brothers’ Estate,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 16, 1887, p. 2.

And two days after that the creditors agreed to accept 37 ½ cents on the dollar for the money owed to them by Goldsmith Brothers.

“The Goldsmith Failure,” The Philadelphia Times, February 18, 1887, p. 1.

In 1888, Abraham went into business with his sons, and Meyer continued alone in his own clothing business. His oldest son Eugene was in the button business with someone named David Jonger Lit in 1888.5

Meanwhile, Meyer and Helena’s oldest daughter Heloise married Simon Bernheim Hirsh in 1886.6 As soon as I saw Simon’s name, I had a feeling that he was also somehow related to me, and indeed, he was my second cousin, four times removed. Simon’s great-grandfather was Samson Bernheim, my five times great-grandfather:

Thus, Simon Bernheim Hirsh was part of my Bernheim branch, and his wife Heloise was my first cousin, three times removed, on the Goldschmidt/Goldsmith branch of my family tree. These are two otherwise unrelated branches; the Bernheims came from Hechingen in the Baden-Wuerttemberg region of Germany and the Goldschmidts from Oberlistingen near Kassel in Hesse.

Simon was born  on September 3, 1859, to Herman Hirsh and Auguste Bernheim in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.7 Lancaster is about eighty miles west of Philadelphia.  His parents were both born in Germany, and his father Herman was a merchant in Lancaster when Simon was born.8  The 1870 census reports that Herman was in the notions business,9 and in 1880 he was in the clothing business, and Simon was a clerk, presumably in his father’s store in Lancaster. Perhaps Simon and Heloise’s fathers knew each other from the clothing business.10

After marrying, Heloise and Simon settled in Lancaster, where their first child Irma was born on June 4, 1888.11  They would have two more daughters in the 1890s, both born in Lancaster; Helen was born on February 27, 1895, but only survived a few months, dying on May 29, 1895.12. The third daughter Dorothy was born on March 21, 1898.13 The Hirsh children were my double-cousins, related to me through these two otherwise completely unrelated lines. Endogamy, endogamy, endogamy.

Meanwhile, the 1890s brought many other changes to the family of Meyer and Helena Goldsmith, including a move from Philadelphia to New York City. More on that in my next post.


  1. As I wrote here, although this record shows a baby registered with the name Rafael, I believe that this was the same child later known as Meyer, based on his age on several US records and the fact that the 1900 census says that he was born in October 1834, and that there is no other birth registered to Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander for that month and year. Birth record of Rafael/Meyer Goldschmidt 1834, Geburtsregister der Juden von Oberlistingen (Breuna) 1826-1852 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 668)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 5. 
  2. Helena and Meyer Goldsmith and family, 1900 US Census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0780. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3.  The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964 
  4. Eugene Goldsmith passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2421; Volume #: Roll 2421 – Certificates: 367850-368349, 29 Jan 1924-31 Jan 1924. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  5. 1888 Philadelphia City Directory, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Index, 1885–1951.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009. Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Clerk of the Orphans’ Court. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia marriage license index, 1885-1951.” Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
  7. Simon Bernheim Hirsh death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 006501-009500. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  8. Herman Hirsh and family, 1860 US Census, Census Place: Lancaster, South West Ward, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1126; Page: 582; Family History Library Film: 805126. 1860 United States Federal Census 
  9. Herman Hirsh and family, 1870 US Census, Census Place: Lancaster Ward 2, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1356; Page: 195B; Family History Library Film: 552855. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  10. Herman Hirsh and family, 1880 US Census, Census Place: Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1142; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 148. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. 
  11. Irma Hirsh Manheimer death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Certificate Number Range: 069751-072450. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. 
  12. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  13. Number: 204-03-8654; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Those Who Left Western Pennsylvania: The Schoenthals 1880-1900

Although most of the extended Schoenthal family was located in western Pennsylvania during the 1880s, a few family members had moved further east.  I’ve already written about Julius Schoenthal and his life and his family in Washington, DC.  He was a German and US veteran, a shoemaker, and the father of four children.  In the 1880s he and his wife Minnie were busy raising their family.

What I had not mentioned in my post about Julius was that by 1879, he was joined in Washington, DC, by his younger (by nine years) brother Nathan.  On the 1880 census, Nathan was living in DC, not married, and working as a clerk in a “fancy store.” I am not sure what that is, but according to the Free Dictionary, it is “one where articles of fancy and ornament are sold.”   Nathan and Julius were not living in the same enumeration district, and the 1880 census did not provide street addresses, so I don’t know how close together the brothers were living.  I don’t know why Nathan left Washington, PA, for Washington, DC, but I would assume that having a brother there was a factor.

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 26, 2003) - Aerial vie...

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 26, 2003) – Aerial view of the Washington Monument with the White House in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By 1883, however, Nathan had moved again.  He was then living in Richmond, Virginia, working as a salesman, according to the city directory for that year.  He was still in Richmond in 1888.  According to the 1900 census, Nathan married a woman named Alice in 1890.  I have not been able find out very much about Alice except that she was born in South Carolina in 1865.  I don’t know her birth name, I don’t know anything about her family, and I don’t know where she married Nathan.


English: Looking east on Main Street, Richmond...

English: Looking east on Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, ca. 1901-1907. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps Alice had been living in Philadelphia; in 1891 and 1892, Nathan appeared in the Philadelphia city directory, working as a “supt,” which I assume means he was a superintendent.  But of what?

Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylv...

Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, in 1896 Nathan Schoenthal is listed in the directory for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, working as an assistant superintendent for Prudential Insurance Company, so I assume that that is what he was also doing in Philadelphia and perhaps even in Richmond.  He is also listed as an insurance agent in the 1898 Lancaster directory.

English: North Duke Street in Lancaster, Penns...

English: North Duke Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But he was not done moving because in 1900 he and Alice were living in Newport News, Virginia, where Nathan continued to work as an insurance agent.  They had been married for ten years, as mentioned above, and had no children.

A year later they moved once again, this time to Petersburg, Virginia, a city about 24 miles south of Richmond.  According to the 1901 directory for Petersburg, Nathan was now an assistant superintendent for the Insurance Company of Virginia.  He was still in that position there in 1905, but in the 1909 directory for Petersburg he is listed as a solicitor without further description.

Exchange Building (Petersburg, Virginia).(cropped)

Exchange Building (Petersburg, Virginia).(cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


And then in 1910, Nathan Schoenthal is listed in the Baltimore directory as a manager, but I’ve no idea of what.  Is it possible that this is not the same Nathan Schoenthal?  I don’t know.  But this is the last record I have for Nathan.  I cannot find him or Alice on the 1910 census, and in June 1912, an “Alice Shoenthal” married a man named John Alexander Mallory in Petersburg, Virginia.  Had Nathan died? Had their marriage ended?  Had he moved to Baltimore without Alice? Had she finally gotten fed up with moving from place to place? I don’t know.

Nathan Schoenthal wife remarries



I’ve hit one of those brick walls, and I have no answers.  Nathan Schoenthal, a man who moved from place to place and then disappeared, will be in my “To Be Done” folder for a while.

Yet another brick wall.

Yet another brick wall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The third Schoenthal brother who left western Pennsylvania, in addition to Julius and Nathan, was Simon.  Simon had moved to Philadelphia by 1880, where he continued to work as a bookbinder.  Unlike his brother Nathan, Simon’s life was remarkably stable and consistent.  He was still working as a bookbinder and living in Philadelphia in 1890.

The 1880s were productive years at home for Simon and his wife Rose nee Mansbach.  By 1880, they’d had five children: twins, Ida and Harry, born in 1873; then Gertrude, born in 1875; Louis, born in 1878, and Maurice, born in 1879, all of whom were born in western Pennsylvania.  After that they had five more who were born in Philadelphia: Martin (1881), Jacob (1883), Hettie (1885), Estelle (1888), and Sidney (1891).  Rose had been pregnant nine times, almost every other year over almost twenty years.  Wow.

In 1887, the oldest daughter Ida died from heart disease; she was only fourteen years old.  No matter how many children they had, losing the first born daughter Ida must have been devastating for the family.  It must have been especially hard for Harry, her twin.

Ida Shoenthal death certificate

Ida Shoenthal death certificate “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 October 2015), 004008625 > image 605 of 612; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

By 1890, Simon and Rose had nine children living with them, ranging in age from Harry, who was seventeen, to Sidney, who was an infant.  Interestingly, around this time Simon changed occupations.  He is listed as selling “segars” in the 1891 and 1892 Philadelphia directories.

By 1898, Simon and Rose had relocated to  Atlantic City, where Simon now owned a “notion and bric-a-brac store” that was destroyed by a fire on February 7 of that year.

Fire in Atl City store of Simon Schoenthal


By 1900, however, Simon was back in business in Atlantic City, as reported on the 1900 census.  He was then operating a cigar and stationery store.  Six of their nine children were living with Rose and Simon: Louis was working as a cigar salesman, and Martin and Jacob were working as “laundrymen.”  Hettie, Estelle, and Sidney were also living at home.

There were three children missing from Simon and Rose’s Atlantic City household on the 1900 census:  Harry, Gertrude, and Maurice.  Harry, now 27, was a student at Juniata College in Huntingdon in 1900, as listed on the census.  Juniata was at that time a  relatively new college, founded in 1876 by the Church of the Brethren, a Protestant sect started in Germany.  I would be interested in knowing what drew Harry to Juniata and what classes he took while there. Two years later, Harry was living in Atlantic City where his parents and most of his siblings were living; he was working for Atlantic Wine and Liquor, according to a city directory.

As for Simon and Rose’s daughter Gertrude, she had married a man named Jacob J. Miller in Atlantic City on February 12, 1898, when she was 23.  Jacob was born in Germany on June 6, 1873, and had immigrated to the US sometime in the 1880s.  A year after marrying, Jacob and Gertrude were living in Tucson, Arizona, where Jacob was working for the Crescent Cigar Company, the same industry in which his father-in-law Simon and brother-in-law Louis were engaged.  In 1900, they had an infant daughter Juliette and were living in Pima, Arizona.  Jacob was working as a grocer.  Gertrude and Jacob would have two more children: Harry in 1902 and Sylvester in 1906.

A stunning view of Cluff Ranch Pond near Pima,...

A stunning view of Cluff Ranch Pond near Pima, Arizona. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for Maurice, although I cannot find him with the family or elsewhere on the 1900 census, he and three of his brothers are all listed in the 1904 Atlantic City directory, as seen below:

Atlantic City directory 1904

Atlantic City directory 1904 U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

All four brothers were living at 22 Delaware Avenue in Atlantic City, their mother at 23 Delaware.  It appears that Martin and Jacob were running a laundry called Incomparable Laundry at 1432-1434 Atlantic Avenue and that Louis was running a cigar, tobacco, stationery and sporting goods business at the same location.  Louis also listed a billiards and pool hall on “S Virginia av n Beach.”  Maurice is listed as a manager at “S Virginia av, Ocean end.”  I think that those two addresses are likely the same location and that Maurice was managing the pool hall.

As the listings also reveal, Rose was a widow by the time of the 1904 directory’s publication.  Simon died on March 26, 1904, in Atlantic City; he was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia.  He was 55 years old and the first of my great-grandfather’s siblings to die.

I will follow up with what happened to Simon’s children and other descendants in the 20th century in a later post.




Thank you, Dayton, Ohio, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Annapolis, Maryland, and TTT on Facebook


Dayton-ohio-skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my post about the descendants of Leopold Nusbaum, one of the unanswered questions was what happened to Cora Frank Lehman and her daughter Dorothy Gattman after Cora’s second husband Joseph Lehman died in 1959.  I could not find any answers—until I looked to Dayton, Ohio, for help.

First, some background: Cora Frank was the third child of Francis Nusbaum Frank, the only child of Leopold Nusbaum to survive to adulthood.  Cora had married Jacques Gattman in Philadelphia in 1903 and had had one child, Dorothy, in 1905.  Then in 1906, Jacques died at age 31 from a stroke.  Cora had married her second husband, Joseph Lehman of Dayton, Ohio, in 1913, and then moved with him to Dayton.  Dorothy grew up and went to high school in Dayton, but I had no luck finding any record for her after 1925, when she was listed in the Dayton, Ohio, directory as a student.

Cora and Joseph were still living in Dayton at the time of the 1930 census and the 1940 census and were listed in Dayton directories in the 1950s.

I was able to find Joseph Lehman’s death in 1959 on the Ohio Deaths database on, but I could not find his burial place.  I was also unable to find any record for Cora after the 1959 Dayton directory.  I thought she must have left Dayton after Joseph died, but I had no idea where she went.  She was not in the Pennsylvania database for death certificates, which runs through 1963, nor was she in the Ohio Deaths database, which runs until 2007.  I thus thought she had left Ohio and either lived past 1963 in Pennsylvania, where she’d been born and raised, or gone wherever her daughter Dorothy had gone.

But where had Dorothy gone?  Since I had no marriage record for her, I had no surname.  I tried searching every way I could to find her, but had no luck.

That’s when I decided to look for assistance in Dayton.  I contacted the Jewish Genealogical Society of Dayton for some information, and two women there, Marcia and Molly, co-presidents of the society, helped me locate where Joseph and Cora were buried—in the cemetery for Temple Israel in Dayton, one of three Jewish cemeteries in Dayton.  Molly also found in the cemetery records Cora’s date of death—April 14, 1967.  But unfortunately they were not able to find an obituary or any other document that revealed where Cora died or what happened to her daughter Dorothy.

But Molly gave me one other piece of invaluable advice.  She suggested I contact Ellen at Temple Israel.   I emailed Ellen, and she emailed me back first with information about where Joseph and Cora were buried in the cemetery and, most importantly, Cora’s address when she died in 1967: the Beaux Arts Hotel in New York City.  I was so excited and immediately tried locating Cora and Dorothy in New York City.  But I had no luck since I still didn’t know Dorothy’s surname.

But while I was having no luck, Ellen had continued to search, and forty minutes after her first email, I received an email saying that she had found Cora Lehman’s obituary:

Cora Frank Gattman Lehman obituary

Cora Frank Gattman Lehman obituary


And there it was:  Mrs. Albert Rosenstein! That had to be Dorothy. And now I knew that at least in 1967, she was living in New York City at the Beaux Art Hotel at 310 East 44th Street.

Now that I had Dorothy’s married name, I was able to find Dorothy and Albert Rosenstein on the 1930 census.  This was clearly the right Dorothy—right age (27), right birthplace (Pennsylvania), and right birthplaces for her parents (Pennsylvania and Mississippi). Dorothy and Albert were living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and further research revealed that Albert was born and raised in Lancaster, had graduated from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and was in the art wares business.

Ellen at Temple Israel in Dayton was also able to find this photograph of Dorothy’s confirmation class.  We could not figure out from the list of names on the back which one is Dorothy.  If anyone has any clue as to whether this list is in any order that would help identify Dorothy, please let me know.

1919 Confirmation Class of Temple Israel, Dayton, Ohio, courtesy of Temple Israel

1919 Confirmation Class of Temple Israel, Dayton, Ohio, courtesy of Temple Israel

Dorothy Gattman class names-page-001

But I was not yet done.  I didn’t know whether Albert and Dorothy had had any children.  I had to find them on the 1940 census.  Once again I hit a roadblock.  I could not find them.  Although I found entries for them in the Lancaster directories up through 1939, there was no 1940 directory on line, and they did not appear in the 1941 directory.  Where had they gone?

Using the address listed in both the 1930 US census and the 1939 Lancaster directory, 71 Spencer Street, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I searched for that address on the 1940 census.  There were Rosensteins living at that address, but not Albert and Dorothy.  Instead, Albert’s parents Morris and Sara Rosenstein were living at 71 Spencer Street.  Where were Albert and Dorothy? Why were his parents living in the house that Albert and Dorothy had owned in 1930 and lived in just a year earlier? Morris and Sara had lived at a different address in 1930.

Although I found an Albert Rosenstein living at 162 West 56th Street in the 1940 New York City telephone book, there was no Albert Rosenstein living at that address in the 1940 US census report.  I did find one Albert Rosenstein in New York City on the 1940 census, but he was single, born in New York, about four years younger than my Albert would have been in 1940, and a dress salesman.  On the other hand, he was living at 162 West 55th Street, just one digit off from the address where an Albert Rosenstein was listed in the 1940 telephone book.  So…was this a different Albert Rosenstein from my Albert Rosenstein?  I think so, but then where were my Albert and Dorothy Rosenstein in 1940?  I still am not 100% sure.

I was, however, able to find death records for both Dorothy and Albert.  Dorothy died on January 12, 1975, and Albert died on June 25, 1979.  They are buried at Forest Lawn Gardens Memorial Park in Pompano Beach, Florida.  I was able to locate a photograph of their headstone on FindAGrave:


I had no idea who Phyllis Rosenstein was.  She was eleven years younger than Albert, five years younger than Dorothy, so clearly not their child.  There was no sister named Phyllis living with Albert’s parents in 1920 or 1930, so I did not think she was his sister.  His only brother, Louis, was married to a woman named Blanche.  So who could Phyllis have been?

With the help of the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook, I learned that Phyllis was Albert’s second wife.  He married her on February 10, 1976, when he was 77 years old.  I have to say that I am not sure Dorothy would be so thrilled having Albert’s second wife buried with them under the same headstone, but maybe I am just old fashioned.

I called the cemetery to see if perhaps they had any obituaries or other relevant records, but they did not.  Thus, there were still some loose ends here. Where were Dorothy and Albert between 1939 and 1975? Did they have any children?

The Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook again provided me with some great assistance.   One of the TTT members found a 2014 bulletin from Congregation Shaarei Shomayim in Lancaster which listed Dorothy G. Rosenstein and Albert Rosenstein on its January yahrzeit list. (A yahrzeit is the anniversary of a death on the Jewish calendar when relatives light a candle and say kaddish in memory of the deceased.)  I checked a Jewish calendar, and while Dorothy’s yahrzeit could fall in January, Albert’s would not.  I emailed the synagogue, and another helpful person, Martha, responded telling me that both Albert and Dorothy had yarhzeit plaques there (though the January yahrzeit was for Albert’s uncle with the same name, there was a separate one of my Albert).  Martha, however, had no record indicating who had paid for those plaques  or whether there were any children or other descendants of Albert and Dorothy.

I still did not know if Albert and Dorothy had had children, though it now seemed unlikely.  Then the TTT group helped me again.  Since Albert was a 1922 graduate of the Naval Academy, I had thought perhaps he’d been sent overseas in 1940.  Although the US had not entered World War II as of 1940, I did find a military record indicating that Albert had been activated in 1932 and was discharged in 1959.  At the suggestion of a TTT member, I wrote to the US Naval Academy Alumni Association to see if they had any records.  Last night I received an email from the US Naval Academy Alumni Association, Memorial Affairs representative which included two items: the obituary for Captain Albert Rosenstein and his photograph and biography from the yearbook from 1922, the year he graduated from the Academy.

US Naval Academy alumni magazine Shipmate, October 1979

US Naval Academy alumni magazine Shipmate, October 1979

It does seem that my hunch was correct—that Albert was serving in the Navy during World War II and thereafter for many years.  I am now searching for more information about his military record.  And the obituary also answered one more question.  It does not appear that he and Dorothy had any children, or at least none who survived him.

It’s amazing to me how much I was eventually able to learn about Dorothy and Albert when just a week ago I thought I never would find out anything about her. I would never have gotten this far without the generous assistance of those three women in Dayton, Ohio: Ellen, Molly, and Marcia.  Thank you all very much!  And thank you as well to Timothy from the USNA Alumni Association, Martha from Congregation Shaarei Shomayim, and to my many wonderful colleagues at the Tracing the Tribe Facebook group.  Once again—it took a village.

Ellen from Temple Israel in Dayton also sent me these photos of the headstones of Joseph and Cora Frank Lehman.

Cora Frank Lehman headstone Joseph Lehman headstone lehman headstone

UPDATE:  Here are the death certificates for Dorothy and Albert.  Dorothy’s confirms that she was in fact the daughter of Cora Frank.

Death certificates_0001

Death certificates_0002

The Dinkelspiel Descendants in the 20th Century

In my last post, I covered four of the five children of Paula Dinkelspiel and Moses Simon.  The remaining child was their fourth child, Flora, born in 1868.  Flora Simon married Charles Mayer in 1889.  Charles was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1857, the son of Jacob Mayer and Mathilde Shoyer.  The family had moved to Philadelphia by the time Charles was three.  His father was a merchant on the 1860 census and in the wholesale liquor business on the 1870 census, but by 1880 and thereafter, he listed his occupation as a dentist.  He was a man with eleven children, and that made me wonder how he became a dentist while raising such a large family.

Most early “dentists” were actually barbers, blacksmiths, or apothecaries.  Sometimes physicians would do extractions.  Infection control was minimal, as was anesthesia.  According to the American Dental Association website, the first dental school in the world was established in 1841 in Baltimore.  Alabama enacted the first law to regulate the practice of dentistry also in 1841, but it was never enforced.  The American Dental Association was founded in 1857.  Pennsylvania had three dental schools by 1880, the newest being that established by the University of Pennsylvania.

Perhaps Jacob Mayer attended one of these, although I do not know when he would have had the time.  The earliest reference I could find to a Pennsylvania law regulating the practice of dentistry was this April, 16, 1879 article from the Harrisburg Telegraph, describing a bill being considered by the state legislature.

Harrisburg Telegraph April 16, 1879 p.1

Harrisburg Telegraph April 16, 1879 p.1

The bill was passed on a second reading, according to a May 16, 1879, article in the same paper (p.1).  Here is a description of that bill as reported the next day:

Harrisburg Telegraph May 17, 1879, p. 4

Harrisburg Telegraph May 17, 1879, p. 4

Thus, by the time Jacob Mayer was practicing dentistry, there was some state regulation of the practice.

At any rate, his son Charles did not follow him in to this practice.  By 1875 when he was eighteen, Charles was working as a salesman, though still living at home.  In the 1879 Philadelphia directory, he is listed as a bookkeeper, and on the 1880 census, he is a clerk, but in the 1880 directory, his occupation is salesman.  He was still living at home with his parents at this time.

After marrying Flora Simon in 1889, Charles and Flora remained in Philadelphia for a few more years and  Charles continued to work as a salesman.  Their first child Jerome was born in 1890, and their second child Madeline was born in 1892.  A third child, Evelyn, was born in October, 1895 according to the 1900 census (although her headstone says 1894), but I am not sure whether she was born in Philadelphia or in Lancaster because by 1896, the family had relocated to Lancaster, where Charles had been born almost forty years earlier.  He is listed in the 1896 Lancaster directory as the proprietor of the Parisian Cloak and Suit Company.  The family remained in Lancaster until at least 1901, when Charles is still listed as the proprietor of the same company.

"Downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1874" by Author unknown. From the personal collection of historian Ronald C. Young of Brownstown, Pennsylvania. Published in the Lancaster Sunday Newspaper in November 2008. - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -,_Pennsylvania_1874.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Downtown_Lancaster,_Pennsylvania_1874.jpg

“Downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1874” by Author unknown. From the personal collection of historian Ronald C. Young of Brownstown, Pennsylvania. Published in the Lancaster Sunday Newspaper in November 2008. – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –,_Pennsylvania_1874.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Downtown_Lancaster,_Pennsylvania_1874.jpg

By 1904, however, the family had returned to Philadelphia, and Charles is listed as affiliated with the A.J.S. Bowers Company, also known as the Philadelphia Cloak and Suit Company.  He listed his occupation on the 1910 census as a clothing manufacturer and continued to be associated with A.J.S. Bowers.  By 1914, however, he had started his own business, Charles S. Mayer & Co, and on the 1920 census described his business as a manufacturer of ladies’ dresses.

The three children of Flora and Charles Mayer, all now in their twenties, were still living at home with their parents in 1920.  Jerome was working as a salesman of ladies’ dresses, presumably in his father’s business.  Madeline was a primary school teacher, and so was her sister Evelyn.

Madeline married Gustave Winelander in 1925. Gustave was a 1914 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Chemistry.  He served in the US military forces during World War I and then was working as a chemist in 1918 according to the 1918 Philadelphia directory.  The 1920 census records that he and his father Max had their own extract business, and from later census and directory listings I determined that he was selling flavoring extracts used in baking.   Gustave and Madeline would have one daughter, Joan.

Flora and Charles Mayer’s youngest child, Evelyn, married Irving Frank sometime in or before 1922, as their son Irving was born in York, Pennsylvania, in January, 1922.  Irving, Senior, was born in New York City in 1893, but by 1903 he and his parents and siblings had relocated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where his younger sister Mildred was born.  In 1910, his father was a milliner, like Flora’s uncle, Joseph Simon.  Since York was only 26 miles from Lancaster, perhaps the two hat merchants knew each other.

Irving attended Lehigh University in 1912 and 1913, as a civil engineering major.  On his World War I draft registration, he listed his occupation as a manager at M. Frank in Lancaster, but by 1920 he was living in York with his aunt and uncle, working as a clerk in a department store.  Maybe he met Evelyn while working there when she was visiting her aunt and uncle, Joseph and Emilie Simon.  After marrying sometime thereafter, Irving and Evelyn settled in York, as Irving is listed a buyer there in the 1925 York directory.  By 1927, however, he was the proprietor of the Fashion Millinery in Lancaster, joining the same trade as his father and Evelyn’s uncle Joseph Simon.

Jerome, Madeline, and Evelyn’s mother Flora Simon Mayer died August 20, 1927, and was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia.  She died of bronchial pneumonia.  She was only 59 years old. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

After Flora died, her husband Charles and her son Jerome continued to live together and work together in the women’s clothing business at least until 1930.  Sometime between 1930 and 1940, Jerome married Mabel Bamberger Sichel, who had a daughter Marion from an earlier marriage.  On the 1940 census, Jerome, Mabel, and Marion are living in the same house on Diamond Street that Jerome had lived in with his parents and sisters, and his father Charles and Mabel’s mother Rose Bamberger were living with them as well.  Jerome was working in the cheese business.

Irving  Frank remained a milliner in Lancaster for many years, at least until the early 1940s.  He died November 14, 1946, and was residing in York at that time. He was only 53 years old.  He was buried at Prospect Hill cemetery in York where Joseph, Emilie, and Moses Joseph Simon were buried.


Charles Mayer outlived his wife Flora by almost thirty years, dying at the age of 98 on July 7, 1955.  He was buried with her at Mt. Sinai cemetery.  His son Jerome died in December 1966 and is also buried at Mt. Sinai with his wife Mabel, who died in 1973.  Jerome’s sister Madeline died in 1968; her husband Gustave lived until 1989 when he was 95 years old; they also are buried at Mt. Sinai in Philadelphia.

For longevity, however, the prize goes to Evelyn Mayer Frank, who died in 2002 at the age of 107.  She is buried with her husband Irving in the Prospect Hill cemetery in York, Pennsylvania.  Imagine the changes she saw in her world between her birth in 1894 and her death in 2002.  I hope that her descendants and her siblings’ descendants had many opportunities to learn from her experiences and to hear her stories.