Henry Goldsmith, Part VII: The Westward Migration

For many of Henry Goldsmith’s children and grandchildren, the 1930s were years of westward movement. I don’t know what motivated this migration to California. Was it inspired by the ill-fated Jack Goldsmith, who went there in 1932 to study law at the University of Southern California and died in 1933 when he was just 24? Or was it the promise of greater opportunities in the years of the Great Depression? Perhaps that was what had inspired Jack Goldsmith to move to California in the first place. I don’t know.

Jack’s parents SR and Rae Goldsmith were possibly the first of Henry Goldsmith’s children to relocate. By 1935, SR and Rae Goldsmith had moved to Los Angeles. In 1936, SR was practicing law there, and in 1940 he was working as a stockbroker.1

But by 1940 three more of Henry Goldsmith’s eight surviving children were living in Los Angeles as well as two of his grandchildren. In fact, it appears that those two grandchildren may have led the way.  By March 13, 1934, Eleanor Goldsmith, JW’s daughter, and her husband Julian Rosenbaum and their children were living in Los Angeles, as reflected in Julian’s application for veteran’s compensation:

Box Title: Rooney, Andrew – Rosentall, Sam (369), Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948

Eleanor’s brother J. Edison Goldsmith soon joined her in California. He graduated from medical school in 1935 and then took an internship at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles:

“Edison Goldsmith Medical Graduate,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, June 13, 1935, p. 2.

By July 1937, Eleanor and J. Edison’s parents, JW and Jennie Goldsmith, had also relocated to Los Angeles, as revealed in this news article about J. Edison’s engagement to Eleanor Heineman:

“Dr. J. Edison Goldsmith, Former Local Man, Is Engaged to Marry,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, July 24, 1937, p. 2.

J. Edison must have met his wife Eleanor while she was spending winters with her grandfather in Los Angeles. She was the daughter of Harry H. Heineman and Grace Livingston and was born on March 14, 1912 in Merrill, Wisconsin, where she was raised. Her father was a lumberman there.2 She and J. Edison were married on October 14, 1937, in Merrill, Wisconsin,3 and then settled in Los Angeles. In 1940 they were living with Eleanor’s mother Grace, and J. Edison was practicing medicine.3

“Merrill Girl Wed to California Man At Home Ceremony,” Wausau (WI) Daily Herald, October 15, 1937, p. 7

“Merrill Girl Wed to California Man At Home Ceremony,” Wausau (WI) Daily Herald, October 15, 1937, p. 7

In 1940, J. Edison’s parents JW and Jennie were sharing their household with yet another Goldsmith sibling, JW’s brother and long-time business partner Benjamin. That meant that there were now three Goldsmith brothers living in Los Angeles, SR, JW and Benjamin.

Benjamin and JW Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00404; Page: 64B; Enumeration District: 60-200
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

And at some point before the 1940 census was taken, the Los Angeles Goldsmith brothers were joined by their sister Florence and her husband Lester Bernstein. Interestingly, Lester was enumerated twice on the 1940 census. On April 10, he was enumerated in Pittsburgh, living as a lodger with his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Helen and Edwin Meyer; he was working as a real estate salesman. And then on May 1, he was enumerated in Los Angeles, living with Florence and working as a business analyst in the oil industry. Perhaps he’d been waiting for a job to come through before relocating.4

The following year the family lost their oldest sibling when JW Goldsmith died on October 9, 1941, at the age of 69. He was survived by his wife Jennie, his two children Eleanor and J. Edison, and two grandchildren with one yet to come.5

The last of the Goldsmith siblings to relocate to Los Angeles was Oliver, but he did not relocate until after the 1940 census. Oliver’s reasons for moving may have stemmed from the loss of his wife Sally on September 30, 1937, in Reading, Pennsylvania,6 where they had been living since about 1930 and where Oliver was practicing law. Sally died from a fulminating streptococcal infection of the throat and larynx and from septicemia. She was only 47. Oliver stayed in Reading for several more years, and in 1940 he was living alone and practicing law there.7

But by 1942 Oliver had followed his other siblings to Los Angeles. When he registered for the World War II draft, he was living with his sister Florence Goldsmith Bernstein and working for New York Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles. There were then only three siblings left in Pennsylvania: Milton, Walter, and Helen.

Oliver Goldsmith, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

The 1940s brought three more deaths to the family in Los Angeles. JW’s wife Jennie died on September 1, 1945, after suffering a heart attack; she was 72. JW and Jennie were survived by their two children and their grandchildren.8

Then Samuel Reginald “SR” Goldsmith died on June 1, 1948, in Los Angeles; he was 69.9 He was survived by his wife Rae, who died on April 26, 1972, at age 89 in Los Angeles.10 Their son Jack had predeceased them, as we saw.

Benjamin Goldsmith was the next to die; he died on September 25, 1955, in Los Angeles. He was 82.11

The Connellsville Daily Courier, October 25, 1955, p. 2

And he was followed three years later by his younger brother Oliver, who died on December 2, 1958.  He was only 71. Oliver had still been living with his sister Florence when he died. Neither Benjamin nor Oliver had children who survived them.12

Thus, by 1959, all four of the Goldsmith brothers who’d moved to Los Angeles had passed away. They were survived by the other four siblings: Florence in Los Angeles, and Milton, Walter, and Helen back in Pittsburgh. It’s interesting that the three siblings who stayed behind in Pennsylvania outlived the four brothers who’d moved west. Perhaps moving to California had been more stressful for the family than they expected.

More on the three who stayed behind—Milton, Walter, and Helen—in my next series of posts.

 


  1. California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, Ancestry.com. California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968; S.R. and Rae Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00221; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 19-43, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Eleanor Heineman, Number: 560-56-6368; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1957, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Pedro/Wilmington/Los Angeles, California; NAI Number: 4486355; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Description NARA Roll Number: 058, Ancestry.com. California, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1959. Harry Heineman and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Merrill, Lincoln, Wisconsin; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0008; FHL microfilm: 2342314, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. Grace Livingston birth record, FHL Film Number: 1287900, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922. 
  3. Edison and Eleanor Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00221; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 19-40, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. Lester and Florence Bernstein, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00405; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 60-205, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Lester Bernstein, 1940 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03663; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 69-388, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  6.  Certificate Number: 85944, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 083001-086000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  7. Oliver Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03679; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 70-35, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. “Mrs. J.W. Goldsmith,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, September 4, 1945, p. 2; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120802115 
  9. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  10.  Number: 549-66-0941; Issue State: California; Issue Date: 1962, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-201 
  11. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997. 
  12. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997; “Oliver Goldsmith,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, December 30, 1958, p. 3. 

Don’t Wait to Make Those Calls: My Cousin Betty

This is a post I started back in May before my trip to Colorado and Santa Fe.  I had planned to finish it when I got back, but was distracted and put it aside.  Now I must finish it.  Unfortunately, it no longer has the happy ending it originally had.

As I wrote a few months ago, my newly found third cousin Maxine Schulherr Stein, the great-granddaughter of Hannah Schoenthal Stern (my great-grandfather Isidor Schoenthal’s sister), had lost touch with her second cousins Betty and Elaine, also great-granddaughters of Hannah Schoenthal Stern.

relationship of Maxine Schulherr to Betty Oestreicher

Betty and Elaine’s grandmother Sarah Stern and her husband Gustav Oestreicher had had three children: Sidney, born in 1891; Francis (known as Frank), born in 1893; and Helen, born in 1895.  They’d all lived in the Pittsburgh area at first, but as Sarah and Gustav’s children became adults, they’d eventually left the Pittsburgh area.

Helen had moved to California by 1935 where she and her husband Aaron Siegel and their daughter Betty lived in Los Angeles.  Frank also was living in Los Angeles by 1942.  It was Sidney Oestreicher and his family whom Maxine knew best. She knew that Sidney was married to Esther Siff, and they had had three children: Gerald, Florence Betty (known as Betty), and Elaine.

But Sidney Oestreicher also had left the Pittsburgh area when he moved to New York in the 1940s.  The family had left their youngest child Elaine behind with Maxine’s family so that she could finish the school year in Pittsburgh, according to Maxine.

By the 1950s, all of the members of Sidney Oestreicher’s family had moved to California to be closer to the other members of the family.  Given the distance and the limited modes of communication back then, the family members back in Pittsburgh eventually lost touch with the California branch of the family.   When I spoke with Maxine, she asked me to help her locate the cousins she’d known as a child.

Hattie Martin Maxine Alan Henrietta Stein Alan's mother

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Martin Schulherr, Maxine Schulherr Stein, Alan Stein, Henrietta Stein

I knew from my own research that Gerald Oestreicher (who, like his father Sidney and his uncle Frank, changed his surname to Striker) had married Faye Krakower and had had two children.  Gerald died in 2014 and Faye in 2015.   But finding Gerald’s sisters Betty and Elaine had proven to be more difficult, as is generally the case with women.

Fortunately, I found one very important clue that helped me find both Betty and Elaine for Maxine (and for me).

Betty Oestreicher engagement announcement

I thus knew that Betty had married a man named Julius H. Jacob.  And from various other records for Julius, I knew that they had lived in the NYC area for some time and that they, like the other Oestreichers/Strikers, had eventually moved to California.  But I had not been able to find their current residence.

Newly motivated by Maxine’s request, I looked again at the engagement announcement and saw that Julius was described as the brother of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Spear.  Who was that? I inferred that Julius was the brother of Mrs. Spear, not Mr. Spear, given the different surnames, and decided to see what I could find about the Spears.  I found Jacob Spear and his wife Else (presumably born with the surname Jacob) on the 1940 census, but more importantly, I found them both on several family trees on Ancestry.

Although I am generally skeptical of Ancestry trees, one of those trees belonged to a genealogy researcher whose work I trust: Jennifer Spier-Stern.  I contacted Jennifer, and after we exchanged more information and verified the connection between Julius Jacob and Elsie Jacob, Jennifer was able to put me in touch with the son of Jacob Spear and Else Jacob, John.  John is the nephew therefore of Julius Jacob, husband of my cousin Betty Oestreicher.  Not only did John know the whereabouts of his aunt Betty—he had contact information for her son Ron.  And he pointed out that the upcoming weekend would be her 97th birthday.  Now that gave me the chills!

I emailed Ron, and we exchanged several emails.  And Ron gave me the phone numbers for both his mother Betty and his aunt Elaine, who is also still living in California.  In May I had the great pleasure of speaking to two more of my third cousins, Betty Oestreicher Jacob and Elaine Oestreicher Wallace. The following information came from a combination of my conversations with Betty and Elaine and the emails and conversations I had with my cousin Ron.

Betty was remarkably lucid for a 97 year old woman, and she was delighted to answer my questions and reminisce about her family and her life.  Elaine also was warm and excited to share her stories with me.  I had hoped that one of them would have stories about their grandmother, Sarah Stern, who was the first child of Hannah Schoenthal and who had come without her family to the US when she was nineteen years old.  Unfortunately, as was so often the case, both Betty and Elaine said that their grandmother Sarah did not speak about her childhood or about the move to the United States.

I did learn, however, from Betty that Sarah met her future husband, Gustav Oestreicher, when he was staying at the boarding house in Pittsburgh run by her mother, Hannah Schoenthal, my great-grandfather’s oldest sibling.

Betty also told me that her grandmother Sarah suffered from migraines, and after they married, Gustav and she moved to Atlantic City because he thought it would be better for her health.  Sarah also converted to Christian Science, and although Betty and her family remained Jewish, Betty would often accompany her grandmother Sarah to church when she visited her in Atlantic City.

Ron shared with me a particular memory his mother Betty shared with him:

“Once, Sarah and Gustav purchased 300 ice cream cones for children at an orphanage/home for crippled children, and my mother and uncle (Jerry) got to ride along in the truck to deliver them.  Apparently, my mother was the apple of Gustav’s eye.”

I also asked Betty how her father Sidney met her mother Esther Siff, who lived in Chicago.  Betty explained that her father was a traveling salesman, working for a ladies’ lingerie company called Adelson’s.  While traveling to Chicago for work, he attended a dance where he met Esther Siff.  Sidney and Esther lived in Chicago for the early years of their marriage, and their first two children, Gerald and Betty, were born there.  By 1930, however, the family had moved back to Pittsburgh, where their youngest child Elaine was born.

betty-oestreicher-jacob-1940s-ft-devens

Betty Oestreicher Jacob. 1940s Courtesy of Ron Jacob

Betty said that her immediate family moved to New York in the 1940s for her father’s job.  She had married Julius Jacob by that time, and after spending some time in Massachusetts where Julius was stationed at Fort Devens during the war, they ended up moving to New York where Julius worked for Spear & Company.  In 1954 or so, they returned to Pittsburgh, where Julius continued to work for Spear & Company, but the company was not doing well at that point.

In 1956, the family moved to Los Angeles where Julius took a job with Broadway Department Stores.  Betty’s brother Gerald was already living there at that time as was her aunt Helen and uncle Frank.  Sidney and Esther soon followed their children to Los Angeles. Elaine arrived a few years later after her divorce from her first husband, Jerry Kruger. Sadly, Esther Siff Oestreicher/Striker died on her 68th birthday, March 11, 1961.

Thus, by the 1960s, all the members of the Oestreicher family were living in the Los Angeles area: the three children of Sarah Stern and Gustav Oestreicher, Sidney, Frank, and Helen, and all of their children, including Sidney’s three children, Gerald, Betty, and Elaine.

Ron shared with me his memories of his great-uncle Frank and his grandfather Sidney:

“My Uncle Frank, who I adored, was a lifelong bachelor.  He was also quite the world traveler and I was always fascinated to hear of the places he had been.  Spending a fair amount of time traveling by ship, he became quite an accomplished dancer and tennis table player.  (I believe he had trophies for both.)  When we got a ping pong table, he had fun annihilating me.  To be fair, my grandfather, Sidney, taught me how to play gin rummy (for points) and he also had the grandest smile every time he beat me.  Both men were true gentlemen, and they were loving, caring men and enjoyed spending time with us kids.  My grandfather died when he was 94 and my uncle died when he was 96.” 

Ron also sent me this picture of Faye Krakower Striker, his uncle Gerald’s wife:

faye-krakower-striker-professional-photo

 

Faye had quite an interesting life as a singer before marrying Gerald in 1946.  The following is an excerpt from the eulogy given at her funeral in 2015.

JPG Eulogy of Faye Striker

Even with all this information, I realized when I got off the phone with Betty that I still had more questions about her childhood and adolescence in Pittsburgh.  Did she know the other Schoenthal cousins? What was life like? Were they active in the Jewish community? There were many more things I wanted to discuss with her.

I had planned to call Betty and Elaine again after those initial conversations. But then I left for our trip to Colorado and New Mexico, and when I returned, I was distracted by a number of other matters, and I failed to follow up.

I recently learned that Betty’s health deteriorated while I was away, and sadly she passed away on July 19, 2016.  She had had a good long life with very few health issues, according to her son Ron.  And although I know that anyone who lives 97 years has had a remarkable journey, I am kicking myself for not making that second call.  Betty had been so excited to share her memories with me, and there were so many more questions to ask and stories to hear.

Life is unpredictable, and we can’t assume anything or take anything for granted.

May my cousin Betty rest in peace, and may her family find comfort in all their memories.

 

 

Sidney Schoenthal, the Youngest Sibling: A Long Life, but a Short Post

The last-born and tenth child of Simon Schoenthal and Rose Mansbach was their son Sidney, born September 18, 1891.  There was a gap of almost twenty years between the oldest son, Harry, born in 1873, and Sidney.

 

The three youngest children of Simon and Rose Schoenthal Estelle, Hettie, and Sidney, 1904 Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

The three youngest children of Simon and Rose Schoenthal
Estelle, Hettie, and Sidney, 1904
Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

 

Sidney was only thirteen when his father died in 1904, and as a teenager he worked with his older brothers in the family’s laundry business in Atlantic City, as seen in the 1911 directory for that city.

 

Incomparable Laundry Schoenthals brothers 1911 Atlantic 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.

Incomparable Laundry
Schoenthals brothers 1911 Atlantic 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.

But sometime between 1911 and 1914, Sidney left home for southern California and lived there for the rest of his life.  Of all the children of Simon Schoenthal and Rose Mansbach, Sidney was the one who spent the least amount of time in Atlantic City, living in Los Angeles for all but twenty of his almost hundred years of life.

 

Downtown Los Angeles c. 1910 By Pierce, C.C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Los Angeles c. 1910
By Pierce, C.C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1914 he was living with his brother Louis and working in his cigar business as a salesman in San Pedro, California.  He was living at the same address (930 ½  Santee) in 1915, now listed as part of Los Angeles.  The following year he was living at 1415 Winifred, working as a salesman for H.S. Webb. H.S. Webb is listed in the 1916 directory under the Cigars and Tobacco category, so Sidney had continued to be in the cigar business, although no longer working for Louis.

Location of the San Pedro region of the City o...

Location of the San Pedro region of the City of Los Angeles, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

By 1918, Sidney was married, according to his draft registration for World War I.  He was working as a cigar salesman for United Cigars, once the largest chain of cigar stores in the US.

 

Sidney Schoenthal World War I draft registration Registration State: California; Registration County: Los Angeles; Roll: 1530897; Draft Board: 11

Sidney Schoenthal World War I draft registration
Registration State: California; Registration County: Los Angeles; Roll: 1530897; Draft Board: 11

 

As seen on the 1920 census record, Sidney had married Harriet Lehman, and they were living along with their infant son Stanley with Harriet’s parents, George and Amelia Lehman, and her brother William.  Harriet’s parents were German immigrants, and in 1920, her father was working as a waiter at a club in Los Angeles.  Sidney continued to work as a cigar salesman, as his father Simon had done and as his brother Jacob was doing back in Atlantic City.

 

1905 advertisement for the Henry Clay brand of...

1905 advertisement for the Henry Clay brand of cigars. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Sidney and Harriet had a second son Robert born in 1925.  In 1930 they were all still living in Los Angeles along with Harriet’s father George, who was now a widower and continuing to work as a waiter at a clubhouse.  Sidney was still a cigar salesman.

Living a life of remarkable consistency, Sidney was still a cigar salesman in 1940, living in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.   In 1942, he reported his employer to be Kelson Brothers, which is listed in the 1942 Los Angeles directory as a liquor business; perhaps they also sold cigars.

 

Sidney Schoenthal World War II draft registration Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration

Sidney Schoenthal World War II draft registration
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration

I found it interesting that Sidney listed someone named Sam Bornstein as the one who would always know his address and not Harriet.  Researching Sam Bornstein revealed that he was employed by the City of Los Angeles, married, and born in Chicago.  Perhaps he was a close friend and Sidney just didn’t think that naming his wife was the appropriate response.

Harriet Lehman Schoenthal died on February 12, 1956, in Los Angeles; she was only 62 years old. Her husband Sidney long outlived her.  Like so many of his siblings, Sidney lived a remarkably long life, dying on May 15, 1991, just four months short of his 100th birthday.  Sidney and Harriet both died and are buried in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, I could not find an obituary or any other information to fill out the years between 1956, when Harriet died, and 1991, when Sidney died.  In fact, I could not find one news article about Sidney.  I imagine he was like most of us—a man who worked hard, supported his family, and lived a good and decent but quiet life.  I would love to know more about him—to fill in the empty spaces between the census records, directories, and draft registrations.  Perhaps one of his descendants will find me, or perhaps I will find them.

 

Sidney Schoenthal courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoethal Stein

Sidney Schoenthal
courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoethal Stein

 

My next few posts will be about Sidney’s sister Hettie and her family.  I have been very fortunate to connect with Hettie’s family and learn a great deal about her and her life.  Unfortunately, they did not have any additional information about Sidney or his family.

 

Louis Mansbach Schoenthal: The Elusive Showman

The third surviving child of Simon and Rose (Mansbach) Schoenthal was their son Louis.

Louis Mansbach Schoenthal Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

Louis Mansbach Schoenthal
Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

Louis, born in 1878, was working as a cigar salesman on the 1900 census, living with his parents in Atlantic City.  In 1904, he was working with his younger brothers Maurice, Martin, and Jacob in a cigar, stationery, laundry, sporting goods, and pool hall business in Atlantic City.  I have a hard time imagining how they pulled off so many diverse businesses, but that’s what the 1904 directory reflects:

Atlantic City directory 1904

Atlantic City directory 1904 Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Louis married Mary Pomroy Dumbleton on October 27, 1906, in the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Camden, New Jersey.  Mary, who was fourteen years older than Louis, was a Pennsylvania native whose parents were Andrew J. Pomeroy, a Pennsylvania native and a Civil War veteran who had once worked as a painter, and Adelaide Mann.  Mary’s father had been disabled after the war and was living in a soldier’s home in Wisconsin from 1877 until he died on March 10, 1912.  Her mother, also a Pennsylvania native, died in 1875 when Mary was only eleven years old.  Although her two younger sisters were living with their grandparents in 1880, Mary, who was sixteen, was working in a hosiery mill in Philadelphia, living as a boarder in someone’s household.

Mary married William Dumbleton on December 21, 1882, when she was nineteen.  She was still married to him in 1900, living in Camden, New Jersey, but on December 18, 1900, her husband William died at age 38.

What a sad life Mary had lived to that point.  It sounds like something out of a novel by Charles Dickens.  Her mother died, and her father lived in a soldier’s home in Wisconsin, and Mary ended up boarding with another family, working in a mill.  She married at nineteen, only to become a widow when she was only 36 years old. She and William do not appear to have had any children.

It was six years later that Mary married Louis Schoenthal.

Marriage record of Louis schoenthal and Mary Pomroy Dumbleton Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 1093

Marriage record of Louis schoenthal and Mary Pomroy Dumbleton
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 1093

 

In 1908, Louis ran into some trouble when caught gambling:

Louis Schoenthal poker arrest 1908 Atl City

 

Eight policemen early this morning captured ten poker players in a gambling place on Atlantic avenue, near Delaware avenue, conducted, it is alleged, by Louis Schoenthal.  He was held for the grand jury by Justice Williams.  The players were so intent with the cards, a twenty-five cent limit game, that the officers had entered the room before they were seen.  The players were held under nominal bail, as all were well known, although they registered under fictitious names.

If he’d waited another seventy years or so, he’d have been able to play as much poker as he wanted in the casinos that now line the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.   Or maybe even owned a casino.

In 1909, Mary Schoenthal is listed without her husband in the Atlantic City directory for that year.  Where was Louis? By 1910, Louis was far from Atlantic City and was one of the few children of Simon and Rose never to live again in the World’s Playground. Instead, he and Mary moved to California and were living in Los Angeles in 1910. Although the census indexer listed his name as Morris and it certainly looks like it says Morris, I am quite certain that this was Louis and Mary Schoenthal, given the places of birth given for themselves and their parents as well as the occupation given for Louis/Morris.  He was the proprietor of a stationery store, continuing in the business in which he’d been engaged in Atlantic City.

"Morris" and Mary Schoenthal 1910 US census Year: 1910; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 72, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_82; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0168; FHL microfilm: 1374095

“Morris” and Mary Schoenthal 1910 US census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 72, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_82; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0168; FHL microfilm: 1374095

What had driven them to California? Was it his arrest for gambling? Or the lure of California itself, which drew so many people in the early 20th century? Had he changed his name to Morris to hide from the Atlantic City police? After all, his poker players had played under fictitious names so this was a practice with which Louis was familiar.  Is that why Mary was listed alone in 1909 in Atlantic City?

Searching for Louis and Mary in the Los Angeles directories proved extremely puzzling. There are no listings for Louis or Mary (or Morris) until 1912, when there is a listing for Mrs. Mary Schoenthal, living at 930 ½ Santee Street. In 1913, Louis finally shows up as Louis Schoenthal, also living at 930 ½ Santee, in the cigar business.  (His cousin Meyer L. Schoenthal is also now appearing in the Los Angeles directory; he was the son of Henry Schoenthal, as discussed here.)

Things got very confusing in 1914.  Now there are listings for Louis N. Schoenthal, Morris L. Schoenthal, and Sidney R. Schoenthal, all residing at 930 ½ Santee.  Morris is listed as the proprietor of Lou’s Place cigars, and both Louis and Sidney were working in that business as well, it would appear.  So who were Morris and Sidney?  Sidney is easy; he was the youngest child of Simon and Rose Schoenthal and the youngest brother of Louis.  But Morris?

My first thought was that Morris was Maurice Schoenthal, another younger brother, but Maurice (as well as the next brother, Martin) are both listed in the Chicago city directory for 1914, Maurice as a credit manager and Martin as a salesman, so Maurice could not have been the “Morris” listed in the Los Angeles directory for that.

In 1915 there is no listing for Louis Schoenthal at all, but there are listings for Meyer L. Schoenthal, Morris Schoenthal, and Sidney Schoenthal (residing at 930 Santee).   I am speculating that Morris was the same person as Louis; his listing is for a cigar, billiards, and barber shop.  Then, in 1916, the Los Angeles city directory has two listings for Louis Schoenthal, one, simply as Lou, who was a barber and cigar salesman, and one listed as Louis M, who was a clerk.  I don’t know whether Louis had two listings and two jobs or whether there happened to be another Louis M. Schoenthal in Los Angeles. Seems unlikely. The 1917 directory also has two Louis Schoenthals, both living on the same street, South Hill, but at different numbers and with different occupations:

1917 directory for Los Angeles

1917 directory for Los Angeles Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

What happened to Morris? (Sidney is gone also.) The 1918 directory has no listings for Morris or for Louis, but does have one for Sidney.  What was going on?

Louis’ World War I draft registration answers this in part:

Louis Schoenthal World War I draft registration Registration State: California; Registration County: San Francisco; Roll: 1544266; Draft Board: 13

Louis Schoenthal World War I draft registration
Registration State: California; Registration County: San Francisco; Roll: 1544266; Draft Board: 13

 

Here Louis is Louis Maurice Schoenthal, not Louis Mansbach Schoenthal, so he does seem to have altered his name a bit.  He is listed as married to Mary D. Schoenthal, residing at 480 Pine Street in San Francisco, working as a self-employed salesman in San Francisco.  So as of 1918, Louis and Mary had left Los Angeles for San Francisco.  On the 1920 census, Louis is listed as Lou living as a lodger in San Francisco, working as a clerk in a dry goods store.  Listed below him is Adel Schoenthal.  Was this Mary? Or a new wife? Mary’s mother was Adelaide, and she had a younger sister by the same name.  Was Mary now using an alias of some sort? Sheesh, these people are confusing!

The 1923 San Francisco directory has a listing for Louie M. Schoenthal, a salesman, at 480 Pine Street. By 1928 he had moved to 1124 O’Farrell Street and was a salesman for the Superfine Candy Company.  In 1929, living at the same address, his occupation was abbreviated as “confr mfr.”  Confectioner manufacturer?

Unfortunately, Louis is not listed in the 1930, 1931, 1932, or the 1933 San Francisco directory, nor can I find him on the 1930 US census.  I have no idea where he might have disappeared to during those years. In 1934, he resurfaces in San Francisco, however, living with Mary at 954 Eddy Street and working as a laborer.  In 1935 he is listed as Louis Schoental, living at 844 California, with no mention of Mary in the listing.  On the 1940 census, Louis was living in a hotel, alone, giving his marital status as single and his work status as retired.  He was 62 years old.  I cannot find any records for Mary after the 1934 directory listing.  I don’t know if they had divorced or she had died between 1934 and 1940.  He did not list himself as either divorced or widowed, so I cannot tell.

When Louis registered for the “old man’s draft” in 1942, he gave his name as Louis Mansbach Schoenthal this time.  He was still living in San Francisco, working at Sammy’s Fur Shop.  He provided Sammy’s name and address as the person who would always know his address.

Louis Schoenthal World War I draft registration World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; State Headquarters: California; Microfilm Roll: 603155

Louis Schoenthal World War II draft registration
World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; State Headquarters: California; Microfilm Roll: 603155

 

 

The only other information I found about Louis only added more confusion.  It seems that in the summer of 1946, Louis had a stroke that landed him in the hospital (Laguna Honda) for an extended time.  I only know this because of three mentions of his hospital stay in Billboard under the caption Showfolks of America.  Apparently, Louis became or had been a showfolk or a showman. Billboard, August 24, 1946, p. 73; September 7, 1946, p. 74; September 21, 1946, p. 69 (all found through Google Books).

What, you might ask (as I did), does that mean? I can’t really find a definitive explanation, but from what I did find both in these articles and the sections of Billboard where they appeared (under “Carnivals”) as well as in other sources, I believe that showfolk or showmen were the people who set up booths as vendors at outdoor carnivals or who performed at those outdoor venues.  Maybe when Louis was a candy salesman and/or manufacturer he had been working the carnival trade? Is that why he disappeared between 1929 and 1934—was he traveling with the carnival?  I wish I knew.

English: Cotton candy Ελληνικά: Μαλλί της γριάς

English: Cotton candy Ελληνικά: Μαλλί της γριάς (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the California Death Index, Louis Schoenthal died on June 26, 1956, in Napa, California.  He was 78 years old.  He died far away from all of his siblings; he was no longer married to Mary Dumbleton, and he had no children.   I wish I could have found out more about Louis.  There are so many questions left unanswered, and given that he has no direct descendants and lived so far from his family, I am not sure I will ever find the answers.

 

 

A Legitimate Part of the Family

 

In my last post about the Schoenthals, I mentioned that Hannah Schoenthal, my great-grandfather Isidore’s oldest sibling, had had a child out of wedlock in 1865, a daughter she named Sara (later spelled Sarah).

Sara Schoenthal birth record HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 772, S. 12

Sara Schoenthal birth record
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 772, S. 12

I wondered how such a child would be treated under Jewish law and by society at that time.  According to Jewish law, a child born to an unmarried couple is not treated any differently for religious or marital purposes than one born to a married couple, unless  the mother was married to someone else or there was an incestuous relationship between the parents.   Even if the father was not Jewish, the child would still be considered a legitimate member of the Jewish community.  Although some sources indicated that there was disapproval by the Jewish community of unwed mothers, other sources said that there was no stigma attached to a child born to a single woman.  Sarah’s story indicates that she was fully accepted as part of her mother’s extended family and that there was no stigma.

In 1874, nine years after Sarah was born,  her mother Hannah married a man named Solomon Stern with whom she had three children, Jennie, Edith, and Louis, all born between 1875 and 1879.

Marriage record for Hannah Schoenthal and Solomon Stern HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 839, S. 22

Marriage record for Hannah Schoenthal and Solomon Stern
HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 839, S. 22

Solomon died in February, 1888, and Hannah emigrated from Germany that year, settling in Pittsburgh where several other Schoenthal relatives were living.  Although I could not find with any certainty a ship manifest for Hannah, at the time of the 1900 census she was living with two of her children, Edith and Louis, in Pittsburgh.  Also living with them was Hannah’s 44 year old stepson, Morris Stern. All four said they had arrived in 1888.

Hannah Stern and children 1900 US census Year: 1900; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 6, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1356; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0058; FHL microfilm: 1241356

Hannah Stern and children 1900 US census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 6, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1356; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0058; FHL microfilm: 1241356

As for Jennie, I did find a possible ship manifest dated December 10, 1888, for a sixteen year old named Jenny Stern from Germany; the index on Ancestry said her destination was Pittsburgh, but to be honest, I think that the manifest says that she was destined for New York.  Hannah’s daughter would have been only thirteen, not sixteen like the Jenny Stern on the manifest.  So I am not convinced this was my Jennie Stern. See the last entry below and the column on the far right indicating the destination.

Ship manifest for the Italy with Jenny Stern Year: 1888; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 528; Line: 1; List Number: 1643

Ship manifest for the Italy with Jenny Stern
Year: 1888; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 528; Line: 1; List Number: 1643

Thus, when I didn’t see Jennie on the 1900 census with Hannah, Edith, and Louis, I wasn’t sure that she had immigrated with her family, but then I found Jennie’s death certificate:

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90

This was obviously the right Jennie, given her parents’ names, and now I knew that her husband’s name had been Max Arnold and that she also had been living in Pittsburgh.  I then found Jennie and Max and their family on the 1900 census:

Jennie and Max Arnold 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1354; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0009; FHL microfilm: 1241354

Jennie and Max Arnold 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1354; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0009; FHL microfilm: 1241354

But what about Hannah’s first child, Sarah? Had she left her illegitimate daughter behind? Had she put her up for adoption after she was born? Or had Sarah died? I had no idea, and I could not find Sarah in any records.

Until I saw that social announcement in the paper about Henry Floersheim’s party for the Schoenthal and Katzenstein families:

The Daily Republican (Monongahela, Pennsylvania) 11 Aug 1887, Thu • Page 4

The Daily Republican
(Monongahela, Pennsylvania)
11 Aug 1887, Thu • Page 4

Who was Sarah Stern, and what was she doing at this party? The dim lightbulb in my head slowly lit up:  Sarah Stern had to be Hannah’s first child, the one she had before marrying Solomon Stern, who must have given her his name when he married Hannah.

But was I right?

The document that helped to answer that question was, surprisingly enough, an entry in the California Death index on Ancestry.com for a Sarah Oestreicher, who died on February 5, 1940, in Los Angeles.  How did I know that this was Hannah’s Schoenthal’s daughter Sarah?  Because the index said her father’s surname was Stern, her mother’s Schoenthal, and that she had been born January 8, 1867, in a foreign country.  Although the birth record I had for Hannah’s daughter Sara recorded her birth date as January 8, 1865, the other facts certainly made it clear to me that Sarah Oestreicher was in fact the daughter of Hannah Schoenthal and that she had just made herself two years younger than she actually was.

Now that I had Sarah’s married name, it was not hard to find other records for her.  I found a Sarah Oestreicher living in Pittsburgh on the 1900 census with her husband Gustav Oestreicher and their three children, Sidney (9), Francis (6), and Helen (4).   Sarah reported her birthdate as January 1865, her birthplace as Germany, and her arrival date as 1884.

Oestreicher family 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 21, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1362; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0254; FHL microfilm: 1241362

Oestreicher family 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 21, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1362; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0254; FHL microfilm: 1241362

The 1910 and 1930 census reports also gave an 1884 arrival date for Sarah.  (The 1920 census said she arrived in 1895, but that is obviously not correct, especially since it says she was naturalized in 1894.)  Thus, Sarah had arrived before her stepfather Solomon Stern had died and before her mother Hannah and her half-siblings immigrated in 1888.  It thus makes sense that she, a young woman living without her immediate family, would have been invited along with her two uncles, Henry and Isidore Schoenthal, to the party given by Henry Floersheim in 1887.  Perhaps she was even living with her uncle Henry at that time in Washington, Pennsylvania, or maybe she was living in Pittsburgh with another relative.

According to the 1900 census record, she and Gustav had been married for ten years, meaning they had married in 1890 or 1889.  According to his passport application filed in 1911, Gustav was born in Austria on September 17, 1867, and had arrived in the United States in September, 1884.  He had lived in New York and Cincinnati before settling in Pittsburgh.  In 1900, he was working as an artist, doing painting and photography, according to the census record for that year.

Gustav Oestreicher passport application National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 141; Volume #: Roll 0141 - Certificates: 55972-56871, 23 Jun 1911-05 Jul 1911

Gustav Oestreicher passport application
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 141; Volume #: Roll 0141 – Certificates: 55972-56871, 23 Jun 1911-05 Jul 1911

Sarah and Gustav appear to have been connected to the Pittsburgh Jewish community.  In 1907, both Sidney and Helen participated in the Purim festivities held by the sisterhood of the Rodeph Shalom synagogue.

Purim part 1

Pittsburgh Daily Post (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 24 Feb 1907, Sun • Page 7

Pittsburgh Daily Post
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
24 Feb 1907, Sun • Page 7

In 1910 Sarah and Gustav and their three children were still living in Pittsburgh, where Gustav was now working as a merchant, apparently having abandoned artistic pursuits. Their two sons, Sidney and Francis, now 18 and 16, respectively, were working as clerks, perhaps in their father’s store.

The oldest Oestreicher child, Sidney, married Esther Siff in 1915. Esther was the daughter of Isaac and Rosa Siff, who were immigrants either from Germany and Austria or from Russia, depending on the census record. Isaac had been a coppersmith, but was working as a traveling salesman in 1920.  Esther was born and raised in Chicago. When Sidney registered for the draft in 1918, they were living in Chicago, and he was working as a traveling salesman for a New York based company.

Sidney Oestreicher WW I draft registration Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1439758; Draft Board: 13

Sidney Oestreicher WW I draft registration
Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1439758; Draft Board: 13

Perhaps Sidney had met Esther’s father during their traveling as salesmen?  In 1920 Sidney and Esther were living in Chicago where Sidney was still working as a traveling salesman, selling women’s undergarments.  They had two children by then, Gerald (1916) and Florence Betty (1919).

In 1920, Sarah and Gustav were still living in Pittsburgh with their other two children, Francis and Helen, and Gustav was still a retail merchant. Francis was now a salesman; he had served in the US Army during World War I and had participated in the Meuse Argonne offensive in that war, fighting against the country where his mother had been born.  As described here, it was the major offensive of US troops during World War I:

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the greatest American battle of the First World War. In six weeks the AEF lost 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. It was a very complex operation involving a majority of the AEF ground forces fighting through rough, hilly terrain the German Army had spent four years fortifying. Its objective was the capture of the railroad hub at Sedan which would break the rail net supporting the German Army in France and Flanders and force the enemy’s withdrawal from the occupied territories.

English: Ruined church at Montfaucon-d'Argonne...

English: Ruined church at Montfaucon-d’Argonne just behind the American Monument. The blocky structure on the left is a German WWI observation post. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s hard to know what impact this had on Francis, though it’s hard to believe it did not have some major effect on him.

On March 3, 1920, Helen Oestreicher married Robert Steel Kann, the son of Myer Kann and Bertha Friendlander of Pittsburgh.  Myer was a Pittsburgh native, the son of a German immigrant father and a Pennsylvania born mother; he had been a steel manufacturer (hence, his son’s middle name) and had died from gall bladder cancer just three months before the wedding.  Robert was also working in the steel industry in 1920.  Tragically, Robert’s life was cut short less than two years after he married Helen.  He died from acute lobar pneumonia when he just 26 years old.

Robert Steel Kann death certificate Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90

Robert Steel Kann death certificate
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90

Helen remarried sometime between 1925 and 1929.  Her second husband was named Aaron Mitchel Siegel. He was born in Barre, Vermont, in 1895, the son of Russian (or Polish, depending on the census) immigrants, Harry and Gertrude Siegel.  Harry was a clothing dealer in Vermont in 1900, and the family was still living there in 1910.  Sometime thereafter, the family to Brooklyn, where Aaron was living when he registered for the draft for World War I.  In 1920 Aaron was selling cotton goods and living with his parents, as he was in 1925 as well.  But sometime after that he must have met and married Helen Oestreicher Kann because their daughter Betty was born in about 1929 in New York.  I wish I knew the story of how Helen, a young widow from Pittsburgh, met Aaron, a Vermont-born young man living in Brooklyn.

By 1930 Gustav Oestreicher had retired, and he and Sarah had moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Their son Sidney and his family had returned to Pittsburgh by 1930, for Sidney to take over the store once operated by his father.  Sidney and Esther’s two children, Gerald and Florence Betty (known as Betty) would both graduate from high school in Pittsburgh during the 1930s.  In 1931, Sidney and Esther had another child, Elaine.

The 1930s and the Great Depression were not kind to the Oestreicher’s longstanding Pittsburgh retail store.  In the spring of 1933, Sidney Oestreicher filed for bankruptcy on behalf of himself, his brother, and their store, The People’s Store.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 28, 1933 p. 18

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 28, 1933 p. 18

During the 1930s, most of the family relocated to Los Angeles.  Gustav and Sarah were living there by 1935, according to the 1940 census.   Helen and Aaron Siegel also relocated there by 1935, and Aaron was working as salesman for a textile company. Francis Oestreicher also moved to LA by 1942, according to his draft registration for World War II.  It appears that Francis was not married, as he listed his sister Helen as his contact person and also indicated that he was living with Helen at that time.

World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; State Headquarters: California; Microfilm Roll: 603155

World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; State Headquarters: California; Microfilm Roll: 603155

By this time Francis had changed his surname from Oestreicher to Striker; I am not sure whether that was a change done to make it easier to say and spell or to avoid sounding German or Austrian during World War II or to make it seem less Jewish, but it was a change made by his brother Sidney as well.

In  1940, Sidney was still using Oestreicher, and he and his family were still living in Pittsburgh; Sidney was selling ladies’ lingerie.  But by 1942, Sidney’s draft registration showed some recent changes.  Oestreicher was crossed out and replaced with Striker, the same name being used by his brother Francis.  And the Pittsburgh address was crossed out and replaced with an address in the Bronx, though his mailing address and the address for his wife Esther remained the address in Pittsburgh.  Perhaps Sidney was working out of New York when he registered for the draft.

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; State Headquarters: Pennsylvania; Microfilm Series: M1951; Microfilm Roll: 308

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; State Headquarters: Pennsylvania; Microfilm Series: M1951; Microfilm Roll: 308

Sarah Stern Ostreicher died on February 5, 1940.  She was seventy-five years old.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 7, 1940 p. 24

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 7, 1940 p. 24

Her husband Gustav died ten years later on December 22, 1950.  He was 83.  They are both buried in Los Angeles at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

All three of their children lived very long lives.  Sidney died in 1985; he was 94.  Francis died at 97 in 1990.  Their sister Helen died in 1989; she was 94.  As far as I can tell, Sarah and Gustav’s three granddaughters are all still living, and their grandson Gerald lived to 97.  Those are some fairly amazing genes for longevity.

Sarah may have started life off with the potential disadvantage of being born out of wedlock, but it certainly appears that her mother, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents fully embraced her as did her stepfather Solomon Stern, whose name she took.  She traveled alone to the US as young woman, settled in Pittsburgh near her extended family, and married a fellow immigrant with whom she raised three children, each of whom lived over 90 years.  She appears to have had a good life surrounded by lots of loving family.

Sarah and Gustav lived many years in Pittsburgh, where Sarah’s mother Hannah and many of her other family members were living, but she and Gustav ended their lives together in Los Angeles.   There is almost something Hollywood-like about their story, so Los Angeles seems quite an appropriate final destination for my cousin Sarah and her husband Gustav.

English: The Hollywood Sign, shot from an airc...

English: The Hollywood Sign, shot from an aircraft at about 1,500′ MSL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)