Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein and Her Family: Not Blessed with Longevity

When I last posted about the children of Jacob Goldsmith, I was focusing on those of his children who died between 1911 and 1920. In 1910, twelve of Jacob’s fourteen children were still living; Emma and George had already passed away. By the end of 1920, only seven of the remaining children were still living.  Five of the siblings died between 1911 and 1920. We have already seen that  Leonora Goldsmith Jaffa died in 1911, Rachel Goldsmith died in 1915, and Felix Goldsmith died in 1919.

The fourth of Jacob Goldsmith’s children to die between 1911 and 1920 was his oldest child, Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein. Ellena had lost her husband Samuel and her son William in 1908, and on June 20, 1914, she died from cerebral thrombosis. She was sixty years old. She was survived by four of her children: Sylvester, Leon (formerly Leopold), Fannie, and Gertrude.

Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 061391-064480, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Sylvester had married Selma Lowenstein in 1911 in Philadelphia.1 She was born in Germany on July 12, 1888,2 and had immigrated to the US in 1908.3 Sylvester and Selma settled in Atlantic City where Sylvester was in the cigar business with his brother Leon.4 On March 27, 1914, just two months before Ellena died, Selma gave birth to Samuel Feldstein, obviously named for his grandfather, Sylvester’s father.5 When he registered for the World War I draft, Sylvester was still in the cigar business and reported that he was partly lame in his left leg.

Sylvester Feldstein, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Atlantic; Roll: 1711901; Draft Board: 2
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

And then tragedy struck the family again in this decade when Sylvester died at age 44 on July 20, 1919, in Atlantic City, leaving behind his wife Selma and his five-year-old son Samuel.6

In 1920, Selma and her son Samuel were still living in Atlantic City, and Selma was working as a housekeeper in a lodging house.7  By 1930 they had moved to Philadelphia where Selma was now working as a “saleslady” in a department store. Samuel was fifteen years old.8 Ten years later Selma and Samuel were still living in Philadelphia where Selma continued to work in a department store and Samuel was now an inspector for Westinghouse Electric.9 In 1941, Samuel married Cele Hammerschlag,10 and they would have four children. Selma died in 1973, Samuel died in 2004, and Cele in 2009.11

Sylvester’s brother and business partner Leopold also married in the 1910s.  He married Martha Tovey in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, on September 17, 1912.  He was 32, she 31, according to their marriage license. Martha was the daughter of Joseph Tovey and Susannah Curtis, and she was born in England in November, 1881, and immigrated as a baby with her parents on July 1, 1882.12 In 1900, Martha was living as a servant in a household in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, a small town about 115 miles northwest of Philadelphia. In 1910 she was living in Atlantic City, working as a housekeeper.13

Marriage record of Leopold Feldstein and Martha Tovey, Film Number: 000021184
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968

After they married, Leopold, now using the name Leon, and Martha stayed in Atlantic City, where in 1920, Leon was still in the cigar business, and Martha was not employed.14 In 1930, Martha’s mother was living in their household in Atlantic City.  Leon continued to manufacture cigars, and Martha was a “saleslady” in a cigar store.15 They did not have children. Leon died three years later on September 25, 1933 in Atlantic City.  He was 53. I was unable to find a death record for his widow Martha or any other records that revealed what happened to her after Leon’s death, except for a reference to her as one of her mother Susanna’s survivors in 1942.16

As for Ellena Goldsmith Feldstein’s two daughters, Fannie and Gertrude, as noted in an earlier post, Fannie had married Isidor Neufeld in 1904 and had two children, Hortense (1905) and Sylvia (1908). Isidor was a shirt cutter in a factory, a job he continued to hold in the 1910s. By 1920 he had been promoted to a foreman in the shirt factory. Fannie’s sister Gertrude was also living with them; she was working as a stenographer for a bottle company.

Neufeld family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 42, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1643; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 1561, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

In 1925, Fannie and Isidor’s daughter Hortense married Philip M. Jacobs in Philadelphia.17 Philip was born on February 21, 1898, in Philadelphia, to Rachael and Reuben Jacobs. In 1920 he’d been working as a men’s clothing salesman and living with his parents in Philadelphia.18  Philip and Hortense had two daughters born in the 1920s. In 1930 they were all living in Philadelphia, and Philip was working in the clothing manufacturing business.19

Fannie, Isidor, their daughter Sylvia, and Fannie’s sister Gertrude were still living together in 1930. Isidor was still the foreman at the shirt factory, Sylvia was a school teacher, and Gertrude was a bookkeeper for a hosiery mill.20

Things changed in the 1930s. Fannie and Isidor Neufeld’s daughter Sylvia married Eugene Fielder Wieder in Philadelphia in 1939.21 Eugene was born October 3, 1891, in Philadelphia, to Albert and Tillie Wieder. His father was a German immigrant, his mother a native Pennsylvanian. His father was a furniture dealer.22

Eugene had been previously married and in 1920 was living with his first wife Edith Wollner and working in shirt manufacturing. 23 I could not locate him on the 1930 census or in any other records until the entry in the Philadelphia marriage index entry for him and Sylvia in 1939.

In 1940 Eugene and Sylvia were living with Sylvia’s mother Fannie Goldsmith Neufeld in Philadelphia; Eugene was now a salesman in a retail furniture store, perhaps his father’s business, and Sylvia was teaching school. But where was Fannie’s husband Isidor?

Neufeld and Wieder family 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03753; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 51-2158
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

I found him living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, boarding with a family and working as the foreman in a shirt factory.24 Both he and Fannie listed their marital status as married on the 1940 census, so I assume this was a work-related move necessitated by the Depression. That assumption is reinforced by Isidor’s World War II draft registration two years later; he was still living in Lancaster, but listed Fannie as his wife and his contact person on the registration, giving Fannie’s Philadelphia address.

Isidor Neufeld, World War II draft registration, he National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Fannie’s sister Gertrude also married in the 1930s. She married Louis Lewin in Philadelphia in 1938; she was 49, he was 53.25  Louis was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, on February 16, 1885.26  His parents were Samuel Lewin, a German-born clothing merchant, and Helen Obendorf, who was born in Maryland. Louis’ father died in 1904, and by 1906, his family had moved to Baltimore, where his mother’s family lived.27 In 1910 Louis was living with his mother and other relatives and working as a dry goods salesman. By 1920, he was married to a woman named Louisa and living in Philadelphia, but in 1930 he was divorced and back in Baltimore, working as a clerk in the post office, and living as a lodger.28 After he and Gertrude married, they were living in Philadelphia where Louis was a candy salesman and Gertrude a secretary in a law office in 1940.

Louis Lewin and Gertrude Feldstein Lewin, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 51-2122
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Sadly, Gertrude died just three years later at the age of 55 from hypertensive cardiovascular disease and cerebral hemorrhage.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 094201-096650
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Of the five children born to Ellena Goldsmith and Samuel Feldstein, only Fannie was left after Gertrude died in 1943. And then Fannie suffered yet another terrible loss when her younger daughter Sylvia died from breast cancer on January 28, 1953, at the age of 44.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 007651-010350
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Almost exactly two years later Fannie lost her husband Isidor Neufeld on January 13, 1955; he was 73 and died from prostate cancer.29 Fannie survived him for five years, dying at age 76 from congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease on February 6, 1960. According to her death certificate she had suffered from heart disease for five years, so from about the time she lost her husband.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 019051-021750
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

She was survived by her remaining daughter, Hortense Neufeld Jacobs, and two granddaughters. Hortense died in 1983 at 77.30

Ellena Goldsmith and Samuel Feldstein’s family was not blessed with longevity. Ellena was sixty when she died, Samuel 61. Fannie Feldstein Neufeld was their only child to live past sixty; Arthur had died before his first birthday, William at 31, Sylvester at 44, Leon at 53, and then Gertrude at 55. Of those six children, only two had children of their own: Fannie’s two daughters Hortense and Sylvia, and Sylvester’s son Samuel. And Sylvia’s life was also cut short prematurely at 44.  Of all the children and grandchildren of Ellena and Samuel, only Fannie, Hortense, and Samuel lived past seventy. Samuel truly avoided the family’s bad DNA as he lived to age ninety, dying in 2004. He must have inherited those good genes from his mother Selma, who lived to 84, unlike her husband Sylvester who died at 44.


  1. Marriage License Number: 264923, Digital GSU Number: 4140424, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  2.  Selma Feldstein, SSN: 164-10-7288, Born: 12 Jul 1888, Died: Jun 1973,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  3. Selma Feldstein, 1920 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City Ward 2, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1015; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 11, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  4. Atlantic City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  5.  SSN: 185014552, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. Philadelphia Inquirer, July 22, 1919, p. 17. 
  7. Selma Feldstein, 1920 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City Ward 2, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1015; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 11, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  8. Selma Feldstein, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1074; FHL microfilm: 2341869,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Selma Feldstein, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03724; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 51-1172,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10. Marriage Year: 1941, Marriage License Number: 730487, Digital GSU Number: 4143600, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  11. Selma Feldstein, SSN: 164-10-7288, Born: 12 Jul 1888, Died: Jun 1973,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Samuel V. Feldstein
    SSN: 185-01-4552, Born: 26 Mar 1914, Died: 20 Dec 2004, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Cele H. Feldstein, Born: 3 Oct 1918, Died: 3 Jul 2009
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12.  Martha Tovey, Registration Year: 1881, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec
    Registration district: Kendal, Volume: 10b, Page: 674, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915. Ship manifest,  Year: 1882; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 454; Line: 16; List Number: 907, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  13. Tovey family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Williamstown, Dauphin, Pennsylvania; Page: 16; Enumeration District: 0110; FHL microfilm: 1241404,  Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; Martha Tovey, 1910 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City Ward 3, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T624_867; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 0018; FHL microfilm: 1374880, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  14. Leon Feldstein, 1920 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City Ward 3, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1015; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 26, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  15. Leon Feldstein, 1930 US census, Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0022; FHL microfilm: 2341043, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16.   The Philadelphia Inquirer, 28 Sep 1933, Thu, Page 23. “Mrs. Susanna Tovey,”  Lykens (PA) Register, 24 Apr 1942, Fri, Page 4. 
  17. Marriage License Number: 507659, Digital GSU Number: 4141807,
    Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  18. Philip Jacobs, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907760; Draft Board: 37, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Jacobs family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1616; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 451, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  19. Philip Jacobs, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 1048; FHL microfilm: 2341868, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  20. Feldstein family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 1080; FHL microfilm: 2341870, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  21.  Marriage Year: 1939, Marriage License Number: 699905,Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  22. Eugene Wieder, Death Certificate Number: 8990, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 007351-010050, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Wieder family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1402; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0630; FHL microfilm: 1375415, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  23. Eugene Wieder, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1616; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 451,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  24. Isidor Neufeld, 1940 US census, Census Place: West Earl, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03535; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 36-158, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  25. Marriage Year: 1938, Marriage License Number: 686632, Digital GSU Number: 4141695, Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  26. Louis Lewin, World War I draft registration,  Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907611; Draft Board: 09,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  27. Lewin, 1900 US census, Census Place: Bellefonte, Centre, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0001; FHL microfilm: 1241391, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census.  “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QM9-HP2?cc=1320976&wc=9FR2-N3D%3A1073107602 : 16 May 2014), 004008656 > image 211 of 524; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1906, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  28. Louis Lewin, 1910 US census, Census Place: Baltimore Ward 14, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_557; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0236; FHL microfilm: 1374570; Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. Louis Lewin 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1621; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 309, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Louis Lewin, 1930 US census, Census Place: Baltimore, Blank, Maryland; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0164; FHL microfilm: 2340590, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  29. Isidor Neufeld death certificate 7955, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 005401-008100, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  30. Number: 182-30-5349; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: 1954-1955, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-201