Photographs of My Hecht Cousins

Thanks to one grandson and three great-granddaughters of my great-aunt Taube “Tillie” Brotman Hecht, I have some photographs to share of Taube and Jacob’s children and grandchildren.

Harry Hecht’s granddaughter Jan shared these two photographs of Harry, Sophie, and their three children. The first is from Helene Hecht’s Sweet Sixteen celebration in 1944, and the second is from her sister’s Claire’s Sweet Sixteen in 1945:

Harry Hecht, Helene Hecht, Ed Hecht, Sophie Slotnick Hecht, and Claire Hecht 1944. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Helene Hecht, Harry Hecht, Claire Hecht, Sophie Slotnick Hecht, Ed Hecht 1945.
Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Taube Brotman Hecht’s grandson Jerry shared these photographs of four of the Hecht sisters with him, probably taken in the 1940s:

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jerry Oshinsky, and Shirley Hecht Tushinsky Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Jerold Oshinsky, Etta Hecht Schwartz, Joan Tushinsky, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky c. 1947 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Ida Hecht Goldfarb’s granddaughters Sue and Debrah shared this photograph of the Hecht sisters and their families at a Hanukkah celebration in the 1950s:

Seated left to right: Joan Tushinsky, Sylvia Goldfarb Leyner Horowitz, Neil Horowitz, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Evelyn Goldfarb Block, Susan Leyner, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Renee Gross, Jean Hecht Gross, Etta Hecht Schwartz. Standing left to right: Julius Goldfarb, Sam Oshinsky, Louis Tushinsky, Sam Block, Ethel Goldfarb Rothman, Louis Gross, Gertrude Goldfarb Levy, Herbert Rothman, Stan Rappaport, Ben Levy, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky c. 1955 Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol and Sue Leyner Wartur

And Sue shared this photograph of the Hecht family at her wedding in 1959:

Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jean Hecht Gross, Louis Gross, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Louis Tushinsky, Joan Tushinsky. Standing are Sam Oshinsky, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Jerold Oshinsky. 1959. Courtesy of Sue Leyner Wartur

Jerry shared this undated photograph of Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, and Shirley Hecht Tushinsky:

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky. Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

By the late 1950s, the family began to suffer losses of these Hecht siblings. Both of the Hecht brothers died in 1959. Harry Hecht died on February 11, 1959; he was 66 years old.1 His wife Sophie and their three children survived him. Sophie died sixteen years later on June 8, 1975; she was 81.2 There would be seven grandchildren to survive them.

Courtesy of Jan Huttner

Courtesy of Jan Huttner

David Hecht died ten months after his older brother Harry. He was 63 when he died on December 7, 1959.3

Sue shared this Hecht family photograph taken in 1961, the last photograph I have of all the Hecht sisters and their families:

Rear, left to right: Evelyn Goldfarb Block, Jerry Oshinsky, Renee Gross Rappaport, Stan Rappaport, Joan Tushinsky, Lou Tushinsky, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Lou Gross, Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz, Susan Leyner. Middle row, left to right: Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Jean Hecht Gross, Etta Hecht Schwartz. Front row, Toby and Jennifer Rappaport

Ida Hecht Goldfarb was the first Hecht sister to pass away. She died seven years after her brothers Harry and David on March 7, 1966, at the age of 71; she was survived by her husband Julius and their four daughters and nine grandchildren. Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968; he was 81.

Etta Hecht Schwartz was 77 when she died on February 4, 1976;4 her husband Nathan Schwartz had predeceased her in November 1965 when he was 72.5

Shirley Hecht Tushinsky died on December 20, 1980, when she was 77;6 her husband Louis Tushinsky had predeceased her. He’d died on December 6, 1977, when he also was 77.7They were survived by their daughter Joan.

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky and her husband Samuel Oshinsky both died in 1991.  Ruth was 86 when she died on February 7, 1991,8 and Samuel was 79 when he died on July 4, 1991.9 They were survived by their son Jerold and his family.

Jean Hecht Gross outlived all her siblings as well as her husband Louis Gross, who died on July 26, 1992, when he was 96.10 Jean was just a few months shy of her 101st birthday when she died on February 3, 2001.11 She was survived by her daughter Renee and her family.

The Hecht siblings—Harry, Ida, David, Etta, Jean, Shirley, Ruth, and Evelyn— were my mother’s (half) first cousins, yet as far as I know, she never knew them. Their children, Taube and Jacob’s grandchildren, are my (half) second cousins—including my cousin Jerry. Jan, Sue, and Debrah are my half second cousins, once removed.11 I am so grateful to them all for helping me tell the story of these two families, the Hechts and the Goldfarbs.


  1. Harry Sidney Hecht, Record Type: Military Service, Birth Date: 24 May 1892
    Military Date: 9 May 1919, Residence Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 11 Feb 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940 
  2.  Sophie Hecht, Social Security Number: 140-18-4807
    Birth Date: 25 Apr 1894, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey
    Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975,
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  3. David Hecht, Age: 63, Birth Date: abt 1896, Death Date: 7 Dec 1959
    Death Place: Brooklyn, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 24385,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  4.  Etta Schwartz, Death Date: 4 Feb 1976, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1976; Surname Range: O-Z; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  5.  Nathan Schwartz, Social Security Number: 132-09-5377, Birth Date: 27 Apr 1893
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: Nov 1965, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Shirley Tushinsky, Social Security Number: 063-52-2110, Birth Date: 3 May 1903
    Issue Year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11239, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File; Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/64008057/shirley-tushinsky : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Shirley Tushinsky (3 May 1903–20 Dec 1980), Find a Grave Memorial ID 64008057, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Erice Wilcox (contributor 47002678) . 
  7.  Louis Tushinsky, Social Security Number: 102-09-9667, Birth Date: 15 May 1900
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11239, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1977, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/64008131/louis-tushinsky : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Louis Tushinsky (3 May 1901–6 Dec 1977), Find a Grave Memorial ID 64008131, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Erice Wilcox (contributor 47002678) . 
  8. Ruth Oshinsky, Age at Death: 86, Birth Date: 2 Jun 1904, Death Date: 7 Feb 1991
    Death Place: Palm Beach, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  9. Samuel H Oshinsky, Age at Death: 79, Birth Date: 25 Jan 1912, Death Date: 4 Jul 1991, Death Place: Palm Beach, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  10.  Louis Gross, Social Security Number: 080-28-8420, Birth Date: 22 Oct 1895
    Issue Year: 1952-1953, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11374, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 26 Jul 1992, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/88019160/louis-gross : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Louis Gross (1896–26 Jul 1992), Find a Grave Memorial ID 88019160, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by DMC (contributor 47184694) . 
  11. Sue and Debrah are also my third cousins through Ida Hecht’s husband Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother’s first cousin, and so my double cousins, as I discussed in earlier posts

Taube Brotman Hecht’s Family: Some Tragic Times

When the 1930 census was taken, the Hecht family was divided between Brooklyn and Jersey City. Taube and Jacob were living with David, Ruth, and Evelyn in Jersey City. Jacob was not working, but the three adult children were all employed. Ida Hecht and her husband Julius Goldfarb and their four daughters were also in Jersey City as were Jean Hecht and her husband Louis Gross and their daughter and Etta Hecht and her husband Nathan Schwartz. Brooklyn was home to Harry Hecht, his wife Sophie Slotnick, and their children and to Shirley Hecht and her husband Louis Tushinsky.

Unfortunately, 1930 did not end well for the Hecht family. Jacob Hecht died on October 21, 1930; he was 67 years old.1 The family remembers him not only as a fine tailor who sewed beautiful clothing for his daughters but also as a “bucher,” a learner or student.2

The next major lifecycle event for the family was Evelyn Hecht’s marriage to Samuel Oshinsky in 1938.3 Samuel was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 25, 1912, to Harry and Dora Oshinsky. He grew up in Brooklyn, and his father was an operator in a coat factory just as Evelyn’s father Jacob had been.4 In 1930 Samuel was working as a shipping clerk in a wholesale house.5

Here are two sweet photographs of Samuel and Evelyn, courtesy of their son Jerry.

Evelyn Hecht and Samuel Oshinsky. c. 1938 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Samuel Oshinsky and Evelyn Hecht, c. 1938. Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

After marrying, Evelyn and Samuel moved into the same building where her mother Taube was living with David and Ruth (formerly Rose) in Jersey City. According to the 1940 census, Samuel was working as a bartender in a tavern, Evelyn was a clerk in a pencil factory, and Evelyn’s sister Ruth was an assistant in a doctor’s office. David was not employed.  On his World War II draft registration, Sam Oshinsky reported that he was self-employed.6  There was no World War II draft registration for David.

Hecht and Oshinsky, 1940 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Harry Hecht and his family were also living in Jersey City in 1940, and like his brother-in-law Samuel Oshinsky, Harry was working as a bartender in a tavern.7 Were they working in the same tavern? Could it have been my great-uncle Hyman Brotman’s bar in Jersey City? Harry’s World War II registration reports that he worked at Sherman’s Bar in Jersey City. My great-uncle Hyman was known as Herman in business. His wife’s name was Sophie. I have a hunch that both Harry and Samuel were working for Hyman; he was, after all, Harry and Evelyn’s uncle, their mother Taube’s half-brother. And Harry had been working for him in 1925 in Jersey City.  But I can’t prove that’s where they were working.

Harry Hecht, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of New Jersey; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1986, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Harry’s granddaughter Jan shared this adorable photograph of her mother Helene, Harry and Sophie’s oldest child.

Helene Hecht, 1933. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Etta Hecht and her husband Nathan Schwartz were also living in Jersey City in 1940, and Nathan was working as a salesman. But by 1942 when Nathan registered for the World War II draft, he was living in Brooklyn and working for the Drake School in New York City.8

Jean Hecht and Louis Gross had also left Jersey City for New York by 1940. They and their daughter were living on West 74th Street in Manhattan, and Louis was the owner of a liquor store at 206 West End Avenue in Manhattan, according to his World War II draft registration.9

Shirley Hecht and Louis Tushinsky and their daughter were also in New York in 1940, though in Brooklyn. Louis described his occupation on the 1940 census as a chauffeur for a taxi company.  On his World War II draft registration he reported that he had his own business.10

Evelyn Hecht and Samuel Oshinsky’s son Jerold was born in the early 1940s, giving Taube her tenth and last-born grandchild. Here is a photograph of Evelyn, Sam, and Jerold:

Sam Oshinsky, Jerry Oshinsky, Evelyn Hecht Oshinsky c. 1943 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Overall, by 1942, the family of my great-aunt Taube Brotman Hecht was doing fairly well. Taube had ten grandchildren, and her children were all living fairly close by—some in Jersey City, and no one further than New York City.

And then tragedy struck. On August 12, 1943, Taube’s daughter Evelyn Hecht Oshinsky died after a long illness, according to an obituary in the Jersey Journal; the family reports that she had leukemia. She was only 35 years old and left behind her husband Samuel and a very young child, their son Jerold.11

As often happened when a father was left with a young motherless child, Samuel turned to Evelyn’s sister Ruth, and in January 1944, Ruth and Samuel applied for a marriage license. They were married soon thereafter.12 Ruth became Jerold’s adoptive mother and, according to Jerold, raised him with as much love and devotion as if she’d given birth to him herself. In his memoir he wrote, “She devoted her life to mine, and I think that whatever value system I have today came from the unconditional love of my father Sam and my mother Ruth, the only mother I knew…”13

But that was not the end of the family’s heartbreak. In February 1944, after a snowstorm that left the sidewalks and roads slippery, Taube fell and broke her leg after falling in Jersey City.

Jersey Journal, February 12, 1944, p. 6

That in itself was not tragic. But that fall ultimately led to Taube’s death five months later on July 23, 1944. According to her death certificate, her death was caused by osteomyelitis “following injuries received in accidental fall on sidewalk.” The Mayo Clinic defined osteomyelitis as follows: “Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs.”

Tillie Hecht death certificate, 1944 NJ Death Certificates, Microfilm 921 (Trenton, NJ: State Archives)

Taube “Tillie” Brotman Hecht was “about 71” at the time of her death, according to the informant on her death certificate, her son Harry. She had lived a challenging but, I hope, fulfilling life. She had arrived in the US from Tarnobrzeg in today’s Poland, possibly alone and as at most a young teenager. She married Jacob Hecht in 1891 and gave birth to and raised eight children to adulthood. She never became a US citizen and was never wealthy. She and Jacob raised those children on the earnings of a tailor in a sweatshop in New York City. They moved at least every few years if not more often between 1892 and 1925 or so when they moved to Jersey City.

Taube lost her husband Jacob in 1930 not many years after the move to Jersey City, and then in 1943, she lost her youngest child Evelyn, who was only 35 years old. And then less than a year after losing Evelyn, she herself succumbed from an illness caused by an unfortunate accident.

Taube was the lost sister of my grandmother Gussie Brotman for so many years of my research, discovered only by the serendipity of seeing the name “Mrs. Taube Hecht” in my aunt’s baby book from 1917. I am so glad that I found her and that I could tell her story.


  1. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/131974364/jacob-hecht : accessed 16 June 2021), memorial page for Jacob Hecht (1863–21 Oct 1930), Find a Grave Memorial ID 131974364, citing Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) . 
  2. Email from Sue Wartur, September 28, 2016. 
  3.  Evelyn Hecht, Marriage Date: 1938, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Samuel H Oshinsky, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1938; Surname Range: A – Z; Reel Number: 36, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. Samuel H Oshinsky, Birth Date: 25 Jan 1912, Birth Place: Brookyn, New York, Death Date: 4 Jul 1991, Claim Date: 4 Feb 1974, Father: Harry Oshinsky, Mother:
    Dora Unk, SSN: 152206742, Citizenship or Alien Status: U.S. citizen, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; Oshinsky family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 19, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1174; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 1159, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census.  . 
  5. Samuel Oshinsky, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0355; FHL microfilm: 2341268, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6. Samuel Oshinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 494, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  7. Harry Hecht, World War II draft registration, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  8. Schwartz, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02402; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 24-58, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Nat L. Schwartz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  9. Gross, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02636; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 31-572, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Louis Gross, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  10. Tushinsky, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02586; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 24-1544, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census;  Louis Tushinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  11. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/130163022/evelyn-oshinsky : accessed 16 June 2021), memorial page for Evelyn Oshinsky (unknown–1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 130163022, citing Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) ; “Mrs. Evelyn Oshinsky,” Jersey Journal, August 13, 1943, p. 10. Unpublished memoir of Jerold Oshinsky, Part I, p. 3 (2012). 
  12.  Ruth Hecht, Marriage Date: 1944, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Samuel Oshinsky, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1944; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016; Jersey Journal, January 27, 1944, p. 19. 
  13. Unpublished memoir of Jerold Oshinsky, Part I, p. 3 (2012) 

Taube Brotman Hecht’s Family Expands in the 1920s: Weddings and Grandchildren

My cousin Harry Hecht served valiantly in World War I and returned home safely. In 1920, he was back from the war and living at home in New York City with his parents Jacob and Taube (Tillie) Hecht and his seven siblings at 10 East 4th Street, revealing yet another move for the Hecht family.

The 1920 census reports that Jacob was 57, Taube was 47, and both now said they were born in Poland, a reflection of post-World War I boundary changes. Jacob said he immigrated to the US in 1887, and Taube said she arrived in 1885. Jacob was still an operator in a cloak factory; according to family lore, Jacob was a very talented tailor and clothing maker and made beautiful clothing for his daughters.1 He and Taube were still not US citizens.

Harry was a department store salesman; when he completed his Jewish Servicemen Questionnaire after his service, he wrote that he was working at Gimbels.2 David was a clerk for the War Department, and three of the sisters were working as stenographers: Etta, “Augusta” (Gussie), and Sadie.  The two youngest children, Rebecca (Rose, later Ruth) and Eva, were in school. The siblings now ranged from eleven year old Eva up to 27 year old Harry.

Hecht family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1188; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 226 Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

So Taube and Jacob still had a very large household in 1920. Fortunately by this time most of their children were working and Jacob no longer had to provide for them all on his earnings as a cloakmaker in a sweatshop.

In December 1924 Etta Hecht, the second oldest daughter and fourth child, married Nathan Louis Schwartz. 3 Nathan was born on May 27, 1893, in Romania, the son of Joseph and Esther Schwartz. They immigrated to the US in 1901 and settled in New York. Nathan was an artist; his World War I draft registration listed his occupation as “Jappanar.” From what I can find, it means that he created works that were varnished like works of Japanese art. His draft registration, however, says he was taking courses in medicine at Columbia as well.4

A Japanned tea tray. Elliott Brown from Birmingham, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

By 1925, the family had once again relocated, this time to Jersey City, New Jersey, where Taube and Jacob’s oldest daughter Ida was living. Ida and Julius now had four daughters, Sylvia (1915), Gertrude (1917), Ethel (1923), and Evelyn (1925). Perhaps the lure of all those grandchildren was too much for Jacob and Taube, so they left New York and moved to New Jersey. Family lore5 is that Julius and Ida bought a house for Ida’s parents.

The 1925 Jersey City directory shows that Jacob was working as a tailor and Jean (formerly Gussie) and Shirley (formerly Sadie) were stenographers; they were living at 306 4th Street in Jersey City, presumably also with Taube and the younger children.

Hechts in 1925 Jersey City directory, Title : Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1925 Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Harry was also living in Jersey City, but at a different address, 364 Newark Street; most interesting to me is that he was working for my great-uncle and his first cousin, Herman Brotman. Herman is also listed in that 1925 Jersey City directory, and his place of business was at the same address Harry gave for his residence, 364 Newark Street.6

Two years later Harry married Sophie Slotnick in New York on May 9, in 1927.7 Sophie was born on April 25, 1894,8 in Russia, to Chaim Hersh Zolonitsky and Hadassah Hodes Levin. She arrived the US on August 21, 1911, as Shifre Zlotnitsky and said she was meeting her brother Alter (later Arthur) in New York.9 In 1915, she was living in New York with her sister Rose,10 and in 1920 she was living in Victoria, Texas with her brother Ed.11 But after Ed married in 1925, she returned to New York and in 1927, married Harry Hecht.

Here is a photograph of Harry and Sophie, courtesy of their granddaughter Jan:

Harry Hecht and Sophie Slotnick. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Sophie and Harry had their first child Helene on October 4, 1928, in Brooklyn.12 They would have two more children in the next several years. In 1930 they were living in Brooklyn, and Harry was the proprietor of a store.13

Harry Hecht and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1357; FHL microfilm: 2341257, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Jean Hecht also married around this time. She married Louis Gross, and the 1930 census indicates that they had been married two years at the time of enumeration so presumably in 1928.14 Louis was born Lieb on October 22, 1895, in Bojanow in what is now Poland to Herz (Harris in the US) Gross  and Chave (Eva in the US) Zuckerbrod.15  Louis and his mother and siblings immigrated to the US in 1906.16 Like Jean’s father Jacob, Louis’ father was a tailor. When he registered for the draft in 1917, Louis was working as a clerk for the Hy Grade Wine Company.17 In 1920, he was working in a candy store and living with his family in the Bronx.18

After Louis and Jean married, they settled in Jersey City, and in 1930, Louis was the owner of a luncheonette. They had one daughter who was born in 1930.

Gross family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 38B; Enumeration District: 0076; FHL microfilm: 2341087, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Shirley Hecht was the third Hecht child to marry before 1930. According to the 1930 census, she’d been married to Louis Tuchinsky (later spelled Tushinsky) for a year when the census was enumerated.19 He was born in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine) on May 4, 1900, and had immigrated when he was ten with his parents Jacob and Rose Tuchinsky.20 In 1920 Louis had been working as a spinner in a cotton and silk business and living with his parents on the Lower East Side.21

After they married, Shirley and Louis were living in Brooklyn. Louis was an operator in a shirt factory, and Shirley was doing clerical work in an office. Shirley and Louis had one daughter born in the 1930s.

Louis and Shirley Tushinsky 1930 census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0211; FHL microfilm: 2341254, District: 0211, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Thus, by 1930, four of the children of Jacob and Taube Hecht were married: Harry, Ida, Jean, and Shirley. Harry and Shirley were living in Brooklyn, and Ida and Jean were living in Jersey City where Jacob and Taube also continued to live. Still at home living with their parents were David (34), Rose (24), and Eva (22), now called Evelyn. Jacob and Taube were still not US citizens, and Jacob was no longer employed. David was working as a real estate broker, and Rose and Evelyn were stenographers.

Jacob and Tillie Hecht 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1353; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0100; Image: 602.0; FHL microfilm: 2341088

I decided to track all the places Jacob and Taube had lived since they married. Between 1892 and 1930 they lived in at least nine places.

Finally Jacob and Taube seemed to have settled in one place, Jersey City, and Jacob was no longer responsible for supporting all those children. In fact, now it appears that their children were supporting them.

But unfortunately Jacob did not get to enjoy that luxury for very long.

 

 


  1. Email from Sue Wartur, September 28, 2016. 
  2. Harry S Hecht, Legal Residence: New York City, New York, Birth Date: 24 May 1892, Birth Place: New York City, New York, Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (B) Casualties (Boxes 6-9); Box #: 6; Folder #: 6; Box Info: (Box 6) H-Hez, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921 
  3. Etta Hecht, Maiden Name: Hecht, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: Dec 1924
    Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA, Spouse: N S, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1920-1929; Surname Range: H – K, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M8-21J?cc=1999177&wc=MDSY-XZ9%3A326209701%2C329738001 : 7 November 2018), New York Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1918 vol 308, no 76051-76300 image 446 of 662; Citing multiple County Clerk offices of New York. Schwartz family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1188; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 226, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Nathan Schwartz, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  5. See note 1. 
  6. Herman Brotman, Title: Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1925, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. Harry S Hecht, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 9 May 1927
    Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Sophie Slotnick, License Number: 7376, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  8. Sophie Hecht, Social Security Number: 140-18-4807, Birth Date: 25 Apr 1894
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. Shifre Zlotnitsky, ship manifest, Year: 1911; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 21; Page Number: 170, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/75777178/haddasa-hodes-zolotnitzky : accessed 08 June 2021), memorial page for Haddasa Hodes Zolotnitzky (unknown–23 Nov 1924), Find a Grave Memorial ID 75777178, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  10. Sophie Zlotnick, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 16; Assembly District: 08; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 135, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915 
  11. Sophie Zlotnick, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Victoria, Texas; Roll: T625_1847; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 154, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. Helene Huttner, Social Security Number: 149-16-9540, Birth Date: 4 Oct 1928
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 80904, Colorado Springs, El Paso, Colorado, USA, Last Benefit: 33446, Delray Beach, Palm Beach, Florida, USA, Death Date: 27 Nov 2007, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Harry Hecht and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1357; FHL microfilm: 2341257, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  14. Louis and Jean Gross, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 38B; Enumeration District: 0076; FHL microfilm: 2341087,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  15. Louis (Lieb) Gross, Declaration of Intention and Petition for Naturalization, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 170, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944; Gross family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 11, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1012; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 1661; FHL microfilm: 1375025, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  16. Ship manifest, Year: 1906; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 27; Page Number: 93, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  17. Louis Gross, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: Bronx, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  18. Gross family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 4, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1136; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 249,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  19. Dochinsky [Tushinsky], 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0211; FHL microfilm: 2341254,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  20. Louis Tushinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Name Range: Schur, Samuel-Urban, George, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947; Tuchinsky, 1920 census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1186; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 116, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  21. Tuchinsky, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1186; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 116,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 

Taube Brotman Hecht’s Son Harry: A Son of Immigrants and a World War I Hero

In 1910, the family of Jacob and Taube (Tillie) Hecht was living in Brooklyn, as we saw. But by 1913, they had returned to Manhattan. Their oldest daughter Ida married Julius Goldfarb on November 20, 1913. Both she and Julius were living at the same address, 131 Avenue C, in Manhattan, according to their marriage certificate.

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

But no, they weren’t living together before they married. Their families lived in the same building. The 1915 New York State census shows that the family of Sam and Sarah (Brod) Goldfarb and the family of Taube (Brotman) and Jacob Hecht were all living at that same address. As I’ve mentioned before, also living at that address were my great-uncle Hyman/Herman Brotman, Taube’s half-brother, and his family.

Goldfarb, Hyman Brotman and family, and Jacob Hecht, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 06; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 85
Description District: A·D· 06 E·D· 18, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915

The 1915 NYS census reported that Jacob was 50, Taube (Tillie) 40, that both were born in Austria, had been in the US for 30 years, and were still not citizens of the United States. Jacob was working as a tailor. They still had seven children living at home with them. Their oldest child Harry was 23 and a salesman at a department store. David (19), Etta (16), Gussie (14), Sadie (12), Rosie (9), and Eva (7) were all in school.

I am very grateful to my cousin Jerry for sharing this photograph of Taube and Jacob and all eight of their children, taken probably around 1915.

Standing rear: Julius Goldfarb, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Harry Hecht, David Hecht, Etta Hecht. Standing front: Sadie (Shirley) Hecht, Taube “Tillie” Hecht, Eva (Evelyn) Hecht, Jacob Hecht, Ruth Hecht, Gussie (Jean) Hecht. c. 1915 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Meanwhile, Ida and Julius had moved to Jersey City, and I’ve told their story here, here, and here, so will not repeat it again, except to note that Taube and Jacob became grandparents when Ida gave birth to her first daughter Sylvia on May 7, 1915, in Jersey City. Ida had had her second child, Gertrude, on June 28, 1917, in Jersey City, giving Taube and Jacob their second grandchild.

By that time, the US had entered World War I, and both of Taube and Jacob’s sons registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. They were living at 306 East 11th Street in Manhattan, showing that the Hecht family had moved yet again.

Harry was working as a salesman at B. Altman’s department store. He described himself as tall and slender with brown hair and brown eyes.

Harry Hecht, World War I draft registration, New York; Registration County: New York
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

David was a student and employed by City College of New York. He also described himself as tall, slight, with brown hair and brown eyes. David claimed an exemption from service for physical reasons not specified. David did end up working as a clerk for the War Department.

David Hecht, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Harry, however, was drafted into the US Army on September 28, 1917. He was sent to Camp Upton for basic training and  assigned to Company K of the 305th Machine Gun Battalion of the 77th Division. He was promoted to a bugler in December, 1917,1 and shipped out to Europe with his company on April 16, 1918.2

His granddaughter Jan shared this photograph of Harry in uniform.

Harry Hecht, c. 1918. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

A detailed journal of the wartime activities of the 305th Machine Gun Battalion written by Henry W. Smith can be found here. It provides an almost day by day description of the training and experiences and the course of the battles these soldiers fought in France.

Harry spent a year serving overseas in France in some of the most important and most deadly battles of World War I. He served in the Baccarat Sector, where this video was filmed and shows the arrival of the 77th Division.3

He also served in the Vesle Sector and fought in the third Oise Aisne offensive in the late summer of 1918, one of the most important battles of the war as the Allied forces began to force the Germans to retreat. Here is a film of the Oise Aisne offensive.

Harry was gassed during the Oise Aisne offensive on September 5, 1918, and evacuated to the 305th Field Hospital. But he returned to the battlefield and fought in the Meuse Argonne offensive in the fall of 1918.4

As described on the National Archives website:

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was a part of the final Allied offensive of World War I. It was one of the attacks that brought an end to the War and was fought from September 26 – November 11, 1918, when the Armistice was signed.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest operations of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I, with over a million American soldiers participating. It was also the deadliest campaign in American history, resulting in over 26,000 soldiers being killed in action (KIA) and over 120,000 total casualties.

Fortunately, Harry was not among those killed in this horrific battle. He was promoted to the rank of private first class in November, 1918, and received a regimental citation for his outstanding service. The citation specified that, “For extraordinary heroism in the Bois de la Naza, Argonne Forest, when the battalion was held up by heavy machine gun fire from Oct. 1 to 5, 1918, P.F.C. Hecht continuously delivered messages to 3 Bat. Hdqtrs. and also maintained liaison with Cos. M & L 305 Inf who were on our right at that time, being subjected at all times to machine gun and shell fire.”5

Harry was discharged from the Army on May 9, 1919,6 and returned home, an American hero: a son of Jewish immigrants, a boy whose father worked in a sweatshop sewing coats to provide for his wife and eight children, and my mother’s first cousin. I am proud to call him my cousin as well.

 


  1. Harry Sidney Hecht, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919; Harry Hecht, Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (B) Casualties (Boxes 6-9); Box #: 6; Folder #: 6; Box Info: (Box 6) H-Hez, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921 
  2.  Harry Sidney Hecht, Departure Date: 16 Apr 1918, Departure Place: New York, New York, Address: 306 E 11th St, Residence Place: New York, New York
    Father: Jacob Hecht, Ship: Cedric, Rank: Bugl, Service Number: #1698294
    Notes: Company “K” 305th Infantry NA, The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 404, Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service Arriving and Departing Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 
  3. See note 1, above. 
  4. See note 1, above. 
  5. See note 1, above. 
  6. See note 1, above. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Syd Ort and Leo Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

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

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

Leo Goldfarb and Joe Goldfarb Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


  1. Leo Goldfarb, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; FHL microfilm: 2341228, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. Leo Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 23 Jun 1938, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:Sarah Ort, License Number: 12499, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  3.  Sarah Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 054-01-4309, Birth Date: 2 Jan 1910
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1985, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. Sam Ort, 1930 US census, Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; FHL microfilm: 2341228, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  5. Hittner family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02405; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 24-145, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Phone conversation with Ted Goldfarb, May 26, 2021. 
  7. Leo Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 101-10-1222, Birth Date: 10 Sep 1899
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764375/leo-goldfarb : accessed 20 May 2021), memorial page for Leo Goldfarb (unknown–13 Jun 1975), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764375, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  8. Sarah Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 054-01-4309, Birth Date: 2 Jan 1910
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11214, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1985, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764444/sarah-goldfarb : accessed 20 May 2021), memorial page for Sarah Goldfarb (unknown–13 Feb 1985), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764444, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) . 
  9. Phone conversation with Ted Goldfarb, May 27, 2021. 
  10. Max Levine, 1920 census, Census Place: Bayonne Ward 2, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1041; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 12, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11. Max Levine, 1930 census, Census Place: Bayonne, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0202; FHL microfilm: 2341082, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. Max Levine, 1940 census, Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02548; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 24-85, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  13. Rose Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 29 Jan 1941, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Max Levine, License Number: 1699, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  14.  Max Levine, Death Date: 8 Jul 1974, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1974; Surname Range: H-O; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  15.  Rose Levine, Social Security Number: 099-01-5824, Birth Date: 9 Feb 1902
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 08043, Voorhees, Camden, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: 11 Aug 1997, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

My Cousins Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht: Lives Well Lived

Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother Gussie’s first cousin, and Ida Hecht, my grandmother Gussie’s half-sister’s daughter, knew each other as teenagers when their families were living next door to each other on Avenue C in New York City. They married in 1913, had four daughters, and by 1940 had created a happy and comfortable life for themselves and their daughters in Jersey City, New Jersey, supported by their real estate investments and their liquor business.

Julius Goldfarb had been forced out of the liquor business by Prohibition, but once Prohibition ended, he returned to it, now as the owner of a liquor store in Jersey City called Stuyvesant Wine and Liquor. He also continued to be involved in real estate and was prospering in both businesses.

But starting in 1939, the store was repeatedly the target of robberies. We already saw the news article about that first robbery where Julius was held up by three armed gunmen who then locked him in a storeroom closet. He lost $220 in that crime.

Julius was robbed again in 1941. A single armed robber walked behind the counter and forced Julius to lie on the floor; he then stole $124 from Julius. This time, however, Julius was insured for the loss.

“Holdup in Boulevard Liquor Store,” Jersey Journal, April 15, 1941, p, 1

But Julius and Ida’s life was not overshadowed by these events. Rather, they were enjoying life with their growing family—their four daughters and their grandchildren. Julius and Ida’s oldest daughter Sylvia remarried on October 31, 1942. Her second husband was George Horowitz; he was also a native of Jersey City and was born on September 16, 1912, to Abraham Horowitz and Sophie Margulies. George was working as a photographer for Sun-Ray Studios in Jersey City in 1942. Sylvia and George would have one child together born several years later.1

The third of Julius and Ida’s daughters, Ethel, became engaged to Herbert Rothman in May 1944; he was then a corporal in the US Army stationed at Camp Ruston in Louisiana. Herbert was the son of Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger and was born on July 26, 1922, in New York. At the time of their engagement, Ethel was attending New York University. Ethel and Herbert were married in November, 1945, and had two sons. Herbert ended up working in the liquor business with Julius.2

Evelyn Goldfarb was briefly married in the 1940s to a man named Seymour Hutchinson, but that marriage did not last or produce any children.3 As noted below, Evelyn would remarry some years later.

Here is a beautiful photograph of three of the four daughters of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, my double cousins, Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel:

Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel Goldfarb c. 1942 Courtesy of Sue Wartur

And here is a photograph of Julius and Ida with their youngest daughter Evelyn in 1951.

Julius, Evelyn, and Ida Goldfarb 1951. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

My cousin Sue recalls many happy times with her grandparents Ida and Julius. She wrote to me about the beach house on Long Island where Julius and Ida and their extended family would spend their summers:

“From spring until late fall, sometimes until after the High Holy Days, my grandparents would be at their beach house, steps from the Atlantic, in Long Beach, Long Island. [My grandfather Julius] would arrive in the wee hours of Sat night/Sunday morning, his car laden with Sunday papers, his favorite…eggplants and grapefuits, and sodas and chips from the store. We had huge family spreads on the beach…cousins, aunts, uncles, and Grandma’s sister Jean and family, whose “dacha” was just around the corner.” 4

This is a photograph of Ida and Julius at their summer cottage in Long Beach and then a photograph of Julius on the beach:

Ida and Julius at their summer cottage on Long Beach, LI. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius Goldfarb, Long Beach, NY. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Meanwhile, Julius continued to have trouble at his store. In June 1951 Julius was again robbed; this time he was forced to lie on the floor of the lavatory at the back of his store while the robber made off with almost $100.5

Julius was not present in the store for the next robbery in July 1952. Instead his son-in-law Herbert Rothman, husband of Ethel, was the victim. He and two other employees were locked in the storeroom by two thieves armed with penknives. This time the criminals made off with $150.  The news story about this robbery refers to it as the fourth holdup of the store in the past year, so there must have been other robberies that did not appear in the paper.6

But it appears that Julius finally received more protection from the local police after this event. When another attempted robbery occurred in November 1952 while Herbert Rothman was working at the store, two plainclothes detectives stopped the holdup, and when the robber pointed his “toy gun” at them, one of those detectives shot and seriously wounded him.7

I don’t know whether that was the last time the store was the site of a robbery, but that was the last article reporting one that I could find in the Jersey City newspapers.

Not long before this last robbery, on October 25, 1952, Evelyn Goldfarb married her second husband, Samuel Block. He was also a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, born there on September 17, 1922, the son of Meyer Block and Gussie Greenberg. Evelyn and Samuel had two children born in the 1950s.8

Thus, by 1952 all four of Julius and Ida’s daughters were married. And in 1959, their first-born granddaughter, my cousin Sue, was married, and Julius and Ida were there to celebrate. Thank you to Sue for sharing some of her beautiful wedding photographs.

Sue (Leyner) and Larry Wartur, 1959. Courtesy of Sue Wartur.

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

In the end there were nine grandchildren who survived Ida and Julius as well as their four daughters and sons-in-law. Ida died on March 7, 1966, in Jersey City; she was 71.9 Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968, also in Jersey City. He was 83.10

Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht had lived a full and interesting life together. Born in Galicia, Julius came to the US when he was ten years old and had to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. According to his granddaughter Sue, he remained a religious man all his life. He belonged to an Orthodox synagogue where Sue would watch him praying from her seat in the women’s section above the main sanctuary. Ida also was quite observant. Sue remembered that Ida always lit candles on Friday night, went to services on Saturday morning, and studied Torah at home.

But Julius also adapted to American life. He was a success both in the real estate and liquor businesses and more than once survived attacks on his business and himself, determined to protect his livelihood and his family. Ida contributed to that success not only on the homefront, but also by working with Julius in both the liquor and real estate businesses.

Their granddaughter Sue reminded me that what we see in newspapers and records is only a small part of the lives people lived and that while the news articles might leave an impression of a life darkened by robberies and crime, that was not how Julius and Ida saw their life. Rather, it was a life filled with joy and faith and love.

Sue wrote that even long after Julius and Ida’s four daughters were grown and married with children of their own, they always thought of 24 Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City as their home. That itself is a testament to the warm and loving family life that Julius and Ida created for their children and grandchildren.


I will be taking a short break from blogging in the next week or so. See you with more Goldfarb history when I return.


  1. Family records. George Horowitz, Birth Date: 16 Sep 1912, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 23 Sep 1999, Father: Abraham Horowitz, Mother:
    Sophie Marqulies, SSN: 140077673, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. George Horowitz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 303, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  2. “Miss Ethel Goldfarb To Wed Corp. Rothman,” Jersey Journal, May 16, 1944, p. 22. New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1945; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016. Herbert Rothman, Birth Date: 26 Jul 1922
    Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WF-8T8 : 10 February 2018), Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger, 20 Sep 1921; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,292. 
  3.  Evelyn Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 1 Oct 1945, Marriage License Place: Queens, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Seymour M Hutchinson, License Number: 5965, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Queens, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  4. Email from Sue Wartur, April 14, 2021. 
  5. “Fat Thug Gets $100 in Holdup,” Jersey Journal, June 29, 1951, p. 1. 
  6. “Store Held Up Fourth Time,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 1. 
  7. “Shots Fell ‘Toy Gun’ Bandit,” Jersey Journal, November 17, 1952, p. 1. 
  8. “Evelyn Goldfarb,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 10. “Miss Goldfarb, Jersey City, Wed to Samuel Block,” Hudson Dispatch, October 1952. Samuel Block
    Gender: Male, Birth Date: 17 Sep 1922, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey
    Death Date: 3 Nov 1988, Father: Meyer Block, Mother:Gussie Greenberg
    SSN: 140185188, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9.  Ida Goldfarb, Death Date: Mar 1966, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1966; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000.Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017. Family records. 
  10. Julius Goldfarb, Death Date: 20 Nov 1968, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1968; Surname Range: A-G; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jersey Journal, July 27, 1934, p. 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


  1. Julius Goldfarb and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Jersey City Ward 3, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1043; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 135, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  2. “Louis Leyner, East Asheville,” Asheville Citizen-Times
    Asheville, North Carolina, 06 Jan 2011, Thu • Page 10 
  3. Gertrude Goldfarb, Maiden Name: Goldfarb, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 1938
    Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Benjamin Levy, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1938; Surname Range: A – Z; Reel Number: 36, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. Benjamin and Gertrude Levy, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02408; Page: 66B; Enumeration District: 24-246, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Email from Sue Wartur, April 23, 2021. 

The Goldfarbs 1921-1926: An Abundance of New Grandchildren

As of 1920, Sarah (Brod) and Samuel Goldfarb had five grandchildren: Julius’ daughters Sylvia and Gertrude, Bessie’s sons Norman and Gustave, and Morris’ son Martin. The next five years saw that number more than double.

On September 17, 1922,1 Joe Goldfarb, Sarah and Sam’s third oldest son and fifth child, married Rebecca “Betty” Amer in Brooklyn, New York. Betty was the daughter of Morris Amer and Helen Greenberg (also known as Chaia, Annie, Anna, and Ida on various records), and she was born in New York on January 5, 1900.2 Her parents were immigrants from what is now Poland, and in 1915 her father was working as a “cloak operator.”3

Joe Goldfarb and Betty Amer’s wedding invitation

Joe and Betty had their first child, Marvin, on April 15, 1923, in Jersey City, New Jersey.4 My cousin Alyce shared this adorable photo of Marvin as a toddler:

Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1924 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joe and Betty’s second child, Francine, was born two years later on July 29, 1925, also in Jersey City.5

Julius and Ida (Hecht) Goldfarb also had two more children between 1920 and 1925. Ethel Goldfarb was born on March 3, 1923, in Jersey City, just a month before her cousin Marvin.6 And Evelyn Goldfarb was born in Jersey City on January 9, 1925, six months or so before Francine.7

Jersey City was also the birthplace of Betty (Goldfarb) and Meyer Malzberg’s third child, Burton Malzberg. He was born there on March 23, 1923.8 Imagine how Sam and Sarah must have felt—they had three grandchildren born in the spring of 1923 just weeks apart from each other and then two more born in 1925.

Sam and Sarah Goldfarb thus had nine grandchildren living in Jersey City by the summer of 1925, including Julius’ two older daughters Sylvia and Gertrude and Bessie’s two older sons Norman and Gustave. To top it off, their tenth and eleventh grandchildren were living in the same builiding in Brooklyn at 526 Williams Street. As seen on the 1925 New York State census, their son Morris and his wife Anna and their two sons Martin and Irvin were living right next door to them. (Martin is incorrectly enumerated here as a girl named Martha.) Irvin was born in Brooklyn on February 2, 1922.9 Morris now owned a grocery store.

Goldfarbs 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 49; Assembly District: 02; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 45
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1925

All of Sam and Sarah’s children were thus married by 1925 except the two youngest: Leo and Rose. Rose was still living at home, as seen on the census record. I had a hunch that Leo was living in Jersey City where Julius, Bessie, and Joe were all living that year. That hunch was confirmed when I located this entry in the 1925 Jersey City directory:

Jersey City directory 1925, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Sarah and Sam must have been thrilled to see their family growing and progressing in America. With eleven grandchildren (and more to come) and their sons and son-in-law finding businesses and work to support those grandchildren, their decision to immigrate thirty years before must have seemed a very wise one.

Unfortunately Sam did not live to see those grandchildren grow up as he died on October 24, 1926, in Brooklyn. His death certificate states that he died from chronic heart disease and bronchitis and that he was seventy years old.

Samuel Goldfarb death certificate, New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W5B-2M4 : 3 June 2020), Samuel Goldfarb, 1926.

Sam Goldfarb, my great-great-aunt Sarah’s husband, lived a life that paralled that of so many American immigrants of his time. He came alone to the United States, leaving behind his wife and four children. They followed him a few years later, and the family ended up in the Lower East Side of New York. He worked as a tailor in the sweatshops of New York, making enough to support his wife and their now seven children until those children were old enough to work and then to have families of their own. He lost one child to the dreadful flu epidemic of 1918-1919. He died from heart disease, leaving behind eleven grandchildren as well as his widow Sarah and their surviving six children.

He took the risk of leaving his homeland in Europe to make a better life for those children and grandchildren. How courageous these immigrants were to gamble everything for the chance of a better life for their families.

 

 

 


  1. Wedding invitation depicted above. Family tree received from Susan Wartur. 
  2. I could not locate a birth record for Betty on either Ancestry or FamilySearch, but that date appears on the SSDI: Betty Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 052-52-2394
    Birth Date: 5 Jan 1900, Issue Year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11361, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1973, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Her parents’ names came from the wedding invitation depicted above and various census records from 1905, 1910, and 1915. 
  3. Morris Amer and family, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 50; Assembly District: 23; City: New York; County: Kings; Page: 134, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915 
  4. Marvin Goldfarb, Birth Date: 15 Apr 1923, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey
    Death Date: 2 Feb 1988, Father: Henry J Goldfarb [?], Mother: Betty Amer
    SSN: 089166702, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  5. Francine Goldfarb, [Francine Shapiro], Birth Date: 29 Jul 1925, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 28 Aug 1998, Father: Joseph Goldfarb, Mother:
    Betty Amer, SSN: 112182207, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. Ethel Rothman, Social Security Number: 150-16-3474, Birth Date: 3 Mar 1923
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Death Date: 28 Dec 2011, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2. Family records obtained from Sue Wartur. 
  7. Evelyn Goldfarb, [Evelyn Block], [Evelyn Hutchinson], Birth Date: 8 Jan 1925
    Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 9 May 2006, Father: Julius Goldfarb
    Mother: Ida Hecht, SSN: 150162519, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. Burton Malzberg, Birth Date: 23 Mar 1923, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, ]
    Death Date: 5 Mar 1994, Claim Date: 2 Sep 1971, Father: Meyer Malzberg, Mother:
    Bessie Goldfarb, SSN: 140187837, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. Irvin Goldfarb, Birth Date: 2 Feb 1922, Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 5602, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965 

The Goldfarbs in America 1892-1910

As seen in my last post, from US records we know that Sam/Solomon Goldfarb likely arrived in the US in about 1892 and was about 32 years old at that time. Four years later his wife Sarah Brod Goldfarb and their four oldest children—Joel (Julius), Moische (Morris), Gitel (Gussie), and Pesie (Bessie)— arrived in Philadelphia on September 13, 1896. Sarah was about thirty years old, Joel was ten, Moische eight, Gitel four, and Pesie only two.

In 1900, they were living in Pittsgrove, New Jersey. According to that census record, Sarah and Sam had been married eighteen years in 1900, meaning they were  married in 1882. Sarah had given birth to six children by that time, and all six were living with them. As listed on the 1900 census record, they were Joseph (actually Joel and later Julius, born in 1884), Moses (later Morris, 1885), Kate (really Gussie,1888; although the record says 1880, it also says she was 12), Bessie (1890), Joseph (1897), and Lewis (later, Leo, 1899). The errors in the names likely were due to the enumerator not understanding what he was told. The first four children were born in Europe, and Joseph and Lewis/Leo were born in New Jersey.

Here is a photograph of young Joe and Leo Goldfarb shared with me by Joe’s granddaughter Alyce:

Leo and Joe Goldfarb, c. 1901. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Sam was working as a tailor. Sam and Sarah’s oldest child, listed here as Joseph, but actually Joel and later known as Julius, was 15 and working as a tailor also. The three other older children were in school, and Joseph and Lewis/Leo were home with Sarah.

Solomon Goldfarb and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Page: 17; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

One question that intrigued me was why did Sarah and Sam settle in Pittsgrove? I knew that in 1900 Sarah’s sister Bessie and brother-in-law Joseph Brotman were living in New York City.1 And I knew that in 1900 Joseph’s brother Moses Brotman was living in Pittsgrove.2 Why would Sarah and Sam have chosen Pittsgrove over New York? At first I assumed it was because Moses lived there.

But when I looked at Moses Brotman’s record on the 1895 New Jersey census, I noticed that living right next door to him was the family of Lazer (Louis) and Minnie Goldfarb—Sam Goldfarb’s brother and sister-in-law.

Families of Morris Brotman and Lazer Goldfarb, 1895 NJ census, Locality or ImageSet: Pittsgrove
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., State Census, 1895

This tells me two things: one, that Sam and Sarah probably settled in Pittsgrove because Sam’s brother was there when Sam arrived in 1892 (although I cannot find Sam on the 1895 New Jersey census) and two, that Moses Brotman’s family and the Goldfarbs were connected through blood or marriage or at a minimum by their prior residence in Europe. I think it’s safe to assume that these two families knew each other well from the old country and in the new.

Interestingly, in 1900 when Sam and Sarah Goldfarb were living in Pittsgrove, Sam’s brother Lazer/Louis Goldfarb was living on Delancey Street in New York City’s Lower East Side, just a few blocks from where my great-grandparents Joseph and Bessie were living.3 So Sam’s brother moved away from Pittsgrove within a few years of Sarah’s arrival there.

But as seen in 1905 New York State census, Sam and Sarah also soon moved from New Jersey to the Lower East Side, following Sam’s brother Louis. But even more exciting to me was to see where Sam and Sarah were living in 1905—85 Ridge Street—right across the street from my great-grandmother Bessie and my grandmother and her siblings, who were living at 84 Ridge Street. My great-grandfather Joseph Brotman died in 1901, and perhaps Sarah was drawn to New York to help her widowed sister Bessie.

Samuel Goldfarb, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 06; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 32, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905

Bessie Brotman and family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 06; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 59  Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905 (Terrible errors in names, but this is the right family.)

Sam and his two oldest sons, Julius (20) and Morris (19), were all working as cloakmakers, meaning likely doing piece work at one of the sweatshops in New York. Gussie (17) and Bessie (15) were in school. Joseph, now 8, was at home, and presumably so was Louis/Leo (5). And Sarah had had another child—Rosie, who was three, bringing the total number of children to seven—four boys and three girls. Rosie was born on February 9, 1902.

Rose Goldfarb birth record, New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WWR-NVT : 11 February 2018), Rosie Goldfarb, 09 Feb 1902; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 7347 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,983,509.

By 1910, the family had moved from Ridge Street to 131 Avenue C in New York. Sam was working as a tailor in a cloak factory, but Julius, now 25, was working as a conductor for a car company, presumably meaning a streetcar, and Morris, now 23, was a cutter for a neckwear company. The other children were all at home except Gussie.

Samuel Goldfarb 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 11, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1012; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0259; FHL microfilm: 1375025
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Gussie Goldfarb had married Max Katz on April 11, 1910, in New York. Max, the son of Louis Katz and Becky(?) Shuster, was born in Russia in 1884.

Marriage of Gussie Goldfarb and Max Katz,New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24ZW-DLF : 10 February 2018), Marx Katz and Josi Gossi Goldfarb, 12 Apr 1910; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,503,728.

In 1910 Gussie and Max were living with Max’s parents in Brooklyn, and Max was working as a window dresser, but had been out of work for 25 weeks in the past year. His father owned a candy store.4

Thus, as of 1910, Sam and Sarah Goldfarb still had six of their seven children living at home. The next five years would bring more changes.


  1. Joseph Brotman and family, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0283; FHL microfilm: 1241094, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  2. Moses Brotman and family, Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Louis Goldfarb and family, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 41; Enumeration District: 0291; FHL microfilm: 1241094, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4. Louis Katz and family, Year: 1910; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 26, Kings, New York; Roll: T624_978; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0796; FHL microfilm: 1374991,
    Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 

A Brickwall: Where Were Sam and Katie Born? Help Wanted!

You know how I’ve always belittled DNA results as a genealogy tool for people like me—an Ashkenazi Jew whose results show literally thousands of matches, most of whom are not possibly traceable as an actual relative? Well, I am eating my words, though just a little, because recently I found an actual Brotman match on Ancestry. And since my Brotman line presents the biggest brick walls, any new Brotman connection is exciting.

My new cousin is the great-grandson of Moses Brotman’s daughter Kate. Moses Brotman was my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman’s brother, making my new cousin my third cousin, once removed. He connected me to his brother, and we have been working together to research more about the family.

Moses Brotman, courtesy of the Brotman family

Kate’s great-grandsons were interested in knowing when and where Kate was born, and that led us down a very convoluted and confusing path. To state it very briefly and then to delve into the details, every US record for Kate indicated she was born in the US—either New York or New Jersey or Pennsylvania. The earliest three census records for her all say New York with later ones reporting her birthplace as New Jersey and then the 1940 census reporting it as Pennsylvania. That’s confusing enough, but that’s not the big mystery.

What really is puzzling is that Kate’s younger brother Samuel (consistently recorded as a year or two younger than Kate) is generally reported in US records to have been born in Europe—sometimes listed as Austria, sometimes as Russia—but is occasionally reported to have been born in the US—New Jersey twice and once in Pennsylvania. That raised an interesting question: how could Moses have had a child in New York (Kate) and then a later-born child (Samuel) back in Europe? Had Moses returned to Europe after Kate was born? Did Kate and Samuel have different mothers? Different fathers?

That sent me back to search again for anything that might help answer these questions. I also want to acknowledge all the kind people at Tracing the Tribe who tried to sort all this out for me.

First, I looked at any ship manifests I could find for Moses Brotman. I found one barely legible one indexed as Maritz Breidmann, 34 years old, coming from Austria in 1882. He would have been roughly the right age (I have no reliable birth information for Moses—every record differs, but generally show he was born sometime between 1840 and 1860.). He was sailing without any other family member. Could this be Moses? I can’t be sure.

Maritz Breidmann ship manifest, Year: 1882; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 456; Line: 1; List Number: 1220
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Moses’ naturalization papers state that he immigrated to the US in 1885. But note that Moses could not sign his name. Was he able to read the form in English? Could it really have been 1882? Did he even remember exactly what year it was when he immigrated?

Moses Brotman, naturalization papers, New Jersey, County Naturalization Records, 1749-1986,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-29863-26750-98?cc=2057433&wc=M73R-4NL:351145001,351187001 : accessed 30 April 2015), Salem Petitions for naturalization 1888-1895

On the 1900 census, Moses reported that he arrived in the US in 1886. The 1920 census states he came in 1887. The 1930 census says 1898! But he was naturalized in 1894, so it had to be earlier than 1898 for certain. All this points to Moses’ inability to report dates consistently.

The only other ship manifests I could locate for someone with a name close to Moses Brotman were these two. First, a manifest for the ship leaving from Rotterdam on July 20, 1891:

Moses Brodman and family, 1891 ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII B 1 Band 091; Page: 1626; Microfilm No.: S_13162, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

On this manifest, Moses Brodman of Grembow is sailing with five family members: Chane (48?), Mosche (28), Chane (10), Gitel (8), and Abraham (half a year old). There is something puzzling here—would a mother and daughter have had the same name?

One factor supporting that this Moses Brodman was my great-grandfather’s brother is that Grembow is a small town in what is today Poland (at that time part of Austria-Hungary known as Galicia) neighboring Tarnobrzeg where Joseph Brotman lived; it is also the town that two of my grandmother’s brothers, Abraham and David, listed as their home on the ship manifests when they immigrated (see the last two entries on the manifest below, above Goldfarb). So I feel fairly certain that this probably is the right Moses Brotman.

David and Abe Brodmann on the Portia 1889, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII B 1 Band 079; Page: 1373; Microfilm No.: S_13156 Description Month: Indirekt Band 079 (1 Jul 1889 – 30 Sep 1889) Source Information Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

The second manifest I found is that of the family’s arrival in New York on August 6, 1891:

Moses Brotman and family, ship manifest 1891, Year: 1891; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 573; Line: 6; List Number: 1171
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

The manifest lists Moses (45), Chane (28), Morsche (10), Chane (8), Gitil (3), and Abraham (half a year old), coming from Russia. I should point out that Grembow was at one time very close to the Russian border with what is now Poland.

Note the inconsistencies from the first manifest with respect to the ages of the children. Gitel is now reported to be three, not eight, the younger Chane is now eight, not ten, and Morsche has gone from 28 to ten. Only little Abraham has stayed the same age from one manifest to the next. Mosche/Morsche has also changed from male to female on the later manifest. And Chane, the older one, has lost twenty years—from 48 to 28. I think the best explanation is that the clerk in Rotterdam wrote the ages on the wrong line since the age for Moses is crossed out. So Morsche/Mosche was really ten, Chana eight, Gitel three, and Abraham six months old in August 1891.

I believe, based on several documents,  that Gitel was the girl who grew up to become Kate Brotman. First, my new cousins sent me this document, a wedding contract for their great-grandparents Kate Brotman and Abraham Allen. The names on the contract  in Hebrew/Yiddish are Gitel daughter of Moses and Avraham son of Gedaliahu. That means that Kate’s Hebrew/Yiddish name was Gitel, just like the little girl on the ship manifest. (Thanks again to Tracing the Tribe for translating this document.)

In addition, the first record I have for Moses Brotman and his family in the US after his naturalization paper is the 1895 New Jersey census:

Morris Brotman, 1895 New Jersey census, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1895

It shows them living in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, with the following household members: Morris, Clara (presumably Chane), Bennie (a foreign born male in the 5-20 age group; this was Moses’ son Benjamin from his first marriage, as I wrote about here), and then five younger children: daughters Sadie, Katie, and Lillie, and sons Samuel and Abraham. All five children are listed as native born, I assume incorrectly. Lillie, Samuel, and Abraham are all listed in the under five years old age group while Sadie and Katie are in the 5-20 age group.

How do we make sense of this as compared to the ship manifest from 1891? Not too easily. First, can we assume that Sadie is the younger Chane from the ship manifest? I might be able to find an answer to that question from her gravestone, if her Hebrew name remained Chane. Since the older Chane became Clara (at least in 1895) and Gitel became Kate, it seems likely that the younger Chane’s name was also changed in the US. Sadie’s birth year is almost always reported to be 1884 or at latest 1885 and she is always reported to be born in Austria, so she seems to match the younger Chane on the ship manifest fairly well. Maybe her name on the manifest wasn’t correct in the first place.

And what happened to Mosche/Morsche, the son or daughter who was either 28 or 10? I’ve no idea.

Then there is Katie on the 1895 NJ census. She seems to match the Gitel on the ship manifest, being over five by 1895 if three in 1891. Abraham is also a match—under five in 1895.  Lillie is not on the manifest, but that’s not surprising as she was born in New Jersey on February 2, 1892, just six months after the date of the arrival manifest above.

But what about Samuel? Where does he fit in? He is not on the 1891 manifest. How did he become part of the family? Was he born after they arrived?

Let’s look at the next census record we have for Moses and his family, the 1900 US census.

Moses Brotman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Page: 18; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

It finds Moses in Pittsgrove, age 55, born November 1844, in Austria. His wife Chay is 35, born in Austria in March 1865, and they report that they have been married sixteen years so since about 1884, the year Sadie is generally reported to have been born. In fact, Sadie’s birth date here is given as April 1884, and her birthplace is Austria.

Then we get to Katie and Samuel. Katie’s birth date is March 1887, which is somewhat consistent with Gitel’s age of three on the second manifest in 1891. But her birthplace is New York, not Austria. And that seems consistent with this birth record for a Gitel Brotman born to Morris Brotman in New York City on March 24, 1888.

But if Kate was born in New York in 1888, why was she on a ship coming to America in 1891? And who is Annie Lebel, the woman listed as her mother?

And what about Samuel? The 1900 census reports that he was born October 1889 in Austria. So he wasn’t born after the family arrived in 1891, but in Europe in 1889. Why isn’t he on that ship manifest?

On that note, notice that the census record shows that Moses, Chay, and Sadie immigrated in 1886, but that Samuel immigrated in 1891. How do we make any sense out of that?

And where is Abraham? He would have been about nine in 1900, but he is missing from the census. I cannot find Abraham at all after the 1895 census. There does not appear to be a death record for him or any other record. He just disappeared. Like Morsche/Mosche.

It doesn’t get better with the 1905 NJ census.

Moses Brotman and family, 1905 New Jersey census, New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1905; Reference Number: L-14; Film Number: 38
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1905

First of all, Kate isn’t listed at all nor is Sadie. Sadie had married in 1901 and moved to New York, but Kate didn’t marry Abraham Allen until 1907, so she is just missing and doesn’t appear elsewhere on the NJ census. Perhaps she’d gone to live somewhere out of state.  Samuel’s birth date is now August 1890, and his birthplace is still Austria. Moses and Clara’s birth dates have also changed since the 1895 NJ census.

Things continue in this inconsistent way with the 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 US census records as well as with Samuel’s draft records for both World War I and World War II and his 1919 marriage license. Rather than describe each of these documents, I prepared this chart that shows the birthplaces and dates (or ages) for Kate and Samuel on these records. You may have to click on the image to zoom in and read it.

You can see that Kate never reports a European birth and that Samuel sometimes does, sometimes does not.  You also can see that Kate’s birth date jumps around as does Samuel’s birth date, but that Kate is always older than Samuel. Kate is always reported to have been born in the US, though the last two census records report New Jersey and Pennsylvania, not New York. Samuel’s birthplace is even less consistent—Austria, Austria, Russia, New Jersey, Austria, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Russia, New Jersey. Yikes!

What are we to make of all this? I have a couple of theories.

  1. Moses and Chane/Clara/Chay (later Ida) came to the US before 1888, had Katie, and returned to Europe with her, had Samuel and Abraham in Europe, and then returned to the US in 1891. Supporting this theory is this birth certificate for a Gitel Brotman. Problems with this theory: There is no manifest showing Chane or Sadie arriving in the US before 1888. The mother’s name on the NYC birth certificate doesn’t match Chane, though Annie is pretty close. But later records show that Chane/Clara/Ida’s birth surname was Reis, not Lebel.  Could this be a different mother? If so, what happened to her? I cannot find any other records for her. Did Annie Lebel die, leading Moses to return to Europe with Gitel/Kate and bring Chane back with the other children? Also, if Samuel was born in Europe before 1891, why isn’t he on the manifest with his family in 1891?
  2. Kate was born in Europe but for some reason was told and always believed that she was born in the US. Problems with this theory: Why would her parents have done this from 1895 on? And how does that explain the birth certificate seen above? And why lie about Kate’s birthplace, but then have Samuel’s birth taking place in Europe?
  3. Samuel was not the biological child of Moses and Chane Brotman, but a child they adopted into their family after arriving in the US. This would explain why Samuel was not with the family on the 1891 ship manifest. It’s also supported by the fact that the 1900 census records a different date of immigration for Moses, Chay, and Sadie (1885) than for Samuel (1891), even though those dates are not consistent with the ship manifests I found for Moses, Chay, and Sadie. But then when did Samuel immigrate? Or was he actually born in the US?

Where do I go from here? I have located a descendant of Samuel Brotman. I could ask her to do a DNA test to see if she matches me and Kate’s great-grandsons as closely as the records suggest.  Both Kate and Samuel died too recently for me, as a non-descendant, to obtain their death certificates, but perhaps one of the direct descendants can get access to those. I just am skeptical that those certificates will have any information that is any more reliable than all the other US records.

What do you all think? What would you do next?