Eva Goldsmith Uhfelder and Gertrude Goldsmith Emanuel

In January 1921, only seven of Jacob Goldsmith’s fourteen children were still living: Annie, Celia, Frank, Rebecca, Florence, Gertrude, and Eva. For Annie, Celia, Frank, and Florence, the 1920s were relatively quiet. But this decade did bring loss and heartbreak, especially for three of the sisters, Eva, Gertrude, and Rebecca.

The family lost another sibling on May 6, 1928, when Eva Goldsmith Uhlfelder died in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She was 57 years old and was survived by her husband Sigmund and 22-year-old son Sidney. Sidney had only recently opened his own business in Albuquerque:

“Men’s Furnishings, Cigar, Candy Store Rosenwald Building,” Albuquerque Journal, January 10, 1928, p. 2

Sidney then lost his father just three years later. Sigmund Uhlfelder died on January 21, 1931; he was 61 years old.1 Sidney was orphaned at age 25. In 1930, he was living as a lodger in Albuquerque, working as a haberdasher.2

By 1940, Sidney was married to Katherine Bowers.3 Katherine was born on August 9, 1905, in Springfield, Missouri, to Jacob Bowers and Sallie Bryson.4 She’d lived in Missouri as recently as 1935, according to the 1940 census, so I am curious as to how she and Sidney met. In 1940, Sidney and Katherine and Katherine’s mother were living together in Albuquerque. Katherine was working as a saleswoman in an “Indian curio store,” and Sidney reported that he was the proprietor of a cigar store. On his World War II draft registration, Sidney reported that he was the owner of a newstand in the Rosenwald Building in Albuquerque.

Sidney Uhlfelder, World War II draft registration, Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Multiple Registrations, Fold3.com

Sidney and Katherine both lived long lives together in Albuquerque; she died at 91 on June 7, 1997,5 and Sidney lived to 97, dying on February 14, 2004, in Albuquerque.6 According to his obituary, he was a “loving and caring man.”7 There were no children listed as survivors in the obituary. Eva Goldsmith Uhlfelder thus has no living descendants.

The loss of Eva in 1928 brought the count of the surviving children of Jacob Goldsmith down to six, and the rest would survive the 1920s. But there were other losses suffered by the extended family.

Gertrude’s husband Jacob died December 4, 1921, at the age of 54 after being ill for a few weeks, according to his obituary:

“Jacob B. Emanuel, Pioneer Resident of Denver, Is Dead,” Denver Post, December 5, 1921, p. 13

His son Bernard was only ten years old when his father died. Nine years later, however, in 1930, Bernard was not living with his mother, but with his aunt Florence Goldsmith Emanuel (his mother Gertrude’s older sister) and uncle Jerry Emanuel (his father Jacob’s brother) as well as his aunt Celia Goldsmith, another of his mother’s sisters.

Emanuel family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0137; FHL microfilm: 2339973, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Bernard’s mother Gertrude was a practical nurse, living away from the family in the Nurses’ Home at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver in 1930. I do wonder whether the loss of her husband left her unable to care for her son or perhaps inspired her to dedicate her life caring for others as a nurse.8

On March 9, 1934, Gertrude’s son Bernard married Clarice L. Patterson in Georgetown, Colorado; she was the daughter of Walter W. Patterson and Mary Belle Doke and was born in Colorado in about 1916.9 In 1938, Bernard was working as a radio representative, according to the Denver city directory. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but on the 1940 census, Bernard reported that he was working in appliance repairs so I assume he was a radio repairman, not on the radio.10

Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006

Gertrude Goldsmith Emanuel died on June 21, 1937, in Denver; she was 66 years old.11 Her son Bernard died on October 22, 1973, in Denver; he was 62.12 I was unable to find any other information about Bernard’s wife Clarice, and as far as I can tell, Bernard and Clarice did not have children. Gertrude, like her sister Eva, thus does not appear to have any living descendants.

The sibling who suffered the most losses in the 1920s was Rebecca Goldsmith Levy. Her story merits a separate post.


  1. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  2. Sidney Uhlfelder, 1930 US census, Census Place: Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0020; FHL microfilm: 2341127, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  3. Sidney Uhlfelder, 1940 US census, Census Place: Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico; Roll: m-t0627-02439; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 1-36, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. SSN: 491038497, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  5. SSN: 491038497, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6.  Number: 525-01-6662; Issue State: New Mexico; Issue Date: Before 1951,Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  7. Albuquerque Journal, 17 Feb 2004, Tue, Page 20. 
  8. Gertrude Goldsmith Emanuel, 1930 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0105; FHL microfilm: 2339972, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Patterson family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T625_159; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 81, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006. 
  10. Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1938, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. Bernard Emanuel, 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00486; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 16-85, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  12. Number: 522-05-5043; Issue State: Colorado; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

The Rest of the Trip: Thoughts on My Country

This post was originally written before the horrific event in Orlando, Florida, last weekend.  I’ve rewritten it in part as I reflect on what is happening in the US these days and how the opportunity to see another part of the country affected my views.

The Road to Taos, Taos, and the Road Back to Denver

Because we had taken the “low road” or “river road” from Taos south to Santa Fe when we arrived, we decided to take the “high road” back to Taos when we left Santa Fe.  Although some commenters on TripAdvisor had made it seem as if this was going to be a very scary ride, it wasn’t at all.  It was, however, incredibly scenic.

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We stopped at the Santuario de Chimayo on our way.  It is an important Catholic pilgrimage site and a pretty adobe church on lovely grounds.  I was particularly taken by this painting, which reminded me of Da Vinci’s Last Supper; the people surrounding Jesus are quite obviously Native American and Spanish in their ethnicity.

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We continued north, and the scenery just got better and better.

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Finally, we arrived in Taos.  As you can see, there was some kind of motorcycle event going on that weekend, and everywhere we turned, we saw and heard motorcycles.

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Taos is actually quite a small town, and we realized pretty quickly that we had seen a good part of the town when we’d stopped to stretch our legs on our way south to Santa Fe four days before.  In fact, Taos seems like a down-sized version of Santa Fe.  There is a plaza and even a hotel called La Fonda on the plaza.  There is an old street called Ledoux Street that has some galleries and historic homes, like a much smaller version of Canyon Road in Santa Fe.

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On the outskirts of Taos, a few miles south of the town, there is a church named for St. Francis, just as in Santa Fe.  This one, however, is an adobe church, and it has been painted by Georgia O’Keefe and photographed by Ansel Adams.  You can see why even in my photographs.  The way the light hits the various planes of the church’s exterior gives it a sculptural feel that goes beyond its architectural and religious aspects.


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The scenery around Taos also makes you stop and appreciate where you are:

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Despite its small size, Taos has four museums that we found well worth visiting.  Two reflected the importance of Taos as an art center.  First, on Ledoux Street, we visited what was once the home of the artist Ernest Blumenschein[1] and is now a museum of his works and those of his wife Mary Shepherd Greene Blumenschein and his daughter Helen Greene Blumenschein. Ernest Blumenschein was one of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists in 1915 and is considered one of those who drew other artists to Taos, making it an important art center.  Blumenschein himself was considered one of the leading artists in the Taos art community.

English: Ernest and Mary Blumenschein, New Yor...

English: Ernest and Mary Blumenschein, New York, 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’d never heard of any of the Blumenscheins before, and although their art was worth seeing, what was more interesting to me was the house itself.  It was created from what had once been a fortress surrounding the town made up of interconnecting rooms.  Over time the Blumenscheins acquired a fair number of these rooms for their home.   The rooms are all connected end to end (with a few exceptions), and it was interesting to see how the family had decorated them and turned what had been a fort into a home.


The second museum we visited was also on Ledoux Street, the Harwood Museum of Art, where we saw a really fascinating exhibit about Mabel Dodge Luhan, another person whose name was unfamiliar to me, but whose life was quite remarkable.   As described on the brochure for the exhibit, Mable Dodge Luhan (1879-1962) “brought modern art to Taos, New Mexico, putting it on the national and international maps of the avant-garde and creating a ‘Paris West’ in the American Southwest.”  Among those whom she invited to Taos were Georgia O’Keefe, D.H. Lawrence, Edward Weston, Martha Graham, and Ansel Adams.

Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Mabel Dodge Luha...

Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Mabel Dodge Luhan (1879-1962), 1934 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mabel was born in Buffalo, New York, and lived in Paris, where she met her first husband, Edward Dodge, and then in Florence, where she and her husband established a salon attended by Gertrude Stein and many other artists and writers of the early 20th century.   When she and her husband returned to New York City, they established another salon and became instrumental in introducing modern art to the United States in the 1910s.  Mabel left her first husband for John Reed (subject of the movie Reds) in 1913, and in 1915 she established the Elizabeth Duncan [sister of Isadora] School of Dance in Croton-on-Hudson, New York (where 50 years later I would go to a music and arts camp).

English: John Reed, American journalist and ra...

English: John Reed, American journalist and radical political activist, c. 1917. Portrait published in USA prior to 1923, public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mabel then met her second husband, Maurice Sterne, and spent the summer of 1915 with him in Provincetown (a town I know well, having visited there every year since I was ten years old).  She and Sterne married in 1917 in Peekskill, New York (where my husband and I were married just about 60 years later and almost 40 years ago).  Shortly after, Mabel and Maurice moved to Taos, where she lived for most of the rest of her life.  She married her third husband, Tony Luhan, in 1923, and that relationship seemed to endure for the remainder of her life.  She died in 1962 and is buried in Taos.

I was tickled by the number of geographic parallels Mabel and I shared (Croton, Provincetown, Peekskill), and the exhibit was very effectively organized to show the impact she had on Taos by displaying works of the artists she drew to Taos and various quotations and other writings by or about Mabel and her role in the Taos art community.

In the other two museums we visited we learned more about the general history and culture of the region.  First, at the Kit Carson Home & Museum, we learned something about the real man behind the myth of Kit Carson (1809-1868).  Although he is best known for his role as a trapper and scout who helped with the exploration of the American West, he was also a family man.  He was married three times, each time to a Native American woman.  His first wife, with whom he had two daughters, died; his second marriage did not last; his third marriage to Josefa in Taos lasted until his death.  With Josefa he had eight children; Josefa died in 1868 giving birth to the eighth, and Kit died just a month later.

Christopher 'Kit' Carson (1809-1868), American...

Christopher ‘Kit’ Carson (1809-1868), American explorer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although Kit Carson is known as someone who fought in many battles against the Indians, he also served as an agent for the Native Americans in the Taos area. However, he is known for leading the relocation of the Navajo people from Arizona to New Mexico at Bosque Redondo.  I found this description of that event and Carson’s role in it quite disturbing:

Although his orders were to capture women and children and kill all men, Carson chose to disregard the orders.  He ultimately gained the submission of the Navajo people by destroying their food sources at Canyon de Chilly.

Escorted by U.S. troops, over 9,500 men, women and children were led on foot to Bosque Redondo, a reservation in New Mexico 400 miles from their homes.  The march was brutal and many Navajo died on The Long Walk.

Realizing the utter failure of the Bosque Redondo reservation, Carson was influential in urging Congress to grant permission to the Navajo peoples to return to their homeland in 1868.  Today there is a memorial to the Navajo people at Bosque Redondo.

[From the guide to the Kit Carson Home & Museum]

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Thus, Carson had conflicting roles and relationships with the Native American people. He married three Native American women, but he also fought to take the land from Native American people.  He led a forced relocation of the Navajo people, but then acted as their agent and argued to obtain permission for them to return to their original land.

Finally, we visited the Millicent Rogers Museum.  Millicent Rogers (1902-1953) was another name that I’d not heard before.  Her grandfather Henry Rogers founded Standard Oil with John D. Rockefeller; she herself was an artist and a collector, and she moved to Taos in 1947 in the aftermath of a relationship with Clark Gable.  She designed jewelry, and she supported the artistic careers of many Native American and Hispanic artists.  The museum not only displays her own work, but also (and primarily) the work of those local artists.  I found an exhibit comparing Native American weavings with Hispanic weavings quite interesting as it showed how the two styles influenced each other over time.  An exhibit of baskets revealed how different tribes used different basket making techniques and styles.

Decorated bowl from the ruins of the former Ho...

Decorated bowl from the ruins of the former Hopi village of , circa 1400-1625 AD; now located at the Millicent Rogers museum in Taos, New Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following photos were taken on our way to the Millicent Rogers Museum, as we started our drive north from Taos towards Colorado.

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From these four museums, I developed a perspective not only on Taos, but on art, culture, and history.  All four museums focused on how individuals can influence history and culture and effect changes in both: Carson, through his explorations and through his role in the mistreatment of Native American peoples; Blumenschein, Luhan, and Rogers through their efforts to support and encourage the creation of artistic works.  Rogers helped to preserve the local culture of the Native American and Hispanic communities in and near Taos.

I also was struck by the painful disparities that exist in this country: people who have incredible wealth and power or perhaps just one or the other, like Carson, Blumenschein, Lujan, and Rogers, and people who are poverty stricken and powerless.  People who abuse their power and people who use their power for good cause.  People who respect the diversity and cultures of others and people who believe that only they know what is right and good.

Traveling back from Taos to Denver, we again marveled at the open spaces, the gorgeous vistas, the limitless sky.  The views from the Rio Grande Bridge north of Taos are breathtaking.  Crossing through the mountains east of Fort Garland was incredibly uplifting.

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Looking back on this trip and all that we saw, especially in light of what is happening across this country, I am struck by the contrasts and incongruities that riddle our nation. This is such a beautiful country.  Everywhere you look, there are sights to inspire you and make you realize how small we are and how majestic nature is.  Everywhere you go, there are signs that we human beings recognize that beauty, that majesty, especially in the art we are inspired to create and to appreciate.

But there is also much ugliness in us, so much hate and disrespect and intolerance. There is not enough understanding of diversity; there is not enough empathy for those who live in poverty and feel powerless.  There is too much ignorance and prejudice.

In light of this weekend’s hate-filled massacre in Orlando, in light of the electoral process which has produced a candidate who promotes hate and intolerance, in light of the continuing paralysis in our government over issues like gun control and climate control and so many other critical issues, it is hard not to feel hopeless and disgusted and despair about our country.

But then I look back on my photographs and remember all that we saw and felt and learned, and I remember that people can appreciate each other and can be sensitive and tolerant.  People can be filled with awe and inspiration and love and respect.  Yes, we have much to be ashamed of in our history, but we also have much that should give us pride. We have moved forward in many ways. In my own lifetime, I’ve seen much social progress; the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the LGBT movement, and the environmental movement have all had major impacts on our society, making this a better place for all of us to live.

We can make the right decisions. Yes, too often we have chosen the wrong path. But I want to believe that we can more often do what is right—that we can live in peace, that we can love and respect one another, and that we can appreciate the beauty that surrounds us all, inside and outside.






[1] Blumenschein was born in Pittsburgh in 1874, and his father was a German immigrant.  I wondered whether his family had any Jewish roots or whether he might have crossed paths with my Schoenthal relatives in Pittsburgh, but I’ve found nothing to support either notion.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

About 45 minutes outside of Santa Fe is a true natural wonder, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.  It was not a place that we had on our original itinerary, but while in Boulder with my college friends, one of those friends suggested that we take the side trip to see this place.  She described it in ways that made it seem like something we shouldn’t miss, and she was right.  I am so grateful to her for making this suggestion.  This had to be one of the most awe-inspiring places I’d ever seen.  I will let my photographs speak for themselves, but keep in mind that these were taken with an iPhone 5s camera and that the colors and the textures are even more amazing in real life.


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My Ancestral Town: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sign for Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

Sign for Santa Fe National Historic Trail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over 160 years ago, three Jewish brothers from Gau-Algesheim, Germany, left their homeland as young men and somehow ended up on the frontier, traveling the Santa Fe Trail, bringing goods to the towns of the New Mexico territory just recently acquired by the US after the Mexican War, and eventually establishing a store on the plaza of Santa Fe: Seligman Brothers, a store that lasted over 70 years before closing in the 1920s.  One of those brothers was my great-great-grandfather, Bernard Seligman (born Bernhard Seligmann), father of my great-grandmother Evalyn (later Eval) as well as Arthur, who would become governor of New Mexico in 1930.

Santa Fe Trail around 1845 plus connecting tra...

Santa Fe Trail around 1845 plus connecting trading routes to commercial hubs and ports in the USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve written a great deal about my Seligmann ancestors—too many posts to try and provide links to here. (Just look in the Seligman category to see those posts.)  I’ve had great fortune in finding sources not only about the three Seligman brothers who came to Santa Fe, but also about their other siblings, their parents, their grandparents, their descendants, and many of their cousins.  And I’ve been especially blessed to find a number of current living descendants, including my cousin Pete Scott (grandson of Arthur Seligman), my cousin Wolfgang Seligmann, my cousin Angelika Oppenheimer, my cousin Steven Seligman, and so many others.    The Seligmann/Seligman line seems to have a strong interest in family history; perhaps this is where my own passion for genealogy comes from, my Seligman DNA.

So it should not be surprising that Santa Fe was a city I wanted to visit.  It’s a city where my family left a substantial mark and a city that left a substantial mark on them.  It’s a city with a long and rich history of its own, one of the oldest cities in the United States, and as I learned, one of the most beautiful.

My cousin Pete was born and raised in Santa Fe, and he has done a lot of research and writing about the history of the city including about our family’s history there.  He and his good friend Mike Lord have provided a wealth of information on their website Voces de Sante Fe, and Pete arranged for Mike to meet with us for one of the days that we would be spending in Santa Fe.

By the standards of most major US cities, Santa Fe is quite small.  We walked the whole plaza area many times, and most of the major sites in the city are in an area that is no bigger than about two miles square.  There are no skyscrapers, and the tallest building we saw in the central part of the city aside from the St. Francis Cathedral was our hotel, which is five stories high.

Below are various shots of the cathedral, which was built between 1869 and 1886:

St Francis Cathedral

St Francis Cathedral

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The sky over Santa Fe feels wide open, and the uniformity of the color of the buildings gives the place an aesthetic unity that is both appealing and quite unreal.

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When we met with Pete’s friend (and now our friend) Mike to learn about the history of Santa Fe, he likened Santa Fe to an adobe amusement park.  He pointed out that it was not until the 1950s that the uniform adobe look was mandated; historically there was a great deal more diversity to the architecture of the city, as you can see from this photo that Mike shared with us, dated in the 1890s.

Santa Fe 1890s

Santa Fe 1890s

For a city of this relatively small size, there is an incredible amount to see far beyond my genealogical interests.  We loved the Georgia O’Keefe Museum; not only did we get to see that her artistic style had evolved over the years and that that style had a much broader range than the works with which we were already familiar, we also learned about her fascinating life.  Having driven through the New Mexico landscape, we could understand what drew her and so many artists to this place.  Santa Fe has long been a place that has drawn artists to its light and its scenery and its independent spirit, and we enjoyed strolling through the galleries along Canyon Road and in the plaza area itself to see what today’s artists are creating.

We also enjoyed seeing the miraculous staircase in the Loretto Chapel.  It was built in the late 1870s by a carpenter who claimed he could provide a way to reach the choir loft without taking up too much space in the church’s main level.  Somehow he built it without any central support.  It’s quite fascinating to see—almost like an optical illusion.


Loretto Chapel from our hotel room

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Santa Fe’s long history was evidenced by what is claimed to be the oldest still-standing home in the US, the De Vargas Street house, as well as the first church in the US, the San Miguel Chapel.  Both date back to the early 1600s. The Spanish came to this area in the late 16th century, making it the earliest European settlement in the US west of the Mississippi River.

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oldest house in the US

oldest house in the US

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Among the earliest European settlers were what we now call Crypto Jews, that is, hidden Jews.  We went with Mike to see a very comprehensive exhibit about the Inquisition and the Crypto Jews at the New Mexico History Museum in the former Palace of Governors in Santa Fe.  When the Inquisition began in Spain in 1492, Jews were forced either to leave Spain, convert to Catholicism, or be punished, including by execution.   Some of the Jews left with Spanish colonists to go to Mexico, but because they were still within the realm of the Spanish empire, they still had to convert or face prosecution as infidels.

In the 1600s, some of those “conversos” who had gone to Mexico migrated to what would later become New Mexico, but even there they were still subject to the rules of the Inquisition.  Many, however, continued to follow Jewish laws and honor Jewish rituals, such as lighting candles on Friday nights, covering mirrors when someone died, abstaining from pork, and going to worship (at church) on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Thus, long before German Jewish merchants like my great-grandfather arrived in Santa Fe in the 19th century, there was a population of people with Jewish roots in Santa Fe and other places in New Mexico, even if they did not outwardly (or even internally) identify as Jews.

Of course, my principal historical interest was in those German Jewish merchants, the Seligmans as well as their fellow pioneers, the Spiegelbergs, the Staabs, and others.  What was Santa Fe like when they started arriving in the 1840s and 1850s?  It is hard to imagine what my great-great-grandfather and his brothers thought when they arrived in this place, having come from Germany where there were so many old and grand cities with towering cathedrals and castles.  And what did my great-great-grandmother Frances Nusbaum think when she moved from Philadelphia, itself already quite an established city, to be with her husband Bernard Seligman in Santa Fe?

English: "Arrival of the caravan at Santa...

English: “Arrival of the caravan at Santa Fe” — Copy of original lithograph ca. 1844 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike shared with us this photo of Santa Fe from 1855 that conveys just how primitive the town’s architecture was at the time that Bernard Seligman and his brothers arrived there.

Santa Fe 1855

Santa Fe 1855

And where did my ancestors live and work when they settled in this frontier town? When we were making our travel plans, I had asked Pete where we should stay in Santa Fe, whether there was a place with a connection to the Seligman history there.  He suggested La Fonda Hotel.  Although the current building was built in the 1920s, it sits on the site of the first hotel in Santa Fe, at one time called the Exchange Hotel.  The Exchange Hotel was the building on the other side of the Santa Fe Trail from Seligman Brothers on the plaza in Santa Fe.  Here is Pete’s post about La Fonda and the history of the hotels built on that site.

Old Fonda, courtesy of Pete Scott and Voces de Santa Fe

Old Fonda, courtesy of Pete Scott and Voces de Santa Fe

etching of santa fe

Etching of Santa Fe showing the Exchange Hotel and Seligman Brothers store on the Plaza

On this map dated 1912, you can see that the street to the right (east) of the Plaza running between San Francisco Street (where La Fonda and Seligman Brothers store are/were located) and Palace Avenue was then called Seligman Street.

Map of the City Plan, showing Street, Park and River Improvements Proposed to the City Planning Board.” N. L. King 1912 Thanks to Mike Lord for sending me this map.

Map of the City Plan, showing Street, Park and River Improvements Proposed to the City Planning Board.”
N. L. King
Thanks to Mike Lord for sending me this map.

Thus, we decided to stay at La Fonda.  It was a wonderful hotel, and we are very grateful to Pete for his suggestion.  From the moment I walked into the lobby, I knew that I was in a very different part of the country.

La Fonda Hotel today

La Fonda Hotel today


View from the bar on the roof of the hotel

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La Fonda lobby

La Fonda lobby

Below is the building located where Seligman Brothers’ store was once located, across the street from La Fonda:

location of Seligman's Store

location of Seligman’s Store as it looks today

I walked into the store that is currently located where Seligman Brothers’ store once stood, thinking about the fact that I was standing where my great-great-grandfather and his family had once sold dry goods to residents of the area.


Although census records indicate that the Seligmans at one point lived on Palace Avenue, there are no longer any visible signs in the city to show where Bernard Seligman and his family lived.

There is, however, a street that was named for his brother-in-law Simon Nusbaum, who had moved to Santa Fe around 1880 and lived with his sister Frances and her husband Bernard Seligman for some time before marrying and living in his own home, which sadly no longer exists.


In the New Mexico Statehouse, a quite grand and beautiful building built in 1966 and renovated in the 1990s, there is a gallery of portraits of all the governors of New Mexico from statehood in 1912 through today, and there on the wall was a portrait of my great-great-uncle, Arthur Seligman, governor from 1930 until his death in office in 1933.


Arthur Seligman portrait in State House

Arthur Seligman portrait in State House

Mike took us to see Arthur’s mud wagon in the New Mexico History Museum and drove us past the house where Arthur and his family had lived in Santa Fe.

Arthur Seligman's mud buggy

Arthur Seligman’s mud wagon

Arthur Seligman's home in Santa Fe

Arthur Seligman’s home in Santa Fe

Then he took us to Fairview Cemetery, where many of my Seligman and Nusbaum relatives are buried.



Otis Seligman, son of Arthur and Franc Seligman


William Seligman, son of Adolf Seligman, and his wife Mae Leeper



James Seligman, my great-grandmother’s brother and son of Bernard Seligman and Frances Nusbaum


Beatrice Seligman, daughter of James Seligman


Ruth V.B. Seligman, wife of James Seligman


Simon Nusbaum, son of John Nusbaum, my 3x-great-grandfather and brother of Frances Nusbaum Seligman


Dora Nusbaum, Simon’s wife; their son John Bernard Nusbaum and his wife Esther Maltby


Nelle Nusbaum Healy, daughter of Simon Nusbaum


Although there was nothing on any of these stones to indicate that these were the graves of Jewish people, I left a stone on many of them, as is Jewish custom when visiting a grave to mark that someone was there to remember them.

Thus, our days in Santa Fe were a wonderful blend of history, art, architecture, and family history.  They call New Mexico the Land of Enchantment, and Santa Fe is an enchanting place even if you have no family ties to the place.  But for me, it was more than that.  Although at times it was hard to imagine what is now very much a tourist-filled place as the old settlement of native Americans, Spanish and Mexican settlers, and then later Anglo settlers like my ancestor, when I could time-travel in my mind to the years when my great-great-grandparents and their children roamed those same streets around the plaza, it was quite magical, and yes, enchanting.


Thoughts While Driving from Denver to Santa Fe:  A Northeasterner’s View of the Southwest

Before this trip, I’d never been to Colorado or New Mexico before.  I’d never seen the Rocky Mountains, and although I had been to Arizona, it was almost 20 years ago, and I didn’t get the same perspective that I had this time.  This time I found myself truly marveling at the landscape, the mountains, the desert, the overall expanse of land that exists in so much of the United States.

After all, I am a Northeasterner: born in the Bronx, raised in the suburbs of NYC, and a resident of New England since I was eighteen years old.  I’ve never lived in the country; I’ve never lived more than 90 miles from a major metropolitan area.  I now live a few miles from Springfield, Masschusetts, and about 25 miles from Hartford, Connecticut.  Although Springfield and Hartford aren’t huge cities, they are densely populated urban areas without much open space.

It’s true that from our home we can drive thirty minutes or less and be in fairly rural places—farms are nearby, and the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire are just two hours away.  But even in those places, you don’t see miles and miles of empty road surrounded by undeveloped land with barely a sign or gas station or store to be seen.

So driving through Colorado and especially New Mexico was eye-opening for me.  We took I-25 south from Denver and headed to New Mexico.  Here we were on an interstate highway, the speed limit 75 miles an hour, and within a short distance from Denver, we began to see mountains.  I snapped photo after photo as we sped by, trying to capture the Rocky Mountains from the car.

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Fortunately, we decided not to take I-25 all the way to Santa Fe, but stopped overnight in Raton, New Mexico, the first town over the state line from Colorado, about three hours south of Denver.  It was not a scenic place.  We stayed in a Best Western right off the highway, and the highest rated restaurant in town on TripAdvisor and Yelp was the place right in the Best Western.  It was not good.  But it was edible.   There was no nightlife in Raton, so we rose early to get started on the rest of our journey.

Before we left Raton, however, I’d spotted a brochure for “Historic Raton” in the motel lobby and asked the person at the front desk how to get there.  She very pleasantly gave me directions, though I have to think she wondered why I wanted to see the town.  The town consisted of two parallel streets of buildings (with two or three cross streets) about maybe a quarter mile long.  And almost all the buildings were empty, boarded up, out of business.  It was depressing.



downtown raton

Downtown Raton

But it was important for us to see.  This was a town that had once been an important mining town, according to the brochure.  Even more recently those stores and building must have been occupied.  What did the people who lived in Raton now do for work, besides work at the Best Western and the few fast food places near the highway?  Is this why so many people in this country feel so disenfranchised, so angry? Sure, there is poverty in all kinds of places all over the country.  Springfield itself has a large population of people who are unemployed or underemployed, living in desperate conditions.  But a whole town of almost all empty buildings? What must it be like to live in such a place?

We left Raton with a sense of gratitude for all that we have and with a sense of embarrassment that we generally take so much for granted.

And then we ventured on towards Santa Fe.  This time we took Route 64, a two-lane road running southwest into New Mexico.  For the first forty miles or so, the road ran straight and flat through miles and miles of ranch land.  The endless fields of dry beige and green grass, speckled here and there with cattle, were mesmerizing.  We both just kept saying, “This is incredible! Look at how much land there is.”  I wish my little iPhone camera could capture the scope of open land we saw.  There were mountains in the distance, but overall the land was flat and wide as far as we could see.

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Then we entered the Cimarron Canyon area, and the terrain suddenly changed.  We were surrounded on both sides by walls of tall evergreen trees and then incredible stone formations above and in front of us as we followed the winding roads up and down and up and down the terrain.  It was like going from a huge empty room into a tiny dark hallway that twisted and turned so that you couldn’t see where it would end.  And it was gorgeous.  It was truly gorgeous.

Entering Cimarron Canyon

Entering Cimarron Canyon

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And then it got better.  We passed through the canyon and emerged at the top of hill overlooking the Eagle Nest area with a large blue lake below us to the left and the mountains shadowing us to our right.  In just over sixty miles we had seen three very different types of terrain.  And barely a town or even many cars.  Who owned all those ranches? Who worked on them? Where did they live? We didn’t know.

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From Eagle Nest we drove another thirty miles to Taos, passing through more open land and more mountain roads.  We stopped briefly in Taos to stretch our legs, but we knew we were coming back there after our stay in Santa Fe, so we did not take the time to look around.

Quick stop in Taos

Quick stop in Taos

After following Route 64 for about 100 miles (and for just over two hours), we picked up Route 68 in Taos to take the “low road” or “river road” to Santa Fe.  The first portion of Route 68 was awe-inspiring as we looked down at the Rio Grande and climbed high and twisted roads over the mountains and back down again.  In front of us and to our left we could see the white snow-covered peaks of the mountains while to our right we could see the deep gorge that the Rio Grande had carved into the land around it.

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Finally, after passing through the rather non-scenic section of Route 68 near Espinola, we arrived in Santa Fe by lunch time.  And there we settled for the next four days, having now seen both how beautiful and inspirational our country can be and also how sad and empty it can be.



Coming Back Soon

As our vacation winds down, I am looking backwards at all I’ve seen and done and looking forward to writing about it.  Here’s a sneak preview of our adventures in Colorado and New Mexico.

First, I spent four days with three of my best friends in the world.  We met our freshman year in college and spent four years living in the same dorms, talking, laughing, debating, consoling, sharing, and confiding in each other.  Although it was hard to get together in the years we were all raising families, in the last ten years or so we have gotten together every couple of years.  We got together this time in Boulder, Colorado, where one of my friends now lives.  It was my first time in the Rockies, and we hiked and walked all over Boulder, ate great food, and enjoyed good company and beautiful views.  And as if not one day had passed since we graduated over 40 years ago, we talked and laughed and debated and consoled and shared and confided in each other.






Then I met up with my husband at the Denver airport, and we began our travels together.  We spent about 24 hours in Denver, and in that time we explored downtown Denver and then explored my genealogical roots in the city where my paternal grandmother spent much of her childhood. More on that to come.



From Denver we drove all the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico, stopping in Raton, New Mexico, for a night, and arriving in Santa Fe the next day by lunch time.  I had lots of thoughts during that drive as we observed a part of the United States I’d never seen before, some of it incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring and other parts that made me appreciate the struggles that so many Americans experience day to day.  More on that to come as well.




And then we got to Santa Fe, the main destination of our trip.  Santa Fe is a city with an incredibly long and rich history, including my Seligman family’s own personal history there, about which I’ve written extensively.  Being in this place that had been the home of my great-great-grandfather and his family—and where they had contributed so much to its commercial and political development—-was very moving and exciting.  And then there is the art, the glorious landscapes, the architecture.




The last leg of our trip took us to Taos where I again was inspired to think about the history of this country as well as its amazing landscapes and vistas.  It’s no wonder that so many artists were inspired by the scenery and the light and the skies over New Mexico.



I will be writing about the trip in the days that follow, and then I will return to the story of my family.  I have much to do after all these days away from research and from blogging.  I have missed the work and my family, my cats, and my friends, but as always, it’s good to get a break, some new perspectives, and a chance to reflect on all the wonders that life brings.

Photo Analysis: Why You Should Ask an Expert

Sometimes you need to hire an expert to help with hard questions.  With the help of the genealogy village—my fellow bloggers and the members of the various Facebook groups and JewishGen—I have been able to find and learn more than I ever imagined.  But when it came to some of those mystery photos that bewildered and frustrated me, I decided it was time to find an expert, and the expert who came highly recommended—for good reason—is Ava Cohn, a/k/a Sherlock Cohn, the Photo Genealogist.

I had originally sent Ava this photo of my grandfather Isadore Goldschlager because I was curious about identifying the other people in the photograph.

Isadore Goldschlager and unknown others

Isadore Goldschlager and unknown others

But Ava and I discussed it, and she concluded that without more information and more photographs, it would be impossible to make much progress identifying total strangers who lived over a hundred years ago. I really appreciated Ava’s honesty, and when she asked if I had any other photographs that might be more amenable to her analysis, I looked back to consider some other options.

I sent her this photograph from Fred Michel’s album, which I had discussed here and here and here, but about which I remained somewhat mystified.

Uncle Adolf and Grandmother Gau Algesheim

I had concluded tentatively from my own analysis and comparison to other photographs and the inscriptions on the photograph that the older woman was probably my three-times great-grandmother Babetta Schoenfeld Seligmann, and the two men labeled Onkel Adolf and Onkel Jakob were probably Babetta’s sons, Adolf and James, brothers of my great-great grandfather Bernard Seligman.  Adolf, like my great-great-grandfather Bernard, had left Germany and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and James had moved to Great Britain.  I had learned that James was not a common name for boys in Germany in the 19th century so it was likely that he was born Jakob and adopted the name James after emigrating.  Also, my cousin Lotte, who had met James Seligman when she was a young girl, thought that “Onkel Jakob” resembled the man she remembered as James Seligman.

But I was not at all sure who the two younger women were, especially the woman to the left in the photograph.  I’d asked on the blog if anyone could read the inscription near her picture, but no one was certain what it said.  The woman in the center appeared to be labeled Anna Oppenheimer, but I couldn’t understand why she would be in the photo.  Anna Oppenheimer was the daughter of Pauline Seligmann and Maier Oppenheimer and the granddaughter of Babetta.  But why of all the grandchildren would only she be in this photograph, especially since her mother was not included, just two of her uncles?

Ava studied the photograph as well as my blog posts, my family tree for the Seligmann family, and other photographs of the Seligmann family, and then sent me a detailed and thorough analysis of her own conclusions, which I found well-founded, fascinating, and persuasive.  With her permission, I am sharing some of her report.

I thought Ava’s analysis of the overall relationships among those in the photograph based on traditional posing in studio photographs of families was quite interesting:

In the mystery photograph, the family is posed in a typical family grouping of five individuals seated and standing around a large library table upon which is a dog, perhaps the family pet. The photo has been taken in a photographer’s studio with an appropriate backdrop for the time period. The two individuals on the left hand side appear to be a married couple while the elderly woman seated on the right could be mother or grandmother to one or more of the individuals in the photo. The man on the right, probably a son and the young woman in the center holding the dog could be related but are not married to each other.

Ava concluded that the photograph was taken in 1896-1897.  Here is part of the reasoning for her conclusion:

To establish a year for the photograph, I looked at the clothing worn. Since what we know of the family’s comfortable economic status, it is logical that they are wearing up-to-date fashions, for the most part. The elderly woman, as is customary for many older women, is not as fashionable as the two younger women. Her dress, with multiple small buttons down the bodice, is a typical style of the 1880s as is her bonnet. The other two women are wearing clothing from the latter half of the1890s, post 1895. By this point in time the enormous leg-o-mutton sleeves of the 1893-1895 time period have become less full with the vestige of fullness above the elbow.  The man on the left is wearing a high Imperial collar, common in the 1890s.

Ava agreed that it was reasonable to conclude that the elderly woman labeled “Grossmutter Gau Algesheim” was Babetta Schoenfeld Seligmann and that the man on the right, labeled Onkel Adolf, was her son Adolf Seligman, brother of Bernard and a resident of Santa Fe in the 1890s.  At that time Adolf was in his fifties (born in 1843) and unmarried.  Ava thought that the man labeled Onkel Adolf in the photo appeared to be in his mid-fifties. Ava did not think the woman in the center was Adolf’s wife, Lucy, since Lucy would have been only about fourteen in the mid-1890s and did not marry Adolf until 1902.


Onkle Adolf

Rather, Ava opined that the woman in the center was in fact Anna Oppenheimer as labeled.  She would have been nineteen or twenty in 1896-1897:

It appears that she is wearing a wedding or engagement ring in the photograph. The writer of the inscription has used Anna’s maiden name, Oppenheimer, as opposed to her married name, Anna Kaufman, so, along with the absence of Max Kaufman in the photograph, I believe that this photo was taken before her marriage to Max. Again, having a marriage certificate for Anna and Max could confirm why the writer used Anna’s maiden name here instead of her married name.

Unfortunately, I do not have a marriage record for Anna, and there is no record of any children born to her and her husband Max Kaufman so it is impossible to determine when exactly they married.

Anna Oppenheimer maybe

That left the two remaining people in the photograph: Onkel Jakob and the woman sitting on the left side of the picture whose name I could not decipher in the inscription.  Ava agreed that “Onkel Jakob” was James Seligman. So who was the other woman?

Ava believes that she was James/Jakob Seligman’s wife, Henrietta Walker Templeton, who was born in England in 1866 and married James Seligman in London in October 1887.  Ava read the inscription next to the woman to be “Tante Heni:”

Tante Glori


Heni is a nickname for Henrietta and clearly shows the relationship with the writer of the inscription because of the informal use of a nickname. Tante (Aunt) could be one by marriage not necessarily by blood. In the mystery photo Heni appears to be about age 30-31.

In addition, Ava interpreted the posing as indicative of a marital relationship between Jakob and the woman seated in front of him, saying, “The manner in which he is posed with his arm around the back of Heni’s chair suggests their relationship.”

This made perfect sense to me.  Ava speculated that perhaps James and Henrietta had come to Gau-Algesheim to celebrate their tenth anniversary with the Seligmann family, which would have been in 1897.  I also recalled that Lotte had mentioned in an email dated July 6, 2015, that James and his English wife (whom Lotte referred to as Hedy) had visited “the continent” once.  Lotte was born in 1921, so would not remember a visit in the 1890s, but the fact that James and his wife visited during Lotte’s lifetime in Germany makes it even more likely that they had in fact visited on earlier occasions.  Lotte also said that James returned after Henrietta’s death in 1928.

Ava even analyzed the dog in the photo.

Given that the same dog appears in both the mystery photograph and the one of Bettina Arnfeld nee Seligmann (born 1875), I thought I’d include that here. It is clearly the same dog. I had considered that the dog may have belonged to the photographer but given how calm he/she appears in the photographs, I believe he was a family pet. The photo of Bettina was taken roughly 3 years after this one, circa 1900. The photo of Bettina may have been an engagement picture as she and Adolf Arnfeld married in 1900.

Bettina Arnfeld nee Seligmann

Bettina Arnfeld nee Seligmann

Anna Oppenheimer maybe

Bettina Seligmann Arnfeld was the daughter of Hyronimus Seligmann, Babetta’s son and brother of Bernard, Adolf, and James, among others.  She was Anna Oppenheimer’s first cousin.  So whose dog was it? Certainly not James or Adolf since neither lived in Germany.  Perhaps the dog belonged to Babetta? She is the only common link between the two young women pictured with the dog.  Babetta died 1899; if Ava is correct and the photograph of Bettina was taken in 1900, perhaps Bettina inherited the dog from her grandmother?

I was quite satisfied and persuaded by Ava’s analysis of the family photograph.  But she didn’t stop there.  I had also supplied her with additional photographs to help with her analysis of the family photograph.  For example, I sent her this one, which I believed was a photograph of Babetta as a young woman.

Uncertain see ava report

I had based that conclusion on the fact that another photograph that I paired with the one of the woman was labeled Grossvatter and thus presumably was my three-times great-grandfather Moritz Seligmann.

Courtesy of the Family of Fred and Ilse Michel

Courtesy of the Family of Fred and Ilse Michel

But Ava disagreed about the identity of the young woman:

I did a comparison of the older photograph of a young woman that you supplied. This photograph is roughly dated circa 1859-1861 based on clothing and hairstyle as well as the type of image, most probably a daguerreotype popular in the 1850s and very early 1860s. The young woman appears to be in her teens and no more than 20 years of age. This eliminates the possibility that this earlier likeness is Babetta who would have been 49-51 years old. But there is a possibility given the provenance of the photograph and the resemblance to Babetta that this is one of her daughters, Pauline or Mathilde. It is unlikely to be her niece/stepdaughter, Caroline. Given that the photo was obtained from the Michel descendants, Pauline is the most likely candidate. Further research, documentation and comparison photographs would be needed to make a positive identification. 

Although I was quite disappointed to think that this was not Babetta, the more I considered Ava’s analysis and the more I looked at the photograph of the young woman and the one of Moritz, the more I realized my error.  The frames on the two photographs are quite different as is the style and the posing.  I had just jumped to the conclusion that because Suzanne had sent these two photographs in the same email that they were of a couple.  That’s why sometimes you need to hire an expert!

Finally, Ava also did an analysis of the wonderful photograph that my cousin Davita had sent of a man she said was her grandfather, Adolf Seligman, and his favorite sister, Minnie, riding camels in Egypt:

gramdfather Adolph and great aunt Minnie_rev

I was quite surprised but also persuaded by what Ava had to say about the identity of the people in this photograph; she is quite certain that the woman is in fact Henrietta Walker Templeton, and the more I studied the photograph, the more I agreed.

The Egypt photo is roughly dated based on her suit and hat as being taken in 1910. That would make Heni 44 years old. Her face has aged from the earlier photo and she’s put on a bit of weight, not uncommon approaching middle age.  She is very stylish in the 1897 photo and likewise in the 1910 one. In both, she has chosen an up-to-date suit rather than a dress. Her dark hair is the same style. Notice the “dip” in her bangs on the right side of her forehead. It’s the same as the earlier photo.  Her eyebrows, nose and mouth are the same as is the overall attitude captured by the photographer.

Tante Heni

Tante Heni


Minnie Seligmann

After I read Ava’s comment, I checked the emails that Lotte had sent me and saw that she had described James’ wife as “big and pompous.”  The woman Ava concluded was Henrietta certainly does have a certain air of superiority in both of the photographs.

Also, I have absolutely no record of any kind supporting the existence of a Seligmann sister named Minnie, so already had had questions about Davita’s description. Thus, I was open to the idea that it was not Minnie, but someone else.  I hadn’t considered Henrietta since I believed that the man was Adolf, as Davita said.  Why would Henrietta from England be riding a camel in Egypt with her brother-in-law Adolf, who lived in Santa Fe?

But Ava raised a question as to whether this was in fact Adolf. If the photograph was taken in 1910, why would Adolf, who had married in 1902 and had three children by 1910, be traveling to Egypt? The more I looked at the earlier photographs of Adolf and Jakob/James, the more I became convinced that the man on the camel is in fact James, not Adolf.  Ava also agreed that it seems quite likely that it is James, not Adolf, in the photograph, but that without more information, we can’t be entirely sure, especially since Davita, the source of the Egypt photograph, believed that it was her grandfather Adolf. (Adolf died before Davita was born, so she had never met him in person and only had this one photograph that she had been told was of her grandfather.)

Adolph Seligman in Egypt

James or Adolf?

Onkel Jakob

James Seligman

Onkle Adolf

Adolf Seligman

Thus, although without more photographs and/or records we cannot be 100% certain, I am persuaded that Ava’s conclusions are correct about the likely identities of the people in the group photograph, the portrait of the young woman, and the Egypt photograph.

It was well worth the fee I paid to have the benefit of Ava’s expertise.  I highly recommend her to anyone who has questions about an old photograph.  If you are interested, you can email Ava at Sherlock.cohn@comcast.net or check out her website at http://sherlockcohn.com/  You will probably have to wait quite a while because her services are very much in demand and she devotes a great deal of time to each project, but it will be worth the wait.

[I was not paid or required by my contract with Ava to advertise her services; I am writing this blog post as a service to others who might be interested.]






Some Stories from Santa Fe

While I have been researching the Dreyfuss clan and all their heartaches, a few other items have come up in my research that are worth blogging about before I move on to the last line of the Nusbaum clan (and more heartache).  I have a number of exciting discoveries relating to my Seligman relatives, some new cousins, some new stories, and some DNA work to write about.  Today I want to share two stories that my cousin Pete, the grandson of Arthur Seligman and great-grandnephew of Simon Nusbaum, shared with me from the website to which he contributes, Voces de Santa Fe.

The first is a story about Simon Nusbaum, the son of John Nusbaum and brother of Frances Nusbaum, our mutual ancestors.  Simon was my great-great-granduncle, the one who settled in Santa Fe after years in Peoria, and who became the postmaster there and the deputy treasurer of the New Mexico territory.  Pete’s story is about Simon and the house that he owned and its history.

Santa Fe New Mexican May 26, 1986

Santa Fe New Mexican May 26, 1986

See also Voces de Santa fe here.

It’s very sad to me that the house no longer exists, but I am happy to report that Nusbaum Street does still exist.  One more thing to add to my travel plans: a walk down Nusbaum Street.

Pete’s second story is about his grandfather Arthur Seligman, my great-granduncle.  When Arthur was the governor of New Mexico, the elevator that goes into the depths of Carlsbad Caverns National Park was completed, and the governor was referred to as the “father of the elevator.”  Arthur’s story tells the story behind this remarkable engineering accomplishment and our ancestor’s role in implementing it.

Here is a photograph from Pete’s personal collection of the day that the elevator was officially opened.  Governor Seligman is in the front row wearing a black coat and a bow tie. To his right is his wife, Mrs. Franc E. Seligman; to his left is his step-daughter, Richie Seligman (Mrs. John March); Harold Albright, Director of the NPS; Wilbur Lyman, Secretary of Interior; and US Senator, Bronson Cutting.

Courtesy of Arthur "Pete" Scott

Courtesy of Arthur “Pete” Scott

The link below will take you to the whole article that Pete wrote about this event and the elevator.


Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you, Pete, for sharing these pictures and stories with me and with my readers.




The Grandchildren of John and Jeanette Nusbaum: First Cousins, Four Times Removed

When I last wrote about the direct descendants of my three-times great-grandparents, John and Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum, I left off saying that I would return to their surviving grandchildren in a later post.  Having already written about the children of their daughter Frances Nusbaum Seligman, Eva, James, and Arthur, there were four other grandchildren to discuss: the two children of Gustavus and Miriam Nusbaum Josephs, Florence and Jean, and the two children of Simon and Dora Rutledge Nusbaum, Nellie Rogers and John Bernard Nusbaum.  I was hoping that I’d be able to find answers to some remaining questions before posting, but I’ve run into a few tough ones.

Florence Joseph’s story is still incomplete as I hit a brick wall around 1925, but I will share what I do know.  Florence married Louis Siegel in 1903 when she was 23 years old.  Louis, the son of Abraham Siegel and Minnie Rosenthal, was born in Philadelphia on January 11, 1870, making him ten years older than Florence.  In 1910, Florence and Louis were living in New York City, and Louis was working as a traveling salesman, selling athletic goods.

Sometime thereafter, Louis must have become ill.  He died on September 30, 1915, at the State Hospital for the Insane in Norristown, Pennsylvania.  According to his death certificate, he had been ill for three years and had been hospitalized since November 19, 1913.  His cause of death was general paralysis of the insane or paresis.  He was only 43 years old.

Although I only have one document to support this, it appears that in 1913, Florence and Louis had had a child, a daughter Marion.  On the 1920 census, Florence Siegel was living with her father Gustavus Josephs and her brother Jean Josephs, both of whom were working at a mill as manufacturers, presumably of fabrics, as discussed in an earlier post.  Included in the household was a seven year old girl named Marion Siegel.  Although she is described as the daughter of the head of household, it seems apparent that Marion was Florence’s daughter, given her age and her surname.

Gustavus Josephs 1920 census

When her father Gustavus died in May 1924, Florence continued to live in the home at 2020 North Park Avenue; she is listed as a dressmaker in the 1925 Philadelphia directory residing at that address.  Unfortunately, that is the last document I have for Florence.  I cannot find a marriage record or a death record for her, nor can I find any definitive document for her daughter Marion.

There were two other Marion Siegels in the Philadelphia area, but after tracing them both, I had to accept that neither was the right Marion.  One, Marion Siegele, even had a mother named Florence, but that Florence was married to Harry Siegele and that Marion was born in 1918.  The second Marion Siegel seemed more likely, but I was able to find her parents and brother, and they were again not Florence and Louis Siegel.  Maybe my Marion died outside of Pennsylvania before 1930 (she would have been about 17 years old at the time of the census), maybe her mother remarried and Marion took the new husband’s surname.  But I have searched for every Florence and Marion living together as mother and daughter on the 1930 census, and I’ve come up empty.

In searching for Florence and Marion Siegel, however, I did find this obituary of Gustavus Josephs that reveals more about his military service in the Civil War as a musician:

Philadelphia Inquirer May 25, 1924 p. 18

Philadelphia Inquirer May 25, 1924 p. 18

Although I did hit some roadblocks researching Florence, I had better luck with her brother Jean.  Jean was much younger than his sister Florence.  He was born in 1893 and presumably named for his recently deceased grandfather, John Nusbaum.  In fact, Jean’s middle initial is N, perhaps for Nusbaum.  As noted above, Jean worked with his father Gustavus as a mill owner and listed himself as a self-employed manufacturer on his World War I draft registration in 1917.  He married Ruth Breidenbach on March 4, 1920.  Ruth was the daughter of Lazarus and Sophia Breidenback, and her father was an engraver in Philadelphia.  Ruth was born on March 11, 1900, in Pennsylvania.

By 1930, Ruth and Jean had two children, Janet and Jean, Jr.  Jean was still a manufacturer, and the census report for 1930 is more specific as to what he was manufacturing: draperies.  The family was living at 1531 Lindley Avenue in Philadelphia.  The following year Jean and Ruth had a third child, Jay.

In 1940, Jean and Ruth were still living at 1531 Lindley with their three children, and Jean’s occupation was recorded as general manager, textile manufacturer.  Less than a year later, on February 4, 1941, Jean Josephs died from an intestinal obstruction and peritonitis.  He was 47 years old, and his children were still living at home.  Jean’s widow Ruth was 40 years old

Ruth remarried in 1946.  Just six years later, Ruth was widowed once again when her second husband died from heart failure at age 47 on October 3, 1952.  By that time her children were grown.

As for the two children of Simon and Dora Nusbaum, Nellie Rogers Nusbaum was Dora’s daughter from her first marriage.  In about 1921, Nellie married Ellis B. Healy, who owned the Santa Fe Book and Stationery Company.  Nellie’s life was cut short on May 9, 1932, when she died giving birth to her daughter.

simon nusbaum daughter obit

The Santa Fe New Mexican, May 9, 1932

In 1940, Nellie’s widower Ellis and her young daughter were living in Santa Fe with a servant and a lodger.  Ellis listed his occupation as an office supply merchant.  By 1942, Ellis must have remarried as he is listed as “Healy EB (Mildred)” in the 1942 Santa Fe directory, indicating that he had a wife named Mildred.  He still owned the Santa Fe Book and Stationery Company.  He and Mildred were still listed together in 1960.

Although Nellie was not the biological child of Simon Nusbaum, and I do not know whether he ever adopted her legally as she was still listed as his stepdaughter on the 1920 census, she must have adopted his name since her name on her headstone is Nellie Nusbaum Healy.  She is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Santa Fe.

Simon and Dora’s other child, John Bernard Nusbaum, was only sixteen when his father died in 1921.   In 1930, he married Esther Maltby.  They settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where John was the vice-president of the Albuquerque Stationery Company.   John was listed as the manager of the stationery store in 1940 and continued to be associated with the company at least as late as 1954.  John and Esther had two daughters.  John died on July 25, 1976, in Albuquerque, but is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Santa Fe where both of his parents are buried.  His wife Esther died in 2002 and is buried there as well.  I have tried contacting some of their descendants, but have not had any responses.

So I am going to focus on finding a descendant of these four cousins of mine in order to fill in some of the gaps and tie up those loose ends.




The Struggles of My Three-times Great-grandparents in the 1870s

The 1870s were not an easy decade for my three-times great-grandparents, John and Jeanette Nusbaum.  Like Jeanette’s sisters Caroline and Mathilde and their families, the Nusbaums confronted some of the effects of the economic depression affecting the country.[1]

By 1870 John and Jeanette only had two children living at home with them, Miriam, now 12, and Lottie, who was seven.  Adolphus, Simon, and Julius, their three sons, were all living in Peoria, and Frances was married and living in Santa Fe with her husband Bernard Seligman and their three children, Eva, my great-grandmother, James, and Minnie.  In 1871, Frances and Bernard’s son Arthur was born, giving John and Jeanette a fourth grandchild.[2]

In 1872, Adolphus married Fannie Fox in Laporte, Indiana, but they settled together in Peoria.  Until at least 1873, Adolphus and his brother Simon remained proprietors of the Union Mill Distillery, and their younger brother Julius continued to work as a clerk in their father’s store in Peoria.

But something changed by 1876, and in the Peoria directory for that year, although Adolphus was still listed as a distiller and Julius is still a clerk at John Nusbaum’s store, Simon was now in a different firm, Kingsland and Nusbaum, a firm engaged in the wholesale and commercial sales of liquor.  Had there been a falling out between Simon and Adolphus, or had Simon just formed a separate business to distribute the liquor distilled by his brother’s company?

As I started studying the occupations of the younger generation of men in the extended Nusbaum-Dreyfuss-Simon clan, I was struck by the fact that whereas the older generation was involved primarily in the sale of clothing and other “dry goods,” the younger generation was definitely more into “wet goods.”  Albert Nusbaum, Leman Simon, and Adolphus and Simon Nusbaum were all now in the liquor trade.  In addition, Moses Simon ended up in the liquor business as well.  Was this a sign of the times? Were people drinking more because of the economic conditions, thus making this an attractive business for the entrepreneurial cousins?  Or was it more that once one cousin had success, the others figured they’d go into that line of business as well?

Apparently, Peoria was once known as the “Whiskey Capital of the World” and had over 24 breweries and 73 distilleries during the period between 1837 and 1919.  The 1860s and 1870s were the high point of Peoria’s liquor production and distribution, so it is not surprising that Adolphus and Simon became involved in the liquor business.  As for Albert, Leman, and Moses, it would appear that they followed the trend that the Nusbaum brothers had started.  Interestingly, this is also a period when the movement for prohibition of alcohol also started gaining momentum, making the liquor business a risky venture in the long term.  But for the 1870s, it might have been a wise business move.

The three Nusbaum brothers remained in Peoria throughout the 1870s, although by 1880, as we will see, Simon had relocated. Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, their parents must have been having some problems.  The 1877 census had John listed as living at the same address at 943 North 6th Street in Philadelphia, but without an occupation.  John was now 63 years old, and at first I thought that he had simply retired.  But the 1877 Peoria directory also had a listing for John Nusbaum, and this is the first time that it includes a residential listing.  Was this a mistake? Or was John spending part of his time in Peoria? Had John’s Philadelphia store closed?

Perhaps these two news clippings from 1878 can shed some light on what was going on:

John Nusbaum bankrupt Aug 23 1878 Phil Times p 4

Philadelphia Times, August 23, 1878, p. 4

John N bankruptcy October 1878 p 1

Philadelphia Times October 31, 1878 p. 1

John was bankrupt, in debt for $20,000, and his principal creditors included two of his relatives: his son Julius, who was working at the Peoria store, and his sister-in-law Rose, widow of his brother Leopold, who had moved to Lewistown, Pennsylvania, after living with John and Jeanette during the period after Leopold died in 1866.  The bankruptcy settlement allowed John to pay them a quarter of what he owed them.

I wish I could find out more about this, and perhaps there is some way of finding some documents about the bankruptcy proceedings.  If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.  It just seems odd that Julius, who was working in his father’s store in Peoria, was owed almost $3500.  And how did John become indebted to his widowed sister-in-law for over $3500? But obviously John was having financial problems, another family member feeling the impact from the economic crisis of the 1870s.

John was again listed without an occupation in the 1879 Philadelphia directory, and although he is listed as being in the dry goods business again in the 1880 Philadelphia directory, there also appears to be something else going on.  On the 1880 US census, John Nusbaum is listed as living in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his daughter Frances Nusbaum Seligman and her family.  John’s son and Frances’ brother Simon is also living with the family (as is Bernard’s brother Adolph).  John’s occupation is described as “retired merchant,” and Simon is a bookkeeper.  Why did Simon leave Peoria? What had happened to his liquor business? And what was John doing in Santa Fe…without his wife?

Seligman and Nusbaums on 1880 US census santa fe

John and Simon Nusbaum with Bernard and Frances Seligman in Santa Fe 1880 US census

Jeanette was not with John nor were their two younger daughters. Rather, Jeanette, along with her youngest daughter Lottie, was listed in the 1880 census living at her other daughter Miriam’s house at 1120 Master Street in Philadelphia.  Miriam had married Gustav Josephs on March 20, 1878.  Gustav was listed as being in the handkerchief business in the 1880 Philadelphia directory and in the embroidery business on the 1880 census, so my guess is he either sold or made embroidered handkerchiefs at that time.  Gustav and Miriam had had a son Milton, who was born on December 28, 1878.  Yes, I realize that that means that Milton was born just nine months after his parents were married, but that certainly happens.  These are dates from the family bible, and while perhaps not as official as a government record, for my money and from my experience, the family bible has proven to be at least as reliable if not more reliable than many government records.

So Jeanette was in Philadelphia while John was in Santa Fe.   Since John was retired, it does not appear that this was a business decision.  Did the experience of bankruptcy lead him to leave Philadelphia for some time? Was there tension between Jeanette and John due to financial stress?

Jeanette Nusbaum 1880 US census in Philadelphia

Jeanette Nusbaum 1880 US census in Philadelphia

I do not know, but I do know that by 1881, John was back in Philadelphia where he would live the remainder of his days.  In 1881 he also was living at 1120 Master Street and thus presumably reunited with Jeanette, living in the home of Miriam and her husband Gustav.

Gustav and Miriam had had a second child, Florence, born on July 28, 1880, but just a few months later, the family suffered a sad loss. On November 17, 1880, Gustav and Miriam’s toddler son Milton died from marasmus.  Marasmus is a severe form of malnutrition caused by a lack of protein and calories.  Poor little Milton essentially starved to death.  He was one month short of his second birthday.  Today this is something we think of as a third world problem, but here he was, the grandson of a once-successful merchant, living in one of the biggest cities in the US at the time.  It’s hard to imagine how this could have happened.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please see my next post here.  Milton did not die from marasmus, but from pneumonia.

Milton Joseph on the Federal Mortality Schedule 1880

Milton Joseph (third from bottom) on the Federal Mortality Schedule 1880

Thus, the 1870s were a tough decade for my three-times great-grandparents, both personally and professionally. By 1880 John had also lost another sibling in addition to Leopold, who had died in 1866, and Isaac, who had died in 1870.  But that will wait for another post.

But not all the news was bad news.  Two more of their children had married, Adolphus and Miriam, and John and Jeanette had two new grandchildren, Florence Josephs, Miriam’s daughter, and Arthur Seligman, Frances’ son, the grandson who would one day be the governor of New Mexico.  There definitely were better days ahead for the Nusbaum family.






[1] My brother told me that titling my posts “The Long Depression” was not a way to entice readers, so I’ve changed it a bit for this one.  I am not sure that does much more to make this into uplifting reading, but these were tough times.

[2] That does not count Florence Seligman, who was born in August, 1867 and died a few weeks later, as I’ve written about previously.