The Children of Thekla and Felix Blumenfeld, Part IV: The Survivors

Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum and her brother Felix Blumenfeld lost their lives in the Holocaust as did Thekla’s son-in-law Walter Herzog; Thekla’s grandson Manfred Herzog was killed fighting against Nazi Germany. But Thekla and Felix’s children and the other grandchildren all survived because most of them were able to leave Germany before it was too late.

Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum’s Children and Grandchildren

Franz Moritz Gruenbaum, Thekla’s younger son, was in South Africa by 19351 and on March 18, 1937, he immigrated to the United States.2  Franz soon settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, just a few miles from where I now live, where he married a woman named Maria Pauline Strasser in 1938.3 Maria was born in Munich, Germany, on April 21, 1901, and was previously married to Richard Bachmann.4 Maria had known Franz in Kassel before they all immigrated, and she and Franz had spent time together in South Africa and traveled back to the US together in March 1937 as you can see on this ship manifest.5

Maria Bachmann and Franz Gruenbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 16, Ship or Roll Number: Rex
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Sometime after immigrating, Franz changed his name to Frank Gruen. He and Maria settled in Springfield and lived there for at least twenty years where Frank worked in the printing business6 and Maria taught German.7 At some point they relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they were living in 1980 when they died. Frank and Maria died within months of each other, Maria in January 1980,8 Frank two months later in March.9 She was 78, and he 80.

Franz Grunbaum World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Massachusetts, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 402, Name Range: Gross, Abraham-Grundstrum, Edwin, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Thekla’s older son Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum was still in Kassel, Germany, in 1935,10 but thereafter left for England and then arrived in the US on May 9, 1939. He was living with his brother Franz in Springfield by 1939, and his wife Gertrude and son Heinz joined him in Springfield on May 25, 1939.11 By 1940 Curt and his family had relocated from Springfield to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Curt, like his brother Franz, was working in the printing business.12

Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum, declaration of intention, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 – 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petition No 277730, Jayme Gonzalez – Petition No 278386, Sarah Govenar. Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950

In 1942, Curt, who changed the spelling of his name to Kurt, was working for the Fuller Brush Company.

Kurt Grunbaum, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Massachusetts, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 402, Name Range: Gross, Abraham-Grundstrum, Edwin, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Kurt and Gertrude’s son Heinz, who changed his name to Henry, married Barbara Ann Gillespie in 1955 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.13 She was born on December 23, 1933, in Boston to Leslie and Pearl Gillespie.14 Henry and Barbara Ann had two sons.

Kurt and his wife Gertrude remained in Cambridge for the rest of their lives, which may explain why his brother Frank and Maria relocated there. Gertrude died at the age of 76 on July 7, 1977;15 Kurt died eight years later on February 6, 1985.16 He was 87 years old. They were survived by their son Henry and his wife and children. Henry died October 22, 2008;17 he was 76; his wife Barbara Ann survived him by seven years. She died on April 24, 2015, at 81. The family created a tribute page to Henry and his family with many photos of Henry and his parents Kurt and Gertrude here.

While the two sons of Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum ended up in Massachusetts, her two daughters Caecile and Rosemarie ended up in New York.

Rosemarie Gruenbaum first immigrated to England. I don’t know when, but she is listed with her husband Ernest Heymann on the 1939 England and Wales Register.18 Ernest, a silk merchant like Rosemarie’s brother-in-law Walter Herzog, was born January 24, 1902, in Brussels.19 I was unable to learn more about Ernest’s family background or to find a record for their marriage. They had one child born in England in 1940.

UPDATE: Thank you so much to Cathy Meder-Dempsey who read this post and on her own decided to look up Ernest Heymann’s birth record. Now I know that he was the son of Edouard Heymann, a trader who was  born in Krefeld, Germany, and Mathilde Kaufmann, who born in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), Germany. Although I was able to go back another generation and find Eduoard’s parents’ names, I am still looking for a marriage record for Ernest and Rosemarie.

Birth record of Ernest Heymann, “Belgique, Brabant, registres d’état civil, 1582-1914,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DYHS-SBC?cc=1482191&wc=ST2N-6TG%3A966896201%2C967103401 : 22 May 2014), Brussel > Geboorten 14 dec (nr. 4370) 1901-sept 1902 > image 166 of 833; België Nationaal Archief, Brussels (Belgium National Archives, Brussels).

On November November 19, 1940, Rosemarie, Ernest, and their daughter left England for the US, arriving in the US in Boston on December 5, 1940.20 By February 1942 when he registered for the draft, Ernest and his family were living in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, and he was working for Goodman and Theise, Inc., a textile company in New York City.

Ernest Heymann, 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

Ernest Heyman (he later dropped the second N) died when he was 74 in 1976.21 His wife Rosemarie Gruenbaum Heyman outlived him by almost thirty years. She died at the age of 91 on April 14, 2004. They were survived by their daughter and her family.

After surviving persecution in two concentration camps—at Riga and Stuffhof, Caecilie Gruenbaum Herzog arrived in New York on July 17, 1946. The manifest indicates that she was headed to 83-57 118th Street in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, the same address listed on Ernest Heyman’s draft registration depicted above.  I have no records for Caecile between 1946 and when she died on December 13, 1990, at the age of 95 in New York.22

Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 51, Ship or Roll Number: Marine Perch, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Caecile’s daughter Renata married Hermann Luedecke in London in the summer of 194423 and had one child with him in 1947.24 She later married Gunther Cahn in 1952,25 and they immigrated to Canada in 1955.26 Renata died in Toronto in 1995 Her husband Gunther died in 2012 in Canada.27

Felix Blumenfeld’s Children and Grandchildren

As for the children of Felix Blumenfeld, Felix’s son Edgar Blumenfeld and his wife Anna Hanau left Germany by 1935 and were living in Paris, France, when their son Gerard Blumenfeld was born on August 20, 1935. They later left for Cuba and finally immigrated to the US on October 13, 1942.

Gerhard Blumenfeld naturalization papers, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petitions, V· 1323-1325, No· 327901-328515, 1945, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

They settled in Chicago and first changed their surname to Bloomfield and then to just Field. Edgar was a chemical engineer. Edgar died on June 23, 1954, in Chicago. He was only fifty years old.28 His wife Anna later remarried and died in 1997 when she was 91.29

Edgar’s brother Gerhard Blumenfeld was still in Germany when he married Lotte Hedwig Rosenthal on June 21, 1936, in Giessen.30 Lotte was born in Giessen on February 27, 1915; her parents were Max and Emma Rosenthal. By 1939 Gerhard (known as Gerd) and Lotte were living in London with Lotte’s parents and siblings. I wonder whether the two blacked out names under the names of Gerd and Lotte Blumenfeld on the 1939 England and Wales Register are the two children of Gerd’s cousin Caecilie Gruenbaum Herzog, Renata and Manfred.

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/244A
Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Gerd and Lotte came to the US on November 16, 194031 and settled in Chicago also. Gerd also changed his surname to Bloomfield (but not later to Field). He was an engineer like his brother Edgar and worked for Union Asbestos & Rubber Company.

Gerard Max Bloomfield, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 150, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Gerd and Lotte had two sons born in Chicago after the war. Like his brother Edgar, Gerd died in his fifties. He was fifty-three years old when he died on August 11, 1959,32 leaving behind his wife and young children. Like her sister-in-law Anna, Gerd’s wife Lotte remarried after Gerd’s early death. Lotte died on October 18, 2010, at the age of 95.33

Thus, although Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum and Felix Blumenfeld,  Salomon Blumenfeld’s two children with his first wife, both were killed during the Holocaust, they have living descendants today to carry on their legacy.

Salomon Blumenfeld’s connection to his children Thekla and Felix may have been long ago broken after their mother Caecilie Erlanger died and he remarried and moved to Spain, but he has descendants today only through those children.


  1. Franz Grunbaum, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01710; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 22-129, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Franz Moritz Grunbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 16, Ship or Roll Number: Rex, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Franz Moritz Grunbaum, Marriage Year: 1938, Marriage Place: Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, Index Volume Number: 119, Reference Number: F63.M36 v.119
    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 
  4. Marriage record of Maria Strasser and Richard Bachmann, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1924, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  5. “Asks Dedham Court to Cancel Divorce,” The Boston Globe, 28 May 1937, p. 5. 
  6. Frank Gruen, Title: Springfield, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. E.g., “German Again to be Taught,” Springfield Union, September 16, 1959, p. 27. 
  8.  Maria Gruen, Social Security Number: 017-20-3941, Birth Date: 21 Apr 1901
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, Death Date: Jan 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9.  Frank Gruen, Social Security Number: 031-01-6909, Birth Date: 9 Apr 1899
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, Death Date: Mar 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Curt Gruenbaum, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01685; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 16-82,  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Gertrude and Heinz Gruenbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 4; Page Number: 122, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  12. See note 10. 
  13. Henry Walter Grunbaum, Marriage Year: 1955, Marriage Place: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Index Volume Number: 159, Reference Number: F63.M36 v.159,
    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 
  14. Barbara Ann Gillespie, Birth Date: 1933, Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Volume Number: 35, Page Number: 201, Index Volume Number: 128
    Reference Number: F63.M362 v.128, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Birth Index, 1860-1970; Barbara G Grunbaum, Birth Date: 23 Dec 1933, Residence Date: 1993
    Address: 29 Huron Ave, Residence: Cambridge, MA, Postal Code: 02138-6705, Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1. 
  15. Gertrude B Grunbaum, Certificate: 034745, Death Place: Cambridge. Death Date: 7 Jul 1977, Birth Place: Other, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Death Index, 1970-2003 
  16. Kurt W Grunbaum, Certificate: 017505, Death Place: Cambridge, Death Date: 6 Feb 1985, Birth Place: Other, Birth Date: 23 Mar 1897, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Death Index, 1970-2003 
  17.  Henry W. Grunbaum, Social Security Number: 024-26-8623, Birth Date: 29 Jan 1932, Issue Year: 1951-1952, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, Death Date: 22 Oct 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  18.  The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/950H, Enumeration District: BWCO, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  19. Ernest Heyman, Race: White, Age: 40, Birth Date: 24 Jan 1902, Birth Place: Brussels, Belgium, Registration Date: 15 Feb 1942, Registration Place: Kew Gardens, New York, New York. Employer: Goodman and Theise Inc., 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 
  20. Ernst Heymann and family, ship manifests, The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-147363, Month: Nov, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960; The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Month or Roll: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 
  21.  Ernest Heyman, Social Security Number: 100-12-9367, Birth Date: 24 Jan 1902
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: Mar 1976, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  22. Ceci Herzog, Birth Date: 26 Apr 1895, Death Date: 13 Dec 1990, Claim Date: 3 Aug 1960, SSN: 110267687, Death Certificate Number: 169466, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  23.  Renate Herzoz, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Hampstead, Inferred County: London, Spouse: Hermann K A Luedecke, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 1109, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 1109, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  24.  Carol A Luedioke [sic], Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Hampstead, Inferred County: Greater London, Mother’s Maiden Name: Herzog, Volume Number: 5c, Page Number: 1526, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Reference: Volume 5c, Page 1526, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007 
  25.  Guenther Cahn, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Hendon
    Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Renate Luedecke Or Herzog, Volume Number: 5e
    Page Number: 1431, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5e; Page: 1431, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  26.  The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  27. I could not locate any records or obituaries for the deaths of Renata and Gunther Cahn so am referring to their profiles on MyHeritage for this information. 
  28. “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1871-1998,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2MH-PGMM : 17 March 2018), Edgar L Field, 23 Jun 1954; citing Lincolnwood, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm. 
  29. Anne Bloomfield, [Anne Prower] [Anne Field] [Anne Hanau]Gender: Female
    Race: White, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1906, Birth Place: Schiffweiler, France, Death Date: 24 Dec 1997, Father: Victor Hanau Mother:Mina May, SSN: 361208715
    Notes: Jul 1943: Name listed as ANNE BLOOMFIELD; : Name listed as ANNE PROWER; : Name listed as ANNE H FIELD; 04 Feb 1998: Name listed as ANNE H PROWER, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  30. Gerhard Max Bloomfield, petition for naturalization, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions For Naturalization, V· 1291, No· 320051-320300, Ca· 1944-1946, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  31. Gerd and Lotte Blumenfeld, ship manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 
  32. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198671/gerd-m-bloomfield : accessed 16 October 2021), memorial page for Gerd M Bloomfield (3 Mar 1906–11 Aug 1959), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198671, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  33. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/137430315/lottie-rosenthal-klein : accessed 16 October 2021), memorial page for Lottie Rosenthal Bloomfield Klein (27 Feb 1915–18 Oct 2010), Find a Grave Memorial ID 137430315, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Gary Ayers (contributor 48159041) . 

Who Arranged Baruch Blumenfeld’s Burial? An Update

This is just a quick update to the questions raised in last week’s post about the death certificate of my relative Baruch Blumenfeld. I was mystified by the fact that someone named Mary Farley had made the burial arrangements as indicated on what (I thought) was the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate.

But then a very astute reader, Lisa K of the GerSIG group on Facebook, noticed that that was not in fact the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate, but the reverse of a death certificate for someone named James B. Graham. Boy, was I embarrassed that I hadn’t noticed that!

I sent away again to the Family History Library for Baruch’s death certificate, pointing out that they had sent the wrong image, and I’ve now received the correct image. Here it is:

As you can see, although it’s a bit hard to read, the person who arranged for Baruch’s burial was “M  Neuberger,” identified as his niece.

Some of you may recall that in 1920 Baruch was living with a widow and her daughter named Getta and Emma Neuberger. I am assuming Emma was the M Neuberger who arranged Baruch’s burial. Perhaps the person taking the information heard Emma as M.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

But was she in fact Baruch’s niece? I don’t think so. Getta Neuberger and her family came from Thalmassing, Germany, in Bavaria in the early 1900s.1 Thalmassing is over 200 miles from Momberg where Baruch had lived in Germany. All of Baruch’s siblings married people from the Hesse region, and none of them were named Neuberger or Schwab, Getta’s birth surname. Anything is possible, I suppose, but my guess is that Emma Neuberger saw Baruch like an uncle and thus called herself his niece in order to arrange his burial.

Getta Schwab Neuberger died in 1930,2 and Emma died in 1933.3 Like Baruch Blumenfeld, they are buried at Union Fields cemetery in Queens, New York. They may have been the closest thing he had to a family after leaving his family behind in Germany.


  1. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, Name: Getta Neuburger, Gender: weiblich (Female), Ethnicity/Nationality: Bayern, Marital status: verheiratet (Married), Departure Age: 60, Birth Date: abt 1846, Residence Place: Thalmässing, Departure Date: 27 Okt 1906 (27 Oct 1906), Departure Place: Hamburg, Deutschland (Germany), Arrival Place: Cuxhaven; Boulogne-sur-Mer; Plymouth; New York, Ship Name: Pennsylvania
    Shipping Clerk: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft), Shipping Line: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft), Ship Type: Dampfschiff, Ship Flag: Deutschland
    Emigration: nein, Accommodation: 2. Klasse, Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 183
    Household Members: Getta Neuburger 60, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 183; Page: 2591; Microfilm No.: K_1797, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  2. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WGW-1XW : 3 June 2020), Getta Newberger, 1930. 
  3. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WGR-DGD : 3 June 2020), Emma Neuburger, 1933. 

Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die, Part II

The mystery of where and when Baruch Blumenfeld died led me down several rabbit holes to answer several questions. Did Baruch Blumenfeld move to New York and leave his wife Emma and his daughters and his grandchildren behind? Was the 1920 census accurate in reporting that he had immigrated to the US in 1869 and become a US citizen in 1875? If so, how did he marry Emma in 1872 and father two children between 1872 and 1875? And did he really die in New York City in 1923?

I turned to several Facebook groups for further help to confirm that this was the correct Baruch. First, I asked on Tracing the Tribe for help finding more information about the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York. My fellow Blumenfeld cousin Tova Levi suggested that I try and find a connection to the family with whom Baruch was living in 1920. That led me to search for Getta and Emma Neuberger and their place of origin, including locating their extended family in New York and searching for naturalization records that might reveal where they came from in Germany.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

After hours of searching and getting help from the New York City genealogy group, the German genealogy group, and the GerSIG group, including from Sandy Hahn Lanman and Matt Luders, I concluded that the Neuberger family came from Thalmassig in Bavaria, not anywhere near Hesse where Baruch had lived, and that thus it was unlikely that my Baruch would have known them before coming to the US.

Steph Mayer, one of the members of the German Genealogy group, also was very helpful. She made several suggestions, including sending me a link to the entry for Baruch Blumenfeld on genealogy.net, an important Germany genealogy website. Steph recommended that I email the contact person, Hartwig Faber, to see if he had any additional information.

And so I did, and Hartwig helped solve one part of this mystery. He noted that on the 1900 marriage record for Baruch’s daughter Charlotte, Baruch is described as living at an unknown distance. That is, by 1900 Baruch’s whereabouts were no longer known by his family.

Marriage record of Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld and Hermann Hammel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6510
Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Here is the transcription and translation of that part of the record:

Tochter des in unbekannter Ferne weilenden Kaufmanns Baruch Abraham Blumenfeld und der nochlebenden Ehefrau Emma geb. Docter wohnhaft in Neustadt.

Daughter of the merchant Baruch Abraham Blumenfeld, living in unknown distance, and the still living wife Emma, née Docter, living in Neustadt.

That record supports the possibility that Baruch did immigrate to the US and did die in New York in 1923.

But I can’t still cannot find a Baruch Blumenfeld on any ship manifest even when I search without limiting by dates or with wildcards on the name.

I also have had no luck finding any naturalization papers for him. I’ve gone through indexed and unindexed records on Ancestry and FamilySearch, and the only citizenship record that came close was a declaration of intention dated October 8, 1873 by a Baruch Blum. In that era declarations carried no identifying information other than the name and country of origin, so that doesn’t help very much. And I remain skeptical that Baruch would have been in the US at that time, given that he married Emma in 1872 and had a baby later that year and a second three years later.

I also cannot find a Baruch Blumenfeld on any census record in the US except the 1920 census. If he really immigrated to the US in 1869, he should have appeared on the 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910 US census enumerations.

I did find a German-born Benny Blumenfeld living as a boarder in New York in 1915 on the New York State census of that year. He was 72, so born in or close to 1843. He had no occupation. Could that be Baruch? Maybe. It says he’s been in the US for 32 years or since 1883. That would make a lot more sense than 1869, the year given on the 1920 census. There’s even a young man listed below, also a boarder in the same household, who was a butcher. Do you think this could be my Baruch?

Benny Blumenfeld 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 10; Assembly District: 10; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 38, District: A·D· 10 E·D· 10, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915

But there is no one else with a similar name and age that I could locate on the 1900 or 1910 US census. My working hypothesis at this point is that Baruch Blumenfeld took on an assumed name when he immigrated and then changed it back years later.

When I received the copy of the actual death certificate for the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York in 1923, I was even more certain that he was the same person as my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld.

The first page of that certificate first of all made it clear that his mother’s surname was Strauss, not Lhauss. Secondly, his age is given as 80 years and eight months. Since he died in September, 1923, that means he was born in January, 1843. My Baruch was born on January 29, 1843. This definitely supports the conclusion that this was my Baruch Blumenfeld.

One other interesting bit of information is included on first page of the certificate. It reports that he had been living in the US and in New York for 42 years or since 1881. That would make a lot more sense than the year given on the 1920 census—1869. By 1881 both of Baruch’s daughters were born, and he very well might have left Germany around that time.

I was feeling pretty excited that I had enough information to confirm that this was my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld—until I looked at the reverse side of the certificate.

It indicated that Mary Farley, a sister of the deceased, had hired the undertaker to take care of Baruch’s burial. Mary Farley? A sister? There were many Mary Farleys living in the US 1923—too many to count. If I limited my search to New York City, I found 32 registered to vote in New York in 1924.1 I also searched for a Mary Farley born in Germany living in or near New York who might be the woman named on the death certificate. I only found one woman with that name born in Germany; she lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and was married to a native-born American named John Farley. Her maiden name was Richardt, not Blumenfeld.

UPDATE!! Thank you so much to Lisa K of the GerSIG group on Facebook for pointing out that this is NOT the reverse of the death certificate for Baruch Blumenfeld, but for someone named James Graham. So Mary Farley must have been HIS sister. I’ve now ordered a correct version of the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate.

I very much doubt any one of the many possible Mary Farleys was Baruch’s sister. Friend, neighbor, whatever—she likely said she was the sister so she could arrange the burial for him.

What do you think? Have I convinced you that the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York in 1923 was the same man born in Momberg, Germany, on January 29, 1843, to Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss? Please share you thoughts in the comments.

I am so very grateful to the genealogy village for all the help I’ve received to try and learn what happened to my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld.

Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die?

Searching for information about the death of my great-grandmother’s second cousin Baruch Blumenfeld led me down several rabbit holes. And I am still digging!

The first thirty years of his life were easy to uncover. Baruch Blumenfeld was the second child born to Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss. He was born on January 29, 1843, in Neustadt, Germany.

Baruch Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 628, p. 13

On February 20, 1872, he married Emma Docter, daughter of Joseph Docter and Zerline Wallach. Emma was born on February 9, 1848, in Gilserberg, Germany; her father was a veterinarian. Baruch was a merchant.

Emma Docter birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 359, p. 8

Marriage record for Baruch Blumenfeld and Emma Docter, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 629, S. 19

Baruch and Emma had two daughters. Antonie was born in Momberg on December 25, 1872, and Charlotte Jeanette was born three years later on June 28, 1875, also in Momberg.

Antonie Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628, S. 29

Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6458, Year Range: 1875, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Antonie married Sussel Siegfried Engelbert on November 5, 1894, in Neustadt. He was born on January 3, 1867, in Kassel, Germany, to Jacob Engelbert and Julie Oppenheim. Siegfried was a merchant.

Antonie Blumenfeld and Siegfried Engelbert marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6504, Year Range: 1894
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

I am very grateful to Antonie’s great-granddaughter Marsha who shared the wonderful photographs of Antonie and her family included in this post. This is a photograph of Antonie and Siegfried on the occasion of their engagement.

Antonie Blumenfeld and Siegfried Engelbert engagement, c. 1894

Antonie and Sussel had three children. Margot Engelbert was born on November 15, 1895, in Kassel.

Margot Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5120, Year Range: 1895, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Joseph Julius Engelbert was born on October 18, 1897, in Kassel.

Siegfried Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5129, Year Range: 1897, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Elfriede Caroline Engelbert was born on June 3, 1900, in Kassel.

Elfriede Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5143, Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Here are two photographs of the Engelbert children, generously shared by Baruch’s great-great-granddaughter Marsha.

Elfriede Engelbert, c. 1901

Julius, Margot, and Elfriede Engelbert, c. 1902

On January 24, 1900, Antonie’s sister Charlotte married Hermann Hammel, son of Abraham Hammel and Karoline Kahn. Hermann was born in Roedelheim bei Frankfurt on November 5, 1867. He was previously married to Thekla Kass, who had died on July 21, 1898,  one week after giving birth to their daughter Caecelia, who then died when she was less than a month old on August 5, 1898.1 Charlotte and Hermann had one daughter together, Klara, born on February 17, 1901, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld and Hermann Hammel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6510
Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Thus, by February, 1901, Baruch and Emma (Docter) Blumenfeld had four grandchildren.

Emma died on December 2, 1917; she was 69 years old. She’d been very fortunate to live to see those four grandchildren grow up or at least reach their teenage years.

Emma Docter Blumenfeld death record, Emma Blumenfeld, Maiden Name: Docter
Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 69, Birth Date: abt 1848, Death Date: 2 Dez 1917 (2 Dec 1917)
Death Place: Kassel, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Kassel I
Father: Joseph Docter, Mother: Juline Docter, Certificate Number: 1512, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5555, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Now we get to the mystery. Emma’s death record describes her as a widow, which would mean that Baruch had predeceased her. But I could not find a death record for Baruch in Germany nor has anyone else.

Several Ancestry trees and other secondary sources reported that Baruch died in New York City on September 22, 1923. When I first saw that, I was skeptical. Was this a mistake? Had someone attached a death record for the wrong Baruch Blumenfeld and then been copied by other tree owners?  I started to search for a source to prove where Baruch died.

Although I didn’t yet have the actual death certificate for the Baruch Blumenfeld who died on September 22, 1923, in New York, I found transcription on FamilySearch:2

Name    Baruch Blummenfeld

Sex         Male

Age        80

Residence Place Manhattan, New York, New York

Address 1505 E 83 St.

Burial Date         24 Sep 1923

Burial Place        Manhattan, New York, New York

Death Date         22 Sep 1923

Death Place        Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States

Death Place (Original)     Manhattan, New York, New York, United States

Birth Year (Estimated)     1843

Birthplace            Germany

Marital Status    Widowed

Occupation         Butcher

Race      White

Father’s Name   Abraham

Father’s Sex        Male

Father’s Birthplace           Germany

Mother’s Name Jette Lhauss

Mother’s Sex      Female

Mother’s Birthplace         Germany

Certificate Number          cn 23689

Cemetery            Union Fields

Note      Lenox Hill Hospital

In many ways this fit my Baruch Blumenfeld. He was a widower in 1923 and 80 years old. He came from a long line of butchers. His father’s name was Abraham. His mother’s name wasn’t Jette Lhauss, but it was Giedel Strauss, and that’s close enough to assume this was a transcription error by the indexer at FamilySearch.

But then…

I found a Baruch Blumenfeld on the 1920 US census living at the address given on this death certificate—1505 East 83rd Street in New York. He was single and living as a boarder with Getter [sic: actually Getta] and Emma Neuberger, who were also German born. But according to the census record, this Baruch had come to the US in 1869 and had become a naturalized US citizen in 1875.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

My Baruch married Emma Docter in 1872 and had two daughters between then and 1875 in Neustadt, Germany. How could he have been living in the United States and getting naturalized there? Was he living in New York and traveling to Germany to father those children? Or could the Baruch Blumenfeld living in New York be a different man who just happened to be born the same year and have a father the same name as my cousin Baruch?

More to come…including the actual death certificate.


  1.  Thekla Kass, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 24, Birth Date: 6 Jul 1871
    Marriage Date: 23 Dez 1895 (23 Dec 1895), Marriage Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main
    Father: Michael Kass, Mother: Esther Kass, Spouse: Hermann Hammel, Certificate Number: 46, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930. Thekla Hammel, Maiden Name: Kass
    Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 27, Birth Date: abt 1871, Death Date: 21 Jul 1898
    Death Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany)
    Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main, Father: Michael Kass
    Mother: Ester Kass, Certificate Number: 76, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. Cäcilie Hammel, Age: 0
    Birth Date: abt 1898, Death Date: 5 Aug 1898, Death Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main
    Father: Hermann Hammel, Mother: Thekla Hammel, Certificate Number: 83,
    Personenstandsregister Sterberegister, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. 
  2. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W1H-FP1 : 3 June 2020), Baruch Blummenfeld, 1923. 

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 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. 

The Growing Family of Taube Brotman and Jacob Hecht: An Exercise in Deciphering Census Records

Although the evidence of Taube Brotman’s life before 1892 is very limited, beginning with her son Harry’s birth certificate, we have evidence of her life after arriving in the US, probably in 1887.

Harry Hecht birth certificate

The birth record for Harry indicates that he was born at 33 East Houston Street in New York City on May 24, 1892, that his parents were Jacob Hecht and Toba Brotman and that they were living at that same address. Jacob was 25 and working as a cloaks operator, that is, in a sweatshop, and Toba was 20, suggesting a birth year of 1872. Both reported that they were born in Austria. Harry was Toba’s first child.

Where it says there are now seven children living, you might be puzzled. But this birth certificate was not filed until 1906, fourteen years after Harry’s birth, for reasons that are not clear. As we will see, Jacob and Taube Hecht were not very conscientious about filing records with the city. But by 1906, Jacob and Taube did in fact have seven children.

The 1900 census is the next source of information about Taube’s early years in the US.  It is rich with information, but also filled with errors and almost illegible cross outs. First, it gives Taube’s name as Mitilda—probably because she was already using Tillie at that time. They were living at 64 Broome Street in New York City, about a block away from Taube’s father, my great-grandfather, Joseph Brotman, and his family (including my grandmother Gussie, Taube’s sister) at 81 Ridge Street.

 

According to the census, Taube had been married to Jacob Hecht (spelled Hect here) for nine years at the time of enumeration, meaning they were likely married in about 1891. Unfortunately, I cannot find a marriage record for them. Jacob was working as a tailor, probably meaning he was still a cloak maker in a sweatshop on the Lower East Side.

Contrary to Harry’s birth record, the 1900 census reported that Jacob and Taube were both born in Russia, not Austria. Of course, neither is strictly accurate since Taube was born in Galicia, a province of the Austrian-Hungary Empire that bordered what was then Russia (now Ukraine). According to the census, Jacob had been in the US for twelve years, yet it says he immigrated in what looks like 1880? Or 1887? And the census says that Taube had been here for fifteen years, but then says she immigrated in 1875, written over 1885. Oy, that poor enumerator… he must have had a really hard time understanding whoever was giving him the information.

By 1900, Jacob and Taube had four children, all living with them: Harry was eight, born in 1892; “Annie” (actually Ida) was seven, born in May 1893; David was four, and although the year is crossed out, he likely was born in 1896, and Yette (later Etta) was seven months old and born in October 1889. Obviously that should be 1899 or Yette would have been eleven years old, not seven months old. As I discussed here, I have been unable to find birth records for three of those four children, only the later-filed certificate for Harry shown above.

Hecht family 1900 US census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1094; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0290; FHL microfilm: 1241094

Five years later, the Hecht family had moved to 22 Mangin Street, about a half mile from where they’d been living in 1900, according to the 1905 New York State census. This enumerator seems to have had an easier time recording the family information. Taube is now listed as Tillie, as she was known in the US. Her age is reported as 35, meaning she was born in 1870; Jacob was 42, and now both once again report their birthplace as Austria. Jacob had been in the US for 17 years, Taube for 20. Neither was yet a citizen of the United States. Jacob was still making cloaks.

Hecht family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 14; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 64, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905

They now had six children, two daughters having been born since 1900: Harry was 13, Ida 11, David 9, Etta 6, and the two most recent additions were Gussie (later Jean), who was five, and Sadie {later Shirley), who was two. Also living with them was another Sadie, listed as Jacob’s mother. She was 65 and had been in the US for 12 years. I find it rather odd that Taube and Jacob would have named a child Sadie if Jacob’s mother was Sadie and still living. And I cannot find any other record for the older Sadie Hecht, so I am wondering whether this was an enumeration error.

By 1910, the family had moved again and grown again. They now were living at 48 Boerum Street in Brooklyn. Jacob was still working as an operator in a coat shop and had filed his papers to become a citizen. On this census, both he and Taube (Tillie) gave “Aust Polish” as their birthplace. Jacob was 48, Taube 38. He had immigrated in 1886, she in 1884, according to the census record. And they’d been married for nineteen years, or in 1891, consistent with what was reported on the 1900 census.

Hecht family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings, New York; Roll: T624_964; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0329; FHL microfilm: 1374977 Description Enumeration District: 0329 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

There were now eight children. Harry, now eighteen, was working as a bookkeeper in a department store. Ida was seventeen and a “button holer” operator. David was 14, Etta 11, Gussie 9, and Sadie was six. The two new additions were Rose (later Ruth), four years old, and Eva (later Evelyn), who was two. Eva is the only other Hecht child for whom I have a birth record:

Eva Hecht birth certificate

Eva was born on January 30, 1908, at 38 Montrose Avenue in Brooklyn, where the family was then residing, so they had moved again between 1908 and 1910 when they were living on Boerum Street. Note the errors on this record: Jacob is identifed as Joseph, and Taube’s birth name is listed as Rothman, not Brotman. Taube’s age is given as 37 here, meaning a birth year of 1872. Both Taube and Jacob reported that they were born in Austria.

With Eva’s birth, the Hecht family was complete. There were eight children ranging from Harry born in 1892 to Eva born sixteen years later in 1908. The next decade would see most of those children join the work force and one marry and have children of her own.

The Mystery of Taube Brotman Hecht, My Great-Aunt

My next project is to write about my great-aunt Taube1 Brotman Hecht and her family.  I wrote about the Hecht family back in 2016 when I discovered Taube at the same time I discovered my Goldfarb family in my aunt’s baby book and grandparents’ address book.  It was a long and twisting path to figure out that “Mrs. Taube Hecht” in that baby book was my grandmother’s half-sister, Taube Brotman.

My aunt’s 1917 baby book. Taube Hecht is the last guest listed.

Those earlier posts in 2016 focused on my research methodology and the path I followed to figure out that Taube Hecht was my grandmother’s sister. Now I want to go back and tell her story and the story of her children and grandchildren in a more complete way. If you are interested in learning how I found Taube and how I determined that she was my great-aunt, you can read the earlier posts here, here, and here.

Let me now start with what I do and don’t know about Taube’s early life. As with all my Brod and Brotman relatives, I have no European records, but need to rely on American records.

Taube was born sometime between 1870 and 1875 according to various census records. The 1900 US census says she was born in March 1875.2 The 1905 NYS census says she was born in 1870.3 According to the 1910 US census, she was then 38, giving her a birth year of 1872.4  She reported that she was 40 on the 1915 NYS census, meaning she was born in 1875.5 In 1920 her age was reported as 47,6 and in 1930 she was 58, meaning a birth year of 1872 or 1873.7  In 1940 she shaved some years off her age, reporting that was 60, thus born in 1880.8 And her death record in 1944 says she was “about 71.”9 All in all, I’d say Taube was born sometime in the 1870s.

Her father was my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman, as stated on her death record; her mother was not named, but I know from records from her brothers David and Max that their mother was Chaye Fortgang, Joseph Brotman’s first wife. Taube’s US records all say she was born in Austria or Poland,9 and I have nothing more specific than that. Presumably like the rest of her family she was born in or near Tarnobrzeg in what is now Poland, then Galicia and part of the Austria-Hungary Empire.

According to family lore as discussed here, Taube left for the US when she was ten years old. I found ship manifests listing a young girl named Taube Brodt sailing from Hamburg on the Moravia to New York in July 1887. Both the Hamburg manifest and the New York manifest report that Taube was eleven. According to both manifests, she was coming from “Tarnowschek.” And on the Hamburg manifest she is grouped with a woman named Eva Singer and her baby, Ascher Singer.

Taube Brodt 1887 NY ship manifest
Year: 1887; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 509; Line: 1; List Number: 911

Taube Brodt ship manifest 1887
Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1736
Description
Month : Direkt Band 059 (3 Jul 1887 – 29 Dez 1887)

I can’t be positive this is my Taube. The spelling of the name Brodt was also used by other family members (along with Brod, Brodmann, Broadman, Brothman, and so on).  The age is close to what the various birth years for Taube would suggest if a bit younger, but also close to family lore. And Tarnowschek certainly sounds like Tarnobrzeg.

But who were Eva and Ascher Singer? And why was Taube with them? I have spent more hours than I care to count trying to find Eva and Ascher after they got to America. I’ve had no luck. I have gone down more rabbit holes, hit more dead ends, and searched in more ways and more places than was probably justified. Especially since I have nothing to show for my efforts. I found an Ascher Singer who was the right age, but he was from Bukovina, Romania. That was as close as I came. And who knows? Even if I found the Singers, it probably wouldn’t reveal anything about Taube.

Why would Taube have left Europe in 1887? By that time her mother had died, and my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman had married his second wife, my great-grandmother Bessie Brod. They’d already had two children together by 1887. But Joseph Brotman and Taube’s full brothers Abraham, David, and Max were still in Europe in 1887. Joseph immigrated to the US  in 188910 as did his oldest sons Abraham and David. Max came in 1890.11

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, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

So if Taube came in 1887, she left her whole family back in Europe. What did she do when she got here especially if she was only eleven? Even if we take a birth year of 1872, she would only have been fifteen when she arrived in 1887.  Where did she go?

Family lore says she stayed with her two older brothers, but then she had to have arrived after 1889 when Abraham and David immigrated, not in 1887. And if she did come after Abraham and David,  she was already a teenager, maybe even seventeen, certainly not ten. And why can’t I find her on another manifest?

Family lore also says her brothers sent her to St Louis to learn English. I can’t find any evidence of that.  There were several people with the surname Brod listed in the 1889 St. Louis directory, but I’ve no idea whether they were relatives. And why would her brothers, who lived in NYC when they immigrated, send their sister all the way to St. Louis? It doesn’t make sense to me. But sadly, without the 1890 census, I cannot find Taube in St. Louis, New York, or anywhere else in the US.

So Taube’s arrival and early years in America remain a mystery. Fortunately from about 1891 on, there is better evidence of her life. And I will start there next time.

Taube Brotman Hecht


  1. Taube was also known as Toba, her name in Hebrew, and Tillie, a later Americanization of her name. Because my grandmother also had a full sister whose Americanized name was Tillie, I will refer to Taube as Taube to prevent confusion. 
  2. Hecht family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0290; FHL microfilm: 1241094, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Hecht family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 12 E.D. 14; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 64, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905 
  4. Hecht family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings, New York; Roll: T624_964; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0329; FHL microfilm: 1374977, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  5. Hecht family, 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, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915 
  6. 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 
  7. Hecht family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0100; FHL microfilm: 2341088, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. Hecht family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. See census citations above. 
  10. Yossel Brod, ship manifest, Year: 1889; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 36; List Number: 244, Description
    Ship or Roll Number: Aurania, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  11. Morske Brodmann, Year: 1890; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 25; List Number: 804, Ship or Roll Number: City of Chicago, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 

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