Hannah Goldsmith, Final Chapter: My Cousins the Scientists

This final post about the family of Hannah Goldsmith Benedict is about Hannah’s youngest son, C. Harry Benedict, and his two sons, Manson and William, and their lives after 1940. In an earlier post, we saw how both Manson and William went to Cornell and then on to MIT to get a Ph.D. in chemistry.

In the 1940 census, C. Harry Benedict was enumerated not in his longtime home, Lake Linden, Michigan, but in New York City, where he was, at least at the time of the census enumeration, living at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Since his occupation was listed as a metallurgist for a copper mining company and since I know he continued to work at Calumet and Hecla Mining Company for many years after 1940, I assume this was just a temporary residence while doing some work for the company in New York.1

Or perhaps he was just there visiting his sons, both of whom were working as research chemists in the New York City area in 1940, Manson for M.W. Kellogg Company2 and William for General Chemical Company.3

Both Manson and William changed jobs during World War II. In 1942 William moved to Washington, DC, to work for the Carnegie Institution as a theoretical spectroscopist. Spectroscopy is “the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation.” After the war William worked for the National Bureau of Standards for six years and then joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University as part of the “infrared group.” (I’ve no idea what that means.) He remained at Johns Hopkins for fifteen years. In 1967 he became a research professor at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland where he remained until his retirement in 1979.4

Meanwhile, his brother Manson left M.W. Kellogg in 1943 to work for Hydrocarbon Research, Inc. According to his obituary, “Dr. Benedict was well known for his pioneering role in nuclear engineering. He developed the gaseous diffusion method for separating the isotopes of uranium and supervised the engineering and process development of the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge, TN, where fissionable material for the atomic bomb was produced. He received many awards for his work on the Manhattan Project during WW II and for his later career as a scientist, educator and public servant, which focused on nuclear power and other peaceful uses of atomic energy.”5

After the war Manson stayed with Hydrocarbon Research until 1951 when he served for a year as the chief of the Operational Analysis Staff at the Atomic Energy Commission. Soon thereafter he returned to Massachusetts and joined the faculty of MIT as a professor of nuclear engineering. In 1972 he received the Enrico Fermi Award, which was described as follows on the Los Alamos website:

The Fermi Award is a Presidential award and is one of the oldest and most prestigious science and technology honors bestowed by the U.S. Government. The Enrico Fermi Award is given to encourage excellence in research in energy science and technology benefiting mankind; to recognize scientists, engineers, and science policymakers who have given unstintingly over their careers to advance energy science and technology; and to inspire people of all ages through the examples of Enrico Fermi, and the Fermi Award laureates who followed in his footsteps, to explore new scientific and technological horizons.

Manson remained at MIT until his retirement in 1973.6

Both Manson and William must have inherited or developed their love for science from their father C. Harry, who, like his sons, had gone to Cornell for his undergraduate training and then had spent his career devoted to science, in his case to metallurgy. Harry even wrote a book about his long-term employer, Calamet and Hecla, entitled Red Metal. It was published in 1952 by the University of Michigan Press.

After fifty years or so in Michigan, Harry and his wife Lena relocated to Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1961, presumably to be closer to their son Manson and his family.7 C. Harry died at the age of 86 in Brookline on April 3, 1963;8 his wife Lena followed just two years later on October 2, 1965.9 She and Harry are buried in Syracuse, New York, where Lena was born and raised and where she and Harry were married in 1902.10 They were survived by their two sons and three grandchildren.

William Benedict died suddenly at the age of seventy on January 10, 1980, in Washington, DC. He had had a serious heart attack a few years earlier.11 His wife Ruth died on October 2, 1993, in Washington. She was eighty years old. They were survived by their son and grandchildren.

Manson Benedict outlived his younger brother and his wife Marjorie. She died in Naples, Florida, on May 17, 1995; she was 85.12 Manson survived her by over ten years. He died on September 18, 2006, at the age of 98.13 Manson and Marjorie were survived by their two daughters and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I must admit that I have no real understanding of the work that C. Harry, Manson, and William did in their long and distinguished careers. Science has never been my strong suit, to say the least. But obviously each of these men left their marks on those with and for whom they worked and on the world.

That completes my research and writing about not only the children of Hannah Goldsmith Benedict, but also the entire family of Hannah’s father, Simon Goldschmidt/Goldsmith. Could Simon have ever imagined that after spending time in prison in Oberlistingen, Germany, and immigrating to America to start over in a new country, he would have grandchildren and great-grandchildren who would go to some of the most elite educational institutions in the country and become lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers, musicians, business leaders, and scientists?  He may have had hopes that his descendants would rise above his own humble beginnings, but I doubt he could ever have imagined just how high above those humble beginnings his American-born descendants would go.

Next—a number of updates on other matters before I turn to Meyer Goldschmidt, another brother of my three-times great-grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt.

 


  1. C Harry Benedict, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02657; Page: 84B; Enumeration District: 31-1406,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. I don’t know where Harry’s wife Lena was as she was not listed with Harry in New York nor was she enumerated back in Michigan, but I know that she and Harry remained married for the rest of their lives, so perhaps Harry just forgot to tell the enumerator that she was with him in New York. 
  2. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  3. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  4. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  5. Naples Daily News, obit for Manson Benedict, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/1143FE1BF2CFFAF8-1143FE1BF2CFFAF8 : accessed 5 May 2019). For more information about Manson’s work on the Manhattan Project as well as the rest of his life and career, please see the wonderful oral history interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  6. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  7. “Harry Benedict of C & H Dead,” Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe, 04 Apr 1963, p. 15 
  8. Number: 369-03-5832; Issue State: Michigan; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. Obituary, The (Syracuse, NY) Post-Standard, 04 Oct 1965, p. 23 
  10. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/107277978 
  11.  Number: 143-01-8383; Issue State: New Jersey; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  12. Ancestry.com. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 
  13. SSN: 122057823, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 

Hannah Goldsmith Part III: Her Grandsons

We saw that as of 1920, Hannah Goldsmith Benedict was a widow, having lost her husband Joseph in 1917. She was living with her son C. Harry Benedict and his wife Lena and two sons, Manson (13) and William (11), in Lake Linden, Michigan. Harry was a metallurgist for a copper mining corporation.

Hannah’s other two sons were living in Pittsburgh, and both had been affected by Prohibition. Herschel, who’d owned a liquor distribution business, was without an occupation at the time of the 1920 census; he was living with his wife, Mary. Jacob, who had worked in the liquor industry in Kentucky and then in Pittsburgh, was now working in the food business, and he was a widower after losing his wife Clara in 1917. In 1920 Jacob was living with his two daughters, Helen (13) and Marian (12).

The 1920s saw Hannah’s four grandchildren become young adults and pursue higher education. Her two grandsons, Manson and William, achieved academic success in chemistry. Manson Benedict attended the Shady Side Academy, where the 1924 yearbook included this portrayal of him at sixteen:

Manson Benedict, Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Year: 1924,Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

After graduating from Shady Side, Manson attended Cornell University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1928. He was listed a faculty member there the following year.1 In 1930, he was working as a chemist for National Aniline and Chemical Company in Buffalo, New York.2

“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1928, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Meanwhile, his brother William was following a similar path. He also attended Shady Side Academy:

William Benedict, Shady Side Academy, 1925, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Year: 1925
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

As noted in that yearbook biography, he was planning to attend Cornell like his older brother and their father, and in fact he graduated from Cornell a year after his brother and was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. And like his brother Manson, William was also a chemist.

“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1929
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

In 1930 William was back in Michigan, living with his parents and grandmother Hannah, and had no occupation listed. His father continued to work as a metallurgist.3

Both Manson and William continued their studies in the 1930s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where both received Ph.Ds. William actually received his first—in 1933—and wrote his dissertation on the structure of nitrogen dioxide, a paper that became the basis of a “landmark paper.”4 Manson completed his Ph.D. two years after his younger brother, having spent some time working and then studying philosophy at the University of Chicago. His area of specialization was physical chemistry.5

The brothers then went in different geographic directions. Manson stayed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he became a National Research Council Fellow and a research associate in geophysics. While studying at MIT, he met a fellow Ph.D. student, Marjorie Oliver Allen, whom he married in 1935.6 Marjorie, the daughter of Ivan J Allen and Lucy M Oliver, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 24, 1909.7 She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1931 and then, like her husband Manson, received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from MIT.8 Manson and Marjorie had two children in the 1930s.

Manson’s brother William headed south to Princeton University after completing his doctorate at MIT and became a research fellow there from 1933 until 1935 when he then left academia to become a research chemist at the General Chemical Company in New York.9 He married Ruth Boschwitz on December 24, 1936, in New York City.10 Ruth was born in Berlin, Germany, on July 15, 1913,11 and immigrated to the US on November 24, 1920.12 She and her parents, Carl Boschwitz and Sophie Philipp, settled in New York City, where in 1930, her father was a bank executive.13 Ruth was a student at NYU Medical School when she married William Benedict.14 In 1940, Ruth and William were living with Ruth’s mother in New York City where William continued to work as a chemist in the chemical industry and Ruth was a doctor at a hospital.15 They would have one child born in the 1940s.

Manson Benedict also left academia in the late 1930s. In 1937, he returned to National Aniline and Chemical Company in Buffalo, New York, and worked there as a research chemist until 1938 when he joined the M.W. Kellogg Company in Jersey City, New Jersey, as a research chemist. He remained there for five years.16 Unfortunately, I could not find Manson and Marjorie on the 1940 census despite having their exact address in Radburn, New Jersey.

Manson and William both went on to have distinguished careers in their fields. More on that in a post to come.

 


  1. “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1929,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  2. Manson Benedict, 1930 US census, Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Page: 37B; Enumeration District: 0025; FHL microfilm: 2341158, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  3. C.Harry Benedict and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Torch Lake, Houghton, Michigan; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0040; FHL microfilm: 2340729, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  4. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  5. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  6. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 
  7. SSN: 017369908, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. Marjorie Allen, 1934 Mt Holyoke College yearbook, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Llamarada_Yearbook; Year: 1934, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  9. J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, R. A. Toth, Water Vapour Line Parameters from Microwave to Medium Infrared: An Atlas of H216O, H217O and H218O Line Positions and Intensities between 0 and 4350 cm-1, Pergamon, 1981 (dedication). 
  10. License Number: 30940, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 13, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  11. SSN: 578387103, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12.  Year: 1920; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2879; Line: 4; Page Number: 126, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  13. Carl Boschwitz and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0542; FHL microfilm: 2341301,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  14. Ruth Boschwitz, 1936 NYU Medical School yearbook, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Medical Violet; Year: 1936, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 
  15. William Benedict, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02655; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 31-1337, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  16. Oral History interview of Manson Benedict by James J. Bohning, January 24, 1991, for the Science History Institute, found at https://oh.sciencehistory.org/oral-histories/benedict-manson 

Milton’s Family Album, Part XIII: The Creative Talent of Milton Goldsmith Himself

Milton Goldsmith devoted the next three pages of his family album to himself and to his wife Sophie. The first page includes photographs and two biographies of Milton.

I wonder how they made this photograph of Milton taken from numerous angles—anyone know how they did this?

UPDATE! According to Ava Cohn, aka Sherlock Cohn the Photo Genealogist, these photographs were done with a folding mirror and were quite common. In fact, Ava shared another one as did another Facebook reader who saw my post.

I don’t know where this biography of Milton was published or when, though it was written no earlier than 1891 as it refers to the publication of his book, Rabbi and Priest, in that year. The biography also appears to have been written while he was still living and working in Philadelphia and before he moved to New York City and married Sophie Hyman in 1899. So it was written some time in the 1890s.

I would think that this photograph of Milton was taken about the same time as the publication of that biography, sometime in the 1890s when he was in his thirties:

This entry about him in Who’s Who was written many years later as it references some of his later publications, including his play, The Little Brother, which was published in 1918.

What I really love about this Who’s Who entry are the insights into Milton’s appearance and personality—that he had blue eyes, a fair complexion, and graying hair, that he was cheerful and optimistic, and that he was a moderate drinker and did not smoke. Most of the other biographical and professional information I had already gleaned from other sources. (There are a fair number of blog posts about Milton’s life and career, e.g., here, and here and here and here and here.)

Speaking of The Little Brother, the next page in Milton’s album is a copy of the program from a performance of that play in 1918:

I had previously written about this play and Tyrone Power’s starring role in it.

Finally, the third page compiled three reviews of a play (undated) in which Milton’s wife Sophie had an important role. The play, The Flight of the Duchess, by Henry Hanby Hay, was an adaptation of a “poetic romance” by Robert Browning and performed by the local Browning Society, a amateur group.

In the article on the left side of the page, the reviewer did not like either the play or the performers, but did praise Sophie’s acting, saying, “Mrs. Goldsmith’s reading of her lines was marked by a distinction and sense that had been welcomed in her associates….”

The second review, at the middle bottom of the page, was overall much kinder and also praised Sophie’s performance as “a striking piece of work.” And the third review, on the right side of the page, was more mixed, but again praised Sophie, saying that “The chief individual honors of performance fell to Mrs. Milton Goldsmith.”

These three pages about Milton and his wife Sophie are appropriate reminders of their many talents. Here is one final photograph of Milton, taken in 1941 when he was eighty years old:

This is Part XIII of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX,  Part X, Part XI and Part XII at the links.

A Life Well Lived

I am slowly emerging from the initial period of mourning and trying to re-enter the world. My father and my concern for my mother continue to fill almost all the spaces of my brain and heart. But Jewish tradition encourages one to return to a regular routine—to work, to school, to ordinary life—once the initial period of mourning is over. So I am going to try.  And that means returning to my family history work and to my blog. It also means picking up where I left off in reading the blogs I follow.

For today, let me just share a bit more biographical information about my father. I described his personality and interests a bit in my last post, but I’d like to tell a little more about his life, especially his early life.  Next time I will return to the Goldsmiths, my father’s cousins through his maternal great-grandmother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein.

My father was born on November 15, 1926, in Philadelphia, to Eva Schoenthal and John Nusbaum Cohen. He was named John Nusbaum Cohen, Junior, which is an unusual thing to do in Ashkenazi Jewish families where the tradition is to name a child for a deceased relative. But that break with tradition was consistent with the assimilation of his family. Although my father was confirmed in a Reform Jewish temple, his family was not religious or traditional in any way.

When he was just a young boy, both of his parents became ill and were unable to care for him. His father had multiple sclerosis and eventually was institutionalized; my father had no memory of him walking unassisted. His mother suffered a breakdown and also was hospitalized and then cared for by her parents. My father and his sister Eva were taken care of by their paternal grandmother Eva Seligman Cohen, whose kindness and generosity I’ve written about before.

Eva and John Cohen, Jr. (my father and his sister)

My father was an excellent student; he also loved music and art. One of his favorite childhood memories was playing the role of Buttercup in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore when he was at an all-boys summer camp. He often sang his parts from that show to us when we were children. He also enjoyed summer trips to Atlantic City with his grandmother and sister.

Just weeks before his thirteenth birthday, his beloved grandmother died in Philadelphia. The doctor who came to attend to her at home had to tell my father and aunt that their grandmother had died. There was no one obvious to take care of the two children, and for quite a while they were shuttled back and forth among various cousins for a week or so at a time. Eventually their mother was healthy enough to come back and take care of them.

My father graduated from high school and started college, but on February 14, 1945, when he was eighteen, he was drafted into the US Navy to serve during World War II. He was based in Chicago and then in Newport News, Virginia, doing intelligence work, until he was honorably discharged on August 1, 1946. He returned to Philadelphia and to Temple University to continue his education, but later transferred to Columbia University’s School of Architecture to complete his degree. He was encouraged and inspired by his uncle, Harold Schoenthal, to pursue a career in architecture, a decision he never regretted.

In the Navy

During the summer of 1950 when he was still a student at Columbia, my father worked as a waiter at Camp Log Tavern, a resort in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.  One weekend he spotted a young red-headed woman across the room and said to a fellow waiter, “That’s the girl I am going to marry.” Although she was more interested in another waiter during her stay, my father asked her for her number before she departed. She gave him the wrong number and a shortened version of her last name, which was Goldschlager. According to family lore, he searched the Bronx phone book until he found her. She was so impressed that she agreed to go out with him, and after that, they became inseparable.

They were married one year later on September 9, 1951. I came along eleven months later, just two months after my father’s graduation from Columbia.

My father and my grandmother at his college graduation in 1952

In the years that followed, my parents had two more children, moved to the suburbs, and lived a good life. Theirs was a true love match, and they adored each other through 67 years of marriage. Yes, there were hard times and harsh words at times, but I never once doubted that they were devoted to each other.

My father worked first for an architectural firm in New York City, commuting with all the other fathers. But not many years later he left the firm and established his own practice, a practice he maintained into his 90s, working with people and developers on houses, office buildings, additions, and other work.

Although my father had a hard childhood, his adult life was happy and fulfilling. He loved his family, and he loved his work. He was active in his local community, working as a volunteer fireman and as a member of the planning board.  When he died at age 92 on February 16, 2019, he was a well-loved and much respected member of his community and an adored husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and great-grandfather. His was truly a life well lived.

 

 

The Bensew Daughters, Roschen and Frieda: Who Was Mrs. Hon?

My last post covered the lives of the five sons of Breine Mansbach and Jakob Bensew: William, Lester, Julius, Heine, and Max. Breine and Jakob Bensew also had two daughters, Roschen, their first child, who was born in 1870, and Frieda, their last child, who was born in 1886. This post is about them and their families.

As we have seen, Roschen may have come to the US in 1890 with two of her brothers, but if she did, she returned to Germany where she married Josef Stern in 1899 and had at least two children born in Kassel, Alfred, born in 1900, and Edwin, born in 1905. According to some researchers, Roschen and Josef had three other children, but so far I have not found any evidence of those children in either German or US records. And although I was able to find a death record for Josef, who died in Kassel, Germany on February 2, 1927,1 I’ve been unable to find a record of Roschen’s death.

What I know about their sons Alfred and Edwin is that both immigrated to the US in 1937 to escape Nazi Germany. Edwin, the younger brother, was the first to leave Germany. He arrived in New York on January 6, 1937, listing his age as 31, his marital status as single, his occupation as merchant, and birthplace as Kassel, Germany. He reported that he was leaving behind his brother, “A. Stern,” of Berlin, Germany, and going to his uncle, “W. Bensev,” i.e., William Bensev, of Denver, Colorado. William was his mother Roschen’s brother.

Edwin Stern, passenger manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5923; Line: 1; Page Number: 108
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Edwin’s brother Alfred followed ten months later. He arrived on October, 1937, listing his age as 37, occupation as bank clerk, and birthplace as Kassel. The manifest indicates that Alfred was married and resided in Berlin, and he reported on the manifest that the person he was going to was his uncle, “J. Loewenherz” of Winnetka, Illinois. I believe this was really Emanuel Loewenherz, who was married to Alfred’s aunt Frieda Bensev, his mother Roschen’s little sister.

Alfred Stern, passenger manifest, p. 1, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6066; Line: 1; Page Number: 23
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Alfred also indicated that the person he was leaving behind was his wife Rita of the same address in Berlin. But there was also a second name listed in the column for those the person left behind, a Mrs. Hon of Nice, France, identified as his mother.

The form asks the person to provide the name of “the nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came or, if none there, then in country of which a citizen or subject.” Since Alfred came from Germany and was a citizen or subject of only Germany, supplying the name of someone in France would not have been correct. Is that why his wife’s name is written in instead? Was the Mrs. Hon in Nice, France, actually Alfred’s mother Roschen Bensew Stern? If so, I cannot find her. If anyone has any suggestions, please help!

I was a little worried that Alfred had left his wife behind, so was relieved to see on the 1940 census that Alfred, Rita, and their three-year-old daughter Renate (later Renee) were safely living in New York City where Alfred was working as a clerk for the telegraph company. Rita’s mother Elizabeth Garde and sister Charlotte Garde were also living with them.

Alfred Stern household, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02673; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 31-2013
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Alfred’s brother Edwin Stern had gone to Denver to live with his uncle William Bensev. On the 1940 census, William not only had his wife Jessie, daughter Theodora, and three brothers—Heine, Max, and Julius—living with him.  He also had taken in his nephew Edwin, who was working as a salesman in a department store:

William Bensev household 1940 US census, Census Place: Denver, Denver, Colorado; Roll: m-t0627-00488; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 16-149
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

In 1942 when he registered for the draft, Edwin was still living with his uncle William and working for the May Company, the department store. Edwin served in the US military from May 1, 1942, until March 13, 1945.2 I unfortunately was not able to find out any information about Edwin during or after his service in World War II. He died on May 6, 1980, in San Francisco, California; he was 75.3 I do not know if he ever married or had children.

Edwin Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 232
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Alfred Stern seems to have stayed in the New York City area for the rest of his life. As with Edwin Stern, the fact that his name is so common made it impossible to determine much else about his life. He died on August 7, 1991; he was 91 years old.4

Breine and Jakob Bensew’s other daughter Frieda had been in the US since 1907 and in 1910 was living in Chicago and working as a stenographer, as discussed here. Sometime in 1918, Frieda married Emanuel Loewenherz. I have no marriage record, but Emanuel did not arrive in the US until January 30, 1913.5 On his naturalization papers signed on April 22, 1918, he wrote that he was not married.6 But when he registered for the World War II draft, he was married to Frieda; unfortunately, there is no date on his registration card:

Emanuel Loewenherz, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1452380; Draft Board: 01
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Emanuel was born in “Piwowsczyrna, Austria,” on October 5, 1882, according to his naturalization papers; the closest match I could find on a current map is Piwniczna-Zdrój, Poland.7 When he registered for the draft, he and Frieda were living in Chicago, and he was working as a work manager for the K.W. Battery Company. On the 1920 census, they were still living in Chicago, and Emanuel now reported his occupation as a machine engineer for a manufacturing company. Their son Walter was born later that year on August 6, 1920, in Chicago.8

Emanuel Loewenherz household, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 1, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_305; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 10
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

In 1927 Emanuel, Frieda, and young Walter traveled together on the SS Deutschland to Hamburg, Germany. In 1930 they again made a trip to Hamburg.9 In 1930 the family was living in New Trier, Illinois, a town about 20 miles north of Chicago. Emanuel owned a home worth $20,000—or equivalent to about $300,000 in today’s dollars. Emanuel had gone from being a work manager and then a machine engineer to being the president of the battery company. Also living with Emanuel, Frieda and Walter was Alfred Mansbach, Frieda’s cousin and the son of Julius Mansbach and the other Frieda Bensew. The family was at the same address in 1940; Alfred Mansbach was no longer living with them, but a nephew named Micha Loewenherz was. Emanuel was still the president of the battery company.10

Loewenherz household, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: New Trier, Cook, Illinois; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 2223; FHL microfilm: 2340238
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Walter Loewenherz enlisted in the military on October 6, 1942.11 On March 20, 1943, he married Beatrice Ganzoff in Comanche, Oklahoma. Since Beatrice, like Walter, was a Chicago native and resident, I assume they married in Oklahoma because Walter was stationed there.

Ancestry.com. Oklahoma, County Marriage Records, 1890-1995

Emanuel Loewenherz died in December 1963 in Chicago; he was 81.12 His wife, my cousin Frieda Bensew Loewenherz, died on December 17, 1975, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when she was 89.13

According to his obituary,14 Walter Loewenherz became president of the K.W. Battery Company, succeeding his father. He eventually moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was an active member of several civic and charitable organizations in both Chicago and Fort Lauderdale. He died when he was only 65 years old on November 16, 1985, in Fort Lauderdale. His wife Beatrice died on June 30, 2005, also in Fort Lauderdale; she was 84.15  Beatrice was quite an accomplished woman.  According to her obituary, she was Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University and a Fulbright Scholar. She taught at  Sunset Ridge School in Northfield, Illinois, and Nova Southeastern in Florida and was active in many civic organizations. After retiring, Beatrice and Walter had lived in a sailboat off of St. Bart’s before settling in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.16They were survived by their four children.

With this post, I have written about all the children of my three-times great-aunt, Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach. Moreover, I have now written about all the children of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander except for the one child who never left Germany: Biele or Betty Goldschmidt. Her story comes next.


  1.  Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5608, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  3.  Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997, Social Security #: 524052638. 
  4.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 059125292. 
  5. Emanuel Loewenherz, passenger manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1827, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934. 
  6. Emanuel Loewenherz, naturalization records, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906 – 1991; NAI Number: 6756404; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21,  Petitions, v 64-68, no 6270-6700, 1918,
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991. 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, SSN: 329163469. 
  9. Loewenherz family on passenger manifests, Year: 1927; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3997; Line: 8; Page Number: 163, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists. Year: 1930; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4885; Line: 3; Page Number: 90, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  10. Loewenherz household, 1940 US census, Census Place: New Trier, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00783; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 16-322, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. 
  12. Number: 340-07-2609; Issue State: Illinois; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Number: 356-38-3307; Issue State: Illinois; Issue Date: 1963,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14.  Fort Lauderdale News, 16 Nov 1985, Page 15 
  15. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 329019705. 
  16.  Evanston Review, obit for Dr. Beatrice Loewenherz, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/111A841C55ED24D8-111A841C55ED24D8 : accessed 28 September 2018); South Florida Sun-Sentinel () , obit for Loewenherz, Beatrice, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/10B49B19E169FC50-10B49B19E169FC50 : accessed 28 September 2018) 

Final Chapter for Bert, Meyer, and Julius Mansbach and their Sister, Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg

If the 1910s were years of growth for the families of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach’s children and the 1920s were years of transition, the 1930s and 1940s were primarily years of loss.

Those decades were particularly sad for the family of Bert Mansbach. First, on January 17, 1933, Rosa Schloss Mansbach, Bert Mansbach’s wife, died in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at age 64.1 Then on March 16, 1935, Bert’s son-in-law Herbert Kahn, husband of Corinne Mansbach, died at age 51 in Trinidad, Colorado.2

The following year, Corinne and Herbert’s daughter Rosalyn married Warren Jefferson Hahn in Philadelphia.3 Warren was born in Woodville, Rhode Island, on August 6, 1909, but grew up in Philadelphia where his father was a furniture salesman. In 1930 Warren had been living with his parents in Philadelphia and working for a motion picture company.4 Rosalyn and Warren settled in Philadelphia. Rosalyn’s widowed mother Corinne also moved to Philadelphia, and it appears that Rosalynn’s grandfather Bert Mansbach did as well because Bert died in Philadelphia on March 6, 1939; he was 83 years old.

Berthold Mansbach death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 020001-023000. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

In 1940, Corinne, her daughter Rosalyn, and son-in-law Warren Hahn were living together in Philadelphia where Warren was now working as a clerk in a loan office.5 Corinne’s brother Alvin Mansbach was living with his wife Lucille and their daughter Betty in New York City where Alvin continued to work for the telephone company.6 The following year on April 10, 1941, Alvin and Lucille’s nine year old daughter Betty died for reasons that are not revealed in her death certificate:

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WP2-SWW : 10 February 2018), Betty Mansbach, 10 Apr 1941; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,130,228.

Alvin then lost his sister Corinne six years later on June 17, 1947, in Philadelphia; she was only 57 and died from breast cancer:

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 057151-059700
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Alvin and his wife Lucille, who had no more children after losing Betty, both died in 1961, Alvin on March 16 in New York at age 66, Lucille exactly three months later on June 16 in New York at age 64.7

The 1930s were not as difficult for the family of Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg. Hannah and Gerson were still living in Philadelphia, as were all three of their children, Reta, Arthur, and Katinka.  They were also all still living in Philadelphia in 1940. Gerson Dannenberg and his son-in-law Elmor Alkus, Reta’s husband, were still in the towel supply business together. Arthur Dannenberg was a physician in private practice, living with his wife Marion and their sons; his brother-in-law Sidney Olsho was also a doctor in private practice and living with his wife Katinka and their children.8

But the family’s settled life changed soon after the 1940 census. First, Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg died at age 83 on August 27, 1940, from myocarditis; her husband Gerson followed her three years later on March 20, 1943; he was eighty and died from leukemia.9

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 071201-073500
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

And sometime in the 1940s Katinka Dannenberg’s marriage to Sidney Olsho ended. I am not sure exactly when, although she did fly to Texas without him in 1946. But by 1949 she and Sidney were definitely divorced because during 1949 Katinka married Julius Adler.10

Now when I saw the name Julius Adler, something rang a bell (it amazes me that any names stick in my head these days). So I searched on my tree, and sure enough, I did have a Julius Adler on my tree, and in fact, I already had entered Katinka as his second wife but hadn’t realized she was my relative (I had to merge the duplicates on my tree). Why was Julius already on my family tree?

Because his first wife was also a cousin—my second cousin, twice removed, Flora Baer, the daughter of Malchen Hamberg and Jacob Baer, about whom I have already written in depth. In fact, I had already written quite a bit about Julius as well, who lived to 106. He outlived Katinka by 21 years; she died on March 27, 1971, and her death notice listed her survivors as not only her husband Julius and her son Edward Olsho, but also Julius and Flora’s three children, Stanley, Amy, and Jerrold, who were young adults when Katinka married their father and who were my third cousins, once removed, through my Hamberg line. Once again, my crazy tree was doubling over itself.11

As for Katinka’s siblings, Reta Dannenberg Alkus died on August 30, 1960, at age 70 from cancer; her husband Elmor Alkus died eight years later in December 1968; he was 79.12

Reta Dannenberg Arkus death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 076201-078900. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Hannah and Gerson’s son Arthur Dannenberg outlived them all. The Philadelphia Inquirer published this wonderful  obituary of Arthur on December 9, 1990:13

Arthur Mansbach Dannenberg lived to 99; he died on December 7, 1990. His wife Marion had died twelve years earlier in April 1978. According to his obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer,

Arthur M. Dannenberg, 99, a pediatrician who made house calls, died Friday at his home in Philadelphia.

Dr. Dannenberg graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1913 and did his internship at the Jewish Hospital, now known as Albert Einstein Medical Center. From 1938 until his retirement in 1968, Dr. Dannenberg was chief of pediatrics at the center.

He practiced medicine during the 1920s, when there were only a few pediatricians in Philadelphia, said his son, James. “I would ride in the car with him when he made house calls,” said Dannenberg, recalling his childhood. ”He spent time educating the mothers about what was a serious illness and what wasn’t and how to take care of their babies.”

During Dr. Dannenberg’s career, he wrote numerous articles on pediatrics that were published in medical journals. He was a member of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was a past president of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society.

He also was a member of the Council of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

We saw that in 1930 Meyer and Ida (Jaffa) Mansbach as well as their daughter Edith and her husband Herbert Marshutz and their children were living in Los Angeles where Meyer was selling millinery and Herbert was practicing optometry.  Meyer’s son Arthur Mansbach and his wife Gertrude and their daughter had also relocated to Los Angeles by 1936, where Arthur was working as the sales manager for Caltex Sportswear.14

Meyer was still in the hat business in 1940 in Los Angeles, and Herbert was still in the optometry business there as well.15 I could not find Arthur on the 1940 census, but he is listed in the 1940 Los Angeles directory.16

Just months after the 1940 census, Meyer passed away on December 10, 1940, in Los Angeles.17  He was eighty years old. Two weeks after his death, the Los Angeles Times ran this sweet article about Meyer’s encounter with Damon Runyon, the journalist and writer best known for the book Guys and Dolls, the source of the well-known Broadway musical:

“News for Mr. Runyon,” The Los Angeles Times, December 25, 1940, p. 28

Meyer’s wife Ida Jaffa Mansbach died almost exactly a year after her husband on December 2, 1941. She was 66.18 Meyer and Ida’s son Arthur died just nine years later on May 4, 1950; he was only 53.19 His wife Gertrude lived another 28 years, dying at age 77 on June 3, 1978. She had remarried in 1954.20 Finally, Edith Mansbach Marshuk died on March 20, 1968; she was 66. Her husband Herbert had predeceased her, dying on October 5, 1959.21 Meyer, Ida, and their children all died and are buried in Los Angeles.

Last but not least, Julius Mansbach, Sarah and Abraham’s youngest child, and his wife Frieda were still living in Wunstorf, Germany, in 1930, but their son Alfred had left for the US the year before to study at Northwestern University in Chicago. Fortunately Julius and Frieda did not remain in Germany for long once Hitler came to power. They sailed to the US in September 1933, and followed their son Alfred to Chicago:

Julius and Frieda Mansbach, passenger manifest,  lines 8 and 9, Year: 1933; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5390; Line: 1; Page Number: 181, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Here is a photograph of Julius, Frieda, and Alfred taken in 1934 and one of Julius taken in 1936:

Alfred, Frieda, and Julius, 1934. Courtesy of Art Mansbach

Julius Mansbach, 1936. Courtesy of Art Mansbach

Finally, here is one taken in 1937, which must have been not long before Julius died. He died on April 12, 1937, at the age of 71.22

Frieda and Julius Mansbach, 1937. Courtesy of Art Mansbach

His son Alfred married Alice Spitz of Cleveland in about 1946 and moved to Cleveland. 23 Frieda Bensew Mansbach died in 1968, and Alfred died in 1982, his wife Alice in 2012.24

That brings me to the end of the story of those children of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach who came to the US. There is one more line of the Goldschmidt-Mansbach familiy to discuss: the family of Breine Mansbach Bensew, the one sibling who did not come to America herself.


  1. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  2. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) 
  3. Marriage License Number: 662803, Digital GSU Number: 4141760,
    Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 
  4. Warren Hahn, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 992, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947; Hahn household, 1930 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 26A; Enumeration District: 0672; FHL microfilm: 2341840, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  5. Hahn household, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03702; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 51-493, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Mansbach household, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02643; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 31-812, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Alvin Mansbach, Certificate Number: 6059, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965. Lucille Mansbach, Certificate Number: 42370, New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Death Index, Ancestry.com. New York State, Death Index, 1957-1968 
  8. Gerson Dannenberg household, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03732; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 51-1426, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. Elmor Alkus household, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03754; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 51-2167, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. Arthur Dannenberg household, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03692; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 51-144, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. Sidney Olsho household, 1940 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03704; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 51-558, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  9.  Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 020901-023300, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966, Certificate Number: 20971. 
  10. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Manifests of Airplanes Arriving at Fort Worth, Texas; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004, Ancestry.com. Texas, Passenger Lists, 1893-1963.  Film Number: 004144625, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 
  11. The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 30, 1971, p. 14. 
  12. Number: 176-26-9579; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014  
  13.  Philadelphia Inquirer, The () , obit for ARTHUR M. DANNENBERG, PEDIATRICIAN, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/0FBAE72EAEE42B55-0FBAE72EAEE42B55 : accessed 18 October 2018) 
  14.  Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1936, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  15. Meyer Mansbach household, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00404; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 60-200,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. Herbert Marshutz household, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00406; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 60-313, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  16. Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1940, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  17. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997. 
  18. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  19. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 560148581 
  20. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 557440725. 
  21. Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 
  22. Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988, File Number: 6011583. 
  23. Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: 282; Page: 107; Year Range: 1945-1947, Ancestry.com. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973  
  24. Frieda Bensew Mansbach death, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988, File Number: 630257. Alfred Mansbach death, Certificate: 023244; Volume: 24800, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007. Plain Dealer, The , obit for PETRAS, ALICE L. (Spitz), GenealogyBank.com(https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/13DC20F1FA539460 : accessed 22 September 2018) 

Rosa Goldschmidt and Her Family: The Final Chapter

This is the final post about the family of my three-times great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt and her husband Bernhard Metz.  In 1900, Rosa and Bernhard and three of their four surviving children were all living together in New York; Bernhard was still in the import-export business, and his sons Edwin and Joseph were merchants. Their daughter Hattie was working as a saleswoman, and her husband George Gattel was a commissioner. Rosa and Bernhard had already lost three of their children: Siegfried had died in 1880, Emily in 1885, and Bertha in 1892;  also, their oldest son Paul had abandoned the family and disappeared in 1900.

Bernhard Metz family 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0661; FHL microfilm: 1241110
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Rosa, Bernhard, Hattie and her husband George, Edwin, and Joseph were all still living together in 1905. Edwin was a “nit goods salesman;” Joseph was a dry goods clerk, George Gattel was some kind of salesman, and Bernhard was a commercial merchant. There were also two boarders and two servants living in the household at 209 East 61st Street.

Bernhard Metz family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 24 E.D. 16; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 48. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Things changed between 1905 and 1910. We saw that Edwin, who had married Gertrude Becker in 1903, was living in Chicago in 1910. The youngest sibling, Joseph George Metz, also married during those years. He married Florence W. Wolf on December 31, 1905.

New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2497-DHX : 10 February 2018), Joseph Metz and Florence Wolf, 31 Dec 1905; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,558,583.

Florence was the daughter of Louis Wolf and Rebecca Stiefel, and she was born on September 20, 1884, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.1 Florence was living in New York City in 1900 with her parents and siblings; her father was a manufacturer.2 Florence and Joseph had their first child, Robert, on August 19, 1907, in New York.3

In 1910, Joseph Metz was enumerated as the head of household at 149 West 135th Street; in addition to his wife Florence and their son Robert (2), his parents Rosa and Bernhard were living there as well as two servants. Joseph was a ladies’ underwear manufacturer, and his father Bernhard was working as an insurance agent.

Joseph Metz and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0710; FHL microfilm: 1375040
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Not too far away at 607 West 136th Street, Joseph’s sister Hattie was living with her husband George Gattel; George was now a silk merchant. Living with them was Hattie’s niece, the daughter of her deceased sister Bertha, eighteen-year-old Bertha Katzenstein. As you may recall, Rosa and Bernhard’s daughter Bertha Metz died shortly after the birth of her daughter Bertha from puerperal fever. I don’t know whether the child was named Bertha before her mother died or afterwards in her memory.

Hattie Metz Gattel and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0709; FHL microfilm: 1375040
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Bertha Katzenstein’s father Adolf had remarried in 1895, three years after the death of his first wife Bertha Metz. His second wife, Lisbeth Schierstad, was a German immigrant like Adolf.4 I could not locate Adolf, Lisbeth or Bertha (the daughter) on the 1900 US census. Since Adolf was in the import-export business and traveled many times to Europe, I suppose that he and Lisbeth and Bertha might have been abroad when the 1900 census was taken. But Adolf and Lisbeth are listed on the 1905 New York State census, and Bertha was not with them at that time,5 nor was she with her grandparents or aunt or uncles. She would have been only thirteen at the time. Was she in boarding school? Still abroad? I don’t know. At any rate, in 1910, Bertha was back in New York City, living with her aunt Hattie.

Thus, in 1910, Rosa and Bernhard had only two of their seven children still living nearby: Hattie and Joseph. Paul had disappeared, Edwin was in Chicago, and Siegfried, Emily, and Bertha had passed away. They had five grandchildren: Bertha’s daughter Bertha Katzenstein, Edwin’s son Walter, Joseph’s son Robert, and the two sons of Paul Metz, Elwood and George.

On May 16, 1911, my three-times great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt Metz passed away at age 73 from colon and liver cancer as well as kidney disease.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WMM-ZTL : 20 March 2015), Rosa Metz, 16 May 1911; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives

When I first opened this death certificate, I panicked. It showed Rosa’s parents as Jacob Goldsmith and Gretchen Stern, not Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander. Had I been researching the wrong Rosa Goldschmidt? But then I noticed her very specific age—73 years, 6 months, 19 days. Using a web date calculator, I determined that since she died on May 16, 1911, that meant she was born on October 27, 1837. Bingo! That is EXACTLY the date for Rosa’s birth on the Oberlistingen birth register, showing her parents as Seligmann and Hincka. Phew! But where in the world did the family come up with the names Jacob Goldsmith and Gertrude Stern?? I don’t know.

Two years after Rosa’s death her son Joseph named his second child for her; Rosalind Metz was born on May 21, 1913, in New York City.6

The following year Bernhard Metz died on August 10, 1914, in New York; he was 81.7

Meanwhile, Bertha Katzenstein was married on February 9, 1913, in Harburg, Germany, to Hermann Nathan. It was this fact that also led me to think that she had been living abroad for some part of her childhood. She was only twenty when she married, and six years later they were divorced on July 3, 1919, in Hannover, Germany. (Thank you to Matthias Steinke of the German Genealogy group for translating this document for me.)

Unfortunately that is the last document or record I have for Bertha Katzenstein. I don’t know whether she returned to the US, but if she did, I can’t find her in the US nor can I find her in Germany—not as Bertha Nathan or Bertha Katzenstein. If she remarried, I have no record of it and thus do not know her married name.

Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1920.
Original data: Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland. Certificate Number: 62
Reference Number: 332-5_11409

In 1920, Hattie and George Gattel were still living in New York City, and George was still selling silk. Ten years later they were still living in New York, and George was no longer working.8 Hattie died on December 11, 1930, at the age of 66;9 George died less than a year later on September 24, 1931.10  He was seventy. Having lost both of their children as babies, they have no direct descendants.

Joseph Getz, the remaining and youngest sibling, must have hit some hard times after 1910. In 1915, he and his wife Florence were living with Florence’s mother and brother Milton at 243 West 99th Street, and Joseph had no occupation listed on the 1915 New York State census.11 Their two young children, Robert, who would have been eight, and Rosalind, who was two, were not listed with them nor can I find them elsewhere on the New York State census. Could they have been omitted by mistake? Or were they living some place outside of New York, perhaps with a different relative?

I don’t know, but in 1920 Robert and Rosalind were again living with their parents in New York City; Joseph was now a commercial traveler. Florence’s mother Rebecca Wolf was also living with them.12 In 1925 they were all still living together, and Joseph was now an insurance broker.13 Five years later the 1930 US census shows them all living at the same place, Joseph still working as an insurance broker.

Joseph Metz and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0465; FHL microfilm: 2341292
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Joseph and Florence’s two children married in the 1930s.  Robert married Anna Steinhardt on June 29, 1934, and Rosalind married John L. Swartz on June 2, 1935.

Certificate Number: 17141, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937.  Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003, Ancestry.com

Certificate Number: 11535, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003, Ancestry.com

Sadly, the decade ended with Joseph’s death on March 4, 1939. He was sixty years old.14 His wife Florence outlived him by more than 25 years, dying at 85 in  September 1965.15 They were survived by their children and grandchildren.

With that, I come to the conclusion of the story of Rosa Goldschmidt, her husband Bernhard Metz, and their seven children. It was quite a wild ride at times. Rosa’s children faced many challenges and provided me with many research challenges. She was the youngest child of my three-times great-grandparents Seligmann Goldschmidt and Hincka Alexander. She was the second to last of their children to come to the US.

Her oldest sister and Seligmann and Hincka’s oldest child, Sarah, was the very last of the Goldschmidt siblings to come to the US. Her story comes next.

 

 


  1.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 058221651 
  2. Louis Wolf and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0832; FHL microfilm: 1241118. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, 1878-1909. Certificate Number: 3926. 
  4.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937, Certificate Number: 13289. Lisbeth Schierstad Katzenstein passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1744; Volume #: Roll 1744 – Certificates: 85500-85875, 23 Sep 1921-24 Sep 1921. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  5. Adolf Katzenstein, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 31 E.D. 14; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 42. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905 
  6.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965, Certificate Number 27?? (not legible on index) 
  7.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 , Certificate Number: 23969. 
  8. Hattie and George Gattel, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 7, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1197; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 555.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0385; FHL microfilm: 2341288. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  9. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number: 28089 
  10. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 22939 
  11.  New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 16; Assembly District: 17; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 01. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 
  12. Joseph Metz and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1226; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 1489. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  13. Joseph Metz and family, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 34; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 10. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 
  14. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number 5487. 
  15. New York Times, September 13, 1965, p. 35. 

The Search for Edwin Metz

As of 1900, my 3x-great-aunt Rosa Goldschmidt and her husband Bernhard Metz had four children still living: Hattie, Paul, Edwin, and Joseph. I’ve discussed Paul Metz, aka Joseph Raymond, aka George Raymond’s disappearance in 1900. This post will discuss his younger brother Edwin, who was also proved to be elusive.

Searching for Edwin Metz was not nearly the wild ride I experienced in searching for his brother Paul, but it sure had its challenges. As of 1900, he was still living with his parents Rosa and Bernhard in New York City, working as a merchant.1 In the 1905 New York State census the household included Bernhard and Rosa, Hattie and her husband George Gattel, Edwin, and Joseph. This enumerator had the worst handwriting! Can you decipher what Edwin was doing? It sure had me confused, but as you will see, I eventually figured it out. Answer to follow.

Bernhard Metz family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 24 E.D. 16; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 48
Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

The next record I had for Edwin Metz was the 1910 census, or at least I thought this was Edwin. He is listed with a wife Gertrude and four-year-old son Walter, living in Chicago and working as a salesman—of what, once I again I could not tell:

Edwin Metz and family 1910 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 6, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T624_246; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0369; FHL microfilm: 1374259
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

I thought this was probably the right Edwin Metz since the age (35) and birth place (New York) and birth places of the parents (both Germany) were right, but I wasn’t sure. What made verification difficult was that I could not find one other record for Edwin Metz. He was not on any later census record, and I could not find a marriage record or a death record or even a newspaper article about him.

I focused my search then on Gertrude and Walter, which was also difficult because I did not know Gertrude’s birth name or anything else about her, except what that 1910 census revealed: that she was then 33, born in Indiana in about 1877 to parents who were both born in Germany. And I knew that Walter was born in New York in about 1906. Not much to go on, but enough to get a start.

First, I found a marriage record dated May 20, 1918, for a Gertrude B. Metz and an Isaac Lederer in the Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index on Ancestry.2 I then was able to find Isaac and Gertrude on the 1920 census with Isaac’s son Joseph and his stepson Walter R. Metz, now 13, living in Chicago. I was quite certain this was the same Gertrude and same Walter who had been living with Edwin Metz in 1910 because the names, ages, and birth places lined up. But where was Edwin? Had he died? Or had Gertrude divorced him? And was he even my Edwin anyway?

Isaac Lederer and family 1920 US census, Census Place: Chicago Ward 3, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_313; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 164
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Then I found entries on the 1915 South Dakota census for Gertrude Metz and Walter Metz. South Dakota? That surprised me. But they lined up with the Gertrude and Walter I’d found on the 1910 and 1920 US census records: Gertrude was 38, born in 1877, in Indiana, and her parents were born in Germany. Walter was nine, born in 1906, in New York, to a father born in New York and a mother born in Indiana. And most importantly, Gertrude listed her marital status as widowed.

Gertrude Metz, South Dakota State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMHN-CGX : 5 August 2017), Gertrude B Metz; citing State Historical Society, Pierre; FHL microfilm 2,283,681.

Walter Metz, South Dakota State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMHN-CPH : 5 August 2017), Walter R Metz; citing State Historical Society, Pierre; FHL microfilm 2,283,681.

Had Edwin died, or was Gertrude doing what many divorced women did in those days, hiding her status as a divorced woman? And why were they in South Dakota? The town where they were living, Mitchell, was a town with a population in 1910 of about 6500 people, located well over 600 miles from Chicago, where Edwin, Gertrude, and Walter had been living in 1910. How had Gertrude and Walter ended up in Mitchell?

My hunch was that Gertrude had family in South Dakota, so I searched for a Gertrude born in Indiana in about 1877 who was living in South Dakota, and I found Gertrude Kleist on the 1900 census, living in Mitchell, South Dakota, with her parents Emil and Mina, both born in Germany. Her father was a peddler, and Gertrude was a music teacher.

Gertrude Kleist and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Mitchell, Davison, South Dakota; Page: 20; Enumeration District: 0112; FHL microfilm: 1241548
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

But that got me no closer to finding Edwin Metz. I went back to my newspaper searching. In my earlier search for Edwin, I’d had to limit my searches to New York and Chicago because the name was so common that I was overwhelmed with thousands of results. This time I decided to search for Edwin Metz in South Dakota, figuring that it was a crazy long shot.

But it wasn’t.  I found this from the July 10, 1913 edition of the Mitchell (South Dakota) Capital (p. 7):

From this legal notice I knew that Edwin Metz had died sometime before July 1913, and Gertrude was a widow with a seven-year-old little boy. I then found “Edward” Metz on the South Dakota death index; he had died on June 12, 1913, in Davison County, South Dakota.3 It seemed likely that the Gertrude Kleist I’d found on the 1900 census living in Mitchell, South Dakota, was the same woman as Gertrude Metz.

But how had a woman from Mitchell, South Dakota, met and married a man from New York City? Well, knowing now that Gertrude was from Mitchell, I searched for Metz in the Mitchell Capital newspaper on genealogybank.com and found this treasure published on October 9, 1903 (p. 6):

At first I was confused that Gertrude’s name was Becker, not Kleist as I had thought. I was surprised that there could be two Gertrudes in Mitchell, South Dakota, both born around the same time and both in Indiana, with parents born in Germany.

And then I found Gertrude Becker and her family enumerated on the 1900 census; this is clearly the same family as the “Kleist” family in the page depicted above—Emil and Mina, both born in Germany, with daughters Gertrude and Margery and a son Delvin born in Indiana. The Becker and the Kleist entries are nearly identical, except Gertrude has no occupation listed and Emil has moved from being a “peddler” to being a “clothing dealer.”  Once I searched for earlier and later records for the Becker family, it was clear that their name was not Kleist, or hadn’t been for a long time.

Somehow they were counted twice on the 1900 census, once as Becker and once as Kleist. The Becker enumeration was on June 4, the Kleist on June 11, and one was in District 112, the other in District 113. I suppose it is possible the family moved between June 4 and June 11, but it seems unlikely they’d changed their surname from Becker to Kleist.

Gertrude Becker and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Mitchell, Davison, South Dakota; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1241548 Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Without transcribing the entire wedding article, I can point out several revealing portions. First, Edwin Metz was from New York City and was working for “the firm of S. Ascher & Co., importers of fancy knit goods.” Looking back now at the 1905 New York State census when my Edwin was living with his parents, I think the enumerator wrote “nit goods salesman” as Edwin’s occupation. Bad handwriting AND bad spelling. And now reading the 1910 US census for Edwin, I can see that it clearly says “knit goods.” (Amazing what context does to help decipher bad handwriting.) So I am persuaded that the Edwin Metz who married Gertrude from South Dakota was in fact my cousin Edwin.

I also learned that Edwin had “made a very favorable impression” on the people of Mitchell and that he was a “pleasant and affable gentleman and full worthy of the charming bride he takes away from us.”

Gertrude was described in particularly glowing terms:

Coming here as a little maiden the bride has grown to womanhood in this city and has always been prominent in musical and social circles. She is possessed with a beautiful soprano voice of high cultivation and times without number has her music brought pleasure to hundreds of hearers. Always generous with her musical ability she has responded many times to assist in musical entertainments that have been enhanced by her presence. She has been a great favorite socially and was the life of any party of which she formed a number. Her going away will be much regretted by her hundreds of friends and a void will be created that will be hard to fill.

But if Edwin and Gertrude were married in October, 1903, why wasn’t she living with him on the 1905 census in New York? The New York census does not record marital status, so I don’t know. Perhaps she had just been left off by mistake? Edwin and Gertrude’s son Walter was born on February 28, 1906, so certainly in 1905 they had to have been living together for some time.

I also was surprised to see that a rabbi performed the ceremony; he came from the “Jewish church” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is over seventy miles east of Mitchell; back then, that must have been a long journey. It also saddened me that none of Edwin’s family attended the wedding. I’d like to think it wasn’t that they didn’t approve or that Edwin was estranged from his family, but just that the time and cost of traveling from New York to South Dakota kept them from attending.

The wedding article was also very informative about the details of the wedding, including the lavish and extensive menu, the clothing, and the names of the twenty guests. The article also hinted that Gertrude may have already been living in New York, as “A portion of the presents were sent here and a large number were sent to her New York residence.” Perhaps that refers to her future residence, but I like to imagine that Gertrude had come to New York City to pursue her musical career, as the article describes her considerable talent. That would also explain how Edwin and Gertrude met, although it is also possible that Emil Becker, the clothing dealer, met Edwin, the knit clothing salesman, and introduced him to his daughter.

That left me with a few remaining questions: why was Edwin in South Dakota in 1913 when he died? Was it a visit, or were they living in Mitchell at that point? Edwin was only 38 when he died—what caused his death? And where is he buried?

And then, as I was first writing that very paragraph, I went back to genealogybank.com one more time and searched for Edwin Metz between June 1, 1913, and July 31, 1913, and found an obituary for Edwin—why hadn’t it shown up before? I don’t know. But here it is:

“Edwin Metz Passes Away,” The Mitchell Capital, June 19, 1913, p. 7

This doesn’t tell me everything, but it does tell me that Edwin had suffered from “nervous trouble” since early 1912, and it suggests that he and Gertrude had moved to Mitchell for family support.  Edwin died in the home of his in-laws, and his brother-in-law accompanied his body back to New York for burial. Gertrude was herself too ill to go.

Of course, every answer leads to more questions.  What kind of “nervous trouble”? Why was he being buried in New York and not in South Dakota or Chicago, the two places he and Gertrude had lived together?

As for Gertrude and Walter, as noted above, Gertrude remarried five years after Edwin’s death and relocated back to Chicago with her second husband, Isaac S. Lederer. Isaac was also widowed and, like Gertrude, had a young son. In 1920,4 they were all still living together in Chicago, as they were in 1930 as well.5 By then, Walter was working in the retail dry goods business, his stepbrother Joseph was a broker, and Isaac was retired. Isaac died the following year at the age of 61. He was buried with his first wife Carrie in Chicago.6

Walter Metz married Marjorie Isaacs in 1933:

1933, Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963), Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003

And in 1940 they were living in Chicago with their son. Walter owned a retail lighting fixtures store.7 Meanwhile, his mother Gertrude was also still living in Chicago in 1940; she was 63 and had been widowed twice.8

Sadly, my cousin Walter Metz inherited some of the bad luck of the Goldsmith family and died at a young age like his father Edwin. He was only 57 when he suffered a heart attack on March 1, 1963, while on a cruise in the Caribbean with his wife Marjorie.9 He was survived by his wife, son, and his mother Gertrude Becker Metz Lederer, who was about 87 at the time. Despite searching every way I can imagine, I have found no clue as to when Gertrude died, though I would assume it was within ten years after her son Walter’s death.  Was she buried with her first husband, just as her second husband Isaac was buried with his first wife? I do not know. I cannot find her. I have contacted the cemetery where Edwin is buried to see if she is buried there and am awaiting an answer.

UPDATE: I just heard from the cemetery; Gertrude Metz Lederer is not buried with Edwin at Beth El Cemetery in New York.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Bernhard Metz and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0661; FHL microfilm: 1241110.Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  2. Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Indexes, 1912-1942. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. South Dakota, Death Index, 1879-1955. Certificate Number: 34853
    Page Number: 503.
     
  4. See image above. 
  5. Isaac Lederer and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0210; FHL microfilm: 2340158. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/131191424 
  7. Walter Metz and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00928; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 103-245. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. Gertrude Metz, 1940 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 103-283. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. “Walter R. Metz,” Chicago Tribune, March 3, 1963, p. 36. 

The Paul Metz Mystery, Part III: George Metz Disappears

In my last post, I described how with my cousin Conrad’s help I had been able to track down Gertrude Cone Metz/Raymond Blumann/Smith Keller up to 1920 when she had been married to or at least living with George W. Keller as well as her son George Metz (named as George Elwood Keller on the 1920 census) and their daughter “Florence,” who Conrad and I decided was actually Ida Jane Keller, the daughter  of Gertrude and George W. Keller born in 1905.

I also noted that by 1925 it appeared that Gertrude and her third “husband” George W. Keller were separated as George W. was living with his parents and with his daughter Ida, who had married Eugene Merker in 1921 but from whom she must have been separated by 1925. Ida and Eugene’s daughter was also living with the Kellers in 1925.

But where were Gertrude and her son George Metz in the 1920s? Conrad found a series of newspaper articles revealing that his father George B. Metz had disappeared for some time in September 1923. The story ran in multiple newspapers throughout the United States as police all over the country were searching for the missing “G.B. Metz.” 1 The New York Times began its coverage on its front page on September 13, 1923, describing how George B. Metz had been hired by H. A. Ross of the Pittsburgh Lamp, Brass and Glass Company two weeks earlier to be their Colorado representative. Ross had received that day a letter from Metz mailed from Denver in which he acknowledged receipt of an expense check, but Ross had also been notified by the Denver police that same morning that Metz had disappeared.2

New York Times, September 13, 1923, p. 1

This same article also reported comments made by Russell B. Cressman, a friend and former co-worker of George Metz at the Gleason-Tiebout Company in New York, manufacturers of electrical appliances, where Metz had worked for seven years, or since about 1916. Cressman described Metz as having “an equable, quiet disposition and was very well liked by his business associates.” According to Cressman, Metz was a bachelor and lived with his mother, Mrs. G.A. Kellar [sic] at 2020 Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx, the same place that Gertrude and her son George and daughter “Florence” had been living with George W. Keller on the 1920 census. Cressman could not provide an explanation for Metz’s disappearance nor could his mother, when asked. According to the article, George’s mother had left for Denver when she heard of his disappearance.3

The paper also reported that George had a girlfriend in New York named Margaret A. Wiquest and that another friend, Eugene O’Donnell, estimated that George had a fortune worth about $50,000-$60,000 as well as a $75,000 life insurance policy.4

According to this and several other articles, the maid found a note in George’s hotel room in Denver, where he had been staying for two weeks. According to the Ogden (Utah) Standard Examiner of September 12, 1923 (p. 2) and many other newspapers, that note read as follows:

I am going on a dangerous mission tonight. If anything should happen that I do not return please forward the personal papers you will find in the small drawer to R.B. Cressman, 200 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

(Signed) G. B. Metz

Personal effects to Mrs. G.A. Keller, 2020 Honeywell avenue, New York City. Catalogue to Pittsburg Lamp, Brass and Glass company. Car to Saunders. [The car was a rental car.]

Detectives then proceeded to examine a will that George Metz had prepared on September 4, 1923, obviously either right before or right after departing New York for Denver. According to another New York Times article dated September 13, 1923,5 the will named Russell B. Cressman as the administrator and left one-third of the estate to Margaret A. Wiquest, his “dearest pal and sweetheart,” unless she was married at the time of George’s death; in that case she was to receive only $500. All of George’s personal belongings were bequeathed to his uncle Frank E. Cone, his jewelry was left to his “stepfather G.W. Kellar,” $1000 was left to his sister, Ida J. Merker, and another $1000 to a trust fund for the education of Ida’s daughter.

The police had two possible theories for George’s disappearance—foul play or suicide. By the next day the New York Times was reporting that the Denver police had developed a third theory—that George was suffering from a temporary mental illness. The Denver police also found a clue that George was on his way to Los Angeles.6

“Metz in California, Denver Police Think,” New York Times, September 14, 1923, p. 22.

The article is most interesting for what it reports “that bears out the theory of mental aberration.”7

One clue was a letter which Metz wrote to his mother in which he said: “I am losing my mind. Have faith in me.”

The police also learned, they said, that Metz’s father, Joseph Metz, disappeared in a similar fashion nearly 25 years ago, just before the son was born, and took his elder son Elwood with him. Nothing ever was heard of them, the police say.[^8]

That was a confirmation of much of what I had suspected: Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond (called Joseph Metz here) was the father of George Metz, and he had disappeared shortly before George was born, taking Elwood with him.

The newspaper also noted that Ida Keller Merker had confirmed these facts, although her report muddies the waters a bit:8

Mrs. Merker confirmed the statement that their father, Joseph Metz, had disappeared with an elder son, Elwood, twenty-five years ago. This had been while the family was living somewhere on the Boston Road in the Bronx, and the pair had never been heard from.

Of course, this can’t be completely right; Paul/Joseph Metz was not Ida’s father. Ida J. Keller was born five years after her half-brother George, and Paul/Joseph Metz could not have been her father if he disappeared five years before she was born. And on the 1900 census, Gertrude was living with Elwood not on Boston Road in the Bronx, but in Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey, and Paul was not in the household. But the important point from my perspective is that this confirmed that Paul Metz had disappeared and taken his son Elwood with him in 1900.

According to the article, George’s girlfriend Margaret A. Wiquest was “taken by surprise at the report of Metz’s mental condition. In their one-year acquaintance, she said, Metz had never shown sign of aberration. He had always been of a cheerful disposition and his last letters had all been in a cheerful key, she added.”9

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. George was found a month later in Los Angeles, suffering from memory loss:

“Missing Pittsburgh Salesman Is Found,” New Castle (Pennsylvania) Herald, 12 Oct 1923, Fri, Page 20.

George apparently returned to New York, but perhaps not to Margaret A. Wiquest. On September 11, 1925, George Metz married Eunice Marian Brown in the Bronx.10 Conrad generously shared these stunning photographs of his parents:

Eunice Marian Brown Metz. Courtesy of Conrad Metz

George B. Metz, courtesy of Conrad Metz

In 1928, they were living in my old hometown, White Plains, New York, where George was working as a “brkman,” or a brakeman.11 According to Conrad, his maternal grandfather, John Brown, was a conductor on the Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad and helped his son-in-law George get a job with the railroad when George had had difficulty obtaining employment after his disappearance in 1923.  Being a brakeman was a dangerous job, as described on this website:

To apply the brakes, the brakeman would turn a large brake control wheel located atop each freight car of the train. Every brakeman carried a thick brake “club” to help give them leverage in turning the wheel. This meant that they would have to run along the top of the railway cars and leap from one to another in order to apply or release the brakes on each car. Generally, the rear brakeman, or flagman as he was also known, would advance from the end of the train whilst the head brakeman or the conductor would advance from the engine to apply the brakes on each car, one by one. On a moving train, especially in bad weather, the application of brakes was a risky proposition, at best. Worse still, a stuck brake wheel might suddenly free up and throw the brakeman off balance. All too often this would result in the brakeman falling between the cars to his death. Riding in the open, frequently exposed to the bitter cold of winter, the brakeman’s job was fraught with danger.

Conrad told me that his father George himself suffered a broken leg on the job.

In 1930 George, Marian and their son Richard were living in Westwood, New Jersey, and George was once again in the electrical products business, now as a sales manager for the an electrical company. Conrad was born a couple of years later.

George Metz and family 1930 US census, Census Place: Westwood, Bergen, New Jersey; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0251; FHL microfilm: 2341052
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

But what about Paul Metz and Elwood Metz? Where had they gone? Who were they now? And would they ever reappear? More on that in my next post, the final chapter in the story of Paul Metz and his sons.

 

 

 


  1. E.g., “Note Left by Missing Man,” The Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, 12 Sep 1923, Wed, Page 2; “Goes on ‘Danger Mission’ And Has Not Come Back,” The (Wilmington, Delaware) Morning News, 13 Sep 1923, Thu, Page 1; “Missing Pittsburgh Salesman Is Found,” New Castle (Pennsylvania) Herald, 12 Oct 1923, Fri, Page 20. 
  2. The New York Times, September 13, 1923, p. 1. 
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. “Missing Man Left Will, Fearing Death,” The New York Times, September 13, p.1. 
  6. “Metz in California, Denver Police Think,” The New York Times, September 14, 1923, p. 22. 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. Ibid. 
  9. Ibid. 
  10. The New York City (Bronx) Marriage Index, Certificate Number 5272 (could be 5273), found at https://archive.org/details/NYC_Marriage_Index_Bronx_1925 
  11. White Plains city directory, 1928, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 

The Paul Metz Mystery, Part II

As seen in my last post, my cousin Conrad and I came to the conclusion that his grandfather, Paul Metz, had used a false name (Joseph Raymond) on his marriage certificate when he married Gertrude Cone and thus that Paul Metz was in fact the first husband of Gertrude Amelia Cone and the father of their two sons, Elwood, born February 19, 1898, and George, born July 6, 1900.

But Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond was not on the 1900 census with Gertrude and Elwood (George was born after the census enumeration). Where was he? I thought that if we searched for information about Gertrude, Elwood, and George, we might find the answer to what happened to Paul.

According to Conrad, Gertrude next appeared on the 1905 New York State census; she was living in Mount Vernon, New York, with a man named George W. Keller, who was 26. Gertrude is listed as his mother, but she was only 25, so that cannot be right. Apparently that enumerator listed all the wives as “mothers” on that particular census report. There were two children living with them: a son named George, who was five, and a daughter named Ida J., who was two months old.

Gertrude Keller and family 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: E.D. 01; City: Mount Vernon Ward 04; County: Westchester. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

At first I wasn’t sure why Conrad thought this was his grandmother Gertrude. The New York State census does not identify the state where the individuals were born or much else about them, so I was uncertain. But Conrad knew that his grandmother had at one time been married to George Washington Keller; in fact, he knew of her only with the surname Keller. And he knew he had an “aunt” named Ida Jane. So this had to be Gertrude and her son George (Metz) and daughter Ida on the 1905 NYS census living with George W. Keller.

But neither Conrad nor I could locate a marriage record for Gertrude and George W. Keller. Nor could we find a birth record for Ida. Was she in fact the daughter of George Keller and Gertrude Cone? Could Paul Metz have been her father? Well, I found Ida on the 1910 census living with her grandparents—George Keller and Ida Keller, who were George W. Keller’s parents.1  From that I concluded that Ida was in fact the daughter of George W. Keller. But why was she living with her grandparents? Where was her father George? And where was her mother Gertrude?

Ida Keller, 1910 US census, Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 34, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1002; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 1583; FHL microfilm: 1375015
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Well, on January 26, 1910, Gertrude had obtained a license to marry another man, William Blumann.2 But on the 1910 census, she was living with a man named William T. Smith. He was a “railroad man.” Living with them was George B. Metz, Paul Metz’s son. The census record reported that it was a second marriage for both William and Gertrude and that Gertrude had three living children, though only George was living with her. It also reported that Gertrude and William Smith had been married for less than a year.

William Smith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1014; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0311; FHL microfilm: 1375027
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Was William Smith the same person as William Blumann? Was William Blumann/William T. Smith another alias for Paul Metz? And what had happened to George W. Keller? To answer the first question first, there is this horrifying news article that reveals that in fact William Blumann was the same person as William T. Smith:

“Mother Saved by Son, Madman Ends Own Life,” Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Evening-News, January 20, 1914, p. 2.

So George Metz, just thirteen years old, had saved his mother Gertrude’s life.  This poor young man had witnessed the attempted murder of his mother and the suicide of his stepfather. And also it appears he had been abandoned by his own father, Paul Metz, and another stepfather as well, George W. Keller. He also had lost two siblings somewhere along the way—Elwood and Ida. In thirteen years he had suffered more trauma and loss than most of us experience in a lifetime.

Meanwhile, in 1909 George’s stepfather George W. Keller had married Laurie Ellis Fredette,3 and in 1910 they were living in Mount Vernon, the same town where George W. Keller had previously lived with Gertrude, George Metz, and Ida.4 But Laurie Fredette died on January 27, 1918, in the Bronx,5 leaving George W. Keller a widower. And thus both George W. Keller and Gertrude Cone Raymond/Metz Blumann/Smith were widowed and unmarried as of January 27, 1918.

In 1920 George W. Keller and Gertrude were living together again, listed this time as husband and wife on the census, although we’ve yet to find a marriage record for George W. Keller and Gertrude. They were living at 2020 Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx. George was working for the railroad just as William Blumann Smith had been.

George W Keller and household, 1920 US census, Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 7, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1140; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 373
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Living with George and Gertrude as their son was “George Elwood Keller,” a nineteen-year-old born in New Jersey who was working in a glass factory. The census record states that both his parents were born in New York.So who was this? Was it Elwood “Raymond,” who would have been 22 in 1920, or was it George Metz, who would have been turning 20 in 1920? Only George was born in New Jersey, and his father—Paul Metz—was born in Pennsylvania, not New York. Conrad and I concluded that this had to be George, not Elwood—in large part because Conrad knew that his father had been living with Gertrude at that time whereas Elwood’s whereabouts during that time were unknown.

Why then would this young man have been listed as George Elwood? It looks like the census enumerator first wrote Elwood and then squeezed in George. Strange… Perhaps Gertrude had her two sons confused.

Even more confusing to me was the fact that this same census record also listed a daughter in the household named Florence, fourteen years old, also born in New Jersey with parents both born in New York. Who in the world was Florence?? Ida Jane Keller would have been fourteen, going on fifteen in 1920. But she was born in New York. Since neither Conrad nor I could find any child of George and/or Gertrude who was named Florence or born in New Jersey in 1905-1906 nor could we find any later record for a Florence Keller of that age who fit, we concluded that “Florence” was really Ida. But why would she be listed as Florence, not Ida? Those names aren’t even close.

You can imagine that by now I was ready to throw a brick at the computer. My head was spinning, and I was drawing more timelines and charts than I’d ever had to before. And things did not get much clearer as I moved forward in time.

In 1921 Ida J. Keller married Eugene Merker in the Bronx.6 But that marriage did not last long because by 1925 Ida was apparently separated from Eugene Merker and living at 1976 Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx with her grandparents George and Ida Keller, her father George W. Keller, and her daughter from her marriage to Eugene; they were living down the block from where Gertrude and George had been living with her son George Metz and their daughter Ida in 1920. Ida was eventually divorced from Eugene in 1930.7 It also appears that by 1925 her father George W. Keller was no longer living with Gertrude. I could not find him on the 1930 census, but I did find that he died in 1936.8

Keller family, 1920 US census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 21; Assembly District: 07; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 12. Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

So I had gotten this far, but I still had no answers for the whereabouts of Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond or Elwood Metz/Raymond. Neither Gertrude nor William Blumann Smith nor George W. Keller nor Ida Jane were related to me in anyway except through a chain of marriages. I had researched them and gone in all those circles to try and find Paul Metz and Elwood to no avail.

And then things got stranger. And finally, the brick wall started to fall.

 


  1. Ancestry.com. New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936. Film Number: 001031478. 
  2.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Volume Number: 1. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995. License Number: 2449. 
  3. Ancestry.com. New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936. Film Number: 001031478. 
  4. George W. Keller household, 1910 US census, Census Place: MT Vernon Ward 2, Westchester, New York; Roll: T624_1089; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0062; FHL microfilm: 1375102. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  5.  Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948, Certificate Number: 766. 
  6.  New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-1995. License Number: 5510. 
  7. Ancestry.com. Bronx County, New York, Divorce and Civil Case Records, 1914-1995. Volume Number: 2, Page Number: 485, File Number: 1969 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. Certificate Number: 1374.