Escaping from Germany, Part VII: Children Separated from their Parents

This is the final chapter in the story of my cousin Sarah Goldschmidt, daughter of my fourth great-uncle, Meyer Goldschmidt. These last seven chapters about her descendants’ struggles during and for the most part survival of the Nazi era have been an inspiration to me during this pandemic. We need to remember that human beings have survived many other challenges as we continue to fight this one.

The youngest child of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern was their son Mayer. As we have seen, Mayer was married to Gella Hirsch, and they had two children, Elsa (1891) and Markus Kurt (1895)(later known as Kurt Marco).

As of 1930, Mayer and Gella were living in Frankfurt. Their daughter Elsa had been married to her second cousin Jacob Schwarzschild, with whom she’d had a daughter Elizabeth (1915). That marriage ended in divorce, and in 1920, Elsa had married Alfred Hirsch, with whom she had three children in the 1920s. Kurt Stern was married to Rhee Mess; they had no children.

With the rise of Hitler, the family began to disperse. Kurt and Rhee left Germany first. From 1918 to 1923, Kurt had worked as an art dealer in Frankfurt with his father and Goldschmidt relatives in the firm of I & S Goldschmidt (more on them to come). He and Rhee had then moved to Paris, where he became an independent art dealer.1 Then they immigrated to the US, arriving in New York on October 4, 1934. Kurt declared his intention to become a US citizen on February 19, 1935, four months after arriving in New York.

Kurt Marco Stern declaration of intention, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 1256
Archive Roll Descriptions: (Roll 1256) Petition No· 352904 – Petition No· 353350
Ancestry.com. New York, Naturalization Records, 1882-1944

Kurt registered for the US draft on April 26, 1942, at which time he was a self-employed art dealer, living in New York City.

Kurt Stern, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Kurt’s parents Mayer and Gella Stern also left Germany around that time. According to Mayer Stern’s immigration papers, he and Gella arrived in Palestine on April 12, 1935. Sadly, Gella died less than two months later on June 1, 1935, in Haifa. She was 71 years old. Mayer remained in Haifa and became a Palestinian citizen on August 24, 1938.2

Mayer Stern, Palestinian citizenship certificate, found at https://tinyurl.com/ugr2b62

But Mayer did not live much longer. He died on September 15, 1939, in Haifa, where he is buried. He was 78.

The grave site of מאיר שטרן. Cemetery: Haifa Mahane David – Sde Yehoshua Cemetery, Location: Haifa, Haifa District, Israel. Birth: 7 Jan 1861, Death: 15 Sep 1939. Found at https://tinyurl.com/whnye25 Photographer  Nadezda

As for Mayer and Gella’s daughter Elsa Stern Schwarzschild Hirsch, she and her husband Alfred Hirsch and three children also immigrated to Palestine, arriving in 1938, according to their immigration file.3

The file includes letters indicating that two of Elsa and Alfred’s children returned to Europe after arriving in Palestine, one to Antwerp to study, the other to Italy for health reasons. Alfred requested that the two children be granted Palestinian passports expeditiously because they each had limited visas from those countries that would expire before they could return to Palestine to sign their new passports.

Alfred received a response that the Palestinian officials would ask the British consul to issue Palestinian passports to the two children once Alfred himself was naturalized. Alfred and Elsa were naturalized on August 14, 1938. Alfred was working as the general manager of the Palestine Milling & Trading Company at that time.4

Elsa and Alfred Hirsch, Palestinian citizenship certificate, found at https://tinyurl.com/vebdvxq

I assume the two children were able to return soon thereafter to Palestine to join their family. But can you imagine the anxiety experienced by them all, thinking that the two young teenagers might be stranded in Europe as the Nazi persecution of Jews intensified in 1938, culminating in Kristallnacht just a few months after Alfred and Elsa received their naturalization certificate?

One of their children immigrated to the US as early as 1940 and was residing without any family members in New York City at the YMHA on the 1940 US census;5 his uncle Kurt was, however, residing in New York at that time, where he was the owner of an “art shop,” according to the census.6

The rest of the family joined them in the US after the war. Alfred and Elsa arrived in New York on December 24, 1946.7 Alfred died less than two months later on February 6, 1947; he was only 56 years old.8 Elsa outlived him by over forty years; she died in Dallas, Texas, on October 4, 1988.  She was 97 years old.9

Elsa’s brother Kurt Stern unfortunately did not have his sister’s longevity. He died on April 16, 1962 at the age of 67 after a long illness, according to his obituary.10 He was survived by his wife Rhee, who died in August 1986 at the age of 91,11 and his sister Elsa and her three children.

Thus ends not only the story of Mayer Stern, but that of his parents Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern. Their story is overall a story shared by so many German Jews. They went from being successful merchants living in comfort and security, raising children and grandchildren in a country that they saw as their home, to being refugees from the worst kind of persecution and violence anyone can imagine.

Sarah Goldschmidt’s descendants were, however, among the more fortunate ones. Out of all of Sarah’s children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren living in Germany during the Nazi era, only one, little Margot Fulda, just thirteen years old, was murdered by the Nazis. The rest were uprooted from their homes and torn from the comfort they’d known, but were able to escape to Palestine, to England, and to the United States. Their descendants live among us today in places all over the world. How fortunate and blessed we are that they do.

Next I will turn my attention to Sarah’s younger brother Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and his family.


  1. “Kurt M. Stern Dies; Art Dealer Was 67,” The New York Times, April 17, 1962, p.34. 
  2. Mayer Stern, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/ugr2b62 
  3. Elsa and Alfred Hirsch, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/vebdvxq 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Stephen Hirsch, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02663; Page: 83B; Enumeration District: 31-1658, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Kurt M. Stern, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02656; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 31-1368, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Alfred and Elsa Hirsch, ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 7250; Line: 1; Page Number: 10,
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  9. Else Hirsch, Social Security Number: 119-36-5922, Birth Date: 4 Jan 1891
    Issue year: 1962, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 75219, Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA, Death Date: 4 Oct 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Kurt M Stern, Birth Date: 28 Jan 1895, Death Date: 16 Apr 1962, Claim Date: 17 Aug 1962, SSN: 060070787, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. “Kurt M. Stern Dies; Art Dealer Was 67,” The New York Times, April 17, 1962, p.34. 
  11.  Rhee Stern, Social Security Number: 065-52-1280, Birth Date: 12 Jun 1895
    Issue year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10028, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Aug 1986, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Milton Goldsmith’s Poetry

There are only two more pages from Milton Goldsmith’s family album to share. Each has only one item on it. But there is still much more to share from his other two albums.

Milton included this article about the celebration in Larchmont, New York, of his 90th birthday. It provides a detailed summary of Milton’s life.

The last page includes this poem Milton wrote on the occasion of his 95th birthday. As you can see, Milton was still very sharp at the age of 95; the poem is funny, touching, and erudite:

Although the poem says “more” at the bottom, I do not see the second page of this poem in the album. I love Milton’s humor and his continuing love of life as expressed in this poem.

Milton Goldsmith died a year later on September 21, 1957, at the age of 96. He left behind not only his family and this family album, but a body of work—books for children and for adults, poetry, and plays—and a huge collection of letters, photographs, poems, and other memorabilia.

Sue shared two other albums with me. I have scanned what I can from the other albums and will now share some of what I’ve scanned. One of these albums contained many of Milton’s poems and other writings. Most of these were love poems written at various stages of Milton’s life before he was married. Others commemorate special occasions. I have selected just a few to share.

I particularly like this one, a self-portrait in words. If you compare it to the poem Milton wrote when he was 95, you can see that neither his style nor his joie de vivre had changed much over the seventy or so years that passed between writing this poem and writing the one above.

Another poem from this era, written in 1883 when Milton was twenty-two and his father Abraham was 51, was dedicated to his father. It’s another poem that I found very touching.

The final poem that I selected to share is this one, written in 1898 by Milton  to Sophie, whom he would marry the following year:

The love and longing expressed in this poem is initially disguised by a long description of Christmas, but eventually Milton’s true feelings came out. I do wonder what he was doing in Fort Wayne!

I wish I could scan and share more of Milton’s poetry, but the number of poems is overwhelming. The best I can do is help Sue work on having all of these albums preserved in the Jewish archives in Philadelphia where Milton was born and raised and where so many of his poems were written.

In my next two posts, the final ones for Milton, I will share some of the photographs and other materials that I found in the third album Sue shared with me.

 

The Things You Can’t Learn from Genealogy Records Alone: Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XVIII

A few years after Milton Goldsmith’s mother died in 1874, his father Abraham remarried, as I have written about here. With his second wife Frances Spanier, Abraham had four more children, Milton’s half-siblings. Milton dedicated four more pages in his family album to these siblings. From Milton’s biographies I learned a great deal more about each of these siblings than I’d been able to learn from traditional research.

Alfred was the oldest, and he became a well-known rare book dealer in New York City, as discussed here. What I didn’t know until reading Milton’s biography of his brother was that Alfred had at first enrolled in dental school. In addition to the biography Milton wrote about his brother Alfred, this page includes a photograph presumably of Alfred and two women who are not identified and a brief news story about Alfred.

Alfred Goldsmith and two women

The article below reveals a bit about Alfred’s personality. Apparently he was quite a literary snob and refused to stock books in his store that he considered “trash.” Good for him for having standards!

Bertha was the next child born to Abraham and Frances. Milton focused on her two marriages in his biography of Bertha. As I wrote about here, Bertha first married Sampson Weinhandler and then married his first cousin Frederick Newman. Milton’s insights into both men added an additional dimension to what I had learned through my research:

Imagine Bertha traveling all the way to Reno to divorce Sampson for incompatibility. Milton described him as “spoiled.” I sure wish Milton had described how Sampson and his family responded to Bertha’s marriage to his cousin Frederick the following year. Milton obviously much preferred Frederick to Sampson, describing the former as “a genial, well-informed man with a host of friends.”

I am not sure whether this photograph is of Bertha and Sampson or Bertha and Frederick, but given Milton’s description of Sampson, I am going to assume this is Sampson.

Bertha Goldsmith and one of her husbands, probably Sampson Weinhandler/Wayne.

The third child born to Abraham and Frances was their daughter Alice. Milton’s biography of Alice is quite fascinating and revealed far more about Alice than I’d been able to learn through my research. In fact, Alice had been a very elusive subject, rarely appearing on census records or elsewhere.

Now that I’ve read Milton’s story about her, I understand better why I had so much difficulty learning about her. She traveled extensively and was stranded in Italy at the start of World War I. She helped the American Consul in Genoa deal with other stranded travelers and was rewarded with a free trip back to the US.

Alice was an educated and scholarly woman who took courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Harvard and had a career with two different doctors, one in Philadelphia and one in New York. I searched for a Dr. Tinley, but had no luck locating him. I also learned how Alice had met her husband playing bridge with mutual friends. She was 43 when she married Louis Margulies, whom Milton described as “a fine, outstanding, genial man” whose business was real estate and who had immigrated from Romania at the age of 14. I love this photograph of them—they look so happy.

Alice Goldsmith and Louis Margulies

Finally, Milton included a page for his youngest sibling, Louis Goldsmith. Like his sister Alice, Louis traveled extensively and married later in life (he was 53). He was very successful in the advertising business, handling the Palm Beach Cloth account.

What I had not already learned about Louis was that he had worked at Friedberger Mills and almost died after an operation for an injury to his hand. He then worked with his brothers Milton and Edwin at the Snellenburg Company in Philadelphia where he learned the art of advertising before he moved to New York to become “a very capable advertising man.” Milton described his youngest sibling Louis as “very much a recluse in his habits, living at the Plaza Hotel, and is very generous.” He also was a very snazzy dresser, as my father would have said.

Louis Goldsmith

Louis Goldsmith

It’s wonderful to have photographs of nine of the ten children of my three-times great-uncle Abraham Goldsmith1 and more details about their lives from someone who knew and loved them well, their brother Milton.

This is Part XVIII 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, Part XII Part XIII , Part XIV , Part XV, Part XVI,  and Part XVII at the links.


  1. Only Hilda is missing; she died as a teenager. 

Albert Cahn’s Adult Life: More Questions Than Answers

As seen in my last post, the first nineteen years of Albert Cahn’s life were decidedly challenging. He lost both parents before he was five and was raised by his cousin Mollie Sigmund Goldman. He ran away from home twice—once to join the Navy and then to join the Army. He then deserted the Army and was sentenced to ten years hard labor in September 1918, but was granted clemency due to poor health and was released from prison on March 4, 1919.

What happened to him next? There are as many questions as answers about that, I’m afraid. Perhaps some of you can help answer them.

I could not find Albert on the 1920 census. He is not listed in Mollie’s household or in the households of any of his other Baltimore relatives.  I also could not find his cousin, Mollie’s daughter Adele Goldman Weil, or her family anywhere on the 1920 census, so perhaps Albert had returned to Cleveland and was living with the Weils and they somehow were missed by the enumerator. I even had the Weil’s address—2512 Edgehill Road in Cleveland Heights—but there was no census listing for that address or any address with a house number in the 2500s on Edgehill Road.

Thanks to the Social Security Application and Claims Index, I was eventually able to find an Albert F. Cahn listed as the father of two men, Earl Cahn1 and Ronald Vernon Cahn,2 whose mother was Rose (sometimes listed as Rosie) Vrana.  Of course, I couldn’t be sure this was the same Albert F. Cahn, but I hoped that if I kept searching, I’d find some evidence to prove or disprove that this was my cousin Albert.

I found the family first on the 1925 New York State census, where Albert was listed as a salesman, living in Manhattan on Pinehurst Avenue near the George Washington Bridge, with Rose, Earl and Ronald.

Albert F Cahn and family, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 31; Assembly District: 23; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 16, Description District: A·D· 23 E·D· 31, Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

I could not find the family on the 1930 census at all, but I did find Albert, Rose, and Ronald Cahn on the 1940 census, living in Manhattan on 68th Street; Albert was an electrical supplies salesman. I was now more persuaded that this was the correct Albert F. Cahn since he was the right age (40) and was born in Maryland. His son Earl was living and working as an attendant at the Central Islip State Hospital in Islip, New York, a town on Long Island.3

Albert F Cahn and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02638; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 31-614
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

But I had no marriage record for Albert or any other records for him after his 1919 discharge from the Army except the 1925 New York State census and the 1940 US census. Where was he in 1920? And where was his family in 1930?

I looked more closely at what I could find for Rose Vrana Cahn and for the two sons, Earl and Ronald. Rose was born October 30, 1894, in East Islip, New York, the daughter of Joseph Vrana and Josephine Shimsa.4 She grew up in Islip, where her father was a gardener.5 In 1920 Rose was working and living at the Central Islip Hospital, the same place where her son Earl would be employed twenty years later.6 And on December 18, 1920, a Rose Vrana married someone named James H. Wilson in Islip.7

But according to the Social Security records, Rose gave birth to Earl Cahn in Boston on December 24, 1921,8: a year after her marriage to James H. Wilson. At first I thought that Albert Cahn had adopted an alias, but James H. Wilson proved to be a separate person.  So somehow Rose had a child in Boston with Albert Cahn twelve months after marrying James H. Wilson in Islip, New York.

There was an Albert F. “Cahan” living in Boston in the 1921 directory, listed as a salesman, and an Albert F. Cahn, a salesman, living at the same address in Boston in the 1922 directory.9 But there is no listing in Boston before 1921 or after 1922 for Albert Cahn. I did, however, find this record showing an Albert F. Cahn briefly working as an attendant at a state institution in Binghamton, New York, for a week in September, 1921.

New York State Archives; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Dept. of Civil Service, State Employee History Cards, 1894-1954; Series: 15029, Ancestry.com. New York, State Employment Cards and Peddlers’ Licenses, 1840-1966

So had Rose and Albert run off to Binghamton and then to Boston during 1921? I have no idea. I am just grasping for straws. Maybe it’s not even the same Alfred F. Cahn in Binghamton. Is it just coincidence that Rose and then later Earl worked as attendants in a state hospital in New York State and that Albert F. Cahn also worked as a state hospital attendant, albeit briefly, in New York State? Did Rose and Albert meet while working together at one of these hospitals? I don’t know.

Rose and Albert’s second child, Ronald, was born in New York City on January 3, 1923, 10 so by that date  the Cahns had returned to New York, and we saw that in 1925 they were living in New York.  But I cannot find one record for Albert or Rose or their two sons after the 1925 New York State census until the 1940 US census. Where were they? I have searched every database I can think of with no luck, including newspaper databases, census records, directories, and Google. Nothing.

But, as seen above, Albert, Rose, and Ronald were living together in New York City in 1940, and Earl was living in Islip, which had been Rose’s hometown. Earl was still working at the Central Islip State Hospital when he registered for the World War II draft. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps on April 15, 1942, and served as a pharmacist for the duration of World War II.11

Earl Cahn, World War 2 draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Earl’s younger brother Ronald also served during World War II. He enlisted into the Air Corps on July 9, 1941, and served until January 5, 1946.12 Interestingly, Ronald still had to register for the draft after being discharged from the military:

Ronald Cahn, World War 2 draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Indiana, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 114
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

As indicated on Ronald’s draft registration, his mother was still living in New York City at 225 West 68th Street, the same address Earl listed for Albert on his draft registration and the same address where the family was located on the 1940 census. Was Albert still there in 1946 when Ronald registered? Why is there no listing for Albert in any New York directory during these years? I am befuddled.

Albert Cahn died in March 1974 and was residing in Flushing, Queens, New York, at the time.13 His wife Rosie died January 4, 1990, in Patchogue, New York, not far from Islip where she was born and raised and where her two sons ended up living.14 Ronald died in Islip on April 24, 1995,15 and his brother Earl died in Islip on November 1, 2005.16

Interestingly, both Ronald and Earl were buried at Calverton National Cemetery, the federal military cemetery on Long Island.17 Both had served honorably in World War II. One has to wonder what they thought of their father’s military record and what their father thought of theirs.

Thus ends the story of Alfred Cahn, at least as far I can find it. If anyone has any suggestions for how I can fill the many gaps (1919-1925, 1926-1940, and 1942-1974), please help! Albert’s early life was filled with so much turmoil and tragedy that I would very much like to know more about his adult life.

This is also the final chapter in the story of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund, so I now can return to her siblings in Germany and tell the story of the other children of my four-times great-uncle, Meyer Goldschmidt.

But first some updates on another member of the Goldschmidt family.


  1. Father: Albert F Cahn, Mother: Rose Vrana, SSN: 066141497, EARL CAHN, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  2. Father: Albert F Cahn, Mother: Rose Viana, SSN: 072147550,  RONALD VERNON CAHN, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  3. Earl Cahn, 1940 US census, Census Place: Islip, Suffolk, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02787; Page: 36A; Enumeration District: 52-129B, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4.  Name: Rosie Vrana, Birth Date: 30 Oct 1894, Birth Place: East Islip, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 46459, New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Birth Index, Ancestry.com. New York State, Birth Index, 1881-1942. Father: Joseph Vrana, Mother: Josephine Shimsa, SSN: 053524750, Death Certificate Number: 001971, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  5. Vrana family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Islip, Suffolk, New York; Roll: T624_1082; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 1371; FHL microfilm: 1375095, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  6. Rose Vrana, 1920 US census, Census Place: Islip, Suffolk, New York; Roll: T625_1269; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 128, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7.  Name: Rose Vrana, Marriage Date: 18 Dec 1920, Marriage Place: Islip, New York, USA, Spouse: James H Wilson, Certificate Number: 43940, New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index, Ancestry.com. New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 
  8. Father: Albert F Cahn, Mother: Rose Viana, SSN: 066141497, EARL CAHN, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2000. 
  9. Boston, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1921, 1922, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Father: Albert F Cahn, Mother: Rose Viana, SSN: 072147550,  RONALD VERNON CAHN, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  11. Name: Earl A Cahn, Muster Date: Oct 1942, Rank: Pharmacist Mate Third Class
    Station: Hqco, 2Dbn,9Thmar,Reinf,Advech,3Rdmardiv,Camp Joseph, Pendleton,Oceanside,Calif., Ancestry.com. U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798-1958. Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  12. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  13. Name: Albert Cahn, Social Security Number: 215-10-3029, Birth Date: 16 Nov 1899, Issue year: Before 1951, Issue State: Maryland, Last Residence: 11366, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: Mar 1974, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14. SSN: 053524750, Death Certificate Number: 001971, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  15. Name: Ronald V Cahn, Service Info.: SGT US ARMY AIR CORPS WORLD WAR II, Birth Date: 3 Jan 1923, Death Date: 24 Apr 1995, Service Start Date: 9 Jul 1941
    Interment Date: 27 Apr 1995, Cemetery: Calverton National Cemetery
    Cemetery Address: 210 Princeton Boulevard Rt 25 Calverton, NY 11933
    Buried At: Section 66 Site 5856, National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2006. 
  16. Name: Earl A Cahn, Service Info.: PHM1 US NAVY WORLD WAR II
    Birth Date: 24 Dec 1921, Death Date: 1 Nov 2005, Cemetery: Calverton National Cemetery, Cemetery Address: 210 Princeton Boulevard Rt 25 Calverton, NY 11933
    Buried At: Section 29 Site 2618, National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 
  17. See footnotes 15 and 16, above. 

Was “Etta” Henrietta Iskowitz or her sister Esther Iskowitz? A Genealogy Adventure

Did Simon Sigmund’s son Harold marry Henrietta or Esther Iskowitz?

As of 1920, only four of Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s ten children were still living: Henrietta, Joseph, Simon, and Mollie. And before the decade was over, one more would be gone. Simon Sigmund died on May 6, 1927, in Baltimore.1 He was 74. He was survived by his wife Helen and their son and only child, Harold.

Harold Sigmund married “Etta Iskowitz” in New York City on August 21, 1925.2  Their marriage record on FamilySearch showed Etta’s parents’ names as Abraham Iskowitz and Ray Guernsey. Her record with Social Security reports that she was born on February 25, 1900.3 But tracking Etta through the years on the census records presented some challenges because her parents had two daughters, one named Henrietta and one named Esther. Which one was Etta? The census records were quite confusing.

On the 1905 New York State census, I found Abram Ichkowitz living in the Lower East Side on Forsyth Street with his wife Ray and four children: Etta (8), Esther (4), Issi (2), and Joe (one month). All but Joe were born in Romania; Joe was born in the US. That would mean that the family emigrated after 1903 if Issi (the third child) was born in Romania two years before the 1905 New York census. Abram was a plasterer. I assumed the oldest daughter, Etta, was the one who married Harold.

Ichkowitz family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 08 E.D. 11; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 68, Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1905

Five years later the “Ichkowitz” family appeared on the 1910 US census, living on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Abraham and his wife Rachel (presumably Ray) reported that they had immigrated in 1904. Abraham was working in building construction. They had six children now: Henrietta (Etta?) (12), Ettie (Esther?) (10), Isidor (7), Joseph (5), Solomon (3), and Mildred (nine months old). The first three were born in Romania, the younger three in the United States.  Which one was Etta, Henrietta or Ettie?

Ichkowitz family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Manhattan Ward 10, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1010; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0213; FHL microfilm: 1375023
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

That got even more confusing with the 1920 census. The family, the surname now spelled Iskowitz, had moved to the Bronx and out of the Lower East Side. Abraham was now a janitor. He and Rachel now had five children at home: Etta (19), Isadore (17), George (15), Jacob (13), and Mildred (10). Had Joseph changed his name to George? And Solomon his to Jacob? Obviously the Iskowitz family liked to change their names.

Iskowitz family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 1, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1131; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 71, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

And was the nineteen year old Etta living at home in 1920 Henrietta or Esther from the 1905 and 1910 census records? The age lines up better with Esther, who was ten in 1910 and four in 1905, but then what had happened to Henrietta?

The 1925 New York State census helped clarify matters. Abraham had died before the census was taken,4 and Ray is listed as a widow. Living with her are Etta (24), Irvin (presumably Isadore) (22), George (presumably once Joseph) (20), Jack (presumably Solomon/Jacob)(18), Mildred (15), and another daughter named Edith Shapiro (26) with her two children. I assume that Edith was formerly known as Henrietta and was the oldest daughter born in 1899 or so and that “Etta” was formerly Esther and was born in about 1901. Later in 1925 Etta/Esther, the second oldest daughter of Abraham and Rachel/Ray, married my cousin Harold Sigmund.

Iskowitz family, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 13; Assembly District: 03; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 46,  Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925

Well, that was quite the rabbit hole, wasn’t it?

In 1930, Harold and Etta were living in Manhattan with Harold’s mother Helen;5 Harold and Etta had a business manufacturing cleaning fluids called Afta Chemical Corporation.

That company and Harold and Etta themselves were sued by their former employer, Nacto Cleaner Corporation in 1931. According to an affidavit submitted by Laval A. Cowan, the president of Nacto, in support of the complaint filed by Nacto against the Sigmunds and their company Afta:6

The defendant, Harold Sigmund… was formerly the president of plaintiff corporation. The defendant, Etta Sigmund, was formerly a director and employee of the plaintiff corporation and the defendant, Afta Chemical Corporation, is a corporation owned and controlled by Harold Sigmund one of the defendants. 

The plaintifl’ corporation is engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling a cleaning fluid known as Nacto. The defendant, Afta Chemical Corporation, is also manufacturing a cleaning fluid known as Afta. …[P]laintiff is seeking to have certain resolutions of its Board of Directors set aside on the ground that they were not passed at legal meetings. These resolutions, as the complaint alleges, having been illegally concocted by the defendant, Harold Sigmund, to authorize an increase in salary to himself and to bolster illegal expenditures amounting to $34,000.00.

…. The complaint alleges that defendant impoverished the corporation by illegal payments to himself in the guise of salary and in large and wasteful payments to others so that the business of plaintiff would be placed in such a condition that the defendant could obtain control thereof at his own price. …

After defendant, Harold Sigmund, was unsuccessful in wrecking the plaintiff corporation and had been found out and discharged, he started a competitive business dealing in a cleansing fluid known as Afta. That while defendant, Harold Sigmund, had still been president of plaintiff corporation he had hired a chemist named Foster D. Snell to make investigation and report to plaintiff corporation improvements in cleaning fluids in order to strengthen the position of plaintiff corporation in the field in which it was engaged in business.

That when Sigmund was unsuccessful in his attempt to wreck plaintiff corporation he took from the files of plaintiff corporation all the information received from said chemist and which he had not disclosed to any other persons interested in plaintiff corporation, tried to hire salesmen of plaintiff corporation and then started doing business under the trade name of Afta Chemical Corporation and used the formulae belonging to plaintiff to manufacture his cleaning fluid.

That thereafter he caused to be organized the Afta Chemical Corporation which he owns and controls. That after defendant, Harold Sigmund, had placed himself in business through use of plaintiff’s formulae, he immediately started a campaign of unfair busines methods in which he caused to be represented to customers of the plaintiff corporation that said corporation was out of business and that his company was the successor to the plaintiff. That said defendant, Harold Sigmund, also copied the language and form of plaintiff’s labels and containers.

Harold and Etta denied the allegations made against them. Unfortunately I was unable to learn the outcome of the lawsuit as there is no reported decision. But whether or not the Sigmunds were successful in defending themselves against these allegations, they were still in the cleaning fluid business ten years later and still living in Manhattan.7

Harold died in 1987 at the age of 95; Etta died at 94 in 1995. I guess working with cleaning fluids did not affect their lifespan.8

Harold and Etta did not have children, so there are no descendants for them or for Harold’s parents, Simon and Helen (Hirshberg) Sigmund.


  1. The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 07 May 1927, Sat • Page 18 
  2.  License Number: 21452, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 9, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:247H-5W9 : 10 February 2018), Harold Sigmund and Etta Iskowitz, 21 Aug 1925; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,643,402. 
  3. SSN: 109122202, Death Certificate Number: 109882, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  4. Certificate Number: 3708, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  5. Harold Sigmund and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 27B; Enumeration District: 1136; FHL microfilm: 2341316,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6. Affidavit of Laval A. Cowan in connection with Nacto Cleaner Corporation v. Sigmund filed in the Appellate Division, New York Supreme Court, December 30, 1931, found at https://books.google.com/books?id=t-F6gRKk77EC&pg=RA12-PA17&lpg=RA12-PA17&dq=nacto+cleaner+v+afta+chemical+corporation&source=bl&ots=XOaFVU1dOU&sig=ACfU3U1-Epx39uuGvkeOh-dgpeg_6ghflw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiUvLWfk5PmAhXDPn0KHYz2AzgQ6AEwAHoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=nacto%20cleaner%20v%20afta%20chemical%20corporation&f=false 
  7. Harold and Etta Sigmund, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02646; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 31-930, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8.  Name: Harold Sigmund, Social Security Number: 093-12-2485, Death Date: Jun 1987, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Etta Sigmund, SSN: 109122202, Death Certificate Number: 109882, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

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)