My Grandmother’s Cousin Joe Goldfarb: A Hard-working Family Man

My grandmother’s first cousin Joe Goldfarb was the fifth child and third son born to Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb, and he was their first child born in America. He was born in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, on December 28, 1897, just a year after Joe’s older siblings and his mother Sarah had immigrated from Poland. Joe moved with his family to the Lower East Side of New York when he was just a little boy and lived right across Ridge Street from my grandmother Gussie Brotman, who was two years older and the first American born child of her parents, Bessie Brod and Joseph Brotman.

Here is Joe with his brother Leo probably standing on Ridge Street in New York.

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

I know that my grandmother knew Joe well because he was listed in my grandparents’ address book twice many years later. On this page he’s listed with my grandmother’s brother Sam Brotman and two other men.

Note also on this page that M(eyer) Malzberg and S(am or Sarah) Goldfarb are listed on the same page as Joe. Leo Ressler was my grandmother’s nephew so a cousin of the Goldfarbs also. And Rae Rosenzweig was my grandfather’s first cousin. I am still not sure who the first two individuals on that page were.

And I also have that treasured photograph of my grandmother with Joe and his younger sister Rose.

Rose Goldfarb Levine, Joe Goldfarb, and Gussie Brotman Goldschlager

We’ve seen that Joe was living with his brother Julius in Jersey City in 1915, working as a bartender presumably in Julius’ saloon.  But by 1918 when he registered for the draft, he was back living with his parents and working as a claims adjuster for the American Railway Express Company, and he was still living and working at the same places in 1920.

Joseph Goldfarb World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Joe married Betty Amer in 1922, as we saw, and moved back to Jersey City where their three children—Marvin (1923), Francine (1925), and Selma (1928) were all born. My cousin Alyce shared these wonderful photographs of the children when they were young.

Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1924 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Selma and Francine Goldfarb, c. 1930 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Francine, Marvin, and Selma Goldfarb c. 1930
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Like his brother Julius and his brother-in-law Meyer Malzberg, Joe was working in the liquor business at first, but he also ran into the obstacle of Prohibition. In May 1922, Joe and his brother-in-law Meyer Malzberg owned a saloon at 54 Railroad Avenue in Jersey City, and the local Chancery Court ruled that the police had no authority to shut down these saloons without first obtaining an injunction from the court.

Jersey Journal, May 22, 1922, p. 13

Ten months later in March 1923, Joe and Meyer pled not guilty to liquor violations.

Jersey Journal, March 21, 1923, p. 5

In February 1925, Joe was one of a number of saloonkeepers charged by federal agents with violating the Volstead Act.

Jersey Journal, February 11, 1925, p. 5

After that, Joe must have decided he’d had enough of the liquor business and by 1930 was working as a driver for the Bond Bread Company, as reported on the 1930 US census1 and seen in this photograph shared by his granddaughter Alyce:

Joe Goldfarb working for Bond Bread c. 1930 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Alyce also generously shared these photographs of the family of Joe and Betty Goldfarb, probably taken in the 1930s.

Joseph Goldfarb and his children, 1934. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Selma, Marvin, and Francine Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Betty Amer and Joseph Goldfarb, Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Betty Amer Goldfarb with Francine and Selma. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

By 1940 the family had left Jersey City and were living in Brooklyn.2 I looked up the two addresses listed for Joe in my grandparents’ address book and saw that both addresses are very near where my grandparents lived in Brooklyn at 1010 Rutland Road. Joe and Betty’s daughter Selma was only two years older than my mother. I wonder how well they knew each other, given how close they lived to each other.  But I’ve never heard my mother mention a cousin Selma or Francine or Marvin.

Joseph Goldfarb, World War II draft registration, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Joe was now working as a salesman for the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company, as reported on his World War II draft registration. Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company was formed in Kansas City in 1902 by Joseph Loose, a former member of the board of the National Biscuit Company (later known as Nabisco), his brother Jacob Loose, and John Wiles. Better known as the Sunshine Biscuit Company, they expanded all over the country. “In 1912 Loose-Wiles opened their “Thousand Window” bakery in the Long Island City neighborhood of New York City, which remained the largest bakery building in the world until 1955.” It was at that location that Joe Goldfarb worked and where in 1948 he was among those photographed as one of the Sunshine Sales Champs of that year.

Center, between the two men shaking hands, Joseph Goldfarb, 1948. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joe worked for Sunshine/Loose-Wiles for many years. His granddaughter Alyce has memories of the cookies he would bring to his family: “He used to bring us all kinds of cookies. Big tins of the toy cookie shapes ( if you remember those), the melody cookies, chocolate with sugar on top, raisin biscuit cookies, and so many more.” 3 In her history of the Goldfarb family, Kay Lergessner Goldfarb related a family story that Joe sold dog biscuits and that Helen Keller was one of his customers because she had several dogs. I am not sure whether that particular story can be proven, and I am not even sure that Loose-Wiles sold dog biscuits, but it’s a nice bit of family lore.4

Meanwhile, Joe and Betty’s children were growing up. Here are some photographs likely taken in the 1940s when they were all teenagers:

Francine and Selma Goldfarb, c. 1940 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Francine, Joe, and Selma Goldfarb, c. 1940

Marvin and Francine Goldfarb, c. 1943 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joseph and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Marvin registered for the draft in 1942, reporting that he was working for A.B. Baumgarten in New York City and living in Brooklyn with his family.  According to a New York City directory, A.B. Baumgarten was a dental laboratory. Marvin enlisted in the US Army on June 22, 1943. It appears he served in the Reserves during the war.5

Marvin Goldfarb, World War II draft registration, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

After the war ended, the children of Joe and Betty Goldfarb married and started households of their own. More on that in my next post.



  1. Joseph Goldfarb and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 0152; FHL microfilm: 2341090, 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. Joseph Goldfarb and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02550; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 24-134A, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  3. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, April 30, 2021. 
  4. KLG Family History 
  5. National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 01361; Reel: 136, U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jersey Journal, July 27, 1934, p. 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Hannah Goldsmith Benedict 1900-1920: Gains, Losses, and Laws

As of 1900, Hannah and Joseph Benedict’s three sons were all adults, and Joseph had retired from his rag and paper business. Their two older sons, Jacob and Herschel, were still living with their parents in Pittsburgh, and the youngest son, C. Harry, was living in Michigan and working as an engineer after graduating from Cornell University. Soon all three would be married.

Joseph Benedict, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1241359 1900 United States Federal Census

Not long after the 1900 census was taken, the middle brother, Herschel, married Mary Ullman on August 7, 1900, in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Mary was born on December 25, 1876, in Titusville to Jacob Ullman and Henrietta Rothschild.1 Jacob was born in the Alsace region of France, and Henrietta in Wurttemberg, Germany. Jacob was in the dry goods business.2

Herschel Benedict and Mary Ullman marriage record, Film Number: 000878594 Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968

A year after Herschel’s marriage, the youngest Benedict brother, C. Harry, was engaged to Lena Manson:

Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 21 Jul 1901, Sun • Page 15

As the article reports, Lena was from Syracuse, New York, where she was born on July 21, 1876.3 Her parents, Lewis and Jennie Manson, were immigrants from Russia-Poland, and her father was in the jewelry business in Syracuse.4 Lena, like Harry, had studied at Cornell, she for two years as a special student of English literature, and in 1897 she was working as a teacher in Syracuse. She also taught for three years at a high school in Erie, Pennsylvania.5

Harry and Lena were married on February 7, 1902, in Syracuse, New York.6

The last of the three sons of Hannah and Joseph to marry was their oldest son, Jacob or Jake. He married Clara R. Kaufman on February 14, 1905, in Pittsburgh. Like Jacob, Clara was a native of Pittsburgh, born on September 13, 1874, to Solomon Kaufman and Helena Marks, who were German immigrants. Clara’s father was a livestock dealer.7

Jacob Benedict and Clara Kaufman marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1905; Roll Number: 549855, Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963

In 1910, Hannah and Joseph were living with their son, Herschel and his wife Mary. Joseph was retired, and Herschel was in the wholesale liquor business. By 1912, Herschel had formed his own liquor distribution business, Benedict & Eberle, of which he was the president.8

Herschel Benedict and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1304; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0465; FHL microfilm: 1375317 1910 United States Federal Census

By that time, Hannah and Joseph  had four grandchildren, but all were living quite a distance from Pittsburgh where Hannah and Joseph continued to live. The first was Jacob and Clara’s daughter, Helen, who was born on January 18, 1907, in Paducah, Kentucky,9 where Jacob and Clara had relocated from Pittsburgh sometime in the prior year and where Jacob was working for Dreyfuss Weil, a liquor distributor.10 Jacob and Clara’s second child, Marian, was also born in Paducah; she was born April 14, 1908.11

Meanwhile, Jacob’s brother C. Harry and his wife Lena also had two children during these years. Their first child, Manson, was born on October 9, 1907, in Lake Linden, Michigan,12 with a second son, William, arriving on July 4, 1909, also in Lake Linden. 13 C. Harry continued to work as a metallurgical engineer in Michigan for a company called Calumet & Hecla, a copper mining company.14

Sometime after the 1910 census, Hannah and Joseph must have decided that they did not want to live so far from all their grandchildren because by December 1912, they had left Pittsburgh and were living in Lake Linden, Michigan, where Harry and his family were residing.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 14 Dec 1912, Page 12

Then just two years after Hannah and Joseph left Pittsburgh, their son Jacob returned to Pittsburgh with his family after the company where Jacob worked in Paducah, Kentucky was sold, as reported in the February 4, 1914, edition of the Paducah Sun-Democrat (p. 5):

“Jacob Benedict Leaves for His New Home,” The Paducah Sun-Democrat, 04 Feb 1914, Page 5

Sadly, just three years after their move to Pittsburgh, Jacob suffered a terrible loss when his wife Clara died on September 17, 1917, from left parotid gland cancer. She had turned 43 just three days earlier, and she left behind her two young daughters, Helen (10) and Marian (9), as well as her husband Jacob.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 101201-104500 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967

The family was soon dealt another blow when Joseph Benedict died on December 23, 1917, at Harry’s home in Lake Linden, Michigan. Joseph was 83 and died from fibroid myocarditis. He was buried back in Pittsburgh, his long-time home.

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1952

Hannah remained in Lake Linden, Michigan, and was living with her son Harry and his family in 1920, where Harry continued to work for Calumet & Hecla as a metallurgical engineer.15

Hannah’s other two sons were living in Pittsburgh in 1920. Jacob was living with his daughters as well as a live-in caretaker for the children; he was employed as a salesman for a food company, though just two years earlier he’d been working for a bottling company.16 Herschel was living with his wife Mary as well as a servant, and he had no employment listed on the 1920 census record.17

At first I was puzzled by the changes in both Jacob’s and Herschel’s occupations, but then the lightbulb went on.

Both Jacob and Herschel had been in the liquor business. By 1920, liquor sales were prohibited throughout the US after the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment on January 29, 1919. In fact, liquor sales had been under severe restrictions even earlier, as discussed on this website:

In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson instituted a temporary wartime prohibition in order to save grain for producing food. That same year, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors, for state ratification. Though Congress had stipulated a seven-year time limit for the process, the amendment received the support of the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states in just 11 months. Ratified on January 29, 1919, the 18th Amendment went into effect a year later, by which time no fewer than 33 states had already enacted their own prohibition legislation.

The_Pittsburgh_Press, January 16, 1919, p. 1

So Herschel was forced out of business and Jacob had to change industries as a result of Prohibition. That must have been a difficult transition for both of them.

The first two decades of the 20th century were thus exciting and challenging ones for Hannah and her family. There were marriages and children but also deaths as well as the business challenges created by Prohibition.



  1. Film Number: 000878594, Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968; Year: 1928; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4263; Line: 13; Page Number: 29, New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957; Jacob Ullman and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Titusville, Crawford, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1121; Page: 220D; Enumeration District: 122, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census; Marriage Registers, Extracts from Manhattan (1869-1880) and Brooklyn (1895-1897), Publisher: Dept. of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, New York, New York City, Compiled Marriage Index, 1600s-1800s. 
  2. Flora Ullman death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 103201-105750, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967. Jacob Ullman and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Titusville, Crawford, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1121; Page: 220D; Enumeration District: 122, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. 
  3.  The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Miami, Florida; NAI Number: 2774842; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963 
  4. Lewis Manson and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Syracuse, Onondaga, New York; Roll: 908; Page: 439A; Enumeration District: 219, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  5.  “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1902, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990. Lena Manson Benedict obituary,
    The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, 04 Oct 1965, Page 23. 
  6.  New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index, New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 
  7. Clara Kaufman Benedict death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 101201-104500, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967. Solomon Kaufman and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1086; Page: 158A; Enumeration District: 006, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  8.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1912, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  9.  Year: 1927; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4101; Line: 1; Page Number: 187, New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957; SSN: 182329199, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  10. Paducah, Kentucky, City Directory, 1906, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  11. Marian Benedict death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Box Number: 2424; Certificate Number Range: 020251-023100, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967; Year: 1927; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4101; Line: 1; Page Number: 187, New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  12. “Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 June 2018), Houghton > Births 1906-1908 > image 229 of 493; various county courts, Michigan. 
  13. “Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 7 September 2018), Houghton > Births 1908-1910 > image 169 of 438; various county courts, Michigan. 
  14. C Harry Benedict and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Torch Lake, Houghton, Michigan; Roll: T624_647;Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0135;FHL microfilm: 1374660, 1910 United States Federal Census. Title: Calumet, Michigan, City Directory, 1912, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  15. C. Harry Benedict, 1920 US census, Census Place: Torch Lake, Houghton, Michigan; Roll: T625_769; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 173, 1920 United States Federal Census.  I found it interesting that Hannah chose to stay in Michigan rather than return to Pittsburgh. Joseph was buried there, and two of her sons, Jacob and Herschel, were living there, and Jacob must have needed extra help with his daughters. But Hannah must have been very happy where she was living in Michigan and thus stayed put rather than going back to Pittsburgh. She remained in Lake Linden, Michigan, for the rest of her life. 
  16. Jacob Benedict, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 550, 1920 United States Federal Census 
  17. Herschel Benedict, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 546, 1920 United States Federal Census 

The Gumps and the Business of Alcohol, Part II

We saw last time that as of 1915 when their father Gabriel Gump died, his four sons, Abraham, Louis, Harry, and Joseph, were all engaged in the family liquor business and that three of the four were living in Baltimore, where they’d been born and raised.

As of 1920, things had changed for Abraham Gump, the oldest son.  He and his wife Jennie were living in Los Angeles, and Abraham listed no occupation on the 1920 census.  Their two daughters had married.  Etta, the older daughter, had married Joseph William Ketzky, who was a native of Alabama and a doctor. They would have two daughters.  Ruth, Abraham’s younger daughter, had married Leslie Holzman Lilienthal, who was also a native of Alabama.  In 1920, Ruth was living with Leslie in Selma, Alabama, with his parents, Henry and Annie Lilienthal.  Henry was a dry goods merchant, and Leslie was working as a clothing salesman (perhaps in his father’s store).

I wouldn’t have thought there was a Jewish community in Selma, Alabama, but as this photograph of Temple Mishkan Israel in that city suggests, there was quite a substantial one.  According to this site, the synagogue was founded in 1870 and had about 80 members in the 1910s and 1920s.

So how did two young women from Baltimore meet two men from Alabama? And how and why did their parents end up in Los Angeles? Well, according to his World War I draft registration, Joseph Ketzky had been a medical student at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore in 1917 and must have met Etta during that time.  Presumably Etta and Joseph then set Etta’s sister Ruth up with Leslie Lilienthal.  But I’ve no clue why Abraham and Jennie were living in California in 1920.

Joseph Ketzky World War I draft registration Registration State: Maryland; Registration County: Baltimore (Independent City); Roll: 1684137; Draft Board: 13

Joseph Ketzky World War I draft registration
Registration State: Maryland; Registration County: Baltimore (Independent City); Roll: 1684137; Draft Board: 13

Although I could not find him on the 1920 census, Louis Gump was still living in Baltimore according to several city directories from the early 1920s.  In all three directories Louis listed his occupation as a salesman.  Louis and Carrie’s daughter Rosalind and her family were also still in Baltimore; her husband Milton Wertheimer was a cigar manufacturer in 1920.

Harry Gump and his wife Mildred were still in Wilkes-Barre in 1920; Harry did not list an occupation on the census.  Joseph and Francella (Kohler) Gump were still in Baltimore, and whatever Joseph had entered as an occupation is crossed out and not legible on the 1920 census. In the 1922 Baltimore directory, Joseph gave his occupation as “investments.”

So what had happened to the family liquor business? Prohibition. The Eighteenth Amendment had been ratified on January 29, 1919, banning the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol. Although it did not take effect for another year, obviously the Gump brothers got out of the business before it was too late.  By 1920, Abraham, Louis, Harry, and even Joseph were in or close to their fifties, and all but Joseph no longer were supporting children.

It does not appear that they were too seriously affected by the loss of their business. After all, in 1925, Abraham and Jennie cruised to Cuba; they were back residing in Baltimore at that time. In 1929, they traveled to England. Louis and Carrie took a cruise to France in 1925. Harry and Mildred also cruised to France in 1925. Although they had to wait five additional years until 1930, even Joseph, Francella, and George got to take a trip to France that year.

By 1930, circumstances had changed again.  Abraham and Jennie were living in Atlantic City as of 1927, according to the city directory, but in 1930 they were again back in Baltimore, living with Etta and her two daughters. Although Etta still listed her marital status as married, by 1940 she reported that she was divorced.  She was quite an accomplished golfer, apparently, as I found numerous articles recounting her participation in golf tournaments.  Her younger sister Ruth had moved with her family to Columbus, Georgia, from Selma, Alabama, and her husband Leslie Lilienthal was a retail clothing merchant in Columbus.

English: A picture of Columbus in the 1940s.

English: A picture of Columbus in the 1940s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Louis Gump and his wife Carrie were still in Baltimore in 1930, and Louis was selling stocks and bonds.  Their daughter Rosalind and her family were also still living in Baltimore where Milton was still a cigar manufacturer.

Harry and Mildred were still in Wilkes-Barre in 1930; Harry was retired.  And Joseph Gump and his wife and his son George were in Baltimore; Joseph was also retired.

Harry was the first of the brothers to die; he died at age 69 on June 23, 1937, in New York City, where he and Mildred had moved four years earlier. His obituary ran in two Wilkes-Barre papers:

Wilkes-Barre Record, June 24, 1937, p. 11

Wilkes-Barre Record, June 24, 1937, p. 11

His older brother Abraham died three years later on May 8, 1940; he was 77:

Baltimore Sun, May 9, 1940, p. 6

Baltimore Sun, May 9, 1940, p. 6

Three years later, the youngest Gump brother, Joseph, died on March 27, 1943. He was 72:

Baltimore Sun, March 28, 1943, p. 128

Baltimore Sun, March 28, 1943, p. 128

Louis Gump lived the longest; he died at age 87 on September 16, 1951.  He had outlived his wife Carrie, who had died in 1940, and had been living with his daughter Rosalind and her family.

As for the four Gump grandchildren, Rosalind lost her husband Milton in 1946; she lived until 1974 and died in Baltimore at age 86.  Abraham’s daughter Etta Gump Ketsky died in 1953 at 57; she had never remarried.  Her sister Ruth Gump Lilienthal died one month shy of her 100th birthday in 1999 in Columbus, Georgia.

Joseph’s son George Gump served in the US Navy during World War II and became a tax lawyer; he died in 1988 when he was 79.

Baltimore Sun, September 16, 1988, p. 91

Baltimore Sun, September 16, 1988, p. 91

This snapshot of the lives of the four sons of Gabriel Gump and Henrietta Mansbach and their children provided me with some insights into the effect that Prohibition had on some families in the US.  Gabriel Gump had established a very successful wholesale liquor business in Baltimore, so successful that it was able to support all four of his sons and their families up until Prohibition.  But that business was shut down by Prohibition.
Even after Prohibition, however, the family lived quite comfortably.  By 1933, when Prohibition was finally repealed by the 21st Amendment, the four Gump brothers were more or less retired and still apparently living well on whatever they’d earned from the business.  They do not appear to have suffered from the destruction of their family business and lived relatively full and uneventful lives.
That brings me to the end of my research about the three Mansbach cousins, the niece and nephews of my great-great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein.  Next, I will return to Gerson and his family.





Hannah Cohen 1858-1927: A Life to Remember

The further I delve into the story of my ancestors, the more aware I am of how much the lives of women have changed in the last 100 years—actually, more like the last 50 years, but since I am focusing on the women born between 1850 and 1900 right now, the 100 year line seems more appropriate.  I’ve said numerous times that women are harder to research because they changed their names when they married.  If you cannot figure out who they married, then they just disappear and their stories are never completed.

I obviously have a personal perspective on the question of taking on a new name when you marry.  When I married back in 1976, most women still took their husband’s names when they married, but some women were starting to resist and keeping their birth names.  Some women argued that keeping your father’s name was just as much a concession to male dominance as taking your husband’s name.  I struggled with this issue; I was never a radical or a pioneer.  But in the end, I wanted to keep my name.  My reasons were varied; some of it was definitely based on the values of the women’s movement that was exploding around me during my years in college.  Mostly, however, it was just about holding on to my identity, the one I had had for over twenty years.  How could I not be Amy Cohen?  It just felt wrong.

So I kept my name.  And despite the occasional strange looks I got (and sometimes still get) from people who think it odd and despite the awkwardness of making calls on behalf of my children and having to use two different surnames to identify who they were and who I was, I am very glad that I did.  Especially now when I see how many women disappeared into thin air historically when they changed their names, I realize how much it can matter to have your own identity, including your own name.

In the case of Jacob and Sarah Cohen’s daughters, I was actually able to figure out their married names, and so they did not disappear into thin air.  Sometimes it was really easy to find them because there was an entry in the online marriage records that revealed both the groom’s and bride’s names.  Other times it was rather serendipitous.

For example, in the case of Hannah Cohen, Jacob and Sarah’s eighth child, it was a tiny little death notice for Hannah’s troubled brother Hart that caught my eye.  I wasn’t even researching Hannah at the time, but the death notice made reference to calling hours for Hart being at the home of Mrs. Martin Wolf.  I thought that Mrs. Martin Wolf might very well be one of Hart’s many sisters.  I searched for Martin Wolf on and FamilySearch, and I found one in Philadelphia on the 1900 census with a wife named Hannah.

Hannah and Martin Wolf and family 1900 census

Hannah and Martin Wolf and family 1900 census


According to the 1900 census, Martin and Hannah had been married for 20 years.   Hannah’s birth year on the 1900 census was consistent with earlier census reports.  Martin and Hannah had three children living with them in 1900: Laura (1882), Edgar (1885), and Martin A. (1889). Martin was in the wholesale liquor business, apparently his family’s business as the city directories list him as working for S. Wolf and Sons, and Martin’s father’s name was Solomon Wolf.  It appears that he worked for this business for all or almost all of his adult life.

As I was researching Hannah and Martin’s life, at first it seemed that their life would be like Hannah’s sister Rachel’s life—fairly uneventful.  But as I researched more deeply, unfortunately it seemed her life had plenty of unhappy events, though not as overwhelmingly sad as that of her sister Maria.

First, I saw on burial records at Mt Sinai that there was an entry for a fifteen day old infant “Ray Wolf” who died in 1887 located in the same lot as Hart Cohen (Hannah’s brother) and other members of the Wolf family.  I found a death certificate for a Rachel Wolff who died on May 10, 1887, at six weeks, daughter of M.L. Wolf and Sarah Wolf, living at 855 North 6th Street, the same address in the city directory for Martin L. Wolf of S. Wolf and Son in that year.  Despite the error in the mother’s name and the inconsistent age at death, this is obviously the child of Martin and Hannah.  Little Rachel died of inflammation of the bowels.

Rachel Wolf death certificate 1887

Rachel Wolf death certificate 1887

Those same burial records also included an entry for a Carrie Wolf, aged three years, who died in 1894.  Once again, further research revealed another terrible loss for Hannah and Martin.  Their daughter Caroline died from typhoid fever, the disease that had also killed two of her first cousins, a child of Fanny and Ansel Hamberg and a child of Joseph and Caroline Cohen.  If little Caroline was named in honor of her aunt Caroline, that must have been an awful irony to see her niece die from the same disease that had killed their son Hart.

Caroline Wolf death certificate 1894

Caroline Wolf death certificate 1894

So between 1887 and 1894, Hannah and Martin had lost two young children.  Somehow they continued on, Martin continuing to work in his family’s liquor business and Hannah home with the remaining children, who by 1900 ranged in age from 11 to 17.  In 1901 and 1902, the family was living in Atlantic City, where Martin was still involved in the liquor business.  Perhaps his family business was expanding, or perhaps the family just needed a change of scenery.  Laura, their oldest daughter,married Albert Hochstadter in 1901 when she was nineteen years old.  Albert was a hotel proprietor in Atlantic City, so perhaps she had met him while her family was living there.  Albert and Laura had a son, Martin Hochstadter, born in 1904.

It might have seemed that life had settled down and that the worst was over, but then there were more changes and losses ahead.  On the 1910 census, Laura, married only nine years before, was living at home with her parents (who had returned to Philadelphia by 1903) and, according to the census report, widowed.

Hannah and Martin Wolf and family 1910 census

Hannah and Martin Wolf and family 1910 census

At first I thought, “How awful.  Her husband died before they were married ten years,” but I said she was widowed “according to the census report” because I found a death certificate for Albert Hochstadter, dated June 5, 1912. Albert was still alive at the time of the 1910 census when Laura claimed to be a widow.  Moreover, his death certificate says that he was divorced.  Did Laura lie to the census taker, embarrassed to be divorced, or did the census taker just get it wrong? At any rate, it’s a bit eerie that Albert did in fact die just two years later when he was only 46 years old.  His cause of death was reported to be uremia.

Albert Hochstadter death certificate 1912

Albert Hochstadter death certificate 1912

Laura had quickly moved on and was already remarried by the time her first husband Albert had died.  On the 1910 census, when Laura was living with her parents in Philadelphia, there was a boarder living there named William K. Goldenberg who was a treasurer for a theater.  Within a year, Laura had married William, and by 1920, Laura, William, and Laura’s son Martin Hochstadter were living together.  William had advanced to become the manager of the theater, an occupation he continued to hold for many years.

Laura and William Goldenberg 1920 census

Laura and William Goldenberg 1920 census

Both of Martin’s sons registered with the draft, and both were employed at the Central Market Street Company at the time of their registration, as was their brother-in-law William Goldenberg.  I assume that that was the company that owned the theater where William was the manager.  It seems he took good care of his brothers-in-law by providing them with employment.

martin a ww1 edgar ww1 William ww1

But in 1918 the family suffered another loss.  Hannah’s husband Martin died from acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, while in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, which is about 16 miles south of Philadelphia (and once the hometown of Jennifer Aniston, for you trivia fans). The certificate is definitely for the same Martin L. Wolf; it indicates that Martin’s former or usual residence was 1737 North 15th Street in Philadelphia, the same address listed for Martin L. Wolf in the 1918 city directory and in the 1912 directory that also provided his business address for the liquor business.

Screenshot (7) Screenshot (8)

But the certificate raises some questions.  It says that Martin’s occupation was as a laborer for Remmington Arms in Eddystone.  According to Wikipedia, Remmington Arms, the rifle manufacturer, had opened a plant there during World War I, and “a large portion of the rifles used by American soldiers in France during World War I were made at Eddystone.”  What was Martin doing there?  He was 63 years old, too old to be drafted and serve in the war.  Was this his way of making a contribution to the war effort?  Or perhaps more likely the social forces that eventually succeeded in leading to the 18th Amendment and nationwide prohibition of liquor sales had already led to a decline in Martin’s liquor sales, thus causing him to get a job in the munitions industry during the war.  It’s total speculation, but it does seem very strange that after a career in the liquor business Martin would have taken up work in Eddystone making rifles.

Nine years later in 1927, Hannah also died from myocarditis, arteriosclerosis, and diabetes.  She was sixty-nine years old.

Hannah Cohen Wolf death certificate 1927

Hannah Cohen Wolf death certificate 1927

She and Martin were both buried at Mt Sinai with their two daughters Caroline and Rachel.

Mt Sinai burial records

Mt Sinai burial records

In some ways the timing of  Hannah’s death may have been a blessing because three years later her daughter Laura died at age 47 from complications of diabetes on February 10, 1930, leaving her husband and her 26 year old son, Martin, who had already lost his father when he was only eight years old.

Laura Wolf Goldenberg death certificate 1930

Laura Wolf Goldenberg death certificate 1930

On the 1930 census Martin was listed as William’s son and had adopted his surname Goldenberg as well.  He was also employed as a theater manager, another member of the family finding employment through William Goldenberg. Martin married later that year, and in 1940 he was continuing to work as a theater manager.

William and Martin Goldenberg 1930 census

William and Martin Goldenberg 1930 census

Two years after Laura died, her brother Martin A. Wolf died from chronic ulcerative colitis on September 20, 1932, at age 43.  He also left behind a wife and a nine-year old son.  Martin A. also had continued to work as a theater manager.  His wife Marie died seven years later in 1939, leaving their son Martin without parents at age sixteen. On the 1940 census he was living as a lodger with a couple named Magee and working as an usher, following in the footsteps of his father and other relatives.

Martin A Wolf death certificate 1932

Martin A Wolf death certificate 1932

That left Edgar as the only surviving child of the five children of Hannah and Martin Wolf.  Edgar had married in 1916 and had had a son in 1921, and like his brother Martin, his brother-in-law William Goldenberg, and his nephews Martin Goldenberg and Martin A. Wolf, he also continued to work as a theater manager in Philadelphia.  Edgar died in 1966.  He was eighty years old and was the only one of his siblings to live a full and long life.  No one else had made it to 50, let alone 80.

When I look back on Hannah’s life, as with the lives of so many of the women I have researched, I realize how completely a woman’s life was defined by her husband and her children in those days.  Whereas I can report on the men’s occupations and their military careers, for the women I seem only to be able to mention where they lived, who they married, and how many children they had.  Unless a woman remained unmarried, she did not work outside the home. These women had hard times and raised their families under often difficult circumstances, losing babies and children to disease and having more pregnancies and childbirths than I can imagine, and probably even more than are reported.  It was the way women lived for most of history: family and home centered and dependent financially on their fathers and then their husbands.  It is a very different life from the one most women I know live today, for better in many ways, but also for worse in other ways.

If women’s lives and their value was based primarily on their children, then losing a child must have been especially awful for these mothers, losing two unimaginable. At least Hannah did not live to see that two more of her children would die prematurely. She had lost two babies and her husband. Nine of her siblings, including some younger than she, had predeceased her.  Those are enough losses for any person to have to endure.

If I had not found that little death notice mentioning a Mrs. Martin Wolf, Hannah Cohen might never have been found.  As you will see, it was an equally serendipitous discovery that allowed me to learn the story of her younger sister Elizabeth. Hannah’s life was a life with plenty of heartbreak.  She did not make any scientific discoveries or make a lot of money or change the world.  It was nevertheless a life that should not disappear simply because she changed her name when she married or because she never worked outside the home.  I am glad that I was able to help to preserve her name and her life for posterity.