In my last post, I described the challenges I faced in trying to learn the whereabouts between 1889 and 1900 of my cousin Harry Goldsmith, son of my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith. I finally concluded that Harry had married a woman named Florence Loeb sometime around 1884 and had had two children with her, Stanton, born in 1885, and Janet, born in 1892. He and his family were living on North 63rd Street in Philadelphia in 1900, and Harry was in the tobacco business.
Thank you to the many readers who gave me feedback on my conclusion that my Harry Goldsmith married Florence Loeb. That conclusion was then further supported by an article found by Renee Stern Steinig, who many of you may recall was my mentor and my inspiration when I first started doing family history research about six years ago. Renee saw my blog post on Facebook and found the article below that somehow, despite all my searching, I had missed, probably because Harry is called Henry here. Now I know for sure that the Harry Goldsmith who was married to Florence Loeb was in fact my cousin. The big clue—Rena Rice was one of the maids of honor at their wedding on December 4, 1883!
But Harry’s life soon changed, as Florence divorced him in 1901 and married their boarder Emanuel Dreifus, who also seemingly adopted Harry’s children.
So what happened to Harry after the divorce from Florence in 1901? Finding the answer to that question led me down several more rabbit holes. Once again, I confronted the problem of a multiplicity of Harry Goldsmiths.
In 1901 there were four Harry Goldsmiths in the Philadelphia directory, but none was in the tobacco business (there was a printer, a paperhanger, a salesman, and a tailor). 1 In 1905 there were two Harry Goldsmiths in the cigar business plus a tailor.2 And in 1908 there were four Harry Goldsmiths: one in the cigar business, a reverend, a printer, and one, a Harry N. Goldsmith, in a business called Goldsmith & Arndt.3
Further research into that last one revealed that Arndt was Max Arndt and that he was a tobacconist. Thus, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that Goldsmith & Arndt was also a tobacco business. The Harry N. Goldsmith in Goldsmith & Arndt was living at 1747 North 15th Street. One of the Harrys in the 1905 directory who listed cigars as his occupation was living at 1711 North 15th Street—presumably the one in business with Max Arndt three years later.4
But was Harry N. Goldsmith my Harry? Well, in 1911, Harry N. Goldsmith was living 1914 Berks Road and in business as H.N. Goldsmith & Co. 5 Searching the 1910 census for a Harry Goldsmith at 1914 Berks Road, I found this one:
Is this my Harry? Well, at first, I thought not. For one thing, this Harry was only 34, meaning he was born in about 1876, whereas my Harry was born in 1858. This Harry was single, not divorced. And strangest of all, this Harry claimed to be an electrical engineer for the railroad—an occupation no Harry Goldsmith had claimed on any Philadelphia directory going back over thirty years.
But looking more carefully at this 1910 census report, something else rang a bell. The head of the household in which this Harry Goldsmith was living was a woman named Eva G. Anathan. Searching my tree, I saw that I have cousin named Eva Goldsmith who was married to a man named Nathan Anathan. 6 Eva was the daughter of Jacob Goldsmith’s brother, Levi, making her Harry Goldsmith’s first cousin. And Eva Anathan was one of the guests at Rena’s wedding in 1898.
I was now feeling pretty certain that this had to be my Harry Goldsmith living at 1914 Berks Road in 1910 with his first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan. I didn’t know why the census report on both his age and occupation were so off, but I was convinced that this had to be the Harry Goldsmith who was the son of my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith. He was still listed at that same address—1914 Berks Road—in Philadelphia directories from 1912 through 1917,7 and his business was reported as cigars in all of them (not electrical engineering). I thought I had found my Harry.
But then I found a marriage record for a Harry Goldsmith, born in Pennsylvania, whose parents were named Jacob and Fanny. The marriage took place in Detroit, Michigan, on December 16, 1913. The groom was 45 years old, meaning born around 1868, ten years after my Harry Goldsmith was born. He was a tobacco dealer. His bride was Henrietta Robinson, who was 37 years old and born in Michigan. It was a second marriage for Harry, a first for Henrietta.
All the facts seemed to fit my Harry, except his age: his name, parents’ names, birth place, occupation, and the fact that he’d had a prior marriage all matched my Harry. I was certain that this had to be my Harry.
Searching for Harry Goldsmith in Detroit directories, I found one in 1915 living in a hotel, and in 1916, there were four Harry Goldsmiths in Detroit, one of whom was living on Sprout Avenue.8 That Harry Goldsmith, the one living on Sprout Avenue, died on October 5, 1917.
He was born in Pennsylvania on July 17, 1863, according to his death certificate, and had been a tobacco broker. He was married at the time of his death. His parents were born in Germany. His mother’s name was unknown, and his father was listed as H. Goldsmith by an informant named Mrs. S. Rose of Detroit. According to the death certificate, Harry had suffered from heart disease—chronic myocarditis—for over a year before his death. Was this my Harry?
It seemed more than likely. My Harry Goldsmith had been listed as born in July 1858 on the 1900 census, this Harry was born in July of 1863; perhaps he shaved off five years to appear younger to his second wife Henrietta (and earlier had shaved off ten years on the marriage record). My Harry was born in Pennsylvania; so was this Harry. My Harry had been in the tobacco business in Philadelphia; this Harry was also in the tobacco business. The informant did not know his mother’s name so the H. Goldsmith was probably just a guess as to his father’s name. I thought I had found the end of the Harry Goldsmith mystery.
But then something did not add up. The Harry N. Goldsmith who had been living with my Harry’s first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910 was still apparently alive and living in Philadelphia long after the marriage and even death of the Harry who had married Henrietta and moved to Detroit. As noted above, Harry N. Goldsmith is listed in directories in Philadelphia living at 1914 Berks Road until 1917.
In the 1918 directory, Harry N. Goldsmith was living on Regent Street and is listed as president of two companies: H.N. Goldsmith & Company and Golco Sanitary System. The 1918 directory had a separate listing for Golco and described the business as “toilet paper and holders.” 9 On the 1920 census, there is a Harry N. Goldsmith living on Regent Street in Philadelphia, 44 years old so born around 1876, and married to a woman named Madge.10 This Harry was in the paper business, as was the Harry N. Goldsmith listed in the 1918 directory as president of Golco.
So who was this Harry N. Goldsmith, and what, if any, connection did he have to my Harry Goldsmith? Was he a son or a cousin? If not, why was he living with my Harry Goldsmith’s first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910?
I was able to find a birth record for a Harry N. Goldsmith born in Philadelphia on May 27, 1875, son of Raphael and Emma (Ettinger) Goldsmith,11 so the right age for the Harry living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910. That Harry’s father Raphael was born on May 8, 1849, in Philadelphia to Napoleon and Zerlina Goldsmith. I have no relatives with those names, and thus, I don’t think that the Harry Goldsmith who was living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910 was my relative or, for that matter, Eva Anathan’s relative.
But then what was he doing living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910? Was it just coincidence that another Harry Goldsmith, who also happened to be in the tobacco business, was living with a relative of my Harry Goldsmith?
And if the Harry Goldsmith on the 1910 census was not my Harry, then where was my Harry all those years between 1900 and 1913? There was a second Harry Goldsmith selling cigars in those years in Philadelphia, but when I found him on the 1910 census, it was clearly not my Harry—he was born in 1840, married to a woman named Mary, and from England, as were his parents.
Had my Harry already moved to Detroit? There are Harry Goldsmiths listed in Detroit directories for those years. But are they my Harry?
I don’t know.
I am out of ideas. Maybe Harry was already in Detroit in 1910 or even before. Maybe he just wasn’t listed on the census or in any directories after 1900. Maybe he was in prison or hospitalized. I don’t know where else to look.
What I do know (I think) is that my Harry married Henrietta Robinson in Detroit in 1913 and died just four years later in Detroit. He is buried at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, where Henrietta was buried as well when she died four years after Harry from breast cancer at age 49. 11
If I am right about this being my Harry, I am glad to know that he may have found some peace with Henrietta before he died. His life seems to have had some serious challenges. He may have been charged with fraud in 1889. His father Jacob died in 1895, and then his brother Philip was killed in a train accident in 1896. He may have had to declare bankruptcy in 1900, and in 1901 his wife Florence divorced him, taking his children from him as well. Then his daughter Janet died at age ten in 1902.
Harry seems to have disappeared for several years after 1901, or at least he does not appear on any records that I can locate. There are no newspaper stories about him during those years either. He only resurfaces in 1913 with his marriage to Henrietta and then his death from heart disease at age 59 in 1917. I hope those last four years were happy ones.
I welcome any suggestions or theories on the whereabouts of Harry Goldsmith between 1901 and 1913.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1901; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1905; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1908; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1905, 1908; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1911; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Pennsylvania Marriages, 1709-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V26B-T32 : 11 February 2018), Nathen Anathan and Eva Goldsmith, 22 Sep 1875; citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,769,061. ↩
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1912-1917; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Detroit, Michigan, City Directory, 1915, 1916, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1917-1919; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 ↩
- Harry N. Goldsmith, 1920 US census; Philadelphia Ward 40, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1642; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1506; Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census ↩
- Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950. Original data: Death Records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan. ↩ ↩