Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part VII: Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler Get Married

This is Part VII of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, so generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI at the links.

On the page following the photographs of his parents Abraham and Cecelia, Milton included a letter written by his mother on November 5, 1857, which, according to Milton, was shortly before their engagement.

Reading this reminded me of what it was like before cheap phone calls and email made handwritten letters obsolete. When my husband and I were dating the year before our engagement, we also wrote letters back and forth. Of course, we were living several hundred miles apart (but still tried to see each other every weekend) whereas Abraham and Cecelia both were living in Philadelphia. But perhaps letters were the only places they had any ability to communicate privately.

Here is Cecelia’s letter:

Some words were cut off on the right margin and at the bottom, but I have tried to transcribe it as best I can and added some punctuation and capitalization for purposes of clarity. Cecelia was a few weeks short of her nineteenth birthday when she wrote this letter, and Abraham was twenty-five.


                                                                                                         Phil. Nov. 5th

Dear Ab,

The few lines you have written to me give me a great deal of pleasure, for informing me of your health & good night’s rest. I passed an excellent night as[?] my cold is a great deal better though I am rather hoarse yet.  My Dear, I forgot to give you Henrietta’s [?] shawl last night, but it will and[?] as well tonight. I would send over the boy with it, but I am afraid he can not find the place. I am obliged for sending me the book & will look through it as soon as possible. Come early this evening, if you can.

I remain yours forever,


If you hear of any thing important & have time, write me a note this [?].


If anyone can read it any better than I did, please let me know.

Appropriately, Milton placed the invitation to his parents’ wedding on the page that followed:

Note that the invitation is dated January 1, 1858, for a wedding to take place on January 27, 1858—less than four weeks later. Today it seems that wedding invitations arrive at least two months in advance (often preceded by Save the Date cards). Also, the wedding was to take place at Cecelia’s parents’ home at 440 North Second Street in Philadelphia, not in a fancy catering hall or hotel or resort, as many are these days. Life was so much simpler back then.

But life was also so much harder. Cecelia died less than seventeen years later on November 8, 1874, from apoplexia nervosa, or a stroke. She was only 35 and left behind her husband Abraham and six children ranging in age from Estelle, who was four, to Milton, who was thirteen.

An Important Clue Buried in A Wedding Announcement

As I was finishing up my research on Sallie R. Cohen and her life, I found this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about her wedding:

Sallie R. Cohen and Ellis Abrams wedding story

Sallie R. Cohen and Ellis Abrams wedding story

(“Matrimony Notice,”  Tuesday, May 22, 1900,Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) Volume: 142 Issue: 142 Page: 2)

Not only does this provide further evidence of the social and economic success of Reuben and Sallie Cohen, it also provides a very important clue to one of my biggest questions about the Cohen clan.  Remember the two Hart Cohens that had me confused a few weeks ago—one in Philadelphia and one in Washington, DC? After much searching and thinking I had developed a strong hunch that they were first cousins and that Jacob Cohen of Philadelphia and Moses Cohen, Sr., of Washington were brothers, both sons of my great-great-great grandparents Hart Levy Cohen and Rachel Jacobs.  I am in touch with Moses Cohen’s descendant Scott, and we are awaiting DNA test results to see whether he and my brother share enough DNA to conclude that we are all in fact descended from Hart Levy Cohen.

But now I have another fairly persuasive bit of evidence linking the Moses Cohen family in DC to my Philadelphia Cohens.  If you can read the announcement, you will see that one of the bridesmaids is Grace Cohen of Washington, DC.  Grace Cohen was the daughter of Moses Cohen, Jr., and his wife Henrietta.  She was born in 1877, two years before Sallie R. Cohen, daughter of Reuben Cohen, and was  thus her second cousin, assuming that Jacob and Moses were brothers and thus their respective sons, Reuben and Moses, Jr., were first cousins.

This is the kind of almost accidental discovery that just makes my day.  It’s the kind of thing that I could easily have missed or read and not thought about carefully.  Although the DNA test results may provide more scientific evidence that DC Moses and my great-great grandfather Jacob were brothers, this little tidbit in a wedding announcement is certainly fairly persuasive evidence on its own.

Rosalind Haber and Dan Dombey’s wedding photos

Thanks to Naomi, we have some new pictures to add to the blog.  I will also post these to Max’s page, but thought I’d also post them this way so that everyone sees them.  I already posted about the photo of the groomsmen including Sam Brotman, but here are several more.

First, the bride and groom, Rosalind and Dan. Notice the two young people in the background to the left—that’s cousins Tom Jones, son of Rosalie and Dick Jones, and Judy Haber Ruzicka, daughter of Renee and Charles and the bride’s sister.


Here are the bride’s parents, Renee Brotman Haber and Charles Haber.


And here are the bride’s aunt and uncle, Rosalie Brotman Jones and Dick Jones.Image

Finally, here’s one of the Haber family, including Renee, Charles, Susan and Judy, and the Dombey family.


I tried to look at the faces in the background of these pictures to see if any other Brotman family members are shown, but no one besides those mentioned looked familiar to me.  Do any of you recognize any of those faces?