Putting The Puzzle Together:  Too Many Missing Pieces

Sometimes it is amazing to me how much information you can get from one document—an obituary, a death certificate, a news article.  This time it was a document my cousin Wolfgang Seligmann found in a suitcase.  In fact, I learned so much from this document that I have to divide this post into two separate posts to make each a reasonable length.

What Wolfgang found was a list of names of the heirs to the estate of James Seligman, the son of Moritz and Babetta who had moved to England. (I will refer to him as English James Seligman to distinguish him from the US James Seligman, my great-grandmother’s brother.)   The document is entitled: “J. Seligman Deceased: Statement as of 1st January 1950 of Nephews and Nieces and their Issue, who may take an interest under the Intestacy in the above Estate.”  There are 21 principals named on the document as well as the names of several of the children or relatives of those 21 who might inherit in their place, if the principals were deceased.

heirs list p 1

Heirs List p 2

I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out who these 21 people were and how they were related to English James and also thus to me.  Some of them were very easy to identify.  Number 21 was the easiest:  Mrs. Eva Cohen of Philadelphia was my great-grandmother.  She was deceased by 1950, and unfortunately there was no listing on the document of her heirs, which would have included my father, my aunt, my great-uncle Stanley, and the sons of Maurice Cohen, Buddy and Junior.

Numbers 19 and 20 were also easily identified: Arthur and US James Seligman, my great-grandmother’s brothers and the two other surviving children of Bernard Seligman, English James Seligman’s older brother.  For US James Seligman, Morton is listed as his surviving son.  For Arthur, there is mention of his “oldest son” (he had only one, Otis), and a note that he had been “Governor of Santa Fe” and might be able to find other relatives.  By 1950, however, Arthur and his son Otis were both deceased.  (These careless errors made me a bit skeptical of the Bank’s attention to detail.)

I also knew who Numbers 15 and 16 were: Emil and Eugen Seligmann were the sons of Carolina Seligmann, the half-sister of James, Bernard, and the others, and they were the grandsons of Moritz Seligmann and Eva Schoenfeld.  Emil had died from heart disease in 1942, and Eugen had died at Thierenstadt concentration camp in 1942.  Emil’s son also died during the Holocaust at Buchenwald in 1945.   His daughter Christine was still alive in 1950 when this document was created.

Number 6 is Wolfgang’s grandfather Julius, a son of August Seligmann and grandson of Moritz and Babetta.  He was still alive in 1950.  Number 7 is Moritz Seligmann, the brother of Julius about whom I wrote here.  He had served in World War I for Germany and been awarded the Cross of Honor, but was nevertheless killed during the Holocaust.  Number 8 is Franziska or Frances Seligmann Michel, the mother of Fred Michel, about whom I wrote here.  She was also the child of August Seligmann and the granddaughter of Moritz and Babetta, and had died in 1933.  Her son Fritz (Fred) is also mentioned on the heirs list.

Number 9 is Anna Seligmann Goldmann, the sister of Julius, Moritz, and Franziska and husband of Hugo Goldmann.  Anna, Hugo, and their three young children, Ruth, Grete, and Heinz, were all killed in Thieresenstadt in 1942.

The next four people, Numbers 10 through 13, are all from the Oppenheimer family, written about here.  Joseph, Martha, and Ella were the children of Paulina Seligmann and Meier Oppenheimer.  Paulina was the sister of Bernard, August, and James, and the daughter of Moritz and Babetta Seligmann.  Joseph and Ella both died during the Holocaust.  Martha survived, but her two children Gertrud and Paul did not.  With this document, I now learned that Martha’s married name was Floersheimer, and was able to find Gertrud and Paul in the Yad Vashem database.  Gertrud died at an unknown camp in 1942 after being deported on June 10 of that year from Wiesbaden, and her brother Paul died at a camp in Majdanek, Poland, on August 16, 1942.

Emma Oppenheimer, Number 13, I assume was Emma Neuhoff, the widow of Moritz James Oppenheimer, son of Paulina and a brother of Joseph, Martha, and Ella.  Moritz Oppenheimer, discussed here, had been a successful business person and horse breeder; he was reported to have committed suicide after being visited by the Gestapo in 1942.

That left me with eight unknowns: Numbers 1 through 5 and Numbers 14, 17 and 18.  Some of these I believe I have figured out; others I am not as certain about.  For example, Jack Seligmann, Number 1, has to be the son of a brother of James to have the Seligmann surname.  I knew he was not the son of Sigmund (never married, lived in the US), Bernard (lived in the US), or Adolph (lived in the US).  I assumed I had all the sons of August Seligmann from the records I found and records Wolfgang shared with me.  Salomon Seligmann died when he was 21, so I eliminated him.  That left only two of James’ brothers: Benjamin, a half-brother, and Hyronimus, a full-brother.  I had no records other than birth records for either Benjamin or Hyronimus, and thus, I had no way to determine whether Jack was a son of Benjamin or Hyronimus, but assumed he was the son of one or the other.

Then, while I was trying to puzzle this out, Wolfgang found another document.  It was a letter written in 1984 by Elsa Oppenheimer to the National Westminster Bank regarding the estate of English James Seligman.   (I think Elsa Oppenheimer was the daughter of Jur Oppenheimer, son of Moritz James Oppenheimer, based on the family tree I received from Wolfgang a few weeks ago.)  In her letter to the bank on July 9, 1984, Elsa attempted to correct some errors she felt the bank had made in identifying heirs of English James.    She claimed, for example, that the Bank had incorrectly listed Adolph as a son of Moritz and Babetta because she could not locate a birth record for him; she was wrong about that, however, as here is a copy of his birth record, naming Moritz and Babetta as his parents.

adolph seligman birth record

 

Elsa also claimed that she knew of all of the children of Hieronymous Seligmann based on birth records, and that they were Jacob and Auguste, twins born on April 8, 1869; Mathilde, born October 4, 1872; and Rosina Laura, born June 9, 1878.  Elsa asserted that Hieronymous did not have daughters named Elizabeth or Johanna.

Elsa Oppenheimer 1984 letter-page-001

Elsa Oppenheimer 1984 letter-page-002

From this letter, I am assuming that Jack Seligmann, Number 1 on the heirs’ list, was Jacob Seligmann, son of Hieronymous Seligmann and thus a grandson of Moritz and Babetta and a nephew of English James Seligman.  His wife Anna is named here as living in Luxembourg as of 1950, so I looked on Yad Vashem and found an entry for a Jacob Seligmann, born on April 8, 1869, married to Anna, a clear match to my Jacob Seligmann.  He was killed in Luxembourg in 1941, according to the Yad Vashem site.    I don’t know whether Jacob and Anna had had any children.

That brings me to Number 2, Laura Winter.  I am assuming that Laura Winter was born Rosina Laura, a daughter of Hieronymous, and married a man named Winter.  The document names a Frau Aennie Wiener as her next of kin and states that Laura and her husband also died in Luxembourg, reinforcing my assumption that she and Jacob were siblings.  Aennie Wiener is listed as residing at 8409 Talbot Street, Kew Gardens, Long Island.

For a while I didn’t know what had happened to Laura Seligmann Winter or her husband, although they were deceased by 1950 according to the list of heirs.  Included, however, in the Ilse and Fritz Michel Collection at the Leo Baeck Institute is one handwritten note that provided some clues.  The note has no title, but is just a list of names: Anna Goldmann, Hugo Goldmann, Grete Goldmann, Heinz Goldmann, Ruth Goldmann, Helene Hess [mother of Ilse Hess Michel], Max Michel, Sophie Michel, Moritz Seligmann, Jacob Seligmann, S Winter, Laura Winter, Martha Florsheimer, Paul Florsheimer, Trude Florsheimer.

Handwritten list of names Fred Michel

What can I infer from this list? I know that Ilse and Fred Michel were actively involved in trying to find family members who were missing after the war.  I know that the Goldmann family, Helene Hess, Moritz Seligmann, Jacob Seligmann, and Paul and Trude Florsheimer were all killed in the Holocaust.  Martha was not, but nevertheless my guess is that these were all people whom Fred and Ilse could not locate after the war.  My hunch was that since the Winters were listed as deceased on the list of heirs document that they also were killed in the Holocaust.

I then searched Yad Vashem’s database again, this time for anyone named Winter living in Luxembourg, and found just one listing—for a Samuel Winter.  It said he was born on October 27, 1863, in Dusseldorf, Germany, and that he was married to Martha Seligmann.  Could Martha Seligmann really be Laura Seligmann? Could there really be two German men with the surname Winter and first initial S living in Luxembourg and married to a woman whose birth name was Seligmann?  I thought the odds were slim, so I used the Related Search function on the Yad Vashem database, searching for anyone with the same surname and from the same residence.

This time I got a list of other Winters from Luxembourg, including a Laura Winter.  The entry did not have a birth date or birth place for Laura, but it said she was the widow of Samuel and that she had been murdered on August 28, 1940. But the entry for Samuel said he was not deported until April, 1943, and died on April 21, 1943, at Thieresenstadt.  So how could Laura have been a widow in 1940?  Was this a different Samuel Winter who was really married to a Martha Seligmann?  I don’t know.

Fortunately, it was not very difficult to find their daughter, Aennie Wiener since I had her address at 8409 Talbot Avenue in Kew Gardens, a section of Queens in New York City, was listed on the heirs’ document.  Searching for her on Ancestry quickly uncovered Anna and Joseph Wiener living at 8409 Talbot Avenue in Queens.  Their residence in 1935 had been Mannheim, Germany, and they were now 46 and 58 years old, respectively.  Living with them were their daughter Doris Grunewald, her husband Ernst Grunewald, also both German immigrants, and their one year old daughter, Hannah Grunewald, born in New York.

Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: T627_2746; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 41-1373

Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: T627_2746; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 41-1373

I also was able to find ship manifests for Anna, Doris, and Ernst, all of whom came between 1937 and 1938.  Four more who escaped from Nazi Germany. I’ve not yet found any records for any of them after the 1940 census, but I am still looking.  I am particularly interested in finding Hannah.

 

To be continued…

 

Turning Your Blog into A Book (or Several Books)

vols 1 and 2

Last fall I got into a discussion with a fellow blogger, Luanne at The Family Kalamazoo, about preserving all our work.  What happens if WordPress crashes some day? What if the Internet becomes a thing of the past like VCRs and turntables? All our hard work could be for naught.  Our grandchildren won’t know a thing about their ancestors and will have to start all over again.

I’d also been getting requests over and over again from my father.  He wanted me to print out all my blog posts.  He said it was too hard to go back and find earlier posts.  I told him that printing them out would not work well because I’d lose all the formatting, and he’d end up with hundreds of pages of posts all in reverse chronological order. (I did explain that new posts had links back to related posts, but he wanted a hard copy.)

So I decided to explore some options.  And what I found was a site called blogbooker.com.   It’s a free site that converts your blog into PDFs.  But not just that.  It creates a table of contents using your blog post titles and puts everything in chronological order.  I was very excited by the results.

Contents

But then I still had well over a thousand pages of PDFs, and printing all of them would still lead to an unmanageable pile of paper that no one would be able to use easily.  Plus the ink I’d use in printing them would be costly.

Fortunately, blogbooker also suggested several sites where you can turn those PDFs into a published book—either an e-book or a full-fledged hard copy bound book.  The one I chose was Lulu.com.  I looked at the various options, and for cost reasons I chose to print the blog in a paperback format on 8 by 11 sized pages in black and white.  Since I did this after blogging for fifteen months, I had to break the blog into four volumes.  That meant creating separate PDFs on blogbooker for four different volumes.  No big deal.  It’s easy enough, and remember that blogbooker is free.

Lulu.com is not free, at least not for hard copy printed books, but it is really reasonable.  Each volume cost me about $15 a copy, and I made two copies of each, one for me and one for my parents.  At least now my parents can flip through the pages and find older posts, and I can sleep a little more easily, knowing that there are two hard copies of my blog.  And they really look quite nice—I was pleased with how they came out.  The photos and graphics are not as clear as on the Internet, but they are adequate, and the text is all there as are all the comments.

vol 3 and 4

 

I’ve just created and ordered Volume Five, covering from January 1, 2015 through April 21, 2015.   (If there are any family members or even just interested readers who want a volume, let me know.  :) )

What do you do to preserve your work? How do you make sure that all your research and documents and photographs are going to be safe and accessible for another 100 years or more?

 

 

Two Who Got Away

Way back on November 22, 2014, I wrote very briefly about a cousin named Fred Michel.   He was mentioned in Ludwig Hellriegel’s book about the Jews of Gau-Algesheim as the son of Frances (Franziska) Seligmann and Max (Adolf?) Michel. Frances was the daughter of August Seligmann.  Since August Seligmann was my great-great-grandfather Bernard Seligman’s brother, his grandson Fred Michel would be my second cousin, twice removed.  According to Hellriegel’s book, Fred had escaped to the United States in 1937 after his mother died in 1933.  That was all I knew, and the name Fred Michel was common enough in the US that I had no way of narrowing it down to the right person based on the name alone.

Well, one email from my cousin Wolfgang opened up an entirely new door of research for me.  In his email, Wolfgang mentioned Fred Michel, the nephew of his grandfather Julius.  In that email, Wolfgang said that Fred had settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  From that one additional bit of information, I was able to find Fred and his wife Ilse on the 1940 census in Scranton living as boarders in the household of other German immigrants.  I also found them in several Scranton directories.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Scranton, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3685; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 71-106

Year: 1940; Census Place: Scranton, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3685; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 71-106

I also found Fred’s enlistment record in the US army in July 1943 on the Ancestry index.   That led me to his Veteran’s Burial Card, showing that he had served from July 1943 until September 1945 and that he had died on August 5, 1992, and was buried at Temple Hesed cemetery in Scranton.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1929-1990; Archive Collection Number: Series 2-4; Folder Number: 655

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1929-1990; Archive Collection Number: Series 2-4; Folder Number: 655

Since I also had learned that his wife’s name was Ilse, I researched what I could about Ilse.  She was also born in Germany, and at least according to the 1940 census, she’d been living in Frankfort, Germany in 1935.  I found various public records indicating that Ilse and Fred were still living in Scranton as of 1989, and I also found Ilse on the Social Security Death Index, indicating that she had died on July 22, 2002.

But I wanted to know more, and so I googled their names, Fred and Ilse Michel, with Scranton, and I found a gold mine.  Fred and Ilse donated their papers to the Leo Baeck Institute, and the papers have been digitized and are available online.   This is the description provided for the Michel papers, known as the Ilse and Fritz Michel Family Collection, AR 25502, at the Leo Baeck Institute:

“This collection contains personal and official documents pertaining to the family’s immigration to the United States and their situation in Germany as the political climate deteriorated. Included are a large amount of personal letters, supplemented by various other documents from government and military offices, some genealogical and tracing certificates, as well as other various material.”

In addition, the Leo Baeck Institute provided this biographical note for Ilse and Fred Michel:

Fritz (Fred) Michel (1902-1992) was born in Bingen am Rhein, Germany, the son of Adolf Michel and Franziska Michel, née Seligmann. Fred Michel’s wife, Ilse Hess (1911-2003), was born in Leipzig, daughter of Hermann Hess and Helene Hess, née Hirschfeld (1866-1943). Hermann Hess died in 1922 in Frankfurt am Main. After having been denied immigration to the U.S., Ilse’s mother Helene was deported to Theresienstadt in 1942, where she died in 1943.

Fritz (Fred) Michel emigrated from Frankfurt am Main to the U.S. via Antwerp, Belgium, in 1937. In the U.S. he changed his name to Fred. Ilse emigrated a year after that, via Hamburg, in 1938. Upon immigration Fred and Ilse remained separated for about two years, working in various areas in the state of New York, before they eventually settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1939, where they were married in 1940. There, Ilse started up a millinery business, while Fred maintained a position as bartender. They became naturalized citizens in 1943. The same year Fritz joined the U.S. army and served until 1945. They remained in Scranton for the rest of their lives.

There is truly a treasure trove in the collection—letters, documents, passports, photographs.  Many of the letters are in German, and I am hoping to find some way to translate them.  I also want to obtain permission to post some of the documents included in the collection if I can.

For now I can highlight some of the facts I was able to learn from the documents that are in English. Before coming to the United States in 1937, Fred had worked for Bamberger and Hertz, a men’s clothing store with several locations in Germany; Fred had worked for them in Cologne, Frankfort, and Munich between 1931 and 1936. On the website for the Jewish Museum in Berlin,  I found an article and photograph about Bamberger and Hertz and the effect Nazism had on the business.  The photograph depicts Nazi storm troopers posting leaflets on the store windows, warning people not to patronize this Jewish-owned business.

 

 

The article reports:

After the April Boycott sales declined at all the stores. The Saarbrücken branch closed in 1934 and a buyer was found for the Frankfurt store in 1935. The branches in Cologne, Stuttgart and Leipzig were forcibly sold or dissolved in 1938. In October of the same year Siegfried Bamberger managed to sell the Munich business to his trusted long-time employee Johann Hirmer. Although the transaction aroused the Nazis’ suspicions, it was carried out within the bounds of the law.

It is thus not surprising that Fred Michel would have left his home and his long-time employer in 1937.

According to Fred’s application for naturalization as a US citizen, he arrived in the United States on September 24, 1937, aboard the SS Koenigstein, departing from Antwerp, Belgium, and traveling tourist class. He had been examined by US immigration officials in Stuttgart before departing.

Of great interest to me was that Fred listed his sponsor as James Seligman of 324 Hillside Drive in Santa Fe, New MexicoJames Seligman.  This must have been my great-grandmother Eva Seligman’s younger brother James.  How did Fred Michel know him? To me, this makes it evident that my great-grandmother’s family was very much in touch with their relatives still in Germany when Hitler came to power.  What were they thinking about Hitler and the Nazis? How did James get involved with helping Fred?  Perhaps one of those letters in German will reveal more.[1]

James Seligman in Swarthmore register 1920

After arriving in the United States, Fred first lived in New York City and worked at a business called Burrus and Burrus for a year.  He then worked at the Hebrew National Orphan House in Yonkers, New York.  After that, he worked for a furniture company in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, for a year, and then finally settled in Scranton in June, 1939. He worked in a couple of dress shops and then as a bartender at various clubs up to the time of his citizenship application in 1942.

Washington Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Uni...

Washington Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fred and Ilse were married by a rabbi on January 16, 1940, in Scranton.  As of September, 1942, when they applied for citizenship, Fred and Ilse did not have any children.  After studying at night school, Fred became a naturalized citizen in June, 1943, shortly before he enlisted in the Army, as described above.  According to Fred’s honorable discharge papers from the Army in 1945, he served in Panama during World War II and received a Good Conduct medal, an American Theater Medal, and a World War II Victory medal.  He was responsible for handling secret documents, correspondence, and publications during the war.

World War II Victory Medal.

World War II Victory Medal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ilse became a naturalized citizen in December, 1943.  She had arrived in New York in April, 1938, after being examined by US immigration in Stuttgart.  She had lived in Woodmere, Long Island, New York, and Mt. Vernon, New York, and New York City before settling in Scranton in December, 1939.  She had worked as a bank teller and for various millinery houses during that time.  Like Fred, she had attended night school to become a US citizen.

After the war, Fred and Ilse attempted to learn what had happened to their family members back home.  Since most of these documents are in German and need to be translated, I will report on their heart-breaking efforts once I can be sure I am reading the documents correctly.

I don’t know from the collection much about Fred and Ilse’s life after the war.  I did find a Letter to the Editor of Life Magazine in the July 20, 1962, issue; it reveals some of the obstacles Fred had to overcome as a young boy and also some of his own nostalgia for his native country, even after all the horrors of the Holocaust:

Wolfgang has a number of letters written by Fred to Walter Seligmann, Wolfgang’s uncle, and he is going to translate those for me.  Wolfgang also sent me a copy of a letter that Fred received from the National Westminster Bank in England in December, 1982, regarding the estate of the other James Seligman, brother of Bernard and August and the other children of Moritz Seligmann and Babetta Schoenfeld.  Like Pete’s family and Wolfgang’s family, Fred received notification of his rights to inherit some of James estate.

Bank to Fred 1

Bank to Fred 2 Bank to Fred 3

I don’t know whether or not Fred ever obtained his share of the estate.  He died ten years after receiving this letter. From Fred’s death certificate, I learned that he had been a quality control officer for a clothing manufacturer.  He and Ilse were members of Temple Hesed in Scranton, and both are buried in its cemetery.

I  have written to the Leo Baeck Institute and am hoping they can help me as well as give me permission to post some of the documents included in the collection.  From what I have read, I only know the surface of what is obviously a much deeper story, a story of two people who escaped and survived, tearing themselves away from their homeland and their family just in time.  What was it like for them to leave? What did they know of what was happening in Germany once they left? How did they adjust to living in the United States? How were they received?

There are so many questions, and I am hoping that the materials I cannot yet read in the collection will answer some of them.

 

[1] This is also the same James Seligman whose son was Morton Tinslar Seligman, the Navy Commander whose career I described extensively here, here, and here.

Losing the DNA Wars

So many people use DNA to find their lost relatives.  I have read absolutely amazing stories of people finding parents, siblings, and cousins.  People write about breaking down brick walls and finding their great-great-great-grandparents on someone’s tree and suddenly learning about five more generations.  One man wrote an entire blog that mostly focuses on how he used DNA to find his grandfather.

But not me.  I don’t have any truly amazing stories to tell.  It is true that I was able to use DNA to corroborate the family stories that my great-grandfather Joseph Brotman and Moses Brotman of Brotmanville were brothers.  Not only did Elaine match my mother as a second cousin as expected, but another Brotmanville Brotman, Larry, also came up as a match at the expected level.  Plus I found Phyllis and Frieda through DNA.  As discussed earlier, we are hypothesizing that their ancestor Sabina Brot and my grandmother were first cousins through my great-grandmother Bessie’s family.

second revision family chart for blog

Now I am not at all suggesting that those connections are not important. I was very excited to make these connections and hope to learn more from them as time goes on.  But what I was ultimately hoping for was that I would find some new third or fourth cousin on the Brotman side who would have names and maybe even records of my Brotman ancestors—that I would learn where Joseph and Bessie were born, whether they had siblings, who their parents and grandparents were, and where and when they lived and died.  At a minimum I hoped I would learn where Joseph and Bessie lived with more certainty than I’ve been able to establish through US records alone.

But alas, it was not to be, and I am about to surrender in the DNA wars.  Let me tell you what I’ve done, what I’ve tried.  Maybe someone out there will have a better idea.  First, as I mentioned before, I found three amazing women to help me—-Leah, Julie, and Lana.  Leah and Julie are biologists, and Lana is an IT/math whiz.  They pored over my data and tried to find patterns in the matches.  We had DNA results from my mother, brother, second cousin Bruce, the Brotmanville cousins, and Frieda and Phyllis. I even tested myself to add to the mix.  We had all the tools on GEDmatch.  We used every tool available—triangulating, segment matching, one to ones, one to many, chromosome browsers.  (If these terms aren’t familiar to you, maybe you are lucky.)  I learned about DNA.  We contacted experts on Ashkenazi genetics and genealogy.  We banged our heads together, we argued, we laughed, and we became friends.

We made lists and spreadsheets.  I emailed more people than I can remember, setting out why I was writing to them, listing what my ancestral names and towns were, and asking for input.  Some people never even responded.  Most did, but once we got beyond the niceties, there was not one time when we could figure out why or how we might be related.  There was no pattern.  There were matches from Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary, Russia, and so on.  There were none from Romania.  There were none from Galicia.  There were some from far-away places in Poland, but not anywhere near Tarnobrzeg.

And there were no common surnames.  No Brotmans, Brots, Rosenzweigs, Gelbermans, Goldschlagers.

So great—I have hundreds of possible second to fourth cousins (I didn’t even bother looking at those predicted to be further out), but I can’t prove how I am connected to any of them.  Even Frieda is a guess, a hope.  At least with Frieda I know the family name was Brot and the location was near Tarnobrzeg.  But the others?  Not. A. Clue.

English: The structure of DNA showing with det...

English: The structure of DNA showing with detail showing the structure of the four bases, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine, and the location of the major and minor groove. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sure, maybe my ancestors moved from Lithuania or Ukraine or Germany.  Maybe they all adopted different surnames in 1810 or so.  So what good does that do me?  It’s like saying I must be related to Jon Stewart because after all, I am sure he had ancestors who also traipsed around Europe.  I am sure if he tested, we’d share some DNA.  So, yay!  I am Jon Stewart’s eighth cousin or something.  I can’t prove it.  And I can’t prove that any of those supposed cousins on FamilyTreeDNA or 23andme or GEDmatch are really my cousins.

The problem is endogamy.  Most Ashkenazi Jews share at least some DNA with almost all other Ashkenazi Jews.  We all come from the same roots, and our people have been marrying each other for generations upon generations.  My experts have concluded that as a result, a lot of the “matches” are really false matches in the sense that the amount of DNA shared is just not an accurate predictor of the relationship between the two people who match.  I had matches who shared close to or more than 100 cM, meaning we should be second to fourth cousins, but there is no way that we are.  Maybe 6th cousins or even further.  And we can’t trace back to our 6th or 7th great-grandparents in any way that will tell us since there were no surnames back then in most Jewish communities.

So…I am throwing in the towel at least for now.  The DNA stuff has eaten up endless hours of my time.  It’s been fun.  It’s been educational.  But it’s gotten me nowhere.  I will still chat with my new buddies, and I am still learning new things all the time.  The science is fascinating. I am still excited to find my brain challenged by new ways of thinking. (I haven’t taken a science class in 45 years.)  I’ve even gotten my friend and fellow blogger at Bernfeld Family from Galicia and More involved in our shenanigans. In fact, she has a great post today about her DNA adventures.

But I am raising the white flag on finding Brotman relatives.  I am not emailing any more long shot cousins.  I can’t find the Brotmans this way.  At least not for now.

Now…on the other hand…maybe I CAN find a connection to those Goldschlagers if one of them decided to do a DNA test.  Hmmmm….

Damn, the stuff is irresistible.

Yom Hashoah

In honor of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, I am posting the links to six of my blog posts in which I discussed the members of my own family who perished in the Holocaust. Six to represent the six million Jews who were slaughtered by the Nazis during World War II.

These are all members of the Seligmann/Schoenfeld family.  I did not even know about them a year ago. And I know that there must have been members of my other family lines who were also murdered during the war.  I just haven’t found them yet.  So in memory of all those who were killed, those we know about and all those we do not yet know about, please read these posts if you have not done so already.  Or even if you have.  We must never forget.

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six


English: A lit Yahrtzeit candle, a candle that...

English: A lit Yahrtzeit candle, a candle that is lit on the Hebrew anniversary of a loved one’s death. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Last Chapter of the Nusbaum Story: The Hano Brothers


I have finally reached the last twig on the last branch of the Nusbaum family tree.  This final chapter concerns Fanny Nusbaum, who married Jacob L. Hano.  Fanny was the daughter of Ernst Nusbaum and Clarissa Arnold, the granddaughter of Amson Nusbaum and Voegele Welsch, my four-times great-grandparents.

You might recall that my family tree is doubly connected to the Hano family tree.  First, I learned that Jacob Weil had married Flora Cohen, the daughter of Louise Lydia Hano and Samuel Cohen.  Jacob was the son of Rachel Cohen Weil, my great-grandfather’s sister.  (Samuel Cohen was not related to Rachel Cohen or any of my Cohens, however.)

Louise Lydia Hano was the sister of Jacob L. Hano, who married Fanny Nusbaum, first cousin of my great-great-grandmother Frances Nusbaum.  So one Hano married a Nusbaum, and another Hano married a Cohen.  Talk about an endogamous group!

Jacob Hano and Fanny Nusbaum had married on February 28, 1877, and had moved to Youngstown, Ohio, where their first two children, Louis and Ernest, were born.  They had returned to Philadelphia by 1884, when their third son Samuel was born.  Samuel died just fourteen days later on August 21, 1884, from inflammation of his kidneys. He died in Atlantic City, and was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia.

Samuel Hano death record

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6S5-2N5 : accessed 14 April 2015), Samuel Hano, 21 Aug 1884; citing , Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 2,069,818

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6S5-2N5 : accessed 14 April 2015), Samuel Hano, 21 Aug 1884; citing , Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 2,069,818

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6S5-2N5 : accessed 14 April 2015), Samuel Hano, 21 Aug 1884; citing , Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 2,069,818

 

A fourth son, Myer Arnold, was born in Boston in 1885, so the family must have relocated again after Samuel’s death.  And then by 1890 the family had moved to New York City, where they would have two more sons, Alfred (1890) and Clarence (1891).  Their second oldest son Ernest served in the US Army in the Spanish American War in 1898; according to his nephew Arnold, Ernest was gassed while serving in the war and as a result suffered heart damage that affected him for the remainder of his life.

Indexes to the Carded Records of Soldiers Who Served in Volunteer Organizations During the Spanish-American War, compiled 1899 - 1927, documenting the period 1898 - 1903

Indexes to the Carded Records of Soldiers Who Served in Volunteer Organizations During the Spanish-American War, compiled 1899 – 1927, documenting the period 1898 – 1903

 

Jacob Hano had been in the printing business on his own, but in 1892 he joined with his younger brother Philip in the printing business instead of competing with him, as discussed in the ad below.

The American Stationer, Volume 31 p. 93

The American Stationer, Volume 31 p. 93

I love the comment here that this reduction in competition would not result in rising prices, just better service.

As of 1900 the Hano family was living at 205 West 134th Street in Manhattan.  Louis, now 22, was working as a salesman, and the other four sons were at home.  Unfortunately, the family was to lose another son early in the 20th century.  On April 10, 1902, Myer Arnold Hano died at age seventeen from typhoid fever.  This was the second son that Jacob and Fanny lost far too early.

Hano, Meyer Death

In 1905, the family was still living at the same address on West 134th Street, and now Ernest (25) was also working as a salesman.  Alfred (15) and Clarence (13) were still in school.  Jacob was in the “manifold business,” as stated in the advertisement above.  From what I can gather, a manifold book is a type of form book used by businesses.

Source Citation New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 23 E.D. 13; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 44

Source Citation
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 23 E.D. 13; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 44

Louis, the oldest son, was not listed with the family on the 1905 census, nor can I find him elsewhere.  However, by 1910, he was back living in the household with his parents and brothers.  The family was now living at 344 St. Nicholas Avenue, and both Jacob and his son Louis were in the business of manufacturing “cravats.” Clarence was a salesman for the company, and Alfred was not employed.  Alfred must have been in school because by 1910, he was employed as a lawyer.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1022; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0560; FHL microfilm: 1375035

Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1022; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0560; FHL microfilm: 1375035

1910 occupations Jacob Hano

Ernest, the second oldest son, was not living with his family in 1910, but was living as a lodger in the household of Madeleine McGlone at 325 West 141st Street.  There were two other lodgers living there as well.  Ernest was a neckwear salesman, presumably those made by his father since his father and brothers were manufacturing and selling cravats.  Madeleine McGlone, his landlady, was listed as married for 14 years, but there was no husband in the household.  A little research revealed that Madeleine was born Madeleine Constance Barnard in Ontario, Canada, and had married George A. McGlone in 1896; however, in 1910, George McGlone was living in the Bronx and listing himself as a widower, so it would seem that the marriage between Madeleine and George had ended.  At any rate, I mention this because, as we will see, Madeleine would end up being much more than Ernest’s landlady, and perhaps already was by 1910.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0706; FHL microfilm: 1375040

Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1027; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0706; FHL microfilm: 1375040

In 1915, Jacob and Fanny still had three of their sons at home, Louis, Alfred, and Clarence, and the family had relocated to Queens. Jacob, Louis (37), and Clarence (23) listed their occupations as salesmen, and Alfred (25) was a lawyer.  Ernest, meanwhile, had moved to the Bronx, where he was still listed as a boarder living in Madeleine McGlone’s household along with her mother.  Ernest, now 36, listed his occupation as a collector (bills? Stamps? Coins?).

The next five years brought lots of changes, in particular, the year 1917.   On June 3, 1917, Clarence, the youngest of the brothers, became the first to marry.  He married Mathilda Kutes, the daughter of a Russian immigrant and an Austrian immigrant.  Mathilda was born in New York in April 1897, and although she was living with her parents in 1900 in New York, by 1910 when she was not yet 13 years old, she was living as a “relative” in a household of people named Hertz of Hungarian background.  I cannot seem to locate Mathilda’s parents or her siblings on the 1910 census.

Just four and a half months after Clarence married, Alfred Hano married Clara Millhauser on October 25, 1917.  Clara was the daughter of Isaac Millhauser, a police officer, and Bertha Silverberg, and was a native New Yorker.  According to the 1915 New York census, Clara had been working as a typist before she married Alfred.

Unfortunately, 1917 ended on an unhappy note.  Fanny Nusbaum Hano, my first cousin four times removed, died on December 25, 1917, from cancer.  She was 61 years old.  She was the second of the Nusbaum children to predecease her mother Clarissa.

Hano, Fannie Death

The World War I draft registrations for the Hano sons give more information about where they were in 1917-1918.  Louis, now 40 years old, was living with his father Jacob in Manhattan.  He was a salesman for Anathan & Co.  Ernest, now 38, was living in Brooklyn, and was self-employed as a kennel owner.  Both Louis and Ernest were single. Alfred was a lawyer, living in Manhattan with his wife Clara.  He claimed an exemption from service based on “dependents—physical disability.”  He also indicated that he had previously served as a private in the infantry for a month.  It appears that instead Alfred served in the NY Guard.  Finally, Clarence was living in Manhattan with Matilda and was employed as a salesman for Berg Brothers.

Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786680; Draft Board: 145

Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786680; Draft Board: 145

Registration State: New York; Roll: 1754135; Draft Board: 23

Registration State: New York; Roll: 1754135; Draft Board: 23

Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786806; Draft Board: 147

Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786806; Draft Board: 147

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; Collection: New York, New York Guard Service Cards and Enlistment Records, 1906-1918, 1940-1948; Series: B2000; Film Number: 10

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; Collection: New York, New York Guard Service Cards and Enlistment Records, 1906-1918, 1940-1948; Series: B2000; Film Number: 10

Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786806; Draft Board: 147

Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786806; Draft Board: 147

 

Both Alfred and Clarence had sons born in 1918, named Alfred and Richard, respectively.

Alfred Hano birth announcement-page-001

In 1920, Jacob, now a widower and working again as a printer, was living with Clarence, Matilda, and their son Richard in Hempstead, Long Island.  Clarence was a dry goods buyer.  Louis was living alone at 168 West 74th Street and working as a ladies’ neckwear salesman.  Alfred and his wife and son were living on Edgecomb Avenue in Manhattan, and Alfred was working as a lawyer.  Ernest was continuing to live with Madeleine McGlone.  Ernest was listed as Madeleine’s “cousin” on the census.  Hmmm…  Madeleine and Ernest both described their occupations as dog breeders.  From my cousin Arnold, I now know that they were very successful breeders of Boston terriers.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 8, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1143; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 462; Image: 438

Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 8, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1143; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 462; Image: 438

In the next two years, both Alfred and Clarence again had sons, named Arnold and Edwin, respectively.  That made four grandsons after six sons for Jacob and Fanny Hano.

Although I have no records to verify this, one tree on Ancestry reports that Jacob Hano died on September 5, 1922.  I am still searching for an official record.

In 1925, Louis was living alone on West 73rd Street, working as a salesman.  Ernest was living on Pelham Parkway in the Bronx with Madeleine McGlone, now listed as her “partner” in the dog breeding business.  Alfred was also living in the Bronx on Montgomery Avenue with his wife and two sons, and he was still practicing law.  Clarence was living in Inwood on Long Island with his wife and two sons, and he was still a salesman.

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 32; Assembly District: 06; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 14

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 32; Assembly District: 06; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 14

Ernest finally married his former “landlady/cousin/partner” on December 28, 1927.  He was 47, and she was 51, and they had been living with each other since at least 1910.  Things did not change much for the other brothers between 1925 and 1930.  According to the 1930 census, Louis was still living alone in Manhattan, now on West 86th Street, and selling sportswear.  Alfred was still living in the Bronx, but had changed occupations; he was now in the printing business as his father Jacob had once been. According to his son Arnold, Alfred joined his uncle Philip Hano’s printing business after he closed his law practice.  Clarence was still living on Long Island, now a sales manager for a millinery business.

Sometime between 1930 and 1940, Louis Hano married a woman named Blanche, who had a son named Lewis.  Blanche is listed as his wife on the 1940 census, and Lewis, 22 years old, is listed as his son.  Since Louis was single in 1920 and 1930, I was fairly certain that Lewis was not his biological child.  After much research, I concluded that Blanche had previously been married to Maurice Tobias and that Lewis was his biological child.  After Blanche married Louis, Lewis Bertram Tobias became Lewis Bertram Hano.  Whether or not he was legally adopted I cannot determine.  I am in touch with a descendant of Lewis, and we are trying to learn more.  At any rate, Louis F. Hano (note the different spelling of Louis and Lewis) became a husband and father for the first time some time in his fifties.  Louis was a salesman for a knit goods business, and Lewis was engaged in purchasing for a specialty shop.  They were living in Queens.

Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: T627_2729; Page: 62B; Enumeration District: 41-449

Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: T627_2729; Page: 62B; Enumeration District: 41-449

While Louis had moved out of Manhattan by 1940, two of his brothers had moved back to Manhattan. Alfred Hano was living at 41 West 83rd Street with his wife and sons in 1940, and he was working as a salesman for an industrial company, according to the census.  His son Alfred, now 21, was working as a salesman for a tonsorial equipment company, i.e., barbershop supplies.

Occupations of Alfred Hano and his son Alfred on the 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: T627_2642; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 31-801

Occupations of Alfred Hano and his son Alfred on the 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: T627_2642; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 31-801

Clarence Hano also moved back to Manhattan by 1940.  He and his family were living at 465 West 65th Street.  Clarence was still selling millinery; his wife Mathilda was working as a manager for a publishing company.  Their sons Richard and Edwin were both working as stock clerks, one for a thread company and the other for a button company.

I cannot locate Ernest and his wife Madeleine on the 1940 census, but he and Madeleine are listed in the 1938 directory for Claremont, New Hampshire, described as “retired” and living at “Blink Cottage” on Lake Avenue.  There is an identical listing in the 1942 Claremont directory, so I assume that that is where they were in 1940 as well.  On the other hand, Ernest’s 1942 draft registration lists his residence as 1422 Pelham Parkway in the Bronx, so perhaps they had both a city home and a country home during this period.  The draft registration confirmed that he was retired and married to Madeleine Hano.

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: New York

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: New York

Louis’ World War II draft registration showed him living with Blanche in Elmhurst, Queens, and employed by the Elgin Knit Sportswear Company.  He was now 64 years old.  His adopted son Lewis Bertram Hano married Marion Fitz on September 20, 1942, and Lewis served in the US Navy for much of World War II.

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: New York

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: New York

According to his World War II draft registration, Clarence Hano was living at 25 West 68th Street and employed by the American Straw Goods Company. He was 50 years old.  His son Richard enlisted in the US Army on May 14, 1941, before the US had entered World War II.  Edwin Hano also served in the US Army during the war.

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: New York

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: New York

Alfred Hano was living at 41 West 83rd Street at the time of his draft registration in 1942.  He was employed by the United Autographic Register Company at that time.  He was 52 years old.  Both of his sons also served in World War II.  His younger son Arnold enlisted in the US Army on October 16, 1942, and served in the Pacific Theater during the war.

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: New York

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; State Headquarters: New York

Alfred’s older son, Alfred, had enlisted six months before his younger brother on April 10, 1942.  He served in the Army Air Corps in Europe.  Tragically, Alfred was killed when his plane was shot down over Germany in March, 1944.  He was only 26 years old.

Publication Title: Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947 Publisher: NARA National Archives Catalog ID: 305256 National Archives Catalog Title: Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), compiled 1942 - 1947

Publication Title: Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947
Publisher: NARA
National Archives Catalog ID: 305256
National Archives Catalog Title: Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), compiled 1942 – 1947

 

The 1940s must have been very painful, heart-breaking years for the extended Hano family.  Not only did they lose Alfred in the war and see four other young men put their lives on the line, they also lost two of the Hano brothers within just months of each other.  On August 8, 1847, Ernest Nusbaum Hano died in Sunapee, New Hampshire; he was 67 years old.   His wife Madeleine survived him by sixteen years, dying March 6, 1963, in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she had relocated after Ernest’s death.  Then on November 30, 1947, Louis F. Hano died in Queens; he was seventy years old.  His wife Blanche lived until April 2, 1965.

As for the other two brothers, Clarence died in April, 1960.  He was 69 years old.  His wife Mathilda died in 1976 when she was 79 years old.  Both of their sons died before they were sixty years old, Edwin in 1970 and Richard in 1977.

Alfred Hano was the last surviving Hano brother.  His wife Clara had died in 1953, and Alfred lived until May, 1967.  He was 76 when he died.  He was survived by his son Arnold, who is a very well-known and well-regarded sportswriter.  His book about one game of the 1954 World Series, A Day in the Bleachers, is considered a baseball classic and innovative in the way he described in detail the play by play of the entire game. It was in that game that Willie Mays made his historic catch, captured in this video:

He has also written a number of biographies as well as a number of novels.  I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Arnold, who is now 93 years old.  It was an absolutely delightful conversation in which we discussed everything from the Bronx, baseball, war, children, careers, and family.  I have already added his books to my reading list for the summer.  There is a documentary currently being made about my cousin Arnold, and although Arnold himself questions why anyone would be interested in his life, I know that I will be very excited to see this film when it is completed.

A Day in the Bleachers cover

 

 

 

And so that brings me to the end of the story of not only the Hano family, and not only to the end of story of the descendants of Ernst Nusbaum, but to the end of the story of all the children and grandchildren of Amson Nusbaum and Voegele Welsch,[1] my four-times great-grandparents from Schopfloch, Germany.

 

 

 

[1] Voegele was most likely the person for whom all those girls named Fanny, Flora, Florence, and Frances were named for in the Nusbaum/Dreyfuss/Dinkelspiel family.  I still need to find out more about the Welsch line of my family.

The Lost Oppenheimers

My Seligman-Schoenfeld family tree continues to grow, and it continues to break my heart.  Thanks to my cousin Wolfgang, I now know more about another line in the family.  I already knew that my great-great-grandfather Bernard Seligman, who left Germany in the late 1850s and settled in Santa Fe, had a younger sister Paulina.  She was born in Gau-Algesheim in 1847, the daughter of Babetta Schoenfeld and Moritz Seligman.  I had received her birth records several months ago:

paulina seligmann birth record better

I had no record for Paulina aside from this one until I connected with Wolfgang.  It seems that Wolfgang’s family, like my cousin Pete’s family, had been contacted back in the 1980s by the National Westminster Bank in England, the bank handling the estate of James Seligman and looking for his heirs in order to distribute his estate after his wife died.  Just as they had provided Pete’s family with a family tree showing how they were related to James, the bank also provided Wolfgang’s family with a similar tree.  (I still don’t know why my father and his sister were not contacted, but that’s water under the bridge.)  James was, of course, a brother of Paulina and of Wolfgang’s great-grandfather August  just as he was a brother of Bernard.

You can see a PDF of Paulina’s section of the family tree provided to Wolfgang’s family by clicking here:

Pauline Seligmann Oppenheimer family tree

As you can see, it identifies the husband and descendants of Paulina Seligmann (here called Pauline).[1]  Paulina had married Maier Oppenheimer, and they had had five children:  Joseph (November 22, 1874), Martha (March 1, 1876), Anna (March 14, 1877), Ella (June 24, 1878), and Moritz James (June 10, 1879).  Her husband Maier died on June 8, 1900; he was 51 years old.  Although it is hard to read clearly, it looks like their daughter Anna died when she was only 31 years old in 1908.  She had married Max Kaufman, but did not have any children.  Paulina died April 10, 1926 when she was 79 years old.

Fortunately, Paulina did not live to see what happened to her children.  Although the other four children survived into the Nazi era, only one of the four was alive after the war had ended.  Ella, who never married, died in an “unknown concentration camp,” according to the bank’s tree.  Joseph died on October 21, 1940; one record on Ancestry.com shows that a Joseph Oppenheimer with the same birth and death dates shown on the bank’s family tree died as a prisoner at the Dachau concentration camp.  Joseph was married to Marie Johanna, but they had not had any children, according to the bank’s tree.  Martha, who did survive the war and died in 1967 when she was 91 years old according to the tree, lost two children in the Holocaust: Trude and Paul.  The bank’s tree did not include a name of a husband.

English: View of prisoners' barracks soon afte...

English: View of prisoners’ barracks soon after the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp Deutsch: Blick auf die Gefangenen Baracken kurz nach der Befreifung des KZs-Dachau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wolfgang was able to provide me with a little more information about the youngest child, Moritz James Oppenheimer, as gleaned from these two sources: a 1952 article from Der Spiegel and a website for a German company that supplies horse dressage and other equipment.   (Although both articles are in German, Wolfgang translated them for me.)  Moritz had owned a paper factory in Frankfort before the war as well as a successful horse stud farm where thoroughbred horses were raised and sold. I found this website about the stud farm as it exists today.  Obviously, Moritz Oppenheimer was quite well-to-do. In fact, Wolfgang’s grandfather Julius had written to his cousin Moritz for financial help after he lost his store in Gau-Algesheim.

The horse farm once owned by MJ Oppenheimer as it looks today

The horse farm once owned by MJ Oppenheimer as it looks today

After the Nazis came to power, Moritz had his marriage dissolved in 1936 because his wife, Emma Katherine Neuhoff, was not Jewish.  Wolfgang explained that this was often done under Nazi rule to those in interfaith marriages.  Then Moritz had his factory seized by the Nazis under the Nuremberg Laws, forcing him into bankruptcy.  As a result, he had to sell his horse farm in order to raise money.  The horse farm was sold to Baron Dr. Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza, who was able to purchase the land, many valuable stallions and mares, and much more for just a few hundred thousand Deutsche marks.[2]  On May 9, 1941, the Gestapo visited Moritz in his apartment in Wiesbaden; shortly thereafter he was found dead in the apartment.  It was ruled a suicide.

Moritz had two children who survived him: a son Jur Georg Emil Walter Oppenheimer (born July 10, 1904) and Paula Herta Oppenheimer (April 11, 1902). The son married Elsa Lina, and they had one child, Angelika Emma Sybille, born in 1946.  Paula married someone named Spiegler and was still alive at the time that the bank prepared the family tree in the 1980s.

A stolpersteine was placed in front of Moritz’s residence in Frankfort at Schumannstrasse 15, depicted below.

By Karsten Ratzke (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Karsten Ratzke (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Moritz, Ella, Joseph, Anna, and Martha: These were my great-grandmother Eva Seligman Cohen’s first cousins.  I wonder if she knew of them and her other German cousins.   Did her sons know of them? Did they know that Hitler had murdered many of these cousins?  Certainly my father didn’t know of them, nor did I.  Until now.

 

 

 

[1] I have not yet been able to find records to verify most of the facts on this family tree, but am trying to locate sources.

 

[2] According to one source, a US dollar in 1940 was worth about 2.5 deutsche marks, so 200,000 DM would have been equivalent to $80,000.  That would be worth about $1.3 million dollars today.    http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/projects/currency.htm#infcalc     http://www.westegg.com/inflation/   One prize thoroughbred horse today can command much more than that.

 

My Goldschlager Cousins: New Connections and New Photos

Lately it’s been sort of raining Goldschlagers.  First, I received an email from someone named Jeanne who matched me very distantly on the DNA testing website, but who’d spotted that one of my ancestral names was Goldschlager.  Jeanne had had an aunt named Anne Goldschlager; although her aunt was an aunt by marriage only, not genetically, Jeanne had loved her greatly and wondered whether we might be related since Anne Goldschlager’s family also had ties to Romania.

According to Jeanne, Anne’s father Max had moved to Dresden in the early 20th century where Anne and her sister Sabina were born.  In 1939, Max, his wife, and Sabina left Germany to go to Romania (I assume they thought it would be safer), and they left Anne behind.  She was 15 years old.  Somehow Anne got to England and survived the war, but her sister was killed in one of the concentration camps. Her parents survived the war and emigrated to Israel. Here is Sabina’s Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, which includes this photograph:

Unfortunately, Anne has no biological descendants, and Jeanne knew nothing more about her family tree, so I don’t think I can get any further back to determine if her Goldschlagers were related to mine.

Then around the same time that I heard from Jeanne, my cousin Jim and his wife Jodi emailed me to say that their son Michael was in Spain for the Model UN and had met a fellow student named Eva Goldschlager.  Michael wanted to know if Eva could be related to our Goldschlagers.  After obtaining Eva’s father’s contact information, he and I have emailed several times.  His Goldschlager family is also from Romania—from the town of Siret, which is a little more than 100 miles from Iasi where my grandfather was born.  We’ve not gotten any further than that so far, but are trying to figure out how to learn more.

And then finally just the other day I received a whole bunch of new photographs from my cousin Richard, who lives in Australia but was in the US visiting his parents.  Richard is my second cousin; his father Murray is the son of David Goldschlager, my grandfather’s younger brother.  Although Murray changed his surname a long time ago, he is nevertheless a Goldschlager.  Here are some of the photographs Richard sent me of his grandparents.

Here are three photographs of David and Becky as young people.

David Goldschlager

David Goldschlager

 

Rebecca Schwartz

Rebecca Schwartz

Rebecca and David Goldschlager

Rebecca and David Goldschlager

Here they are with their sons Murray and Sidney  at Brighton Beach probably in the 1930s:

David and Murray Goldschlager

David and Murray Goldschlager

David Rebecca Sidney and Murray at Brighton Beach

All four Goldschlagers at Brighton Beach

 

The others were taken when David and Becky had moved to Arizona where Murray and his wife Edna and their son Richard lived.

Richard Leonard and David Goldschlager

Richard and his grandfather David Goldschlager

Richard with his grandparents at his bar mitzvah

At Richard’s bar mitzvah

David and Becky at Richard's bar mitzvah David and Rebecca Goldschlager

 

Thank you so much to my cousin Richard who so generously shared these photographs with me.  I am so happy to have more pictures of my grandfather’s brother David and his family.

 

Our Ancestral Towns Seen Through My Cousin’s Eyes

My newly-discovered cousin Wolfgang Seligmann lives close to our shared ancestral towns of Gau-Algesheim and Erbes-Budesheim.  Erbes-Budesheim is where Babetta Schoenfeld was born and raised; Babetta is my 3-x great-grandmother and Wolfgang’s great-great-grandmother.  Babetta married Moritz Seligmann, and together they settled in Gau-Algesheim where they had a number of children, including Bernard Seligmann, my great-great-grandfather, and August Seligmann, Wolfgang’s great-grandfather.

Here is a recent photo of Wolfgang with his wife Barbela and daughter Milena—my beautiful German cousins.

Barbela, Milena and Wolfgang Seligmann

Wolfgang went to both Gau-Algesheim and Erbes-Budesheim recently to take some photographs of the towns and to look for the houses where our ancestors lived.  In Erbes-Budesheim, he looked for the houses at 77 and 80 Hauptstrasse where the Schoenfelds lived almost 200 years ago, but unfortunately those houses must have been torn down, and now a new street and a factory stand where those houses must have stood.  But Wolfgang took some photographs of other houses, including one at 50 Hauptstrasse, to capture what the Schoenfeld house might have looked like and also to depict the type of homes they saw on their street.

hauptraße Nr 50 Nr 50a

 

Wolfgang also visited the Jewish cemetery in Erbes-Budesheim.  He reported that there were only a few headstones left and none for the Schoenfelds.  Here are some photographs he took of the cemetery.  It looks like such a peaceful and scenic spot.

Friedhof 1 Friedhof 2 Friedhof 3

Although Wolfgang did not locate any Schoenfeld headstones there, this older video taken in 2010 does show some headstones with the Schoenfeld name, so I wonder whether these have been destroyed since that video was taken.

Wolfgang also visited Gau-Algesheim and took some photographs there.  First is a photo of Flosserstrasse, one of the main streets in Gau-Algesheim.  Our ancestors Moritz and Babetta and their children lived on Flossergasse, which no longer seems to exist, but must have either been a prior name or a smaller street off of the main street.

Flosserstrasse

Flosserstrasse

The other main street in Gau-Algesheim is Langgasse.  The store owned by Wolfgang’s great-grandfather August and his grandfather Julius was on this street, and the house where Julius and his wife Magdalena lived until relocating to Bingen was also located on Langgasse. Because the original building is no longer there, Wolfgang also sent me this newspaper clipping which depicts on the left what Langgasse looked like in 1900 and when Julius lived and worked there.

Langgasse in 1900

Langgasse in 1900

Langgasse

Langgasse today

This is the town center where Langgasse and Flosserstrasse meet.

Gau Algesheim

 

Finally, Wolfgang also visited the Jewish cemetery in Gau-Algesheim.

Jewish cemetery in Gau-Algesheim

Jewish cemetery in Gau-Algesheim

There was only one headstone with the Seligmann name on it, and it was for Rosa Bergmann Seligmann, the wife of August Seligmann and Wolfgang’s great-grandmother.  He must have been quite disturbed by what he saw there.  Here are two photographs of Rosa’s headstone taken in the 1950s and posted on the alemannia-judaica website:

 

This is what the headstone looks like today as captured by Wolfgang, Rosa’s great-grandson:

Rosa headstone another of Rosa Seligmann's headstone closeup of Rosa Seligmann headstone Rosa Seligmann headstone

According to Wolfgang, the cemetery was vandalized in 1998 by “some idiots,” as Wolfgang described them.  He commented that even today there is some anti-Semitism in Germany.  Although Wolfgang noted that there are not many who feel this way, it only takes a few to do damage like this.

I am so very grateful to my cousin Wolfgang for taking these photographs.  There is something very touching and special about seeing these towns through the eyes of my cousin, a fellow descendant of Moritz Seligmann and Babetta Schoenfeld.  I know he looks at these places with the same sense of connection that I would feel if I were standing in those places, and I look forward to standing there with him in the hopefully not too far off future.

All photographs on this post except the two from alemannia-judaica are courtesy of Wolfgang Seligmann.

 

 

 

Marriages and Disappearances

In 1900 Edgar Nusbaum, the fourth child of Ernst Nusbaum and Clarissa Arnold, was living with his wife Viola Barritt, their daughter Celina[1], Viola’s sister, and a boarder at 1520 North 12th Street in Philadelphia.  Edgar was working as a clerk, and Celina was a dressmaker.  Celina was nineteen years old.

On November 30, 1904, Celina married Hamilton Hall Treager Glessner in New York City.  He was the son of Oliver Glessner and Anna Leidigh of Philadelphia.  His father was a printer.  In 1900, Hamilton was nineteen and still in school.  On the 1910 census, Hamilton’s occupation was reported to be an electrical engineer. On March 10, 1906, Celina and Hamilton had a daughter, Marian La Rue Glessner.

Unfortunately, the marriage did not last.  By 1910, Celina and her daughter Marian were living with Celina’s parents, Edgar and Viola, at 707 Electric Avenue.  Edgar was working as a clerk for the “steam” railroad, and Celina was working as a dress designer.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Abington, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1377; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1375390

Year: 1910; Census Place: Abington, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1377; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1375390

Although Celina gave her marital status as married, Hamilton (“Hall”) was now living with his parents in Denver, Colorado, and listed his marital status as single.

Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Denver Ward 10, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_116; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0123; FHL microfilm: 1374129

Source Citation
Year: 1910; Census Place: Denver Ward 10, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_116; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0123; FHL microfilm: 1374129

 

By 1915, Celina had married again, this time to Inglis Edward Daniel Cameron.  In 1900, Inglis had been living in Philadelphia with his mother Mary and his two older siblings; Inglis was sixteen years old.  He is listed as a student in the 1908 Philadelphia directory. In 1909, he received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1910, Inglis was working as a lawyer and living with his mother, sister, and niece.  I don’t have a marriage record for Celina and Inglis, but their son Edward James Cameron was born on June 29, 1915.

Eighteen months later, on December 19, 1916, Celina’s mother and Edgar’s wife Viola Barritt Nusbaum died at age 55 from chronic myocarditis.  She was buried at West Laurel Hill cemetery.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Two years later at age 60, Edgar remarried.  His second wife was Caroline Saeltzer.  She had been married before and was divorced.  She was 52 years old when she married Edgar on October 24, 1918. In 1920, Edgar, Caroline, and Caroline’s mother Josephine were living at 3847 North 16th Street, and Edgar was now the head clerk for the railroad’s auditing department.

In 1920, Celina and Inglis were living with her daughter Marian, their son Edward James (listed as James), a niece named Ella (presumably Inglis’ niece since Celina was an only child), and a nurse at 7433 Devon Street in Philadephia.  Inglis was practicing law.  As listed in the 1921 Philadelphia directory, he was working for the Cameo Dress Company.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1624; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 617; Image: 269

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1624; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 617; Image: 269

In 1925 I found Inglis E.D. Cameron listed in the New York City directory with an office address at 100 East 42nd Street, but with an indication that his residence was still in Philadelphia.

After that, things get really, really fuzzy for Celina, Inglis, and their children.  I have not been able to find Inglis on any record after that 1925 directory—not on a census or in a directory or in a death record or obituary.  Nothing.  For such an unusual name, you would think something would appear.  Nothing.  I will keep digging, but at the moment I don’t know what happened to Inglis.

Edgar Nusbaum died on May 14, 1924, from arteriosclerosis and bronchitis.  He was 65 years old and was buried at Hillside Cemetery.  His second wife, Carolyn, died at age 93 on November 10, 1959.  She is buried with Edgar at Hillside Cemetery.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

As for Celina, well, she seems to have married a third time after her marriage to Inglis Cameron ended either with his death or by divorce.  I was quite surprised when I found this death certificate:

Ancestry.com. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

Ancestry.com. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

This is obviously the right person—her parents are Edgar Nusbaum and Viola Barritt.  She obviously had changed her name to Sally.  And who was Carnes?  And how did she end up in Houston, Texas?  The informant was Marian L. Pattison, which gave me a clue about Celina’s daughter Marian La Rue Glessner.

I was able to find a Sally Carnes married to a Donald Carnes in the 1948 Houston, Texas, city directory.  I also found a Texas death certificate for a Donald Carnes dated November 6, 1948.  He was killed in a car accident in Houston.  There is no mention of a wife’s name, although he was married.  And the informant was his son E.J. Carnes of Pasadens, Texas.  Donald Carnes had been a partner in Carnes Construction Company.

Ancestry.com. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

Ancestry.com. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

Could E.J. Carnes, his son, be the same person as Edward James Cameron, the son of Celina Nusbaum and Inglis Cameron?  Had Inglis died and had Donald Carnes adopted Edward James? In the 1942 Houston directory there is a listing for an Edward J Carnes, married to Margaret, working as a manager of the Carnes Service Station.  Right above him in the directory is a Donald S. Carnes, a shipyard worker, but with a wife named Kath.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

The 1951 Houston directory lists an Edward J. Carnes, husband of Margaret, as affiliated with Carnes Construction Company and Carnes Neon Service.  There is no listing for a Celina or Selena or Sally Carnes or for Donald Carnes. I think it’s pretty clear that Edward J. Carnes was the relative of Donald Carnes, given the death certificate and the similar business line.  But was this Donald Carnes the husband of Celina/Sally Carnes who died in 1966? And was this Edward J. Carnes born Edward James Cameron, son of Celina and Inglis?  I don’t know for sure.  What do you think?  I am still searching for more clues.

Since I knew from Celina’s death certificate that her daughter Marian had taken the married name Pattison, it was not that difficult to find her marriage record.  According to that record, Marian Glessner married Carl T. Pattison in 1927 in Philadelphia. In 1930 they were living at 350 East Mt. Airy Avenue in Philadelphia.  Carl was a civil engineer.  His father was an English-born machinist in Philadelphia, and his mother was born in Germany.  Carl, who is sometimes listed as Thomas C., sometimes as Thomas K., sometimes as Karl, and sometimes as Carl T. Pattison, was their youngest child.  Strangely enough, Carl’s mother was also named Selina.

Carl and Marian had two children born in the 1930s who I am trying to locate so that I can learn more.  By 1940, Carl, Marian, and the children were living at 229 Sedgewick Avenue in Philadelphia, and Carl was now trading bonds.  In the 1950 Philadelphia phone directory, he is listed as T. Carl Pattison at the same address on Sedgewick Avenue. I have no certain records for any of them after that.  I have some possibilities, but nothing about which I have enough certainty to feel confident.  I have found nothing for either of their children.

Thus, the daughter and grandchildren of Edgar Nusbaum and Viola Barritt have proven to be quite elusive.  Of all the descendants of Ernst and Clarissa Nusbaum, these have proven to the most difficult to find.

That leaves me with one more child of Ernst and Clarissa Nusbaum to write about—their daughter Fanny.

 

 

[1] Sometimes spelled Selena, sometimes Lena, later Sally.