The Mystery of Fanny Wiler: Final Chapter (I think)

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that one of my most challenging mysteries involves my cousin Fanny Wiler, the daughter of Caroline Dreyfuss and Moses Wiler and first cousin of my great-great-grandmother Frances Nusbaum.  Caroline was my three-times great-grandaunt, the sister of Jeanette Dreyfuss, my three-times great-grandmother.  Her daughter Fanny had simply vanished after the 1860 census, and I was determined to find her.  As I wrote here and here and here, it was a long and twisting path involving a different Fanny who married a man who killed himself and a daughter in a fire, a mishandled estate of Fanny’s mother Caroline and ensuing litigation, and finally the discovery of Fanny and her three sons with her husband Joseph Levy.

I know now that Fanny had married Joseph in 1866 and had had three sons with him.  I know that Joseph had remarried sometime before 1879 because he had a daughter Miriam with his second wife Bella Strouse.  And there was a NYC birth record for a Bertha Levi, daughter of Joseph Levi and Fanny Wieler, dated November 30, 1866, but I had not been able to trace her to my Fanny.

I assumed that Fanny had died, but when and where? I had no death record for her, no burial record, no obituary.  Once again she had disappeared. All I could find was an entry on FindAGrave for a Fannie Levy with the dates 1846-1877, buried at Troy Hill  Jewish cemetery in Pittsburgh.  There was no photo or any other information on the FindAGrave page, but something told me that this could be my Fanny.  The dates and the name seemed right, and Miriam Levy, the child of Joseph and Bella, was born in Pittsburgh in November, 1879.  Thus, at some point Joseph had lived in Pittsburgh, so it was not out of the question to think that Fanny had also lived and then died there.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Albanese

Troy Hill Jewish Cemetery Photo courtesy of Lisa Albanese

But how could I prove that the Fanny buried at Troy Hill was my Fanny?  There was no statewide requirement for the filing of death certificates before 1906 in Pennsylvania, and unlike Philadelphia, there is no readily accessible database for all deaths in Pittsburgh.  I searched directories for a Joseph Levy in Pittsburgh, and although there were one or two, there was no way to tell from the directory whether those were the correct men.

I decided first to look where Fanny’s sons and her husband were buried, and almost all were buried at Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia.  The remains of those buried at Rodeph Shalom had been moved to Roosevelt Cemetery after Rodeph Shalom closed, and I emailed that cemetery, but they had no remains for a Fanny Levy. I also emailed the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University in Philadelphia, where the archives of Rodeph Shalom synagogue are now kept, to ask if they had any records for Fanny Wiler Levy, and an archivist there did a search but did not find anything. I also concluded after much searching that Fanny was not buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia, where her parents and many of her relatives were buried.  At that point I began to think that Fanny was not buried in Philadelphia at all if she was neither where her children nor where her parents were buried.

Rodeph Shalom Synagogue on the NRHP since Augu...

Rodeph Shalom Synagogue on the NRHP since August 7, 2007. At 607–615 North Broad St., in the Poplar neighborhood of Philadelphia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh thus became a realistic alternative location for her burial.  I searched online for sources about Jewish records in Pittsburgh and found a link to Martha Berg, who is the archivist for Rodeph Shalom synagogue in Pittsburgh (I do not believe there is an affiliation between the two synagogues). Martha did an exhaustive search for me of records, newspapers, and cemeteries, and did not turn up any identifying information that would help me establish whether the Fannie Levy buried at Troy Hill was my Fanny Wiler Levy.  She did, however, find the precise burial date for the Fannie Levy buried at Troy Hill—April 17, 1877.  That proved to be very helpful.

By Nyttend (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Nyttend (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Rodeph Shalom Synagogue in Pittsburgh

From there, I got advice from the Pennsylvania genealogy group on Facebook, suggesting I contact the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh where they have death records for Pittsburgh dating back to 1875. I called the Carnegie Library and requested a search for a death record for Fanny Levy who died around April 17, 1877.  I then sat and waited to see if they could uncover something.

Finally, a package arrived in the mail the other day, and this was inside:

Fanny Wiler Levy death cert

This has to be my elusive cousin Fanny.  She was born in Harrisburg in 1846, so would have been 31 in 1877.  Her prior residence had been in Philadelphia.  She was married. I am quite certain I have finally found Fanny.

So now I know that Fanny Wiler Levy died on April 16, 1877, in Pittsburgh, from phythisis pulmonalis, or the wasting form of tuberculosis.  I also know now that she had only lived in Pittsburgh for a year at the time of her death, which explains why all three of her sons were born in Philadelphia. Fanny was 31 years old and left at least three very young children behind and her husband.  She was one more member of my family killed by tuberculosis.  It is very sad that she lies buried so far from all of her family, all of whom are buried in Philadelphia.

Finally, I have some closure on Fanny Wiler. The remaining questions?  Was Bertha Levi, the child born to a Joseph Levi and a Fanny Wieler in 1866 in NYC, my Fanny’s daughter? And what happened to her?  Why can’t I find Joseph and his family on either the 1870 or the 1880 census?

There are always more questions.

 

Was It An Accidental Poisoning?

Myer Nusbaum, my first cousin, four times removed, committed suicide after suffering from influenza from an extended period of time, a not all that rare a consequence of severe cases of the flu, as I’ve learned.  He died in the arms of his fifteen year old son, Jacob Aub Nusbaum.  His wife Rosalie Aub and daughter Corinne also came to identify his body.  What impact could such an experience have on these survivors?

Of course, I cannot know for sure what they felt or how this affected them. I can only report the facts as recorded in documents and let them stand for themselves.  His daughter Corinne became a successful student.  She attended the Philadelphia Normal School, described by the Philadelphia Times as “Philadelphia’s great training school for teachers,” and graduated in 1897 when she was nineteen years old. (The Philadelphia Times, June 30, 1897, p. 4)  She was certified to teach kindergarten.  (The Philadelphia Times, July 1, 1897, p. 5)  On Class Day in June, 1897, she was one of the authors of the class skit entitled “The Utopian Normal School.”  The paper even included a portrait of her as one of the “active participants” in the Class Day exercises.

Corinne Nusbaum

The Philadelphia Times, June 30, 1897, p. 4

 

In 1900, six years after Myer’s death, Rosalie and the two children, now 22 and 21, were living together on Cedar Avenue in Philadelphia with a boarder and a servant, and Jacob (now called Jack) was working as a salesman. Despite her training to become a teacher, Corinne did not have any occupation listed on the 1900 census.

Within a year or so of the census, Corinne married Albert E. Wood.  Albert was born in Boston, the son of Samuel Wood and Emma Shaw, both born in England. Samuel was a salesman, according to the 1880 US census.  Albert was the youngest child, and by 1880, the family had relocated to Camden, New Jersey.  In 1900 Albert was living in Philadelphia with his older brother James and James’ wife Laura.  Albert Wood and Corinne Nusbaum must have married soon thereafter as on December 9, 1901, their son Albert E. Wood, Jr., was born in Philadelphia.  (I cannot locate a marriage record for Corinne and Albert in Philadelphia, so perhaps they were married in New Jersey.)

Albert continued to work as a salesman, and according to the 1901 Philadelphia directory, they were living at 5020 Hazel Avenue.  The 1901 directory also has Corinne’s brother Jacob listed at that address, working as a salesman, so I assume that Corinne’s mother may also have been living with Corinne and Albert and Jacob.

According to the 1910 census, Albert and Corinne and their son were still living at 5020 Hazel Avenue along with Corinne’s mother Rosalie (listed as Rose A. Nusbaum on the census report) and a domestic servant.  Albert’s occupation was reported as a traveling salesman of dyes.  Jacob is not included on that census record.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 46, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1413; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1185; FHL microfilm: 1375426

Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 46, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1413; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1185; FHL microfilm: 1375426

I cannot seem to locate Jacob Nusbaum on the 1910 census at all, whether I search for him as Jacob, Jack, or John, a name he seemed to adopt as an adult.  I found one Jacob Nusbaum living in Bradford, Pennsylvania, but he was an oil producer with a wife, and given what I know about Jacob after 1910, that does not seem likely to be the right Jacob Nusbaum.

By 1917, however, Jacob, now using John, was living in Pittsburgh, according to his World War I draft registration.  How can I be certain that this is the right person?  The next of kin listed on his registration is “Roslie A. Nusbaum” of 5020 Hazel Avenue in Philadelphia. Jacob/John was working as a traveling electric salesman for the Incandescent Supply Company.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1908016; Draft Board: 03

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1908016; Draft Board: 03

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, Albert Wood and his family (as well as Rosalie, apparently) were all still living at 5020 Hazel Avenue, and Albert was a salesman for a chemical company, according to his draft registration.  Since in 1920, his occupation is reported as a dye salesman, I assume that that is what he was also selling in 1917.  The family was still living at 5020 Hazel Avenue in 1920, including Rosalie.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907958; Draft Board: 49

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907958; Draft Board: 49

I had a hard time locating Jacob/John on the 1920 census, but I believe this entry is his at 3401 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh:

Jacob Nusbaum 1920 census rev p 1

Year: 1920; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 4, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1519; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 373; Image: 895

Year: 1920; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 4, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1519; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 373; Image: 895

There are several errors; it says his parents were born in Ohio, when in fact both were born in Pennsylvania.  It says he was married, but there is no record of that.  So why do I believe this is the right person? The name (albeit badly misspelled), the age (he was actually 40, not 38), and the occupation (traveling salesman).  More importantly, he was a roomer at 3401 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh; on his 1917 draft registration his address had been 3401 Forbes Avenue.  Forbes Street also appears on the same page as the listings on Fifth Avenue on the census report and is very close by.

Was the census taker confused?  Was Jacob/John confused in 1917? Or did he just happen to move to a new location with the same house number a few blocks away?  It just seems like too much similarity in the address to be coincidental.  So given that the information might have been given by the head of household where Jacob was a roomer, someone who might not have known where his parents were born or exactly how old he was, I am reasonably certain that this is the right John Nusbaum.

Back in Philadelphia, Jacob/John’s sister and her family and his mother continued to live at 5020 Hazel Avenue.  On February 5, 1929, Rosalie Aub Nusbaum died at age 74 from a cerebral hemorrhage.  She had lived 35 years since her husband’s sad death in 1894.  She was buried beside him at Mt. Sinai cemetery.

Description Certificate Number Range : 024001-027000 Source Information Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Description
Certificate Number Range : 024001-027000
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Her son Jacob/John died a year later on March 3, 1930, from what was ruled an accidental poisoning after drinking a bichloride solution.  There was no coroner’s inquest on this death, but given the family history, I had some questions.  How does one accidentally drink a poisonous solution?  According to this article from the New England Journal of Medicine published in 1951, mercuric bicholoride was “widely available to the public” in tablet form for use as a disinfectant.  It was ranked sixth on a list of the most common toxic materials ingested at Boston City Hospital between 1934 and 1943, which the authors of the article interpreted as “an indication of its popularity as means of attempting suicide.”

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The death certificate indicates that the place of death was 5427 Kentucky Avenue in Pittsburgh.  I looked up that address on the 1930 census and found that Hyman and Charlotte Grinberg were living there.  They were a foreign-born retired couple in their sixties; Hyman was Russian, Charlotte was Romanian.  In 1920 they’d been living at the same address with their daughter Pauline, and Hyman had been working as a merchant.  What was Jacob/John Nusbaum doing at their home, and why was he drinking a bicholoride solution? Or had he ingested it days before?  I was surprised not to find any news report or coroner’s inquest about this unfortunate accident.

The residence listed for Jacob/John Nusbaum on the death certificate is Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh.  At first I wondered whether he was a residential patient at the hospital.  If so, what was he doing at the home of the Grinbergs when he died? But then I looked at the 1929 Pittsburgh city directory and found a J. A. Nusbaum listed as a salesman for the Incandescent Lighting Company, living at 5427 Kentucky Avenue, the address where he died and where the Grinbergs were listed on the 1930 census.  John/Jacob must have been a boarder in the home of the Grinbergs after their daughter Pauline left home.  So he died at home.  I don’t know why the certificate indicates his home was at the hospital.  Maybe the informant didn’t know where John lived?

Title : Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1929

Title : Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1929

 

The informant on the death certificate was not a family member, but someone named M. Newland residing at 922 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh.  It was clear that it was not someone who knew him well as neither parent’s name was included on the certificate nor did he know Jacob’s birth date.  He did know that Jacob worked as a salesman and that he was born in Philadelphia.  My initial guess was that Mr. Newland was either a lawyer or perhaps a friend who did not know Jacob very well.  But then I looked for him in the 1929 directory and found that he was the president of the Incandescent Lighting Company, Jacob’s employer.

M Newland Pittsburgh directory 1929 p 844

 

Jacob “John” Nusbaum was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia with his parents; he was 51 when died (not “about 45,” as indicated on the death certificate).

His sister Corinne Nusbaum Wood was the only surviving member of the family.  In 1930, she, her husband Albert, and their son Albert, Jr., (now 28) were living at Rittenhouse Plaza on Walnut Street, paying $335 in rent.  Albert, Sr., was still selling dye; Albert, Jr., was working in sales for an oil refinery.

In 1934, Albert, Jr., married Rachel Crownover.  They were both 33 years old.  Rachel was a Pennsylvania native and lived in Huntingdon as a child; her father Edgar Holmes Crownover was a hotelkeeper there.  He died at age 43 in 1907 when Rachel was six; her mother Charlotte stayed in Huntingdon with the children for a number of years, but by 1920 they had relocated to Philadelphia where Rachel was working as a stenographer.  In 1930 Rachel was living with her brother Charles, her mother having died the year before.  Rachel was now working as an auditor for a furnace company.  Four years later she married Albert E. Wood, Jr.

On April 19, 1938, Albert E. Wood, Sr., died from arteriosclerosis.  He was 63 years old.  He was cremated.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Two years later his widow Corinne was still living where they’d been living at the Fairfax Apartments, according to the 1940 census.  Albert, Jr., and Rachel were living at the Embassy Apartments on Walnut Street.  Albert was working as an air conditioning engineer, and Rachel was working as secretary.  They had not had any children.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3692; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 51-149

Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3692; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 51-149

Corinne Nusbaum Wood died on March 15, 1953, from heart disease; she was 74.  Like her husband, she was cremated.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Her son Albert, Jr., died two years later on April 1, 1955, of a heart attack. He was 54 years old. He also was cremated.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

His wife Rachel survived him, and since there is no death certificate for her in the Pennsylvania database that runs through 1963, she must have lived at least until 1964 (or moved out of Pennsylvania).  I have yet to find a death record or an obituary for her.

Thus ended another line in the Nusbaum family.   There are no living descendants of Myer and Rosalie Nusbaum and their children.

 

Some Good News, Some Bad News

As I look over the notes and research and documents I have for the other children of Ernst Nusbaum and Clarissa Arnold, I admit that I am not eager to write about the rest of the family.  The post about their oldest son Arthur and his family really brought me down.  And the post prior to that about Myer Nusbaum’s suicide also was very disturbing.  I ended the last post saying that the lives of the other children were not as sad, but on reviewing them again, I am not so sure about that assessment.  But their lives, whatever the sadness, are not to be forgotten simply because it is hard to write and read about them.  They deserve to be remembered just as much as those who succeeded and lived wonderful, happy lives.

Having said that, for now I am going to skip ahead from the oldest child, Arthur, to the two youngest children, Henrietta and Frank, because I need a break from all the heaviness of Arthur.  Not that either Henrietta’s story or Frank’s story is light and airy, but they are a little bit less depressing.  I will, of course, return to the other three siblings and their stories.  Not that they are all bad, but some are pretty tangled, and I still have work to do before I can post.

Before I turn to Henrietta Nusbaum Newhouse and her brother Frank Nusbaum, however, it’s important to return to Clarissa, Ernst’s widow and their mother.  Clarissa survived the death of her son Myer and the death of her husband Ernst in 1894, the death of her son Arthur in 1909 and her grandson Arthur in 1910, the death of her grandson Sidney in 1923, and the death of her granddaughter Stella in 1929.  She also survived the deaths of two other children, one daughter-in-law, and two other grandchildren, all of whom I will write about in later posts.  In 1910 she was living at 2035 Mt. Vernon Street in Philadelphia, and her daughter Henrietta and son-in-law Frank Newhouse were living with her as they had been since 1890.  Clarissa was eighty years old.  She died nine years later on October 2, 1919, of uremia at 89.  She had had a long life with many sad times, but also many years of happiness, I would hope.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Inquirer October 5, 1919 p 18

Philadelphia Inquirer October 5, 1919 p 18

Henrietta and Frank Newhouse continued to live at 2035 Mt. Vernon Street for many years after Clarissa died.  Frank, who had been a traveling salesman in 1900, was selling woolen goods in 1910 and in 1920.  By 1930, Frank and Henrietta had relocated to 3601 Powelton Avenue, and Frank was now doing sales for a “picture house.”  I am not sure whether that refers to a movie theater or a photography studio.  Frank was now 76, and Henrietta was 70.

Frank  Newhouse died five years later on February 23, 1935; he was eighty years old.  Henrietta died five years later on January 4, 1940; she also was eighty when she died.  They are both buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia.  They never had children, so there are no descendants.  Like her mother Clarissa, Henrietta had endured many losses in her life, but she and her husband Frank had had a long marriage and long lives together.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Henrietta’s brother Frank, the youngest of the siblings, also lived a long life and had a long marriage.  In 1900, he and his wife Dolly Hills were living with their daughter Loraine in Philadelphia, and Frank was working as an insurance salesman.  In 1901, he was listed as a director of the agency in the city directory, and he was residing at 3206 Mantua Avenue.  In 1920, Frank was still in the insurance business, and the family had relocated to 811 63rd Street; Loraine was now 21 years old.  They also had a boarder and a servant living with them.

In 1905, Frank and Dolly Nusbaum were the victims of a burglary at their home; this short excerpt from an article about the burglary gives a sense of their lifestyle and what they lost:

Frank Nusbaum burglary p 1

FRank burglary p 2 rev

Philadelphia Inquirer, September 9, 1905, p. 6

 

Loraine married Bertrand [Bertram on some documents] L. Weil in 1921. Bertrand was also a Philadelphian, and his father was in the shirt waist manufacturing business.  Bertrand had been working as a shirt waist salesman in 1910, presumably for his father’s business.  Loraine and Bertrand had one son, Burton L. Weil, born on December 7, 1916, in Pennsylvania.  Sometime thereafter, the family relocated to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where they were residing at the time of Bertrand’s draft registration in 1917.  Bertrand was still engaged in the shirt waist industry, now listing his occupation as a manufacturer.  (His father Abe Weil listed himself as retired on the 1920 census, so perhaps Bertrand had taken over the business.)  In 1920, the family was still living in Atlantic City, and Bertrand was still a shirt waist manufacturer.

Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Atlantic; Roll: 1711902; Draft Board: 2

Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Atlantic; Roll: 1711902; Draft Board: 2

 

In 1930, Frank and Dolly Nusbaum were living at 4840 Pine Street in the Pine Manor Apartments.  Frank, now 68, was still working as the manager of a life insurance business.

It’s not clear what the status was of their daughter Loraine’s marriage in 1930.  Loraine and her son Burton, now 13, were living back in Philadelphia at 241 South 49th Street.  Although Loraine still gave her marital status as married, she is listed as the head of the household.  Bertrand, meanwhile, is listed in the 1930 census as living in New York City, also giving his status as married.  He was living as a lodger in the Hotel New Yorker on Eighth Avenue and working as a “traveler” in the ready-to-wear business.  Had his shirt waist business failed? Was he simply in New York on business when the census was taken?  I do not know.

But six years later, Bertrand died in New York City. On October 20, 1936, he was found dead in his room at the Hotel McAlpin in New York, and after an autopsy, the cause of death was given as “congestion of viscera; fatty infiltration of liver; contusion of head.”  I am not sure what the first refers to exactly, though I found one source online saying that it was not uncommon at one time in New York to use “congestion of the viscera” as a temporary catch-all on death certificates when the cause of death wasn’t yet clear.

Weil, Bertram Death page 1

The second page of the certificate has a handwritten entry dated February 22, 1937, four months after his death, that says “acute chronic alcoholism.”

Weil, Bertram Death page 2

That might explain both the separation from Loraine and the contusion on his head.  I also noted that it was his sister, not his wife, who made the arrangements with the undertaker.  Bertrand was buried at Mt. Sinai in Philadelphia; the plot arrangements were made as well by his sister, not his wife.

Loraine remarried a year later in 1937.  She married Robert Cooke Clarkson, Jr., a mechanical engineer also born in Philadelphia and a 1915 graduate of the University of PennsylvaniaRobert Cook Clarkson Penn bio 1917

Robert had married Anna Armstrong in Philadelphia in 1918, and he was still married and living with her as of the 1930 census.  Since I cannot find a death certificate for Anna, I assume that Robert and Anna divorced, and in 1937, he married Loraine Nusbaum Weil.  Loraine and Robert are listed together on a passenger manifest for a cruise to Bermuda on May 15, 1937, a trip that might very well have been their honeymoon trip.

Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5978; Line: 1; Page Number: 15

Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5978; Line: 1; Page Number: 15

In 1940, Loraine, Robert, her son Burton Weil, and his mother Hannah Weil were all living at 1006 Edmunds Street in Philadelphia.  Robert was working as the mechanical inspector for the Board of Education, and Burton, now 23, was working as a clerk for Campbell Soup Company.  Loraine’s parents, Frank and Dolly Nusbaum, were still living on Pine Street; Frank was retired and 78 years old; Dolly was 76.

The 1940s were a decade of loss for the family.  First, on January 23, 1943, Dolly died at 79 from cachexia or wasting syndrome due to arterial deterioration and senility.  Almost two years later on December 21, 1944, Frank died at age 83 from myocardial deterioration.  They are buried at West Laurel Hill cemetery in Philadelphia.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Their grandson Burton Weil had enlisted with the Army Air Corps on October 14, 1940, after two years at the University of Tennessee.  He had fought in World War II as a pilot; he had shot down a German plane before he himself had been shot down over North Africa and captured in Tripoli on January 18, 1943.  He was sent to a German prisoner of war camp and was liberated in May, 1945.  For his service, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Clusters.

Just a year after his liberation while continuing to serve in the Air Corps in California, on September 20, 1946, he was killed when his plane crashed in Kentucky while he was en route to his home in Philadelphia.

Burton_Weil_obituary-page-001

Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm (1852-1910). Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.Kentucky. Birth and Death Records: Covington, Lexington, Louisville, and Newport – Microfilm (before 1911). Microfilm rolls #7007125-7007131, 7011804-7011813, 7012974-7013570, 7015456-7015462. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.Kentucky. Vital Statistics Original Death Certificates – Microfilm (1911-1955). Microfilm rolls #7016130-7041803. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm (1852-1910). Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.Kentucky. Birth and Death Records: Covington, Lexington, Louisville, and Newport – Microfilm (before 1911). Microfilm rolls #7007125-7007131, 7011804-7011813, 7012974-7013570, 7015456-7015462. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.Kentucky. Vital Statistics Original Death Certificates – Microfilm (1911-1955). Microfilm rolls #7016130-7041803. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Loraine, who lost her mother, then her father, and then her son in such a quick period of time, lost her husband Robert ten years later on October 9, 1956, when he died of a pulmonary embolism.  He was 64 years old.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

 

Despite all that heartbreak, Loraine lived another 35 years, dying on February 13, 1991, when she was almost 103 years old.  I wish I knew more about what her life was like after 1956, but sadly I cannot find an obituary.  Loraine is buried with her second husband Robert and her son Burton at Drexel Hill Cemetery.

courtesy of Penny at FindAGrave

courtesy of Penny at FindAGrave

Neither Henrietta Nusbaum Newhouse nor Frank Nusbaum has any living descendants.

 

 

 

 

Arthur Nusbaum and His Family: Heartbreaking

In my last post about the family of Ernst Nusbaum, I brought his family up to 1900 and the beginning of the 20th century.  The family had lost both Ernst and his son Myer in 1894, but the family had survived these tragedies and continued their lives.  The early years of the 20th century also had their challenges.  For the family of Ernst and Clarissa’s oldest child, Arthur Nusbaum and his wife Henrietta Hilbronner, the first three decades of the 20th century brought far too many premature deaths.  Arthur was my first cousin, four times removed, the nephew of my three-times great-grandfather, John Nusbaum.

Arthur was the second of Ernst and Clarissa’s children to die, fourteen years after his brother Myer took his own life.  Arthur died on August 15, 1909, of phthisis pulmonalis, a form of tuberculosis that causes wasting of the body.  He was only 52 years old when he died and was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery.  Tuberculosis had taken another member of the extended Nusbaum family.

Arthur Nusbaum death cert

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Just two months later, Arthur and Henrietta’s daughter Florence married Lewis Pierce Hoopes in New York City on October 19, 1909.  It is interesting that Florence and Lewis were married in New York, as both were Pennsylvania natives.  Lewis was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, a town about 20 miles south of Philadelphia, and the couple in fact resided in Chester with Lewis’ mother after the wedding and for many years afterwards. Lewis was the son of B. Tevis and Sara P. Hoopes, and in 1880, his father had owned a “furnishings” store, i.e., most likely a clothing store, in Chester.  B. Tevis Hoopes died in 1894.

In 1900 Lewis’ mother, Sara P. Hoopes owned the “furnishings” store in Chester, and Lewis was working as a clerk in a bank.  In 1910, Lewis is listed on the census as clerk in a notions store.  In 1920 he and Florence were still living with Sara Hoopes, and Sara was listed as the owner of a dry goods store with her son Lewis listed as a clerk.  On September 7, 1928, Lewis died from cerebral apoloxy; he was 56 years old.  Four years later Florence died from cancer; she was 54.  Florence and Lewis did not have any children.  Thus, there are no direct descendants.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The second oldest of the children of Arthur and Henrietta, their son Sidney, married Emma Kleinsmith in 1903. Emma was also a Philadelphia native, born June 28, 1869.  Emma and Sidney had a son Sidney, Jr., born March 31, 1904.  The family was living at 3851 North Park Avenue in 1905, and Sidney was a salesman.  In 1910, he listed his occupation as the manager of a department store, but later records including his World War I draft registration and the 1920 census list his occupation as a clothing salesman. In 1920, Sidney, Emma, and their son were living on Erie Avenue in Philadelphia.

Sidney, Sr., died three years later on January 16, 1923, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while “temporarily deranged,” according to his death certificate.  Yet another family member had succumbed to suicide.  Sidney was 42 years old.

Sidney Nusbaum Sr death cert

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

His son, Sidney, Jr., was only nineteen years old at the time of his father’s death.  He and his mother continued to live in the same residence on Erie Avenue in Philadelphia, and Sidney, Jr., was working as an electrician in 1930.  Sidney, Jr., also died young; on August 12, 1932, he accidentally drowned while swimming near a dam in Greene, Pennsylvania; he was 28 years old.

Sidney_Nusbaum_Jr_drowning-page-001

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

How did his mother Emma cope?  She had lost both her husband and her son to terrible deaths. Somehow she pulled herself together, and in 1940 she was still living on Erie Avenue, now the owner of a dress shop.  Emma died on December 5, 1951, when she was 82 years old from a “ruptured heart.”  How her heart held up for as long as it did after all she endured is a mystery to me. Emma, her husband Sidney, and her son Sidney, are all buried at East Cedar Hill cemetery in Philadelphia.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In 1909, not only did Florence Nusbaum marry Lewis Hoopes, Arthur and Henrietta’s third child Horace Nusbaum married Florence Crawford, the daughter of Jonathan Crawford, a widower from Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he was employed as a watchman. On April 5, 1910, Horace and Florence had a son, Arthur, obviously named in memory of Horace’s recently deceased father.  Tragically, little Arthur died just three months later on July 5, 1910, from acute gastroenteritis and malnutrition.  He was buried at Mt. Peace cemetery in Philadelphia.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Although Horace and his family (including the infant Arthur) were listed in the 1900 census as living in Philadelphia, sometime thereafter Horace and Florence relocated to Chester, where his sister Florence and her husband Lewis Hoopes were also living.  On the 1910 census, Horace had listed his occupation as a solicitor for the electric company, and I had not known what that meant, but this article from the Delaware County Times from Chester, dated April 25, 1913, provided a clear picture:

Horace M. Nusbaum, a special representative of the Beacon Light Company, has been in the borough several days securing contracts for the change in rates of the company.  He reports meeting with great success, the plan being approved by nearly all the light consumers in the town, and as there are but a few left to sign the new contract he will soon complete his labors here.

(Delaware County Times, April 25, 1913, p. 9)

In addition, Horace took on a role as spokesperson, educator, and salesperson for the company, as this article reveals.  I also found it interesting for what it reveals about the role that electricity was beginning to play in the homes of ordinary citizens by 1914:

Horace Nusbaum article part 1

Horace Nusbaum article part 2

Horace Nusbaum article part 3

Delaware County Times, February 28, 1914, p. 7

 

Although the first report seemed to indicate Horace was not yet living in the Chester area, there were a number of later news reports revealing that he and Florence had relocated to that area.   A 1916 news item about their vacation described them as residents of Norwood, Pennsylvania, a town about five miles from Chester.  (Delaware County Times, July 31, 1916, p. 3)  A 1917 issue reports their attendance at a masquerade ball in Norwood.   (Delaware County Times, November 6, 1917, p. 2)

On his World War I draft registration dated September 12, 1918, Horace listed his occupation as the commercial representative for the Delaware County Electric Company, and he and Florence were residing in Norwood.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Delaware; Roll: 1877947; Draft Board:

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Delaware; Roll: 1877947; Draft Board:

Just a few weeks later, his wife Florence would die during the Spanish flu epidemic on October 5, 1918, when she was only thirty years old. The number of death notices listing pneumonia or influenza as the cause of death in the week Florence died was staggering.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Horace had lost his infant son and then his wife in the space of eight years.  But like his sister-in-law Emma, Horace survived, and a year later he married again, marrying Edna M. Ephlin in 1919.  Edna was the daughter of Oscar and Julia Ephlin of Philadelphia; her father was a shipping clerk for a paper company.  After they married, in 1920 Horace and Edna lived at 1935 Park Avenue in Philadelphia with Horace’s mother Henrietta and his sister Clair as well as his youngest sister Helen and her husband William Stroup.  Horace continued to work as a salesman for the electric company.  He and Edna did not have any children.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 1058; Image: 839

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 1058; Image: 839

As for the remaining three children of Arthur and Henrietta Nusbaum, Stella (20) and Clair (17) were both living at home and working at a department store in 1910.  The youngest child, Helen, now 15, was not employed.  In 1914, Stella married Roy Service, born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to James and Ella Service.  In 1920 Stella and Roy were living at 1229 Broad Street in Philadelphia, and Roy was a clerk.  (In earlier and later city directories, Roy’s occupation was listed as a printer.)  Stella and Roy never had children, and Stella died on January 27, 1929, from chronic myocarditis and multiple sclerosis.  She was 39 years old.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In 1920, Stella’s younger sister Clair was living with her mother Henrietta as well as her brother Horace and his wife Edna and her sister Helen and her husband William Stroup. Clair, her mother, and her sisters had no occupations. Only the two men were working outside the home, Horace as a salesman for the electric company and William as an advertising salesman for a newspaper. (See the snip from the 1920 census above.)

In 1930, Clair, her widowed sister Florence Hoopes, and her mother Henrietta were all living together at 774 Spruce Street; only Clair was employed, working as a hairdresser.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2139; Page: 35B; Enumeration District: 0498; Image: 1020.0; FHL microfilm: 2341873

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2139; Page: 35B; Enumeration District: 0498; Image: 1020.0; FHL microfilm: 2341873

[Notice how Clair’s surname is spelled—would you think that says Nusbaum? It’s a miracle that I found this census report.]

Helen, the youngest of Arthur and Henrietta’s children, had only been fourteen when her father died in 1909.  Helen married William Valentine Stroup, Jr., in 1919.  William was a native Philadelphian and an advertising salesman.  In 1920, as noted above Helen and William were living with her mother Henrietta, her sister Clair, her brother Horace, and Horace’s second wife Edna.  In 1930, Helen and William were living at 4741 13th Street; Helen’s mother Henrietta is also listed with them, though she was also listed in 1930 as living with her other two daughters Clair and Florence on Spruce Street.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2135; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 1073; Image: 1005.0; FHL microfilm: 2341869

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2135; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 1073; Image: 1005.0; FHL microfilm: 2341869

Thus, as of 1932, Arthur Nusbaum’s wife Henrietta had lost her husband and three of her six children: Florence, Sidney, and Stella.  She had also lost her only two grandchildren: Arthur H. Nusbaum, Horace’s son, and Sidney Nusbaum, Jr., Sidney’s son.  Florence and Stella had not had any children, nor did Clair or Helen, so there are no possible living descendants of Arthur Nusbaum and Henrietta Hilbronner.

Henrietta died on August 24, 1935.  She was seventy years old and died of heart disease and kidney disease.  She was buried with her husband Arthur at Mt. Sinai cemetery.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Her surviving children were Horace, Clair, and Helen.  In 1940, Horace and his second wife Edna were living in Upper Darby, where Horace worked as an insecticide salesman.  Edna sold women’s clothing.  Edna died six years later from heart failure.  She was only fifty-five years old.  Horace lived until January 23, 1962 (I have not yet located a death record for him, but found his burial entry on FindAGrave) and is buried with Edna at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.

The two youngest sisters, Clair and Helen, were living together in 1940.  Helen was divorced from William Stroup and working in lingerie sales (if I am reading the census correctly), and Clair was single and continuing to work as a hairdresser.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3753; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 51-2148

Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3753; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 51-2148

The last record I have for either of them is a listing for Clair in the 1950 Philadelphia telephone directory.  I cannot find a death record or obituary or burial record for them, but I assume that they both survived past 1963, the last year of death certificates now publicly available.  I am continuing to see if I can find some other record for Clair and Helen as well as their brother Horace.

Thus, the history of the family of Arthur Nusbaum is a rather heart-breaking one, filled with premature deaths and no descendants to carry on the family name.  Fortunately, some of the other children of Ernst and Clarissa have happier stories and more enduring family lines, though not all.

 

Back from Spring Break

It was a great break—especially being away from the cold and snow.  And probably good to clear my head and get away from the laptop for a while.  But now I am back, and even while away, I’ve had some new developments.  New DNA results to post about, some new cousins to research (one found by my first cousin’s son while participating in the Model UN in Spain, one who found me on the blog), a new baby to celebrate (on my husband’s side), some new photos and other information from my Seligmann cousin in Germany, some updates on the Roseznweig family, and so on.  And I have to finish the story of my Nusbaum relatives, in particular that of Ernst Nusbaum’s family.

So lots to do in addition to the unpacking, laundry, and readjusting to cold weather.  I have to catch up on all the blog posts by my fellow genealogy bloggers as well.  For now, just reminding you that I am here, I haven’t disappeared, and that I will return soon.

 

More in the DNA Wars

Lately I have been drowning in DNA.  I am trying to figure out how to interpret the DNA results I have and make use of them in searching for my ancestors.  Specifically, my Brotman ancestors.  As I look forward to visiting Poland in May and seeing Tarnobrzeg, I more and more want to be able to find something that actually corroborates my conclusion that that was the general area where my great-grandparents Joseph and Bessie Brotman lived.  I was hoping that perhaps with DNA results, I’d find another clue, another cousin, who knew something I didn’t know.

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I dove into the DNA.  When I last wrote about the DNA tests, I talked about the fact that the autosomal DNA results supported the story my aunt had told about Joseph Brotman and his brother who had moved to New Jersey where they named the town for him, i.e., Brotmanville.  Moses Brotman’s granddaughter Elaine tested as a likely second cousin to my mother, just as she would be if Moses and Joseph were brothers.  I am still waiting for results of an autosomal DNA test of Larry, who is a great-grandson of Moses Brotman, for further support (I hope) for that conclusion.  But sadly the Brotmanville Brotmans are also not clear on where Moses lived or was born in Galicia.  Family stories suggest Preszyml, which isn’t too far from Tarnobrzeg (about 90 miles), but there is no paper record to support that story either.  They also do not have any records or stories about the parents or siblings of Moses Brotman.

But the DNA results also produced an unknown likely second cousin for my mother named Frieda.  Frieda’s niece and I have been in touch, and we have narrowed down the possibilities of the connection.  We believe that the connection is through Frieda’s mother whose name was Sabina Brot.  We think that Sabina’s father might have been Bessie Brotman’s brother. Here is a chart that helps to visualize the potential relationships:

second revision family chart for blog

 

Again, there is no paper trail, but this is how we reached that tentative conclusion:

First, not only did my mother test as a second cousin to Frieda, but my brother tested as a second to fourth cousin to Frieda.  But Elaine, the granddaughter of Moses, tested as a third to fifth cousin to Frieda, meaning that Frieda shared more DNA with my mother and my brother than she did with Elaine. Since Elaine would be more closely related to Joseph than she would be to Bessie,[1] I inferred that Frieda was more likely connected to my mother through Bessie, not Joseph.  (Keep in mind that Joseph and Bessie were supposedly first cousins, so even Elaine could share some DNA with Bessie from Bessie and Joseph’s mutual grandparents, Elaine’s great-great-grandparents.)

At the suggestion of Frieda’s niece, I then ordered an mtDNA test on my mother’s kit to see if she and Frieda were in the same haplogroup.  As defined by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), “A haplogroup is a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patrilineal or matrilineal line.”     Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is only passed by mothers to their children.  Although sons inherit mtDNA from their mothers, they do not pass it down to their children.  Thus, mtDNA is a way of testing the maternal line—from mothers to daughters and so on.  If Frieda and my mother were not in the same haplogroup, we would be able to infer that the connection had not come from Frieda’s grandmother as a sister of Bessie, but more likely from Frieda’s grandfather.  As it turned out, my mother was not in the same haplogroup as Frieda, meaning Frieda’s mother (Sabina)’s mother was not the connection to my mother’s mother’s mother.  Thus, we concluded that if my mother and Frieda are second cousins, it was most likely that Bessie, my mother’s grandmother, and Frieda’s grandfather were siblings.

If only Frieda knew the name of her grandfather or the town where he lived, we could make some progress.  But unfortunately, Frieda’s family knows almost nothing about the background of Sabina Brot or her parents, so we are once again at an impasse.  Frieda’s niece believes Sabina lived in Radomysl nad Sanem, a town not far at all from Tarnobrzeg.

I put aside the DNA at that point, figuring I’d done what I could do.  I emailed a few other “matches” on FamilyTreeDNA, and I received a few responses.  But no one had any helpful information or anything that seemed like a possible link to my family.

Then I decided to try and get more out of the results.  I asked a lot of questions in various Facebook genealogy groups, read a lot of blogs and websites, but was still without a clue.  I tried a program called DNAgedcom, which has a tool known as ADSA that allows you to see who else matches your kit on a specific chromosome and who else matches with that person.  It is a great tool, but unfortunately DNAgedcom is not yet equipped to handle the large number of matches that most Ashkenazi Jews will generate through autosomal DNA testing.

As I’ve learned, and as I’ve seen in my own family on several lines, Ashkenazi Jews are an endogamous population, meaning that they tended to marry within their own community and even within their own families.  Thus, a typical Ashkenazi Jew will share some bits of DNA with thousands of other Ashkenazi Jews.  My mother had thousands of matches, but most of them are so distantly related as to be irrelevant.  As was recently stated in one report, some researchers believe that all Ashkenazi Jews are descended from several hundred Jews who lived about 600 years ago.  So we are, in fact, all one big tribe.

That’s all well and good until you want to use DNA to find closer relatives.  For DNAgedcom, it was just too much data.  Their website estimates that a typical download will take about 30 minutes.  My mother’s data was still downloading after SIX hours, and it wasn’t nearly done.  In fact, it crashed and never completely downloaded.

Then people told me to try GEDmatch, another website for interpreting DNA results.  I sent the data to GEDmatch for my mother, brother, Bruce, and Elaine, and Frieda’s niece sent Frieda’s data.  Then I had no clue what to do with GEDmatch.  Like DNAgedcom, it’s a free site run by wonderful people who are interested in genealogical uses of DNA.  But free means you can’t complain when things aren’t clear or you can’t figure something out.  I was totally perplexed by GEDmatch.  Lots of numbers, lots of charts.  But what did they all mean?  And how could I use them to interpret the DNA results or find new matches?

Here’s a portion of one page of many showing (with identifying information deleted) some of my mother’s matches on GEDmatch:

GEDmatch sample for blog

Yeah, right? What does all THAT mean?

Back to the Facebook groups I went, and this time I found three incredible women, Julie, Leah, and Lana, who volunteered to help me figure out how to use the DNA results and the various tools available.  Together they have backgrounds in biology and IT and math.  We created our own space on Facebook to work together.  Well, mostly they worked, and I learned.  Am still learning.  They are amazing.  We have spent hours and hours online together despite the fact that we are spread across two continents and many times zones.

What I have learned?  To begin with, I now understand how DNA is affected during the process of meiosis, that is, the creation of gametes, i.e., sperm and egg.  I won’t show off here, though I do wonder what my high school biology was teaching us since I never learned this.  The bottom line is that DNA changes during meiosis when segments of the chromosomes “cross over” and then randomly sort themselves before the cell splits into ultimately four new cells, each with a unique selection of DNA on the chromosomes contained therein.  As a result, two children with the exact same parents will not have identical DNA since the sperm and egg that created the first sibling will have different DNA than the sperm and egg that created the second sibling.  (This may explain why my brother has the science brain and I, quite obviously, do not. I am sure he and others will gladly point out anything that is not correct about this description.)

Here’s a cute video that I found helpful:

Why is any of that relevant to using DNA for genealogy? Because it means that even siblings will share varying amounts of DNA and different DNA.  It’s not only that every generation has new parents mixing into their offspring’s DNA; it’s also that each parent shares different DNA with each child.  And with each generation there are more crossovers, more sortings, and thus more differences.   So when two people share a fairly large amount of overall DNA and also some large segments of DNA, it is quite reliable as an indication of a familial relationship.  Given all the crossovers and mixing and new DNA with every generation, it’s not likely that two people would share a lot of DNA unless they were related.

I won’t go into all the statistics and terminology.  That’s not my goal here.  I just wanted to explain why I’ve found these three women so helpful. I like to understand things, not just accept numbers without an explanation.  And it didn’t stop with the science.  My mentors then helped me figure out how to use GEDmatch to “triangulate.”  No, not like Bill Clinton.  In using DNA in genealogy, it helps to find out who shares DNA with you on a particular location on a particular chromosome. Then you need to figure out who among those people also share with each other.  Thus, if A, B, and C share with me on Chromosome 12 at a given location for a certain segment, but A and B do not share with C, I know that C shares with me from a different parent than A and B.  But I don’t know whether A and B share with the DNA I got from my mother or the DNA I got from my father.

Another thing I learned: I knew that chromosomes came in pairs, one from each parent for each of the 23 pairs of chromosomes.  But I didn’t know that the testing companies don’t really distinguish one side from the other.  They test two strands from each pair of chromosomes (one from each chromosome in that pair), but the two are jumbled together on the companies’ depictions of what is on that Chromosome 12 I mentioned above.  What that means is that when I look at their depiction of a chromosome and see matches, I’ve no idea which parent’s strand that match pairs up with.

Human metaphase chromosomes were subjected to ...

Human metaphase chromosomes were subjected to fluorescence in situ hybridization with a probe to the Alu Sequence (green signals)and counterstained for DNA (red). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For example, if you look at my brother’s chromosomes with my mother’s as a match, it looks like she matches all his DNA. All that orange is where she matches his DNA on his chromosomes.  But in fact, that’s just half of his DNA.  The DNA from my father isn’t reflected.  All we are seeing is that my mother gave my brother half of his DNA.

Mom DNA on Ira's Chromosomes

 

In this case, we know that this is DNA from his mother because, well, I know she’s his mother.  But when I look at someone else on my brother’s chromosomes, I don’t know if that person is matching the strand from my mother or my father unless I triangulate the three kits.

Here’s a more typical chromosome browser display with various matches:

typical browser results

Each color represents a different person who shares some DNA with my brother, and as you can see, there are some places where two colors overlap, like on the 21st chromosome.  How do I know whether those people share DNA with my brother that comes from my mother or from my father?  How do I know if those two overlapping people are related or just one shares my father’s DNA on the location and the other shares my mother’s DNA at that location?  Triangulation.  We have to figure out if those two people also share DNA with each other at that location and also whether they share with my mother at that particular location.  And that’s what Leah, Lana, and Julie taught me to do.

Where has that gotten me? Well, we found that on Chromosome 21 my mother and Frieda had a large segment overlap with three other people.  I then triangulated and found that all of them also matched Frieda and each other at that location on Chromosome 21.  That means that they are all somehow related: Frieda, my mother, and A, B, and C all share a common ancestor who passed on this rather large segment that they all share.  I don’t know for sure whether my mother got that segment from her mother or father, but since we have reason to believe that my mother and Frieda are connected through my great-grandmother’s Bessie’s family, it would seem that A, B, and C are also somehow related to my mother and Frieda through that family line.

So I emailed A, B, and C.  I’ve heard back from two of them, but with nothing that’s very helpful.  The little information each had showed nothing to explain this DNA connection.  There are no common surnames and no common geographic locations.  These two didn’t even have roots in Galicia that they knew of.  Huh? Now what?

Good question.  We are still tweaking the numbers, scouring other chromosomes, hoping something will provide a breakthrough.  But at the moment I hold out limited hope that we will find someone who can connect all the pieces.  It’s just too far back in a place where very few records survive and where surnames only started 200 years ago.  Maybe A, B, and C had relatives who adopted different surnames, not Brot or Brotman.  Maybe their great-great-grandfather moved to Ukraine or Lithuania or Latvia or mine moved away from there.  We can speculate all we want, and the DNA doesn’t lie.  But we may never, ever find the answer to how we are related.

So I have no better information today about where my great-grandparents lived or the names of their siblings or the names of earlier generations.  But I know a lot more about DNA and about the tools out there for using it, thanks to Lana, Julie, and Leah.

***********************************

I will be taking a short break from the laptop—SPRING BREAK!  (Now that I am retired, it’s not really my spring break, but years and years of celebrating it still has its effects.)  See you soon.

For anyone who wants a broader introduction to DNA and chromosomes, Steve Morse (of stevemorse.org) wrote a very clear laymen’s overview of the topic here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Although Bruce, another great-grandchild of Joseph and Bessie, also tested as a third to fifth to Frieda, he shared more DNA with her than Elaine did, although he shared less than my brother did.  In theory at least, Bruce and Ira should test as the same distance from Frieda, if she is related to us through Bessie. But DNA does not always pass on in equal segments, or so I’ve learned.   Bruce might have more from Joseph’s side through his parents and grandparents than from Bessie’s side and my mother might have more.

Two Tragedies in 1894 for the Family of Ernst Nusbaum

If the 1880s were years of general growth and prosperity for Ernst Nusbaum and his family, the 1890s were years of loss.  Once again, the Nusbaum/Dreyfuss family lost a young member of the family to suicide.

On January 18, 1894, Myer Nusbaum, 41 years old and the father of two young teenagers, took his own life.

myer nusbaum suicide  jan 19 1894 phil inquirer page 1

myer suicide part 2

myer suice part 3

myer suicide part 4

myer suicide part 5

Philadelphia Inquirer, January 19, 1894, p. 1

The Philadelphia Times also reported on this tragic death here: Myer_Nusbaum_Suicide_Philadelphia_Times_p_4_1_19_1894

Here was a man of a steady and upstanding reputation, a bookkeeper for a clothing company who had been employed in one place for over twenty years, a man who was well-liked and active in his community, a man with a wife and two teenaged children.  What was this “grip” that caused him so much pain that he felt he had no alternative but to end his life?

From what I can gather from various sources on line, the grip was a term for what we would today call influenza or the flu.  I’ve had the flu.  Probably all of you have had the flu at some time or another.  It’s awful.  You feel terrible.  Your head hurts, your body aches, you have respiratory symptoms, sometimes stomach symptoms.  It can last for many days.  But most people don’t become suicidal.

Although the headline on the Philadelphia Times story about Myer says, “Another Grip Tragedy,” I would imagine that even back in the 1890s, most people did not intentionally end their lives while suffering from the flu. Somehow I have to believe that Myer’s illness was something more than influenza, but it just was not diagnosed. The Inquirer story says he had been suffering for seven weeks; I have never heard of the flu lasting that long, but maybe it did back then.  He must have been suffering terribly to have been driven to such an extreme.  Imagine his poor fifteen year old son Jacob, watching his father die in his arms, and his wife Rosalie and sixteen year old daughter Corinne having to identify his body at the hospital.

UPDATE:  My cousin Jessica, an expert in disease and disaster control, sent me a link to an article about the flu pandemic of the 1890s, the so-called Russian flu.  It included this quote:  “Influenza was also considered to be a major cause of nervous and psychological disorders by acting as a “devitalizing agent.” Descriptions of influenza sequelae included “depression,” “shattered nerves,” “neurasthenia,” and “despondency.” During 1890, for example, an unprecedented 140 melancholics afflicted with influenza “poison” were admitted to Scotland’s Royal Edinburgh Asylum. Coroners also cited influenza as a reason for “temporary insanity” in cases of suicide. Across Europe, rates of suicide (mostly male) and attempted suicide (mostly female) rose during the 1890s. In England and Wales, there was a 25 percent increase in suicides between 1889 and 1893. Paris witnessed a 23 percent rise during 1889–1890 compared with the average, and there were also increased rates in Germany and Switzerland.”  Thus, Myer Nusbaum was not alone in suffering severe depression as a result of the flu.  You can read more about the Russian flu here.

Myer Nusbaum death cert suicide

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JK96-L2H : accessed 11 March 2015), Myer Nusbaum, 18 Jan 1894; citing 15562, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,871,367.

 

1894 ended as tragically as it began.  Almost eleven months to the day after Myer died, on December 16, 1894, his father Ernst died from injuries sustained in a fall.  Ernst was 78 years old; the last of the Nusbaum siblings in America was gone.  And not from disease or old age, but from an accidental fall.  Somehow that just seems unfair; he had been able to adjust to life in America, had been a successful businessperson, had bounced back from bankruptcy and the Depression of the 1870s, and had raised six children with his wife Clarissa, and his life had ended because of a fall.

Ernst Nusbaum death cert

Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VKDH-3ZJ : accessed 11 March 2015), Ernst Nusbaum, 16 Dec 1894; citing page 284 certificate # 11892, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,011,822.

 

As for the rest of the family, Arthur Nusbaum and his wife Henrietta had two more children in the 1890s: Clare, born in 1894, and Helen, born in 1895.  There were now six children in the family, and they were living at 2559 North 16th Street.  Arthur was involved in clothing sales in the 1890s and as reported on the 1900 census.  Their son Sidney, now 21, was also a clothing salesman, and Horace, who was 15, was working as an upholsterer.

Fanny Nusbaum and her husband Jacob Hano continued to live in New York City in the 1890s.  Fanny and Jacob had five sons (Samuel having died in 1884), all still at home during that decade and in 1900.  In 1891, they were living at 119 East 111th Street in East Harlem, and Jacob was a printer and book manufacturer.  In 1892 they were living at 948 Fleetwood Avenue, which I cannot locate in New York City today, but by 1898 they were living at 803 Edgecombe Avenue, even further uptown, near 171st Street on what is now Amsterdam Avenue.  On the 1900 census, the family is living at 203 West 134th Street, and the oldest son, Louis, now 22, was employed as a salesman.  The other four were still at home.  There was also a servant living in the home.

Edgar Nusbaum and his wife Viola continued to live 2029 North 11th Street in Philadelphia in the early 1890s, and Edgar was working as a clerk.  By 1897, however, the family had moved to 1520 North 12th Street, and Edgar was working as a publisher like his brother-in-law Jacob Hano.  On the 1900 census, however, Edgar listed his occupation as clerk once again.  Their daughter Selena, now 19, was working as a dressmaker.  Viola’s sister and a boarder were also living with them.

Henrietta Nusbaum and her husband Frank Newhouse had been living with Ernst and Clarissa, her parents, in 1890 at 2028 Mt. Vernon Street, and Frank was working as a tailor.  They were still living at that address as of the 1900 census with Clarissa, now a widow, and Frank’s occupation was a traveling salesman.  Neither Clarissa nor Henrietta were working outside the home, and there were two domestic servants living with them.

Frank Nusbaum and his wife Dolly and their daughter Loraine were living at 811 Windsor Square in 1891.  By 1896, Frank was selling insurance, and they were living at 637 North 33rd Street; a year later they were living at 3223 Wallace Street.  In 1900, the family was living at yet another location, 3206 Manton Avenue, and Frank was still an insurance broker.

As for the widow of Myer Nusbaum, Rosalie Aub Nusbaum, she and their children Corinne and Jacob (called Jack on the 1900 census) were living at 5020 Cedar Street in 1900.  Jack was working as a salesman, now almost 21 years old, and his mother and sister were at home.  There was also a boarder living with them as well as one domestic servant.

Thus, somehow the family survived the two tragedies of 1894 and entered the 20th century, all but Fanny still living in Philadelphia, all still working and living their lives.

 

 

 

 

My Cousin Wolfgang and The Lessons of History: Will We Ever Learn Those Lessons?

When I started this blog back in October, 2013, I never anticipated that it would help family members find me.  But that has proven to be an incredible unexpected benefit of publishing this blog.  This is one of those stories.

Several weeks ago, I received a comment on the blog from a man named Wolfgang Seligmann, saying he was the son of Walter Seligmann, that he lived near Gau-Algesheim, and that he had found my blog while doing some research on his family.  He asked me to email him, which I did immediately, and we have since exchanged many emails and learned that we are third cousins, once removed:  his great-great-grandparents were Moritz Seligmann and Babetta Schoenfeld, my great-great-great-grandparents.  His great-grandfather August was the brother of Sigmund, Adolph and Bernard Seligman, the three who had settled in Santa Fe in the mid-19th century.   Wolfgang sent me a copy of August’s death certificate.

August Seligmann death certificate

August Seligmann death certificate

(Translations in this post courtesy of Wolfgang Seligmann except where noted: Registry-Office Gau-Algesheim: August Seligmann, living in Gau-Algesheim died the 14th of May 1909 at 8 a.m. in Gau-Algesheim. He was 67 years old and born in Gau-Algesheim. He was a widower.)

Our families had probably not been in touch since Bernard died in 1902 (or perhaps when Adolph died in 1920).  And now through the miracle of the internet and Google, Wolfgang had found my blog with his family’s names in it and had contacted me.  What would our mutual ancestors think of that?  It even seems miraculous to me, and I live in the 21st century.

Fortunately, Wolfgang’s English is excellent (since my knowledge of German is…well, about five words), and so we have been able to exchange some information about our families, and I have learned some answers to questions I had about the Seligmanns who stayed in Germany.  With Wolfgang’s permission, I would like to share some of those stories.

Wolfgang’s grandfather was Julius Seligmann, the second child and oldest son of August Seligmann and his wife Rosa Bergmann.  Julius was born in 1877 in Gau-Algesheim.  As I wrote about here, Julius was one of the Seligmanns written about in Ludwig Hellriegel’s book about the Jews of Gau-Algesheim.  He had been a merchant in the town.  On December 1, 1922, Julius had married a Catholic woman named Magdalena Kleisinger, who was born in Gau-Algesheim on July 9, 1882, and had himself converted to Catholicism.  Julius and Magdalena had two sons, Walter, who was born February 10, 1925, and Herbert, born July 27, 1927.  Julius and his family had left Gau-Algesheim for Bingen in 1939 after closing the store in 1935.

I had wondered why Julius had closed the store and then relocated to Bingen, and I asked Wolfgang what he knew about his grandfather’s life.  According to Wolfgang, his father Walter and uncle Herbert did not like to talk about the past, but Wolfgang knew that when Julius married and converted to Catholicism, his Jewish family was very upset and did not want to associate with him any longer.  In fact, Julius was forced to pay his siblings a substantial amount of money for some reason relating to his store in Gau-Algesheim, and that payment caused him and his family a great deal of financial hardship.  According to Wolfgang, Julius no longer had enough money to pay for his own home, and thus he and his family moved to Bingen in 1939 where they lived with Magdalena’s family or friends for some time.

Julius and Magdalena Seligmann

Julius and Magdalena Seligmann 1960s  Courtesy of Wolfgang Seligmann

The Hellriegel book also made some puzzling (to me) references to the military records of Wolfgang’s father and uncle, saying that they had been “allowed” to enlist in the army, but then were soon after dismissed.  Wolfgang explained that the German authorities did not know how to treat Catholic citizens with Jewish roots.  Wolfgang said that his father Walter had trained to be a pharmacist, but the Nazis would not allow him to work with anything poisonous.  In addition,  his father was not permitted to be in the army; instead  he was ordered by the authorities to work on the Siegfried Line, which was  originally built as a defensive line by the Germans during World War I.  In August 1944, Hitler ordered that it be strengthened and rebuilt, and according to Wikipedia, “20,000 forced labourers and members of the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labour Service), most of whom were 14–16-year-old boys, attempted to re-equip the line for defence purposes.”  Walter Seligmann was one of those forced laborers.

Map of the Siegfried line.

Map of the Siegfried line. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a photograph of Walter Seligmann, Wolfgang’s father:

Walter Seligmann  Photo courtesy of Wolfgang Seligmann

Walter Seligmann Photo courtesy of Wolfgang Seligmann

As for Wolfgang’s uncle Herbert, he was sent by the local police to the army, but the army would not accept him.  He was dismissed and sent back to Bingen, where he was required to work in a warehouse until the war ended.

Herbert Seligmann courtesy of Christoph Seligmann

Herbert Seligmann courtesy of Christoph Seligmann

Julius Seligmann died in 1967, and his wife Magdalena died the following year.  Walter Seligmann died in 1993, and his brother Herbert died in 2001.

Julius Seligmann death notice

Julius Seligmann death notice

Magdalena Seligmann death notice

There are some very bitter ironies in these stories.  Julius and his family were not accepted by his Jewish family because they were Catholic, but the Nazis did not accept them either because they had Jewish roots.  As I commented to Wolfgang, prejudice of any sort is so destructive and unacceptable.  His family experienced it from two different directions.

Not that the two examples here can be equated in any way.  Although all prejudice is wrong, prejudice that leads to genocide is utterly reprehensible, an evil beyond comprehension for anyone who has a moral compass.  I have already written about my own personal horror and pain when I realized that I had family who had been murdered by the Nazis.  Wolfgang told me more about some of those who lost their lives to Hitler and his evil forces.

One victim was his great-uncle Moritz Seligmann (the grandson of Moritz Seligmann, my 3x-great-grandfather, and a son of August Seligmann).  My information about his fate comes from two websites that Wolfgang shared with me. According to these two sites, Moritz Seligmann, Julius’ younger brother, was born on June 25, 1881.  He fought in World War I for Germany, spent two years in captivity, and was honored with the Hindenburg Cross or Cross of Honor for his service.  Despite this, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, on November 11, 1938, Moritz was arrested in Konigstein, where he had been living since 1925.  He was sent to the concentration camp at Buchenwald.

German Cross of Honour 1914-1918

German Cross of Honour 1914-1918 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moritz wrote to the authorities in Konigstein, pointing out that he was the recipient of the Hindenburg Cross.  He was released from Buchenwald in December on the condition that he emigrate by March 31, 1939.  He was required to report to the police in Konigstein twice a week until then, and if he had not emigrated by the deadline, he was to be arrested.  On March 28, 1939, however, the Gestapo lifted the emigration order and the reporting requirement in light of Moritz’s service during World War I.

Here is a copy of the Gestapo letter, lifting the emigration order.  I found this a particularly chilling document to see.

Gestapo letter re Moritz Seligmann

Wolfgang helped me translate this letter as follows: Frankfort, March 20, 1939. Concerning: the “Aktionsjude” Moritz Seligmann born June 25, 1881, Gau-Algesheim, residing in Konigstein.  Seligmann has provided proof that he was a soldier in the World War as a combatant.  Therefore the reporting obligation and emigration order is lifted for him. I would ask the emigration (?) to supervise and notify us here.

As explained to me by Wolfgang and by Wikipedia,  the “Aktionsjude” referred to 26,000 Jews who were deported in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, as was Moritz Seligmann, as part of an effort to frighten other Jews to leave Germany.  Unfortunately, not enough of them did.

Despite the lifting of the order to emigrate, Moritz had hoped to immigrate to the US.  For various bureaucratic reasons described here, he was unable to get clearance to emigrate.  On June 10, 1942, he was picked up by the Nazis and transported somewhere to the east.  Exactly where and when he died is not known.

Wolfgang and his family, after researching the fate of Moritz, informed the town of Konigstein of their findings, and the town agreed to place a “stolperstein” in memory of Moritz Seligmann near his home in Konigstein.  A stolperstein (literally, a stumbling blog) is a memorial stone embedded in the ground to memorialize a victim of the Holocaust.  Here is a photograph of Wolfgang at the ceremony when Moritz Seligmann’s stolperstein was installed in Konigstein.

Wolfgang Seligmann

Wolfgang Seligmann  Courtesy of Wolfgang Seligmann

Behind him is a man who knew Moritz and remembered when Moritz was initially arrested in 1938, clinging to his Hindenburg Cross, believing it would save him from the murderous forces of the Nazis.  It may have stalled his murder, but it did not save him.

Wolfgang also told me about the fate of another sibling of his grandfather Julius, his younger sister Anna.  Anna, born in Gau-Algesheim in 1889, had married Hugo Goldmann, and they had a daughter Ruth, born in 1924 in Neunkirchen, a town about 80 miles southwest of Gau-Algesheim, where Anna and Hugo had settled. Between 1939 and 1940, many people from this area near the border with France were evacuated to locations in central Germany, and Anna, Hugo, and Ruth ended up in Halle, Germany, 350 miles to the northeast of Neunkirchen.  On June 1, 1942, they were all deported from Halle to the Sobibor concentration camp where they were all killed.  Click on each name to see the memorial pages established by the town of Halle in memory of Anna, Hugo, and Ruth.

Finally, Wolfgang told me about another member of the family.  Moritz Seligmann (the elder) had had a daughter Caroline with his first wife, Eva Schoenfeld.  Caroline was the half-sister of my great-great-grandfather Bernard. She had married a man named Siegfried Seligmann, perhaps a cousin.  Their son, Emil, died in Wiesbaden on August 9, 1942, when he was 78 years old.

Death record of Emil Seligmann, husband of Carolina Seligmann

Death record of Emil Seligmann, husband of Carolina Seligmann

(Wiesbaden: The Emil Jakob Israel Seligmann, without profession, “israelitisch”  [presumably meaning Jewish], living in Wiesbaden, Gothestraße Nr. 5, died on 9th of August 1942 in his Apartment. He  was born on 23th of December 1863 in Mainz.

Father: Siegfried Seligmann, deceased.  Mother: Karoline Seligmann, nee Seligmann, deceased.  He was widower of Anna Maria Angelika born as Illien. The death was announced by Emil Seligmann, his son, living Goethestraße Nr.5.

The stamp in the left hand margin says:  Wiesbaden, 31th of May 1949.  The “Zwangsvorname”Israel is deleted.  Zwangsvorname translates as “forced first name,” meaning that the name Israel had been required by the Nazis, I assume as a way to identify him as Jewish.

Emil had a son, also named Emil, who died in Buchenwald, as this record attests.

Emil Seligmann-KZ (1)

(To: Miss Christine Seligmann, Wiesbaden, Goethestr. Nr. 5,1

From: Special registry-office in Arolsen-Waldeck, department Buchenwald

Subject: death-certification for Emil-Jakob Seligmann, Your letter from the 1. of March 1950

Based on the documents of the International Tracing Service in Arolsen it is proved, that your brother died on 14th of February 1945 in the Concentration Camp Buchenwald. )

I imagine that this is not the end of the list of the Seligmanns who were murdered during the Holocaust, and I imagine that there are also many other family members I never knew about who were killed by the Nazis, whether they were named Schoenfeld, Nussbaum, Dreyfuss, Goldschlager, Rosenzweig, Cohen, or Brotman or something else.  I just haven’t found them yet.

Wolfgang and I plan to keep on exchanging stories, pictures, documents, and other information.  We have also already talked about meeting someday and walking in the footsteps of our mutual ancestors.  What an honor it will be to be with him as we share our family’s story.

Ernst Nusbaum and Family in the 1880s: Years of Growth and Movement

There is one more line of the Nusbaum clan to complete, that of John’s younger brother Ernst.  Since it’s been two months since I last wrote about Ernst and his family, I thought I would first summarize what he and his family were doing in 1880 and where they had been before then.  Then we can bring Ernst and his family up to the 20th century.  Today I will discuss the 1880s.  I’ve included a series of Google Maps to show how much this family moved around in the 1880s.

Ernst is the Nusbaum sibling who may have lived in Philadelphia first and never lived anywhere else after settling there by 1851 when his first child Arthur was born.  Ernst was married to Clarissa Arnold, and in the 1850s he was a clothing merchant in Philadelphia with his firm,  Nusbaum, Arnold, and Nirdlinger.  Between 1851 and 1861, he and Clarissa had six children: Arthur, Myer, Fanny, Edgar, Henrietta, and Frank.  During the 1860s, Ernst continued to work in the clothing business with Nusbaum, Arnold, and Nirdlinger, and his children continued to grow.

The next decade presented serious financial challenges for Ernst and his family.  His company declared bankruptcy in 1870, and for much of the decade I could not find a listing that showed what Ernst was doing for a living.  Meanwhile, his oldest children were entering the workforce and getting married.  Between 1876 and 1879, Arthur married Henrietta Hilbronner, Fannie married Jacob Hano, Myer married Rosalie Aub, and Edgar married Viola Barritt.  Several grandchildren were born as well.  By 1880, only Henrietta and Frank, the two youngest children, were still living at home.

In 1880, Ernst was 64 and working as a cloak manufacturer, according to the 1880 census.  Until 1884, he and Clarissa continued to live in the same home where they had lived for many years and raised their children at 2105 Green Street.  In 1884 they were now listed as living at 2028 Mt. Vernon Street where they would remain throughout the decade.  Ernst was also continuing to work in the cloaks business throughout these years.

After his brother John died in 1889, Ernst was the only Nusbaum sibling left in the United States.  He and Clarissa continued to live in the same home, and he continued to work in the cloaks business into the 1890s when he was in his seventies.

As for the children of Ernst and Clarissa in the 1880s, their oldest child Arthur and his wife Henrietta had four children between 1877 and 1895: Florence (1877), Sidney (1879), Horace (1885), and Stella (1889).  In 1880 Arthur, Clarissa, and the two oldest children were living with Henrietta’s parents at 938 North 7th Street, and Arthur was working as a clothing cutter, presumably for his father-in-law, who was a clothing manufacturer.  In 1883 and 1884, Arthur is listed as a tailor, still living at his in-laws residence at 938 North 7th Street.  In 1885, he is listed at 1338 Franklin Avenue as he is in 1887, working as a salesman, and in 1888 he is living at 1814 Franklin with no occupation specified.  In 1890 they had moved again, now living at 1732 Gratz Street, and Arthur was working as a cutter.

Myer, the second child of Ernst and Clarissa, and his wife Rosalie Aub had two children, Corinne (1878) and Jacob (1879).  In 1880 Myer was working as a bookkeeper for a clothing company.  The family was living at 979 North 7th Street.  In 1885 his residence as listed as 1825 North 8th Street; Myer continued to work as a bookkeeper.  But in the 1889 and 1890 directories his residence is again 979 North 7th Street, as it was also in 1891.  In each, his occupation is bookkeeping.

Fanny, the third child, and her husband Jacob Hano had six children between 1877 and 1891: Louis (1877), Ernest (1880), Samuel (1883), Myer (1885), Alfred (1890), and Clarence (1891).  Six boys.  Wow.  Although I am no longer surprised to see a Jewish child named for someone living, the fact that Fanny gave a son not only the same name as her father while he was still alive (his middle name was even Nusbaum), but also gave another son the same name as her brother did surprise me.

Fanny and Jacob had been living in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1880, where Jacob had declared bankruptcy in 1878, but Jacob was working once again as a clothier in 1880 in Youngstown.  By 1884, however, Fanny and Jacob and their children had moved back to Philadelphia to 1823 Poplar Street, and Jacob was working as a salesman.  By 1889, however, the Hano family had relocated again, this time to New York City, where Jacob was a book dealer.  The family was living at 967 Park Avenue in Manhattan in 1889.  Fanny and Jacob never again returned to live in the Philadelphia area, but stayed in greater New York.

Although Edgar Nusbaum and his wife Viola Barritt had not been living together according to the 1880 census, they had a daughter named Selena, born in 1881.  On the 1881 Philadelphia directory, Edgar is still listed at his parents’ residence at 2105 Green Street, working as a salesman, but by 1882 he had moved out to 1331 Girard Avenue and was working as a clerk. A year later he is listed as a bookkeeper living at 1922 Van Pelt, in 1884 as a clerk living at 1318 South Broad Street, and he is missing from the 1885 and 1887 directories.  Edgar reappears in 1888, living at yet another address (2029 North 11th Street), where they finally seemed to settle down for a number of years.

(I cannot imagine moving as often as these people seemed to move.  I’ve lived in only two places in the last 30 years and in only five places total my whole adult life (and only three places as a child).  These people seemed to move every year or so.  I guess they had less “stuff” so moving was easier.)

Henrietta, the fifth of the children of Ernst and Clarissa, married Frank Newhouse in 1883 in Philadelphia.  Frank was from Philadelphia, one of eleven children, and in 1860 when he was six years old, his household included a governess and three domestic servants as well as the nine children then alive and two adults.  His father Joseph Newhouse, a German native, gave his occupation as “gentleman” on the 1860 census.  He had real estate worth $40,000 as well as personal property also worth $40,000.

Frank and Henrietta (Nusbaum) Newhouse were living at 2028 Mt. Vernon Street in 1884, the same address where Henrietta’s parents were living at that time.  Frank and Henrietta would live with Ernst and Clarissa at that address for many years.  Although Frank’s occupation was given as salesman in some of the directories and as late as 1889, in 1890 he is listed as part of the firm of Rice and Newhouse, tailors. Since all the other entries said he was a salesman, I thought the 1890 listing seems anomalous and perhaps wrong. But I checked the 1892 directory, and it still has Frank working at Rice and Newhouse and still identifies the business as tailoring.  Frank and Henrietta did not have any children.

Finally, the youngest of Ernst and Clarissa’s children was Frank Nusbaum, born in 1861. He’d been living at home in 1880, working as a clerk, and was still living with his parents in 1884 and 1885.  By 1885 his occupation had changed to bookkeeper. He married Dolly Hills in Philadelphia in 1887 when he was 26.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out anything about Dolly’s background.  The closest match was a Dollie Hill living on a farm in Pennsvylania with her family in 1870, but I could not find that Dollie on a later record.  Frank and Dolly had one child, Loraine, born in 1889. Frank and Dolly lived at 2017 Vine Street in 1888 and 1889.  Frank was at first working as a clerk and then as a salesman.

Here is one last map showing where each member of the family was living in the late 1880s (other than Fanny,  who was in New York):

Thus, the 1880s were a fruitful time for the family of Ernst and Clarissa (Arnold) Nusbaum.  Their children were all married, and there were a number of grandchildren born.  All but one of their children were living in Philadelphia, and most of the men were involved in the clothing trade, either as manufacturers, tailors, or salesmen.  After the hardships of the 1870s, life must have seemed pretty good for Ernst, Clarissa, and their children.  Unfortunately, the 1890s would not be as easy a decade.

 

 

 

 

 

Rosenzweig Update: Who Signed that Death Certificate?

One of the biggest mysteries I encountered in researching my Rosenzweig cousins was the mystery of Lilly Rosenzweig, the first child of Gustave and Gussie Rosenzweig.  Lilly was my grandfather Isadore Goldschlager’s first cousin.  Lilly had married Toscano Bartolino in 1901 and had had a child William with him, born March 9, 1902.  Then just two years later on April 27, 1904, Toscano had died from kidney disease at age 27, leaving Lilly a twenty year old widow with a two year old child.

Bartolini Rosenzweig marriage certificate

Bartolini Rosenzweig marriage certificate

 

William Bartolini birth certificate

William Bartolini birth certificate

Toscano Bartolini death certificate

Toscano Bartolini death certificate

 

Lilly and her son William were living with Gustave and Gussie in 1905, but by 1910, William was no longer living with his mother and grandparents, but was in St. John’s Home for Boys in Brooklyn.

Gustave Rosenzweig family on the 1905 NYS census

Gustave Rosenzweig family on the 1905 NYS census

William Bartolini 1910 at St John's Home, Brooklyn

William Bartolini 1910 at St John’s Home, Brooklyn

 

Lilly was still living with her parents in 1910 and working as a nurse.  In 1915, William was at a different residential home, but I could not find Lilly at all on the 1915 NYS census nor could I find her anywhere after that.  None of the great-grandchildren of Gustave and Gussie knew what had happened to her, except that they thought she had remarried and moved to New Jersey at some point.  No one knew her married name or whether she had more children.  I was stuck and could not get any further.

I thought I had a new clue when I obtained Gustave’s 1944 death certificate.  It was signed by an informant I thought might be Lilly.  I posted the signature on the blog, hoping someone would be able to decipher it more clearly than I could, but every possible reading of the signature led me nowhere, even using wildcard searches and as many variations as I could.  I put Lilly aside and figured it was a lost cause.

Gustav Rosenzweig death cert 1

And then? Well, this past weekend I received a call from Harriet, one of Lilly’s nieces.  She not only remembered Lilly well—she remembered the first name of her second husband—Carmen. And she said they had lived in Jersey City. She remembered Lilly fondly and described her as funny and fun-loving, like all the Rosenzweig siblings.

So I now had two more clues.  Lilly had married someone named Carmen, and they had lived in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Armed with just those additional pieces of information, I was able to design a search on FamilySearch using the two first names and the location.  The first result on the results list was a Lilly and Carmen Dorme living in Rutherford, New Jersey in 1940.

Carmen and Lillian Dorme 1940 US census

Carmen and Lillian Dorme 1940 US census

 

Rutherford was not Jersey City, but it was close by, so I decided to try that surname.  Using Dorme, I was able to search more thoroughly and found that Lilly and Carmen Dorme were already married by 1918 when Carmen  (using Carmine Dormes then) registered for the World War I draft and that they were living in Jersey City.  This had to be my long-missing cousin Lilly.

Carmine Dormes World War I draft registration

Carmine Dormes World War I draft registration

 

After that, I was also able to find Lilly and Carmen in several Jersey City directories and in the 1930 US census, which revealed that Lilly and Carmen had a child, Louis, who was then sixteen years old.

Dorme family on the 1930 US census

Dorme family on the 1930 US census

Further searching uncovered a Louis Dorme’s entry on the Social Security Death Index, indicating that he was born in New York on May 13, 1913, and had died in 1977.  This was consistent with the age and birthplace for Louis on the 1930 census, so I am reasonably certain that this is the correct person.

I still cannot find the family on the 1920 census, and since they were living in Jersey City both before and after 1920, I assumed that they would have been there then as well.  But although Carmen is listed in both the 1918 and the 1925 Jersey City directories, he is not in the 1922 directory (the intermediate years are not available online).  Harriet thought that Lilly had served as a nurse overseas during World War I, so perhaps that is where the family was located during that period.  I cannot, however, find a military record for Carmen, so I have no way to know for sure where they were during that period.

And although I do know when Louis died (1977) and when Carmen died (1962) from the SSDI, I cannot find Lilly on the SSDI nor can I find any other record of her death.  Harriet does remember Lilly’s death (in fact, Harriet’s mother reported that Lilly’s last words was a request for a corned beef sandwich!), but not the specific year or place.

But I do have one clue, and it goes back to Gustave’s death certificate.  As soon as I saw that Lilly’s married name was Dorme, something clicked in my head.  I went back to look at Gustave’s death certificate, and now it seemed strikingly clear that the informant’s name was L. Dorme.

Lilly as informant

How could I not have seen that or found her before?  I just don’t know.  But now I knew that it was in fact Lilly who signed her father’s death certificate.  And so I know that she was still alive as of October 16, 1944, when Gustave died.  I am sure with a few more clues I will be able to narrow down the year and perhaps find her death record as well.

So in the space of one afternoon with the help of a new cousin, I was able to resolve one of the biggest questions I had remaining about my grandfather’s Rosenzweig first cousins.  Thank you, Harriet!