Time for A Break!

I will be absent from the blogosphere for a bit as I travel to see my college friends and then do some traveling with my husband.  I might post a photo or two if the mood hits, but no real posts until June.  I will try and keep up with comments and emails.

For those who are curious as to my destinations, here’s a genealogy quiz: I will be visiting a place where one of my grandmothers spent most of her childhood and then a place where one of my great-grandmothers was born and raised.

No cheating by my family and friends who know my destinations—this quiz is only for those to whom I’ve not revealed my plans.

Hope to catch up with my fellow bloggers when I return.  And when I do, I will finish the story of the Hambergs, tie up a few other loose ends, and then move on to the next major project, my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein’s family.

See you in a bit!

How Descendants Bear the Scars of their Forebears: The Legacy of Charles Hamberg and His Son Samuel

As my last several posts have described, Samuel T. Hamberg lived an interesting and in many ways sad life.  His mother Lena Goodman Hamberg died when he was nine; his father Charles Baruch Hamberg killed himself when Samuel was eleven.  Samuel was adopted by his second cousin, Henry Schoenthal, and moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, from Columbia, South Carolina.  He even probably lived with my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal, also his second cousin, for some time.  I feel some emotional connection to this poor orphaned boy.

Then he moved to Philadelphia where he attended and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.  He started to work as a pharmacist, married Jennie Tracy, moved to Camden, New Jersey, and had three children, Charles, Frances, and Edwin, with his wife Jennie.  His life seemed to be remarkably successful and happy for someone who had suffered so much trauma as a young child.

But perhaps there was just an outward appearance of happiness and success.  By 1910, Samuel was no longer living with his wife and children.  Even after Jennie died at a young age in 1917 when her children were not yet grown, Samuel did not come back to live with his children.  Instead, they lived with their aunt, Jennie’s widowed sister, Clara Campbell.

Jennie Hamberg and children 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T624_874; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374887

Jennie Hamberg and children 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T624_874; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374887

Samuel lived in Pittsburgh for some time, working as an investigator for the state, and then by 1930 was back in Philadelphia living with a woman from western Pennsylvania named Cecelia Link.  Cecelia died in 1934.  And I have absolutely no idea what happened to Samuel after 1930.

I can’t find him on the 1940 census anywhere; I can’t find him in any city directory.  I can’t find him in any newspaper articles.  And I can’t find him on any death record. I called the cemetery where Jennie was buried.  He’s not there.  I contacted the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, but received no response.  I have run out of ideas.  A solid brick wall.  I am still searching and hoping to find out more about the rest of his life, but I worry that Samuel’s life ended poorly.

English: A brick wall (stretcher bond) Françai...

English: A brick wall (stretcher bond) Français : Un mur de briques (Appareil en paneresses). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for his children, in 1920 they were still living at 126 Dudley Street in Camden, but with only their aunt Clara Campbell (Jennie’s sister, a widow) as the adult in the household.  Charles, now nineteen, was working as a bonds salesman.  Frances, now sixteen, was working as a clerk in an insurance company, and Edwin, thirteen, was not employed.

Samuel Hamberg's children 1920 census Year: 1920; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1024; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 84; Image: 182

Samuel Hamberg’s children 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1024; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 84; Image: 182

 

In 1924, Charles and his sister Frances were still living together, but at a new address—2931 Mickle Street in Camden.  They also appear to have changed the spelling of their surname from Hamberg to Hamburg. Were they disassociating from their father? Why would they change the E to a U?

Charles was working as a salesman, Frances as a clerk.  Edwin, who would have been only seventeen, was not listed in the directory.  In 1926, Charles and Frances were living at yet another address—2918 Carman Street—and still working at the same occupations. Their surname is once again spelled Hamburg.  Edwin is still not listed.

And then Charles and Frances disappear.  They are not listed in the 1927 or 1928 Camden directories nor is Edwin.  But in 1929 Edwin does appear in the directory—as Edwin F. Hampton, a salesman residing at 67 South 29th Street in Camden. The 1929 directory has him with the same name, residing at the same address and indicating that he was a salesman in Philadelphia.

Edwin had apparently changed his surname also–from Hamberg to Hampton.  I knew this was the correct Edwin because on the 1930 census Edwin Hampton was living in Camden, NJ, with his aunt Clara Campbell, the same aunt who had taken care of Edwin and his siblings after their mother died in 1917. Edwin was married, and his wife’s name was Edna.  Edwin was working as a weather-stripping contractor, Edna as a bookkeeper in a dairy. Both were 24 and were married at 23, so about a year before the 1930 census.

Edwin Hampton 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Camden, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: 1322; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0057; Image: 137.0; FHL microfilm: 2341057

Edwin Hampton 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Camden, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: 1322; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0057; Image: 137.0; FHL microfilm: 2341057

 

I don’t know how long the marriage between Edwin and Edna lasted, but in 1939 Edwin married Ruth V. Peterson, and he is listed on the 1940 census with this second wife, Ruth. Edwin was now working as a driver for an oil company, and they had a two year old daughter.  I again knew this was the correct Edwin because also living with them was Edwin’s aunt, Clara Campbell.  Ruth and Edwin were still living in Camden in 1943, according to the city directory for that year.

Edwin Hampton 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: Pennsauken, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2323; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 4-116

Edwin Hampton 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Pennsauken, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2323; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 4-116

After that there were no other records I could find for Edwin.  I did, however, find his wife Ruth’s obituary from June 25, 1995, which revealed both where she was to be buried, Bethel Memorial Park in Pennsauken, New Jersey, and that she was a widow when she died.  Thus, I knew that Edwin had died prior to June 1995.  I called the Bethel Memorial Park cemetery and asked if they had any information about Edwin.  I learned that he was buried there on November 23, 1970.  Even with that information, I could not find an exact date of death.  Edwin isn’t even listed in the Social Security Death Index.

What about his siblings, Charles and Frances?

Knowing that Edwin had changed his surname to Hampton, I searched for Charles under that surname as well. There was a Charles T. Hampton in the 1930 census, listed as in the insurance business and residing at 2617 North 33rd Street in Philadelphia. He was married to a woman named Lula (and her mother Lula Wright was living with them), and the census indicated that they had been married about three years. I found a marriage record for Charles T. Hampton and Lula Wright in Philadelphia in 1927.  In 1930 at the time of the census, they had an eighteen month old son.

Charles Hampton 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2113; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0696; Image: 546.0; FHL microfilm: 2341847

Charles Hampton 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2113; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0696; Image: 546.0; FHL microfilm: 2341847

At first I was not at all convinced that this was the right Charles.  He was 32, a few years older than my Charles T. Hamberg would have been in 1930.  The census said he was born in Pennsylvania, where Charles was in fact born, but the census also said that Charles Hampton’s father was born in Pennsylvania instead of South Carolina where Samuel Hamberg had been born.  That error and the age discrepancy gave me reason to doubt that this was Charles Hamberg.

That doubt increased substantially when I found another Charles T. Hampton on the 1900 census living in Aston, Pennsylvania, a seven month old baby who would have been close to the right age to match the Charles T. Hampton I’d found on the 1930 census.  That Charles was the son of Charles and Elsie Hampton.

Some of the doubt was erased, however, when I found those Hamptons on the 1910 and 1920 census and learned that the Charles Hampton born in October 1899 was in fact Charles August Hampton and that in 1930 Charles August Hampton was living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, married to a woman named Mary.

Although that eliminated that Charles Hampton, I still hadn’t confirmed that the Charles T. Hampton married to Lula Wright was in fact born Charles Hamberg, son of Samuel Hamberg and Jenny Tracey.  So I continued to look for more clues about Charles T. Hampton.

I found him with his family on the 1940 census.  He was still married to Lula, and they now had two children, an eleven year old son and a five year old daughter.  Lula’s mother was still living with them.  Charles was a life insurance salesman.  And this time his age was reported as 39, meaning he was born in 1900 or 1901, which is consistent with the birth year for Charles Hamberg.  I was now more convinced that this could be the right person.

Charles Hampton 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3714; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 51-873

Charles Hampton 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3714; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 51-873

Could be, but was it?   Lula Wright Hampton died on October 4, 1955, from ovarian cancer.  Her husband Charles signed the death certificate as the informant, so I knew that Charles T. Hampton was still living as of October 4, 1955.  Lula was buried at Mt. Peace cemetery in Philadelphia.

Lula Wright Hampton death certificate 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.

Lula Wright Hampton death certificate
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.

And then I found an important clue: a June 10, 1968 bill submitted by the Oliver H. Bair funeral home for services rendered in connection with the funeral of Charles T. Hampton and his burial at Mt. Peace cemetery.  The same cemetery where Lula Hampton had been buried in 1955.  And the most revealing bit of information on that bill was that it had been submitted to Mr. Edwin F. Hampton.  That is, the brother of Charles T. Hampton.  For me, that was the one piece I needed to tie Charles T. Hampton, husband of Lula, to Charles T. Hamberg, son of Samuel: his funeral had been paid for by his brother, Edwin F. Hampton, born Edwin F. Hamberg.

Bill for funeral of Charles T. Hampton, June 1968 Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Oliver H. Bair Funeral Records Indexes, 1920-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Oliver H. Bair Funeral Records. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Bill for funeral of Charles T. Hampton, June 1968
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Oliver H. Bair Funeral Records Indexes, 1920-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Oliver H. Bair Funeral Records. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

That left one more sibling to find: Frances D. Hamberg, born in 1903 or so, whom I’d last found in the 1926 Camden directory, living with her brother Charles and working as a clerk.  As is so often the case with women, she seemed to disappear.  I assumed she’d married, but I couldn’t find a marriage record.

Once again, one small clue broke down the wall.  Someone with a private tree on Ancestry had someone on their tree named Dorothy Whitman, wife of Frank E. Whitman, indicating that Dorothy Whitman was born Frances Dorothy Hamburg. [1]  I figured it was a clue worth pursuing.

And it indeed was.  I found a marriage record dated October 4, 1924 for Frank Eugene Whitman and Frances Dorothy Hamburg from the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.  And I knew this was the right Frances D. Hambe/urg because one of the witnesses at the wedding was her brother, Charles T. Hamburg (before he changed his surname to Hampton).  See the last entry on the document below:

Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 1018 Description Organization Name : Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 1018
Description
Organization Name : Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

 

Frank E. Whitman had been previously married to Mildred Mendenhall, with whom he’d had a son in 1919 named Frank E. Whitman, Jr.  Mildred had died on January 31, 1920, from influenza during the epidemic that killed so many people.  Her infant son, like Samuel T. Hamberg and then like Samuel’s own three children, was left motherless.

There are some strange occurrences in the directory entries for Frank and for Frances in the years right after they married.  In 1925, Frank is listed in the Philadelphia directory as a salesman, living at 3450A Angora Street.  But in 1926, Frances is listed as Frances Hamburg in the Camden directory, living at the same address as her brother Charles, 2918 Carman Street. If she had married Frank in 1924, why was she still using Hamburg, and why was she living in Camden with her brother?

Finally, in 1927 Frank and Frances are listed together at 67 South 29th Street in Camden, the same address where Frances’ brother Edwin Hampton was living. Frank and Frances are listed again at the address two years later in the 1929 Camden directory.

But I cannot find Frank and Frances anywhere on the 1930 census—not in Camden, not in Philadelphia, not in any other place.  On the other hand, I did find Frank’s son from his first marriage living with his grandparents, Frank Sr.’s parents, in Philadelphia.  He was also living with them in 1940, so it appears that he was raised by his paternal grandparents, not his father and stepmother, just as his stepmother Frances had been raised by her aunt, not her father after her mother died.

So where were Frank and Frances in 1930? I don’t know.  They don’t reappear on any records until the 1940 census when they are listed as living at 215 Walnut Lane in Philadelphia, Apt. A202.  Frances is now using her middle name Dorothy as her first name.  Frank was working as a plant manager for a petroleum company.  They had been living at the same place in 1935, and they were still living there two years later when Frank registered for the World War II draft.

Frank and Dorothy Whitman 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3704; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 51-553

Frank and Dorothy Whitman 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3704; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 51-553

 

Frank and Frances Dorothy (Hambe/urg) Whitman both died in Florida, Frank in 1981, Frances Dorothy in 1998. She was 95 years old.  As far as I can tell, they did not have children together, but without the 1930 census, I cannot be certain.  Her obituary had no personal information at all.

Thus ends the saga of Charles Hamberg, born Baruch Hamberg in Breuna, Germany.  As a young man, he immigrated in 1852 with his cousin Abraham, who died less than two years later.  Charles married Mary Hanchey in 1853, and she was murdered in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1866.  Charles remarried, and with his second wife Lena, he had one child, Samuel.  Then, as stated above, after Lena died and Charles took his own life, Samuel moved to western Pennsylvania where he grew up with his Schoenthal cousins.  As described above and in my prior post, Samuel’s own life was a rollercoaster—a tragic childhood, a promising young adulthood, and then a life that seemed to fray around the edges.

As Samuel must have borne the scars of his tragic childhood, so did his children.  They also lost their mother at a young age.  They also seemed to lose their father early in their lives, although not to death.  They all changed their surnames, perhaps to distance themselves from that father.  Charles Baruch Hamberg’s legacy appears to be a sad one, though without a few more answers, it is hard to know for sure.

 

 

[1] Although the tree was private, Ancestry will list names from a private tree; you just can’t see the details of the tree without permission of the owner.  .

From Orphan to Pharmacist and Then?

In two recent posts I shared the sad story of Charles Hamberg and his life in Columbia, South Carolina, which ended with his suicide in 1879.  His son Samuel was only eleven when his father died.  Samuel’s mother Lena had died two years earlier.  Charles’ cousin Amalia Hamberg administered his estate, and then somehow Charles’ son Samuel came to live in western Pennsylvania where he was adopted by his second cousin, my great-grandfather’s brother, Henry Schoenthal.

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

 

In 1886 when Samuel was then eighteen years old, he was working as a clerk at 5 East Beau Street in Washington and living at the corner of Beau and Lincoln in that town, according to the 1886 directory for Washington, Pennsylvania.  According to that same source, my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal, who had arrived in Washington in 1881, was living at 203 East Beau Street that same year; looking at Google Maps, I see that 203 East Beau Street is located at the corner of Lincoln and Beau.

[Thanks to Lara of Lara’s Jewnealogy, I now know how to use Google Maps more effectively.  See her great post here.]

Thus, Samuel Hamberg was probably living with my great-grandfather.  I imagine that they lived and maybe even worked together, my great-grandfather watching over his younger second cousin.  Perhaps Samuel helped my great-grandfather learn English and adjust to American ways.

By 1889, Samuel, now 21 years old, had moved to Philadelphia.  He is listed in the directory for that year as Samuel T. Hamberg, a manager, residing at “134 E. Orthodox, FKD.”  FKD stands for Frankford, a neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia about six miles from the center of the city.  I wondered what had taken him there.

It took me a very long time to find out, but when I finally decided, after exhausting traditional genealogy sources, to Google “Samuel T. Hamberg” as a last ditch effort to learn more, I found these two entries in Google Books:

P.W. Bedford, Pharmaceutical Record and Weekly Market Review, Volume 10, April 21, 1890, p. 163, found here (list of graduates of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy).

26th Annual Report of the Alumni Association of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (1890), found here.

Class of 1890, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Alumni Association Report, p. 194

Class of 1890, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
Alumni Association Report, p. 194

Samuel T. Hamberg, the boy who had lost both his parents before his twelfth birthday, had graduated from the four-year program at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1890 when he was 22 years old. The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy was the first pharmacy school in the United States and still exists today.

Not only had Samuel graduated from this prestigious institution, but a further search into both of the above sources revealed that his middle name was Tilden,[1] that he had written his thesis on nitroglycerin, that he had played the guitar to open the commencement exercises as part of a musical ensemble (perhaps his musical adoptive brother Lionel Schoenthal with whom he’d lived in Washington had given him music lessons), and that he had been selected to be the Class Poet.  The poem he read at the school’s commencement exercises in 1890 is filled with references to professors and specific memories of the school years, but this particular verse seemed a more personal statement:

Sorrows and losses may be borne,

Be baffled and dismayed,

Feel the sharp pang of many a thorn

By our own follies made.

But hope and effort may improve

And help us to thankful be,

It surely did in this case

It helped us—in a degree.

(Samuel Tilden Hamberg, 1890, as published in the Alumni Report, cited above, p.124.)

Samuel Tilden Hamberg certainly had suffered sorrows and losses, though not by his “own follies made.”  But it seems with the love of his family in Washington, Pennsylvania, he had in fact borne those sorrows and losses and succeeded in coming through them as a grateful and successful young man.

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Samuel stayed on in Philadelphia after graduating. In the 1892 directory for Philadelphia, Samuel T. Hamberg is listed as a clerk, living now at 6933 Hagerman Avenue.  Two years later in 1894 he lists his occupation as druggist, living at 824 Somerset.  In 1895 and 1896 there are numerous advertisements listing Samuel T. Hamberg as a pharmacist in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Samuel T. Hamberg married Jane E. Tracey on November 20, 1898, at the Zion Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.  At the time they married, Samuel had been residing in Camden, New Jersey, according to the marriage record.  His wife had been living in Philadelphia where she was born in December, 1869.  Jane, or Jennie as she was generally identified on most records, was the daughter of Edwin Tracey (often spelled Tracy) and Jane Irwin.  Edwin was a Philadelphia native and a shoemaker according to the 1880 census; his wife Jane was born in Ireland.  Jennie was the seventh of nine children.

Marriage record of Samuel Hamberg and Jane Tracey November 20, 1898, Zion Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 978

Marriage record of Samuel Hamberg and Jane Tracey November 20, 1898, Zion Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 978

 

In 1900, Samuel and Jennie were living in Philadelphia in the household of Jennie’s brother Albert Tracy along with Jennie’s mother Jane and her three sisters.  Samuel was working as a hospital supplies salesman.  I know this is the correct Samuel Hamberg because his birth place is given as South Carolina, his father’s as Germany, his mother’s as South Carolina.  (I found it interesting that Samuel reported the birth places of his birth parents, Charles and Lena, not those of his adoptive parents.)

Samuel Hamberg 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1472; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0748; FHL microfilm: 1241472

Samuel Hamberg 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1472; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0748; FHL microfilm: 1241472

 

On September 4, 1900, Samuel and Jennie had their first child, a son named Charles, presumably named for Samuel’s father Charles.

The family must have soon thereafter moved to Camden, New Jersey, for Samuel is listed as a salesman in the 1901 Camden directory.  Samuel and Jennie are also listed in the 1902 and 1903 Camden directories at 3010 Westfield Street; Samuel is still listed as a salesman.  A second child was born that year, Frances D. Hamberg, born in January, 1903, in New Jersey.  Samuel and Jennie were still living at the same address in 1904 and in 1905.

Then things start getting a little confusing.  In 1906 Samuel T. Hamberg is listed in the Philadelphia directory as a salesman residing at 27 North 60th Street in that city.  There is no listing for him in the Camden directory for that year.  But the following year Samuel is listed as a salesman in the Camden directory, residing at 126 Dudley Street.  Then in 1908, the listing is only in Jennie’s name—Jennie Hamberg at 126 Dudley Street.

Meanwhile in October 1907, a third child had been born to Samuel and Jennie—Edwin F. Hamberg.  Had Samuel and Jennie separated in 1906, reconciled and had a third child in 1907, and then separated again in 1908? Jennie is again listed alone at 126 Dudley in Camden in 1909, this time with an occupation, dressmaker.

But where was Samuel in 1908 and 1909? He is not listed in the Camden directory.  There are two Samuel Hambergs listed in Philadelphia in 1909, but they are father and son and listed as pawnbrokers, so neither of them seems to be the right Samuel.  There are no Samuel Hambergs listed in the directories for those years for Pittsburgh or Washington, Pennsylvania, or Baltimore.

In 1910, Samuel reappears on the 1910 census in Baltimore, Maryland, living as a boarder and working as a pharmacist in a drugstore.  I know this is my Samuel because he is Samuel T. Hamberg, born in South Carolina, father born in Germany, mother in South Carolina.  But why is he in Baltimore?  He is still listing himself as married, so maybe he went to Baltimore to find work.   Since he had been working as a salesman while living in Camden, maybe he wanted to return to being a regular pharmacist.

Samuel Hamberg 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_553; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 1374566

Samuel Hamberg 1910 census Line 85
Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_553; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 1374566

Jennie and the three children were still living at 126 Dudley in Camden in 1910.  According to the census, they were living with Jennie’s sister Clara Campbell and her mother Jane Tracy.  Like Samuel, Jennie still reported herself as married.  Although Jennie reported no occupation on the 1910 census, the 1910 and 1911 Camden directories list her as a dressmaker.

Jennie Hamberg and children 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T624_874; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374887

Jennie Hamberg and children 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T624_874; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374887

 

Samuel is listed in the 1911 Baltimore directory, but then he again disappears.  I couldn’t find him in any newspaper article or any directory after 1911 during the decade of the 1910s.

Jennie, however, continued to be listed in the Camden directories from 1910 through 1916.  In 1915, she and her children are listed on the New Jersey census, once again living with her sister Clara and her mother Jane; Samuel is not part of their household.

Jennie Tracey Hamberg died from heart disease on March 4, 1917.  She was only 47 years old, and she left behind three children.  Charles was not yet sixteen, Frances not yet fourteen, and Edwin not yet ten years old.  Like their father Samuel, they lost their mother at a young age.

Jennie Tracey Hamberg death certificate

Jennie Hamberg burial record Fernwood Cemetery, Yeardon, PA Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records

Jennie Hamberg burial record
Fernwood Cemetery, Yeardon, PA
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records

So where was their father? I could not find him on the 1920 census or anywhere during the 1920s until I searched for “Samuel T. Hamberg” in Google.  And along with the links noted above relating to his education as a pharmacist, I found several links indicating that in 1920 Samuel was in Pittsburgh working for the state of Pennsylvania as a temporary investigator doing fair price work.  Even knowing this additional information, I could not locate Samuel on the 1920 census or in any directory in the 1920s.

Samuel Hamberg investigator 1920

Herman P. Miller, Snull’s Legislative Handbook and Manual of the State of Pennsylvania, 1920, p. 144, found here.

But Samuel T. Hamberg does reappear on the 1930 census.  He is listed as Sam T. Hamberg, 62 years old (the correct age), married at age 30 (the correct age), widowed (Jennie was dead), born in South Carolina, father born in Germany, mother in South Carolina (all correct).  Clearly this is the right person.  He was now living in Philadelphia, working as a novelty salesman, and living with his “sister” Cecelia Link. What had happened to his pharmacy career? His work as a state investigator? And who was Cecelia Link?

Samuel Hamberg 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0777; Image: 969.0; FHL microfilm: 2341859

Samuel Hamberg 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0777; Image: 969.0; FHL microfilm: 2341859

Samuel did not have any sisters except for his adoptive sister Hilda Schoenthal, the daughter of Henry Schoenthal.  Cecelia was twenty years younger than Samuel, according to the 1930 census, born in Pennsylvania, single, and working as a telephone operator.  Cecelia answered the enumerator’s questions as indicated by the H on the line where her name is. Who was she, and why was she living with Samuel?

I found a Celia Link living with her mother and two sisters (and a brother-in-law) in Pittsburgh on the 1920 census.  Celia was forty years old, single, and working as a telephone operator.  It seemed like an unlikely coincidence that there were two women with just about the same name, both born in Pennsylvania, and both working as telephone operators.  (Remember that Samuel was living in Pittsburgh in 1920.)

So I looked for more about this Celia Link.  The 1916 Pittsburgh directory had her listed as Cecelia Link working as a telephone operator, so now we had the exact same name.  The 1910 census has her again as Celia, living with her parents, working as a telephone operator, and 33 years old.  Going back yet another ten years, the 1900 census lists her as Cecilia, age 22, with a birth date of March 1878, and no occupation.

Then I found her death certificate.  Cecelia Link died of chronic myocarditis on May 6, 1934, at “abt age 48,” according to her sister, the informant.  Assuming that Cecelia was 22 in 1900, she would have been 56 in 1934.  Even in 1920, she reported to be 40, making her 54 in 1934.  She was therefore only about ten years younger than Samuel, not twenty.  Note also that she was born in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Cecilia Link death certificate 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.

Cecilia Link death certificate
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.

I assume that Samuel met Cecelia when he was working in Pittsburgh as an investigator. And that they were more than “brother and sister.”  I think Cecelia lied both about her age and her relationship to Charles.

But Cecelia died in 1934 back in Pittsburgh.  What happened to Samuel before and after her death? And where were his children?

More questions to answer.

 

 

 

 

[1] There is no earlier indication that Samuel’s middle name was Tilden.  Did he adopt this middle name himself? In 1868 when Samuel Hamberg was born in Columbia, South Carolina, Samuel Tilden was probably not a nationally known figure.  He was from New York State and a supporter of the Union during the Civil War.  After the war he was active in reforming the Democratic party.  Would Charles Hamberg have known of him and named his son for him? Unlikely.

But Samuel Tilden was the Democratic party’s nominee in the 1876 Presidential election; the results of the election were disputed when several states turned into multiple sets of return.  The Presidency was determined by a partisan commission established by Congress, and Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes, even though he had won the popular vote.  I think it is more likely that Samuel Hamberg adopted Tilden’s name as his middle name sometime as a young adult after Tilden was more of a household name.  Tilden died in 1886, and the first use I’ve seen of the middle initial T by Samuel Hamberg was while he was in pharmacy school in the late 1880s.  For more on Samuel Tilden, see here and here and here.

The Mysterious Administratrix

As I wrote last week, Samuel Hamberg, my great-grandfather’s second cousin, was orphaned in 1879 in Columbia, South Carolina, when his father Charles committed suicide two years after Samuel’s mother Lena had died at age 28.  But how did Samuel end up in Pennsylvania? Looking for the answer to that question led to another mystery and, I think, more answers.

Charles Hamberg died without a will, leaving behind personal property consisting primarily of furniture and household items valued at that time at $487.71; today that would be equivalent to approximately $11,600.  The administratrix of his estate was someone named Amelia (or Amalia or Amalie[1] ) Hamberg.

Richland County, South Carolina Miscellaneous Estate Records, 1799-1955; Author: South Carolina. County Court (Richland County); Probate Place: Richland, South Carolina

Richland County, South Carolina Miscellaneous Estate Records, 1799-1955; Author: South Carolina. County Court (Richland County); Probate Place: Richland, South Carolina

 

Now who was she?  For a long time I assumed she was yet a third wife, someone Charles married after Mary, who’d been murdered, and Lena, mother of Samuel.  Lena had died in 1877, leaving Charles with their nine year old son.  I figured he had quickly married again, finding a mother for Samuel.  But I could not find one record for an Amalia or Amelia or Amalie Hamberg anywhere in South Carolina before or after Charles’ death. I couldn’t even find someone with just that first name who seemed a likely candidate.  I was working in circles, getting frustrated.

Then I searched for anyone named Amelia or Amalia or Amalie Hamberg anywhere in the US, and I found one Amalia Hamberg on a death record for her daughter Hattie Baer Herman, who had died in Philadelphia in 1910.  Hattie’s father was Jacob Baer.  Both parents were born in Germany, according to the death certificate.

 

Death certificate of Hattie Baer, daughter of Amalia Hamberg 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.

Death certificate of Hattie Baer, daughter of Amalia Hamberg
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.

Then it occurred to me: what if Amalia was not Charles Hamberg’s wife, but a sister or a cousin? If Charles died unmarried and intestate, some other family member might have been appointed to administer his estate.

So I looked back at the Hamberg family tree, and I saw that there was a Malchen Hamberg on the tree.  Malchen was the daughter of Seligmann Hamberg and granddaughter of Moses Hamberg.  She was my great-grandfather’s first cousin.

corrected relationship isidore schoenthal to malchen hamberg

 

 

Malchen was born March 7, 1851, in Breuna, and according to the family report posted on the site maintained by Hans-Peter Klein, she had emigrated from Germany.  She certainly looked like a possible candidate for the Amalia Hamberg who had been appointed to administer Charles Hamberg’s estate.  She was, like my great-grandfather, a first cousin, once removed, of Charles Hamberg.

corrected chart charles hamberg to malchen hambeg

 

 

So I had found yet another Hamberg cousin who had immigrated to the US.  Further research revealed that Amalia had immigrated in 1871, arriving in Baltimore.

Amalie Hamberg passenger ship manifest for the USS Baltimore, arriving September 4, 1871, Baltimore, MD Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6L-H1ZK : accessed 2 May 2016), Amalie Hamberg, ; citing Immigration, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, NARA microfilm publications M255, M596, and T844 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL film 417,401.

Amalie Hamberg passenger ship manifest for the USS Baltimore, arriving September 4, 1871, Baltimore, MD  Line 388
Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6L-H1ZK : accessed 2 May 2016), Amalie Hamberg, ; citing Immigration, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, NARA microfilm publications M255, M596, and T844 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL film 417,401.

According to the 1900 census, Amalia married Jacob Baer in 1873.  Reviewing the birth records of their children indicated that Amalia and Jacob lived in Pittsburgh for many years where they had nine children born between 1874 and 1891.  (More on Amalia and her family in a later post.)  The fact that Amalia ended up in Pittsburgh where her Schoenthal cousins were living further corroborated my assumption that she was in fact Malchen Hamberg of Breuna.

And then the icing on the cake: I received the death certificate for Amalia Baer.   Amalia Baer died on April 23, 1931, in New York City.  Her father’s name was Selig Hamburger.

Baer, Amalia death page 1

Baer, Amalia death page 2

 

Okay, it not precisely right.  Malchen’s father was Seligmann Hamberg.  So the informant cut off a syllable from the first name and added one to the surname.  I still think Amalia was Malchen.

The mother’s name was even further off—Julia Schwartz instead of Jette Gans.  But death certificates are often filled with mistakes, and it’s not surprising that the informant did not have completely accurate information about the parents of a 78 year old woman, parents that the informant had likely never met.

The certificate also stated that Amalia had been in the US for 60 years; Amalia Hamberg had arrived in 1871, sixty years before 1931, the year Amalia Baer died.

So I am 99% sure that Malchen Hamberg, granddaughter of my three-times great-grandfather Moses Hamberg, was Amalia Hamberg, wife of Jacob Baer, administratrix of Charles Hamberg’s estate.

Only one thing seemed strange.  If Amalia married Jacob Baer in 1873, why was she using the name Hamberg in 1879 when she was appointed to administer Charles’ estate? I don’t know.  Hence, that lingering one percent of doubt.

There are also other questions.  Why wasn’t Charles’ brother Moses made the administrator of his estate? He was the closest relative.  Why Amalia, his cousin and a woman, instead?

Well, I cannot find the Moses Hamberg from Breuna who immigrated in 1846 as a seventeen year old shoemaker on any subsequent record.  Having searched every census from 1850 forward using wild cards, misspellings, and several databases, I have hit that proverbial brick wall. I can find other men named Moses Hamberg, but none that fit the other criteria for being the correct person.  Either the age is off, the birth place is wrong, or the family members and structure are different.

Maybe Moses changed his name so drastically that it is undiscoverable.  Maybe he died and his death is not recorded anywhere I can find.  Maybe he returned to Germany or went to some third place.  I don’t know.  But I can’t find him.  That may explain why Amalia, not Moses, administered Charles Hamberg’s estate.

But there are other questions.  By 1879 Amalia had several young children of her own to care for.  Did she travel to South Carolina to deal with Samuel and with the estate?  Or was it all handled locally by Walter. S. Monteith, the Columbia attorney representing Amalia, according to the estate papers?

And how did Samuel get from Columbia, South Carolina, to Washington, Pennsylvania? Did Amalia go to get him? Or Henry? Or some other family member? Or did he take a train by himself? These are all questions for which I have no answers.

As for what happened to Samuel after he came to Pennsylvania—well, that’s a story for yet another post.

 

 

 

 

[1] The spelling varies according to the record; later records seem to consistently use Amalia so I will adopt that in this post.

Yom Hashoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day to remember all those who were killed during the Holocaust.

As a result of my genealogy work, I have learned in the last few years that there were many members of my extended family who were victims of the Nazis.  I had always assumed that all my relatives had left Europe before Hitler came to power—long before he came to power.  So learning about the many members of the Seligmann family who were killed and then more recently about the many members of the Schoenthal and Hamberg families who were killed has been very painful.

The Holocaust touched us all, whether we know it or not, whether we are Jewish or not. Our world lost millions of people.  As each generation learns how cruel and inhumane other people can be, there is once again a loss of innocence.  I dread the day when my grandsons also have to learn this horrible truth.

English: A lit Yom Hashoah candle in a dark ro...

English: A lit Yom Hashoah candle in a dark room on Yom Hashoah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last spring I visited the camps at Terezin and Auschwitz.  I carried with me a list of the names of my relatives who had died at each of the camps so that I could honor their memories.

That list has grown since last spring.  One of the most recent names I’ve had to add to the list of those who died at Auschwitz was Liesel Mosbach Lion, granddaughter of Rosalie Schoenthal Heymann, my great-grandfather’s sister.  Liesel was my father’s second cousin.

I recently posted about Liesel and her family and what happened to them.  Most of what I knew came from the memoir written by Liesel’s husband Ernst Georg Lion, The Fountain at the Crossroads.  I was so moved by his book that I have decided to see whether there is a way to get it published in a format where it will be accessible to more people.  I am now in touch with Ernst’s son Tom.  He sent me photographs of Ernst and his family, including my cousin Liesel.  With his permission, I am posting a few of them here to honor their memory this Yom Hashoah.

The first three are of Ernst’s parents, Leo and Bertha (Weinberg) Lion.  Bertha died from the stress caused by the Nazi treatment of Jews during the 1930s.  Leo was killed in one of the camps.

Ernst Lion parents 1 Ernst Lion father

Ernst Lion parents 2

This is the last photograph taken of Leo Lion before he was arrested and sent to a concentration camp.

Ernst Lion father 2

On the left below is my cousin Liesel Mosbach Lion; she was killed at Auschwitz.  On the right is the wedding picture of Liesel and Ernst, December 18, 1939.

Liesel, her sister Grete, both of her parents, Helene Heymann Mosbach and Julius Mosbach, and her aunt Hilda Heymann were all killed during the Holocaust. Her grandfather Willy Heymann was arrested and taken to Dachau and died soon after being released.

They were all my cousins.

Liesel Mosbach Lion alone and in wedding picture with Ernst

These are various photographs of Ernst from childhood through the war years and afterwards in the US.  His story of suffering and survival is unforgettable.

pictures of Ernst Lion

We live in a time when once again hatred and fear permeate our world and demagogues are seeking power.  We must be vigilant and remember what happened then.  We must do all we can to ensure that genocide does not occur again anywhere.

We must never forget.  Never again.

The Tragic Story of Charles Hamberg: Gun Violence in South Carolina

Last week I wrote about Samuel Hamberg, the twelve year old boy who appeared in the household of my great-great-uncle Henry Schoenthal in 1880 as his adopted son.  As I described in that post, I had determined that Samuel was the son of Charles Hamberg of Columbia, South Carolina; he appeared on the 1870 census living in Charles Hamberg’s household along with a woman named Tenah Hamberg and a servant also with the first name Tenah.

Through my research, I concluded that Charles Hamberg was in fact born Baruch Hamberg, the son of the first Samuel Hamberg, my great-great-grandmother Henriette Hamberg Schoenthal’s uncle, her father’s younger brother.

Relationship of Henrietta Hamberg and Charles Hamberg

Baruch had left Breuna, Germany, in 1852, with his first cousin Abraham, who died in Savannah, George, in 1854.  Baruch, I postulated, became Charles and had married a woman named Mary E. Hanchey in New Hanover, North Carolina, in March, 1853.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853 Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

But why did Samuel end up with my great-great-uncle Henry in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1880? What had happened to his father? His mother? And who was his mother? Was it Mary Hanchey, the woman Charles married in 1853 and with whom he was living in 1860? Or was it “Tenah,” the woman he was living with in 1870?

First, I focused on Mary, the first wife.  Searching on Ancestry, I found this entry:

Record of Deaths in Columbia South Carolina page 80 [p.80] Mrs. Mary A. Hamberg , wife of Charles Hamberg died in Col’a So. Ca. Novr 18, 1866, having been shot [page 166] by a man, Toland A. Bass, a few days previous.

Unfortunately, the database had no further information about this terrible incident, but I was determined to learn more about Mary’s death.  Was it accidental? A murder? What happened to Toland Bass?

After much searching, I found this article from the November 20, 1866 issue of The Daily Phoenix, the Columbia, South Carolina, daily paper (p. 2):

Daily Phoenix article 11 20 1866 p 2

 

Coroner’s Inquests.—On Friday last, a difficulty occurred between Toland R. Bass and C. Hamberg.  The latter went into the house to get his pistol, but on coming out, was stopped by Mr. Jos. Burdell, when Mrs. H. took the pistol away from him and went to the door, holding the pistol in both hands, but not attempting to use it, and said to Mr. Bass, “Do not shoot Mr. H.; if you want to shoot any one, shoot me.”  Bass attempted to take the pistol from her, but failed.  He then stepped several paces from her, presented his pistol three times and the fourth time fired, the ball taking effect in the abdomen of the unfortunate woman. 

She called to a friend near by to take care of her, as she was shot and ready to faint.  Mrs. H. was taken into the house apparently suffering greatly.  Dr. Talley was called in and rendered all possible medical assistance.  She lingered until Sunday afternoon, when she expired.  A jury of inquest was empannelled by Coroner Walker on Sunday afternoon, and after a full and careful investigation, rendered the following verdict: “That Mrs. Mary E. Hamberg came to her death, on the 18th of November, 1866, from the effects of a ball fired (willfully and maliciously) from a pistol by Toland R. Bass.” Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Bass.

Who was Toland Bass, and why did he kill Mary Hanchey Hamberg? Why did Mary suggest that he should shoot her, not her husband?

The only thing I could find about Mr. Bass was that he served as a private in the Confederate Army during the Civil War in Company H of the South Carolina Cavalry Regiment.

 

Charles Hamberg, on the other hand, appears to have been a private citizen in Columbia, South Carolina, during the Civil War, selling provisions to the Ladies Hospital.  Here is an example of an invoice he submitted:

Page 15 Confederate Citizens File - Fold3 https://www.fold3.com/image/31347220?xid=1945

Page 15 Confederate Citizens File – Fold3
https://www.fold3.com/image/31347220?xid=1945

 

I don’t know what might have precipitated this altercation between Bass and the Hambergs; all I can do is speculate.  Columbia, South Carolina, had suffered much damage during the Civil War.  The Union Army occupied the city during the last months of the war in 1865.  As described in Wikipedia:

On February 17, 1865, Columbia surrendered to Sherman, and Wade Hampton’s Confederate cavalry retreated from the city. Union forces were overwhelmed by throngs of liberated Federal prisoners and emancipated slaves. Many soldiers took advantage of ample supplies of liquor in the city and began to drink. Fires began in the city, and high winds spread the flames across a wide area. Most of the central city was destroyed, and municipal fire companies found it difficult to operate in conjunction with the invading army, many of whom were also fighting the fire. The burning of Columbia has engendered controversy ever since, with some claiming the fires were accidental, a deliberate act of vengeance, or perhaps set by retreating Confederate soldiers who lit cotton bales while leaving town. On that same day, the Confederates evacuated Charleston. On February 18, Sherman’s forces destroyed virtually anything of military value in Columbia, including railroad depots, warehouses, arsenals, and machine shops.

English: The Burning of Columbia, South Caroli...

English: The Burning of Columbia, South Carolina, February 17, 1865 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can read more about the Columbia fires here and here.  In the aftermath of the war and during Reconstruction, places like Columbia struggled to rebuild their economy and their infrastructure.  There was widespread poverty.  Perhaps Toland Bass was an embittered Southern veteran; perhaps he resented Charles Hamberg as a merchant who not only didn’t serve in the war but made money during it.  Or maybe it is something much more personal that created the animosity that led to the gruesome murder of Mary Hanchey Hamberg. I don’t know.

After the murder, Toland Bass ran off to avoid arrest, and the governor of South Carolina, James L. Orr, issued a proclamation offering an award of $200 for his arrest and delivery to South Carolina for trial. Charles Hamberg offered a separate award of $500 for his arrest. (Thank you to Ann Meddin Hellman of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina for helping me locate some of these articles

Proclamation about Mary Hamberg's murder

Thursday, November 29, 1866 Paper: (Charleston, South Carolina)

 

Bass eluded arrest for four months until he was finally found and arrested in New York in March, 1867.

Arrest of Toland Bass

 

I could not find any record of a trial or any other proceeding involving Bass, but I did find this news item announcing his death from cholera on July 15, 1867.

Death of Toland R Bass

 

Meanwhile, Charles Hamberg had moved on.  Thanks to my blogging friend Cathy Meder-Dempsey, I know that Charles married Lena Goodman on April 6, 1867, in Charleston, South Carolina.

I believe that Lena was incorrectly entered as “Tenah” on the 1870 census and that she was the mother of Samuel Hamberg, the boy later adopted by Henry Schoenthal.  Although I do not have an exact birthdate for Samuel, the 1900 census reported that he was born in February 1868, that is, about eleven months after the marriage of Charles Hamberg and Lena Goodman.

Even after remarrying, Charles seemed to have troubles in Columbia.  In September, 1869, he was involved in another rather unpleasant altercation:

Charles Hamberg assault

There was also a dispute at his store:

CHarles Hamberg unruly customer

Charles also charged a police officer with inappropriate conduct (public drunkenness) and engaged in a citizen’s arrest.  He seemed to have a tendency to get involved in conflicts.

In the 1870s, Charles advertised his wood and coal business regularly in the Columbia newspaper, The Daily Phoenix.

Charles Hamberg coal

 

He also participated in a Purim celebration in Columbia, dressing up as Jocko the Ape.  (Purim is a Jewish holiday where children and adults dress up in costumes and celebrate the triumph of the Jews over the evildoer Haman who sought to kill the Jews in ancient Persia.)

The Daily Phoenix, March 26, 1872, p. 2

The Daily Phoenix, March 26, 1872, p. 2

 

So whatever his troubles, Charles seemed to be living a somewhat ordinary life in Columbia.

So what happened that caused little Samuel to be adopted by Henry Schoenthal? Tragically, both of Samuel’s parents died before 1880.  His mother Lena died in 1877 and is buried in the cemetery of the Columbia Hebrew Benevolent Society.  She was only 28 years old.  I’ve been unable to locate a death certificate or obituary yet, but will continue to look.  (I contacted the cemetery, but they did not have any further information.)

chbs1HambergLena

Headstone for Lena Hamberg at the Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery in Columbia, SC http://jhssc.org/hebrew-benevolent-society-cemetery/

 

Two years later on October 16, 1879, Charles Hamberg ended his own life, apparently due to financial difficulties, although I would venture that having had one wife murdered and a second dying at a very young age might also have given him sufficient reason for some desperation.  His suicide made the papers even beyond Columbia.

Charles Hamberg suicide Charles Hamberg suicide 3 Charles Hamberg suicide 2

 

Can you imagine today identifying someone by their religious background for no apparently relevant reason?

Charles is also buried in the Columbia Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery, next to Lena.

Charles Hamberg headstone

Headstone of Charles Hamberg at Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery in Columbia, SC http://jhssc.org/hebrew-benevolent-society-cemetery/

What a hard life Charles Hamberg had once coming to the US.  He lost his cousin Abraham in 1854, his wife Mary was murdered in 1866, his second wife Lena died in 1877, and he suffered financial problems and took his own life in 1879.   I imagine that that was not the life he dreamed of when he left Breuna, Germany, in 1852.  For him the American dream did not come to be.

His son Samuel was just eleven years old and had lost his mother and his father.   He ended up in Pennsylvania with Henry Schoenthal, his second cousin.  How did he end up there?  That leads to the next mystery.

The Adopted Son: Who Was He?

As I move closer to closure on the family of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg, my great-great-grandparents[1], I want to ask for your help regarding a mystery involving a boy I believe was part of Henriette’s family, the Hambergs. I need to know if my thinking about him makes sense.

His name was Samuel Hamberg (spelled Hamburg here), and in 1880 he was twelve years old and living in Washington, Pennsylvania, as the adopted son of my great-great-uncle Henry Schoenthal and Helene Lilienfeld.

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

 

Who was he? Was he part of my great-great-grandmother’s family?  According to the 1880 census, Samuel was born in 1868 in South Carolina.  Henry Schoenthal, the first of Henriette Hamberg’s children to emigrate from Germany, hadn’t arrived until 1866, two years before Samuel was born.  Henry settled in Pennsylvania.  How would a boy born in a state so far away two years after Henry arrived  in the US have ended up with Henry unless there was a family connection?  The surname Hamberg couldn’t just be a coincidence, could it?

His first name also seemed unlikely to be a coincidence.  Henriette’s father was Moses Hamberg, my three-times great-grandfather.  Moses had a younger brother named Samuel, my four-times great-uncle. Young Samuel could have been named for him.  The name similarities added to my hunch that this Samuel Hamberg was in some way related to my great-great-grandmother and the other Hambergs from Breuna.  I had to figure this one out.

I was able to locate a two year old boy named Samuel Hamberg on the 1870 census living in Columbia, South Carolina, in the household of a Charles Hamberg, age 46, and a Tenah Hamberg, age 21.  Given the birth place, name, and age of the boy, I felt it quite likely that this was the same boy who ten years later was living with Henry Schoenthal in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, the 1870 census did not include information describing the relationships among those in a household, but I assumed that Charles and Tenah were the father and mother of little Samuel.  If so, who were they?

Charles Hamberg household 1870 US census Year: 1870; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M593_1507; Page: 140B; Image: 287; Family History Library Film: 553006

Charles Hamberg household 1870 US census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M593_1507; Page: 140B; Image: 287; Family History Library Film: 553006

According to the 1870 census, Charles was born in Prussia 46 (or is it a 40?) years earlier or in 1824 or so. (Breuna was within the boundaries of Prussia from 1866 until the German Federation was created in 1871.)  Charles was working as a “ret gro” merchant, which I interpret to mean a retail grocery merchant. Tenah was born in South Carolina as was Samuel.

I was able to trace Charles back ten more years to the 1860 census, where he was also living in Columbia, South Carolina, but married not to Tenah but a woman named Mary.  According to the 1860 census, Charles was then 28, so born in 1832; according to this census, he was born in Germany and working as a merchant.  Mary was a North Carolina native and 27 years old.

Charles Hamberg and household 1860 US census Year: 1860; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M653_1227; Page: 26; Image: 57; Family History Library Film: 805227

Charles Hamberg and household 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M653_1227; Page: 26; Image: 57; Family History Library Film: 805227

I then discovered a marriage record for Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey reporting their marriage in 1853 in New Hanover, North Carolina.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853 Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

But that was the earliest record I could find for Charles Hamberg.  And I still didn’t know whether he was related to the Hambergs of Breuna, my great-great-grandmother’s family.

Fortunately for me, others, including the noted genealogist Hans-Peter Klein, had already done extensive research of the Hamberg family tree. You can find it here.[2]  There was no Charles Hamberg listed in the records in Breuna.  But there were other men in the family with the surname Hamberg who would have been about the same age as Charles Hamberg.  I had to find out whether any of them came to the United States and perhaps changed his name to Charles.

Moses Hamberg, my 3x-great-grandfather, had five sons:

Juda, who died in Breuna in 1863;

Seligmann, who died in Breuna in 1897;

Salomon, who married and had several children in the 1850s in Breuna (no death record has been located;

Marcus, who died in Breuna in 1846;

And finally, Abraham, born in Breuna in 1828 and for whom there was no marriage or death record in Breuna.

Of Moses Hamberg’s five sons, the only one who might have emigrated by 1853 was Abraham.

As for the sons of Samuel Hamberg, brother of Moses, there were three sons:

another Juda, who died in Breuna in 1863;

Baruch, born in 1824 and for whom there was no marriage or death record;

And Moses, born in 1829 and for whom there was also no marriage or death record in Breuna.

So it was possible that Baruch and/or Moses had emigrated.

The three Hamberg men from Breuna who could have immigrated to the US by 1853 were thus Abraham, Baruch, and Moses: no one named Charles.  All three of those Hamberg men were close in age to the Charles Hamberg in Columbia, South Carolina.  All were born between 1824 and 1829.  But had any of them actually immigrated to the United States? I decided to search for them on ship manifests and other US records and found that all three did in fact leave Germany for the United States before 1853.

Moses Hamberg arrived in New York from Breuna in August, 1846, when he was seventeen, according to the ship manifest.  This is clearly Moses, the son of Samuel Hamberg, who was born in 1829 and thus would have been 17 in 1846.  Moses was a shoemaker, according to the manifest.

Year: 1846; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 063; Line: 1; List Number: 680

Year: 1846; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 063; Line: 1; List Number: 680

Baruch and his first cousin Abraham arrived in New York together in September 1852.  According to the ship manifest, they were coming from Breuna, and both were 24 years old, meaning they were born in about 1828.  My great-great-grandmother’s brother Abraham was born in 1828; according to Breuna records, Baruch was born in 1824.

Despite the disparity in the ages between the Baruch on the manifest and the Baruch born in Breuna, I believe that the two men on this manifest were in fact Abraham Hamberg, son of Moses Hamberg, and Baruch Hamberg, son of Samuel Hamberg.  The ship manifest reports that their destination in the US was “Sevanna,” which I assume meant Savannah, Georgia.

Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 119; Line: 1; List Number: 1321

Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 119; Line: 1; List Number: 1321

 

So did any of these three young men become Charles Hamberg of Columbia, South Carolina?  And if so, which one? Since Abraham and Baruch were headed to a city in the South whereas Moses indicated that New York was his intended destination, my inclination was to focus on Abraham and Baruch as the ones more likely to have become Charles Hamberg.[3]

Searching for further records for Abraham Hamberg led me to the sad discovery that he died not too long after arriving in the US.  He died in Savannah, Georgia, his intended destination, on August 26, 1854, of yellow fever and was buried in that city.  He was my great-great-grandmother Henriette’s younger brother.  He was only 26 years old.

Abraham Hamberg death record 1854 Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1824-1864, 1887-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors. Original data: City of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1822–1864, 1887–1896. Subseries 5600HE-050 and 5600HA-010. Microfilm, 27 reels. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, Savannah, Georgia

Abraham Hamberg death record 1854
Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1824-1864, 1887-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: City of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1822–1864, 1887–1896. Subseries 5600HE-050 and 5600HA-010. Microfilm, 27 reels. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, Savannah, Georgia

Abraham Hamberg burial record Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Cemetery and Burial Records, 1852-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Savannah Georgia Cemetery and Burial Records. Savannah, Georgia: Research Library & Municipal Archives City of Savannah, Georgia.

Abraham Hamberg burial record
Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Cemetery and Burial Records, 1852-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Savannah Georgia Cemetery and Burial Records. Savannah, Georgia: Research Library & Municipal Archives City of Savannah, Georgia.

So what then happened to his cousin Baruch Hamberg? Had he made it to Savannah?

My guess is that somewhere along the way from New York to Savannah, Baruch and Abraham stopped in New Hanover, North Carolina, where Baruch met and married his first wife Mary Hanchey in 1853.  And by then, he had dropped the Hebrew name Baruch and adopted the much more American name Charles.  In fact, his full name was Charles B. Hamberg.  Perhaps that B was for Baruch.

What else supports this conclusion that Baruch Hamberg became Charles Hamberg? Recall that Baruch Hamberg was the son of Samuel Hamberg of Breuna.  And what did Charles Hamberg name his son born in 1868? Samuel.

If I am right, then Charles/Baruch Hamberg was Henriette Hamberg Schoenthal’s first cousin; their fathers Samuel and Moses were brothers.  Charles’ son Samuel was therefore a second cousin to Henriette’s son Henry Schoenthal, the man who had adopted him by 1880.

So does my analysis make sense?  Did Baruch Hamberg become Charles Hamberg?

And if so, why was his son Samuel living with and adopted by Henry Schoenthal in 1880? That question will be addressed in a later post.

 

 

 

[1] And while I wait to talk with my third cousin Betty, who is also their great-great-granddaughter.

[2] I wrote a little bit about the Hambergs of Breuna, Germany here when I described the remarkable story of how I learned that my fifth cousin Rob and I shared not only some DNA,  but had lived at one point just a few miles from each other, and, even more remarkably, were both close friends with the same couple.  We had a lovely dinner back in December hosted by Rob and his wife Ann where all of us—our mutual friends included—had a great evening.  I remain amazed by what a small world it is.   Rob and I are both the four-times great-grandchildren of Jeudah ben Moses, the father of Moses Hamberg and Samuel Hamberg.  Rob is descended from Samuel; I am descended from Moses.

[3] I will follow up on Moses Hamberg in a later post.

Another Delightful Conversation: My Cousin Maxine

I love it when a cousin finds me.  Usually I am the one searching for them, hoping they will be interested and open to sharing their family histories with me.  So when a cousin finds my blog, it is a delightful experience—I know they are interested, and there is none of the awkwardness of trying to explain who I am and that I am not a scammer trying to get money from them or steal their identity.

I’ve had that great pleasure again recently when my third cousin Maxine found my blog and left a comment about her connection to me and her family.  Maxine is the daughter of Hattie Arnold and Martin Schulherr, about whom I wrote here.  Maxine’s grandparents were Jennie Stern and Max Arnold, and her great-grandmother was Hannah Schoenthal Stern.  Hannah was my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal’s older sister.  Thus, Maxine and I are both the great-great-granddaughters of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg.  We are third cousins.

Relationship Amy to Maxine Schulherr

 

Maxine was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area and has lived there all her life.  We had a wonderful phone conversation and have exchanged many emails since.  Maxine knew many of the cousins about whom I’ve written, including Lee and Meyer Schoenthal, Erna and Werner Haas, and the members of the extended Oestreicher family.  She was able to bring to life many of these people, who thus far had been mostly names and dates and occupations to me.

Her grandmother Jennie lived with Maxine and her parents for a number of years, and Maxine even shared a room with her grandmother during that time.  She knew her well, and so I was hoping that Maxine would have stories about Jennie’s youth.  Jennie came to the United States from Germany in the 1880s with her mother Hannah when she was thirteen years old, and I was interested in hearing any stories about Jennie’s life in Germany or about her experiences as a teenager settling in western Pennsylvania.  But as with so many immigrants, Jennie did not talk about the past.  Maxine said she never heard her grandmother talk about Germany or about her early days in the US.

But she did have some old photographs of Jennie with two other women whom we both assume are Jennie’s two sisters, Sarah (on the left) and Edith (on the right). (All photos in this post are courtesy of my cousin Maxine.)

Jennie Stern Arnold, center, and perhaps Sarah Stern Ostreicher on the right and Edith Stern Good on the right

Jennie Stern Arnold, center, and perhaps Sarah Stern Ostreicher on the left and Edith Stern Good on the right

Stern sisters

Stern sisters

 

Maxine then told me about her grandmother Jennie’s life as an adult in Pennsylvania.  Jennie married Max Arnold, who had originally owned a dairy called Sweet Home Dairy. (Maxine was named for her grandfather Max.)  It was the first dairy to deliver milk to homes in the Pittsburgh area, according to Maxine.  Max had to close the dairy when he had trouble hiring reliable men to come and milk his cows, and he then went into the meat business, as I wrote about here.   Max eventually he retired and his son Sylvan ran the business when Maxine was a child.  Max, Jr., helped his brother Sylvan doing deliveries, but after having several accidents he moved on to other endeavors.

Sylvan closed the meat market when he enlisted in the army during World War II.  He would not have been drafted, given his age, but according to Maxine, Sylvan was looking to get away as his marriage was failing.  He and his first wife Ada divorced, and Sylvan remarried while in the service and stationed in Arkansas.  Based on Maxine’s information, I found a marriage record for Sylvan Arnold and Gladys Evans dated June 20, 1945, in Saline, Arkansas.  He and his second wife Gladys later moved to California, and the family in Pittsburgh never met her.

Here is a photo of Jennie and Max with their first child, Jerome, who was born in 1897.

Jennie Stern Arnold, Jerome Arnold, and Max Arnold, Sr. c. 1897

Jennie Stern Arnold, Jerome Arnold, and Max Arnold, Sr. c. 1897

Jennie and Max had five children, and Maxine had this wonderful picture that she believes is of those five:

Children of Jennie Stern Arnold: Hattie, unknown, top; Jerome, possibly Max, Jr., and Bernice, center row, and Sylvan, foreground at bottom, c. 1912

Children of Jennie Stern Arnold: Hattie, unknown, top; Jerome, possibly Max, Jr., and Bernice, center row; and Sylvan, foreground at bottom, c. 1913

Maxine’s mother Hattie is the girl in the light dress on top next to an unknown girl.  Her uncle Jerome is on the left and her aunt Bernice on the right in the middle row, and her uncle Sylvan is the boy on the ground in the front.

The little boy on the swing might be Max, Junior, but the age seems off, so I’m not sure. Since Jerome looks to be no more than sixteen here, I think this photo is probably dated no later than 1913.  In 1913, Jerome was 16, Hattie 14, Bernice 12, and Sylvan 10, and that does seem to line up with what I think are the maximum ages of the children in the photograph. I actually think they look even younger than those ages.  What do you all think? Are the children older than that?

So if the photo was taken in 1913, Max, Jr. would have been two years old.  Does the little boy on the swing look to be only two years old?  I think he looks at least three or four.  What you think?

From Maxine, I also learned more about the lives of Maxine’s mother Hattie and Hattie’s four siblings. Hattie was very proud to be one of the first women to learn to drive in Pittsburgh.  She was sixteen, and her father brought home a car that he couldn’t drive, but somehow Hattie and her brother Jerome learned to drive it.

Hattie’s sister Bernice was married twice, first to Julius Averback, whom she later divorced.  Maxine was very fond of Julius and recalled that he had taken her to the circus where he bought her a pet chameleon. Maxine told me, “The circus sold chameleons in little boxes with a string around their necks and a  safety pin at the end of the string so you could pin it on your clothes!!”  Even though he was divorced from Bernice at the time, Julius sent Maxine eighteen roses for her eighteenth birthday. Bernice’s second husband was Abe Sultanov.  Bernice did not have children with either husband.

All three of Hattie’s brothers worked in the meat business initially, but Max, Jr. later branched out into the movie theater business, living in Morgantown, West Virginia for some time before returning to the Pittsburgh area where he owned another theater in Verona and then worked in the furniture business after his brother-in-law Abe, Bernice’s second husband, made some connections for him (Abe was a manufacturer’s representative for a line of furniture).  Later on, Max, Jr. owned a drive-in theater in the Pittsburgh area known as the Maple Drive-In.

According to Maxine, her grandmother Jennie as well as Jennie’s older sister Sarah Stern Oestreicher converted to Christian Science at some point in their adult lives. Maxine recalled going to church services with her grandmother.  But Martin and Hattie remained Jewish, and Maxine was confirmed at Rodef Shalom synagogue in 1944, the same synagogue where her mother had been confirmed about thirty years earlier.

Maxine was married to Alan Stein in August, 1948.  She generously shared with me these pictures from her wedding day:

Hattie Martin Maxine Alan Henrietta Stein Alan's mother

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Martin Schulherr, Maxine Schulherr Stein, Alan Stein, Henrietta Stein (Alan’s mother)

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Max Arnold, Jr., and Bernice Arnold Averbach Sultanov

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Max Arnold, Jr., and Bernice Arnold Averbach Sultanov

Hattie Martin Ceil RIchard Lou Ann daughter of Jerome and ELlen, Maxine, Max. Bernice and Ellen

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Martin Schulherr, Richard Arnold (son of Max, Jr.), Cecilia Lefkowitz Arnold, Lou Ann Arnold (daughter of Jerome Arnold), Maxine Schulherr Stein, Max Arnold, Jr., Bernice Arnold Averbach Sultanov, and Ellen Schwabrow Arnold

In addition to her grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles, Maxine also knew our mutual cousins Lee and Meyer Schoenthal quite well, and she was able to answer one of my lingering questions about Lee.  When I wrote about Lee’s draft registration for World War II, I’d been puzzled by the person he’d named as the one who would always know his address, a woman named Mary Reinbold.

Lee Schoenthal World War II draft registration The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; State Headquarters: Pennsylvania; Microfilm Series: M1951; Microfilm Roll: 278

Lee Schoenthal World War II draft registration
The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; State Headquarters: Pennsylvania; Microfilm Series: M1951; Microfilm Roll: 278

 

Maxine shared with me that Mary Reinbold was Lee’s girlfriend for many years.  They were together a long time but never married because Mary was Catholic and Lee was Jewish.  Maxine recalled that Lee and Mary regularly came to her parents’ home for Sunday dinners.  She remembers them both very fondly.  She said Lee was a successful tailor who sold made-to-order men’s suits; her father Martin owned suits he purchased from Lee.  Lee’s shop was in the basement of building on E. Beau Street in Washington, Pennsylvania.

He must have done quite well, as Maxine told me, “Lee always drove a Lasalle car which in it’s day was in the Cadillac or more expensive class.  And he belonged to a club in  Washington, called the “Arms Club” although he never went hunting.  It was a bar, some tables, slot machines, a dance floor, and other games of chance.” Maxine said that Lee always brought her mother candy that he won at the club.   Her father Martin was also a member of the club, and Maxine visited there as well.  She told me, “I liked to pull the handle on the slot machine and watch the coins come out!!  And Daddy would stand beside me and hand me the quarters.  (I never had to spend my allowance, which then was probably one dollar a week.)”  I just love the images that this anecdote evokes.

Here are some photographs Maxine shared of Lee, Meyer, Mary, her mother Hattie, and herself as a twelve year old, taken in about 1940.

Lee Schoenthal, c. 1940

Lee Schoenthal, c. 1940

Mary Reinbold and Lee Schoenthal, c. 1940

Mary Reinbold and Lee Schoenthal, c. 1940

Mary Reinbold, Meyer Schoenthal, Hattie Arnold Schulherr, and Maxine Schulherr, c. 1940

Mary Reinbold, Meyer Schoenthal, Hattie Arnold Schulherr, and Maxine Schulherr, c. 1940

It’s just wonderful to be able to see the faces that go with the names.

Maxine also remembers Lee and Meyer’s sister Erna Haas and her son Werner, but does not remember Lee and Meyer’s other sister, Johanna, the one who survived the Gurs internment camp in France and came to the US with her husband in 1947.  Since Johanna outlived Lee and Meyer and also lived in Pittsburgh, I was surprised that Maxine had no recollection of meeting her nor any awareness of this fourth sibling.  Perhaps Johanna’s suffering during the war had made her less able to interact with the extended family.

Maxine also knew members of the Oestreicher family, that is, the family of Sarah Stern and Gustav Oestreicher.  Sarah was her grandmother Jennie’s older sister, as discussed here and here.  Maxine knew Sarah’s son Sidney and his children, Gerald, Betty, and Elaine very well.  She said that Elaine had lived with her family for a while in the 1940s when Sidney and his wife Esther moved to New York and Elaine wanted to finish the school year in Pittsburgh.  But Maxine didn’t know what had happened to Elaine or the rest of the family after that and was curious to learn more about her long-lost second cousins.

I told her I would see what else I could find as I also had not yet been able to learn much about the Oestreicher family after about 1940.  With a few clues from Maxine, I was able to find those long-lost Oestreicher cousins.  I will report on what I’ve learned in a later post after I’ve had a chance to speak with my other third cousins, Betty and Elaine.

 

Passover 2016: The Exodus

In many ways Jewish history is about one exodus after another.  The Jewish story begins when God tells Abra(ha)m, “Lech Lecha,”  or “Go, Go out.”  He instructs him to leave his father’s land and go to a new land where his children would be as numerous as the stars.

There are many journeys throughout the Bible—Noah’s journey, Jacob’s journey, Joseph’s journey, and, of course, the exodus from Egypt led by Moses, which is recalled and re-enacted every year on Passover.

This Friday evening we will once again remember and re-enact that journey.  We will read the story of the Exodus.  We will drink wine, recline like free people, and eat matza to remember that our ancestors had no time to wait for the dough to rise before exiting from Egypt.  We will eat the bitter herbs to remember the bitterness of slavery, and we will eat the charoset—a mixture of apples, nuts, and wine—to embrace the sweetness of freedom from slavery.

English: Passover Seder Table, Jewish holidays...

English: Passover Seder Table, Jewish holidays עברית: שולחן הסדר, Original Image Name:סדר פסח, Location:חיפה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


But that exodus was not the last journey our people took to freedom.  Over the centuries Jews kept moving from one land to another, either having been expelled or deciding on their own to seek freedom from oppression, violence, and hatred.  They moved to Babylonia, to Spain, to eastern Europe, to Germany, to places all over the globe, including eventually to the Americas.

I have spent much of the year since last Passover studying the journeys of my paternal relatives from Sielen, Germany—my father’s maternal grandfather’s family, the Schoenthals.  Although I still have a few more stories to share about my Schoenthal cousins, now that I have written about all the children of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg, I want to spend this Passover looking back over the story of this particular family.

Levi and Henriette Schoenthal had ten children who survived to adulthood, all born in Sielen, Germany.  Of those ten, eight settled permanently in the US, and all but one of those eight started their lives in America in western Pennsylvania—either in Pittsburgh or the town thirty miles away, known as Little Washington.  Henry, the oldest son, arrived first in 1866, and by 1881, eight of the siblings were living in the US.  Henry over the years was a book seller and a china dealer, but underneath was a deeply religious and well-educated man.

His youngest brother was my great-grandfather Isidore, who arrived in 1881, also settled in Washington, and also worked as a china dealer.

Isidore Schoenthal

Isidore Schoenthal

In between Henry and Isidore were four other brothers in the US plus two sisters.  Over the years almost all of them prospered.  Some moved away from western Pennsylvania.  Simon ended up in Atlantic City, where he and his wife raised nine children, many of whom ended up in the hotel business there; Felix and his wife and two daughters ended up in Boston, where he became successful in the typewriter repair business. Julius lived in Washington, DC, worked as a shoemaker and had four children.  Nathan lived in many different places.  And even Isidore and Henry eventually left Pennsylvania, Isidore for Colorado and Henry for New York.  The two sisters, Hannah and Amalie, stayed in Pittsburgh for most of their lives.  Both were married and had children.

Felix and Margaret Schoenthal from 1919 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 728; Volume #: Roll 0728 - Certificates: 70500-70749, 19 Mar 1919-20 Mar 1919

Felix and Margaret Schoenthal from 1919 passport application,
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 728; Volume #: Roll 0728 – Certificates: 70500-70749, 19 Mar 1919-20 Mar 1919

 

Simon Schoenthal, my great-great-uncle

Simon Schoenthal, my great-great-uncle

 

The next generations wandered even further afield, although many ended up not too far from where their parents had originally settled.  My grandmother, who was born in Washington, PA, and grew up in Denver, spent her whole adult life in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

My Grandma Eva

My Grandmother Eva Schoenthal Cohen

Martin Schoenthal, Gertrude Sch., Hettie Sch Blanche Walter

Walter Schoenthal, Gertrude Schoenthal, Hettie Schoenthal, Blanche Stein and Walter Stein in Arizona

 

Arthur Schoenthal promoted 1942-page-003

 

Washington Evening Star, September 14, 1928, p. 9

Washington Evening Star, September 14, 1928, p. 9

 

 

Washington Star, December 2, 1928 p. 64

Washington Star, December 2, 1928 p. 64

Washington Evening Star, February 18, 1963, p. 24

Washington Evening Star, February 18, 1963, p. 24

 

Overall, the Schoenthals in the US prospered; most were successful business owners.  Most of these people appeared to have full and happy lives, although there were some who struggled.  Today there are numerous living descendants of those eight siblings, myself included.

On the other hand, the two siblings who stayed in Germany did not have as happy a legacy.  Jakob died young, and his daughter Henriette was killed in the Holocaust.  His four other children survived and, like their aunts and uncles, ended up in western Pennsylvania. Lee, Meyer, and Erna came before the war.  But Johanna was deported to a camp in Gurs, France, during the war and did not come until 1947.   From these five children, there were just two grandchildren: Helmut Levi, son of Henriette and Julius Levi, and Werner Haas, Erna’s son.  Both grandsons made it to the US before World War II.  Neither had children, however, so there are no living descendants of Jakob Schoenthal and his wife Charlotte Lilienthal.

Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh, June 14, 1984, p. 23 ewish+Chronicle+Vol.+23+No.+18 Formed+by+the+union+of:+Jewish+criterion+;++and:+American+Jewish+outlook. http://doi.library.cmu.edu/10.1184/pmc/CHR/CHR_1984_023_018_06141984

Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh, June 14, 1984, p. 23
ewish+Chronicle+Vol.+23+No.+18
Formed+by+the+union+of:+Jewish+criterion+;++and:+American+Jewish+outlook.
http://doi.library.cmu.edu/10.1184/pmc/CHR/CHR_1984_023_018_06141984

 

And finally Rosalie, the youngest child of Levi and Henriette, after living in the US for a few years made the fateful decision to return to Germany to marry Willy Heymann.  They had six children.  Four survived the Holocaust.  The three sons, Lionel, Max, and Walter, settled in Chicago before the war, where Lionel became a well-regarded photographer.   One daughter, Johanna, who was widowed at a young age, followed her stepdaughter Else Mosbach to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to escape the Nazis.

The other two daughters, Helene and Hilda, were murdered in the Holocaust as were Helene’s two daughters, Liesel and Grete.  From Rosalie’s six children, only one grandchild survived, the son of Max Heymann.  I am still hoping to find him.

Stolperstein for Julius Mosbach and family

The Schoenthal story illustrates how one fateful decision can alter the future irrevocably. One decision to take a chance and leave what you know—to listen to the call of Lech Lecha, to venture out to a new land—can make all the difference.  By taking a chance that the sweet charoset of that new land would outweigh the bitterness of leaving a land they knew, my great-grandfather and seven of his siblings changed their own fates and those of their descendants.

What if Jakob and Rosalie had left Germany when their siblings did?

And what if the other eight siblings had never left at all?  This story would have a very different ending.

In fact, it never would have been written.

 

Blog Update: The Mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal of Atlantic City

Before I move on from the Schoenthal family line, I have a few updates to write about, including some newly discovered cousins and some wonderful photos.  But first an update to one mystery.   Unfortunately an update but not a solution.

Remember the mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal, the daughter of Jacob Schoenthal and Florence Truempy? She had appeared on the 1930 census as a fifteen month old child living with her parents in Atlantic City.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Then she disappears.  She does not appear on the 1940 census with her parents or elsewhere as far as I can tell, and there is no death record for her in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania, no obituary for her, no news articles that mention her.  Nothing at all.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2300; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1-9

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2300; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1-9

And she wasn’t buried with her parents.  Nor was she buried with her grandparents.  She just seemed to disappear.

Many people gave me suggestions on where else to look.  Some people thought Rose had been given up for adoption or sent to live elsewhere or institutionalized.  Others thought she was just omitted from the 1940 census and that she might have married and changed her name sometime later.  But I haven’t found any records with her birth name or her parents’ names to link her to a different name, whether she was adopted, institutionalized, or married.

Someone suggested I see if Rose was mentioned in Florence or Jacob’s will or obituary.  I wrote to the Atlantic City public library and asked them to do an obituary search.  Neither obituary mentioned a child.

Atlantic CIty Press July 5, 1967 p 5

Atlantic CIty Press July 5, 1967 p 5

 

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

 

Then I searched the online land records for Atlantic County, and found a record for a May, 1976 transfer of land owned by Jacob Schoenthal.  The transfer had been handled by the executrix of Jacob’s estate, who was not his daughter Rose, but his sister, Hettie Schoenthal Stein.   That meant that Jacob had had a will.

 

Deed of Jacob Schoenthal s land in Atlantic City-page-001

 

Deed of Jacob Schoenthal s land in Atlantic City-page-002

Transfer of Deed of Land Belonging to Jacob Schoenthal

 

 

I decided to request a copy of his will from the Atlantic County Surrogate’s Court.  That will, seen below though not easily read as reproduced, named the following people as his heirs at law and next of kin: his sister Hettie Schoenthal Stein, his sister Estella Schoenthal Klein, and his brother Sidney Schoenthal.  According to the will, there were no other surviving heirs or next of kin.  There was no mention of Rose or any other child.  (All of Jacob’s other siblings and his wife Florence had already died as of the time of his death in February, 1976.)

Jacob Schoenthal will Jacob will p 2

jacob will p 3

jacob will 4

 

Thus, Jacob’s daughter Rose either was no longer alive at the time of his death or she had been given up for adoption and thus was no longer his legal kin.  Unfortunately, I don’t know which is the case.  Next step is to check for adoption records.  I’ve contacted the appropriate office and am waiting to see if I am even eligible to request such records.  I frankly think it’s a real long shot, and I think this will remain one of those unsolved mysteries.

But I remain open to other suggestions.