Stopping the Tide

 

I will be taking a break from the blog for the next week or so as I will be spending time with my family.   I have a number of projects on hold—more from the Seligmann handwritten family tree, more from my newly found cousin Lotte, more about the Schoenfelds.  But right now other members of my family—especially my two grandsons—will be the focus of my attention.

For the past several days we have been taking care of our older grandson; we brought him to the beach where he swam and walked through the water until I was exhausted (he wasn’t), dug holes, and did other beach activities.  But the activity that charmed me the most was when he tried to stop the tide from advancing.  Oh, to be five and to think that you can stop the tides— and time—-from advancing.

Nate at Indian Nec

Stopping the tide

Stopping the tide

From Cigars to Security, and Heartbreak and Heart Disease: The Family of Jacob Seligman

The second child of Marx and Sarah Seligmann was Jacob.  As I wrote in an earlier post, he married Mathilde Kerbs in 1881, and they had four sons and one daughter: Max (1882), Harry (1883), Louis (1885), Samuel (1888), and Beatrice (1902).  Jacob was a cigar packer, and the family was living at 303 East 69th Street in 1900.  Max and Harry were both working as salesman, according to the 1900 census.

 

The family suffered a terrible loss when Max died on November 25, 1903.   He was only 21 years old.  He died from typhoid fever and pneumonia.

Maxwell Seligman death certificate 1903

Maxwell Seligman death certificate 1903

In 1905, the remaining members of the family were living at 212 East 40th Street.  Harry was a police officer, Louis an errand boy, and Samuel a stock keeper (I assume in a store).  Their father Jacob was still a cigar packer.

On July 17, 1907, Samuel, the youngest son, married Frances Hooton, the daughter of William Proctor Hooton and Hannah Newman.

Marriage certificate of Samuel Seligman and Frances Hooton

Marriage certificate of Samuel Seligman and Frances Hooton

Seligman - Horton marriage page 2

William was born in England and was a shipping clerk; Hannah (usually referred to as Annie) was his second wife.  His first wife Deborah Newman (perhaps Annie’s sister?) died in 1879, leaving him with four children.  After having two children with Annie, including Frances in 1886, William lost his second wife Annie when she died on November 27, 1887.  William himself died in 1901 when Frances was only fifteen, and she ended up living with one of her sisters, working as a dressmaker. [Thanks to the generosity of Chip Bennett, a relative of the Hootons, I am able to share some photographs of Frances Hooton Seligman and her children.]  When Samuel and Frances married, he was only nineteen and she was 21.

Their first child Marion was born a year later in July, 1908.

Marion Seligman photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

Marion Seligman
photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

In February 1910, their second child Maxwell was born.  According to the 1910 census, the family was living at 349 East 82nd Street, and Samuel was working as a special officer for the Highway Department.   A third child was born to Samuel and Frances in 1913; his name was William.

Frances Hooton Seligman with Max and Marion and her niece Ethel   Photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

Frances Hooton Seligman with Max and Marion and her niece Ethel
Photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

 

Meanwhile, the other children of Jacob and Mathilde Seligman were still living with their parents in 1910.  Jacob was still in the cigar business, and Harry was still working as a city police officer.  Louis had no occupation listed, and Beatrice was only eight years old.

Harry married Rose Weis on March 24, 1912.  Rose was the daughter of Joseph/Ignatz Weis and Henrietta Schoen, Hungarian immigrants.  Her father was an upholsterer.  As far as I can tell, Harry and Rose did not have any children.  In 1915, Harry continued to work as a police officer.  He and Rose were living at 349 East 84th Street, according to the 1915 census.

Jacob Seligman died on December 16, 1915.  He was 63 years old.  His son Louis was married a year and a half later; he married Fannie Zinck on June 2, 1917.  She was born in Alsace-Lorraine in about 1889 and immigrated to the US around 1902.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any more about Fannie’s background.  Louis and Fannie did not have any children.

According to his World War I draft registration, Louis was employed as a canvasser by his brother Samuel in 1918; according to Samuel’s registration, he was self-employed as a watchman.  What would Louis have been doing as a canvasser for a watchman?  They were living not far from each other, Louis and Fannie at 506 East 83rd Street, Sam and Frances and their children at 242 East 85th Street.  Harry and Rose were also nearby—at 409 East 84th Street; Harry (using the name Henry on his draft registration) was still a New York City patrolman.  I found it interesting that all three brothers were in some aspect of the security business.

Their mother Mathilde Kerbs Seligman died on March 12, 1918; she was 54 years old.  Beatrice, the youngest sibling, was only sixteen years old and orphaned.  She moved in with her brother Louis and his wife Fannie, according to the 1920 census.  They were then living at 307 East 78th Street; Louis listed his occupation as special officer on night patrol, and Beatrice was a typist. In 1920, Harry and Rose continued to live at 409 East 84th Street, and Harry continued to work as a police officer.  Sam, Frances, and their three children were still living at 242 East 85th Street, and Sam was still working as a night watchman.

Things remained pretty much the same in 1925.  Louis, Fannie, and Beatrice were still living on 78th Street.  Louis was now working as a mechanic, according to the 1925 New York census; it looks like Beatrice’s occupation was a correspondent.  I am not sure what that means.  Samuel and his family were still on 85th Street.  Sam had his own business, and his two oldest children were working: Marion doing clerical work and Maxwell as a helper—perhaps in their father’s business?  I have not been able to locate Harry and Rose on the 1925 New York census.

Marion Seligman as a young girl photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

Marion Seligman as a young girl
photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

Samuel and Frances Seligman’s son Maxwell married Helene Sumner on August 25, 1927.  Helene was the daughter of Edward Sumner and Priscilla nee McCarthy, who were English-born immigrants; her father was an engineer. Maxwell was only 17 years old when they married (although listed as 22 on the marriage record, all other records indicate he was born in 1910); Helene was listed as 17, but all her earlier records say she was born in 1912, making her only 15 in 1927. Given how young they were, I might have thought that Helene was pregnant (and maybe she was), but their first and only child, Joseph, was not born until 1929.

Maxwell Seligman as a young boy Photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

Maxwell Seligman as a young boy
Photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

The 1920s ended very sadly for the family.  On March 9, 1929, Samuel Seligman died; he was only 40 years old and left behind his wife Frances and their three children.  He died from angina pectoris and myocarditis—heart disease.

Samuel Seligman death certificate 1929

Samuel Seligman death certificate 1929

 

Marion was 21, Maxwell 19, and William only 16 years old when their father died.  Frances remarried a man named Frank Mildrum on February 16, 1931, according to the records in the New York marriage index on Ancestry, although according to the 1930 census, she was already married to Frank, as she is listed as his wife and living with him and two of her children, Marion and William, in the Bronx.  Frank also had a thirteen year old daughter Florence from his prior marriage.  Frank was a private detective.  Marion Seligman was working as an office clerk.

Louis Seligman did not live much longer than his brother Samuel.  In 1930 he and Fannie as well as his sister Beatrice were still living at 308 East 78th Street.  Louis had his own business in protective alarms, and Beatrice was a clerk for an express company, according to the census.  But on October 23, 1931, Louis died from luetic aortitis and chronic myocarditis at age 44. Heart disease had contributed to the death of yet another family member.  Of the four sons born to Jacob and Mathilde Kerbs Seligman, only Harry was still alive.

Louis Seligman death certificate 1931

Louis Seligman death certificate 1931

By 1930 Harry and his wife Rose had moved in with her parents and siblings in Brooklyn, and Harry was no longer working as a police officer, but instead as a clerk in a brokerage house.  Harry was 49 years old; he had been working for the police force since at least 1905. Why would he and Rose have moved in with her family after all those years living on their own? Was Harry disabled? Had he reached eligibility for retirement? Did the police force even have a pension back then? According to this article from the official New York City website, there was some form of pension for police officers dating back to the 19th century.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that Harry died just seven years later on March 6, 1937.  He was fifty-six years old and died from “coronary thrombosis with cerebral and pulmonary emboli induced by generalized arteriosclerosis.” (The parents’ names on this certificate are clearly in error, but this is also clearly the correct Harry Seligman, son of Jacob and Mathilde.)

Harry (Henry) Seligman death certificate 1937

Harry (Henry) Seligman death certificate 1937

The New York Times March 7, 1937

The New York Times March 7, 1937

 

Beatrice Seligman had been orphaned by the time she was sixteen, and now she had lost all of her siblings by time she was 35 years old.  In 1940 she was living as a lodger on West 99th Street and still working for the expression company as a stenographer.  She was single and 38 years old.  After that, I cannot find her.  I don’t know whether she ever married or what happened to her after 1940.  I don’t know when she died.

Of the five children born to Jacob and Mathilde Seligman, only one, Samuel, had had any children.  As noted above, Samuel and Frances Seligman’s son Maxwell married Helene Sumner as a teenager, and they had a son Joseph born in 1929.  I saw on Ancestry that Joseph died when he was three years old in 1932.  When I received the death certificate, I was shocked.  Joseph had been hit by a car on 85th Street between Second and Third Avenue and had sustained a fractured skull.  How could something like this happen to a three year old child?

Seligman, Joseph death page 1 Seligman, Joseph death page 2

It appears that the marriage between Maxwell and Helene did not survive the death of their son.  In 1939, Maxwell traveled with his brother William to Key West, Florida.  On the 1940 census Maxwell and William were both living with their mother Frances Hooton Seligman Mildrum, who had been widowed again when Frank Mildrum died in June, 1939.  Frank’s daughter Florence was also living with them.  Maxwell and William were both working as collectors for a detective agency; according to the 1940 census, both Maxwell and William had been living in the same house in 1935, suggesting that Maxwell’s marriage had ended by then.

William Seligman as a young boy Photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

William Seligman as a young boy
Photo courtesy of Chip Bennett

As for Marion, Samuel and Frances Seligman’s other child, she married Howard Fairweather on July 3, 1932.  He was the son of Howard and Margaret (Duffy) Fairweather.  This also appears to be a marriage that did not last.  On the 1940 census, Howard and Marion were living on Undercliff Avenue in the Bronx.  Although Marion was working as a secretary at Star Protection Company, Howard had no occupation listed.

Marion may have been more than a secretary; she may have been THE secretary of the company.  According to an article from the New York Times dated January 27, 1940 about a labor strike at the company (Star Electric Protective Company, a burglar alarm company), Marion Fairweather was at that time the treasurer of the company.

Marion Fairweather burglar alarm strike

Marion and Howard had no children.  In 1942 Howard was serving in the armed forces as a private and still listed his status as married.  He reported that his occupation was as a non-public police officer, so I assume a private detective.  After that I have no records for them together.  Marion traveled alone several times in the 1950s.  Perhaps they were still married, but I have no documentation for either of them until their deaths.  Howard Fairweather died in Atlantic City in 1976; Marion Seligman Fairweather died July 27, 1988. Her last residence had been in New York City.

William had enlisted in the military on 1942.  In July, 1953, he traveled  to Bermuda. It appears that William never married.  William P. Seligman is listed in the New York City telephone directory in 1959 and 1960, and there is a Max Seligman as well, but I don’t know if it is the correct Max since even within the family there were several Max Seligmans.  William died on June 2, 1964.  His death notice in the New York Times mentioned only his sister Marion Fairweather as a survivor so Max must have predeceased him.  Unfortunately I cannot locate a death record or obituary for Max.

The New York Times, June 4, 1964

The New York Times, June 4, 1964

None of the children of Samuel Seligman had children, and Samuel was the only child of Jacob Seligman to have children, and thus the line of Jacob Seligman, son of Marx and Sarah Seligmann, ended when Marion Seligman Fairweather died in 1988.  Looking back at their story, this seemed to be a family that was succeeding in America—three sons who were all involved in personal and property security in some form or another.  But they were also three sons who died far too young in addition to the fourth son who died as a very young man.  There was the tragedy of a three year old child killed by a car and the marriage between his two young parents that failed not long after that death.  It is also a family that has no living descendants to carry on the names or the stories of these people.

Descendants of Jacob Seligman and Mathilde Kerbs

Descendants of Jacob Seligman and Mathilde Kerbs

 

 

 

Gifts from My Cousin Steve

How very lucky I have been in finding my Seligman cousins.  Starting with my cousin Pete from Santa Fe, then my cousin Wolfgang in Germany, then my cousin Suzanne from Scranton, and now two more cousins: Lotte, a descendant of Hieronymous Seligmann, brother of my great-great-grandfather Bernard, and Steve, a descendant of Marx Seligman, brother of my three-times-great-grandfather Moritz.  I will talk about Lotte in subsequent posts, but for now I will continue the story of Marx Seligman and his descendants.

Steve is a grandson of Sigmund Seligman, the oldest child of Marx and Sarah Seligman, and as I mentioned last time, he has generously shared with me many photographs of his family as well as personal anecdotes about them.  All the photographs in this post are courtesy of Steve.  I am filled with gratitude to him for bringing to life his father Leo, his aunt Mary, and his uncles Max and Albert.

In my earlier post about Marx and his descendants, I wrote that “Sigmund and Charlotte had five children between 1883 and 1896: Mary (1883), Max (1884), Leo (1891), Theresa (1894), and Albert (1896).  Sigmund was employed in the insurance industry.  In 1900, they were living at 304 East 117th Street.”  As posted last time, here is a family photograph of Sigmund and Charlotte and their children from about that time, estimated to be taken in 1901.

Sigmund Seligman and family about 1901. Standing rear: Mary, Max.  Sitting middle row: Sigmund, Albert, Leo, and Charlotte.  In front: Theresa Photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

Sigmund Seligman and family about 1901. Standing rear: Mary, Max. Sitting middle row: Sigmund, Albert, Leo, and Charlotte. In front: Theresa
Photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

Tragedy struck this happy family on September 27, 1902, when eight year old Theresa, the little girl seated in front, died from tubercular meningitis.

Theresa Seligman death certificate

Theresa Seligman death certificate

 

In 1905, the remaining children were all still living with their parents at 89 East 121st Street; Sigmund was a supervisor in an insurance company, Max was working as a bookkeeper, and the other boys were in school.  Mary was home.

As noted last time, Mary married Joseph Brandenburg (later Brandt) in 1907.  By 1910, her parents and brothers had moved to 275 East 123rd Street.  Sigmund was still working as a supervisor in the insurance company, now identified as Metropolitan Life.  Both Max and Leo were working as clerks for American Pencil Company, and Albert was only fourteen and presumably in school.

In 1915, the family had relocated again to 60 West 129th Street; Sigmund was still in the insurance business.  The census does not report what businesses they were working in, but Max was working as an assistant manager, Leo as a salesman, and Albert as a stock clerk.

Sigmund Seligman and family 1915 NY census New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 09; Assembly District: 21; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 35

Sigmund Seligman and family 1915 NY census New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 09; Assembly District: 21; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 35

Sigmund and Charlotte’s first grandchild, Jerrold Thurston Brandt, son of Joseph and Mary (Seligman) Brandt, was born on June 15, 1913.

On October 12, 1915, Max married Pauline Hirsch. Pauline’s father Samuel was a German immigrant working as a watchman; her mother had died in 1901. Pauline had been working as a bookkeeper for a clothing company in 1910.  Pauline and Max had a daughter Theresa born August 15, 1916, presumably named for Max’s little sister Theresa, who had died in 1902.

Both Leo and Albert served in World War I.  Leo served stateside near Jacksonville, Florida; Albert was sent overseas where he was gassed on the battlefields of France.  According to his nephew Steve, Albert never fully regained his health, suffering from heart problems and pneumonia all his life.

Leo Seligman World War I courtesy of Steve Seligman

Leo Seligman World War I courtesy of Steve Seligman

Albert Seligman ww1

Albert Seligman World War I photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

By 1920 Sigmund had retired.  He and Charlotte were still living with two of their sons, Leo and Albert, as well as a boarder. Home from the war, Leo was a salesman for a cloak company, and Albert was a merchant in ladies’ clothing.

On April 18, 1920, Leo married Jeanette Freundlich, the daughter of Morris and Martha Freundlich.  Morris was an immigrant from the Austria-Hungary Empire, and according to his passport application, he was born in Krakow.  Morris was a furrier and had his own business.  According to the 1920 census, Jeanette and her brothers Julian and Edwin were all helping their father in his business.  Jeanette and Leo had three children in the 1920s, Joan, my newly-found cousin Steven, and Edward.

Edward, Joan and Steven Seligman

Edward, Joan and Steven Seligman

EDDIE & STEVE ABOUT 1938 001

Edward and Steven Seligman about 1938

 

In 1920 Max was working as the assistant manager in the pencil company, and he and his family were living at 424 East 51st Street.

Albert Seligman married Bella Heftler on November 20, 1921. Bella was the youngest of ten children of Max and Sarah Heftler, who were Hungarian immigrants.  Max Heflter was supporting that large family as a tailor, with his two oldest daughters working in a shirt factory in 1900. By 1920, Max had died, and Bella was working as a bookkeeper, still living with her mother and five of her siblings.  In 1923, Bella and Albert Seligman had a son Maxwell, named presumably for Bella’s father.

Albert Seligman courtesy of Steve Seligman

Albert Seligman courtesy of Steve Seligman

Bella Heftler Seligman

Bella Heftler Seligman courtesy of Steve Seligman

Maxwell Seligman courtesy of Steve Seligman

Maxwell Seligman courtesy of Steve Seligman

Sigmund Seligman died on June 15, 1924.  He was 74 years old.  His wife Charlotte survived him by ten years, dying on July 18, 1934.  She was 75 years old.

Sigmund Seligman and Charlotte Koppel Seligman

Sigmund Seligman and Charlotte Koppel Seligman

As for their children, in 1930 Max was working as the manager of a movie theater and living with his family on West 97th Street.  Leo was living with his family on Cathedral Parkway (110th Street) and working in coat manufacturing.  Albert and his family were living on Jesup Avenue in the Bronx, and Albert was a salesman in the film industry.  Mary and Joe Brandt were living with their son Jerrold at 23 West 73rd Street, and Joe was one of the owners of what was now called Columbia Pictures.

By 1940, all three brothers were somehow connected to the film industry.  Joe Brandt had left Columbia Pictures in 1932 and had died in 1939, but he somehow must have connected his three brothers-in-law to the movie industry.  According to the 1940 census, Max Seligman was working as a purchasing agent for Columbia Pictures.  His draft registration for World War II says that Columbia Pictures was his employer.  Leo reported that he had his own office as a film distributor on the 1940 census, and on his World War II draft registration he said his employer was Max Seligman.  According to Steve, his father distributed foreign films as well as children’s cartoons for a local movie theater.  As for Albert, the 1940 census reports his occupation as a movie theater manager, but on his World War II draft registration he listed his employer as Columbia Pictures.  Steve said that Albert was in the publicity department.  Thus, by 1942 all three brothers appear to have been working in the film business.

Max (front left), Leo (rear on right), and Mary (front right) and two friends playing cards  Courtesy of Steve Seligman

Max (front left), Leo (rear on right), and Mary (front right) and two friends playing cards
Courtesy of Steve Seligman

Mary had also moved back from Hollywood to New York at some point after Joe died, and her nephew Steve remembers that she would often take him and his siblings to the movies.  Steve wrote, “Aunt Mary would march up to the box office and demand to see the manager.  When he came out she would come up with the same pitch.  ‘My husband was President and co-founder of Columbia Pictures and this child and I would like to see this picture.’ I never remember being turned away.”

Mary Seligman Brandt Photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

Mary Seligman Brandt
Photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

About his Uncle Max, Steve wrote, “Uncle Max had a habit of saying almost everything twice.  When I would go and visit him and my Aunt Pauline, Uncle Max would invariably open the door and say, ‘Hello my boy, hello my boy, how are you, how are you.’  Even during conversations it would happen.  I don’t know whether he thought we were hard of hearing or if he just wanted to emphasize what he said.    Not everything was repeated, of course, but enough times for my brother Eddie and my cousin Maxwell to refer to him as Uncle Max, Uncle Max.”

Steve also wrote this loving tribute to his father, Leo Seligman, the middle brother:

One thing you could say about my father was that he was a lousy ballplayer.  He couldn’t throw, he couldn’t catch, he didn’t even follow the baseball teams. When my brother Eddie and I would be in our room listening to a replay of the day’s games, my father would be in the living room reading the paper and surely not the sports page. But in other ways he managed to spend quality time with us. In the summer almost every Sunday we would go up to the roof of our apartment building with bridge chairs and hang out for a couple of hours. He would have contests between Eddie and me testing our spelling, math and memory skills. Eddie would always win the math contest but I managed to hold my own in the other games. I think whoever won would get a nickel, nothing to get crazy over but enough to tide us over in the candy store.  In my early teens on Sundays in the spring he and I would rent bikes and go bike riding in Central Park. It’s amazing but I still remember the store. The owners name was Aug, it was on 81st St. and he charged a quarter an hour. That was fun. What my father lacked in ball playing he made up on a bike. One other thing; he never spanked us. When I misbehaved he would “flick” my ear, hard.  It’s hard to describe what “flicking” an ear is but if you put your forefinger against your thumb and release it strongly, that’s flicking. It really didn’t hurt much but it didn’t matter, we knew we were being punished.

Leo Seligman

Leo Seligman

Leo and Jeanette (Freundlich) Seligman

Leo and Jeanette (Freundlich) Seligman

All three brothers died within five years of each other.  Albert, the youngest, died first on October 6, 1948.  He was only 52 years old and had been plagued with poor health since his service during World War I.  Leo died on January 1, 1952; he was just sixty years old.  Max, the oldest of the three, died the following year on March 9, 1953; he was 68.

 

Max Seligman NYT Obit

Mary Seligman Brandt, the oldest of the children of Sigmund and Charlotte Koppel Seligman, lived the longest.  She died in February, 1977, at the age of 94.

Thank you once again to my cousin Steve Seligman for sharing his photographs and his stories with me.  I am so pleased that we have found each other.  These new contacts and the pleasure they bring me continue to be the most meaningful benefits I get from doing genealogy and writing this blog.

 

 

 

I Could Have Been A Contender*

 

The original CBC Film Sales logo used from 191...

The original CBC Film Sales logo used from 1919 through 1924 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I continued to research the descendants of my four-times-great-uncle Marx Seligman, one thing kept bothering me. I had not yet confirmed one of the facts asserted in the second handwritten tree discovered by my cousin Wolfgang.  That second handwritten tree, which had led me to Marx and his family, claimed (1) that Marx had remarried and moved to New York.  That was true about the Marx I was following—he had married Sara Koppel and moved to New York City.

The creator of that second tree also claimed that (2) Marx and Sara had had a son who (also) married a woman whose surname was Koppel (or Coppel).  That also proved to be true of the Marx I was following: his son Sigmund had married a woman named Charlotte Koppel, born in Germany (and likely related to Sigmund’s mother).

tree 2 page 8

But there was one more specific fact that the tree had mentioned that I had not yet confirmed:  (3) that the son had had a daughter who married a film agent. As I researched up to 1900, I had not yet uncovered anyone involved in the film industry who was related to Marx.  Being a big movie fan, I was disappointed not to find a connection to Hollywood.

But then I entered the 20th century in my research.  While researching the children of Sigmund Seligman as they entered adulthood, I found the answer.  According to another family tree I found on Ancestry owned by Sharon Bolton, Sigmund and Charlotte’s first child, Mary, married a man named Joseph Brandt, who was born on July 20, 1882, in Troy, New York.  I am always very reluctant to rely on anyone else’s tree, having seen so many that are unsourced and clearly carelessly done, but this one seemed very thorough and included many photographs as well as personal stories by Sigmund’s grandson, Steve. (I am now in touch with both Sharon and Steve, and they generously shared wonderful photographs and stories about Sigmund’s family.  I will post more photographs in a subsequent post.)

Sigmund Seligman and family about 1901. Standing rear: Mary, Max.  Sitting middle row: Sigmund, Albert, Leo, and Charlotte.  In front: Theresa Photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

Sigmund Seligman and family about 1901. Standing rear: Mary, Max. Sitting middle row: Sigmund, Albert, Leo, and Charlotte. In front: Theresa
Photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

According to Joseph Brandt’s record on the 1920 census, his father was born in Russia and spoke Yiddish; his mother was born in Germany.

Joseph Brandt and family 1920 census  Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1227; Page: 38B; Enumeration District: 1506; Image: 543

Joseph Brandt and family 1920 census
Source Citation
Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1227; Page: 38B; Enumeration District: 1506; Image: 543

 

I could not find Joseph on any census before or after 1920, and I could not find anything else about his parents or family.  (Sharon also had nothing about his background on her tree.) Based on his birth date and birth place as recorded on Sharon’s family tree, the only other official records I could find for him were his 1913 passport application, his 1918 World War I draft registration card, and several ship manifests for his travels with Mary.

But his draft registration corroborated that third missing fact from the handwritten family tree.  According to his 1918 draft registration card, Joseph was then employed as an attorney and assistant treasurer for Universal Film Manufacturing Company.  Now I had evidence that the Marx Seligman I had been following was the same man discussed in the handwritten family tree: Marx’s son Sigmund had married a woman named Koppel; they had had a daughter (Mary) who married a “film agent.”

Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1787086; Draft Board: 170

Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1787086; Draft Board: 170

Of course, Joe Brandt was more than a film agent.  In fact, he was much, much more.  Once I saw that he was in fact involved in the film industry, I googled his name and learned more.  From Wikipedia and his obituary in the New York Times on February 23, 1939, p.28,  I learned that Joe Brandt was one of the founders and the first president of Columbia Pictures.  Joe had graduated from NYU Law School in 1906 and had worked in the advertising industry for several years before being hired in 1912 by Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Film Manufacturing, today known as Universal Studios.  In 1919 he and two brothers he had known at Universal,, Harry and Jack Cohn, formed their own film production company, known first as C.B.C. Film Sales (for Cohn Brandt Cohn) and later known as Columbia Pictures.

Christmas ad in The Film Daily December 1920  p 1484

Christmas ad in The Film Daily December 1920 p 1484

 

Joe sold his interest in Columbia Pictures in 1932 and then became president of two other film companies before retiring due to poor health in 1935.  Joe died at the age of 56 on February 22, 1939. Joe and Mary had had one child, a son named Jerrold Thurston Brandt, who would also enter the movie industry.

Joe Brandt obit NYTimes February 23, 1939

But why couldn’t I find out anything about Joe’s background before entering the film industry other than his birth in Troy, New York, in 1882?  From a link in the Wikipedia entry, I found this little snippet about him from a journal called Moving Picture World dated April 6, 1912:

Joe Brandt goes to Laemmle

Joe had changed his name from Brandenburg to Brandt.  There is also a reference to his name change in this article from the February 1, 1913 edition of Motography:

Motography part 1

Motography part 2

Motography part 3

Once I knew his original name, I had no trouble locating his parents and his siblings. Joseph Brandenburg was the son of Daniel and Rosa Brandenburg.  Daniel was born in 1846 in Russia, and according to the 1900 census, had arrived in the United States in 1870.   His wife Rosa was born in Prussia in 1847 and had immigrated to the US in 1865, according to the 1900 census.  Daniel and Rosa had married in 1871, and by 1880 they were living in Troy, New York, where Daniel was working as a tailor.  They had three children by that time: Albert, Lilly, and Anna.   Joseph was their youngest child, born in 1882. At some point the family must have moved to New York City because the article reprinted above from Motography states that Joe was educated in the NYC public schools.  On the 1900 census, Daniel and Rosa were living in New York City with all of their children, including Joe, who was already a lawyer, according to the census report.  Daniel was still working as a tailor.  Joe was still living with his parents as of the 1905 New York census and was still listed as a lawyer on that census record.

On October 20, 1907, Joseph Brandenburg married Mary Seligman in New York City.

New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24HY-X9K : accessed 15 July 2015), Joseph Brandenburg and Mary Seligman, 20 Oct 1907; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm .

New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24HY-X9K : accessed 15 July 2015), Joseph Brandenburg and Mary Seligman, 20 Oct 1907; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm .

He was still using the Brandenburg surname as of 1910, when according to the census, he was working in advertising for Billboard magazine.   He and Mary were living at 3161 Broadway in NYC.  Sometime between 1910 and 1913 when he applied for a passport, Joe changed his surname to Brandt, as that is how he appears on every document thereafter.

Joseph Brandt passport application 1913 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 194; Volume #: Roll 0194 - Certificates: 14182-15185, 07 Aug 1913-30 Aug 1913

Joe Brandt passport application 1913
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 194; Volume #: Roll 0194 – Certificates: 14182-15185, 07 Aug 1913-30 Aug 1913

Joe Brandt’s story is another one of those remarkable American dreams come true.  The son of a Russian Jewish immigrant who worked as a tailor, Joe not only went to college and law school.  He became a major figure in the burgeoning American film industry of the early 20th century and an extremely wealthy man, according to his nephew Steve. In fact, if I hadn’t found the facts myself, I’d say it was just a Hollywood story made to perpetuate the myth of the American dream.  But it is in fact a real story.

Mary Seligman Brandt Photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

Mary Seligman Brandt, my second cousin, three times removed
Photo courtesy of Steve Seligman

Moving Picture World July-September 1913, p. 728  http://archive.org/stream/movingpicturewor17newy#page/727/mode/1up

Moving Picture World July-September 1913, p. 728 http://archive.org/stream/movingpicturewor17newy#page/727/mode/1up

 

————-

* From On the Waterfront, a Columbia Pictures film

 

The Case of the Disappearing Twin: Edith and Lucie Cain

In my last post, I wrote about the family of Marx and Sarah Seligman.  One of their daughters, Charlotte, had married Max Schlesinger, who worked in the tie industry, and they had had four children, including a daughter Harriet, born 1875.  Harriet had married George Cain in 1897, and on the 1900 census, George and Harriet had one daughter, Edith, born in May, 1900, just a month before the census was taken in June.  George’s sister Lucie was also living with them.

Cain family 1900 census

Cain family 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1119; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0852; FHL microfilm: 1241119

When I found Harriet and George on the 1910 census, I was bewildered.  There were now two daughters, Lucy [sic], aged nine, and Ethel, age eight.

Cain Family 1910 US census Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1022; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0533; FHL microfilm: 1375035

Cain Family 1910 US census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1022; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0533; FHL microfilm: 1375035

 

What had happened to Edith?  At first I thought the census taker had just listed Edith by the wrong name.  But then the ages didn’t make sense. Then I thought Lucie was born in 1901, a year after Edith, and then Ethel in 1902. But where was Edith?  Had Edith died? Plus on the 1900 census Harriet reported that she had had one child and one alive, and on the 1910 census she reported that she’d had two children, and two were alive.

I searched on both Ancestry and on FamilySearch, and I didn’t find any death certificates for a child named Edith Cain between 1900 and 1910.  But I did turn up something strange.  FamilySearch had two New York City birth records for daughters born to Harriet Schlesinger and George Cain on the same day, May 28, 1900, one named Edith, one named Lucie.

Edith Cain on FS birth

Lucie Cain birth FS

So where was Lucie in 1900? Maybe she had been sick and in a hospital when the census was taken? But then where was Edith in 1910? Had there been twins? Had Edith died? What really puzzled me was that both records had the same certificate number.  Usually if there were twins, there would be two separate certificates each with its own unique number.

But all FamilySearch had were these summaries of the certificates, not images of the actual certificates.  I turned to the New York City Genealogy group on Facebook for some insights.  People there were just as mystified, but one group member, Jim Murray, offered to help.  He was going to the NYC archives two days later and offered to look up and transcribe the two certificates.

What Jim found was that the two certificates were the same as described on FamilySearch, and in addition they had different home addresses for the family.  The one for Edith had 166 W. 122nd St. as the father’s address; the one for Lucie had 202 W. 123rd St. as the father’s address.  I went back to the 1900 census and found that the family was living at 166 W. 122nd Street on June 9, 1900, when the census was taken, just twelve days after the baby or babies were born.

I asked Jim if he had noticed the dates that each certificate was filed, and he said he would go back and check.  In the meantime, I had a brainstorm.  What had happened to Lucie, George’s sister, between 1900 and 1910? Had she married?  She was no longer living with George and Harriet.  A few more clicks on Ancestry, and I found out why.  Lucie had died on June 26, 1900, just a few weeks after the 1900 census and less than a month after Harriet and George’s baby or babies were born.  Had Harriet and George changed their baby’s name in memory of her aunt Lucie?

I waited for Jim’s answer and also waited to receive electronic copies of the actual birth certificates for Edith and Lucie and of the death certificate for George’s sister Lucie.  What I then learned seemed to confirm my theory—that the baby was named Edith at first, but then renamed Lucie after George’s sister died. The first certificate for Edith was filed by the doctor on June 9, 1900; the second certificate with the name Lucie was filed by her mother Harriet on July 6, 1900. I also noticed that the second certificate had both the old address and new address on it with the old address as the place of birth.  I was convinced that the baby born Edith was renamed Lucie after her aunt died.

Somehow the city allowed Harriet to file the second certificate without rescinding the first one so two birth certificates are still on file 115 years later for one baby, born Edith, but then renamed Lucie.

Cain, Edith Pearl

Cain, Lucie F. Birth

Her aunt Lucie, for whom she’d been renamed, had died at age 38 of chronic nephritis. (Notice that the doctor who signed the death certificate is the same one who filled out the first birth certificate for Edith-Lucie.)

Death certificate for Lucie Cain, George Cain's sister

Death certificate for Lucie Cain, George Cain’s sister

It must have been a time of such emotional turmoil for George and his family—the joy (and strain) of having a newborn baby mixed with the heartbreak of losing his sister at such a young age.  Perhaps the bureaucrat at City Hall had acted out of sympathy, not carelessness, in allowing this second certificate to be filed. And by allowing the first to stay on file, the story of how George honored his sister was there to be discovered 115 years later.

 

 

 

 

Marx Seligmann, My Four-Times Great-Uncle: His American Family

Genealogy research is like peeling an onion.  You peel back a layer, study that layer, and feel a good degree of sweet satisfaction, but there are always more layers, and if you are as lucky as I have been with my Seligmann family, you can keep peeling back more and more layers.  Sometimes a new layer brings new tears, sometimes it brings more joy.  The two handwritten family trees that Wolfgang and his mother found in their suitcase revealed several new layers of the Seligmann and Schoenfeld families, including the names of all the siblings of my three-times great-grandparents Moritz Seligmann and Babetta Schoenfeld.

One of those siblings was a younger brother of Moritz named Marx Seligmann.  From the handwritten trees I knew that Marx had married Rosina Loeser and had two daughters with her, Mathilde and Sophie.  I also knew that Marx and Rosina had divorced about ten years after they married or in 1849.  I don’t believe I had seen any evidence of a divorce that far back in time in my family, and I assume that divorce was probably pretty unusual back then, or at least not as common as it is now.

tree 2 page 8

The first tree had a confusing comment about someone coming later to America, but it wasn’t clear whether that was Marx or his ex-wife or his daughters.  The second handwritten tree was more explicit: Marx had remarried and had gone to New York .  The tree seemed to suggest that he’d had a son who married a woman with the birth name Coppel, and that they’d had a daughter who married a film agent.  I searched for Marx based on those assumptions and found the record I posted last time.

Charlotte Seligmann marriage record

Assuming that this is the same Marx Seligmann, he had himself married a woman named Sara Koppel, and they had had a daughter named Charlotte.  Charlotte had married someone named Max Schlesinger.  From that one record, I was able to research further and put together a more complete picture of Marx Seligmann and his descendants.

It appears that Marx and Sara had married not long after Marx’s divorce from Rosina and before leaving Germany because they sailed together as Marx and Sara Seligmann and arrived in New York on August 18, 1849. Marx was 39, Sara 27, and Marx listed his occupation as a merchant. (They are the third and fourth entries from the bottom on the document shown here.)

Marx and Sara Seligmann passenger manifest

Source: Year: 1849; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 082; Line: 49; List Number: 1146

 

A year later according to the census taken on August 26, 1850, they were living in New York City and had a four month old son Siegmund (later Sigmund), so Sara must have been just pregnant when they arrived in New York.  Marx was working as a cigar maker.  They were living in the 13th Ward or the Lower East Side, which then had a large population of German immigrants.

Marx and Sara Seligman 1855 US census

Marx and Sara Seligman 1855 US censusSource Citation Year: 1850; Census Place: New York Ward 13, New York, New York; Roll: M432_550; Page: 200A; Image: 148

 

Marx filed a declaration of intent to become a US citizen on November 25, 1850.

Marx Seeligman petition for naturalization

By 1860, Marx and Sara had three more children: Jacob, born in 1852; Charlotte, born in 1855; and Mary, born in 1856.  The family was still living in the 13th Ward, and Marx was still employed as a cigar maker.  The only thing that disturbs me about this census record is that it reports that both Marx and Sara were born in Darmstadt.  I assume that Marx, like his siblings, was born in Gaulsheim.  However, given how unreliable census records can be, I am willing to put that aside.

Marx Seligmann 1860 census

Year: 1860; Census Place: New York Ward 13 District 2, New York, New York; Roll: M653_803; Page: 418; Image: 422; Family History Library Film: 803803

 

By 1870, it appears that Marx had died.  He is not listed with his family on the 1870 census, and in the 1872 NYC directory, Sara is listed as a widow.  I contacted the cemetery where Sara was later buried, but they had no listing for a Marx or Max Seligmann.

According to the 1870 census, Sarah (now spelled with the H) was the head of household.  Sigmund, now 20, was working as a clerk.  Jacob, 17, was working in a cigar store, perhaps following in his father’s footsteps.  Charlotte was 16 and at home, and Mary was 14 and a dressmaker.  They were now living in the 17th Ward, also in the Lower East Side in a neighborhood inhabited by mostly German immigrants.

Sarah Seligmann and family 1870 census

Year: 1870; Census Place: New York Ward 17 District 20, New York, New York; Roll: M593_999; Page: 188A; Image: 377; Family History Library Film: 552498

 

The first of the children of Marx and Sarah to marry was their youngest child, Mary.  She married Oscar Kornfeld on September 11, 1873, when she was only seventeen years old.  Oscar was only twenty.  Oscar was the son of Charles and Julia Kornfeld, who were born in Austria, according to the 1860 and 1880 census, or Baden, according to the 1870 census.  Oscar’s father was a cigar maker like Mary’s father had been, so I wonder if they had met through their fathers.  Oscar also followed his father into the cigar business.

By 1880, Mary and Oscar had three children.  Their first child, born in 1874, was named Marx, presumably for his grandfather.  In 1877, Rose was born, and then Carrie was born in 1879.  In addition, Mary’s mother Sarah and her brother Sigmund were living with them at 239 East 51st Street in New York.  Both Sigmund and Oscar were working as cigar packers.

Mary and Oscar Kornfeld 1880 census

Mary and Oscar Kornfeld 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: New York City, New York, New York; Roll: 893; Family History Film: 1254893; Page: 358B; Enumeration District: 557; Image: 0720

Mary and Oscar had another daughter, Lillian, in 1882.  According to the 1892 New York State census, Mary and Oscar and their family were living in Long Island City in Queens, where Oscar continued to work in the cigar business.

Mary Seligmann and Oscar Kornfeld 1892 NY census

Mary Seligmann and Oscar Kornfeld 1892 NY census  Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education. 1892 New York State Census. Albany, NY: New York State Library.

By 1900 they were living at 1883 Madison Avenue, and Oscar was still working in the cigar business.  Their three daughters were still living with them, Rose doing housework, Carrie doing office work, and Lillian working as a cashier.  Their son Marx (later Max) married Emma Pisko on April 1, 1900.  I cannot locate them on the 1900 census—perhaps they were away on their honeymoon?

Oscar and Mary Kornfeld 1900 US census Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1119; Enumeration District: 0849; FHL microfilm: 1241119

Oscar and Mary Kornfeld 1900 US census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1119; Enumeration District: 0849; FHL microfilm: 1241119

 

As seen in the first record above, Charlotte Seligmann was the second child of Marx and Sarah Seligmann to marry; she married Max Schlesinger in 1874.  According to the 1880 census, Max Schleslinger was born in Berlin and was working in 1880 as a supervisor in a tie factory, and by 1880 he and Charlotte had three children:  Hattie (or Harriet), born in 1875; Arthur, born in 1876; and Lena, born in 1877.

Max Schlesinger and Charlotte Seligman 1880 US census

Max Schlesinger and Charlotte Seligman 1880 US census Year: 1880; Census Place: New York City, New York, New York; Roll: 894; Family History Film: 1254894; Page: 52C; Enumeration District: 564; Image: 0096

I found a card for Max in the ancestry.com database for U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes indicating that he became a citizen on October 5, 1877, and was living at 315 East 56th Street, not too far from where Charlotte’s mother and siblings were living at that time.  In 1884, they had a fourth child, Louis.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906 (M1674); Microfilm Serial: M1674; Microfilm Roll: 251

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906 (M1674); Microfilm Serial: M1674; Microfilm Roll: 251

 

In 1900, Charlotte and Max were living at 202 East 123rd Street with just their two youngest children, Lena (listed here as Lillie) and Louis.  Max was still employed in tie manufacturing. Their daughter Hattie (or Harriet) had married George Cain in 1897.  George was a banker, and in 1900, they had a daughter Edith, just born that year. They also were living with George’s sister Lucie.

Max Schlesinger and Charlotte Seligman 1900 census

Max Schlesinger and Charlotte Seligman 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1119; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0854; FHL microfilm: 1241119

I unfortunately have had no luck locating Max and Charlotte’s son Arthur on the 1900 census or elsewhere.  The name Arthur Schlesinger is more common than you’d think (and that doesn’t include the famous historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. or his father, with whom there is no apparent tie), so I’ve not been able to figure out (yet) whether any of the men with that name in New York is the correct one.

Jacob was the next child of Marx and Sarah Seligmann to marry. He married Mathilde Kerbs on April 3, 1881, in New York City.[1]  Mathilde was a German immigrant, and at the time of the 1880 census she was living with her siblings in New York City.  Both of her brothers were in the cigar business as was Jacob, and so once again I think this was a connection made through the family ties to the cigar industry.  Between 1882 and 1888, Jacob and Mathilde had four sons. The first, Max (presumably for his grandfather Marx), was born in 1882, then came Harry (1883), Louis (1885), and Samuel (1888).  In 1900, Jacob was still a cigar packer, and the family was living at 303 East 69th Street.  They would have one more child, Beatrice, in 1902.

Jacob Seligman and Mathilde Kerbs 1900 census

Jacob Seligman and Mathilde Kerbs 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1112; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0700; FHL microfilm: 1241112

Sigmund, the oldest child of Marx and Sarah Seligmann, was the last to marry.  According to the 1900 census, he married his wife Charlotte in 1882.  From a death notice I found for Sigmund in the New York Times, I learned that Charlotte’s birth name was Koppel.

Sigmund Seligman death notice NYT June 1924

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: The New York Times. New York, NY, USA: The New York Times, 1851-2001.

Thus, the story posted about Marx on the second handwritten tree—that one of his sons had married someone whose birth name was Koppel (or Coppel, as spelled there) —was in fact true.  Both Marx and his son Sigmund married women with that surname.  My guess is that Charlotte Koppel was a relative of Sarah Koppel, Sigmund’s mother.  That guess is supported by two clues: one, Sarah’s mother’s first name was also Charlotte, according to Sarah’s death record, and two, Sigmund’s grandson posted a story on Ancestry.com saying that Sigmund had gone back to Germany to marry Charlotte and suggesting that it had been an arranged marriage.

Death Certificate for Sarah Koppel Seligman, wife of Sigmund

Death Certificate for Sarah Koppel Seligman, wife of Marx

Sigmund and Charlotte had five children between 1883 and 1896: Mary (1883), Max (1884) (another namesake for Marx or perhaps for Sarah’s father Max Koppel?), Leo (1891), Theresa (1894), and Albert (1896).  Sigmund was employed in the insurance industry.  In 1900, they were living at 304 East 117th Street.

Sigmund and Sarah Seligman 1900 US census  Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1123; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0933; FHL microfilm: 1241123

Sigmund and Charlotte Seligman 1900 US census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1123; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0933; FHL microfilm: 1241123

 

Thus, by 1900, Marx Seligmann had not only four grown children surviving him in the United States (plus the two daughters born of his first marriage); there were also eighteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild to follow him in the United States, including several named Max or Marx in his honor.  Sometimes it amazes me to see just how many descendants one person can have.  As I follow the descendants of Marx Seligmann into the 20th century in my next post, I cannot help but think about all the potential lives that were lost for every person whose life was cut short.

 

 

 

 

[1] I cannot find Jacob on the 1880 US census.

And The Suitcase Just Keeps on Giving!

As I mentioned briefly in my last post, as I was finishing up my write-up about the handwritten family tree we are calling Emil’s tree, Wolfgang’s mother discovered another handwritten tree. It appears to be written by someone else, but I don’t know who. It covers only the ten children of Jacob Seligmann and Marta/Martha Mayer and their grandchildren so is not as wide or deep in scope as the first one, but it contains some useful extra tidbits that have helped me locate more family members.  (Each page has a letter “b” written in the upper right hand corner.  I have no idea what that means, unless to show these page were about one particular line in the family.)

tree 2 cover and page 1

tree 2 pages 2 and 3

tree 2 page 5

 

The cover page lists the children of Jacob and Mart(h)a and also the children of Isaac Seeligmann and Felicia Goetzel, that is, the two sets of Emil’s great-grandparents.  Page 1 simply has Simon Seligmann’s name and that he was from Bingen, and Page 2 just has Isaac Seligmann (son of Jacob and Marta) and that he lived in Gensingen, a town near Bingen.  Martha Seligmann and her children with her husband Benjamin Seeligmann are listed on Page 3. Page 4 (to be posted) covers the family of Moritz Seligmann, my three-times great-grandfather, and the family of Leopold Seligmann is on Page 5.   So far all this information is consistent with what was on Emil’s tree and does not add anything very important.

On Page 6, however, there is some new information about the family of Mina Seligmann.  The first tree reported, as in this one, that she married Leopold Mayer of Oberursel and had a son Adolf Eduard.  Here it is clear that there were two sons, Adolf and Eduard, and also two daughters: Helene, who married Jakob or Jak (or maybe Isak?) Wolf, and an unnamed daughter who died and was not married.

tree 2 page 6

Page 7 also contains some new information.  This page is devoted to Caroline Seligmann, who married Moses Moreau from Worrstadt, another town not very far from Bingen.  Underneath are four names that the creator of this tree originally labeled as the children of Caroline and Moses, but then crossed out and wrote “grandchildren.”  The names are the same as those on the earlier tree—Markus, Albert, Bertha, and Alice.  Next to Markus it says “England,” and next to Albert it says “Amerika.”  I searched for both with the surname Moreau, but so far have had no luck.  Perhaps, however, they were the sons of a daughter of Caroline and Moses Moreau and had their father’s surname and not Moreau.  For Bertha, the notation says that she was the wife of Aschaffenburg (which Wolfgang told me is also a town in Bavaria), and for Alice it says that she was the wife of D. Mastbaum.  But why are the grandchildren listed and not the children? And what are the two names at the very bottom?

tree 2 page 7

The page that has provided me with the most new information is Page 8.  In my last post I talked about the confusing passage at the end of the tree’s notes on Marx Seligmann.  Someone had gone to America later—but who? Was it the children, the ex-wife, or Marx himself?  Well, this new tree provides more clues and led me to more answers.

tree 2 page 8

The first part of Page 8 repeats the information about Marx’s marriage and divorce from Rosina Loeser, and then on the bottom of the page, according to my wonderful helpers in the German Genealogy group on Facebook, it says that Marx (or Max) remarried in New York and that his son married someone named Coppel, and that they had a daughter who married a film agent, but when I went to search for Marx Seligmann in New York, I found this marriage record:

Charlotte Seligmann marriage record

“New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2492-DVZ : accessed 8 July 2015), Max Schlesinger and Charlotte Seligmann, 17 Jun 1874; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm .

 

Although this record indicates that Marx Seligmann himself was married Sara Koppel, not a son of Marx, it can’t be just coincidence that someone named Marx Seligmann had a wife named Koppel.  Also, Marx and Sara did have a daughter, Charlotte, and she married someone named Max Schlesinger.  I don’t think, however, that he was a film agent.

If this second family tree is accurate and I am making correct assumptions that this is in fact the same Marx Seligmann who was a son of Jacob Seligmann and Marta Mayer and thus my four-times great-uncle, then this new tree just opened up a huge door to learn about more Seligmann cousins living in the United States.  In my next post, I will write about what I’ve learned about Marx and his descendants.

For now, to finish the second family tree, Pages 9 and 10 add no information about Salomon Seligmann and Babette Seligmann that was not already included on Emil’s tree.  The only thing I can’t decipher here are the faintly written words at the bottom of page 9.

tree 2 pages 9 and 10

 

Thus, once again I have been blessed with a treasure from that suitcase in Germany.  What if Wolfgang had not found my blog and contacted me? I would know nothing about all these people.  Sometimes you just have to be thankful for good luck.

 

 

 

 

More Hidden Treasure from Wolfgang’s Magic Suitcase

http://www.wpclipart.com/money/. Per the licen...

http://www.wpclipart.com/money/. Per the license: These images are public domain. License . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have had many exciting finds through the course of my search for my family history: wonderful photographs and letters, newspaper articles, government documents, birth and marriage and death certificates, and so on.  But for me some of the most special finds have been the family trees prepared by other members of my extended family, like the family tree prepared by my Aunt Elaine.  These trees are special not only for the information they convey, but also because they tie me to someone else who cared about the family history and wanted it preserved for posterity.

So you can imagine how excited I was when my cousin Wolfgang sent me a four page family tree prepared at least 75 years ago by one of our Seligmann cousins in Germany.  We know that this tree was prepared by a child of Karoline Seligmann, the daughter of my three-times great-grandfather Moritz Seligmann and his first wife, Eva Schoenfeld because the tree refers to Karoline Seligmann and her husband Siegfried Seligmann as “our parents.” Karoline (sometimes spelled Caroline or Carolina) and Siegfried had five sons and two daughters: Heinrich, Eva, Wilhelm, Emil, Eugen, Rosa, and Carl.  Two of the sons died in infancy, Wilhelm and Carl, , and one I cannot account for beyond his birth, Heinrich. Emil, Eugen, and Eva all died during the Holocaust.  Only one child survived the Holocaust, their daughter Rosa, who immigrated to the US in 1940.  I discussed Karoline’s children here.  I don’t know which child created this tree.

Wolfgang thought Emil was the most likely author of the tree, so for simplicity purposes I will refer to it as Emil’s tree and to its author as Emil.  (The last date given on the tree is 1909, and unfortunately it stops with the generation of Karoline and Siegfried and does not include their children.)  Although I cannot be sure which of the surviving children—Emil, Eva, Eugen, or Rosa—was my fellow genealogist, I am extremely grateful to whoever created this tree because it provides me with one more generation of my Seligmann and Schoenfeld relatives—the siblings of my three-times great-grandfather, Moritz Seligmann, and the siblings of my three-times great-grandmother, Babetta Schoenfeld (Eva’s sister).  It, of course, also raises new questions and new pathways for research.

Starting with page 1 of the tree:

Page 1 of Emil's tree

Page 1 of Emil’s tree

It says at the top, “Our great-grandparents in Gaulsheim: a) fathers side: Jacob Seeligmann, his wife: (Merle) Marta nee Mayer (Gaulsheim).”  I found it interesting that the early spelling of the family name was Seeligmann.  Marta (Martha) Mayer’s name is consistent with the record I obtained for the marriage of their son Moritz to Eva Schoenfeld.  Jacob and Marta were my four-times great-grandparents.  According to prior records I’d obtained, they were both born around 1773.

According to Emil’s tree, Jacob and Marta had ten children. Until seeing this tree, I had only found three: my three-times great-grandfather Moritz and two other sons, Leopold and Isaac.  I had found Leopold and Isaac on the Steinheim Institute website, but not the other seven children.  According to the Emil tree, they were Simon, Martha, Mina, Caroline, Marx, Salomon, and Babette.

The next section of the first page and the second page provide information for the ten children of Jacob and Marta.  For Simon and Isaac, it seemed that Emil had no information, except that Simon was living in Bingen. The entry for Leopold simply says “in Gaulsheim.”    But then on the second page of the tree (see below), Emil returned to Simon, Isaac, and Leopold and listed what appears to be the names of their children.  It looks like he thought Simon had two sons, Louis and Richard, and Isaac had a son named Hermann.  Leopold’s children were Malchen, Sigmund, Sophie, August, and Roschen.

Page 2 of Emil's tree

Page 2 of Emil’s tree

This, however, is not consistent with what I found on the Steinheim website.   According to the Steinheim website, Isaac was born in 1795 and died in 1860.  He seems to have lived in Gaulsheim all his life.  The Steinheim site states that Isaac married Rosine Blad and that they had five children: Pauline, Magdalena, Henriette, Ludwig (Louis), and Richard. My best guess is that Ludwig and Richard are the same people who Emil listed as Louis and Richard.  I don’t know whether Emil is correct or the Steinheim site is correct as to whether they were Simon’s sons or Isaac’s sons.  I also don’t know where Hermann fits into the family.  Was he really Simon’s son and Emil had it backwards?  I don’t know.

There is also some inconsistency between Emil’s facts for Leopold and the information on the Steinheim website.  The Steinheim site lists Leopold’s wife as Caroline Marum, and I found a marriage record for them dated December 17, 1849.

Marriage Record of Leopold Seligmann and Caroline Marum

Marriage Record of Leopold Seligmann and Caroline Marum

Leopold Seligmann marriage record

According to the Steinheim site, they had five children: Amalie, Rosalie (Roschen?), Sophia, August, and Therese.  Emil did not have Therese or Amalie, but had instead Malchen and Sigmund. I don’t know which information is more accurate.

For Jacob and Marta’s daughter Martha, Emil wrote that she married Benjamin Seeligmann. To the right of Martha’s name is a box that says, “Our grandparents in Bingen.” Then next, for our mutual ancestor Moritz, Emil wrote “our grandfather in Gau-Algesheim.”  There is a date underneath that looks like 13-2-1877; I believe that must be his date of death.  But how could Martha and Moritz, sister and brother, both be Emil’s grandparents? Well, that will become clear later on.

For Mina, it says that she was the wife of Leopold Mayer of Oberursel and that they had one child, Adolf Eduard, who died and was never married. I wonder if this Mayer was a relative of Mina’s mother Marta Mayer.  The next child of Jacob and Marta, Caroline, married Moses Moreau (?) of Worrstadt, and they had four children whose names are written underneath; the first I cannot decipher (maybe Markus?), but the other three are Albert, Bertha, and Alice.

The last entry on the first page is a long one for Marx Seligmann.  With the help of the kind people in the German Genealogy group on Facebook, I was able to get a sense of what happened to Marx.  He married Rosina Loeser on June 11, 1838.  They were legally separated in June 1848, and he agreed to pay support for the children.  They were divorced in February, 1849.

On page 2 of the Emil tree, Emil continued with the facts about Marx Seligmann.

Page 2 of Emil's tree

Page 2 of Emil’s tree

This is the hardest part of the document for me to understand, despite help from Wolfgang and the German Genealogy group.  At the top are listed the names of the two daughters of Marx and Rosina: Mathilde and Sophie. But what does it say underneath?  All my German helpers agreed that is says, “Underage ??? in Amerika.”  One thought it said “Wife in Amerika,” another thought it said “Later in Amerika.”  Who went to America?  And when did they go? I have started looking, but so far have not had any luck.

(As I was finishing this post, Wolfgang sent me another handwritten version of this tree with more information about Marx and a few others.  I need to finish deciphering that one and then will update with more information.)

Emil wrote that Salomon had a wife named Anna Chailly of Mainz and a son and daughter, whose names are not listed here.  I found an entry in the Mainz Family Register database on ancestry.com for Salomon and his family, and his children were named Emilie, Mathilde, Siegmund, and Jacob.  Jacob married Dora Rosenberg in 1887, and they had a daughter named Anna Dora, born in 1890.  I have not yet found any further information for the other three children of Salomon and Anna.

Finally, for Babette, the tree recorded that she had died unmarried and had lived in Gaulsheim.

That completed Emil’s entries for the children of Jacob Seeligmann and Marta Mayer.  He then drew a horizontal line across the page as if to start a new section.  Under that line he wrote, “Isaac Seeligmann and his wife Felicitas nee Goetzel of Bingen.”   I was totally confused when I saw this; was this the same Isaac Seligmann, the son of Jacob and Marta, about whom Emil had written already?  Underneath the names of this Isaac and Felicitas was a list of their children, and they were not the same names that I had found on the Steinheim site, discussed above, for Jacob and Marta’s son Isaac.  Instead, the following names were listed: Benjamin, Theodor, and Martha.  Who were these people?

According to my German Genealogy helpers, under Benjamin’s name it says, “Our grandfather from Bingen.” Suddenly something clicked.  This was the Benjamin Seeligmann who married Martha Seligmann, the daughter of Jacob and Marta and the sister of Moritz.  Remember that Martha and Benjamin had also been named as Emil’s grandparents.  This section of the tree is reporting on Emil’s other great-grandparents, the other Isaac Seligmann and his wife Felicitas Goetzel, and their children.

Was this Isaac Seeligmann related to Jacob Seeligmann, my four-times-great-grandfather?  They all lived in the Bingen-Gaulsheim area.  I’ve yet to find any documentation linking the two different Seligmann families, but my hunch is that they were in fact cousins if not brothers, meaning that Benjamin Seeligmann might have married a cousin, Martha Seligmann.

Emil then reported on his grandfather Benjamin’s siblings.  Theodor was living in Nancy (in France, presumably), and he had a son August who lived in Paris.  Martha married Isaac Cahn of Mainz, and they had a son Adolf Cahn.

That brings me to the third page of Emil’s tree.

Page 3 of Emil's tree

Page 3 of Emil’s tree

This page is primarily devoted to Emil’s grandparents Benjamin Seeligmann and Martha Seligmann.  He provides their birth and death dates and then the names of their seven children: Siegfried, Emilie, Hermann, Karoline, Ferdinand, Lambert, and Bertha.  Under their names, Emil reported on who some of them married, including his father Siegfried, who married Karoline Seligmann.  Suddenly the rest of the tree made sense to me.

Emil’s father Siegfried was the son of Martha Seligmann; his mother Karoline was the daughter of Moritz Seligmann.  Moritz and Martha were siblings, so Siegfried and Karoline were first cousins.  Thus, Emil’s paternal grandmother Martha and his maternal grandfather Moritz were sister and brother.  Now if in fact Benjamin Seeligmann, Martha’s husband, was also a cousin, there is truly a remarkable amount of inbreeding there.  Here is a family chart that will (I hope) help to visualize these relationships:

Pedigree Chart for Emil Seligmann

Pedigree Chart for Emil Seligmann

 

The last entry on the third page provided me with the death dates for Moritz Seligmann and Eva Schoenfeld, information I had not had before.

Finally on page four Emil discusses his maternal great-grandparents, a) the family of Jacob Seligmann of Bingen, already discussed under his paternal great-grandparents; and b) the family of his grandmother Eva Schoenfeld, sister of my three-times great-grandmother Babetta Schoenfeld, the sister who married Moritz Seligmann after Eva died in 1835.

Page 4 of Emil's tree

Page 4 of Emil’s tree

As I already knew, Eva and Babetta were the daughters of Bernard Schoenfeld and Rosa Goldmann of Erbes-Budesheim.  I also had records of the names and births of most of their children.  Emil’s list confirmed these and added one more for whom I did not have a record, Alexander.  The children as listed on Emil’s tree are Alexander, Eva and Babetta (described as the first and second wives of Moritz Seligmann of Gau-Algesheim), Maria Anna (wife of Alexander Levi of Kirchheimbolanden), Sara (wife of Leokov (?) Kahn of Bubenheim), Zibora (wife of Karl Levi of Alzey and mother of Albert, Bernhard, and Berta), and Rebecca (wife of Salomon Goldmann of Kirchheimbolanden).  Then at the bottom Emil listed the children of Maria Anna and Alexander Levi: Fridolin, Leonhard, Judith, Lina, Hedwig, Elise, and Ottmar.

I was recently contacted through Wolfgang by one of the grandchildren of Zibora Schoenfeld Levi and am hoping to learn even more about my Schoenfeld ancestors.

What a treasure trove this tree is!  Such a gift from one of my predecessors as a family historian—someone who died during the Holocaust and who left behind evidence not only of his ancestors’ lives, but of his own.  Now it is my job to try and fill in the details and continue the story.

 

 

 

Happy 4th of July!

English: Statue of Liberty Gaeilge: Dealbh na ...

English: Statue of Liberty Gaeilge: Dealbh na Saoirse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy 4th to all of you who live in the US!

I know my country isn’t perfect. I have never been blind to the mistakes our country has made nor am I blind to our continuing problems with racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, and violence. And I know, especially after traveling this summer, that people all over the world love their countries and are proud of their history, their culture, and their heritage despite the mistakes and problems of  those countries.

But this is my home, and I am deeply grateful to my brave ancestors who had the courage to come here to seek a better life and freedom from oppression and prejudice and violence.  I am so grateful to my immigrant ancestors: Hart Levy Cohen, Jacob Cohen and Rachel Jacobs, Bernard Seligman, John Nusbaum and Jeanette Dreyfuss, Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt, Isadore Schoenthal, Joseph and Bessie Brotman, and my grandfather Isadore Goldschlager, who came by himself as a teenage boy and walked across Romania to get to this country, leaving his parents and siblings behind.  How can I ever take that for granted?

So today I say happy birthday to the United States of America and thank you for giving my ancestors a place of refuge and opportunity and a home for their children, their grandchildren, and all their descendants.

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Mystery Photo: One More Try

Although my stats show a lot of visitors, I’ve gotten very little feedback on my last two posts (and I am very grateful for the feedback I did receive), so perhaps I am just asking questions that can’t be answered—or that need to be answered by an expert.  But here is one last attempt to figure out who these people are in this photograph.  Please let me know what you think.  On the advice of my cousin Pete, I consulted a few web sites providing fashion information for the purpose of dating photographs, and it seems very likely that this photograph was taken sometime between 1890 and 1905.  I can’t narrow it down much more than that based on the clothing.

Who are these people?

Who are these people? When was this taken?

 

Today I am focused primarily on the man on the right, who is labeled Onkel Adolf.

Onkle Adolf

 

I have only found two Adolfs in the extended Seligmann family.  One is Adolf Arnfeld, Bettina Seligmann‘s husband, but this is Bettina, and she is not in the group photo, so that makes no sense.

Bettina Arnfeld nee Seligmann

Bettina Arnfeld nee Seligmann

 

The second Adolf was Adolf Seligman, my three-times-great-uncle who immigrated to Santa Fe and settled there.  He did make a trip to Germany in 1900, so this photo might have been taken then.  Adolf was born in 1843, so if the photo was taken in 1900, he would have been 57.  Certainly the man in the photograph looks about that age.

adolf 1894 europe trip

Date: Saturday, November 10, 1900 Paper: New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM) Volume: 37 Issue: 226 Page: 4

Fortunately, Adolf’s granddaughter Davita recently contacted me after finding the blog, and she sent me this photograph of her grandfather on a trip to Egypt.  Adolf died in 1920 when he was 77, and I would guess he was between 65 and 70 when this photograph was taken.  Is this the same man as Onkel Adolf in the group photo above?

Adolph Seligman in Egypt

Onkle Adolf

To me there is similarity in the eyes, mouth and ears, but the older man has a fuller face (just as the older “Babetta” has a fuller face than the younger one).  What do you think?

The other man in the group photograph is labeled Onkel Jakob.  Since I can’t find a Jakob Seligmann who would fit into this photograph, I am wondering whether it could be James Seligman, the brother who immigrated to England and whose estate was the reason for all those Westminster Bank family trees.  Perhaps James was born Jacob and Anglicized his name when he immigrated?  Since I have no birth record for James, I do not know.

(UPDATE:  I checked with some people from the German Genealogy Group, and several people confirmed that James was not a name used for boys in Germany in the 19th century; the German equivalent was Jakob.  James was an English name.  Thus, I am now persuaded that this was in fact James/Jakob Seligmann.)

Onkel Jakob

 

If the two men are Babetta’s sons Adolf and James, it would make sense that the two women are either their wives or their sisters. Adolf married Lucille Gorman in 1902 when she was nineteen and he was sixty.  The woman standing next to Adolf does not look that young nor is she labeled with any name that looks like Lucille or Lucy.  James Seligman’s wife’s name was Henrietta, and the name above the woman next to him does not look at all like Henrietta.

So could they be sisters of Adolf and James? Could the two women be two daughters of Moritz and Babetta whom I just had not yet found?  After all, I had no birth record for James, but only learned of him because of the settlement of his estate.  Perhaps there were other children born to Moritz and Babetta.  There is a six year gap between Pauline’s birth in 1847 and James in 1853, time enough for two more daughters.

One other reason I think this is possible is that Davita told me that her grandfather Adolf’s favorite sister was Minnie, depicted with him in the photograph in Egypt.

gramdfather Adolph and great aunt Minnie_rev

 

But I have no record of a sister named Minnie.  Both Bernard and Adolf named a daughter Minnie, so this does seem to suggest there was a Minnie in the family.  But….neither of the women in the group photo is labeled Minnie.

Here is a closeup of Minnie from the Egypt photo and a closeup of the woman on the left in the group photo.

Minnie Seligmann

 

Is this Martha Oppenhimer?

Same person? The nose and mouth are similar, as is the hair.  Again, the woman in the Egypt photo has a fuller face, and it’s hard to compare the eyes since she is squinting into the sun, but it could be the same person, couldn’t it?

But that name above her head doesn’t look like Minnie to me.

Tante Glori

So who are these people? I am as confused now as I was when I started.  Please let me know what you think!