May 1880 Iasi, Romania ~ Dec 1962 Wandsworth, London, England
May 1880 Iasi, Romania ~ Dec 1962 Wandsworth, London, England
In my last post I wrote about Moe Lifshitz aka Joseph Schiffman my 1st c 2x r. He was a man who walked on the wrong side of the road, convicted of bigamy and forgery he spent a good part of his life in prison from Sing Sing to Dannemora and then Seagoville Correctional Facility in Texas where he passed away in 1955. I must make note that he was sent away for a $20 check forgery for 5 years in the 1930’s. That seems like such a stiff sentence for $20, but coupled with the bigamy charges – had there been more to it – to him?
Recently shared with me by Cheri, is the marriage certificate for Joseph M. Schiffman to Rebecca Wexelman. This is an amazing document because there was no such person as Joseph M Schiffman – he actually was Moses/Moe Lifshitz and yet here it is – a legal government document that he got away with. (This record is for the second wife that Joseph (Moe) married.)
Courtesy of the Rebecca Wexelman Family
Once received I took a good look at it, the addresses, his parents names –
Living at 85 Penn Street Brooklyn, the address for ‘Joseph’ actually belonged to Rebecca’s parents Hyman and Sarah Wexelman. They owned the 2 family home. Listed as Betty on this census it says she was born in Russia immigrating at the same time, 1912, as her parents. I checked the the 1920c and the family was at the same address then, with Betty as Rebecca and again the Russia birth location, also confirmed with the naturalization papers for Hyman. (note this document says she was born in New York City.)
I have seen the addresses mixed up on marriage documents before so I wasn’t very concerned. My next step was to discover who lived at the 110 E. 17th Street NY City address. This proved a bit more difficult. I had no luck just using Ancestry. I then tried Stephen P. Morse street name changes, thinking that might be a reason, was it listed as 17th or Seventeenth? but forgot to check the ED listings (enumeration districts) I turned to the FB page of Tracing The Tribe for help. With more direction from Amy Cohen of Brotmanblog: A Family Journey https://brotmanblog.com I returned to Stephen P. Morse this time using the ED finder and there it was – what I was looking for, the address
110 E. 17th Street, N.Y. City —-Because the enumeration was done in April and they married in Feb., it is possible the address listed on the marriage certificate was for Joseph Schiffman in this home below.
Looks like this is a boarding house run by owner, a 70 year old widow, Katherine Jar. Living there was Helen Buckingham (60), Jesse Morris (42), Fred Broege (44) and Arthur Cawtha (64)
It appears the addresses for the two of them were transposed and written in the incorrect box, or was it a ploy of Joseph’s to confuse the facts on the certificate?
Then we have the parental names used by Joseph Schiffman for his parents. Who were
Samuel Schiffman and Hannah Liebowitz
Had Rebecca ever met his parents or his family/siblings? Question I would love to find answers for.
Had he made these names up or were they real people he knew and was ‘borrowing’ their names? Using ancestry, familysearch and Italiangen (a wonderful resource) I located a naturalization record for a Samuel Schiffman now using Schiff married to a Hannah, -however this Samuel was born in 1893 – which is only 3 years older than our Joseph (Moe) he could not be his father as written on marriage certificate. I began thinking about it and turned to newspapers.com locating two articles that interested me. I found quite a few articles for a Samuel Schiff, 38, placing his birth year 1891, two years difference.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Nov. 26, 1929 – page 4
The Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York) 27 Nov. 1929, Wed . Page 7
What I found most interesting with this was the reference to Sing Sing prison. Checking the date it was not consistent with Joseph’s (Moe) term at Sing Sing but with a stretch of the imagination, pick pocket, petty crime, Moe, check forgery conviction, petty crime could there be a connection between these two? Had they possibly known each other?
Checking back with newspaper.com using the name Hannah Leibowitz – a little surprised, I found numerous articles with her name in connection to ‘bigamy’. Here are just two of them recounting the court proceeding.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 14 Apr 1937, Wed . Page 32
Marriage year to Hannah had been 1927 and to Henrietta 1936.
DailyNews (New York, New, York) 12 Apr 1937, Mon . Page 458
While neither of these articles connect Joseph (Moe) to them – I found it ‘interesting’ to say the least that using these names – there was a connection to the crimes (and I use that loosely) we have found for Jospeh (Moe)
As I continue to research and hopefully uncover more documents for Moe Lifshitz/Joseph Schiffman it will be interesting to see if I can get a clearer picture of his life. I have yet to find any other information regarding the additional alias that were sited for him: Morton Gibson, Martin Brown, Moses Cohen, and Moe Howard… and if that last name sounds familiar it should, as that was the name of the famous ‘Moe’ Howard of “The Three Stooges”
Freda and Phillip Hyamovitch ~ abt 1921 ~ London
It is impossible to begin this post without stating that with each new record found, it only added to the mystery of the story behind Moses/Moe Lifshitz.
Moses Lifshitz born 24 March 1896, New York, was my 1st c 2x removed. He was the first son born to Solomon/Simon Lifshitz and Anna Dinofsky. (Solomon was brother to my great grandfather Benjamin Lipshitz. (the spelling on the last name was often different between many of the family members)
Moses was known as Moe as well as Morris on many records however, he had quite a few alias throughout his life time including using Morrey Lifshitz. He was incarcerated for bigamy at Dannemora Prison, New York, 1932, when he was sued for bigamy by his wife Fay alleging he had married Rebecca under the name of Joseph Schiffman. In addition to using Joseph, Moe used the aliases of
Monte Gibson, Martin Brown, Moses Cohen and Moe Howard.
I have written about his life, his incarceration at Dannemora and Sing Sing and his marriage to Fay Parver and Rebecca Wexelman before. I had put the story of Moe to rest, that is until now.
Quite some time ago, back in 2018, a cousin, Jane, had written to me to mention a DNA match she noticed asking if I knew of the connection. I had not, but wrote to the match with the usual inquiry to a Lifshitz connection. Learning his name was Lewis, his answer was he knew of no Lifshitz in his family but if anything turned up he would be in touch. This week I received an email from him stating he believed there was a connection and that his father may be the 1/2 brother to David Lifshitz, son of Moe with Fay Parver. His father descends from Moe’s marriage to Rebecca Wexelman.
Let me explain first by sharing this article from newspaper.com The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 16 Oct 1936 – page 15
Lewis had not known that Joseph Schiffman, who married Rebecca was indeed Moe Lifshitz until Cheri ( his nephews wife) had discovered my blog post with the story of Moe Lifshitz. As the day progressed I heard from Cheri too and also learned of Lewis’s sister Marci, also on my DNA connected radar.
In our renewed attempt to now learn the story of the possible 1/2 sibling connection between David and Lewis and Marci’s father, Martin, our trail stalled at learning that David passed away 3 June 1979. I have not been able to find any additional information on David, a marriage or offspring.
In an attempt to figure this all out Cheri shared that Rebecca (Schiffman-Lifshitz) Wexelman had been 4 months pregnant with Moe’s baby when she married him on Feb. 1st, 1930. Her marriage null and void to Moe due to bigamy, Rebecca in 1935 married a man named Benjamin who went on to adopt their father and he took his last name.
So we had a man, convicted of bigamy, married to two different woman, having a son with each, each knowing nothing of the other it appears.
The connection was made through DNA and a newspaper article that finally figured it out.
But the story does not end there – as I continued to look for information on David and Moe I came across another marriage index record for a Moe Lifshitz, on Ancestry. This may actually be the first marriage for Moe that took place on 24 Oct, 1916 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Moe was 20, married to a woman named Lillian Aaronson, 25. (Why had they married in Ct ?)
I discovered this marriage after revisiting some of the records I already had. While looking at his WWI draft record (1917) I noticed it said he was married. His marriage to Fay had been in 1922.
WWI Draft Registration 1917 – ancestry.com
First I doubled checked that the WWI record was for our Moe Lifshitz. His birth date and year matched. Checking the address it matched the 1915c and 1920c for him and his parents. The next question was is this the same Moe Lifshitz marrying a Lillian Aaronson. I knew that last name of Aaronson.
Going back to the marriage of Fay Parver to Moe Lifshitz, in Jan of 1922, there it was -Fay’s parents were Louis Parver married to a woman named Anna Aaronson. Coincidence comes to mind but the name Aaronson seemed even more familiar to me and a look at Moe’s siblings didn’t let me down.
Moe Lifshitz had a sister named Rachel/Ray Lifshitz. Rachel married a man named Samuel C. Aaronson. A look at his parents and siblings and I discovered he had a sister named Lillian Aaronson. A quick look at the 1910c listing Lillian, she was 18. Six years later getting married her age was listed 25. Depending on actual dates/months its totally in the range of being her. Moe was born in 1896, listed as 20 at the time of the marriage his age is right on. Had Moe married the sister of his sisters husband?
By 1920 Moe, (24) was back listed with his parents working as a bookkeeper with no mention of Lillian. Lillian was not listed with her parents and I could not find her under Lifshitz (all variants of the spelling) or Aaronson. However a leaf/hint on ancestry led me to an obituary for a Lillian Vainer married to a Samuel Vainer. From the obit Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Gazette 20 dec 2003 I learned she had 1 son Mark Vainer and 1 other son named Dov Lifshitz.
This could mean that there was possibly another 1/2 sibling out there.
The lid was off the can and even more popped out as I continued to search. Fay Parver had another sister named Molly (1898) In an attempt to try and locate possible descendants of any of Fay’s siblings that might have some information I began looking at all of them. It turned out Molly Parver married a man named Pincus Shapiro yet a son with the name of Myron Schiffman was associated with her. I have not even begun to delve into that connection, if in fact there is one.
I can’t help but think – what the heck is going on here? The important thing to keep in mind is that ‘Lifshitz, Aaronson are common names and without the proper documentation it is all still just ‘possibilities’.
Moving on to his WWII draft registration I had located the record below. I had not given it much thought when I first attached it to Moe a few years back. The birth date was his – married, unemployed but the name now meant more than before.
Who was Rose?
I found a marriage license record for a Rose Ginsberg to Moe (spelled) Lifshetz for 20 January, 1942, Brooklyn. There was no connecting information with the record.
|Marriage License Date:||20 Jan 1942|
|Marriage License Place:||Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA|
I needed to look at a time line of events for him. In 1930 he was in Brooklyn married to Fay with David then 6 years old. By 1932 he was in Dannemora Prison for bigamy, 1935 he is doing 5 years in Sing Sing for check forging; 1936 Fay filed for divorce. If he did his 5 years from Dec. 1935 he would have been released by/in Dec. 1940 – a Jan. 1942 marriage was not out of the question. But I have nothing else to prove or disprove this is for him.
Moe Lifshitz Sing Sing Admission record – ancestry.com
If it was him married to this Rose then something had to have happened and true to his tract record he ended up in Seagoville Federal Correctional Institution, Texas where he passed away in 1955 at age 59. It does state that he was divorced. I could find no record for a divorce from Rose.
From the Hartford Courant, Hartford Connecticut, 30 July, 1935, Sat . Page 4
There are still so many unanswered questions, so much let to prove. The search for answers will continue.
Brenda Defrain nee Haimowitz & Sheldon Haimowitz ~ 1966
I know one day I will be posting “I found her” but not today. My search continues for the missing sister of my great grandfather Samuel Haimowitz and his brother Marks Hyamovitch – (our London Branch)
Unknown sister, Samuel and Freda (daughter of Marks) Bronx (abt. 1950)
This mystery, ‘The mystery of the unknown Haimowitz Sister’ haunts my dreams and wakes me at all hours of the night with search idea’s, whispers of what I may have missed and what I should recheck.
Todays hunt led me to a woman named Ethel Rosenthal. Using familysearch.com, I put into a general search the last name of Haimowitz, an estimate for a birth date based on her brothers ages, along with the known parents last names. Using both mother (Greenblatt) and father (Haimowitz) yielded nothing, a repeat search with simply the father’s last name Haimowitz, about 200 matches came up. From there I began looking for a woman, with a father last name of Haimowitz- first name Hyman.
The idea is; on familysearch, they have a very easy way to view family before looking at the record. In other words I am always looking for a woman who’s records list a father’s name of Hyman Haimowitz and a mother Ida or Edith Greenblatt, any combination or creative spelling of the names. Records are always being added and changes made so I revisit often.
On page 3, I spotted Ethel Rosenthal. Her father was listed as Hiam Hamowitz, mother unknown. Ethel had passed in 1949 at 64, which gave me a birth year of 1885 . This was in my search parameters of 1880 – 1890. Her death was located in Cincinnati, Ohio and while I was looking for a NY death, nothing was out of the question. Checking the record there was a death certificate I was able to view.
Could this be our missing sister? I was hopeful, I always am.
Back to ancestry.com I checked the census records and found her married to a Morris Rosenthal with a family of children ages 14 – 0 in the 1920c along with a hint that led me to a marriage certificate for a daughter, Mollie married – Nathan Stein; notice the informant on the death certificate. Another hint led me to an obituary listing in newspapers.com
American Israelite (Cincinnati, Ohio) . 22 Sept 1949, Thu . Page p9
The anticipation of learning if this was our missing sister was answered, it was not or was it still in question? There was no mention of Samuel or Marks. Of course the next question could be did ‘they’ have 3 more unknown siblings in this family? A brother Joseph, sister Sara and a Mrs. Ben Richman. Were Samuel and Marks unknown to this branch? A little too far out there to look into. I am feeling confident this is not the sister.
There have been many more hopeful searches in the quest to find our missing sister. Each one has been one of elimination so far which only brings me closer to her.
The hunt continues, hope is alive, the possibilities are endless.
One of my favorite things to do is collect vintage post cards. I am always on the look out for those from the town I live in. The cards I really look for are the ones with writing on them. There’s a story there, a history, a people ~
This beautiful building, once the city hall and court house is now The Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA
Here is my newest postcard of the building, circa 1906, shortly after it was completed.
You can read the history of the Court House at the link below
Posted on Oct. 5, 1906 it reads ‘All is grand G.S.D. Hope all same at home. Uncle Si’ (no idea what the G.S.D. stands for)
Sent to his niece, Miss Cora Goodfriend in New York City
Who was Cora Goodfriend and who was Uncle Si?
Born 22 February 1889, Mt Vernon, Knox, Ohio, Corine Rosa Goodfriend, more affectionately known as Cora, was the daughter of Clara Oppenheimer b. 1859, Germany and Louis Goodfriend b. 1853, Manhattan. (I have done a little research into whether there is a connection to the well known Oppenheimer family. While there seems there could be a link using the information from a few family trees on Ancestry, nothing is proven or documented to confirm)
Clara and Louis married on August 12, 1885, Phildelphia, Pennsylvania at Congregation Rodeph Shalom. You can read about this beautiful Synagogue’s history at the link below.
After getting married they moved to Ohio where their first child, a son Morton L. was born in 1886. Cora joined the family shortly after in 1889.
Sometime between 1889 and 1890 the family of four moved to Manhattan, N.Y. where they would remain until their happiness was shattered when Morton passed away in Sept. 1890.
Tragedy struck again when Cora’s father Louis passed away just 3 years later in 1893, leaving his wife Clara a widow with young Cora only 4.
Louis and Clara Goodfriend
Photo’s found on public tree’s on Ancestry
Clara and Cora moved in with Louis’s brother, Meyer Goodfriend and their sister Carrie Goodfriend at 14 E. 125th St. Manhattan, New York.
In the 1900c Clara (41) is listed a widow and as sister-in-law to Meyer, Cora (11) Also living in the home was Joseph Goodfriend (78) uncle of Meyer and Carrie, as well as Lizzie Dudick (18) servant. Meyer’s occupation was listed as dealer in precious diamonds.
14 E. 125th Street, Manhattan
Google Maps ~ built 1900
It is a 4 story building built in 1900. Listed currently as 5 apts, the 1900 census shows that there were originally 5 families/apts occupying the building then as well. Work is being being done on the bottom floor as it is hid with construction drapes but at street level a store front in visible. This building was quite something when first built. The top roof molding is gorgeous and I love the windows. Oh how I’d love to take a peak inside.
In 1905c Clara and Cora, still living with Meyer and Carrie were joined by Simon Goodfriend (52) brother of Meyer and Carrie.
And so I discovered Simon was Uncle Si who had written the card to his niece. Cora was then 17 years old and at the Hotel Cecil, the corner of 118th and St Nicholas Ave.
As I continued to look into the family, a number of questions came to mind. Why was Cora there at the Cecil Hotel? Was her mother with her? Why had Uncle Si traveled to Bellingham, WA? All question I have no answers for.
Google Maps ~ built 1895
What was Cora doing there? and for how long? She and her mother were on the 1910 census, they were there with the extended Goodfriend family. Cora was then 21. Meyer continued in the precious gem trade, and Si was listed as a newspaper man/theatre. Carrie was there too along with her mother Clara. Cora must have been adored and doted on by her family as she was the only child. Meyer and Si remained bachelors and Carrie was her maiden aunt. It appears Cora had never held a job nor Carrie or had Clara once Louis had passed. Also in the home was a servant, Selena Klem (22).
On October 23, 1915
Cora married Leon Abbott Kohn
The New York Times (New York, New York) . Wed, Nov 24, 1915 . Page 13
You can read the history of Ansche Chesed at the link below
Below is the beautiful townhouse home of her Uncle Si at 274 West 113th St. where the reception was held. It appears the family had moved here sometime between 1910 and 1915, and yes they were all still together.
Google Maps ~ built 1890
This family was extremely close with ties that bound them till death. For a brief time Leon and Cora were living in New Jersey where their first of two daughters was born. The 1920 census revealed that Cora’s mother Clara was living with them along with 1 servant Josie Stugard. In fact none of the family was ever without some help, whether listed servant or maid.
But in 1921 Clara Goodfriend (62) passed away in New Jersey. Cora must have been heartbroken considering how close they were.
No one in this family was ever alone. They all lived together supporting each other in all their endeavors, through the laughter and tears, the holidays and celebrations. From the wedding announcement we learned that Leon came from a family of 2 brothers who were Rabbi’s. This one Bellingham post card could send me down the rabbit hole of genealogy research for days but for now I’ll control myself 🙂
Cora and Leon moved back to Manhattan some time between 1925 and 1930 to 645 West End Ave. In fact they moved into the apartment right next to Simon, Carrie and Meyer which was occupied by all three on the 1925 census. Meyer was still in the jewelry business and Si a stage producer.
Google Maps ~ built in 1913
But their family life together was again shattered when Meyer passed away on the 15th of July 1927. Simon passed on 6 of November, 1939 and a year later Cora lost her Aunt Carrie on the 21 Nov., 1940. Carrie had been living with her and Leon when she passed.
It is impossible to know when Carrie had moved in with Cora and her family, I like to believe that she remained with her brother Simon up until his death in 1939 and then she moved in Cora and Leon, all, always caring for each other, never leaving anyone alone.
This was a wonderful glimpse into the Goodfriend family. It is a very comforting feeling for me to have learned how close knit this family was. If only I could learn what lured Si to the wild west of Bellingham 1906. Established as a town in 1903, it was merger of four towns, having their beginnings in the mid 1800’s, that were situated on the Bellingham Bay.
Goodfriend was certainly the perfect last name.