As I continue to work on the Steinman history for my cousin Lisa Glassman nee Steinman, her Uncle Allen Steinman and extended family, records that I have sent away for are continuing to trickle in. Each document received adds another layer to their story. This past week I received the marriage certificate for Isaac Goldstein for his 2nd marriage to Annie Ammer. 17 years his junior, Isaac married Annie on January 11, 1908 following the death of his first wife Fanny Dornfest. I have still not been able to locate immigration records for either Fanny or Isaac nor have I found any documents to reveal where in Austria, if in fact Austria proper, which all documents state. Isaac’s birthdate differs slightly but seems to consistent between 1865 – 1869. The Austrian – Hungarian Empire formed in 1867 and dissolved in 1918.
But in receiving the marriage certificate for Isaac and his 2nd wife Annie Ammer I took another look at the documents I already had for Isaac to see if I had missed anything of importance or that would lead me to learning where in Austria they were from. While doing this I took another closer look at his Petition for Naturalization dated December 4th, 1903. I had in fact missed something extremely important and interesting that I would like to share before moving on to the marriage certificate.
I had missed page 3 of the record with a letter in evidence. It appears as if our Isaac Goldstein was a member of Freemasonry or some form of Fraternal Organization. He became a member at age of 21 in the year 1888, just 4 years after the year most documents agree when he immigrated, 1884.
I have recopied the above portion from the document as best I could make it out.
“I herewith certify that Mr. Isaac Goldstein was initiated as a member to the Emanuel Lodge on the 12th December 1888 at the age of Twenty-one year. The loges former name was Bresel Loge no 64 Ind. Order Sons of Benjamin and changed the name on the 21st of November 1898 in to Emanuel Loge no 20 Ind. Order Abrams Israel and said Mr Isaac Goldstein is still a member to the above named loge. New York 1st December 1903, Signed and sealen, Mr (?) Herz, Secretary, 365 East 10th
Independent Order of the Sons of Benjamin
This Jewish men’s fraternal order was first established in New York City in 1877. It utilized a secret ritual form of initiation for new members, and was headquartered in New York City. It was founded by members of the Order of
B’rith Abraham, the Masonic Fraternity and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and incorporated some of their ceremonial into their order.
The order also established lodges strictly for women. The order is now defunct.
From the web site: http://www.stichtingargus.nl/vrijmetselarij/iosob_r.html Under the heading of Sons of Benjamin, I found the copied below so interesting and decided to post.
Opening of the Lodge
President calls the Lodge to order.
President: Officers, you will please take your respective stations.
Inside Guardian, close the door, and observe this as a part of your duty.
Bro. Ex-Pres., you will please examine the brethren in the Lodge.
The Ex-President then reports.
President: Bro. Inside Guardian, you will please let the O.G. enter, and meanwhile take his place.
Inside Guardian retires and Outside Guardian enters.
President: Outside Guardian, what is your duty to the Lodge?
Outside Guard: It is my duty to keep the outside door locked and to refuse permission to enter to those not entitled thereto, also to see that the property of the Lodge is properly taken care of and preserved.
President: Please return to your station, arid let the Inside Guardian enter.
After Inside Guardian has entered.
President: Bro. I.G., what is your duty to the Lodge?
Ins. Guard: To demand the password from each Brother before entering the Lodge, and to refuse admission to any Brother who is not in possession of the same without the permission of the President or Vice-President.
President: Bro. Ex-President, what is your duty to the Lodge?
Ex-President: To examine the brethren and determine if they are in possession of the proper password at the opening of the Lodge, and to open and close the Lodge with prayers, and lead it the initiation of candidates for membership.
President: Bro. Conductor, what is your duty to the Lodge?
Conductor: To prepare candidates for initiation, and obey your commands.
President: Bro. Recording Secretary, what is your duty to the Lodge?
Recording Secretary: To keep correct minutes of the proceedings of the Lodge, and conduct the correspondence.
President: Bro. Financial Secretary, what is your duty?
Financial Secretary: To keep a correct account between the brethren and the Lodge, receive all moneys, deliver the same to the Treasurer, and take a receipt thereof.
President: Bro. Treasurer, what is your duty to the Lodge?
Treasurer: To receive all moneys from the Financial Secretary, give a receipt for the same, and pay out all duly attested orders or vouchers.
President: Bro. Vice-President, what is your duty to the Lodge?
Vice-President: To assist you in keeping order, to see that the brethren give the proper signs, and in your absence to act as the presiding officer of the Lodge.
President: Officers and Brethren, I trust that every Officer will perform his duty faithfully, and that every Brother will conduct himself respectfully, and give due attention to all transactions of the meeting. It is my duty to decide all questions impartially. I feel confident that we will work with Fidelity, Love and Progress attending us, for on these principles depend our whole success and happiness. We should ever strive to retain the noble sentiments of our Order constantly in our mind, through which we hail each other as brothers, for a strict adherence to these principles will tend to make us honorable and useful members of society.
Brother Ex-President, you will please open the Lodge with prayer.
President calls upon the Lodge to rise. * * *.
Ex-President: Almighty God; we pray Thee to give us Thy aid. We are here assembled to complete the structure which Thou hast given to all mankind to fulfill,—to assist the distressed, nourish the sick, bury the dead, and educate the orphans. Therefore give us Thy blessing, that we may fulfill our mission. Amen.
President: I now declare the Lodge open for the transaction of such business that may lawfully come before it.
President gives * and the members take seats.
Initiation of Candidates
The Candidate if present, having been conducted to the preparation room adjoining the Lodge. the Secretary then goes in the ante-room and asks the candidate the questions as prescribed, and enters his answers in the took designated for that purpose, to which the Candidate shall affix his signature The Secretary then returns to the Lodge-room and reports.
President: Bro. Conductor, please retire and prepare the Candidate for Initiation.
Conductor retires and thereafter approaches with Candidate at the inner door and gives the alarm.
Inside Guardian, repeating the alarm: Worthy Vice-President alarm on the Porte.
Vice-President: Attend to the alarm.
Inside Guardian: What causes the alarm?
Conductor: I, the Conductor of … Lodge with a Candidate requesting admission.
Inside Guardian: Is he capable and well recommended?
Conductor: He is.
The Conductor opens the door slowly, while the Inside Guardian repeats the following:
Inside Guardian: Then enter, and may the moment be blessed when we receive an assistant in the admirable work of Fidelity, Love and Progress, and may the God of our ancestors bless us in this holy hour; may FIDELITY ever be our guide, LOVE our protection, and PROGRESS our glorious principle.
The Conductor enters with the Candidate, and conducts him to the seat of the Ex-President. The President gives * * * the Brethren rise, and the Ex-President says, as follows:
Ex-President: Almighty and Heavenly Father, grant Thy help and aid to the Brethren present; and grant to our newly initiated friend strength to fulfill the obligation which he is about to assume.
We humbly bow ourselves before Thee, that Thou mayest give us wisdom to unfold the beauties of our great principles Fidelity, Love and Progress, and may it be Thy merciful will, that we may further perform among us our duty of visiting the sick, burying the dead, and assisting the widows and orphans. Amen.
The President gives * to take seats.
Ex-President: My friend, it now becomes my duty to administer to you a solemn obligation.
Are you willing to take this obligation?
The Candidate answers” Yes.”
Ex-President: Then place yourself in this … attitude and repeat after me.
President calls upon the Lodge to rise. * * *.
Formula of Oath
I, …, in the presence of the brethren of the Order here assembled, do solemnly swear that I will never reveal the secrets of this degree to any one who is not legally entitled to receive them; and that I will always remember our great motto, Fidelity, Love and Progress, and that I will never neglect, as long as it is in my power, to carry out the laws of this Lodge and the Constitution of the Most Worthy Grand Lodge of the Independent Order Sons of Benjamin. That I will comply with and obey the Constitution of the Order and the By-Laws of the Lodge and at all times aid and assist the Grand Lodge or its Executive Committee to uphold and enforce the same.
This I promise to fulfill in the belief that a higher being is ever watching over our conduct. Amen.
President gives * and members take seats.
Ex-President: Worthy Conductor, proceed with our friend to our Worthy President for further instruction.
The Conductor leads the Candidate to the President.
Conductor: Worthy President, by command of our Worthy Ex-President, I present to you the Candidate for further instruction.
President: My friend, I welcome you among the fraternity of the Sons of Benjamin; meanwhile it becomes my duty to instruct you in the great principles of the same.
The first principle of our beloved Order is Fidelity.
Whenever a hard feeling against a brother should arise in your heart, subdue it at once; and remember that you have given us your pledge by your solemn obligation to show fidelity to all your brethren until you shall be called to give an account of your actions before our highest Judge.
The second principle is Love.
So kindly and brotherly as we have received you this evening as a beloved brother after we found you worthy of belonging to us, so we expect of your love to all your brethren; let it sink deep in to your heart, so that you may never forget it.
The Third principle is Progress.
Progress, the grand principle of our age and therefore included in our motto, tends to shorten our meetings, and keep away idle ceremonies from the same; and now always remember the grand motto of our beloved Order, Fidelity, Love and Progress, so that we may never regret that we have accepted you in our midst.
It becomes now my duty to instruct you in the way of working yourself into any Lodge of the Order.
The President then explains the mode and manner of gaining admission into a Lodge room. Entrance and manner of salutation.
How to retire from a Lodge-room. The way the voting sign is given. The use of the gavel, and such other information as may be deemed necessary.
President: Without these signs you cannot gain admittance into this or any other Lodge of the Independent Order Sons of Benjamin; be observant, therefore, that you will keep them in your memory.
Remember also that you have given us your pledge of honor not to reveal the secrets, a pledge which is more binding upon you than any you have ever given. We feel confident that you will keep it inviolate.
Remember also our brotherly duties,—to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan,— and your mission will be fulfilled.
I now greet you as a brother of … Lodge, No. … of the Independent Order Sons of Benjamin.
President: Bro. Vice-President, what is your duty before closing the Lodge?
Vice-President: To thank the Brethren for their kind attention to the business of this meeting and to express the hope that we may see many more at our next meeting.
President: Officers and Brethren, you will please rise while the Worthy Ex-President closes the Lodge with the usual prayer.
President calls upon the Lodge to rise. * * *.
Ex-President: Father in Heaven! For this meeting our work is finished, but our duty not yet completed. We have assembled together in peace and in harmony, and are now willing and ready to disperse again into the outer world. Be Thou our guide and leader, so that our harmony may never be disturbed, and may you bring us together again in joy and gladness at our next meeting. Amen.
President: Bro. Inside Guardian, what is your duty in closing the Lodge?
Inside Guardian: To open the door and let the brethren depart in peace.
President: I now declare the Lodge closed.