Russian Jewish genealogy is tricky! Despite years of researching, I have been unable to find relatives of my great-grandparents, Simon Goldman and Mamie Bloom or Blum (both spellings are used on her children’s birth and death certificates). Simon and Mamie left Hamburg on the Hammonia on November 10, 1889, and arrived in New York on November 22. On the Hamburg manifest, their place of last residence is listed as Mariampole, Russia. Their censuses in 1900 and 1910 list Russia Poland as the place of their birth, and in 1920 they all list Lithuania, following the declaration of Lithuania’s independence in 1918. On the 1920 census, the census listing for one of Simon’s sons showed “Mariampole” as his birthplace, then crossed out and replaced with “Lithuania.”
Simon and Mamie were listed in the Indianapolis city directory in 1990 and had their first child together there in October 1890. Simon’s older four children had arrived with Simon and Mamie in November 1889. Their mother Pearl Goldberg must have died after her fourth child was born in late 1885. The 1900 census shows “11” as the number of years Simon and Mamie had been married, meaning they were probably married in 1889, shortly before they left for America. Pearl Goldberg’s sister Bertha had come to Indianapolis in 1885 and had married Joseph Nathan there. Probably then, Simon and Mamie came to Indianapolis so that his children would also have their aunt. His older children were clearly close to their aunt and uncle Bertha and Joseph Nathan, as they had all moved to Chicago with them by 1910.
I have always wondered whether there was a relationship between Simon Goldman and two other Russian Jewish men who arrived in Indianapolis about the same time, Bensil (later Benjamin) and David. They lived near each other, they were all peddlers or junk dealers by profession, and they sold properties between their families. However, I have been unable to clearly establish a relationship, including the comparison of my DNA with David Goldman’s great-granddaughters.
However, today, I have a new clue that I stumbled upon while looking for something else entirely. Simon and Mamie had 16 children together between 1899 (when they arrived) and 1922 (when Mamie died). All were born in Indianapolis, but some moved to Chicago later to be with their half-siblings (Simon and Pearl’s children) and some moved to Cincinnatti.
Today, I decided to look more closely at their daughter Jean, sometimes called Jennie, Goldman. Jean was born December 3, 1899, in Indianapolis. The announcement of her younger sister Irene’s wedding in 1923 indicates that Jean came from Cincinnati to attend the wedding. The Marion County, Indiana, Marriage Index indicates that she married Lee Bloom on April 6, 1930. The marriage license notice in the Indianapolis Star newspaper indicates that Lee Bloom is a resident of Cincinnati. There are two articles in 1934 in the Cincinnati Enquirer, one indicating that Lee Bloom has transferred ownership of a home to his wife Jean, and another about an armed robbery of the couple where Lee Bloom was beat up as his wife watched. Jean died in Cincinnati in 1960 and Lee died the following year, according to other records found.
But here is the curious thing. While looking through old Cincinnati newspapers using newspapers.com today, I found a notice about their engagement in the Cincinnati Enquirer on February 2, 1930. It states:
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob L. Noiman, 423 Hickory Street, Avondale, announce the engagement of their niece, Miss Jean Goldman, to Mr. Lee Bloom, son of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Bloom, 3557 Rosedale Place, Avondale.
This is interesting because I have never heard the name Noiman used in connection with my Goldman family before. The fact that Jean Goldman is referred to as their niece would mean, normally, that one of the following is true:
- Jacob Noiman is the brother of Mamie Bloom,
- Mrs. Noiman is the sister of Mamie Bloom,
- Mrs. Noiman is the sister of Simon Goldman, or
- Jacob Noiman is the brother of Simon Goldman, which could be if one or both of them had changed their names from a previous name, which was not uncommon for Jews of that time entering the US.
I went searching for clues to the Noimans and their possible relationship to “my” Goldman family:
- The 1930 census has a listing for Jacob L. Noiman in Cincinnati. I discovered the family living on Hickory Street. The names listed are Jacob, age 48; his wife Libby, age 47; and their sons Harvey, age 20, and Charles, age 18. All of them were born in Lithuania, and their parents were all born in Lithuania. Jacob arrived in 1911; Libby and their sons arrived in 1921; and all are naturalized by 1930. Jacob’s occupation is “fish and poultry” proprietor. He and Libby were married when they were 25 and 24, respectively, meaning they have now been married 23 years (since they are now 48 and 47).
- Jacob Noiman, still living on Hickory Street, registered for the World War II Draft, as required, in 1942. He lists Libe Noiman as his closest relative and states that he was born on December 1, 1884 in “Prenn, Russia.”
- Jacob Noiman died on November 29, 1959, in Cincinnati. His death certificate states that his father was Charles Noiman and his mother’s name was Leah.
- Jacob’s Certificate of Naturalization, number 978157, was issued by the United States District Court of the Southern District of Ohio on January 25, 1919. It indicates that his name was Jankel Noiman and that he lives in Cincinnati. It also grants citizenship to his wife Leba and their sons Wolf and Charles, still living in Russia.
- Leba Noimen (spelled differently) applied for a passport in Riga, Latvia, on March 8, 1941, granted the next day, noting that she had been granted citizenship on January 25, 1919, and requesting permission to travel to the USA via “Russia (Lithuania and Latvia)’, then to “Denmark, Sweden, Norway”, and then to “Great Britain Holland.” She states that she was born in Olita, Russia, about 1881 and wishes to join her husband in Cincinnati.
- On June 30, 1921, Liba Neuman, 40, with her sons Hersch Wolf, 9, and Gedalie, 8, set sail from Antwerp, headed to New York, with ultimate destination joining her husband, Jake Neuman, in Cincinnati.
A family tree for Jacob and Liba Noiman is maintained by “LibbyLapin” (ancestry user name). “LibbyLapin” and I connected over a year ago because of a DNA match through ancestry, but we were never able to figure out how were related. That tree indicates that Liba’s maiden name was Goodstein, although I do not yet have any evidence that supports this maiden name. In any case, the name Goodstein is what lit the light bulb. I went back to my records to look at my great-grandmother Mamie Bloom’s death certificate. Bingo!
All through the years of living in Indianapolis from 1899 through her death in 1922, Mamie had 16 children. I have located birth certificates and/or birth announcements for most of those children. On every single one, Mamie’s maiden name was listed as Bloom or Blum. However, her death certificate on September 11, 1922, indicates that her name was “Minnie Goldman,” not Mamie. And her parents are listed as ….. George Goodstein and Mamie Bloom. Perhaps Mamie misunderstood the question all of those years on the birth certificates and though they were asking for her MOTHER’s name, rather than her own maiden name? Maybe her true maiden name was Goodstein?
I then compared a photo of Simon and Mamie Goldman taken shortly before 1920 with a photo that “LibbyLapin” had posted on her tree of Liba Goodstein Noiman, which looks as though it was taken at least ten years later. They look very much alike. Mamie’s birthdate was August 23, 1871. Liba’s passport states that she was born about 1881, ten years after Mamie. Here are the two photos, with Liba’s shown on the left.
This requires more research. Next steps:
- Contact LibbyLapin through ancestry.com to determine whether she has any evidence for Liba Noiman’s maiden name and family.
- Review all of the birth and death certificates for Simon and Mamie’s children. I recall that, in at least one place, Mamie’s name was given as “Goldstein.”
- Hire a specialist to examine the photos of Mamie Goldman and Liba Noiman.
- Look for other connections in the news or in family records.