What happened to Sime Rosenthal Schwartzstein? or Who was living at 135 Belmont Av. Brooklyn NY in 1897? #usa

Lee Jaffe

We are trying to find out what happened to Sime "Sophie or Fanny" Rosenthal Schwarrzstein, born about 1861-63 in Ukraine, emigrated to the US in 1886.  Any help with records after her arrival – beyond what we describe below – or strategies for finding her will be greatly appreciated.  Appended to our main question is a request for help with locating records for residents at 135 Belmont Av. Brooklyn around 1897, explained in more detail below.  

I am working with a group of Schwartzstein descendants to trace members of our far-flung family.  One of our brick walls is the fate of Sime Rosenthal, who married Solomon Schwartzstein in Ukraine and emigrated with their 2 children in 1886.   We have found her departing Hamburg on the Polaria 17 Nov 1886 and arriving NYC 7 Dec, traveling with her children Chake (Mollie) 3 yrs and Leib (Louis) 11 mos.  The passenger record does not indicate whom they were joining but we believe the three were meeting husband/father Solomon Schwartzstein who had emigrated in 1885.

We think the family appears together in the 1890 NYC Police Census:  Fanny, Samuel, Kathi, and Louis Schwartzstein. 

The next (and only other) records we have found for Fanny Schwartzstein are a series of entries when she placed Mollie and Louis in the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphans Asylum in 1894 and retrieved them in 1897.  Solomon appears to have abandoned Fanny and the children and moved to England where he married Sarah Mazer in 1897 and started a new family.  (We're certain about this part of the narrative since Solomon returned to the US with his new family in 1906 and both sides are aware of each other and in touch.)  

Fanny Schwartzstein first placed her children Molly (11) and Louis (8)  – father listed as "Joe unknown" –  in the asylum on 4 May 1894 but retrieved them on 17 Aug the same year.  In May, she gave her address 472 Stove Av and in Aug she had moved to 45 Watkin St.  However, Molly, 11, and "Louise" (male, 8)  were returned to the asylum 28 Sep 1894 and not discharged until 26 Jan 1897.  (One of our group is the granddaughter of Louis and heard him speak of his bitter recollections of the orphanage years.)  

In the discharge entry, Fanny reports she remarried – her married name is hard to decipher – and was living at 135 Belmont Ave.  A screenshot of the entry is attached.  We have not been able to find any further records for Fanny.  We think determining her new married name is the key to finding what happened to her after 1897 but all of our efforts so far have been successful.

For instance, based on adjacent text in the asylum entry, we're pretty sure that the first 4 letters of her new surname are C-O-R-T but are less certain of the final letters (perhaps I-E).  We have searched a wide range of sources for variations on that name with no luck.  But it is likely that the name could have been something quite different ... KORT... QUART... GARD... and misheard and transcribed by the asylum clerk.

As an alternate strategy, we have tried to find out who was living at 135 Belmont Av. at the time, in the off-chance we can find Fanny and children living there.  Using the stevemorse.org US Census ED locator, we think the enumeration district for 134 Belmont Av. (cross street Christopher Av.)  for the 1900 census should be Kings 453.  


I have gone through all the sheets – one-by-one – in this ED three times without finding any entries for 135 Belmont.   We have found street numbers as high as 112 Belmont and then again beginning at 158 Belmont, as well as nearby on cross streets.   We think this is an indication we're looking at the right ED but perhaps there is something we've overlooked and would appreciate any pointers in the right direction.  Alternatively, we wondered if anyone knows whether it was possible that a large section of addresses (e.g. 113-157 Belmont Av.) could have been left out of the enumeration or, alternatively, whether sheets were lost after-the-fact?  

Ultimately, our goal is to find out what happened to Fanny and any records or suggested strategies are welcomed.  Please be aware that we have been working on this project for years and we're not newbies.  We have managed to collect a strong portfolio of records, documents and photos  tracing the lives of most of the rest of the family, including Fanny's children Louis and Mollie*, plus Solomon Schwartzstein (Samuel Schwartz) and the children from his 2nd marriage**.  

* ** For those who like a little color with these accounts, we found a Nov 1905 NYC marriage certificate for Mollie Schwartzstein where one of the witnesses was her father Solomon's sister's son, the second witness was Solomon's brother Joseph (my great-grandfather) and the officiant was Joseph's father-in-law, my 2x great-grandfather.   Further, Solomon's oldest daughter, Diana, married his brother Joseph's oldest son, Harry.  Close family.

Happy New Year and thank you for any help you can provide.

Lee David Jaffe

Surnames / Towns:  Jaffe / Suchowola, Poland ; Stein (Sztejnsapir) / Bialystok and Rajgrod ; Roterozen / Rajgrod ; Joroff (Jaroff, Zarov) / Chernigov, Ukraine ; Schwartz (Schwarzstein) / Ternivka, Ukraine ;  Weinblatt / Brooklyn, Perth Amboy, NJ ; Koshkin / Snovsk, Ukraine ; Rappoport / ? ; Braun / Wizajny, Suwalki,  Ludwinowski / Wizajny, Suwalki


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