|HOME - GOEHLE INTRODUCTION - Sheriff Street - Kleindeutschland|
THE BERGER AND DEUTSCH FAMILIES IN ARMERICA
Herb Deutsch's ancestor Esther Berger (who married Ignatz Deutsch) had a sister, Fany who married William Greenfield (Grunfield). Another sister, Frieda, married Emil Greenfield. At the time of her marriage in 1888 Fany Berger was living at 107 Sheriff street. At the time of his marriage in 1894 Emil Greenfield was living at 86 Sheriff street "rear". My ancestors, Peter Goehle, and his family were living at 88 sheriff street from at least 1890 to at least 1894. My grandfather, Frank Goehle, was born at 88 Sheriff street in 1894.
Herb's family story is interesting and he has some different perspectives about live on the Lower East Side at the end of the 1800s and into the early 1900s.
ARRIVING IN AMERICA
The first formal immigrant depot in America - Castle Garden -
was at the southern tip of Manhattan.
It operated from 1855 until 1892 when it was replaced by Ellis Island.1.
After docking, steerage passengers were put on barges and ferried to Castle Garden. Other passengers were allowed to leave after docking.
The first American most immigrants met was the interpreter who was required to speak two languages but often spoke as many as six. . Officers never wrote down immigrants' names. All the needed information was gleaned from ship manifests compiled at the port of embarkation. Names that could not be corroborated resulted in the forced deportation of the person back to his point of departure at the shipping company's expense. Many Jewish immigrants' names were changed upon coming to America. "Without exception, however, they changed their names themselves.". Thus, it is fiction that immigration officers assigned immigrants a new name.
After steerage immigrants arrived at the dock, they walked down a narrow passageway of moveable fences, while being subjected to medical inspection. Immigrants needing treatment or likely to become public burdens were transferred to Ward's Island, in the East River.2 Immigrants then went into Castle Garden to a square enclosure in the center where clerks at desks registered them. The clerks recorded their ship, the captain's name, the number in the family, destination, the amount of money they had and the names of relatives in the U.S. .
All immigrants went to washrooms, separated by sex, where they were required to bath before being permitted to leave. On one side was a bath large enough to hold 12 people at a time with disinfectant solution in the tubs that were 2 feet deep. On the other side was a large, wide trough with flowing water in which fifty immigrants washed. Towels and soap (which was required to be used) were provided. . Having been on a ship for over a week with limited water the bath must have come as a relief. Immigrants arriving before 1:00 PM, were generally on their way by evening. If going to New York and nearby areas they collected their luggage and left after exchanging their money.>. If they were going outside New York City they went to a counter to arrange transportation and their luggage was transferred to the office of the weigh master.
A Scottish farmer observed:
[T]he passengers . . . are driven to Castle Garden, between two lines of officials, in the same manner as the railway officials in the west put the wild Texas cattle into the cars, minus the whipping.Newspapers published ship arrivals so families knew when to meet a boat.. Many papers had a morning and an afternoon edition and many were free.
If there was no one to meet you at castle Garden or, for that matter, Ellis Island, leaving was traumatic as this recollection of a new immigrant makes clear: How I envied those fortunates who had relatives or friends to receive them. Stepping out with a forlorn look, but full of hope, I began for the first time to realize that I was alone in a new world...... As I walked down the gang plank, the loneliness, the strange sights, the sounds of words I did not understand unnerved me for a moment, and I could almost have cried. I pulled myself together.
We have two stories about Frieda's (Waly) arrival. The first is by her granddaughter who says Frieda came to America with the Sam Greenfield family. Aunt Rose's family tree shows that Baba Hensha had a brother who took the name Greenfield and had 12 children. Perhaps one of them was Sam. It is not unreasonable that Frieda and Louis would have come here with a first cousin. A Greenfield son on the boat was named Nathan. When the boat arrived, Frieda carried 4 year old Nathan off the boat. Fried's graddaughter thinks the other sons were Max and Sidney. The Greenfields ultimately had 10 or 11 children and settled in McKeesport, Pa. The census records contradict recollections.3 After I told another cousin this story, he said: "That's not what Esther told me. Esther said she and Louis went to Castle Garden to pick up Frieda. This suggests Frieda and Louis were separated when they arrived. When they could not find Frieda, Esther became "hysterical" and began a search of the Lower East Side. I think what happened she found Louis, but could not find Frieda. Esther did not go from tenement to tenement looking for Frieda. She had some idea where to look based on what Louis told her. They found Frieda was an "indentured servant" for a family. Perhaps the Greenfield family had paid for her and Louis's fare in exchange for her working to pay off the tickets. After a "huge fight", Esther "rescued" Frieda. This story is much more plausible. Unfortunately we have no information about how Esther found Fany.
Frieda subsequently married Emil Grünfeld who changed his name to Greenfield. The two families are not related as Hilda confirmed. Frieda and Emil had three children: Minnie, Regina and Julius. When Minnie grew up she married Nathan Greenfield - the little boy Frieda was said to have carried off the boat. Minnie and Nathan had six children including Hilda.
Esther must have been awestruck by Manhattan. After subtracting Central Park and streets, it was about 17.32 square miles with a population of 1.2 million in 1880 and 1.4 million in 1890. . The Lower East Side, at its peak in 1910, "was home to 373,057 people...." . The Lower East Side was about four square miles and by "1894 [it was]..... the most densely populated area on Earth." . It became an iconic expression of what it meant to live as an immigrant, and particularly a Jewish immigrant. Yet after WW I it was over. Immigrants moved on as life improved and laws restricting immigration were passed.4
The streets, if paved, were cobblestone. . Paved or not, Manhattan was mired in filth and Esther and Ignatz would have had to transverse these streets daily. In 1880 horse cars were the main form of transportation. Horses produce 20 to 30 pounds of manure a day. Multiply that by over 100,000 horses and you've got a mess. Waste was dumped in the East River or piled up in lots many feet deep.. By the 1890's, electric trolleys began replacing horse drawn vehicles.. By 1912, New York city had more cars than horses. However trucks did not finally supplanted the horse cart for freight until 1920s. [Id.]. In 1894, George Waring became Street Commissioner and in 16 months cleared the streets of shin-deep waste. The citizens gave a parade for the sanitation works in 1896 and with good reason - they were heros. . This is what the streets were like before and after
So think about this perpetual muck and gunk and stink that filled the streets.....except where wealthy people could hire private sweepers and carters. Think about where you live and imagine if you had to keep your windows closed all year and you had no air conditioning, but leaving them open on any warm day guaranteed a stink and a layer of grime that would ruin your home.Jews, made a conscious effort to make sure their members quickly integrated. Perhaps Esther was given something similar to What Every Woman Should Know about Citizenship by the Immigration Assistance Section of the National Council of Jewish Women. "Founded in 1893, the Council focused on helping unmarried women immigrants learn English, secure citizenship, and find employment."
A Guide to the United States for the Jewish Immigrant An Abridged Nearly Literal Translation of the Second Yiddish Edition, was published in 1913 in English and Yiddish, but there were earlier editions.. The advice is as pertinent today as then; English is "absolutely indispensable"; make friends with Americans and make sure your children receive an education. In contrast to today, where the relationship between a teacher and parents is often adversarial, you were advised: "Make the acquaintance of your child's teacher. She will be your useful friend and adviser." [23<]5. Become a citizen: "It is a duty to yourself and your family to become a citizen and voter, and help select the men who are to represent you....[Id] "Be proud of [who you are].... Never change your name except when absolutely necessary to simplify it for English pronunciation." [Id.] Unlike today, you were told that rights are inseparable from obligations: "American Freedom gives us precious rights for which humanity has been struggling through the centuries. But......American Democracy means: Duties with Rights!" 6 Successful immigrants today are those who adhered to the values expressed in this guide.
Most single girls rented a bed or part of a room in an apartment. "Woman boarders usually also did housework and domestic chores for the family they boarded with in addition to rent." . To save money, Ignatz was also probably a boarder when he first came here.
Esther, on arriving, would have been given away by her dress as a dreaded "greenhorn" since, the way to avoid the stigma of being a "greenhorn" was to dress appropriately.
My first day in America I went with my aunt to buy some American clothes. **** I took my old brown dress and shawl and threw them away! ***** I had enough of the old country. When I looked in the mirror, I couldn't get over it. I said, "boy, Sophie, look at you now. Just like an American". For "greenhorns", the change in dress and hair was an essential part of adaptation. "The notion of mass-produced clothing, cheap and well made and available to all, is peculiarly American." 
1 Corruption and prostitution were rampant at Castle Garden. Congress closed it on April 18, 1890 and created the Bureau of Immigration. In 1870 Manhattan had close to 500 brothels. The Lower East Side had 67.
2 Companies were fined for bringing sick people and made an effort to reject them before leaving for America. Sick people were sent to Ward's Island, to hospitals and asylums. 6
3 The 1900 census says Sam and his wife came in 1885 with 6 children including Nathan (B. Pa. in 1888) and Sidney (B. Pa. in 1895). The 1910 census lists 10 children and says Nathan was born in New York. Vivian Kahn noted: "Max was born in NYC in 1886 and Sidney..... [in] 1895...... If Nathan was 4 that means he arrived in 1893 but that's incorrect because his sister Annie was born in McKeesport in 1890. Me thinks that Hilda's memory is not completely accurate." I agree.
4 The Johnson-Reed Act, passed in 1924 stopped immigration. It allowed a maximum of 150,000 immigrants per year and set a quota from each nation. It controlled until 1965 and closed America to Jews fleeing the Holocaust.
5In 1909, in New York City almost 70% of students were immigrants. Classrooms often had 60 children. In 1898, William H. Maxwell became superintendent and set up a special program which gave English-only instructions for six months, and then the child transferred to a regular grade level class. "It is only through.....education," he said, "that the son of a poor man obtains an approach to equality with the son of a rich man in opportunity for success in life." Jewish newcomers had a saying: "Land on Saturday, settle on Sunday, school on Monday." 24
6Cynicism existed: "people in America got paid for everything – even for voting." 25
ARRIVING IN AMERICA - SOURCE CITATIONS
 P. M. Coan, Ellis Island Interviews, Facts on File, Inc. (1997) at xix-xxii and xxiv
 D. Horn, The Myth of Ellis Island and Other Tales of Origin, at 52-53. http://azure.org.il/download/magazine/Az41%20Horn.pdf
 Weissburgs at 20-21
 Epstein at 14
 Epstein at 156-57  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/19/nyregion/19cobblestone.html?_r=0
 http://eyewitnesstohistory.com/snpim2.htm; Eric Morris, From Horse Power to Horsepower, http://www.uctc.net/access/30/Access%2030%20-%2002%20-%20Horse%20Power.pdf
 E. Morris, From Horse Power to Horsepower, http://www.uctc.net/access/30/Access%2030%20-%2002%20-%20Horse%20Power.pdf ("Morris") at 5
 H. Horn, "The Secret Lives of Garbage Men", The Atlantic Cities. Atlantic Media Company http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2013/04/secret-lives-garbage-men/5156/
 http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/ and to gus-02.htm - 13.htm
 http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/ and to gus-02.htm - 13.htm
 Epstein at 14
 E. Even, Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars, Monthly Review Press (1985) at 120.
 Id. at 68
 Id. at 71
EVERYDAY LIFE ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE The typical Lower East Side tenement was five or six stories tall and on a lot 25' x 100'.
In 1889, while researching his book, How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis sought to show the horrible conditions in which tenement residents lived. It resulted in the Tenement House Law, which improved sanitary and safety conditions. . Yet one historian concludes that as "abysmal as the living conditions that immigrants faced upon arriving..., life for them was still better than that in their country of origin." . Maggie Blanck has a great site about the Lower East Side. She says that the reformers like Riis "were, in fact, depicting the worst scenarios...[Id]. Many of the larger tenements had a person, often a widow who for free rent kept the halls, stairway and sidewalk in front clean. However vermin was still an issue. .
Prior to public baths, Jews used a mikvah or a ritual bath. In the early 20th century, the Lower East Side had more than 30 ritual baths. . These were not a substitute for a bath since one had to be "scrupulously clean before immersing". Thus preparation with showers were in each mikvah. . Mikvahs were also used by men before the Sabbath and holidays.
In 1895, New York State made public baths mandatory for large cities. The first opened in New York City in 1901 on Rivington St. . "It had showers - enabling 3,000 20 minute showers per day. . It was open 14 hours per day. By 1905 Manhattan had 7 public baths, 5 were municipal and free, 2 were private and charged a small fee. There were also floating baths along the river which were as much swimming pools as places to wash. In 1902 the floating baths were used by 5 or 6 million people in the summer. . By 1915 Manhattan had 13 public baths, Brooklyn six and the Bronx one. . Each bath usually served one immigrant group. The baths on Rivington St., Rutgers Place, and in Seward Park served the Jewish Lower East Side. .
While there was grinding poverty, economic mobility was fast and "by 1903, the Jewish Daily Forward coined a new Yiddishism: oyesessen, or eating out." .
The Lower East Side also had a rich, everyday intellectual life. It had a vibrant theater and literary scene as well as an intense political and economic mix. In 1902, Hutchins Hapsgood, published a classic, The Spirit of the Ghetto: Studies of the Jewish Quarter of New York Schocken Books (1967). It described life on the Jewish Lower East Side.
And it was the public school that proceeded to make citizens out of immigrants and do it within a single generation, surely the most successful endeavor in the history of personal relationships.To give some idea of the density of the Jewish Lower East Side, consider the number of synagogues and landsmanshaft or mutual aid societies there which were upwards of 421! Many buildings housed more than one. .
The neighborhood in which people lived became their identity. Children innocently walking with their friends often would find their way onto another street, where it was not uncommon to be attacked just for being foreign to the neighborhood. *** This segregation led to rivalries and hostile street fighting among neighborhoods, simply over these strong identities of location and race. Children were afraid to venture outside of their block for fear of who and what they might encounter. .
THE BERGER CHILDREN IN AMERICA The sisters all worked in the garment industry until they married.
Sweatshops were usually located in a tenement, often in one of the rooms of the owner's apartment. In many cases there were no windows or other ventilators in the room.***Aside from work, life focused on finding a husband and starting a family. However, there were significant differences in how this process was undertaken in America. First, was the independence which America and working conferred.
"I got a job for myself and was able to stand on my own feet". ***[T]hey took advantage of the leisure-time activities:.....dance halls, movies, amusement parks, cafes, and theater.***The custom of chaperonage disappeared..... and young immigrant men and women considered it their right to choose their own spouses. .Second, Jewish women became actively involved in politics as they became involved in society and business and they "attended lectures and political meetings alone....*** The political interest and sophistication of young immigrant Jewish working women continued.... upon marriage.".
Third, Jewish women turned to education with a vengeance: "Jewish women....[took] advantage of free public evening classes and lectures....***[S]tudies....documented the disproportionately large numbers of immigrant Jewish women in evening courses." .
This was the world of the sisters - all the while being looked over and looking over potential mates. And there was plenty of competition, as noted in an article dated September 30, 1900 in the New York Tribune entitled "Shadchan's (Matchmakers) Find Business Bad":
A matchmaker stated bitterly, "At one time,....most of the marriageable young men and women.... depended on me....Now they believe in love and all that rot. They are making their own marriages....***There are six or seven girls after every man. This makes the young men difficult to deal with, for they can marry into almost any family....They learned to start their own love affairs.. ..and this is the worst thing they could have picked up."***.The concept of a dowery changed. In America a dowery was to help a young man start a business rather than continue with religious studies. . In any event, going to a matchmaker was not an option for Esther and her siblings since there was no one to pay a dowery or a fee. Absent a matchmaker:
immigrants most often relied on family members and friends to introduce them to potential marriage partners.***[I]f a man and a woman were seen together for more than a few weeks and there was no mention of marriage, the community considered the situation a moral disgrace.*** A couple would go out once or perhaps even a second time before the young woman invited the man to meet her family and have dinner, almost always a Sabbath dinner on Friday evening. His acceptance was....tantamount to an expression of serious marriage interest..It is likely that Fany hosted the Sabbath dinner for Esther since there were no other relatives and she was married.
A variety of publications were available to help young women. Alexander Harkavy's American Letter Writer, an English-Yiddish letter writing guide was especially popular. Here is a sample letter "From a Lady to a Gentleman, Complaining of Faithlossness (sic)." .
Sir:***Did I not give you my promise to be yours, and had you no other reason for soliciting than merely to gratify your vanity? A brutal gratification, indeed, to triumph over the weakness of a woman whose greatest fault was that she love you.*** I saw you yesterday walking with Miss Greenberg, and am informed that you have proposed marriage to her.***Miss Greenberg may become your wife, but she will receive.... a perjured husband....I leave you to the stings of your own conscience. .Can you imagine the reaction of an immigrant struggling to learn English, who received this? Yet, it is so much more elegant then what would be "tweeted" today.
We have one dating story regarding Esther. She was seeing a man from Yonkers, New York who made a failed attempt at running for the US Congress. He would have been a catch for a poor uneducated girl. This suggests that Esther was very bright and socially adept. He was fond of "playing cards" which I assume was gambling. Esther disapproved and when he refused to stop, she broke off the relationship. So we can see she had a strong moral code. Matthew says she never raised her voice and always spoke softly, but with authority.
Sometime thereafter Esther met and married Ignatz.
Such a thing as a strictly quiet wedding, with....the immediate family members, is almost unknown in The Lower East Side Jewish Quarter.*** [T]here is usually an engagement party at which the parents of the bride-elect make public announcement of the daughter's engagement.....[T]hose who come.....receive wedding invitations, which are printed on fancy embossed cards in English and Yiddish, and often in German. These.....are worded nearly like the ordinary wedding invitations, but in every instance the line follows the address where the ceremony will take place, which tells the brides residence [which is where presents are delivered].The Berger Children
Fany Berger (1867-1956) and William Greenfield (Grunfield)
7 This contradicts that Louis came alone at eleven and worked in [a] garment factory, sleeping on a pile of remnants in a corner of the loft. Berger at 7.
8 This is an odd question for a "true agnostic" to ask.
IGNATZ AND ESTHER RAISE A FAMILY
AdolphThe period 1900 through WW I was a period of enormous expansion in New York.
The subway opened in October, 1904. . By 1907 Manhattan and Brooklyn had an extensive elevated subway system making travel efficient and fast. In 1909 the Manhattan Bridge was opened. . By 1913, Grand Central Terminal was open and was the world’s largest enclosed space. . Elevators and steel allowed the erection of the Woolworth Building in 1913 which at 57 stories was then the world's tallest building. Indoor plumbing, running hot water, gas cooking and electric lighting had come of age. Gone were water pumps, outhouses. .
The children, after school, would have helped deliver and pick up merchandise. They would have traveled by themselves on the subway and the above ground "El". Sports included stickball, stoop-ball and handball. Boys were fanatics about baseball and kept up with each player.
The future of the world and America, in particular, looked unlimited.
9 Clearly, the information on the note was copied from what he was told...."Avenue D runs between East 12th St. and Houston St., and continues south of 2nd St. as Columbia St.".
10 Ignatz is not listed. Perhaps he came back first. We could not find his ship manifest. Up through 1934 children born outside the US were citizens if their fathers were citizens at the time of their birth.
11 "I think it is Adolph - remember that most information is orally given in those days. The fact that the baby was b. in Jan and was 4 months old adds up."
12 The ship had accommodations for 400 in 1st, 120 in 2nd and 580 in steerage. .
13 After WW I, most of Szatmaar was ceded to Romania and the part left in Hungary became part of Szatmaar-Ugocsa-Bereg county. .
14 There are "no civil registration records listed for KerSemjen" and so we can only use secondary records.
Emil Greenfield and Frieda Berger
Emil Greenfield married Frieda Berger in 1894.
Emil Greefeld, Spouse's Name: Frida Berger, Event Date: 27 Dec 1894, Event Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, Father's Name: Bernard Greenfeld, Mother's Name: Rebecca Ungar, Spouse's Father's Name: Joseph Berger, Spouse's Mother's Name: Sara ShwartzThey had:
Emil Greenfield - Birth Date: abt 1873, Age: 27, Death Date: 6 Aug 1900, Death Place: New York, New York, Certificate Number: 253481905: Manhattan Houston street, Frida Greenfeld 29, neck wear, Minnie Greenfeld 10 Ragina Greenfeld 8 Julius Greenfeld 6 Esther Silver 55, boarder nurse.
Death of Regina Greenfield - 1926: Regina Ruth Greenfield, Gender: Female, Race: White, Age: 28 yrs, 10 months and 16 days, saleslady,, single, Birth Date: 6 Apr 1897 Birth Place: New York Death Date: 22 Feb 1926 Death Place: Cresson, Cambria, Pennsylvania, USA Father Name: Emil Greenfield Father Birth Place: Austria, Pennsylvania Mother Name: Freida Berger Mother Birth Place: Austria Certificate Number: 15181, cause of death - Pulmonary Tuberculosis - contracted in McKeesport, Pa.
The Secret Life of a Society Maven - Alan Feuer's grandfather was a saloon keeper who lived at 88 Sheriff in 1910.
|Minnie Schwartzmeier Lindemann Goehle|
Catherine Furst Schwartzmeier Lindemann|
Dr. Egbert Guernesy
German Immigrants in New York City
Images of 97 Sheriff Street circa 1925 from Steve Magasis
ephemeralnewyork Defunct Sheriff Street's infamous resident
Thanks to Tom Sullivan for for alerting me to this page, April 2011
|If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org|
Please feel free to link to this web page.|
You may use images on this web page provided that you give proper acknowledgement to this web page and include the same acknowledgments that I have made to the provenance of the image. Please be judicious. Please don't use all the images.
You may quote my original text from this web page and use any cited quotes on this web page provided you give proper acknowledgement to this web page and include the same acknowledgments that I have made to the provenance of the information.
Please do not cut and paste the whole page.
You may NOT make use any of the images or information on this web page for your personal profit.
You may NOT claim any content of this web page as your original idea.
|©Maggie Land Blanck - Page created in 2014 - Latest update, July 2014|