Rachel & Jonah Jacobs' story

Rachel Jacobs death cert, 1915
Was my great-great-grandma Rachel Jacobs the mother of a woman who lived to 100? Rachel was born in Lithuania (possibly the Plunge district, close to Telsiai) in the early 1840s, approximately. Her father's name was Moses and her mother was Sarah Levin.

Since her daughter Tillie Jacobs Mahler (that's my great-grandma) fudged her age for years and supposedly was 100 when she died in 1952, it's hard to know Rachel's true age. But Tillie and Rachel were strong and determined women, that's for sure.

Rachel Jacobs headstone
Back in Lithuania, Rachel (maiden name Shuham) was married to Jonah and they had at least two children: Tillie and Joseph. Jonah Jacobs died before 1886, which was when Rachel made the arduous journey to New York City. Rachel's son Joseph had made the journey a few years earlier, as had Rachel's son-in-law Meyer Mahler, who married Tillie around 1880.

When exactly did Rachel arrive at Castle Garden? I would like to think she arrived with daughter Tillie and holding the hands of her two young grandchildren, David and Henrietta, but I'm still looking in the passenger lists. According to the census, they arrived in 1886, which means they could see the newly-erected Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor as they sailed into port. (Photo above right shows Rachel with her youngest granddaughter, Mary Mahler, in about 1901.)

What happened to Rachel and her family? I recently learned:
Hilda Jacobs
  • Rachel died in December, 1915 of kidney problems (her death cert is at top) and was buried at Mount Zion cemetery in Queens, NY.  According to the cert, Rachel was 70 when she died. That seems fishy since her daughter Tillie was born in the 1850s and it's possible but doubtful that Rachel had a child at age 12. Rachel was living on Allen Street in Manhattan's immigrant area of the Lower East Side at the time of her death.
  • Rachel's son Joseph married Eva Michalovsky in 1890. Joseph and Eva had 6 children in all. Joseph died in November, 1918 of Parkinson's disease and was buried in the same Plungianer plot in Mt. Zion as his mother, Rachel. In 1888, when he became a US citizen, Joseph was a capmaker. His death cert, above, showed his occupation as tailor, although the 1915 NY Census said he was a janitor. Because Joe was missing from some census documents, I'm going to look for him in the records of the hospital (Montefiore Home and Hospital, in the Bronx) where he died.
  • Joseph's son Frank Maurice [probably Moritz] Jacobs (Rachel's grandson) enlisted in the US Army for WWI and was wounded in battle (possibly gassed), spending about a year in army hospitals and rehab units before being discharged in 1919. He wasn't working at the time of the 1920 census but in 1930 and 1940, his occupation was "advertising." His WWII draft card (under the last name Jacob) said he worked for Young & Rubicam and was living at the Hotel Tudor on E. 42nd Street, with a mailing address c/o his brother Louis Jacob in Brooklyn. Frank died in 1974 but he's not buried at Mt. Zion. Where was he laid to rest?
  • Joseph's daughter Flora was a bookkeeper in knitwear in 1910, a "forelady" in a factory in 1915, an operator on knitted goods in 1920. She contracted rheumatic fever and died of rheumatic endocarditis in 1923. Flora (aka Florence) is also buried in Mt. Zion's Plungianer plot. Flora was probably named after her grandmother, Flora.
  • I'm still tracing Louis Jacob, one of Joseph & Eva's sons, born about 1891. Louis was the "informant" on his sister Flora's death cert in 1923 and on his mother Eva's death cert in 1941. Where were you, Louis Jacob, after 1942, when you were living in Brooklyn?
  • Joseph Jacobs Death Cert, 1918
  • Rachel's granddaughter Hilda (see photo above), one of Joseph & Eva's daughters, grew up in Brooklyn and married Jacob Wilner in the early 1920s. They had two children: Jerome and Flora. Hilda lived to be 91!
  • Was Isaac Burk (Rachel Shuham's grandson-in-law) a member of the Shuham family? His Soc. Sec. app suggests a connection
  • I wish I could time-travel to ask Rachel Shuham a few questions and bring her to the wedding of her grandson. 
  • Trying to learn more about Rachel Shuham and Jonah Jacobs, my 2d great-grandparents.  
  • Joseph Jacobs didn't die on the date carved in stone on his headstone. 
  • Little Pauline Jacobs is buried in the Jacobs family's plot in Mt. Zion cemetery.

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