Back to My Grandfather’s Mysterious Brothers: First Jacob

10 Dec

My paternal grandfather had two brothers.  One disappeared when Grandpa was a young man.  I am still trying to figure out where he went and what happened to him.  Samuel’s story will have to wait to another day.

I plan to focus on my Grandpa’s younger brother, Jacob.  He was an interesting and upwardly mobile man.   Jacob came from nothing and became an attorney, lived on the upper east side of New York City, and then in the 1950s moved to England.  Those are all facts I know from my grandmother, father and aunt.

What I have been told.  Jacob was married to Dorothy.  She was, in the words of my grandmother, a person who did not really want anything to do with the poorer members of the family.  And that was mean, my grandma said, because my grandfather is the one who helped Jacob go through high school and college by being the main support of the family.

Jacob had two children:  Delilah and Rupert John.   My grandmother would say, their names say it all, “Who names their children Delilah and Rupert!”  Those who remember my grandmother can probably hear her say that.

My aunt, my father’s sister, had slightly different memories because she took piano lessons at Jacob’s home, with her first cousin, Delilah.   I think they had separate lessons as my aunt was several years younger.  However, the fact that she was provided these lessons makes me think my great uncle and his wife were not horrible. This is what they did to help.

But I am thinking that perhaps he went overseas to be an international lawyer. He would have been in his late 50s.  Either at the top of his career, or ready to retire.  I am not sure.

I found two articles in the August 24 and 25, 1953, European edition of “The Stars and Stripes,” the Unofficial Publication of the US Armed Forces in Europe.  And it has an article about an attorney, Jacob Rosenberg, and a case he was working on about an American citizen” imprisoned for 17 months in a Communist Hungarian prison after a conviction for espionage.”  Could this be my great uncle?  See link here:,3094,1604,3119%3B128,3283,262,3306%3B1210,3430,1357,3454%3B1214,1079,1353,1101%3B1180,3095,1305,3119%3B1342,3093,1421,3115&usePUB=true&_phsrc=axO536&_phstart=successSource

As far as I know, after they moved to England there was basically no contact with the family in the USA.  Or at least our branch of the family.   He left right around the time I was born.  I have no memory of him or his family.  Just the names.

What I have found out and have not found out.  I have no marriage record for Jacob and Dorothy, but I know she was born in Russia somewhere between 1901-1903.  From a 1925 census, I know that he was still living at home when he was 29, so I know he married when he was at least 30.

From the 1930 census, I know that he was already an attorney at 34, married to Dorothy with one child, Delilah.  They lived at 881 Washington Avenue.

From the 1940 census, I know that both children were born.  Delilah was 12, (but as she was born in 1929, she was really 11) and Rupert (misspelled Rugsert) was 8.  Now they are living uptown on East 88th Street.  And there are two women living with them, a Jeannie Goldstein, who is older than Dorothy.  And a much younger woman, who I think was a maid.

I do not know why they moved to England or the exact date they moved.  I don’t know when he or his wife died.  But I do know a bit about his two children.

Delilah traveled back and forth between the USA and Europe/England many times in the 1950s.  She was on the Queen Elizabeth several times, the Noordam, the Wosterdam, the Flandre and more.   On one ship manifest for entering the USA, her profession is listed as pianist.  So all those years of piano lessons paid off for Delilah.   I remember my aunt telling me that Delilah played beautifully!

I do have information about a Delilah Rosenberg getting married in 1961. But I do not have the marriage record, so I cannot confirm it is her.  However, I cannot find her traveling back and forth after that date.  So perhaps she settled.

As for Rupert.  I found his high school yearbook.  In 1948 he was a senior at the Columbia Grammar and Prep School where he was on the Dean’s list four times, on the Debate Council, a member of the History Club, on the Literary Board of the school newspaper.  To see his senior photo, go here:

It turns out Rupert was voted best student in his senior year:

I had to find out about this school because I was sure it was not a public school, like DeWitt Clinton High School, where my Dad went. I found out that Columbia Grammar and Prep School is the oldest private non-sectarian school in the USA!  It was founded in 1764 by the forerunner of Columbia University.  It separated from the University in 1863.  It moved to its current location at 93 street near Central Park West in 1907, so Rupert would have gone to this building.    A women’s school, The Leonard School for Girls was opened in 1937.  ( I could not find yearbooks for the years Delilah would have been in high school.)   And in 1956, when they both were graduated, the two schools merged. (Wikipedia, see link below.)

He started using the name John Rupert Rosenberg.   I know he got married on December 19, 1953 to Elizabeth Ann King.  There is a small newspaper article which states: that he was married at Our Lady of Victories Chapel in Kensington, London, England.  This is a Roman Catholic Church, which might have upset his parents.

It is a centuries old building dating back before the 1500s! It stopped being a Catholic Church after the Reformation, but in 1794, when French Catholics fled France during the French Revolution, it once again became a Catholic Church.  The Church was destroyed during WW2.  The rebuilt Church did not open until 1959, so I assume my cousin and his wife married in a temporary space? (Information from the church website, see link below.)

His wife was the daughter of the late E.A. C. King of the Indian Police.    I wonder if the King family lived in India or Burma before her father died. Her mother is just listed as Mrs. King (I hate that.)

In any case, his father, Jacob, was in the United States when John Rupert got married.  So perhaps John is what brought his parents to England.  John died when he was only 59 years old in January 1991.

I still have many unanswered questions about the family of my great uncle Jacob.  But at least he is no longer just a name.  And his son, my father’s first cousin, now has a face.

Once again, thanks to my distant cousin, Evan Wolfson, who has helped so much in my research.   Here is an earlier blog I wrote about finding out the mysteries of my grandfather’s family:


30 Responses to “Back to My Grandfather’s Mysterious Brothers: First Jacob”

  1. Amy December 10, 2019 at 9:14 pm #

    Was Jacob born in the US? Was he born in NYC? I don’t know what sources you’ve checked, so I don’t want to suggest things you’ve already searched. There should be death records in England also. He sounds like a very successful man who decided to leave his humble past behind.

    • zicharon December 10, 2019 at 9:23 pm #

      Jacob was born in the USA. I have his draft record for WW1. I have mainly used my Ancestry account to search for him. I have him on census records from 1900 to 1940. But any ideas would be appreciated.

      • Amy December 10, 2019 at 9:29 pm #

        Was he born in NYC? If so, you should be able to find a birth record on Ancestry and/or FamilySearch. If he was married in NYC, you also should be able to find a marriage record. I assume you think he died in England? If you have any sense of the date, I could see if there’s a record on Ancestry since I have the World account. Also, have you tried searching for newspaper articles?

      • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 7:19 am #

        I do not have the world account. And yes I think he died in England. Actually Jacob and his wife Dorothy. So that would be great. I have not found his birth certificate or marriage license. But I have found his draft card.

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 7:33 am #

        Jacob Rosenberg…oy! That’s like my search for the right Abraham Rosenzweig and the right Jacob Cohen. I will take a look and see if I can find anything more.

      • Amy December 10, 2019 at 9:30 pm #

        What was his last name?? And about when was he born?

      • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 7:07 am #

        Jacob Rosenberg, September 4, 1984. That is the birthday he put on his draft card for WW1. He was a stenographer at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. So he did not have to go overseas.

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 7:40 am #

        I only found one possible Jacob Rosenberg who died in England, but he was born in 1896, according to the death index. You’d have to send away for the certificate to determine if this is the right person. He died in Brent in London. The GRO would have the certificate—Volume 5a, p. 202, in 1966.

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 7:47 am #

        I don’t see any Jacob Rosenberg born on September 4, 1894, in NYC. What were his parents’ names?

      • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 8:38 am #

        Parents Abraham and Sarah Ritt Rosenberg.

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 7:54 am #

        I see five different Jacob Rosenbergs with WWI draft registrations in NYC—how did you decide the Sept 4, 1894 one was the right man?

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 7:55 am #

        Ah, never mind—I see the draft registration for World War II with Dorothy and the same birth date. 🙂

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 8:05 am #

        I found nothing more than you did, I’m afraid. If he was born in NYC and married in NYC, it’s very odd that there are no records of either. But his birth might never have been registered, and maybe they were not married in NYC.

      • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 8:37 am #

        That is what I am thinking. But could you check your world account for anything in England. Thank you so much for trying.

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 8:46 am #

        I did, and all I found that could possibly be relevant is the death record I mentioned. There are no census records online for the time period he would have been in England. And I did not find any immigration or directories that listed anyone who fits Jacob’s parameters. Perhaps he changed his name?? So odd that he doesn’t appear on any BMD index.

      • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 8:58 am #

        So odd. His son just switched his middle and first name. Perhaps search for Rupert John Rosenberg and John Rupert Rosenberg. Maybe if we find more about the son we can find the father?

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 9:48 am #

        I will take a look a bit later, okay?

      • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 9:49 am #

        Thank you.

      • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 8:59 am #

        Thank you for trying. I love mysteries. But this family is crazy with them.

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 9:48 am #

        LOL! I’ll say. So frustrating!

      • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 7:14 am #

        The other brother. Samuel Rosenberg was born in Russia around 1886. And came as a toddler. I have two Samuel Rosenbergs I have found one in seattle and one in NY. Not sure either is mine.

  2. Amy December 11, 2019 at 10:58 am #

    John Rupert Rosenberg was born on September 25, 1931, and died in January 1991, according to Volume: 15
    Page: 1849
    General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 15; Page: 1849

    Source Information England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007

    • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 11:00 am #

      That much I know. But did he have children? Can we find that out? Or what he did for a living. They disappeared. Thank you!

  3. Amy December 11, 2019 at 11:03 am #

    There was also a ship manifest from 1953. Aside from that, I didn’t see anything obviously related to Rupert John. There are some electoral registers for John R Rosenberg in London in 2000-2003, but I don’t know if that could be the same person since the death index shows he died in 1991. But perhaps if you order the death certificate, it will reveal more.

    • zicharon December 11, 2019 at 11:04 am #

      Thank you. As I said a great mystery. I was excited to find some high school records about him.

      • Amy December 11, 2019 at 11:40 am #

        Wish I could have found more.

  4. zicharon December 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm #

    I will try to get the death certificate. Thanks!

  5. Catherine February 10, 2021 at 5:02 pm #

    Rupert John Rosenberg was my father; Jacob was my grandfather
    Jacob did not come to England (but died in New York c 1957) but( Rupert)John did . I never met Jacob and I know little about my Amercian family but I know Delilah had two children , David and Valerie, and I have been in touch with David who lives in Pennsylvania.

    • zicharon February 10, 2021 at 5:18 pm #

      Hi nice to meet you! What a wonderful surprise! I never met Jacob or if I did I do t remember since I was born a short time before he died. But my father and aunt remembered him. So glad to know Delilah had two children. Was she a concert pianist, as I thought?
      Most of my family lives in the New York/New Jersey area. My grandparents had three children and they each had three children. If they were alive now they would have 18 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren with two more on the way.
      The following is my work email if you would like to be in touch. I don’t like to put my personal email here.
      Thank you so much for contacting me. It is always nice to meet a new cousin!

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