Selig “Saly” Rothschild was the 3rd child and 3rd son of Ascher Rothschild and his first wife Sprinza Sternberg, and the grandson of Salomon Abraham Rothschild. He was born in Vöhl, like the rest of his siblings, on 6 December 1822.
We know very little of his childhood, only that his mother Sprinza passed away on 5 September 1833, a few months before his 11th birthday. Due to his age, he was likely one of the children placed under the guardianship of his cousin Ruben Rothschild, and Ruben’s wife Helene Sternberg, who was his mother’s sister. He did not stay there long. From 1835 – 1840 he attended the Alte Landesschule in Korbach. Korbach is only about a 15 minute (14 km) away from Vöhl, but in 1835, travel would have been by foot, horse, or wagon, so it stands to reason that he resided in Korbach for the bulk of this time. After 1840, he attended the Gymnasium in Bündigen, where his faith was listed as “Jude”.
Note: within the German education system, a Gymnasium (pronounced with a hard “G”), is a state-maintained secondary school that prepares a student for higher education. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Gymnasium-German-school)
One of the things I truly appreciate about the information found in the biographies at www.synagoge-voehl.de is the rich detail that has been found about individuals, particularly military records. From my observations, typically a young man became eligible for military service at age 20. The military list of the year 1842 states, “Without occupation; rich.” Rich individuals could usually pay someone else to take their place in military service. And the “Contingent list for the district of Vöhl for Completing the Field Troops of 1843” states, “Rothschild, Selig. Residence: Vöhl. Had not appeared at the muster in 1841. And it has been determined that 1842 was his first march.”
While working on this blog post, I came across this little snippet of information on books.google.com. It’s an excerpt from the book “Großherzoglich-Hessisches Regierungsblatt: auf d. Jahr 1847”, page 185. It states, “Doctorates at the Gr. Landes-Universität Gießen. The doctoral degree in medicine, surgery and obstetrics received: 2) on March 26th (1847) Sali Rothschild from Vöhl.”
“Selig” was a popular name with the Rothschild family, and most of them had the nickname of “Sali” or “Saly”, these being interchangeable. Ruben and Helene, for example, had a son named Selig who became a doctor. Because of that, there are a number of references in the biographies from Vöhl that start with “This or another Selig Rothschild”. Such as the one from 22 October 1852 which states, “He or another Selig Rothschild — there are several — received a housing permit, which allowed him to reside in Darmstadt for 1 year.”
Selig married Bertha Jacobson on 16 February 1853 in the beautiful and impressive synagogue in Fulda, which is the town where Bertha was born on 29 July 1833 to Jacob Jacobsen and Adelheid Homberger. The couple settled in Vöhl, and their daughters were born there; Sophie on 11 November 1854 and Steffanie (also written as Staffanie, known as Fanny) on 8 June 1856.
Selig’s father, Ascher, passed away 13 January 1859. It is believed he became the guardians of his 3 half-sisters, Auguste, Mathilde, and Adelheid. What is known is that sometime before 1861, Selig and his family, along with his half-sisters, moved to Mainz. In Mainz, his half-sisters soon found husbands and were married. Adelheid was first, marrying Julius Isaac Lenneberg in Mainz on 7 October 1861, and Dr. Sali Rothschild was one of the witnesses, listed his relationship to the bride as half-brother.
On 7 July 1862, Dr. Sali Rothschild attended the birth of his niece, Johanna Magdelena Lenneberg, on 12 May 1863, he attended the birth of his nephew, Alfred Lenneberg, and on 18 February 1866, he attended the birth of his nephew, Paul Wolfgang Lenneberg. It’s interesting to note he did not attend nor announce the birth of his niece, Clara Lenneberg, born 28 October 1864. Nor does he seem to have attended or announced the births of his other nieces and nephews through his sisters Auguste, who married Heinrich Calman, and Mathilde, who married Heinrich Bayerthal. This may be because Auguste and Mathilde converted to Christianity at the time of their respective marriages, though this is purely speculation. To be honest, for years I thought the family as a whole had little to do with those members who had converted, but recently I’ve begun to believe that was not the case at all.
Selig and Bertha’s daughter Sophie (11 November 1854 – 13 December 1922) married Moritz Flatau (3 July 1840 – 9 July 1899) were the parents of Elisabeth Flatau, Carl Stefan Flatau, and Hans Ernst Flatau.
Their daughter Steffanie (8 Jun 1856 – 6 Mar 1891) married Isaak Isidor Hirschhorn (25 March 1851 – 28 March 1925) were the parents of Ernst Sally Hirschhorn.
Dr. Selig “Sali” Rothschild passed away in Mainz on 6 November 1875, just one month shy of his 53rd birthday. One of the informants on his death record is Isfrid Jacobson, his brother-in-law.
In family history research, one piece of information often leads the researcher in unexpected directions. For example, when my cousin Camille found the death record of Bertha Jacobson Rothschild, and shared it with me, we wondered who the informant was and why Bertha was in Hamburg. The informant was Elisabeth Flatau, a name that was, at that time, unfamiliar to us. It didn’t take much digging to discover Elisabeth was Bertha’s granddaughter. That led us to Elisabeth’s father, paternal grandparents, and siblings. Then another look at Selig’s death record, and recognizing the last name of one of the informants, led to information about Bertha’s parents and siblings. It’s kind of like ripples in a pond. It’s one of the things I love most about genealogical research.
Bertha far outlived her husband, passing away in Hamburg on 4 January 1913.
Our next post will be about the first daughter born to the Ascher Rothschild family: Bertha. She definitely had an interesting life, and led us to finding so many unexpected family things! Until then, stay safe, and hug those you love and hold dear.
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