Edit: Sadly, a new document proved all this conjecture was wrong. Indeed, Sarah from these records did go by the name Sadie. Indeed, she did lie about her age and birthplace, saying she was born in about 1866 in Baltimore, but she married a different man. Two Sadie Simmons from Baltimore? Sigh.
Edit 2: Well, it turns out this conjecture was all correct after all. There was only one Sadie Simmons and she did marry Moss Aarons and she also had a family with Isidor Teschner, aka William Tabor. What a tangled web we weave...
I wrote about Sadie a couple years ago, along with the troubled relationship between her daughter, Mildred, and son-in-law, Russell. Earlier this year, I discussed how a strong DNA match with a Jewish Englishman gave us a clue to the identity of Sadie's father. In fact, two more DNA matches point to a relationship with a Simmons family of London.
On the 1900 and subsequent census, Sadie claimed she was born about 1867 in Baltimore, Maryland, her given name is Sarah, that both her parents were born in England, and that her maiden name was Simmons. However, while there are a few Sarah Simmons in 19th century records, none are consistent with all those facts. Either she somehow evaded every census or she is being misleading about some details of her past.
After tracing the Simmons lines of our DNA matches back back to Levy Simmons (1794-1842) and Sarah Cohen (1799-1885) and then back down to find their descendents, I found that two Simmons sons, Abraham and Aaron, lived in Baltimore about the same time Sadie was born. However, I can find no evidence of Aaron being married or having children. On the other hand, Abraham is married and has several children, including a daughter named Sarah, but she is the wrong age and was not born in Maryland but in New York.
My first thought was the Aaron might somehow be the father. Perhaps he didn't take responsibility for the child but instead gave her to friends to be raised and she took their name. Then I took a closer look at Abraham's family.
In 1860, Abraham and Aaron were both cigar makers, living in the 4th ward of Baltimore, which was a very ethnically diverse and poor region of the city, filled with Germans, Jews, Poles, Irish, and African Americans. The people in this neighborhood had professions such as brick layer, shoemaker, bricklayer and machinist. Abraham was married to Rachael and had one daughter, Sarah, who was born in 1859 in New York City.
At this time, the city was experiencing an upsurge of nativist sentiment and many anti-immigrant "clubs" arose, such as the Plug Uglies, Rip Raps, American Rattlers, and Blood Tubs. These clubs were frequently involved in parades and torch lit processions that marched through many different neighborhoods, often sparking clashes with residents that devolved into violent brawls and riots, where many of the participants were armed with picks, axes, and even muskets.
Over the next ten years, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham and Rachel had five more children and moved to the 10th ward, a very similar neighborhood to the 4th ward. In 1870, Abraham, 35, was still a cigar maker while Sarah and her two oldest sisters attended school and the youngest children remained at home with Rachael, 37.
By 1880, Abraham and Rachael had moved the Murray Hill neighborhood of New York City. While many wealthy people lived in this neighborhood, the Simmons were not one of them; their immediate neighbors were coachmen, servants, carpenters, bookkeepers, and glass cutters. Rachael no longer described herself as keeping house but as a cigar maker, suggesting that now that her children were older, she joined her husband in the family business. With automation pushing down the prices of cigars, they had also put their older children to work.
By this time, they had 3 more children, completing the family:
There is no 1890 census, it was destroyed in a fire, but Abraham died in 1899, leaving us to find Rachael as head of household on the 1900 census.
Interestingly, Agnes gives her age as 27 but supplies her actual birth year of 1863, which places her age correctly at 37. The person supplying the census information gives Amelia's her age as 25 and her birth year as 1875, when at the 1880 census she was said to be 9, so born in 1871. Lillie gave her birth year as 1878 and age as 22, when she was 5 and in school on the 1880 census so 25 in 1900.
A mistake of several years on a census is not uncommon, we have no idea who supplied the information. However, there is evidence the ages were deliberately incorrect.
In 1901, Lillie married Jacob Klausner appears in several records afterwards, in which she consistently provided her age as 3 years younger than the reality. On the 1910 census, Agnes shaved many more years from her age, claiming she was 25, which would have had her born in 1885. Since her mother, now 75, was clearly too old to have a 25 year old daughter, her age was reduced to 65.
In case you think this was an accident, Agnes married Edwin Rosenfield in 1914, when she was 50 and Edwin was 34. This is almost certainly the same Agnes, as the marriage certificate lists Abraham and Rachael Simmons as her parents. Afterwards, whether or not Edwin knew the truth, on the 1915, 1920, 1925 census, where she consistently provided her age as being born in 1878, a whopping 13 years younger than her actual age.
Given at least two of the daughters were unabashed about shaving years from their age and maintaining that fiction, it seems possible that Sadie could have misremembered her age as well. However, if this is our Sadie then she was in New York in 1880 but had her first child in 1893 in Philadelphia, before moving to Atlanta, and then back to New York in 1900. How did she meet Isidor "William" Tabor?
William's occupation on the 1900 census was salesman, and given that the family moved from Philadelphia to Atlanta to New York within a few years, suggests that his career was on the move. It's certainly not a stretch to believe he might have lived in New York in the early 1890s when he met Sadie. If Sadie was 33 when she met the 27 year old William, it's possible that, with the encouragement of her family, she shaved a few years off her age.
After William died about 1905, Sadie became a dressmaker, which was Sarah's earlier profession. While this is consistent with them being the same person, it's not strong evidence as dressmaking was a very common trade.
What's also interesting is that since 1900, Sadie always lived within a dozen blocks of her mother and some sisters, even as they moved around Manhattan. Of course, so did many thousands of other people.
There is also the issue of religion. Sadie was Episcopalian while there is no indications that her family ceased being Jewish. If this is Sarah, was William the one who converted her? Did it have something to do with her experience in a very diverse and turbulent Baltimore?
While all of this reasonably fits facts, this relationship is far from proven. The next step is to find some closer Simmons relations and get them to spit in a cup.