Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fannie Goldstein Gunzendorfer

Goldstein Fannie

I don’t know a lot about my 2nd great grandmother, Fannie Goldstein Gunzendorfer, but my interest in all things Gunzendorfer has been piqued this week due to connecting with not one but TWO Gunzendorfer cousins.  I wrote last week about my first connection here and through her, I’ve connected with her first cousin – both are descendants of Jacob Gunzendorfer, younger brother of my great grandfather, Abraham Gunzendorfer.  Their grandmother, Irene Gunzendorfer Sherwin, was my grandmother’s (Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy) first cousin.  I remember hearing about Irene and her daughters (and even met the daughters) but I never paid too much attention to how they were related.  But that’s changed now!

Our direct ancestors are Fannie Goldstein and Ferdinand Gunzendorfer, our 2nd great grandparents.  One of my first blog posts was about Ferdinand (here) so now it’s time to add Fannie to the mix.

I’ve seen quite a few birth dates and places for Fannie but I’m going to go with 6 March 1848 in Poland since that’s what it shows on her death certificate and grave.  I’ve also seen 1846 and 1847 and Prussia and Germany.  According to the Memorial and Biographical History of the Coast Counties of Central California (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1893), Fannie was united in marriage with Ferdinand Gunzendorfer in 1863, which means she was somewhere between 15 and 17 years old.  And then there’s a big gap of Fannie on her own – just census records and City Directories showing her with Ferdinand.  Which isn’t really nothing since she was with her husband and children but it doesn’t really tell me much about her

While sharing photos with my new-found cousins, I came across this.

Gunzendorfer Ferdinand Fannie Buggy

Look closely –that’s Fannie and Ferdinand in the buggy!  Fannie is driving and Ferdinand is sitting in the back seat - could he be giving her a driving lesson?  I love thinking about them out for a Sunday “drive” and wonder where they might have gone.

Gunzendorfer Ferdinand Fannie Buggy cropped

Uh-oh, Fannie had a bit of a checkered past.  What would have made her dump the contents of a slop jar (ewwww) on Miss Johnson’s trunk?  It would be interesting to know THAT story!

Gunzendorfer Lawsuit SC Sentinenel May 30 1897 page 3
Santa Cruz Sentinel
30 May 1897, page 3

A few months later, Fannie’s mother, Sarah Frankel Goldstein, died.  It is this obituary from the San Francisco Call that helped me determine that Sarah’s maiden name was Frankel.  I also find it interesting that the Goldstein’s had daughters by the names of Fannie and Francis – I can imagine that got confusing.

Sarah Frankel Goldstein Obit SF Call 27 Dec 1897 First Edition
San Francisco Call
27 December 1897

By 1907, Fannie was on her own after Ferdinand’s sudden death on 20 October 1907 in Monterey.  Fannie left Monterey for San Francisco, maybe because it was too painful for her to stay in Monterey and several of her sons were in San Francisco.  It looks like she bought property on Clay Street from Mr. and Mrs. Warren G. Bailey.

Fannie Gunzendorfer property SF Call 23 Jun 1908 First Edition
San Francisco Call
23 June 1908, First Edition

And by 1910, she was listed in the City Directory at 3126 Clay Street.  I haven’t been able to find her (or the house) in the 1910 census enumerated on 15 April 1910 – the census page lists 3124 Clay Street and then skips to 3126.  Was the house empty so no one stopped?  Where was Fannie?

A few months later, 22 July 1910, Fannie Goldstein Gunzendorfer died at Mt. Zion Hospital from an Incarcerated Hernia with a contributory cause of death of Peritonitis.  I’m sure today a patient with that type of diagnosis would be rushed into surgery but I’m guessing that option wasn’t available in 1910.  What’s interesting to note, and this if for my new-found cousin, is that in that time period Mt. Zion Hospital was strictly a Jewish hospital.  The hospital had been formed in 1887 by 43 members of the San Francisco Jewish Community and remained a Jewish hospital for nearly 100 years.  Which makes me believe that Fannie was a practicing Jew at the time of her death, although I don’t know if she was Jewish by birth or marriage.

Fannie is interred in the Gunzendorfer plot at Hills of Eternity Cemetery in Colma, California.

Gunzendorfer Plot


  1. Two thoughts. First, Goldstein (usually pronounced Gold-steen rather than Gold-stine) is a common Jewish surname. I would be astounded if she were not Jewish at birth.

    Second, regarding Francis and Fannie. First, Francis is the masculine spelling of the name. And, were Francis actually female, the custom of the day would have been to precede her name with Miss. Furthermore, Fannie was a common nickname for Frances (the feminine spelling) back in the day. You don't think Francis and Frances could have been fraternal twins, do you?

  2. I love the beautiful, clear photograph of Fannie and Ferdinand in the buggy. It is gorgeous! I wonder what prompted the slob jar incident. (There's always 2 sides to a story.)

  3. You need to get to the bottom of that slop jar story. That's a hoot!

  4. So enjoyed Fannie's story. You don't often hear about a slop jar, I remember hearing my grandparents refer to it as such when I stayed at their farm - she threw hers out in the cow pasture, but I bet she'd like to have thrown it at someone a time or two. LOL but to have it published was too funny. What a great clipping you found, although I wonder how Fannie felt about that. Love the look she seems to be giving the photographer! What a beaut of a carriage!