Coming To America

The SS New York arrived at Ellis Island 110 years ago this month from Southampton, England.  One of the first to disembark was a 22-year-old Romanian-born tailor from Cardiff, Wales, named Samuel Bloomfield. 

He had $5 in his pocket according to Ellis Island records.  He was listed as a member of "Hebrew" race and the ship's Manifest of Alien Passengers said he  could read and write, had never been in prison or a mental institution, was neither a polygamist nor an anarchist, was in good mental and physical health and had no deformities.

Sam was met by his older brother Ben, who lived at 137 E. Houston Street on New York's lower east side. Sam stayed there until he married Sophia Kendall, who lived a few blocks up in the East Village at 60 E. 7th Street, with her parents, Israel Mordechai Kendall (for whom I am named) and Rebecah Leah Bluminfeldt.  

Both were the grandchildren of Rabbi Samuel Bluminfeldt, who died in 1884 shortly before Sam was born.  A century ago it was a common practice for first cousins to marry. The family changed their name to Bloomfield, probably while living in Wales in the 1890's.

Sam and Sophia were married on September 6, 1914, at Congregation Tifereth Israel at 126 Allen Street, near Delancey Street. 

Shortly afterwards they moved to Ohio, where other family members were already established in small businesses. That's where my dad was born and so was I; it's where I met and married my wife and we had our first child shortly before moving to the Washington, D.C. area 46 years ago.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.