Judith Constance Katz

Judith (Judy) was Ari’s great-great-grandmother.

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She was born on 30 September 1910 at 6 Gore Road, Hackney, the daughter of Maurice Katz and Rachel (Raye) Cohen. The family can be seen there in the 1911 census. When Judy was 3, her sister Rosalind was born.

This is a photo of Judy with Harry Loshak, taken to mark their engagement, which was announced in October 1930 in the Jewish Chronicle.

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And this is their wedding, which took place on 26 July 1931 at Cricklewood Synagogue.

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A translation of the Hebrew ketubah (marriage contract).

Judy and Harry had two children, David and Ruth. On 20 July 1940, Judy travelled to New York from Glasgow on the SS Cameronia, with the two children, who were 7 and 4 at the time. They did not return to England until June of 1945. The letters that we have show how hard this time of separation was for them. Here is an extract from the first one written to Harry on the ship:

“There is neither ink nor paper on board but somebody has lent me this. I hope you will be able to read it. We are all quite well. I am alright except that I don’t sleep well. Our cabin is really not too bad. We found it impossible to change; unfortunately, we have a German refugee in with us, which makes a terrible squash, but we will survive. The food is plentiful and quite good and we are allowed more or less anywhere on the boat. We have to carry lifebelts all the time; we were pleased to give our gas masks up before coming on board, but it was a bad exchange. We didn’t get on board until 4.30; it was dreadful standing squashed like sardines. but it only took a few minutes after I’d got through to get my luggage seen to; they were not opened. It’s a calm journey so far but the weather is very changeable, fine in the morning and wet in the afternoon. 90% of the people are German refugees. It’s not necessary to tell you how much I’m missing you, I can’t imagine living without you for any length of time.”

I have lovely memories of time spent with my grandma Judy in Cambridge, learning to tie shoelaces and sticking pictures into scrapbooks with that glue that came in tubs with a little spatula – I remember the smell! What was it called?

Judy as a baby:

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Ari, this is how you are related to Judy:

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Another sad story: Joseph Phipps

Joseph Phipps was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather. This is the only photo we have of him.

Joseph Phipps

He was born on 25 October 1848 in Holbrook, Belper, Derbyshire, the son of William Phipps and Mary Taylor. He was baptised on 6 October 1850.

In the census of 1851 we can see him aged 3 with his parents:

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By 1861 he is working as a cotton mill hand, with his older brother John and younger brother Francis.

On 30 December 1867 he married Ellen Boothby at St Alkmund’s church in Duffield, and by then his occupation was collier. The 1871 census shows him as a coal miner, and the couple have two children, William and Joseph. They are still living in Holbrook.

By 1881 he appears on the census as a labourer, and three daughters have been born: Mary Ann, Elizabeth and Emma.

In 1891 he is a quarry labourer, and they are living in Holbrook St.

In 1901 he has a new occupation, that of newsagent, and in 1911 the description “Nottingham Guardian” is added. He is now 63. Two sons, Joseph and John, are living with him and his wife, and the census shows that they have had eleven children altogether, with five having died before 1911.

Now we come to the sad part of the story, discovered through newspaper accounts. Joseph appeared in the newspapers a few times during his life.

This was in 1885:

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 30 Jan 1885

This episode was from 1896:

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 5 Nov 1896

On 23 July 1915, the Belper News reported:

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An inquest was held the following day.

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Let’s do a happy story next! Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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Fanny Briant of Corfe Mullen

Ari’s 5x great-grandmother Fanny Briant was born in 1816 in Corfe Mullen, Dorset.

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I don’t know who her parents were (no baptism record has been found, and the space for father’s name on her marriage certificate is blank). The 1816 baptism records for Corfe Mullen seem to be missing, and there are no other Briant or Bryant baptisms in neighbouring years.

I have not been able to find her in the 1841 census.

Fanny married William Thomas Butt on 10 September 1844 at St Hubert’s church in Corfe Mullen.

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Their daughter Elizabeth was born on 29 July 1846. Sadly, Fanny died just over a year later, on 26 October 1847, in Christchurch, at the age of 31. Her death certificate gives the cause as intussusception. This happens when a part of the intestine folds into the section next to it. She was suffering for three days before she died. No burial has been found.

Baby Elizabeth went to live with her paternal grandmother.

Ari, this is how you are related to Fanny Briant:

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Nisman cousins found – and cousins lost

Earlier this week I was contacted by someone who found me through the JewishGen Family Finder. This is a wonderful resource that allows you to list the names and places that you’re interested in, so other researchers can find you to share notes.

Her query was “I am searching for Nisman family from Parichi. I can go back to my 4 time G grandfather Haim Nisman.” I was pretty sure from this that we were related, and there is a Hayim Nisman in our tree. He was married to Haya Nisman who was the daughter of Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, David Nisman. My notes told me that Haya and Haim were cousins, but I didn’t know who Haim’s father was.

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David Nisman

Further discussion and a sharing of names and stories helped me work out that Hayim’s father Iosif (or Yosel) Nisman is likely to have been the brother of David.

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What we know about David is that he was the son of Girshev Nisman. He was born in Belarus in 1854, married Sarah Volfson in about 1873, and died some time before 1919. (This is based on the fact that his grandson David was born that year and would not have been named for him if he was still alive.)

In 1907 David was recorded in the Belarus Duma Voters List:

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According to his daughter’s marriage certificate he worked as a wood merchant or general merchant. Both Nisman families lived in Parichi, Belarus. Many Jewish people there worked in the timber trade, taking advantage of the abundant forests and the river for transport.

After the two cousins Haya and Hayim married, they had six children – three boys and three girls.

As a result of the new information from my new third cousin once removed, I now know the names of many more relations from Parichi, and some of their stories. But some of the information is so terrible that it’s hard to find the right words.

What happened to the Nismans in Parichi on 18 October 1941 can be seen in the records of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Database:

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From https://yvng.yadvashem.org/

These are all relations whose names come from a “List of Jews from Parichi who were murdered near Vysokii Polk, 18/10/1941”. For example, Riva was born in 1935 to Iosif’s son Godal and his wife Sosya. According to this evidence, she was shot at this murder site along with her family, aged just six. The list contains 18 pages and 840 names.

The entry for Parichi in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Life says that “In 1939, the Jewish population was 1881. The Germans occupied Parichi on 5 July 1941, murdering about 140 Jews in August. Subsequently a ghetto was established and on 18 Oct, 1700 were murdered at the nearby village of Vysokii Polk.” (p. 969)

An article by Wila Orbach called “The destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-occupied territories of the USSR” (East European Jewish Affairs, 6:2, 14-51, DOI:
10.1080/13501677608577241) gives some of the background:

“In many Ukrainian and Byelorussian urban centres Jews accounted for 25-80 per cent of the population. The outbreak of the war and the unexpectedly swift German advance caught the Jews as much unawares as the Soviet command. There was practically no escape for the Jews living in Byelorussia and the Ukraine west of the River Dnepr. Many Jewish families who had attempted to flee eastwards on their own, found themselves, even after having covered several score kilometres, overtaken by the Germans and returned home.” (p. 15)

“Many Jewish families, including for the most part women, children and old people, did not attempt to escape for fear of the hardships of the flight and the uncertainties of life in unfamiliar places. Some of the older people believed that the occupation would not differ greatly from that which they had experienced in World War I. Not even rumours of ghettoes in Poland perturbed them.” (p. 16)

“The Germans began to liquidate the ghettoes as early as the autumn of 1941. … By the end of that year the majority of the Jewish communities ceased to exist.” (p. 28)

It seems that Haya was evacuated to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and lived there until her death in the 1970s. This is a photo of her with her children:

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There is a database of these evacuation record cards that I need to search (see https://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Holocaust/0136_uzbek.html). Other newly found Nismans ended up in Baku (Azerbaijan), Ekaterinoslav (Ukraine), and New York. So I have some more work to do …

Ari, this is how you are related to David:

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Christian Gray

One of Ari’s 8x great-grandmothers was called Christian Gray. She was born in 1702 in Corfe Castle, Dorset, and baptised there on 17 May.

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The baptism record shows her parents as Samuel Grey (a labourer) and Margaret.

In the year that she was born, King William III fell off his horse in Richmond Park after it stumbled on a molehill. He broke his clavicle and died in March. Queen Anne was crowned in April. Also that year, the Daily Courant was founded in Fleet Street. This was the first national newspaper to be published regularly.

On 28 December 1731, Christian married John Welch at the church in Corfe Castle.

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Christian and John had five children: Mary in 1733, twins Elizabeth and Ann in 1736, John in 1738, and Dorothy in 1740.

Christian died in September 1775, at the age of 73, and was buried at the church “in woolen”.

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Extract from Sepulture: Its History, Methods and Sanitary Requisites by Stephen Wickes, 1884.

Ari, this is how you are related to Christian:

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The story of a drowning

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Narrowboat negotiating Tibberton Bridge, Worcestershire

Joseph Sheppard was Ari’s 5x great-grandfather, youngest son of Joseph Sheppard and Ann Day, and husband of Mary Bishop.

He was born in about 1806 in Huddington, Worcestershire, and married Mary Bishop on 15 August 1832 in Grafton Flyford. Their first son, Joseph, was born in 1840. In the 1841 census they are living in Sale Green, and Joseph is listed as an agricultural labourer.

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Another son, William, was born two years later, and then a daughter, Ann.

Joseph’s death certificate shows that he drowned on 29 September 1848 at Tibberton, Worcestershire. He was 43 years old, and his occupation was given as labourer. The informant was W. S. P. Hughes, the coroner for Worcestershire, and the death wasn’t registered until 29 March 1849.

The inquest was reported in the Worcestershire Chronicle on 11 October 1848.

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(The Plough Inn is still there, now called Speed the Plough.)

Mary did not remarry. When she died in 1892, her death certificate described her as:

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Joseph was buried on 8 October at the church of St James in Huddington (recorded in the National Burial Index for England & Wales).

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We visited the church for the second time in October 2017, but there are very few graves to be seen.

Joseph’s son William (Ari’s 4x great-grandfather) was only five when his father died. A very sad story.

Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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Hinda (or Jane)

One of Ari’s 4x great-grandmothers was Hinda, later called Jane, who was born in about 1845, probably in Ekaterinoslav (now Dnipropetrovs’k), Ukraine.

Hinda married Isaac Katz while still in Ekaterinoslav, and they had five children.

On 7 September 1898, we have a record of Hinda (aged 51) travelling from Hamburg to London on the ship Ophelia, with her son Moses (15) and daughter Rosalie (17). Presumably Isaac and their oldest son Nathan were already in England. The passenger record says that she is married and her previous residence was Wilna (Vilnius, Lithuania).

The first record of Hinda in England is the 1901 census. Here she is listed as Jane, aged 53, and a Russian subject. The family is living at 35 Fashion Street in Spitalfields.

In 1910 you can find her listed as a “Lady Seatholder” at South Hackney Synagogue, but only if you search for her husband’s name. Two granddaughters were born that year: Rose, daughter of Nathan, and Judith, daughter of Maurice. She already had a grandson Leon, son of Rosalie.

In the 1911 census she is listed as Ginda Katz, 63, married for 48 years and with five children still living.

Three more granddaughters arrived: Edith in 1913, Rosalind in 1914 and Sylvia in 1916.

One mystery is where Hinda’s other two children were, as we only know about Nathan, Rosalie and Moses (Maurice). Another mystery is the identity of a relative living with the family in 1911, whose name was Rose Peizov(?), 23 and single.

Hinda died on 5 August 1916, at 4 Linthorpe Road, Stamford Hill. She was 71, and the cause of death was diabetes mellitus. I have not found a will.

Her sons Nathan and Maurice announced the death in the Jewish Chronicle.

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She was buried at Willesden Cemetery, next to her husband Isaac. Unfortunately, the gravestone does not provide her father’s name, instead describing her as the widow of Yitzchak (Isaac).

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I have requested the burial authorisation from the United Synagogue, which might give us a clue to her place of birth and Hebrew name.

The Jewish Chronicle of 13 December 1918 records the gift of a stained glass window presented to the New Synagogue by Maurice Katz in his parents’ memory. (Another window remembers Jack Cohen, Ari’s 4x great-uncle who was killed in action in 1916.)

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I will see if I can get a photo of these windows.

Ari, this is how you are related to Hinda:

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Judith

Ari has two 11x great-grandmothers whose names I know. One of them was called Judith, and she was born in about 1640, somewhere near Duffield, Derbyshire. (Charles I was on the throne.)

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She married William Eyre in about 1660, and they had at least eight children: William, Samuel, George, Mary, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Sarah and Ann.

Judith died in December 1717 and was buried on the 29th of that month at St Alkmund’s in Duffield.

St Alkmund

 

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This record describes her as “of Windley”, which is a small village just west of Duffield and Belper.

The record of her burial comes from a collection called “Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812” on Ancestry.co.uk, filmed by the Latter-Day Saints.

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First page of the register

The most useful record we have of Judith’s life is her will, which is on Findmypast, in the collection “Staffordshire, Dioceses of Lichfield and Coventry wills and probate 1521-1860”.

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This is easy to read and gives us an amazing amount of detail. She says she lives in Postern, which is a hamlet in the parish of Duffield.

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Cast iron post by the B5023, in parish of SHOTTLE AND POSTERN (AMBER VALLEY District), Wirksworth Road; SE of Cowers Lane jct, 500m SW of jct with Calladine Lane, on grass verge in front hedge, on West side of road. Harrison iron casting Erected by the Ideridgehay & Duffield turnpike trust in the 19th century.
Inscription reads:- WIRKSW.H / 5 / MILES / : : DERBY / 8 / MILES / : Shottle / LONDON / 134 / MILES / : . ; J. Harrison / DERBY.
Listed.

In the will she lists her children:

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This gives us the married names of her daughters, and also tells us that she has a granddaughter Judith, daughter of her son Jonathan. (She gets five shillings.) The will was proved in Derby on 28 March 1718.

And then, best of all, we have a beautiful inventory.

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This gives us a really detailed picture. We can imagine her house, with a parlour, lower parlour, milkhouse and barn, and space for horses, cows, sheep and pigs. We also now know that she lived at “Postern Park”. This was part of Duffield Frith, which was a Royal Forest.

One day I will find out Judith’s full name!

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It’s not all about long-ago ancestors: writing about Rose

Ari’s great-great-grandmother Rose Hurwitz was a very special person in my life.

Rose was the daughter of Louis Koppel (LK) Hurwitz and Rahle Mendelsohn, and she was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 10 November 1907.

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Rose (centre) with her sisters Anne and Lottie

Rose was the youngest of the family. Her brother Charles had been born in Memel (Klaipeda), Lithuania, before the family emigrated. John, Anne, Lottie and Rose were all born in Johannesburg. Rose attended the Convent of Mercy in Braamfontein, the German School (Hospital Hill) in Twist St, and Commercial High School. She worked as a book-keeper for her father between 1925 and 1930.

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Wedding photo

Rose told me that she met Louis Feinstein at a party in 1926, and used to watch him walking past her house in O’Reilly Road, in Berea, Johannesburg. He had a room at No. 11 and his sister Mary lived at No. 32. The Hurwitzes lived at No. 20. They decided to get married in 1927, but her parents objected, saying that she must wait for her older brothers and sisters to get married first. In the end, they married on Louis’s birthday, 28 October 1930, and spent their honeymoon in Muizenberg.

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rlinv Rose’s son Charles was born in 1932, and daughter Barbara in 1938.

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Rose with Charles and his cousin Myrna, 1932

In 1939 Rose helped to found a branch of the Jewish Benevolent Fund, of which she was the treasurer and then chair. In 1949 she was approached to start a play centre in Soweto, which led to the creation of four schools with over 800 children. Rose ran the committee for 20 years.

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As children, we used to stay with Rose and Louis in Johannesburg for our Christmas holidays, and I remember going to one of these schools to give out prizes. We also learned Afrikaans songs, put on plays and concerts for visitors, ate toasted cheese sandwiches at the OK Bazaar, had freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast (and learned to eat cereal without making any noise), did lots of sums, read banned Enid Blyton books, tasted delicious peppery green pasta and tinned lychees (I wasn’t a fan) for the first time, learned to swim, and generally got very spoilt.

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I have lots of these letters!

Rose spent a lot of time travelling to see her children and grandchildren in various places, and when we were together she helped me with my first family trees. Although I have plenty of her photos, there are not very many that she is actually in.

After Louis died, Rose went to live in Long Beach, next to Barbara and her family.

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Long Beach, 1993

I learned so much from Rose. We laughed a lot and talked about many things. I still miss her.

Ari, this is how you are related to Rose:

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William Day of Huddington

Ari’s 7x great-grandfather William Day was born in 1735 in Huddington, Worcestershire and christened on 30 September, the son of John Day and Alice Robinson. The little church at Huddington is in the grounds of a fifteenth-century manor house called Huddington Court, famous for its connection with the Gunpowder Plot. You can read the story in this interestingly named AA walking guide!

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You have to walk through the garden to get to St James’ church.

 

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On 14 Oct 1762 William married Margaret Hartland in this church, and they had six children: Ann, Sarah, Susannah, twins John and William, and Margaret. Margaret was born in 1772, so William must have died after this date but I have not found out when and where he was buried.

Ari, this is how you are related to William Day:

 

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