John Beckett of Chilmark, Wiltshire

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandfathers was John Beckett. John was born in about 1729 in Chilmark, Wiltshire.

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Chilmark is known for its stone quarries, and stone from here was used to build Salisbury Cathedral.

From John’s marriage licence on Findmypast (in the collection of Sarum Marriage Licence Bonds), I discovered that his father was also John. (His first name is given as John Junr.) John’s occupation was given as ‘butcher’. He married Ann Sopp of Durnford, which is just north of Old Sarum, by licence, on 11 May 1761.

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Marriage record from Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812
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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1916

John and Ann had at least four children: John, Joseph, Thomas Salmon and Ann Sophia.

John died in 1805 and was buried on 22 March in the churchyard at St Mary of Antioch, which we visited yesterday.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812

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We didn’t find his grave, but there was a christening taking place which was a nice illustration of family history in the making!

Ari, this shows how you are related to John:

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Grandma Raye

Ari’s 3x great-grandmother Rachel Cohen was always known to me as Grandma Raye. She was born at 8 East Mount Street in Whitechapel on 5 Feb 1890, the first child of Jacob (or Judah) Cohen and Mindel (Millie) Gross, who had emigrated from Kalisz in Poland.

It took me a long time to get hold of her birth certificate as there were so many Rachel Cohens born in Whitechapel, but the 1939 Register gave me the exact birth date and I could then order it and finally discover her mother’s maiden name.

One very sad discovery I made was that Rachel had a baby sister called Annie Rosa, who was born in the last quarter of 1893 and died in January 1894. Rachel would have been just three years old when this happened.

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In the same year, Rachel started attending Chicksand Street School, as we know from the London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840–1911 collection on Ancestry:

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In the 1901 census the family are living at 24 Green Dragon Yard, just off Brick Lane.

In 1908 she became engaged to Maurice Katz. This was announced in the Jewish Chronicle:

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And the wedding took place on 28 Dec 1909 at the Great Synagogue in London when she was just 19. Their two daughters were born in 1910 and 1914.

The earliest photo I have of Raye is this very formal one taken in Whitechapel. I have no idea who the other women are!

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This one was taken in 1930.

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And this is a lovely one with Maurice.

Maurice and Raye

Raye died from bronchopneumonia on 21 Jan 1976 at Whittington Hospital in Islington.

Postscript: I now have the birth and death certificates for Annie Rosa. She was born on 27 Aug 1893 at 24 Green Dragon Yard, and died of measles at the same address on 26 Jan 1894.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Raye:

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Charles Mitchener of Goodworth Clatford

Charles Mitchener was one of Ari’s 5x great-grandfathers. He died young, and sadly very little is known about him. He was the youngest son of Richard Mitchener and Elizabeth Holloway, born on 1 Nov 1810 in Goodworth Clatford, Hampshire, and baptised on the 11th (the notes in the Hampshire baptisms collection on Findmypast say “11 days, nee Holloway, lab”).

On 19 May 1832, Charles married Mary Henrietta Smith at the village church of St Peter.

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Charles and Mary had four children. In the 1841 census, Charles is described as an agricultural labourer. He is also described as a labourer on all his children’s baptism records (http://www.knightroots.co.uk/transcriptions/Parishes_G/Goodworth_Clatford/Baptisms/baptisms.htm). When his daughter Frances Mary Edith Mitchener married Gabriel Wild in 1875, she described her late father as a ‘woodman’.

Charles died on 26 Aug 1845, at the age of 34, and was buried on the 28th in the churchyard. The cause of death was “inflammation of the leg”, and the informant was his wife Mary, who was present at the death.

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Ari, this shows how you are related to Charles:

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In memory of Isaac

One of Ari’s ancestors was Isaac Millington who lived in Denby, Derbyshire (where the pottery comes from). Isaac is a recently discovered 7x great-grandfather who has a well-preserved, beautifully carved gravestone in St Mary’s churchyard.Isaac millington

The wording says:

In memory of
Isaac Millington
(Musician) his Sublunary
destiny ended the 24th of
December 1824.
Aged 74 Years.

Isaac was born in 1750 and married Elizabeth Chaddock on 8 May 1772 at the same church. They had nine children and Isaac worked as a collier. (According to an 1846 History, Gazetteer and Directory of Derbyshire, “Denby is noted for its coal, and considered generally not to be surpassed in the kingdom, and superior malting cokes are made.”)

That is all we know about Isaac at the moment, but the gravestone is intriguing. There are other examples of this phrase on gravestones, but I would love to know who suggested the wording! The OED has the definition: “Of or belonging to this world; earthly, terrestrial” (1592) or “Characteristic of this world and its affairs; mundane; material; temporal; ephemeral” (1814).

It also seems wonderful to me that his musicianship was recorded in this way – how would we ever have known otherwise? I would love to know more.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Isaac:

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Little door at St Mary’s Church

Finding Grandma’s birth family

Ari’s great-great grandmother Winifred (Nigel’s Grandma) was adopted as a baby, and this has always been the most solid brick wall in our family tree.

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Yesterday, I was thinking about putting her story on the blog in case anyone could help solve the mystery. I started by looking at her birth certificate, which shows that she was born Edith Winifred Morris on 22 Jul 1903, to Annie Morris, a milliner, residing at The Fleet, Belper (no house number given).

I had read recently that it is a good idea to check the birth address in case it was a nursing home or institution that might have some adoption records, but with no house number this wasn’t so easy. While I was looking at the certificate and thinking about this, it occurred to me that it might be possible to see if another child had been born at the same address, i.e. a sibling of Winifred’s.

Now that we can use the GRO website to check for births without having to order the birth certificate, it is a bit easier. I started by looking for a male or female baby with the surname Morris and mother’s maiden name blank in 1901, but nothing came up as a match. Then I tried 1905 and found a Frederick Hargreaves Morris born in 1904 and an Ida Morris born in 1905.

So the next step was to check these two children in the 1911 census. I could rule out Frederick as I found a baptism with a mother Agnes. But I got very excited as I looked for Ida! It didn’t come up on Ancestry immediately as it had been transcribed as Jda, but this is what I saw:

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As I clicked on the link to the census page, I was thinking “Please be a milliner!”

And look what I found:

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The family are living at 100 Dale Rd in Derby, but Annie’s parents were both born in Belper. So it seems likely that this is Winifred’s mother Annie, with another child Ida, living at home with her parents, William and Caroline.

Of course, this raises almost as many questions as it answers. Why did she keep Ida but give Winifred up for adoption? Did the two girls have the same father? Did Winifred know that she had a sister? Did Annie and Ida ever go and see her or keep in touch? Who was the friend or relation in The Fleet, Belper, with whom Annie stayed to have the baby? There is much still to discover. There was a story that Annie had gone off to America, but I had never managed to trace her (especially as I had guessed her age to be younger and hadn’t thought to extend the search to Derby).

Winifred worked as a hosiery mender at Brettles Factory, and married Harry Spencer on 7 Apr 1928 at the Salem Chapel in Belper. She had six children, three of whom are still living in Belper.

I have now ordered the birth certificate for Annie and the marriage certificate for her parents William Morris and Caroline Dawson. I am hoping that having Annie’s exact birth date will allow me to find out what happened to her and to Ida, but in the meantime there are plenty of cousins to find, and maybe Nigel’s DNA matches will provide evidence for this new connection.

Henry Winifred

Postscript 21 Aug 2017: I now have the birth certificates for Annie and Ida, but still can’t track them down! Annie was born on 14 May 1880 at 6 Harrington Street in Derby. Ida was born on 25 Jul 1905 at Swainsley Court, Milford, Belper. This has now been demolished but was apparently a building where single mill-workers lived. The birth certificate supports my view that this is the right family though, because Ida’s mother is also Annie Morris, a milliner.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Winifred:

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Family stories: Louis Feinstein from Libau

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Ari’s great-great grandfather Louis (pronounced in the French way rather than the English) was born Ludwig Feinshtein on 28 Oct 1900 in Libau (Liepaja) in Latvia, and died on 15 Sep 1972 in Johannesburg, South Africa. His birth is recorded in the Latvia Births Database on JewishGen:

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The story told by his wife Rose was that Louis’ mother Hinda died in 1901 and the children (Louis and three older sisters – Bessie, Mary and Sara) were sent to stay with relatives (I don’t know who these relatives would have been). His father Charles (see Family stories: murdered for a wedding suit) and older brother Sam went to South Africa to join his brother (probably this was Charles’s brother Aron who had emigrated in 1889). In 1907 the uncle sent money for the children to  come to South Africa.

So in 1908 Bessie, who was twelve, boarded a ship to London with Sarah, Mary and Louis. The journey took several days, and the passengers were told that the ship might capsize or take extra days to reach London. Bessie panicked and hid a couple of loaves of bread. She was caught and reprimanded, and asked where her parents were. She told them that she was in charge of the children and was forgiven. They then went by another ship from London to Cape Town (looking at a map, it is possible that they went by sea from Libau to Hamburg rather than overland, and then from Hamburg to Hull). It is very hard to imagine how they managed this journey on their own but presumably people helped them. The Jewish Heritage Trail in Hull includes this stop:

13. Anlaby Road – Emigrants’ Waiting Room

In 1871 the North Eastern Railway Company built a waiting room for transmigrants on Anlaby Road, close to Hull Paragon Station. This helped to reduce a possible threat to the health of local inhabitants and offered a shelter where passengers could make contact with reputable ticket agents. The building was enlarged in 1881 to provide separate rooms and washing facilities for men and women. Trains with as many as seventeen carriages set off from a long platform at the back of the waiting room, many of them on their way to Liverpool via Leeds. The number of migrants using the waiting room began to fall in 1907 when a dockside rail terminus was built, and the decline continued after the First World War as immigration quotas were imposed by the United States. It closed in 1999 but was reopened in 2003 as a club for Hull City supporters.

A plaque in Paragon Station commemorates the 2.2 million people who passed through the Emigration Platform, Hull on their way to America, Canada or South Africa. Among them were about half a million European Jews, hoping to find a better life elsewhere.

We went to look at it a couple of years ago but it was full of football supporters and I was too scared to go in 😦

The children stayed for a week at the Poor Jews’ Temporary Shelter in London, which records that they had come to Hull on the ship Omsk. I haven’t found these passenger lists.

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The passenger list for the journey to South Africa on the Avondale Castle.

I think that Louis attended the Jewish Government School in Doornfontein (see some lovely photos here) and then Jeppe High School. I have emailed them to ask if they have any records. (Update 16 Aug: A very prompt reply: “I have checked the admission registers and the school magazines which list the new pupils every year but could not find your grandfather, Louis Feinstein. I even checked the Jeppe Prep admission register to see if I could find him but no luck.”)

The next family story about Louis was that in 1917, at the age of 17, he tried to join the army. His father had him recalled and brought home. In 1918 he again joined up, hiding in a compartment on a train for Potchefstroom. There he had his military training and left by boat for Salisbury, England, with the South African Jewish forces. Armistice was declared in November of that year and Louis volunteered for service in Vladivostock, Russia. He fought for the British against White Russia. Eventually he was repatriated and returned to South Africa.

He looks so young in the photo above. Here are the military records I have for Louis.

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Louis discharge

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These are quite hard to read, but they do show that he lied about his age! One gives his year of birth as 1899 and the other as 1897. They show that he served in the 2nd South African Infantry for 305 days, enlisting at Potchefstroom on 15 April 1918, then being discharged on 17 May 1919 after re-enlisting in the Machine Gun Corps, North Russian Relief Force at Whitehall on 19 May 1919.

Louis embarkation

Louis embarkation(back)

To be continued …

Ari, this shows how you are related to Louis:

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Mary James of Leigh Sinton, Worcestershire

Leigh Sinton is a parish in the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire where “the inhabitants are wholly engaged in agricultural pursuits” (The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1868).

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Sixteenth century memorial in St Edburga’s church, Leigh.

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandmothers, Mary James, was born there on 5 Mar 1857 and baptised on 5 Apr 1857. (It helps to know that the parish was called Leigh with Bransford, and the civil registration district was Martley.) Knowing her parents’ names (John and Ann) from the baptism, I then found Ann’s maiden name (Amphlett) from the GRO records, which led me to their marriage in 1849.

In the 1861 census the family are living in Leigh, and the address suggests they are next door to a chapel, Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion. Mary is 5 and at school, as are two brothers (John and Charles) and a sister (Matilda), while her brother Thomas (10) is a waggoner’s boy, and there is also two-year-old William.

The chapel is mentioned in this account of smallpox in the village, from the Worcester Journal of 16 Nov 1872 (on Findmypast):

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Mary married George Thomas Waters on 20 Apr 1879 at Grafton Flyford. In 1881 they are living in Himbleton village, with baby daughter Martha James Waters.

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Ancient wooden south door to Himbleton church.

In 1891 they are in Neight Hill, Himbleton, with six children, and the 1911 census shows that they have had nine altogether. (The youngest, Florence May Waters, married Alfred John Sheppard and will have her own page as Ari’s  great-great grandmother.) Their house had three bedrooms and two living rooms.

The final record for Mary before her death in 1940 is the 1939 Register, where she is still in Himbleton and living with her daughter Dorothy Winifred.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Mary:

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Maurice Katz from Ekaterinoslav

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Maurice Katz, originally Moses and known as Morrie.

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He was born in 1883 in Ekaterinoslav in the Russian Empire, which is now called Dnipropetrovs’k or Dnipro, Ukraine. (Jews had first settled there in 1773 and it was part of the Pale of Jewish Settlement. Pogroms took place there in the 1880s, and 50,000 Jews in the Dnipropetrovs’k region were killed by the Nazis.)

Maurice left in 1898. The earliest record we have for him is this passenger record showing that he travelled from Hamburg to London on the Ophelia with his mother Hinde and sister Rosalie. (This is how I learned his original name.)

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(Source: Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850–1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008.)

More details about the emigration of European Jews via Hamburg can be read on this page.

In the 1901 census he is living at 14 Old Montague St in Whitechapel with his older brother Nathan.

His naturalization document from 1909 can be seen in the National Archives at Kew (Ref. HO 144/907/176855).

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Maurice married Rachel Cohen on 28 Dec 1909 in London’s Great Synagogue. His occupation is given as ‘manager of shirt manufacturer’. (Apparently he made up his date of birth of 1 Feb to match hers, but her birth certificate states 5 Feb anyway!)

In the 1911 census they are living at 6 Gore Rd, Victoria Park, Hackney with their six-month-old daughter Judith, and Ellen Cooper, a fourteen-year-old general servant. Maurice is listed as a shirt cutter in an underclothing factory. In 1914 a second daughter, Rosalind, was born.

I don’t remember him as he died the year before I was born, but his grandson David Loshak sent me his memories:

“He settled in London, and did well in the shirt manufacturing business, even though he could hardly write English. He made enough money to finance what were known as Grand Tours of Europe for my mother and grandmother when my mother was about 18: they stayed in all the grandest hotels in Paris, Nice, Florence, Rome and so on, and even (I don’t know why or how) attended an audience with the Pope (my mother recalled that his shoes squeaked).

When war broke out in 1939, my grandfather sold his factory to the government so that the machinery could be used to make parachutes. He was a rotund, genial fellow, who loved to amuse his grandchildren with funny little tricks. He smoked Woodbines – horribly strong gasper cigarettes, which he would balance across his shoe and kick up to his mouth. He was, I think, the only member of my family who liked to go to boxing matches. On Sundays, my grandfather read the News of the World, a paper then devoted to salacious accounts of dirty court cases: otherwise, he read nothing, and spent his days riding around London on buses. He was a jolly man, full of fun, as his photograph indicates.”

In 1915 Maurice was advertising for shirt-cutters in the Manchester Evening News:

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Maurice appears in Kelly’s Post Office Directory for 1916:

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and this address enabled me to find him in the Middlesex Poplar Military Tribunals 1916–1918 Collection on Findmypast, where he is being granted temporary exemptions throughout these years “on the ground that serious hardship would ensue if the man were called up for Army service, owing to his exceptional financial or business obligations or domestic position” and “on the ground that it is expedient in the national interests that the man should, instead of being employed in military service, be engaged in other work in which he is habitually engaged”.

Passenger records show that he travelled to Cape Town in 1926 and 1929.

The 1939 Register shows Maurice staying at Regent Palace Hotel.

Maurice died at the General Hospital in Brighton on 3 Mar 1959, and was buried at Bushey Cemetery.

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Ari, this shows how you are related to Maurice:

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Jewish Chronicle announcement

 

 

William Cobley (pronounced Coverley?)

William Cobley was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, born in 1814 in Barrowden, a parish on the river Welland in Rutland, and also on the Jurassic Way.

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As I started looking at what I knew about him this morning, things got a bit confusing. I thought I’d found his marriage to Mary Davis in 1841 but then couldn’t find it again. What I found instead were the banns and marriage record for:

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That definitely says Coverley! Now I wasn’t sure. Is this the same person? Would Cobley and Coverley be pronounced the same if you had a Rutland accent?

Puzzling over this, I did a search for the new name, and came upon a second marriage for William on 29 Dec 1863, after Mary’s death. He is marrying a widow, Amy Townsend, and just look at the signature:

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So maybe he used both names, or maybe the curate wasn’t sure. But at least that provides enough evidence that it is the right person.

So, on with his story. The banns (from the Rutland Banns Collection on Findmypast) say that he is living in Oakham, so we can assume that the 1841 census is correct. Here he is a servant on a farm called Oakham Grange. He appears in the Lincolnshire Chronicle twice. Firstly on 5 Sep 1845 where he has been convicted of using wire snares to kill game:

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And secondly on 3 March 1848, where he is being sent to gaol:

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(Always worth checking the local papers!)

In 1851 he and Mary are living in Barrowden with three of their four children and a nephew. William is an agricultural labourer. Mary died in 1863 and William married Amy later that year, as we have seen. In 1871 the two of them are still in Barrowden, with an eight-year-old grandson, John Newman.

William died in 1876 and was buried on 2 Feb.

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(Source: Rutland Burials on Findmypast.)

To end his story, here is a photo of Barrowden’s tranquil pond and village green.

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Ari, this shows how you are related to William:

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Judith Brooks of Middleton-by-Wirksworth

Judith Brooks was Ari’s 4x great-grandmother. She was born in Middleton-by-Wirksworth in Derbyshire on 23 Jan 1828 and baptised at St Mary’s Church in Wirksworth on the 2nd of March.

In the 1841 census she is thirteen, living in Town Street, Middleton, with her parents Thomas and Mary, older brother Charles, and younger sister Martha. On 30 Oct 1848 she married William Spencer at Holy Trinity Church, an event captured in several local newspapers. This is from the Derby Mercury of 1 Nov 1848, on Findmypast:

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Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 14.42.47.pngBy 1851, Judith has given birth to three boys: William (possibly born before the marriage), Daniel (who was baptised in March 1850 and buried in April) and Isaac.

The 1861 census shows Judith living in Hillside, Middleton-by-Wirksworth with her husband (a lead-miner), three sons and two daughters. The oldest son, William, is a lead-miner at the age of 13.

In 1871 they are at Rise End. Judith is now 43, with a five-month-old baby, Samuel. Daughters Martha (17) and Mary (14) are factory girls, son Thomas (11) is working in the stone quarry, and the two youngest boys, Francis (7) and David (3), are at school. (Samuel was probably Judith’s ninth and last child.)

In 1881 Judith gets an occupation: ‘wife’. Now they are living in Water Lane with six of their children and two grandchildren.

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Judith died on 18 Jan 1890, at the age of 62. Her death certificate shows that she had been suffering from liver cancer for one year. She was buried on 21 Jan 1890 in Middleton. We have found hundreds of other Spencers (I think it must be the most popular name in Wirksworth) but we haven’t found her grave yet.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Judith:

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