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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Isaac Katz, draper

Isaac Katz was the father of Maurice Katz, and was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather. He was born in about 1842 in Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine (now Dnipropetrovs’k), and died in Hackney, London on 1 Jan 1912.

He married Hinda (later called Jane) in about 1863 while still in Ukraine, and they had five children there. I only know about Maurice, his older brother Nathan, and sister Rosalie, but the 1911 census shows that the total number of children born before then was five, and none had died.

(Nathan married Lea Agi on 22 May 1907 at the Great Synagogue in London, and died in Torquay on 2 Nov 1959. In 1906 Rosalie married Boris David Drusinsky in Paris. He was a dentist, who changed his name to Dee. Rosalie died in 1977 in London.)

I don’t know when Isaac came to England, but he was recorded in the 1901 census, living at 35 Fashion Street in Spitalfields (see http://wiki.casebook.org/index.php/Fashion_Street). He is 59 and a shirt manufacturer. Another two families were living in the same house: Samuel Cohen, a tailor from Russia, with his wife Rosa and three children; and David and Annie Davis, with their five-month-old baby Abraham.

In 1910 there is a record on JewishGen showing that he was a seatholder at South Hackney Synagogue.

In 1911, the year before he died, he was living with his son Nathan (an underclothing manufacturer) at 7B King Edward Rd in Hackney, and no occupation is given.

Isaac did not become a British citizen, so there are no naturalisation documents. There are no photos of him either. He died at home in Hackney at the age of sixty-nine. The cause of death was cancer of the stomach. His occupation is given as Draper (Master).

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Death announcement, Jewish Chronicle.

His will shows that he left estate to the value of £475.

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He is buried at Willesden Cemetery. The open hands on the gravestone signify the priestly blessing, indicating that he was descended from the tribe of Cohen. The name of his father is partially eroded, but seems to be Yehuda Leib HaCohen. I don’t know the name of his mother.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Isaac:

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John Holloway of Hampshire

John Holloway, of Upper Clatford in Hampshire, was Ari’s 7x great-grandfather.

The village of Upper Clatford is described as “long and straggling, lying on both sides of the Andover road” (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol4/pp359-365). The parish registers go back to 1571.

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On 10 October 1765 John married Joanna Collins at All Saints’ Church. This puts his date of birth at approximately 1744.

John and Joanna had four daughters: Elizabeth, Joanna, Mary (who died as a baby), and Sarah.

There is a burial of a John Holloway in the village on 12 August 1780, but is this him? Hoping to find out more!

Ari, this is how you are related to John:

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Jennie, Janie or Gesa from Silale

The mother of Missing Minna was called Jennie, Janie or Gesa. How do we know this?

On 29 May 1858 she appears in a Lithuanian Revision List as Gesa, wife of Shaya Hatskelzon (Chaskelson). Her age is given as 31, so we can put her date of birth at about 1827. She is living in Silale, which is in Kovno, Lithuania (see https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_lita/lit_00683b.html). In the Comments field, the family are described as “petit bourgeois”. The other information about her comes from various records of her children.

In 1844 the first son, Jacob (Yankel) was born in Silale, followed by two daughters, Ryvka Golda and Feyga Leah. Then Minna (Ari’s 4x great-grandmother), another son, Zusman (Simon), a daughter, Beyla, and finally Benhard in 1860.

It seems that the sons emigrated to South Africa, but Feyga Leah stayed in Silale and died in 1923. I don’t know what happened to Ryvka Golda or Beyla.

The youngest son, Benhard Chaim Benyamin Chaskelson, at first went to the USA when he left Lithuania in 1888.

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Benhard Chaskelson

In his US passport application in 1902, he states that he sailed from Hamburg to the US on 10 March 1882, and lived in Philadelphia until 1887. He became an American citizen. He then went to South Africa but says in his application that he intends to return within two years to live in the US. He gives his occupation as Jewish teacher.

In South Africa, he set up a mattress factory and also had a dairy farm.

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In 1903 he made a compensation claim for damage to his property (totalling £181) during the Boer War.

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Part of his inventory of stock

He was awarded £100.

The South African Archives also hold records of a claim that he made in 1912 against Johannesburg Council, after being knocked down by a tram (there are 96 pages, including financial details of his mattress company,  all of the evidence and witness statements, and a map of the junction where the accident happened). The case went to court on 5 September 1913, and he lost. “At the time of the accident the said tramcar was proceeding at a slow rate … and the gong of the said tramcar was being rung in time to warn the Plaintiff of the tramcar’s approach.”

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Entry in the South African Jewish Year Book

Getting back to Jennie or Gesa, on Benhard’s 1937 death notice no name is given for his mother:

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Minna’s 1930 death notice calls her Jennie:

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(The informant was one of her sons.)

And Zusman or Simon’s 1931 death notice calls her Janie Gessa (the informant was one of his sons):

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So all we know is that she lived until at least 1860 in Silale, but no records of her after that date have been found (yet!).

Ari, this is how you are related to Gesa:

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Thomas Castledine of Dale Abbey

Thomas Castledine was Ari’s 7x great-grandfather and I don’t know much about him yet. On 30 January 1787 he married Alice Warren at Dale Abbey in Derbyshire.

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“A more peaceful and pleasant spot than Dale Abbey is hard to find in the whole of Derbyshire. Yet it is less than three miles from the suburbs of Derby to the west, and even closer to a vast area of housing and industrialisation on the eastern side.

The story of Dale Abbey, or Depedale as it was originally known, begins when a Derby baker had a dream — the Virgin Mary appeared and told him to go to Depedale, to live a life of solitude and prayer. At that time it was a wild and marshy place and the hermit carved out a home and chapel in a sandstone cliff.

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Here he continued to worship in solitude until one day the smoke from his fire was seen by a Knight, Ralph Fitz Geremund the owner of the land. Intending to drive the intruder away, he rode over, but on hearing the hermit’s story he was filled with compassion, allowing him to remain and bestowing on him the tithe money from Borrowash Mill. This enabled the hermit to build a small chapel and home on the site of the present church.

After the hermit’s death, word spread of the religious significance of the place and following several attempts, Dale Abbey was founded in about 1200 by an order known as the White Canons because of the colour of their habits. The abbey remained until 1538, when it was dissolved and the greater part demolished by the command of Henry VIII.” (http://www.derbyshire-peakdistrict.co.uk/daleabbey.htm)

From the date of the marriage we can estimate that Thomas was born in about 1765. Thomas and Alice had at least six children: John, Thomas, Alice (Ari’s 6x great-grandmother), William (who died as a baby), Mary and Sarah (who died aged nine).

The children were baptised in Wilne, which is on the border with Leicestershire, and they were living in Draycott in 1813 when Sarah died.

No deaths or burials have been confirmed for Thomas yet, and he probably died before the 1841 census. I have not found a will or any definite newspaper records for him. There is a possible baptism in 1752 to a William and Martha. Also, a Thomas Castledine from Draycott signed up on 17 Jan 1807 to the 1st Foot Guards (this was the time of the Napoleonic Wars). Again, it will be a case of following up his children and any siblings to discover more about him.

Ari, this is how you are related to Thomas:

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Update: Thomas was born in 1752 and died on 3 April 1827.

Alice Holmes

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandmothers was Alice Holmes, who was born in Cromford in 1778, the second daughter of Samuel Holmes and Lydia Roper.

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The waterwheel at Cromford

The first record we have for Alice is her baptism at St Mary’s in Wirksworth on 16 September 1778.

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Alice married Joseph Wheeldon, a hatter, on 14 September 1801 at the same church.

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Twelve children were born between 1802 and 1826.

In the 1841 census Alice (aged 63) and Joseph (62) were living in Cromford with their three youngest sons John (17), James (16) and Samuel (15).

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In 1851 Alice is a widow aged 73, living at Moor Side, Cromford with her son John (Ari’s 5x great-grandfather) and his wife Ruth, and their three young sons.

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Alice died on 18 February 1858 and was buried on the 21st at Wirksworth. A notice appeared in the Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal.

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Passage to the churchyard in Wirksworth

Ari, this is how you are related to Alice:

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Joshua Eyre of Hazelwood

One of Ari’s 9x great-grandfathers was Joshua Eyre, born in 1706 in Hazelwood, Derbyshire. He was baptised at the church in Duffield on 25 March 1706, the fifth son of Samuel Eyre and Hannah Tomlinson.

 

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On 11 June 1730, Joshua married Elizabeth Alsop, and the couple had seven children between 1731 and 1743.

I think they actually lived in Hazelwood, which is a village just north of Duffield. Their marriage record says ‘of Hazelwood’, and this is also recorded on the baptism of one of their sons, and in Joshua’s will. The church in Hazelwood was not built until 1846, so they would have had to walk to Duffield to use the church of St Alkmund.  Joshua’s father Samuel had left him three pieces of land in the liberty of Hazelwood: Calfe Close, Cawver Close and Bradley Close.

Joshua’s wife Elizabeth died some time before 1747, when he married again at the age of forty. His second wife was Ann Frost, described as ‘of Ashbourn, spinster, aged thirty’. Joshua is described in the marriage licence as a husbandman (tenant farmer or small landowner).

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They would go on to have seven children.

Joshua died in 1783, and his will is available to read on Findmypast.

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In the will, he lists all of the children of his ‘late son Joshua’ (who predeceased him by three years). He asks that his wife Ann ‘shall keep possession of the said closes or parcels of land for one year after my decease’. He helpfully gives us the names of his married daughters. Although he had signed his marriage licence, here he just puts his mark.

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The will was proved on 12 February 1783 at the Court in Lichfield.

Ari, this is how you are related to Joshua:

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