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.

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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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Frederick Sims of Holbrook

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Frederick Sims, born 25 Jan 1875 in Idridgehay, Belper, Derbyshire. I like to imagine him getting dressed in his Sunday best to have this photograph taken.

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After his birth certificate, the next record we have of him is starting school at the age of three. This is his entry in the school admission register for Hognaston School, along with his brother John and sister Harriet:

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(Source: National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870–1914, D2695_2_1, Findmypast)

Fred worked as a bricklayer’s labourer and as a stoker in a blast furnace for an iron company. He married Elizabeth Phipps in 1899, and the couple had ten children. The last child, Leslie, was born in June 1918. Sadly, Fred died of Spanish flu on 8 Dec 1918, only three weeks after his own father, and one of the 50–100 million people around the world killed in the pandemic. According to the Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal of 21 Dec 1918, 28 people had died of influenza in Derby that week, compared to 49 the previous week and 74 in the week ending 30 Nov when the epidemic was at its height.

He was buried at St Michael’s Church in Holbrook.

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Ari, this shows how you are related to Frederick:

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