Jacob Cohen was born in Kalisz, Poland, in 1850. He was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather. From his marriage certificate, we know that his father was called Moses. We don’t know the name of his mother. Jacob was a widower when he married Milly Gross on13 August 1889 at the Great Synagogue in London. His residence was given as 8 East Mount Street, and his occupation was tailor. We do not know any details of his first wife, or if he had any children with her. The marriage authorisation from the synagogue states that he has no brothers. His Hebrew name is given as Yehuda ben Moshe HaCohen.
The 1891 census shows Jacob with his wife and daughter Rachel living at 24 Green Dragon Yard in Whitechapel. Included in the census record are a married lodger, Fanny Michaels (a tailoress from Poland), and her two daughters, Rebecca (6) and Rachel (4), as well as Jacob and Millie’s two-week-old son, Morris.
They were at the same address in 1901. By this time, three more children had been born. Annie Rosa (born in 1893) died as a baby but Jacob (16) and Solomon (14) are listed and are at school. At the same address are two other families.
Jacob died at 24 Green Dragon Yard on 30 January 1907, at the age of 57. His occupation was given as master tailor, and cause of death was exhaustion and pulmonary tuberculosis.
He was buried at Edmonton Cemetery.
The Hebrew reads: Here lies Yehuda son of Moshe HaCohen
Died 15 Shevat 5667
May his soul be bound up in the bond of (everlasting) life.
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.
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:
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:
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!
This one was taken in 1930.
And this is a lovely one with Maurice.
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.
One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Maurice Katz, originally Moses and known as Morrie.
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.)
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).
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:
Maurice appears in Kelly’s Post Office Directory for 1916:
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.