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Archive for the ‘family history’ Category

During an impromptu online search of Google Books, I came across several incidental references to our distant cousins. Unfortunately, full texts are not quoted, so the snippets are enticing but are also infuriatingly incomplete. I suspect the actual printed sources are not available these days except in specialist hands.

However, here are some of the enigmatic comments retrieved:

“He loved music halls and would give imitations of the turns that he saw there. He called himself and Kot ‘Beattie (sic) and Babs’ after two famous music hall sisters who did a comic turn together…”
Mark Gertler: Biography of a Painter 1891 – 1939. p.166 (1972)

“He was a Viennese, and of course knew all the Strauss music well, but in any case the number was not properly rehearsed… I recalled having seen that delightful couple Beattie & Babs giving a music-hall turn in which Babs impersonated a…”
The Maid of the Mountains – Jose Collins, her story (1932)

“… in an endeavour to present an aspect of music hall in its palmiest days… who specialised in patriotism; Beattie & Babs, two youngsters who were immensely popular…”
The Memories Linger On: the story of the music hall. W. J. MacQueen-Pope. P. 365 (1950)

“There is nobody, because the spirit of the music-hall is changing, and women, who are more adaptable than men, are… even Beattie and Babs, though Babs does what she can with stockings that nothing will ever keep up, never seem to…”
A London Mosaic, W. L. George. P 27 (1921)

The spelling of Beatie as Beattie is a common error and stands as a reminder that perhaps when undertaking research we should also consider alternative spellings of names. However, yet again, these types of morsels serve to raise more questions than answers, especially that last quote. By the way, the spelling ‘Beattie’ is unfortunate because “Beattie & Babs” is an example of cockney rhyming slang at its most unsavoury. And as far as we know the duo never even set foot in Cromer; think about it.

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liverpool scan

Victor and his family arrived in Liverpool and, for some reason, stayed. The map shows approximate locations of the family during the last few decades of the 19th century. Double-clicking on the image should enlarge it.

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gusgwenwedding

L-R: unknown bridesmaid; Amy Kahn; Philip Kahn; Gaston Kahn; Gwendoline Hanson; Walter Hanson; unknown bridesmaid
on the day Gaston turned Gwen into a Kahn -
19 November 1938 – Weymouth, Dorset

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I’ve now added a page under biographies for Moses Marks Samuels, Emily’s wife and father of Beatie & Babs

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We should now turn attention to the brothers of our great grandfather, Victor Kahn.

Victor’s father Lazarus (or Lazar) married his (Lazar’s) first cousin Jeanette Isaac Lazard and they had six children, all born in Luxembourg and apparently registered under the name of Cahen, the French variation of the name Kahn.

Raphael Louis Cahen was born in 1818 – he had a twin sister but she didn’t survive.
Salomon Cahen was born in 1822.
Joseph Cahen was born in 1824.
Victor Cahen (Kahn) was born in 1827.
Another sister born in 1829 was stillborn.

Our understanding is that Raphael Louis Cahen married Elisabeth Alexander in 1859 in Saarlouis. They had three surviving children, George (1861), Paul (1863) and Henriette (1864), all registered in the name of Cahen and born in Luxembourg. Elisabeth’s parents were Lazard Alexander and Fleurette Aron.

If any of these names chime with you, please email: contactus@kahngene.org.uk. We’d like to know what happened to Victor’s brothers.

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We’ve just added a biography for Blanche Rachel Gordon, the wife of Charles Jasmine.

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Opticians appear to run in the family. A surprisingly high number of our ancestors took up the calling, too many to be coincidental.

Charles Jasmine Kahn (a great uncle) had a practice at 108 The Strand in London, although at some stage he jumped the boundaries and became a hearing expert, having purchased the business of F. C. Rein, one of the world’s first inventors and producers of hearing aids. His son, Leslie Victor, also became a hearing specialist and at some stage changed his name to Leslie Kahn-Rein, presumably for business reasons.

Grandfather Gaston Victor (Charles’ brother) became an optician sometime before the turn of the century. He joined the 2132 Egerton Masonic Lodge in Cheshire in 1898, describing his occupation as “oculist” and in 1904 he became a member of 1668 Samson Lodge in London, showing his address as Oxford Street and his occupation as “optitian.” I hope he was better at eye tests than spelling. In 1910, a year before his death, he appears in a London Trade directory as “Vickers & Kahn,” oculists, opticians and spectacle makers, still trading from 57 Oxford Street, London.

His brother, Arthur, was an optician by 1893 and he appears to have had a business at 19 Ludgate Hill, London. We know that by 1924 Arthur was a licentiate of the Chicago Opthalmic Hospital, USA, and had an interest in, or owned, the National Silex Optical Company.

Arthur’s son, Victor Leon, became an optician in 1926, trading in London, Penzance and Bromley. By 1967 he was registered as operating from 34 Greenwich High Road, London. Eric Saloman Kahn (Victor Leon’s brother) is also believed to have been an optician, as is another sibling, Cyril Maurice Kahn, who became a member of the College of Optometrists in March 1930. He traded from premises in Bromley, Twickenham and possibly Brighton.

One more optician was Moses Marks Samuels, the husband of Elmelia, a great aunt (Gaston Victor’s sister). In 1901, he was recorded in the census as an “optician shopkeeper” in Kinmel Street, Rhyl, north Wales.

I can’t help wondering why with all these eye specialists in the family I’m as blind as a mole if I remove my glasses. And as a final personal note, what annoys me is that I worked in Greenwich High Road from 1963 to 1965 and never knew that a close relation had a shop not far away. Perhaps I’d at least have earned a family discount.But then maybe not.

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