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Archive for the ‘family history’ Category

We’ve just uploaded a page about two of Victor’s grand children, Bertha Tickler (nee Samuels) and Hilda Henley (nee Samuels) – otherwise known as the music hall act ‘Beatie and Babs.’

Please look under ‘biographies’ for more information.

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Our Kahn line is about movement. Our earliest known origins are in Schweich, where at least three generations were born. For some reason, a grandson of Raphael, Lazarus (or Lazar) Kahn, married in Luxembourg and had a child, Victor.

Victor eventually moved on to Paris, where he married Mathilde Cahen and had two children, Pauline and Arthur. In 1856, the family uprooted and arrived in Liverpool where more children were born.

The family was not alone in their journey. Around that time, thousands of Jews from Germany, Poland and Russia were heading for the Mersey, often via Hull, usually en-route for the USA. Victor settled in Liverpool.

Victor’s motives are unknown.  We can but speculate that perhaps he arrived in Liverpool with the intention of staying, or maybe he was diverted by a job offer. We know he worked as an interpreter. There are strong suggestions that he was an agent for Jewish migrants, helping to smooth their transit through England and on to trans-Atlantic ships.

The one image we have of Victor was taken by a Liverpool-based photographer’s studio. He is posing proudly, but we can’t be certain what uniform he is wearing. One suggestion is that it is maritime, probably the Cunard Steamship Company. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to access Cunard’s records of the day to seek clarification. But as we’ve said elsewhere, Victor seems to have been quite well-known locally, so we hope to be able to uncover references to his life up to his death in 1899.

More information about Victor can be read under ‘biographies.’ If you’ve anything to add, please leave comments, or e-mail us at contactus@kahngene.org.uk if you can fill in gaps or would like more information.

AGK

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Thanks to the ‘Schweich’ book, we’ve identified 685 German or French ancestors. Also, a Paris contact has sent details of his family tree, one member of which is directly related to our Kahn line. When time is available, and if the brain aches a little less, I shall incorporate new names into the organisational file established on Ancestry.co.uk. Then, we’ll exceed 800 continental relations.

Unfortunately, we still have no news of Victor’s siblings, but we wait patiently and with hope. A contact in Trier suggested that Victor’s siblings (we’re not sure whether they are brothers or sisters) moved to Welschbillig in Germany and settled there. Welschbillig is very close to Schweich.

Needless to say, you’ll know immediately news is received. You’ll hear me celebrating, wherever you live. But in case you’re playing The Grateful Dead at full volume at the time, I’ll send e-mails as well. I prefer Duke Ellington but that’s another issue and I promise not to give you an old-fashioned look commensurate with my age.

Keep looking in.

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Hans-Peter Bungert’s book mentioned in my previous post is proving invaluable. Slowly (very slowly) the information is being extracted and positions on the family tree being defined.

 Because the task is so complex (and my brain so feeble) I’ve set up in Ancestry.com a family tree referring specifically and solely to our newly discovered Schweich/Luxembourg ancestors. So far details are scant but periodically new names and dates are added. If anyone would like to access our on-line tree, please leave a comment or email to: contactus@kahngene.org.uk.

 In the meantime, a fresh contact has been forged in the Trier area and I’m hopeful that soon we’ll have brand new information about Victor’s siblings. That will be the breakthrough we seek in the current phase of our researches. Many questions remain unanswered, but this expanding amorphous jigsaw is slowly taking shape.

 And we have new areas of research. Cryptic clues suggest that we can celebrate having potential relations in the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Australia and Israel. Yet other hints bear more sobering overtones, with names bearing annotations such as Riga, Auschwitz, Theresienstadt and Lodz.

 We will keep posting. If you can help, or would like more information, please email.

 AGK

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We’ve think we’ve traced a few earlier generations of our branch of the Dubber clan. Now our earliest ancestor was an antecedent of Amy Dubber, her grandfather to the power of 5 – Andrew Dubber (b.1658). If our maths is correct, the family extends back over a total of twelve generations, more than 350 years.

Through the Dubbers, we have traceable links with Uckfield in Sussex, Dorset, Suffolk, various parts of London and South Africa. Click on the Dubber family tab to learn more.

The search continues.

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A short history of the Dubber family has just been added to the ‘biographies’ tab. As all amateur genealogists will know, trying to confirm information, or verify hearsay, is difficult and immensely frustrating despite the wealth of collective knowledge available on line.

Chinese whispers bounce around the ether. Stories filtering down through generations are often misinterpreted or befuddled, so they are picked up in one form and passed on with variations just significant enough to send the researcher poking around in the wrong places.

The Dubber family genealogy is a case in point. Originally we thought Amy (today she would be a great-great-grandmother to our youngest generation) came from Bodmin. That’s what we were told. Now we’ve discovered she was born in Pimlico, but her brother James married a Bodmin girl. Amy’s youngest sister, Daisy Susan, at age 10, was in Bodmin for the 1901 census, staying with James’s wife Mary Grace. Thus Chinese whispers tried to lead us astray.

Amy’s father, another James, died in Weymouth. Apparently, Amy wanted to leave London for the sake of the health of her elder son, Philip. According to legend, she closed her eyes, stuck a pin into a map of England and discovered Weymouth. Whether she actually followed her father, or vice versa, we don’t know, but they both ended up in the same town, living within a few yards of each other.

Chinese whispers say Amy was there when he died. Yet copy of the certificate reveals his death was registered by his daughter “Mrs A. Allen.” As far as we know, James had two daughters with initials A, one being Amy and the other Alice Rose. Amy was Amy Kahn, wasn’t she? Yet we can’t find a trace of a marriage (or relationship) between Alice and an Allen. So who was Mrs A. Allen?

Perhaps we’re delving too deeply. If we could be satisfied with bare bones, we already have a substantial, if skeletal, family history in the form of dates of main events. But every morsel of data we uncover tends to throw up yet more questions. How can we resist seeking the answers?

Skeletons are fine for anatomical study, but we need flesh and muscle to see the personality beyond the nodes and joints.

That’s why we wonder about Amy – and Alice – and little Daisy Susan. Incidentally, we believe the youngest Dubber sister married Harold James Tarling in 1889, but we can’t be sure.

contactus@kahngene.org.uk if you have any ideas.

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Amateur genealogists in our family have an aggregate of about 100 years’ worth of research into the Kahn line. In that time, we’ve had to attempt to unravel various mysteries, many of which remain unresolved. Perhaps we’ll never have the answers to some of them.

Throughout our researches, a repeated theme is name change. In itself this is not necessarily unusual, because Jews tended to adopt surnames which were more indigenous to the areas in which they eventually settled, thus hoping to speed integration.

But our branch of the tribe retained the surname, except for one generation. Victor Kahn signed his name with a double n. At first we thought the signature was a mere slip of the pen, but the name Kahnn occurs too often for it not to be deliberate.

Victor’s forebears all used the more common spelling of Kahn, as did his children and subsequent generations. Yet for some reason, Victor wanted to be different. Oddly, when research started to uncover traces of Victor in newspapers and registers, his name was invariably reported with the traditional spelling of a single n. So where did Kahnn come from?

Perhaps the issue is one of those unintentional red-herrings all amateur family sleuths must deal with. We are now confident that our Kahn product is as it declares on the packet – Kahn.

So what about his son, Gaston Victor? For years we’d never doubted his name. That is, until his birth certificate came through and we found that Victor and Mathilde (or is it Madeline?) had registered the baby in the name of Alexander Gaston.

And Gaston’s brother is even more enigmatic. Charles Kahn had the unusual middle name of Jasmine. We can find no family affinity to such a forename, yet Jasmine is clearly scribed on his birth certificate and is even carved on his gravestone in a London cemetery. But that’s just unexpected; it’s not the true mystery. That follows.

For years Charles’s marriage eluded us. We knew he had children; we knew the name of his wife. Yet we could find no trace of a marriage. Then, serendipity intervened. A friend made a chance encounter with the record for a Charles Wigdor. Subsequent research revealed that Mr Wigdor had to be our Charles – he married Charles’s wife, for example, and had his son. We’re now (almost) confident that Charles moved from West London to Mile End in the east, married Blanche under an assumed name and travelled west again a little later where the couple lived a long and fruitful life as Mr & Mrs Charles Kahn.

Why? Is this an example of expediency to overcome religious bigotry? Or did other influences put pressure on the pair to disguise the truth?

Charles had a son, Leslie. A few years later he emerged in records as Rein-Kahn, having changed his name for, we assume, business reasons through links with F. C. Rein, a pioneer in the development of hearing aids.

Incidentally, we can find no record of Gaston Victor’s wedding to Amy. Their time together was short because he died in 1911, probably little more than eight or nine years after they met for the first time. Could they have followed in the footsteps of Gaston’s brother and married under an assumed name? Perhaps they never married, of course, in which case why?

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Until recently, Victor was our earliest known ancestor. For many years, we knew he was born in “Luxemberg, Germany” but were unable to find any trace of him in what is now Luxembourg. Today, thanks to an unexpected brief e-mail from a contact there, we’ve found him.

 Victor Kahn was born in Luxembourg-Town on 17th July 1827. His parents were Lazar(d) Kahn and Jeanette Isaac Kahn (née Lazard). Lazar was born in Schweich (now Germany) in 1791 and Jeanette in Haute-Yutz, France, in 1794

 Nothing is known of Victor’s early years. The next record we have is his c.1851 marriage in Paris to Madeline (sometimes Mathilde) Cahen, born in Paris in 1833. They had two children, Pauline (1852) and Arthur (1854) before moving to Liverpool, England, where they had another five children, Charles Jasmine (1856), Gaston Victor (1858), Lucea (or Lucy – 1861), Elmelia (or Emily – 1863) and Phillip (born 1866 but died seven years later).

 Victor, his wife and his parents were all Jewish. We don’t know how involved he was with his religion; most known information relates to his secular activities. He was, for example, an interpreter for Cunard Steamship Company, we believe aiding the passage of Jewish migrants from Europe to the USA. He’s recorded in the Mersey area as being ‘a well known character’ to the extent that Reynold’s Amusements in Lime Street (Liverpool) displayed a wax work effigy of him. His wife died in 1883 and Victor moved to Liscard to live with his daughter, Lucy. He died in 1899 (age 72) and is buried alongside his wife and daughter Pauline in the old (and now sadly neglected) Jewish cemetery in Green Lane, Liverpool.

 We have more anecdotes about Victor and his family. They’ll slowly be added to sundry pages of this blog. New stories and snippets of his life will be very welcome.

 Having made the break-through to discover our German and Luxembourg origins, our next aim is to trace Victor’s siblings. We doubt he was an only child. Part of the story suggests we could have relations in the USA. Are they descendants of brothers and sisters of Victor? We’d like to know.

 If you have any thoughts, please contactus@kahngene.org.uk

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