For many years I’ve wandered through far-flung cemeteries looking for the name Kahn on gravestones. The Kahn name never appeared, partly because I was usually in Christian cemeteries and we have an undeniably Jewish name. That’s not to say all Kahns are Jewish; these days many are not, but in the 18th and 19th century, most Kahns would have been of the Jewish race and the Jewish religion. Hence, the majority of our forebears will be found only in Jewish cemeteries.
Freudenburg and Schweich Jewish cemeteries were enlightening. There our name is abundant in death. These little green plots on river valley hillsides are crammed full of Kahns, most of them distantly related to the founders of this blog.
At Schweich, the cemetery has survived since 1850 in a small tree-fringed hollow in gently sloping grassy banks at the end of a tiny and modern residential cul-de-sac: Im Gartenfeld. Almost entirely surrounded by well-groomed gardens, this small Jewish enclave is in the midst of Germanic horticulture. Cherry trees, no doubt escapers from adjacent gardens, drop fruit on old graves and young silver birches lean in as if to observe in respect and quietude.
The cemetery is obviously tended. Graves have been repaired where possible; grass is mown short and somebody (probably a member of the local synagogue) keeps paths free of weeds. Browsing along the ranks of headstones is easy once through the gate (or over in my case because the entrance was locked). Kahn; Kahn; another Kahn; more Kahns. Some of the headstones are missing; many have been rendered indecipherable by weather and time. Here are three terraces of distant branch-line ancestors represented by the art of the stonemason.
Freudenburg Jewish cemetery is up a steep little slope on the outskirts of a picturesque and tranquil village. The gates were already swung open into a tapering sward of green meadow to reveal long lines of gravestones on the brow of a gentle hill. This is a more natural, maybe wilder, cemetery, but certainly not neglected. The headstones are perhaps in generally better condition than at Schweich. I walked along the ranks, taking photographs of silent Kahns. We’re related to a lot of them. I have a suspicion that our line actually started in Freudenburg and then moved to Schweich, but I have no proof. Something tells me we’ll never know.
Only distant relatives are here in Schweich and Freudenburg. Graves of the grandfathers of our grandfathers are missing. They’d died or moved on before these cemeteries were opened, but most of these Kahns I found are related to us in one way or another and feature in our continually expanding family tree.
Photographs of some of the graves will appear on www.cemeteryscribes.co.uk, a website recording residents of Jewish cemeteries in the UK and abroad.
Posted in family history, origins | Tagged freudenburg, graves, jewish cemeteries, kahn, schweich | 1 Comment »
In the 1990s, a German sculptor had an idea to commemorate victims of Nazi persecution. Gunter Demnig, born in 1947, embarked on an ambitious project to install a memorial to each murdered individual outside his or her last known permanent residence.
A brass plaque is mounted on a simple stone block which is then set into the pavement in front of the victim’s house. Inscription details typically comprise the name of the victim, dates of birth and deportation – and location (usually a death camp) and approximate date of death.
The blocks are called ‘stolpersteine’ (literally stumbling blocks) and so far many thousands have been installed in over 30 German cities and in 10 countries. They commemorate Jews, gypsies and others murdered by the regime during the holocaust.
In April this year (2011) Gunter installed 24 stolpersteine in Freudenburg, many of them bearing the name Kahn, probably distant relatives of our branch of the family. I believe Schweich also has a number of such memorials.
Perhaps you already know about this mammoth undertaking. I’ve only recently heard of it courtesy of MD in Amsterdam (to whom I say thank you) although I understand a British school undertook an academic project on the subject a few years ago.
My aim is to find out more. If you have anything to add, please do leave a comment. In the meantime, take a look at www.stolpersteine.com for further information. (AGK)
Posted in research | Tagged freudenburg, germany, gunter demnig, kahn, schweich, stolperstein | Leave a Comment »
We now have a new contact in Amsterdam, a distant relation of ours through the Freudenburg and Schweich branch lines. She is an enthusiastic genealogist and communications have proven to be immensely useful in filling in a few of the gaps in our tree. I hope what we’ve been able to provide in exchange has been equally useful. Thanks to MD of Amsterdam for making contact.
Thanks also to JM of Florida, USA. We found a link to him through Ancestry.co.uk. Included in his family tree was a reference to Moses Marks Samuels who married our Emily and is the starting point for a whole new branch line.
And I mustn’t forget RS in Paris. Thanks for the superb family tree schematic and batch of information which I hope I’ve now correctly incorporated into our mob’s tree.
That’s enough eulogies for now. I’m beginning to sound as tedious as an Oscar winner. (AGK)
Posted in research | Tagged freudenburg, genealogy, kahn, kahnn, kashn, Liverpool, schweich | 1 Comment »
A brief history of Arthur Kahn and family has been posted under the heading of ‘biographies.’ Please click on the biographies tab to view the page. As ever, if you have anything to add: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a friendly comment.
Posted in family history | Tagged arthur kahn, beatie & babs, chicago opthalmic Hospital, eugenie fallek, genealogy, Joppa Chapter 188, kahnn, optician | Leave a Comment »
A page with a brief history of Charles Kahn (Jasmine really was his second given name) is posted under the ‘biographies’ heading. If you have any more information about this branch of the family, please leave a comment or e-mail us: email@example.com
Posted in family history | Tagged blanche gordon, charles jasmine kahn, charles wigdor, F. C. Rein, leslie kahn-rein, mile end | Leave a Comment »
We’ve just added the following pages:
- Pauline Kahn, Victor’s oldest daughter – see under biographies
- the Matthews Family of the Wirral (Lucy Kahn) – see under biographies
- Green Lane Jewish Cemetery, Liverpool – see under miscellany
ALL comments are invited and welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted in family history, research | Tagged dabid matthews, green lane jewish cemetery, liscard, liverpool; genealogy wirral, lucy kahn, lucy matthews, pauline kahn, tuebrook, wallasey, west derby | Leave a Comment »
We would like to know more about Lucy Kahn (daughter of Victor and Mathilde/Madeline) and her descendants.
She was born on 7th June 1861 at 78 Elizabeth Street, Liverpool. Her birth certificate records her name as Luci Henrietta Kahnn (with the double-n). Her name is cited as Lucy in the 1871 census (at 15 Crown Street, West Derby) and changes to Lucea for the 1881 census.
In 2Q 1882, Lucy married David Matthews, a shop fitter born in Liverpool about 1858. By the 1891 census they were living in Tollemache Street, Southview Drive, Liscard, Cheshire (Wallasey) and had three children: Esther (Hettie) b. Liverpool 1883, Madeline (Mattie) b. Liverpool 1885 and Louis b. New Brighton 1890. Lucy’s father, Victor, lives with the family, his wife having died eight years earlier. In 1901 Lucy and family were still in Liscard and in 1911 were at 57 Rowson Street, New Brighton.
There the trail ceases, although we do have a few potential records subject to verification:
- David Matthews probably died in 1916 at Birkenhead (Wallasey) and Lucy appears to have died in 1936 similarly at Wallasey.
- Esther could have married James Titterton in Stockport at the end of 1901 and probably had three children, Harold (1901), James Allan (1907) and Ettie (1909).
- Madeline was reputed to have married Courtenay Taylor, but perhaps she married Charles Soden in 1910 (in Croydon) and had two children: Victor W. Soden (b. 1911) and Irene G. Soden (b. 1912) – both born in Somerset.
- Lucy probably died in 1936 at Wallasey.
The details in these four bullet-points are tentative. We need to find further sources to be able to either confirm or reject the records.
We’d be delighted to hear from any descendants of Lucy – or indeed from anyone able to cast a little light into our darkness. Our email address is: email@example.com
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »