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Archive for the ‘family history’ Category

This is Goodmayes Library at Ilford in Essex, taken in 1913.

The adjacent billboard advertising The Empire Theatre in nearby Stratford, east London, tells us what Beatie & Babs were doing on at least one night of that year. This image came from a Facebook page and was kindly sent to us by Jeffrey Kenny.

goodmayes b&b

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After my last post, David Kahn came across the following letter which appeared in “Wireless World” of 18 May 1932:

Lesley Kahn Rein letter to Wireless World 1932

His signature is interesting. He’s dropped the name ‘Kahn’ for some reason and chosen to display the initial instead, as if it were for a forename rather than part of the surname. Fiddling with names seems to be trait of our lot and we can only speculate on Leslie’s motives – to reinforce the Rein connection, perhaps.

And we wonder to whom he referred as a ‘showman.’ As usual, every tiny step we take throws up more questions than answers.

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With continuing researches, our extended family is extending all the time. New names are being added and then unfortunately forgotten, by me at any rate. So here’s a list of family surnames on our branch line, all of which are of interest in our quest for more information, albeit many are only distantly related. The list is not complete. It’s in a state of becoming and I’ll be happy to add more when nudged.

Kahn (origins German, Luxembourg and Liverpool); Cahen (origins France); Kahnn (origins Luxembourg); Levy (Schweich and Haute Yutz); Nathan (Schweich and Welschbillig); Lazard (Thalfang); Herschel (Welschbillig); Schloss (Welschbillig); Simon (Welschbillig); Kurz (Welschbillig); Juda (Welschbillig); Lazarus (Schweich); Alexander Luxembourg); Aron (Luxembourg); Wigdor (London); Gordon (Brighton); Kahn-Rein (London); Allert (Liverpool); Slack (UK); Macey (London); Bailey (London); Hanson (Poole); Dubber (Bentley, Hampshire); Fuller (Southampton); Fallek (Hungary and France); Aldridge (London); Seelig (Newcastle); Glatt (Austria); Davis (London); McKay (Manchester); Roscoe (London); Matthews (Wirral); Bamberger (Liverpool); Birley (Liverpool); Titterton (Stockport); Higgins (Stockport); Marsden (London); Samuels (Poland and Merseyside); Henly (London); Tickler (London); Tarling; Ascott. The following are all Schweich: Dublon; Fass; Fernich; Haas; Isay; Isai; Israel; Koblenzer; Lorig; Ruben; Salm.

These are mainly historical names; modern ones have largely been omitted to save the blushes of living relatives, distant and close. If you’d like to comment: contactus@kahngene.org.uk

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eric ww1

The 1939 register of UK and Wales has cleaned a few small windows which previously were smeared with uncertainty. For example, no trace could be found of Eric Salamon Kahn’s Austrian wife Jeanette Glatt, but access to the on-line 1939 census provided a clue.

On 25 September 1939, Eric was living at his home in Sutton-on-Cheam with Jeanette and his son Arthur J Kahn (a scholar, although by this day the term ‘scholar’ seems to be reserved for more senior education and instead the word ‘schoolboy’ is more prevalent). Also at the address was a Mathilda Davis, a widow born on 11 June 1879. With a little more digging, I found that Mathilda Davis was Jeanette’s mother and her maiden name was Glatt, born in Austria and remaining an Austrian national. Mathilda had married a Hyman Davis (born 1875 Whitechapel) in 1903. So we were one generation out. Another little mystery solved.

The 1939 register is proving valuable in one unintended way – it provides actual (and hopefully fairly accurate) dates of birth. Most of my records cite the BMD registration notation of quarter and year, but now precise birth-dates of later generations are being revealed.

As far as I can gather, the 1939 register was instigated with the main purpose of identifying experience and skills which could be useful for the war effort, and for eventual conscription of suitable personnel for military service. Eric’s record bears the annotation: “Colt/cpl 1st City of London Jewish Lads Brigade attached as private 3rd Sherwood Battalion – 103234 – Great War 1917-18”. Presumably that ear-marked him for service although he was 40 at the time. We know he served with the 15th Sherwood Foresters Brigade during WW1 as shown in the image above.

If anyone knows more, or would like to know more, as ever please contactus@kahngene.org,uk

 

 

 

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Sub-title: our family’s part in his rise and fall

My simple philosophy is this: a true patriot recognises and appreciates patriotism in others. For that reason, many of the British had a sneaking admiration for Napoleon Bonaparte, even those gifted with the unenviable task of guarding him when he was deported to St. Helena towards the end of his life. I have an ambivalent attitude towards him. On my mother’s side, my ancestors opposed him; on my father’s side, my ancestors stood beside him (metaphorically). Indeed our GGG grandfather Lazarus Kahn (born 1789 in Schweich) was a recipient of La Medaille de Ste Helene, or the Napoleon Medal, which was issued to all survivors of his many campaigns (a euphemism for wars, not necessarily just). I’ve recently read an account of Napoleon’s sojourn on St. Helena by Julia Blackburn which left me feeling quite warm towards the ailing super-hero.

He had an impact on the Jews too. Not I imagine for purely altruistic reasons he introduced a series of new decrees relating to the Jewish population in the states he conquered. Again the ambivalence – some of them seem especially harsh and upset the Jewish community (annulment of all debts they were owed, for example) but others sought to proclaim the emancipation of Jews in order to improve their welfare and standing in the communities in which they lived by assimilation.

One which I found especially interesting is the “Imperial Decree Concerning the Jews Who Don’t have a Surname and Fixed First Name, 20 July 1808, No. 3589 at Baionne.” The full wording can be found under the tab “Napoleonic Decree 1808” The object was individual identification following strict Napoleonic rules; Jews often lacked a surname which presumably made life difficult for administrative bureaucrats and petty officials.

The Kahns in Schweich obeyed the ordinance from 17 October 1808. This was only just in time because they were given 3 months in which to comply and (perhaps out of reluctance?) left it to the last minute to register. They obviously didn’t learn from the tragic MacDonald of Glencoe who left his pledge until the final few days and by a litany of frustrations ended up missing the deadline. The consequence was the Glencoe Massacre, but that’s another story.

Under the tab “Napoleonic Decree 1808” I’ve also appended a list of all Jews at the time in Schweich registering their names with the relevant authorities. Whether their acquiescence is patriotism or not I can’t speculate, but considering what happened over a hundred years later, I’m tempted to think that these Jews were most likely patriotic to both their faith and their country in equal measure. I suspect many people overlook that point.

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Gaston Bernard Kahn (or Dad as I knew him) with his second wife, Bridie (I don’t know how to spell Bridgit)  outside a distinctively named pub which I’ve since found out is in the Peak District not far from Ashbourne. Year unknown, but probably middle to late 1970s.  AGK

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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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