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Archive for the ‘research’ Category

An image of second cousin Leslie V. Kahn-Rein from about 1936, taken from the book:

A Survey of Modern Development in Acoustical Engineering by N.W. McLachlan, published in 1936 by Oxford University Press.

image001

Image kindly provided by H. Dominic W. Stiles, Issue Desk Head at UCL Ear Institute & Action on Hearing Loss Libraries.

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One family legend maintains that the three brothers (sons of Victor Kahn) were involved in a transatlantic gold rush, hoping to make their fortunes. If true, they must have shipped out from Liverpool to the 1896/8 Klondike in Canada, because the former more famous Californian rush took place in middle 19th century, much too early for them.

The story tells of two brothers (Arthur and Gaston Victor) travelling across the Atlantic, leaving Charles at home to hold the family fort and to act as cashier. Money was sent back to Liverpool for safekeeping, but when the two pioneering brothers returned, coffers were empty (allegedly), causing a schism in the family.

After all our researches, little is really known about the brothers’ lives. Bare bones need fleshing out with motivations and aspirations; too many questions remain. So is the story mere speculative hearsay or can we find supporting evidence?

Charles was undoubtedly the wealthiest of the brothers, but perhaps he was also the most entrepreneurial. The Kahns is not the most close-knit of extended families, but even today traces of links between Arthur’s and Gaston’s families seem firmer than with Charles’s. Perhaps this hints that division was real.

We know from passenger lists that all brothers made trips across the Atlantic during the relevant time, but solely to the USA. According to Wiki, the majority of British prospectors favoured landing in Canada for patriotic reasons and to avoid USA border controls, so would Arthur and Gaston have chosen a USA port as the first leg of what must have been an arduous journey across the continent to the Pacific coast and Yukon Territory?

Arthur was a licentiate of the Chicago Ophthalmic College which suggests he qualified as an optician in the USA, so would he have been able to split his time between his studies and panning for gold in a distant remote part of the frozen north? Doubtful, I’d suggest. They were all opticians, which hardly ties in with mining, but then gold rushes attracted hopefuls from all walks of life and occupations.

All three brothers married relatively late in life, suggesting they had other early ambitions (or activities) – and their ages:  Gaston for example would have been about 40 when gold fever set in. So for one reason or another they focussed on matters other than marriage.

Perhaps that clarity of vision was prospecting for gold. But then maybe those rich seams of glittery stuff were more allegories for a golden future to be found in ophthalmics. Probably we’ll never know.

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In the process of trying to resolve genealogical mysteries I stumbled a little off piste and found myself reviewing information relating to the forebears of Arthur Kahn’s wife, Eugenie. As usual nothing is straight forward, but slowly a few snippets of information dropped into my notepad, not necessarily new but certainly forgotten by me. Because they came together from a number of sources, I’ll need to spend time to collate the details, but I came across the following website which seemed oddly familiar:

http://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/who-was-algernon-moses-marsden/

Even if you’ve visited that blog before, the information it contains makes it worth reading again. For a start, it helps to verify the number of children produced by Algernon’s parents. In one source on ancestry I read that his mother, Esther, had produced “11 sons and 27 daughters.” On examination I found that many offspring had been recorded  more than once. Even so, the total appears to be an impressive 11 daughters and 4 sons, plus 5 children born to Algernon’ father by a previous marriage. That makes 20 children and possibly more could come to light. Fortunately, the family had up to 11 servants (1881 census), so Algernon’s father, Isaac Moses (he seems to have changed his name to Marsden between the 1851 and 1861 census reports) had it easier than first glances would suggest. Not that Esther ever had it too easy, of course.

More much later.

 

 

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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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A new page has been established for a research paper published by Professor Aubrey Newman.
To read the paper, please click the “Jewish Migration” tab and follow the link.

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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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