Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

As a postscript to our recent post, our distant cousin, Josh Freeling, is keen to trace information about the Levy family from Aach, Germany, a village not far from Schweich. Our Raphael (born 1720 in Schweich) married Brendel Joseph Levy (born about 1725) daughter of Joseph Levy. The question is: was Brendel related to the Levy family from Aach? The earliest Levy of Aach (so far uncovered) was Saloman, born about 1700. Was he Joseph’s brother? Once again, any information would be appreciated.

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We’re delighted to see that researchers are having success in tracing like-minded people and thereby plugging gaps in their family trees, a number of people having found long-lost or obscure links through our comments’ boards. While we welcome your input, our web administrators will not respond to comments unless the topic has particular relevance to our branch of Kahn roots – but then we’ll not remove any inoffensive or non-commercial comment provided it has some bearing on genealogy. Having said that, the purpose of this website is to share information about our tribe, the Kahns and other patronyms by marriage, rather than to act as a conduit for general genealogical discussion. We’re accustomed to shooting off in multiple directions in all our researches, but we’d like to try to focus on those leads which could help us to plug a few of our own gaps, of which there are many. If, therefore, your discussion is obviously not relevant to this website, we’d like to ask you a favour: having made contact through us, could you kindly conduct any future correspondence direct rather than in long strings on our comments’ board. If you think you’re related to us, no matter how distant (without regressing to Adam & Eve or Richard III) please continue to leave your messages and somebody will get back to you eventually. Alternatively, send us an email: contactus@kahngene.org.uk and type in the subject line something which will convince us that you’re not a philanthropic spammer offering a 50% share in £30 trillion left to you by a grateful client. Thank you kindly for your understanding, and best wishes in your endeavours to discover your historical roots.

Alan Kahn

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We’ve recently had contact with Josh Freeling from North Carolina. Like the Kahns’, his roots were planted in the small town of Schweich in Germany and Josh has discovered (not altogether unexpectedly) that the lines of Kahn and Freeling are interwoven, both having originated with Raphael Kahn (born c.1720 in Schweich). A schematic below illustrates the descent of both sides of the family, showing that Josh Freeling and Alan Kahn are 5th cousins twice removed.


Josh also told us a story which is repeated here with his permission. His great-grandfather was Alex Salm (born in Schweich 1894), a successful businessman to the extent that he owned a 5-acres plot in the town and was the first person in Schweich to have a car, employing a chauffeur to drive him to and from work. At that time Alex was president of the local synagogue, although the town was thought to have only a few Jews. Alex married Fanny Lowenthal (born Geisenheim 1896) and they had three children: Gertrude (b. 1925); Ralph (b. 1928) and Erwin (b. 1935). Ralph (or Rolf as he’s listed in Hans-Peter Bungert’s book) went to Schweich’s Hebrew school of just 12 students.


In 1937, two Gestapo knocked on the door of the family’s house, ripped out the phone line and stole family possessions. As the week went on, more and more Nazis came to the house and eventually the family was told to leave, in the process managing to retain only about 5% of their money when they fled to Cologne where they found an apartment. Ralph then joined the local school and synagogue and was there on 9 November 1938, Kristallnacht. A few months later, a gestapo agent, a former employee, warned Alex to escape and took him to a canal on the Luxembourg/Germany border where Alex swam across and went on to Genoa, Italy. A year later, when Ralph was 11, the authorities started to round-up boys over 10 years of age and the same gestapo agent came to his rescue, taking Ralph to the same canal so he too could swim across to be reunited with his father nearly two months later. Later all members of the family were reunited and they left Italy in February 1940 for New York City with the USD 18 remaining of the family fortune. A few weeks after arriving in America, Ralph had his Bar Mitzvah. The family remained in NY for many years before moving to N. Carolina. Ralph today lives in Florida.

This story is not untypical of the time. Josh is keen to explore further about the Schweich connections and we share his interest, especially knowing the link between our two families. If anyone has information they’d like to share, we’d be delighted to hear. Please email to be put in touch with Josh.

N.B. in the above photograph: Ralph; Walter Beverstein; Gertrude.

Alan Kahn

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As we’ve said before, the name Kahn is a derivative of Kohen (plural Kohenim – the ancient caste of Jewish priests) and Cohen. Thanks to modern technology, specifically DNA sampling, research has started to reveal hints of physiological lineage of the many scions of our forebears. For those interested, and/or can understand the science, here is a link to a Wiki page which gives the background to, and interpreted results of, researches.


Thanks to David Kahn for providing the link.

Alan Kahn

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In another section of H Dominic W Stiles’ blog about Frederick Rein, I learnt that according to Pevsner one of Rein’s listening devices, an acoustic hearing instrument, was installed in the church of St. John the Baptist at Enderby, near Leicester. Is it still there and working? I’ll try to find out. I can feel coming-on a trip to Lutterworth and then north on the M1.

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The following is an extract from an essay-length blog and is posted with permission of the author, H. Dominic W Stiles. It was originally published on 11 November 2016 under the heading of: Acoustic Instrument Makers in the Strand, Acoustic “Throne” Myths & Frederick Charles Rein & Son.


Frederick (Rein) senior died on 1st March 1896 of diabetes, senile decay, and exhaustion, his nephew Cornelius being present. His wife inherited £814 9d net. She probably sold the business fairly soon, to the Opticians who worked in the shop next door, Charles Kahn. Frederick junior retired, but died on 20th April, 1900 in Wendover, home of the Payne family, of “chronic Alcoholism, 2 years, influenza and bronchitis, 21 days.” He cannot have left his wife and daughter with much, for in 1911 they were living in Newton Abbott, Devon, working as respectively a dressmaker and a daily governess. Kahn kept the trading name of F. C. Rein and Son, and curiously, his son Leslie Victor Kahn was eventually to adopt the surname Rein himself. He was clearly technically adept, learning about electronics and wrote a letter to “Letter to Wireless World” in 1932 (p. 525-6) that is an appeal for what we would now call professional audiologists, that he had then 10 years’ experience working with audiometers, and had invented two. He died in 1956, and in 1963 or thereabouts, the business was, we are told in various books, taken over by Amplivox. It was only under Kahn that the claim that Rein was ‘est. 1800’ first appears in adverts, based on what evidence, if any, we cannot say. I suspect that Leslie Kahn Rein passed that on to Goldstein on one of the trips to America that the Kahn family website mentions in the link above.

I try to support claims as far as possible, but please point out any errors you find. Where people make unsupported claims, or claims with secondary evidence or non-contemporary evidence, be a little sceptical. Never take it as read – check the sources of claims, particularly if they seem implausible. This blog grew beyond what I had intended, and much was written and researched in my own time. It is not intended as a ‘finished’ history, rather as a stimulus to others to discover more.



1861 Census – Class: RG9;Piece 861;Folio:32; Page 18; GSU roll: 542712

1881 Census – Class: RG11;Piece:334;Folio: 87;Page: 1; GSU roll: 1341072

1891 Census – Class:RG12;{iece:544;Folio:108;Page 64; GSU roll: 6095654

Other references

Berger, Kenneth W., The Hearing Aid (1970)

John Bull (London, England), Saturday May 22, 1841; pg. 243; issue 1,067

Bell’s Life life in London and Sporting Chronicle (London, England), Sunday, October 30, 1836

Neil Weir, ‘Curtis, John Harrison (1778-1860), Oxford Dictionary or National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, May 2007 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/57673 accessed 8 Nov 2016]

Weir, Neil, and Mudry, Albert, Otorhinolaryngology: An Illustrated History, 2013.


The Charles Kahn mentioned in the text is of course, our Charles Jasmine Kahn. The reference to the Kahn website includes a link to Kahngenealogy, so while we are citing the author as a source, he is citing us as a source – a nice example of circular evidencing. The full essay/blog itself is interesting reading and includes many facets of Frederick Rein’s life hitherto unknown by us (by me, anyway).

The full essay can be found at:


Alan Kahn

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Members of David Kahn’s immediate family on a recent trip to the USA. Thanks to all for permission to include the image here – names have been deliberately omitted.


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