more links


As far as I’m aware, the Kahn line has modern-historical origins primarily in Ashkenazim Jews (those settling in northern Europe, especially Germany, Poland and Russia) but we also have a link through marriage with Sephardim Jews (those who settled in the Iberian Peninsula).

Moses Gomes Silva (1786-1858) married in 1824 Elizabeth Bathsheba Mesquitta (1805-1875) both of whom have their roots in Portugal although their ancestors appear to have migrated to Jamaica to escape persecution, perhaps as early as the 17th century.

Moses and Elizabeth had several children, including Esther Gomes Silva who became the second wife of Isaac Moses Marsden, bearing him quite a bunch of children, including Madeline Moses Marsden (1846-1880) – and she was married in 1867 to Salomon Fallek (1838-1893).

Salomon and Madeline had several children, including Eugenie Fallek and she married Arthur Kahn, one of the sons of Victor, or Great Uncle Arthur as we are wont to call him.

A few years ago I ordered from the USA a difficult-to-find book on Jewish European history, but the seller sent the wrong one and in the meantime sold the one I wanted to another customer. The book they sent (and allowed me to keep while giving a full refund – very generous) was “A History of the Marranos” written by Cecil Roth and published in 1932. Marranos was the name ascribed to those Spanish Jews professing to convert to Christianity to escape the terrors of the Inquisition while in secret continuing to practise their true faith. Many went from Spain to Portugal and then emigrated to the New World. The book settled dustily on my bookshelf unread until I became aware we have connections to Spain and Portugal. The deckled pages have taken on a new lease of life as I turn them slowly, hoping to find a reference pertinent to our extended and growing family, so far without success. However, it does help to put into perspective (or present a different viewpoint on) even today’s religious imbroglio. If I find anything of special scientific interest to our family’s concerns, I shall of course post them here.


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:


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.



As an unfamiliar exercise in method and organisation, I’ve started to trawl through old files. The first unresolved issue I’ve encountered is the birth and subsequent prenuptial life of Blanche Rachel Gordon.  Who was she?

In the 1901 census she’s shown as Charles Kahn’s wife born in Brighton, yet no registration of her birth can be found. Nor a marriage record. Her known or assumed history is given under biographies so no need to repeat those details here (click to the right if interested) but I have the sense that her early life is shrouded in shadows and only in later life does she step into the sun. If my instinct is right, what catalyst prompted her to emerge with fluttering wings? We don’t know.

It’s useless to speculate. She and Charles had their reasons. Or the problem could simply be one of transcription of contemporary records and she’s there, somewhere, under an unexpected name. If anyone can shed light, we’d like to hear.

Aside: in the 1923 electoral role, Blanche and Charles are living at 2 Baronsmead Road, Barnes, W13 in the Covent Garden Ward (B) of the City of Westminster. On the same page, a couple of streets away at Burleigh Mansions, is listed Eliot, Thomas Stearns (Tom to his friends; T.S. to you and me) he of “The Wasteland” and “Murder in the Cathedral” fame. Perhaps it’s an omen. I’m reading his biography at the moment. Maybe I’ll turn the next leaf and find a reference to his old mates, Charlie and Blanche. Unlikely, though.

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


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




The UK war-time census (England and Wales Register) conducted on 29 September 1939 is currently available on line at http://www.ancestry.co.uk for a limited period only.

I’ve searched on relevant family members but will probably have missed quite a few. In due course (sometime within the next 5 years) I’ll email everyone interested with information I’ve gleaned so far, but if you’d like me to search for anyone in particular, please let me know soon by the contactus@kahngene.org.uk email address and I’ll see what I can do. (AGK)


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.