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


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.

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

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.



We’ve experienced problems with emails, largely linked to spam filters. “Taint nobody’s fault but my own” but if you’ve e-mailed us within the past year or so and haven’t received the response you expected, please try again. That’s provided you’re not a spammer, of course. If you are a spammer, please ignore this message in order not to receive a very rude reply. To the rest, Happy New Year and keep going with your searches. 2017 could be a Kahn break-through year.  AGK

Kahn DNA

From David Kahn:

I recently obtained an ethnicity estimate from a DNA analysis provided by the genealogical company Ancestry. They provided me with eight categories, the titles of which are misleading and need interpretation. Each category has a percentage and a tolerance range. The tolerance ranges vary greatly.

I was expecting a European Jewish figure of 25%. The DNA analysis showed 32% with a tolerance of plus or minus 5% so I must have another Jewish source somewhere; that was interesting. I was surprised to receive a 10% figure for Ireland; however, the tolerance spread from -10% to +14%, a range that includes zero, so I’ll take that result with some circumspection.

I was initially very surprised to receive a mere 8% for Great Britain and a whopping 43% for Europe West. However, this is where the category names are misleading. Europe West includes the Anglo-Saxons and Normans who settled in England 1000 years ago. The Great Britain category would appear to represent the Celts, the original ancient Britons.

Another 6% was spread evenly between Scandinavia. the Iberian Peninsular, and Italy/Greece, while the remaining 1% was from the Middle East.

In summary, an interesting exercise, albeit one that raises as any questions as it answers.

David Kahn

Family Tree

We’ve had several requests for sight of the family tree in graphic format. As I lack a sheet of paper large enough, I’ve attempted to set-up a listing in Ancestry.co.uk.

This binary tree was established to provide a convenient way of identifying links between our German cousins and the UK mob. It doesn’t pretend to be complete, but I hope it’s at least reasonably accurate. And I’ve updated it with information recently received.

If family members would like to have access to the tree, please email me so I can spend a few hours worrying about how to issue invitations before calling on Jill (my wife) to utter the familiar words “Can’t you do anything by yourself?” and then press a few buttons I’d originally overlooked. She can work these complex things out; she’s the technical manager of our partnership.

This is for family members only, extended, near and far. Please email: info@kahngene.org.uk if you’d like to take a peek.