Hi, I've only recently been made aware of this thread & have read it from the beginning with great interest. It's so exciting when researchers find documental evidence to prove their suspicions & family lore. You have all worked so hard & harvested a lot of information.
I am writing a book about my parents & have been researching for sometime, hitting so many brick walls that I've felt like a pinball wizard at times! Although raised by my Catholic mum in 1950s Liverpool, my father was Jewish & my paternal grandfather was a Jewish immigrant & I am tracing my grandfather's Jewish roots - not easy!
On every UK census, my grandfather stated that he was a German National. Like many, he never bothered to naturalise. I never found him interned in any alien camps & I suspected his claim of being from Germany was a kosher fib. Earlier immigrants often claimed to be German-Jewish because German Jews were well-respected & got a better job than Jews from other areas of Eastern Europe during the 1700s-1800s. With help from great efriends I've made, we traced him on 1891 Leeds census & then the 1901 & 1911 Liverpool censuses. I could find no family connection in Leeds or Liverpool for him apart from the three Russian women he married & the 9 children he fathered, plus three stepchildren he raised. (He was widowed three times) Name changing is always a problem tracing Jewish roots & Jews also used a variety of given names too. So I understand the problems you're all facing with the variety of names.
The only marriage we have found for my grandfather was his first marriage in Leeds in 1890 & this gave me his father's name, but still stated that Germany was his birth place, but no town was given. My breakthrough came when we found a 1902 death in Dublin of the only likely candidate for my grandfather's father - my gt grandfather. Although no link to Ireland had ever shown before, I kept my mind open. It was a couple of years before I found the proof to link him to the Dublin 1902 death of the man I suspected was my gt grandfather.
The concrete proof I needed came from the Police Alien Register for WW1 in Dublin. A trip over to visit the Dublin National Archives allowed me to see the record for myself. The little fibber was not from Germany at all... he was from Sveksna, Kovno, Russia
. Now Lithuania, as you all know.
My grandfather had apparently visited Dublin with his 3rd wife & 5 of his younger children on the 28th June 1917. Why he had crossed U-Boat Alley only one year after the Lusitania was sunk with 5 children from the age of 3-years to 19-years in the middle of WW1 is still a mystery. But remarkably lucky for me, he was a registered alien (Friendly Alien) & so was not interned in any alien camp, which he would have been if he had been from Germany. Instead, he was allowed to move about freely provided he reported to the police station at whatever town he was visiting & signed the alien register.
My grandfather was born in Sveksna in 1867.This information proved a link to an elder brother for my grandfather who had naturalised in Dublin before he went to South Africa in 1881 & his naturalisation records gave his parents names, which linked them together. I've since found a sister & two brothers for my grandfather all in Dublin. The alien register gave information off my grandfather's alien registration card, which was issued in Liverpool in 1916. It contained the issue number, his home address in Liverpool & the register gave th address he was visiting in Dublin, plus his description, name of his wife & the children who were with them.
The Merseyside Police Museum only have about 40 surviving alien records for both WW1 & WW11. Sadly, my grandfather was not one of those 40. But immigrants moved about visiting each other, especially Jews. So I was lucky to find that vital piece of evidence. I've read recently that Leeds/Yorkshire have found some alien records too. So if you cannot find your ancestors where you expect to find them, then maybe they visited another town who have records of visiting aliens... you never know!
My last mystery of my grandfather's family is an unknown soldier in WW1 uniform. I strongly suspect his name is Abraham Cohen. He was born in Russia, probably the Lithuanian area of Russia, about 1897/8/9. He was my grandmother, Rebecca Cohen's son to her 1st marriage. She came to Liverpool as a widow with two sons, about 1904/5 & married my grandfather, Louis Friedman/Freedman/Freeman, himself a widower with 6 children. Abraham appears on the 1911 census with the family for the first time. His life was tragic. His father had died & he & his younger brother were brought to Liverpool about 1904/5 & had to integrate into a large new family. I have found no trace of the marriage, but many 2nd marriages were only a religious ceremony & not a civil marriage.
In 1907 Abraham's younger brother died at only 7 years of age & in 1911 his mother, my grandmother Rebecca died of cancer after giving my grandfather 2 more children, my father being one of them. My grandfather was now left with 10 children plus his stepson Abraham, who was then 13 years of age.
Abraham would have been classed as a friendly alien. It is thought that he died himself of either war wounds or of cancer about 1916 or perhaps about 1929. The information is conflicting & he remains an unsolved mystery. His British uniform has not been identified with 100% certainty & we have not found his death under the name Abraham Cohen/Friedman/Freedman/Freeman. It is probably that his 1st name was changed from Abraham to perhaps something else beginning with A.
I have tried tracing the family in Sveksna, but found nothing with the Friedman name, or any of its variations & have been advised that the family name may not have even began with 'F' when the family lived in Sveksna, or surrounding area. BANG... another brick wall!
So that's my story... sorry to steer you onto Jewish research, but my face lit up when I read this thread.
My unknown soldier
I with you all the best of luck.