Escaping from Germany, Part V: Being “Enemy Aliens” in England

Having completed the stories of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern’s daughters Lina and Keile, we now turn to her son, Abraham Stern and his family and what happened to them during the Holocaust. Abraham died in 1925, but was survived by his widow Johanna, who was also his first cousin, and two of their children, Alice and Sittah Sarah, and numerous grandchildren; two of his children had predeceased him, Clementine and Siegfried,  

When Hitler came to power in 1933, Abraham’s widow (and first cousin) Johanna Goldschmidt Stern and their surviving children and grandchildren were still living in Germany. Johanna died on June 2, 1937; she was 69 years old.1

Her gorgeous headstone, matching those of her husband and son, was beautifully translated by a member of Tracing the Tribe. What a lovely and loving inscription.

Johanna Goldschmidt Stern’s gravestone. Courtesy of her great-grandson, Rafi Stern

Here lies buried Mrs Hindla known as Johanna, daughter of Mr Zelig Goldschmidt, wife of Mr Asher Avraham, known as Adolf, Stern, the memory of the righteous is a blessing,
A generous daughter to her parents and a trusted help to her husband,
She was known as a wise woman,

Her heart directed with intelligence and insight,
She educated her children in the paths of faith,
Only good and kindness, she pursued all her life,
Until she rested in peace next to the husband of her youth on 23 Sivan 5697.
May her soul be bound in the bond of life.

This post will tell what happened to the families of two of Abraham and Johanna’s children, Siegfried and Sittah Sarah. The next post will focus on the families of their other two children, Clementine and Alice.

The Children of Siegfried Stern

Siegfried Stern had died in 1921, leaving behind his wife Lea Hirsch and two young sons, Erich (1913) and Gunther (1916). Thanks to Aaron Knappstein, I now have the birth records for Erich and Gunther, and they show that in 1922, their birth records were amended to add their father’s name Siegfried to theirs.

Erich Stern birth record

Gunther Stern birth record

Siegfried’s widow Lea married Ernst Schwarzschild in 1924 and relocated to Cologne with Erich and Gunther where she and Ernst had two additional children.

After Hitler came to power, Lea and Ernst Schwarzschild escaped to England with Erich and Gunther Stern and the two children they had together. According to Gunther’s son Rafi, the family was able to take a fair amount of money out of Germany and first lived in the Golders Green neighborhood of London. In 1939 they were living in Chesham, England, a town about 30 miles northwest of London. Ernst was working as a non-ferrous metals merchant while Lea was engaged in “unpaid domestic duties.”

Ernst and Lea (Hirsch Stern) Schwarzschild, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/2110H, Enumeration District: DVIH, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Although not listed on this register, Erich Stern was living with his mother and stepfather in Chesham at some point in 1939 and working as a clerk in a travel agency; like his stepfather Ernst, he was exempted from being interned as an enemy alien.

Ernst Schwarzschild, Enemy Alien Exemption, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/83
Piece Number Description: 083: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Schw-Scu
Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Erich Stern, Enemy Alien Exemption, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/89
Piece Number Description: 089: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Steinf-Stern
Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Gunther, however, was not as fortunate. According to his son Rafi, Gunther was unable to obtain a permanent visa to live in England and was forced to go back and forth every three months between Antwerp, where an uncle lived, and England. Fortunately, in 1939 when the war broke out, he was living in England with his mother, stepfather, and brother in Chesham, working as an apprentice to a wood importer, and was initially exempted from internment as an enemy alien.

But as the document below reveals and as his son Rafi reported to me, Gunther was later interned. He spent time at three different internment centers: Preece Heath, Shropshire, and the Isle of Man. He was eventually released because of poor health and found employment with a manufacturing company where he worked for the rest of his career.

Gunther Stern, Enemy Alien registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/197
Piece Number Description: 197: German Internees Released in UK 1939-1942: Spirg-Stern
Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Both Erich and Gunther married after the war and had children. Their mother Lea died in 1970 in England.2 Erich died in England in May 2001,3 and his brother Gunther died a year later in June 2002 in Israel, where his son Rafi had immigrated.4

Sittah Sarah Stern and Abraham Mainz and Their Children

Sittah Sarah Stern was married to Abraham Mainz, and they had two children, Marguerite (1913) and Helmut (1918); they were living in Frankfurt in the 1920s.

Like the family of her older brother Siegfried Stern, Sittah Sarah Stern and her husband Abraham Mainz and their children eventually safely immigrated to England, but faced some difficult challenges in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, as reported by a letter written by Erich Stern, Sittah’s nephew, on November 13, 1938, to his brother Gunther:5

Unfortunately we have very bad news from Frankfurt. Uncle Siegfried [Oppenheimer], who wanted to travel to Palestina on Sunday with his family, was arrested on Friday, as well as Aunt Sittah, Marguerite and Helmut [Mainz]. Aba [Abraham Mainz] has fled and no one knows to where. Really horrible conditions.

Where had Abraham gone? And how long were Sittah and her children detained? I don’t know, but I do know that by 1939 they were living in London along with Abraham’s parents. Abraham (also known as Albert) was working as a wool merchant and his daughter Marguerite was a student.

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/235D
Enumeration District: AKAN, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Although he is not listed as living with his family on the 1939 register, Helmut Mainz was also in England by 1939, as seen in his Enemy Alien registration form. Like his father, he was a wool merchant and was exempted from internment.

Helmut Mainz, Enemy Alien registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/58
Piece Number Description: 058: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Ma-Man
Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Abraham Mainz6 and his daughter Marguerite were also exempted from internment. At the time of her exemption, Marguerite was working as a secretary.

Marguerite Mainz, Enemy Alien registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/222
Piece Number Description: 222: Dead Index (Wives of Germans etc) 1941-1947: Eastw-Fey
Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

The family was thus all safe and living in England, and Marguerite married Arthur Feuchtwanger in 1944,7 with whom she had three children.

But the family suffered terrible losses soon thereafter. Abraham Albert Mainz died on November 3, 1944; he was 61.8  Less than four months later his wife Sittah Sarah Stern Mainz died on February 26, 1945; she was only 53. Had their lives been cut short by the stress of living through the Nazi era?

Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England.

The family’s tragedies did not end there. Helmut Mainz married Carla Adler in July 1948,9 and they had three children in the next five years. But then Carla died in July 1957 when she was only thirty years old, leaving behind three very young children and her husband Helmut.10

Within just a few years Helmut had lost both of his parents and his wife. But he lived a full life, dying at the age of 87 in Yorkshire, England, on September 13, 2005.11 His sister Marguerite died March 22, 2001, in Netanya, Israel.12

Headstones for Carla Adler Mainz and Helmut Mainz, Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 02 March 2020), memorial page for Carla Adler Mainz (8 Sep 1926–3 Jul 1957), Find A Grave Memorial no. 185877700, citing United Hebrew Congregation Cemetery, Gildersome, Metropolitan Borough of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England ; Maintained by leedspyeman (contributor 47407284) . Courtesy of Leedspyeman.

The families of Siegfried Stern and of his sister Sittah Sarah Stern Mainz fortunately escaped from Germany to England in time and were not murdered by the Nazis, but were treated as “enemy aliens” by England. Their descendants, including my cousin Rafi who shared so much of his family’s story with me, continue to honor their memories and prove that the Nazis did not prevail.

UPDATE: Steve Mondros from TTT posted this article from the May 17, 1940 London Times that sheds some light on the internment process in England.

Enemy Aliens article London Times May 17, 1940 from Steve Mondros on FB

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Name: Johanna Goldschmidt, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 18 Dec
    Birth Place: Frankfurt Main, Hessen-Nassau, Preussen, Germany, Death Date: 2 Jun 1937, Father: Seelig Goldschmidt. Mother: Cllementine Fuld, FHL Film Number: 342033, Ancestry.com. Germany, Select Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 
  2. Lea Schwarzschild, Death Age: 78, Birth Date: 10 Apr 1892, Registration Date: Oct 1970, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-DecRegistration district: Paddington, Inferred County: Greater London, Volume: 5d, Page: 1148, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5d; Page: 1148, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  3. Erich Stern, Death Age: 88, Birth Date: 29 May 1913, Registration Date: May 2001
    Registration district: Bury, Inferred County: Greater Manchester, Register Number: A54B, District and Subdistrict: 0031A, Entry Number: 283, General Register Office; United Kingdom, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  4. As per Rafi Stern, Gunther’s son. 
  5. Letter made available to me by Rafi Stern, Gunther’s son. 
  6. Abraham Mainz, Enemy Alien registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/234, Piece Number Description: 234: Dead Index (Wives of Germans etc) 1941-1947: Loeb-Melo, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  7.  Marguerita V Mainz, Registration Date: Jan 1944, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration district: Knaresborough, Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding
    Spouse: Arthur Fenchtwanger, Volume Number: 9a, Page Number: 229, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 9a; Page: 229, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  8.  Abraham A Mainz, Death Age: 61, Birth Date: abt 1883, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec 1944, Registration district: Knaresborough, Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding, Volume: 9a, Page: 107, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 9a; Page: 107, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  9.  Helmut Mainz, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun 1948, Registration district: Claro
    Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding, Spouse: Carla Adler, Volume Number: 2c, Page Number: 320, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 2c; Page: 320, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  10.  Carla Mainz, Death Age: 30, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep 1957, Registration district: Claro, Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding, Volume: 2c
    Page: 66, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 2c; Page: 66, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  11.  Helmut Walter S Mainz, Death Age: 87, Birth Date: 23 Apr 1918, Registration Date: Sep 2005, Registration district: North Yorkshire. Inferred County: North Yorkshire,
    Register Number: A9, District and Subdistrict: 650/1A, Entry Number: 265, General Register Office; United Kingdom, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007. 
  12. As per Rafi Stern and a Feuchtwanger family tree he shared with me. 

Escaping from Germany, Part III: A Family Divided Across the World

The story of my cousin Siegfried Loewenthal is the story of how one family ended up separated and spread all over the world in order to escape Nazi Germany.

Abraham Loewenthal and Keile Stern’s younger son Siegfried and his wife Henriette Feuchtwanger had five children, as we have seen: Rosel (or Rosa) (1908), Albert (1909), Louise (1910), Grete (1913), and Lotte (1914).

Rosa Loewenthal married Justin Held in Frankfurt on August 24, 1928. Justin was born in Kulsheim, Germany on October 18, 1900.

Marriage record of Justin Held and Rosa Loewenthal, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903. Year Range: 1928, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Rosa and Justin had two daughters born in Germany, one in 1929, one in 1930.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, Siegfried and Henriette’s family began to disperse. First, their son Albert Loewenthal went to Palestine on March 26, 1934.1 I do not have a marriage record for Albert, but my cousins Roger Cibella and David Baron report that he married Hilda Weingarten in Jerusalem on June 12, 1935. Hilda was born in Hamburg, Germany, on April 10, 1911. I do know that they were married by the time they applied to become naturalized citizens of Palestine in April 1938, and they had a son born in Jerusalem in 1937.2 According to Cibella/Baron, Hilda died in Switzerland in 1954, Albert in 1995 in Jerusalem (after marrying two more times and having several more children).

Naturalization certificate for Albert and Hilda Loewenthal, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680fd584e

By 1939, the rest of Siegfried’s family had also left Germany. Siegfried and Henriette themselves arrived in Palestine on March 20, 1939, and became naturalized citizens in 1941.3 Unfortunately, Siegfried died just a year later in Tel Aviv on February 25, 1942. He was 62 years old and survived by his wife and all five of his children.4

Naturalization certificate of Siegfried and Henriette (Feuchtwanger) Loewenthal, https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680b9fac4

And those children were all over the world by then. Rosa Loewenthal and Justin Held and their children left for England in 1939 and then immigrated to the United States in 1940.5 They ended up living in New York and becoming naturalized citizens.6 Justin died in 1980,7 Rosa in 1993.8

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/243J
Enumeration District: AKCZ, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Louise Loewenthal had married Walter Meier Strauss in Basel, Switzerland. Walter was native to Frankfurt, where he was born on December 18, 1909.9 I was fortunate to find a long biography of Walter written by one of his grandsons and posted on the family genealogy website.  According to this document, Walter was employed by a woolen factory in Frankfurt when he was a teenager, and when he was in his early twenties or in the early 1930s, the company moved to Switzerland, and the owner asked Walter to come with them, which he did. By that time he had been dating Louise Loewenthal for seven years, and they soon married and moved to Basel, Switzerland. According to the grandson’s biography of Walter:

During the War, friends from home that were now in the concentration camps sent him letters about the atrocities that were going on in the War and specifically in the Camps. Trying to help, he established a group consisting of himself… and a few other men from Basel. The group would send very small care packages periodically to the people in the camps. The packages consisted of food such as salami, sardines, and any other small items that the people requested or needed and was small enough that it could be sent. Every sunday they would load up the packages in a car and drive all over Basel putting them in many different mailboxes, for if they were all dumped in one mailbox they would surely not arrive at the camps.

Thus, Louise and Walter were able to survive the Holocaust; Walter’s parents and brother were, however, murdered at Sobibor.10

In 1946, after the war ended, Louise and Walter Strauss and their two children immigrated to the US; Max Stern, husband of Louise’s first cousin Hilda, helped them get a visa. The ship manifest listed Justin Held, Louise’s brother-in-law married to her older sister Rosa, as the person they were going to in the US.11 They settled in New York where Walter once again got a job with a woolen factory. Walter died in 1990 while on a business trip in Switzerland and was buried in Israel.12 Louise died in New York on August 11, 2003; she was 92 and was survived by her two children and her grandchildren.13

Grete Loewenthal immigrated to Palestine, arriving on April 6, 1936. She became a naturalized citizen on November 29, 1938. She was working as an assistant pharmacist at the time and was unmarried.14

Cibella/Baron report that she married Fritz Altar in 1948, but I have no records to verify that fact. I did find two ship manifests, one outgoing from England, one arriving in New York, in May 1958, that list Grete and Fritz Altar, residents of Austria and working as hotel managers.15 The English manifest indicates that they were headed to the US as “the country of intended permanent residence.” But I have found no records showing that Grete and Fritz lived in the US. Fritz died in Vienna on January 30, 1993, and is buried there.16 Unsourced trees on Geni and MyHeritage report that Grete died on September 27, 1995, also in Vienna. I have no verification of that fact.

Lotte Loewenthal also had left Germany by 1939. She and her husband Erich Posen are listed on the 1939 England and Wales Register showing residence in England by 1939. Erich was working as an optical goods salesman.

Lotte Loewenthal and Erich Posen, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/980H, Enumeration District: BXHY, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Unfortunately I have no marriage record for Lotte and Erich, but I know this is the correct person because after the war when she and Erich had their first child in January 1946, Lotte had serious complications and her mother Henriette had to get permission to leave Palestine to go to England for a few months to help Lotte with the new baby.16

Immigration and Naturalization File for Siegfried and Henriette (Feuchtwanger) Loewenthal, Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680b9fac4

Lotte was not destined for a long life. She died at the age of 52 in 1967 in England, survived by her husband Erich and two children.17 Her mother also survived her; Henriette Feuchtwanger Loewenthal died at the age of 93 in Israel, according to the work of Roger Cibella and David Baron.

Despite the lack of sources for some of the stories of Siegfried Loewenthal and his family, there is enough information to conclude that he, his wife, and all five of their children and their grandchildren escaped Germany in time and survived the Holocaust. In doing so, they ended up spread across three continents and three different countries.

There are always costs to these relocations and disruptions. Siegfried’s early death in 1942 certainly could have been just one of those costs.

Gravestone of Siegfried Loewenthal, photograph by Ben Ariel October 17, 2015, found at https://billiongraves.com/grave/%D7%A9%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%94-%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%98%D7%94%D7%9C/18779141?referrer=myheritage

Gravestone of Henriette Feuchtwanger Loewenthal photo by Ben Ariel October 17, 2015 , found at https://billiongraves.com/grave/%D7%A9%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%94-%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%98%D7%94%D7%9C/18779141?referrer=myheritage

 

 


  1. Immigration and Naturalization File for Albert and Hilda (Weingarten) Loewenthal, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/w33mluf 
  2. Ibid. 
  3. Immigration and Naturalization File for Siegfried and Henriette (Feuchtwanger) Loewenthal, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/tjk92a5 
  4. https://tinyurl.com/u3jsyyc 
  5. Rosa and Justin Held and family, passenger ship manifest, Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6459; Line: 16; Page Number: 81, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Name: Rosa Held, Birth Date: 14 Feb 1908, Age: 39, Naturalization Date: 20 Nov 1947, Residence: New York, New York, Title and Location of Court: New York Southern District, Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989. Justin Held, Birth Date: 18 Oct 1900, Age: 47, Naturalization Date: 15 Jul 1948, Residence: New York, New York, Title and Location of Court: New York Southern District, Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989. 
  7.  Justin Held, Social Security Number: 092-14-6607, Birth Date: 18 Oct 1900
    Death Date: Dec 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  8. Rose Held, Birth Date: 14 Feb 1908, Death Date: Mar 1993, SSN: 095144557,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. Walter Meier Strauss, Birth Date: 18 Dec 1909, Naturalization Date: 24 Mar 1952,
    Residence: New York, New York, Title and Location of Court: New York Southern District, Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989 
  10. “My Genealogy Home Page:Information about Walter Meyer Strauss,” Jonathan Strauss, found at https://tinyurl.com/ttlo7rl 
  11. Walter and Louise Strauss and children, ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 7161; Line: 1; Page Number: 267, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  12. See footnote 10. Walter M Strauss, Death Date: 15 Oct 1990, SSN: 065246257,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  13. Louise Strauss, Death Date: 11 Aug 2003, SSN: 122285989, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  14. Immigration and Naturalization File for Grete Loewenthal, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/v5mxvs9 
  15. Fritz and Grete Altar, ship manifest, 15 May 1958, Port of Departure: Southampton, England, Destination Port: New York, USA, Ship Name: Ryndam
    Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960. Grete and Fritz Altar, ship manifest, 24 May 1958, Arrival Place: New York, New York, USA, Ship: Ryndam, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; NAI Number: 2990227; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A4115; NARA Roll Number: 447, Ancestry.com. New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967 
  16. See multiple letters in Immigration and Naturalization File for Siegfried and Henriette (Feuchtwanger) Loewenthal, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/tjk92a5 
  17. Lottie V Posen, Death Age: 52, Registration Date: Jul 1967, Registration district: Hampstead, Inferred County: Greater London, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5b; Page: 583, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 

Mystery solved! The Marriage of Marcus Morreau and Alice Weinmann

A few weeks ago I wrote about the mystery of the marriage of Marcus Morreau and Alice Weinmann—when and where had they met? When and where had they married? We may never know the answer to the first set of questions, but I now have the answer to the second set. I received two days ago a certified copy of their marriage certificate.

This is not a copy of an original certificate, but rather a transcription of the facts in the original record created and certified by the General Register Office of England on September 6, 2019. Nevertheless, it is considered proof of the facts related to the marriage.

Marcus Morreau and Alice Weinmann were married on May 24, 1899, at the British Consulate in Calais, France. Marcus was 39 and a merchant and gave his residence at the time of marriage as the Hotel Terminus in Calais. Alice was 18 and living at 23 Rue St. Denis in Calais. I was not surprised to read that Marcus was a naturalized British subject, but I was surprised to read that Alice was as well, but I then learned that because her father Joseph Weinmann was a naturalized citizen, his children were as well.

The other interesting information on this record are the names of the witnesses, Philippe Weinmann (brother of Joseph Weinmann1) and Isidor Aschaffenburg. Isidor Aschaffenburg was married to Bertha/Barbara Morreau, Marcus Morreau’s sister. They were still residents of Germany in 1899. I wrote about Bertha/Barbara and Isidor here.

And so finally we have more of the answers. But there are always more questions. How had a 39 year old man living in England met an 18 year old woman living in France? Was he in fact living in Calais for some period of time at the hotel, or was he just staying there while the wedding was taking place? Unfortunately I don’t think I will be able to find answers to all those questions.


  1. Philippe Weinmann birth record, Stadt Frankfurt, Page Number: 690;691,
    Custodian: Evangelisches Kirchenbuchamt Hannover, Frankfurt, Author: Evangelische Kirche Frankfurt (Main), Ancestry.com. Rhineland, Prussia, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1533-1950 

The Family of Marcus Morreau and Alice Weinmann

Although I still don’t know exactly when Marcus Morreau married Alice Weinmann, I have narrowed it down to the years from 1896 to 1900 based on the information I found on FindMyPast. It also appears that they were married in Calais, France, perhaps at the British consulate there. I won’t know more until I see a copy of their marriage certificate.

But what I do know is that Marcus and Alice had three children, all born in England. First born was Rene Leopold Morreau on October 14, 1902, in Chorlton, Lancashire.1 Then came Cecil in the spring of 1905,2 and finally Madeline in the fall of 1908.3

My cousin Mark, Marcus and Alice’s great-grandson, shared some wonderful photographs of the Morreau family. Here are some photographs of the three beautiful children of Marcus and Alice Morreau when they were very young:

Cecil, Alice, and Rene Morreau, 1905, Courtesy of Mark Morreau

Rene and Cecil Morreau 1906, courtesy of Mark Morreau

Cecil Morreau 1907, courtesy of Mark Morreau

Cecil, Madeline, and Alice Morreau, c. 1909, courtesy of Mark Morreau

Marcus must have already been quite a successful shipping merchant because in 1911, he and Alice were living in Didsbury in South Manchester, England, with their three children, two nurses, and three servants—a cook, a waitress, and a maid.

Marcus Morreau and family, 1911 English census, Class: RG14; Piece: 23658
Enumeration District: 01, Ancestry.com. 1911 England Census

The children continued to grow, as seen in these photographs taken in about 1916:

Cecil and Rene Morreau, c. 1916. Courtesy of Mark Morreau

Rene, Madeline, and Cecil Morreau, c. 1916

Rene Morreau, Joseph Weinmann, Cecil Morreau,  May 1916

Then Marcus died at the age of 60 on March 6, 1920, in Conway, Wales.4 His children were still teenagers living at home, and his wife Alice was a widow at the age of forty. I could not locate an obituary, but did find this news article regarding the estate left behind by Marcus Morreau.

The Times, London, Greater London, England, 03 Nov 1920, Wed • Page 18

In today’s currency, that amount would be worth over £4,248,616.60, according to one inflation calculator, or over five million dollars in US currency.

Cecil was the first of Marcus and Alice’s children to marry. He married Cicely Josephine O’Flanagan in 1933 when he was 28 years old.5 (I can only imagine how much confusion there must have been with a Cecil married to a Cicely.) Cicely was born on November 7, 1907, in Manchester, the daughter of Martin O’Flanagan.6 Cecil and Cicely had three children between 1934 and 1938. According to his granddaughter Jo, Cecil was a graduate of Cambridge University where he played hockey and trained to be an architect.

Then tragically Cecil died from a burst appendix on March 2, 1939.7 He was only 34 years old and left behind three children under the age of ten and his widow Cicely, who was only 32. Just as Cecil had lost his father when he was still young, Cecil’s children lost their father when they were even younger children.

According to Cecil and Cicely’s granddaughter Jo, after Cecil’s death, Cicely moved with her three young children to Ireland to be with family friends; Jo said that Cicely and Cecil had planned the move in the event that there was a war, and so she followed through with that plan. Cicely remarried  in 1950,8 and she and her second husband, Henry “Harry” Collett, eventually returned to England, where she died on March 2, 1995.9

The other two children of Marcus and Alice lived longer lives than their brother Cecil. Rene married Beryl Scawen Blunt on January 21, 1937.10 Beryl was born November 27, 1911, to Arthur Scawen Blunt and Ada Hudson.11 Rene and Beryl had two children and lived into their seventies. Rene was 79 when he died on March 1, 1982, 12 and Beryl was 75 when she died on September 23, 1987.13

Madeline Morreau, the youngest child of Marcus and Alice, married Emanuel Phillip Nathan on June 19, 1941, in Kensington, England. 14 Emanuel was the son of Phillip Nathan of Johannesburg, South Africa, and as far as I can tell, it appears that Madeline and Phillip settled in Johannesburg after they married.

Marriage announcement for Madeline Morreau and Emanuel Nathan, First Letter of Surname: N
Ancestry.com. England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors. Original data: Andrews Collection. Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Canterbury, Kent, England.

Alice Weinmann Morreau died in Guldford, England, in December, 1971, at the age of 91.15 Her granddaughter Annette shared with me the family story of how Alice died, as told by Alice’s companion—Alice was at the top of her stairs with Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ playing on the radio; she commented on the beauty of the music and then collapsed.

Madeline Morreau Nathan lost her husband Emanuel two years later in 1973.16 Madeline outlived the rest of her family, surviving to age 88 when she died in South Africa in 1996.17

How fortunate I am to have made these connections with my Morreau cousins and to be able to learn more about the family and to see these wonderful photographs. Thank you, Mark, Annette, and Jo.


  1. England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007 First name(s) RENE LEOPOLD Last name MORREAU Gender Male Birth day   14 Birth month  10 Birth year 1902 Age  – Death quarter  1 Death year 1982 District Bexley County Kent Volume 11 Page 0502 Country England Record set England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007 Category  Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records Subcategory Civil Deaths & Burials Collections from Great Britain, England 
  2. England & Wales Births 1837-2006, First name(s) CECIL JOSEPH, Last name MORREAU, Birth year 1905, Birth quarter 2, District Chorlton, County              Lancashire, Country England, Volume 8C, Page 718, Record set England & Wales Births 1837-2006, Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records, Subcategory Civil Births, Collections from Great Britain, England 
  3. Madeleine R J Morreau, Registration Year:  1908, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec, Registration district:  Chorlton, Inferred County: Lancashire, Volume:   8c, Page: 660, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 
  4. Name: Marcus Morreau, Death Date: 6 Mar 1920, Death Place: Manchester, England, Probate Date: 29 Oct 1920, Probate Registry: London, England, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  5. First name(s) CECIL J, Last name MORREAU, Marriage quarter 3, Marriage year 1933, Spouse’s last name O’flanagan, District Manchester South, County Lancashire
    Country England, Volume 8D, Volume as transcribed 8D, Page number 648, Record set England & Wales Marriages 1837-2005, Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records, Subcategory Civil Marriage & Divorce, Collections from Great Britain, England 
  6. Cicely Josephine Collett, Death Age: 87, Birth Date: 7 Nov 1907, Registration Date: Apr 1995, Registration district: Ipswich, Inferred County: Suffolk, Register Number: A14B, District and Subdistrict: 7471A, Entry Number: 257, General Register Office; United Kingdom, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  7. Name: Cecil Joseph Morreau, Death Date: 2 Mar 1939, Death Place: Guildford, Surrey, England, Probate Date: 7 Jun 1939, Probate Registry: London, England, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  8.  Name: Cicely J Morreau, Registration Date: Oct 1950,Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec, Registration district: Marylebone, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Henry B Collett, Volume Number: 5d, Page Number: 605, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5d; Page: 605, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  9.  Name: Cicely Josephine Collett, Death Age: 87, Birth Date: 7 Nov 1907, Registration Date: Apr 1995, Registration district: Ipswich, Inferred County: Suffolk
    Register Number: A14B, District and Subdistrict: 7471A, Entry Number: 257,
    General Register Office; United Kingdom, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  10.  Name: Rene L Morreau, Registration Date: Jan 1937, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration district: Westminster, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Beryl S Blunt, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 870, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 870, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  11. First name(s) BERYL S Last name BLUNT Birth year 1911 Birth quarter 4 Registration month – Mother’s maiden name Hudson District Canterbury County Kent Country England Volume 2A Page 1734 Record set England & Wales Births 1837-2006 Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records Subcategory Civil Births Collections from Great Britain, England 
  12.  Rene Leopold Morreau, Death Age: 79, Birth Date: 14 Oct 1902, Registration Date: Jan 1982, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration district: Bexley
    Inferred County: Greater London, Volume: 11, Page: 0502, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 11; Page: 0502, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  13. Name: Beryl Scawen Morreau, Death Age: 75, Birth Date: 27 Nov 1911
    Registration Date: Sep 1987, Registration district: Lambeth, Inferred County: Greater London, Volume: 14, Page: 317, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 14; Page: 317, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  14.  Name: Madeleine R J Morreau, Registration Date: Apr 1941, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun, Registration district: Kensington, Inferred County: London
    Spouse: Emanuel P Nathan, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 430, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 430, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  15. Alice Frederique Morreau, Death Age: 91, Birth Date: 15 Jun 1880, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec, Registration district: Surrey South Western Inferred County: Surrey, Volume: 5g, Page: 1177. General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5g; Page: 1177, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  16. Emanuel Philip Nathan, Death Year: 1973, Death Country: South Africa
    Title: Transvaal Estates Death Index (Master of the Supreme Court, Pretoria)
    Source: National Archives, Pretoria, Reference Number: 11990/73, Ancestry.com. Transvaal Province, South Africa, Estates Death Notice Index, 1855-1976 
  17. Source: Mark Morreau, Madeline’s great-nephew. 

A Brickwall: When and Where did Alice Weinmann Marry Marcus Morreau?

As seen in my prior post, my cousin Marcus Morreau left his home in Worrstadt, Germany, as a young man and was living and working as a merchant in Withington, England by 1881, as seen on the 1881 census.

Marcus Morreau, 1881 England census, Class: RG11; Piece: 3892; Folio: 79; Page: 37; GSU roll: 1341930, Enumeration District: 12a, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 England Census

By 1901, he was a shipping merchant and married and living with his wife Alice in Didsbury, England, as seen on the 1901 English census:

Marcus and Alice Morreau, “England and Wales Census, 1901,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X9GW-G8T : 21 May 2019), Marcus Morreau, Didsbury, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom; from “1901 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast(http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing Didsbury subdistrict, PRO RG 13, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.

Thus, sometime between 1881 and 1901, Marcus married  a woman named Alice. I was curious about their marriage, especially since Alice was 21 years younger than Marcus and French-born, as indicated on the census record.  Where did they meet? When and where did they marry?

I knew from my cousin Mark, the great-grandson of Marcus and Alice, that Alice was the child of Joseph Weinmann and Helene Rothschild, both of whom were German-born, but were living in Calais, France, when Alice was born there on June 15, 1880. Sherri of the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook generously offered to help me locate Alice’s birth record from Calais:

Alice Weinmann, birth record, Calais, France, located on the online archives for Calais at http://archivesenligne.pasdecalais.fr/cg62v2/registre.php

The records from Calais also show that Joseph and Helen Weinmann’s youngest child, Jacques, was born in 1895, in Calais,1 so the Weinmanns were living in Calais from at least 1880  when Alice, their first-born child, was born until at least 1895 when Jacques was born.

Mark shared these two wonderful photographs of his great-grandmother Alice as a young girl and as a young woman:

Alice Weinmann with her younger sister Estelle, 1890. Courtesy of Mark Morreau

Alice Weinmann, 1898. Courtesy of Mark Morreau

So how did Marcus, a German immigrant living in England since at least 1881, meet a much younger woman who was born in France in 1880 and living in France until at least 1895?

One theory was that Marcus was introduced to Alice through his work with Edward Wihl. Mark found a directory for Manchester in the 1880s showing that Marcus was working for Edward Wihl & Company, and I found one from 1895 showing that he was still working for Edward Wihl & Company.

Manchester Directory, early 1880s, courtesy of Mark Morreau

1895 Slater’s Manchester & Salford Directory (Pt 1); Publisher: Slater’s Directory Ltd (Manchester) and Kelly & Co. (London), Ancestry.com. UK, City and County Directories, 1766 – 1946

Alice’s sister Estelle was married to Edward Wihl’s nephew Joseph Wihl,2 and we postulated that Estelle Weinmann and Joseph Wihl introduced Alice and Marcus. But that theory did not hold up because Estelle married Joseph Wihl in 1906, at least five years after Alice and Marcus were married.  It would seem more likely that Alice introduced Estelle to Joseph Wihl than Estelle introducing Alice to Marcus.

Mark was quite certain that Alice and Marcus had married in Calais, but despite help from numerous members of the French SIG on JewishGen and from Sherri on Facebook, I could not locate a marriage record for Marcus and Alice in Calais. One of the members of the French SIG group also looked at Alice’s birth record and opined that if in fact Alice had later married in Calais, there would have been a notation on her birth record to that effect.  There was, in fact, no such notation.

Then I wondered if they had married in England, not France. What if the Weinmanns had left Calais after Jacques was born in 1895 and moved to Manchester, facilitating the meeting of Alice and Marcus and their marriage in England?

So I searched  to see if the Weinmanns had moved to England before Alice and Marcus married, and I learned that Alice’s father Joseph Weinmann had lived in England, but before Alice’s birth in 1880.

Records show that in 1870, Joseph Weinmann became a naturalized citizen of the United Kingdom, then residing in Ireland, meaning that he had lived in the UK for at least five of the preceding eight years. In 1871, Joseph Weinmann, born in Frankfurt, Germany, was working as a commercial lace clerk and living in Nottingham, England.3

Joseph Weinmann UK naturalization, 1870, The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Duplicate Certificates of Naturalisation, Declarations of British Nationality, and Declarations of Alienage; Class: HO 334; Piece: 1, Piece 001: Certificate Numbers A1 – A496
Ancestry.com. UK, Naturalisation Certificates and Declarations, 1870-1916

This photograph is labeled by the family as “Joseph Weinmann, Nottingham, c.1868, age 20.”

Joseph Weinmann, c. 1868, Nottingham, England. Courtesy of Mark Morreau

When I saw that, I recalled something else that Mark had mentioned: that both the Wihl family and Joseph Weinmann were somehow connected to the lace trade in Nottingham. Mark wondered whether Marcus also had at some point been in Nottingham. All of that made some sense as a theory—that Marcus met Joseph Weinman in the 1870s in Nottingham before Joseph moved to Calais and Marcus moved to Manchester.

But I had and have no proof. In fact, I have no English records for Joseph Weinmann after the 1871 England Census until a 1909 directory showing him living in Manchester and working for Morreau, Spiegelberg & Company.4

When I first saw the two photographs below, I thought these might be wedding portraits. They were both taken in Manchester, and the one of Alice is dated 1901. But since they were taken by different photographers in Manchester, they were probably not wedding portraits.

Alice Weinmann Morreau, 1901, Manchester. Courtesy of Mark Morreau

Marcus Morreau, undated, Manchester. Courtesy of Mark Morreau

I was about to give up on ever finding a marriage record for Marcus and Alice when I decided to search FindMyPast, the genealogy website that is best for research in Great Britain. There were several records for Marcus Morreau on the site, but the one that most interested me was from a database called “British Armed Forces and Overseas Banns and Marriages.” The entry for Marcus was described as “Marcus Morreau 1896-1900 Calais France MCON Gro Consular Marriages (1849-1965)(emphasis added).”  But I could not see the actual document or the transcription without subscribing to FindMyPast.

I debated whether or not to spend the money (about $15) for a one month subscription. Finally my curiosity got the better of me, so I took out my credit card and subscribed. I was excited to click on the icon to see the record, but this is all it showed:

Marcus Morreau in marriage register

The transcription didn’t help much either. It said:

Gro Consular Marriages (1849-1965)
First name(s) Marcus
Last name Morreau
Sex Male
Marriage year 1896-1900

 

MarriageFinder ™

Marcus Morreau married one of these people

Alice Frederique Weinmann, Agnes Mary Matthews

Marriage place Calais
Place type Place
Country France
Type Consular/Overseas
Source Gro Consular Marriages (1849-1965)
Records year range 1896-1900
Archive reference MCON
Volume 10
Page 409
Line number 20
Archive
General Register Office
Record set British Armed Forces And Overseas Banns And Marriages
Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers)
Subcategory Civil Marriage & Divorce
Collections from Great Britain, UK None

There was no wedding date date provided, just the range of 1896-1900. But it certainly appears that Marcus and Alice were indeed married in Calais as Mark had believed. But when? And how did they meet if they were living in different countries and 21 years apart in age?

It seems more and more likely that somehow there was a prior connection between Marcus and his father-in-law-to-be, Joseph Weinmann, and perhaps an ongoing business connection.

The next step is to try and get the actual marriage record. I’ve sent away to the GRO in England with the hope that they will find it and that it will at least provide a wedding date. Now I wait.

UPDATE: Mystery solved! The GRO sent the record, and the answers are here.


  1. Jacques Weinmann birth record, found at http://archivesenligne.pasdecalais.fr/cg62v2/registre.php 
  2. Marriage of Joseph Wihl and Estelle Weinmann,Registration Year: 1906
    Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration district: Prestwich  Inferred County: Lancashire, Volume: 8d, Page: 818, Records on Page: FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 
  3. Joseph Weinmann, 1871 England Census, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 3530; Folio: 28; Page: 13; GSU roll: 839753, Enumeration District: 2, Ancestry.com. 1871 England Census 
  4. 1909 Slater’s Manchester, Salford & Suburban Directory (Pt 2); Publisher: Slater’s Directory Ltd (Manchester) and Kelly’s Directories Ltd (London), Ancestry.com. UK, City and County Directories, 1766 – 1946 

A Morreau Family Update: In Memory of Patrick Morreau 1934-2019

When we were in London, I was very fortunate to meet two of my Seligmann cousins, Annette Morreau, my fourth cousin, once removed, and Mark Morreau, my fifth cousin; I wrote about our meeting here. Since then, Mark and I have stayed in touch and shared some of our research into our shared family.

Before I delve into what I’ve learned from Mark, let me first explain how we are connected. Mark and I are both descended from our four-times great-grandparents Jacob Seligmann and Martha Mayer, Mark through their daughter Caroline, me through their son Moritz, my third great-grandfather.

Caroline Seligmann married Moses Morreau on October 8, 1830 in Worrstadt, Germany:

Marriage record of Caroline Seligmann and Moses Morreau October 8, 1930
Worrstadt Marriage Record, 1830-10

P. 2 of Marriage record of Caroline Seligmann and Moses Morreau

They had two children, Levi (1831) and Klara (1838), about whom I wrote here. Levi Morreau married Emilia Levi and had five children, including Markus, who was born in Worrstadt on August 27, 1859:

Markus Morreau birth record, August 27, 1859
Worrstadt birth records, 1859-36

Here is a photograph of Emilia Levi Morreau, the mother of Markus Morreau:

Emilia Levi Morreau, courtesy of Mark Morreau

Markus married Alice Weinmann, and they had three children all born in England. Their first child Cecil, Mark’s grandfather, was born in April, 1905.1 Cecil married Cicely Josephine O’Flanagan in 1933 in Manchester, England,2 and they had three children, including Mark’s father Patrick, born in 1934.3

When I met Mark, his father Patrick was scheduled for surgery within a few weeks after our meeting on June 1, 2019. Patrick made it through the surgery, but then unexpectedly died not long afterwards on June 30, 2019. He was 85. I was heartbroken for Mark and his family and very sad that I had missed the opportunity to meet Patrick myself, especially after Mark shared some of his stories with me. I am grateful, however, to have met Mark and also our cousin Annette, and very glad that Mark was able to share with Patrick some of what we had discussed and to ask a few more questions about the family history.

So in memory of and in honor of Patrick Morreau, let me tell some of that history and those stories.

I will start with Mark’s great-grandfather Markus Morreau. As mentioned above, Markus was one of five children of Levi and Emilia (Levi) Morreau. He had four younger siblings: Albert, Adolf (who died as a child), Bertha, and Alice. I’ve written about them all here and here. In fact, my discovery of the Morreau cousins really started when my cousin Shyanne Morreau found my blog and we together put the various pieces together. Shyanne is descended from Albert Morreau, who left Germany for the United States in 1883 when he was 22 and settled in Cleveland. Albert’s older brother Markus also left Germany as a young man and was living in Withington, a suburb of Manchester, England in 1881; by then he had adopted the more English spelling of his name, Marcus. 4

Here is a photograph of Marcus taken in 1880 when he was 21. It appears it was taken in Frankfurt, either before he emigrated to England or during a visit back to Germany:

Marcus Morreau, aged 21. Courtesy of Mark Morreau

I don’t have a photograph of Albert as a young man, but this photo from his 1915 passport with his wife Leonora shows the family resemblance:

“United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVJP-423K : 4 September 2015), Albert Morreau, 1915; citing Passport Application, Ohio, United States, source certificate #49162, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925, 234, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,514,173.

Marcus was living in Manchester when he became a naturalized British citizen in 1892.

UK Naturalization Certificate for Marcus Morreau
The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Duplicate Certificates of Naturalisation, Declarations of British Nationality, and Declarations of Alienage; Class: HO 334; Piece: 19

Two of the questions that Mark and I had were why Marcus and Albert left Germany in the 1870s and 1880s and why one went to England and the other to America.  As for the first part of that question, the answer seems answered in part by what was happening in Germany in the 1870s and 1880s. According to several sources, Germany was substantially affected by the worldwide depression that began in 1873. Britannica.com reports that:

The prices for agricultural and industrial goods fell precipitously; for six successive years the net national product declined. A sharp decline in profits and investment opportunities persisted until the mid-1890s. About 20 percent of the recently founded corporations went bankrupt.

In agriculture, the deeply indebted Junker elite now faced severe competition as surplus American and Russian grain flooded the German market. Among the more immediate consequences of the crash was a burst of emigration from the depressed provinces of rural Prussia. During the 1870s some 600,000 people departed for North and South America; this number more than doubled in the 1880s.

Lynn Abrams, a scholar writing about this same period, noted that one of the other consequences of the depression of 1873 was an increase in anti-Semitism:5

The Depression, which did not recede until 1879, had profound consequences. The period beginning in 1873 saw the organization of economic interest groups, nationalism of a rather chauvinistic nature, militarism and modern anti-semitism.The Depression caused the landed and industrial interests to mobilize behind the policy of protective tariffs in order to retain their economic and political base. Thus, they succeeded in maintaining their power and the political status quo.

Ironically, the unification of Germany under Bismarck in 1871 led to some increased rights for Jews, but also increased anti-Semitism, as the Center for Israel Education described on its website:

In July 1869, Prussian King Wilhelm I promulgated the North German Confederation Constitution, which gave Jews civil and political rights in twenty-two German states.  This Constitution was adopted by the new German empire upon its establishment on April 14, 1871.  On April 22, 1871, the Jews in all of Germany were finally given emancipation when the Constitution was extended to Bavaria. 

The process of Jewish emancipation led to many changes in both Jewish and non-Jewish society.  Some Jews continued religious identification with non-Orthodox Judaism, seeking to remain Jewish but more like their Christian peers; some converted to Christianity because the Emancipation of 1871 still prevented Jews from gaining access to certain high profile social positions; others simply assimilated.  Emancipation also led to new and more virulent forms of anti-Semitism, a term that was coined in 1879 in a pamphlet by Wilhelm Marr. Marr became the father of virulent racial anti-Semitism, singling out  Jews as inferior because of their racial impurity.

Another website, Jewish History Online, further elaborated on the increased anti-Semitism that occurred in the 1870s and thereafter:

With the onset of the economic crisis of the early 1870s known as “Gründerkrach”, the atmosphere in the newly founded German Kaiserreich started to change. Reich Chancellor Bismarck reacted with a protectionist economic policy and changed his political course to join the conservative camp. As supporters of liberalism and Social Democracy, the Jews now found themselves on the side of the political enemy. They were accused of being responsible for the economic crisis and the ever more pressing “social question.”

There were thus multiple reasons why Marcus and Albert Morreau would have left Germany during this time period—to seek better economic opportunities and to escape anti-Semitism.

As for why one went to England and the other America, we can only speculate. Perhaps they were hedging their bets as to which country would give them more opportunities. Maybe they didn’t get along and wanted to put an ocean between them.  Or maybe they each just found a specific job opportunity that led them to settle in two different countries.

More to come…

 


  1. Inferred County: Lancashire, Volume: 8c, Page: 718, Source Information
    FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 
  2.  Inferred County: Lancashire, Spouse: O’flanagan, Volume Number: 8d
    Page Number: 648, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 8d; Page: 648,
    Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  3.  Registration district: Watford, Inferred County: Hertfordshire, Mother’s Maiden Name: O’Flanagan, Volume Number: 3a, Page Number: 1485, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Reference: Volume 3a, Page 1485, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007 
  4. Marcus Morreau, 1881 England Census, Class: RG11; Piece: 3892; Folio: 79; Page: 37; GSU roll: 1341930, Enumeration District: 12a, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
  5. Lynn Abrams, Bismarck and The German Empire 1871-1918 ( Routledge, 1995), found at https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3c20/c71ec7760438fd5651738e40dea8a81a8c19.pdf 

Seligman Update, II: James Seligman, Vintner and Hotelier

My second Seligmann update is about James Seligman, who was born Jakob Seligmann in Gau-Algesheim, Germany in about 1853; he died in Birmingham, England on March 11, 1930.1

Birmingham Daily Gazette, March 14, 1930, p. 3

James Seligman was the son of Moritz Seligmann and Babette Schoenfeld and the younger brother of my great-great-grandfather Bernard and Wolfgang’s great-grandfather August. I wrote a post about James and his life back on December 8, 2017, describing his life and business in England and Scotland. James went to England as a young man to represent Seligman Brothers, the wine business that he was in with his brothers August and Hieronymous. In 1890, the partnership with his brothers was dissolved, and James continued the wine business on his own in England and then Scotland as Seligman & Co. He also became involved in the hotel business in both Scotland and England. A good portion of the information and images in that earlier post came from Wolfgang.

London Gazette, March 20, 1891

In looking through old emails recently, I realized that I had never posted some of the photographs that Wolfgang later sent me of one of James Seligman’s hotels, the George Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland. I also had forgotten to post some of the photographs my cousin-by-marriage Shirley had sent me of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham, England, where James had been the managing director.  My apologies to Wolfgang, Shirley, and my three-times great-uncle James Seligman for somehow letting these wonderful images slip through the cracks.

Here are the photographs and other images that Wolfgang sent of the George Hotel in Edinburgh and some stationery letterhead that Wolfgang found on the internet showing the hotels owned in 1911 by James Seligman and August Mackay.

It looks like a gracious old hotel with a beautiful lobby. It is still in business and just had extensive renovations done. If I ever get to Edinburgh, this is where I will stay.

Shirley’s photographs are of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham where James was the managing director. It also is a grand and gracious old hotel:

I was able to learn a lot more about this hotel from its website:

The Grand Hotel first occupied part of the building constructed by Isaac Horton, on Colmore Row and Church Street between 1877 and 1879, with 100 bedrooms and a first floor reception. It was let to Arthur Field, a hotel operator from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and opened on 1st February 1879…. For the next 74 years the hotel was operated by Hortons. During this time it played host to royalty, politicians and film stars as well as staging many dinners, concerts and dances in the Grosvenor Suite. The room had many admirers including Sir John Betjeman who described it as “a unique, simply stunning, masterpiece.” The list of those attending functions at or staying in the hotel included King George VI, the Duke of Windsor, Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Charlie Chaplin, James Cagney and Joe Louis to name but a few.

Maybe some of those people stayed in the hotel while James Seligman was the managing director.  According to its website, the Grand Hotel is currently in the process of substantial renovations. Maybe someday I will get to stay there also.

As for the wine business, Seligman & Co stayed in business long after James’ death. In fact, Wolfgang found an obituary for a man named David Smith who was also in the wine business and who had been a director of Seligman & Co. in Birmingham as late as 1989. Shirley took a photograph of the location that once housed the Seligman & Co. wine business in Birmingham.

Thank you to Wolfgang and Shirley for their help in telling the story of James Seligman.

 


  1.  General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 6d; Page: 198, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 

England, Part IV: Visiting My Ancestors’ Neighborhood

One of the reasons I wanted to revisit London on this trip to England was that when we first visited London in 1995, I had no idea that I had ancestors who once lived there. I did not start doing family history research until 2012, and sometime thereafter I learned that my three-times great-grandfather Hart Levy Cohen was born in Amsterdam, but had immigrated to England and settled in London by 1799. He married my three-times great-grandmother Rachel Jacobs at the Great Synagogue in London in 1812, and together they had five children born in London, including my great-great-grandfather Jacob Cohen, who was born in 1824. By 1851, however, Hart and all his children had left London and settled in Philadelphia. 1

But from at least 1799 until 1851, I had direct ancestors living in London, and I wanted to know more about where they lived and what their community was like. I’d done some research several years back about the area and about the treatment of Dutch Jews, known as Chuts, so I knew that the neighborhood ranged from poor to middle class in those days and that Dutch Jews like my three-times great-grandparents were often treated as outsiders in the community.2

I was fortunate to find Isabelle Seddons, a historian who does walking tours of London including the former Jewish neighborhoods of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. I knew that the Cohens had lived on New Goulston Street in 1841 and at Number 8, Landers Buildings on Middlesex Street, in 1851, both addresses located in Spitalfields in the Whitechapel district of London. I gave Isabelle the information I had, and we arranged to meet at 2 pm on May 30 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

What made the tour even better is that my friend and cousin-by-marriage Shirley and her husband Ron were able to join us. Shirley and I had connected years back when I was trying to sort out the three Selinger brothers who married three of my Cohen relatives and Shirley was trying to learn more about her Selinger ancestors. I was quite excited that we would finally get to meet in person. Shirley kindly brought me a copy of an 1875 map of the neighborhood showing New Goulston and Middlesex Streets.

The four of us on the tour

Shirley and I standing in front of the pub where we and our husbands shared some beers and some stories after the tour

Here’s a current map of the area we visited.

 

Isabelle started the tour with an overview of the Jewish history of the area. She pointed out that during World War II, the neighborhood was heavily bombed by the Nazis because of the ports that were (and are) located nearby. Thus, many if not most of the original buildings are gone, as can be seen from this photograph and from others.

According to Isabelle, the Whitechapel-Spitalfields area was predominantly Jewish from the 18th century until World War II, when the neighborhood was evacuated because of the bombing. After World War II, the Jews did not return to this area of London, and a new wave of immigrants settled in the area. Today it is primarily a Bengali neighborhood where mosques have replaced synagogues.

This building was originally a church, then later a synagogue, and now a mosque. See https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1240697

The area was always poor, though some of the Jewish merchants were better off than most of the residents. As Hart Cohen and his sons were china merchants and living on a street that Charles Booth designated on his historic poverty map of London as less poverty stricken than others, I assume they were among those who were somewhat better off. Nevertheless they left London by 1851.

The largest influx of Jews came in the late 19th century from Eastern Europe, long after my Cohen ancestors had emigrated. They came in huge numbers and lived in terrible conditions, and much of what is left in the area that reflects its Jewish past dates from that era of immigration and afterwards, not from the early 19th century when my family lived there.

Isabelle took us to see the archway built in the late 19th century as part of a housing project supported and promoted by the Rothschild family and other wealthy English Jews to provide the poverty-stricken Jews living in the area with decent housing. It was called the Four Percent Industrial Dwellings Company because the investors were promised a four percent return on their investment.  The housing units were destroyed during the war, but the arch remains as a reminder of this early attempt at urban renewal.

One Jewish entrepreneur had what today would seem like an excellent business idea.  He wanted to create an indoor market where various vendors could sell their wares—food, clothing, household goods—all in one covered space. In today’s world where places like Covent Garden Market and Faneuil Hall Marketplace thrive as well as all the shopping malls that exist throughout the US, such an idea would seem to be a no-brainer and an instant success. But in those times people—vendors and shoppers—rejected the idea, and the owner converted his building into a textile factory. Today it houses graduate departments of Glasgow Caledonian University offering advanced degrees in, among many other areas, in International Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Marketing.

Most of the Jews made their living in the late nineteenth century as tailors or working at a nearby matchstick factory, and working conditions were terrible. In 1888 the matchstick workers went on strike after organizing themselves at Hanbury Hall, a building originally built as a Huguenot chapel in 1719. The hall became a center for union and radical activity during the late 19th century. Today it operates as a café and venue for social events.

Hanbury Hall

The poverty of the Jewish residents of the area was also reflected in this building, which was built as a soup kitchen for poor Jews, as the engraved inscription indicates, and still operates as a soup kitchen today for the newer poor immigrants in the area.

Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor

But there are still some signs that this was once a Jewish neighborhood, such as these old store signs:

And this Star of David at the top of a drainpipe. This is the Christ Church primary school on Brick Lane, one of the major thoroughfares in the area. It was founded in 1708 as a parish school, but when the building on Brick Lane was built in 1874, most of the children in the neighborhood who attended the school were Jewish. According to Isabelle, the Star of David was added to reflect the school’s tolerance and openness to students of all backgrounds.

Christ Church Primary School with Star of David on the drain pipe

We saw another Star of David with what appears to be the scales of justice inside it so perhaps this was once a lawyer’s office.

UPDATE: A member of the Tracing The Tribe group on Facebook provided me with this information about the Star of David below: “The interesting Magen David at 88 Whitehall is not on scales but is actually shown as supported by two lions of Judah wielding sabres. Beneath is a pair of medallions, decorated with Menorahs. It was designed by Arthur Szyk in the mid 1930s. It is a staple of every Jewish London tour and there is actually a more ornate but similar design also by Szyk located inside.”

And we found an old mezuzah painted over a doorway at this house:

The relief sculptures above the windows and door on this building reflect that this was at one time a Jewish bakery:

Once a Jewish bakery

There is also still one active synagogue in the neighborhood, the Sandy’s Row Synagogue. Although the synagogue was not housed in this building until 1867 after my ancestors had left the area, this could be the congregation that my ancestors joined as it was founded by Dutch Jewish immigrants to the area.

But Hart Cohen and Rachel Jacobs were married at the Great Synagogue in 1812, and their son Jacob, my great-great-grandfather, and my great-great-grandmother Sarah Jacobs were also married at the Great Synagogue in 1844. Unfortunately, the Great Synagogue was destroyed by the Nazis and no longer exists though Isabelle did show us where it once stood.

Where the Great Synagogue once stood

I asked Isabelle how a synagogue could survive today in this community, and she explained that there are a number of Orthodox Jews who work in downtown London who come to the synagogue for daily minyans before and after work.

We also heard the story of Jacob Adler, an actor and violinist who played in the Yiddish theater. His former home was marked with a plaque of a violin in the sidewalk. Adler had immigrated to London from Odessa where he had already had a career in theater. After Yiddish theater was banned in Russia in the 1880s, he came to London and within a short time had established his own theatrical club on what was then Prince Street in the Spitalfields neighborhood. His theater was quite popular until a fire broke out and the audience panicked. In the stampede to exit the building, seventeen people were killed. After that Adler lost his audience and so immigrated to the US, where he became a well-known actor on the Yiddish stage in New York.

The last few stops on our tour were of the streets near and where my three-times great-grandparents lived between 1841 and 1851, according to the census records and other records: New Goulston Street and Middlesex Street. The Landers Buildings identified  on Rachel Jacobs’ death certificate in 1851 no longer exist, and Isabelle had no luck finding where they were located or what they were, though we do know they were somewhere on Middlesex Street. Both streets are located in the area where Dutch Jews once lived and where the principal market for the neighborhood was located on Petticoat Lane. As you can see in the photograph below, it still is the setting for an open air market.

Petticoat Lane

These other photographs are my attempts to capture a sense of where my ancestors once lived. I don’t know whether any of these buildings were even there in 1841. But 180 years ago or so, my Cohen ancestors walked, lived, and worked on these streets:

And like so many neighborhoods in cities in the United States, this once poor neighborhood is today being gentrified by young people who want to live close to where they work in downtown London. In many of the photographs you can see the skyscrapers of the financial district looming behind the streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. Isabelle told us that this house is now worth four million pounds:

So this neighborhood that was for almost two hundred years a Jewish neighborhood and then a Bengali neighborhood is now becoming a chic place for millennials and others looking to live close to work.

Signs of gentrification

Will they tear down what remains of the evidence that the area was once Jewish? Will the Stars of David and Jewish signs and other reminders disappear as yet another upscale community of coffee shops and expensive restaurants takes over? I hope not, and if so, I am glad I got to see this area before that happens.

 

 

 

 


  1. My three-times great-grandmother Rachel died in London on January 9, 1851, and Hart and the two children still living with him in England came to the US shortly after her death. I still haven’t found out where she was buried. 
  2. See my earlier blog posts here and here

England, Part III: London and Come from Away

The final three days of our trip to England were spent in London. We’d visited London for a week back in 1995 and had seen most of the major attractions then—the British Museum, Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, the Tower of London, Hampstead Heath, and so on. So we decided to focus our three days on some sites we had not seen in 1995.

We stayed at the St Ermin’s Marriott hotel in the Westminster section of London. It is a gracious old hotel built in 1899 that Marriott took over and renovated. It was originally built as residential apartments and later used during World War II as a base for British espionage and intelligence operations. Churchill is said to have frequented its bar when meeting with officials there.

You enter the hotel after passing through a beautiful passageway lined with flowers, and the lobby is also quite magnificent with a white double staircase and reliefs on the ceilings and walls. We took a tiny, narrow elevator to our sixth floor room. The room itself was very small. The bed was perhaps eight inches from the outer wall, and there were no dressers for our clothes or space to tuck away our suitcases. But the room was clean and the bed comfortable, and the staff at the hotel was very friendly and helpful.

We spent our first day mostly strolling through the neighborhood near the hotel. We stopped at Westminster Cathedral and then passed Buckingham Palace where the queen was apparently hosting a garden party and there was a line of people dressed to the nines waiting to enter the palace grounds. The men were in morning coats and the women in bright dresses with elaborate hats. I wanted to take a picture, but it seemed a bit tacky, so I resisted.

Westminster Cathedral

Buckingham Palace

We weren’t sure this guard was real until we saw him move.

The Mall, the street that runs from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square

We admired the monument dedicated to Queen Victoria that stands right in front of the palace. I kept hearing the theme song from Victoria as we studied the monument from all angles and read about the significance of the various sculptural features.

From there we took a lovely walk through St. James Park. The gardens and the birds and ducks and geese and pelicans make it a true oasis in the middle of a city where there are far too many cars, taxis, tourist buses, and people.

We then walked over towards Westminster Abbey and Big Ben (which is currently being renovated and is wrapped in scaffolding as is much of the Parliament building) and noticed that the Supreme Court was having an educational open house for the public that day. So we spent some time there, looking at the court rooms. No court sessions were being held, so we did not get to see any judges in wigs and robs.

St Margaret’s at Westminster Abbey

The London Eye (and no, we did not ride it)

Harvey at Westminster Bridge with Parliament behind him

Poor Big Ben

Supreme Court library

We also passed the Royal Horse Guards and avoided being kicked or bitten by the horses as we made our way to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery, where we spent an hour or so enjoying the galleries devoted to 19th and 20th century paintings.

By then it was time to head back to the hotel because we had theater tickets that night in the West End. After a short rest, we walked from the hotel to Sartori, a very good Italian restaurant in the West End just a block or so from the theater.

And then we saw what I believe is the best theater I have ever seen. If you haven’t seen Come From Away yet, you are missing a true masterpiece. The music, the staging, the acting are all excellent, and the writing and the story are so moving and effective. I rarely cry at live theater (though often at movies and television) because I am usually too aware that what I am watching is “just” theater and thus I am somewhat emotionally removed from it. But this play grabbed me from the beginning and kept me emotionally engaged throughout. I cried, I laughed, I was there with them all in Gander, Newfoundland. Will the play stand the test of time when those who lived through 9/11 are no longer in the audience? I would think that its universal themes of human decency, kindness, and the need for hope and love will sustain it.

Our second day in London started with a walk from the hotel to Covent Garden, a neighborhood of lots of upscale shops and restaurants and a big market that resembles Fanueil Hall Market in Boston—aisles and aisles of food and stores and restaurants and street performers. And St Paul’s Church (not to be confused with St Paul’s Cathedral discussed below).

St Paul’s Church

Street performers in front of St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden

Our walk continued along the Strand and Fleet Street where the Royal Courts of Justice are located as well as many law firms and publishing companies. The streets were crowded with young men in suits and women dressed in business clothing—presumably many of them lawyers or business people. We went into the court building, but it was lunch hour so no courts were in session. We did pass a number of lawyers sitting with clients, so there were likely hearings scheduled for the afternoon.

Somerset House

Royal Courts of Justice

After a quick lunch, we reached St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Christopher Wren landmark that is still one of the tallest buildings in London.  You can see its dome from many vantage points in the city. When we saw what they were charging to enter the cathedral (twenty pounds each or about $26 each), we opted not to go inside.

St Paul’s in the distance on Fleet Street

Facade of St Paul’s Cathedral

The Dome of St Paul’s

Temple Bar, also designed by Christopher Wren

Here’s a map showing all the places we saw on the first day and a half in London. Our hotel is the circle at the lower left on Caxton Street and St Paul’s is at the upper right.

We decided to take “the Tube” or the Underground the rest of the way to Whitechapel, where we had arranged for a guided walking tour of London’s Whitechapel and Spitalfields neighborhoods, the neighborhood where my Cohen ancestors lived between about 1800 and 1851 before immigrating to the US. More on that in my next post.

The Oyster Card—London’s public transport pass

 

 

England Part II, The Cotswolds and Oxford

The morning we left Cornwall for the Cotswolds was the only really rainy time we had during our entire trip. While packing for the trip, we’d prepared for the worst after hearing how damp and cold England can be this time of year, but we had almost no rain and lots of sunshine during our entire stay. And that one rainy morning was spent traveling to the Cotswolds. (No, we didn’t drive—we decided that would be too stressful, and the train connections were not workable, so we hired a driver to take us.)

We arrived at the Kings Head Inn in Bledington around 1 pm, just in time for lunch.  And the rain stopped. The whole area was just charming.  Bledington is a tiny little hamlet, and, like all over the Cotswolds, all the houses and buildings are made of the same beige-colored stone.  According to Wikipedia, there are about 490 people in the village. The only commercial building we saw was the inn itself.

The Inn described itself as more a pub/restaurant with rooms than a hotel, so we weren’t sure what to expect. But our room was certainly adequate. It was in a separate building across a lovely courtyard from the actual inn. The room was small and somewhat dark, but nevertheless comfortable. And although we were a little concerned about noise—especially from the rooster who spent much of the day strutting around and crowing—we slept well, and the rooster had the decency not to start crowing until about 7 am.

During our first afternoon, we decided to take the “easy” walk suggested on a brochure distributed by the inn.  It was easy in the sense of not being physically challenging, but following the instructions turned out to be quite a challenge. Truly, it was not the fault of the person writing the directions, but rather the person who was interpreting them, i.e., me. Somehow I misread the first step in the directions and ended up walking the trail backwards! But I didn’t realize that until we were nearly done with the two hour walk. It’s not worth explaining how or why, but despite following the steps backwards, we ended up finding our way without any trouble, thinking we were doing the walk in the right direction. I am still mystified by how that could be!

For example, the directions included a step that described going under an archway formed by trees.  I thought this was what they meant.

Only when we passed the actual archway much later and were almost done with the walk did I realize that something was off.

Making it even more embarrassing was the fact that another woman had joined us on the walk, thinking I knew what I was doing. I kept acting like I did, and neither she nor my husband suspected anything. I only confessed to my husband after we were safely back at the inn. (As my good friend Art would say, “Frequently wrong, but never uncertain.”)

Even though we did it backwards, it was still a scenic and enjoyable walk, passing through fields with cows and sheep, going along a lovely little creek, and walking along an abandoned railroad path.

After dinner at the inn, we took another shorter walk, enjoying the light on the houses and the church from the late-setting sun. That time I knew what I was doing.

The next morning we were picked up by Peter of Cotswold Electric Bike Tours for our day of bicycling around the Cotswolds. We drove to Burford, which is about eight miles south of Bledington. It is a much larger town than Bledington with lots of shops and a big church, but also all in the same beige-colored stone. We met up with three other people joining us for the day—Carolyn and her adult daughters Meghan and Rachel from Salt Lake City (which, of course, led to a conversation about the Family History Library). After a quick lesson on how to use an electric bike, we were off on our thirty-mile trip around the area.

This was our first time on e-bikes, and we loved them. What a pleasure it was to get that “assist” going up some of the steeper hills. But for the most part the ride was relatively flat (or so it seemed after walking in Cornwall) and extremely scenic. We traveled from Burford to Windrush to Sherborne to Northleach to Bibury to Westwell and back to Burford.

Here are some of the images we captured during our almost seven-hour ride:

Burford

Flowers along the way

Norman doorway in the church in Windrush

Interior of Windrush church with Romanesque and Gothic features

Church graveyard, Windrush

Windrush

In Sherborne we saw some Morris dancers, a form of English folk dancing dating back to the fifteenth century. We also stopped for a short tea and cake break in Sherborne.  .

We continued on our way, going through Northleach and seeing its beautiful church.

Northleach

We stopped for a late lunch in Bibury, a town once described as the most beautiful in England and thus packed with many tour buses and tourists. It is beautiful, but the crowds and buses and traffic made that harder to appreciate.

Bibury

 

After lunch we continued on to Westwell before returning to Burford and the end of our tour.

The six of us all had a wonderful time with lots of laughs and good conversation, and Peter also taught us a great deal about English history and the history of the region, pointing out the architectural characteristics of each era as seen in some of the churches we visited. It was a fun and educational day and gave us a good overall view of the Cotswolds.

The next day we decided to take the train to Oxford, which is only half an hour by train from Kingham, the town next to Bledington. We walked the mile to the station, itself a pretty walk.

Cows in someone’s yard. Really.

We arrived in Oxford at 10:30 and signed up for a 1 pm walking tour. We then spent the rest of the morning walking through the city.  The city was filled with young people—university students and teenagers coming to tour the university. Everywhere we went there were large groups of teens touring together. And lots of impressive architecture.

The tower from the old northern wall of the city

We walked to the south end of the city to Christchurch—which is both a college within Oxford University and a church. Some of the scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed at Christchurch, we were told. It certainly has the feel and appearance of a proper English school.

Exterior of Christchurch, a college at Oxford

 

Grounds of Christchurch

Refectory at Christchurch

Refectory

Quadrangle at Christchurch

The church at Christchurch was magnificent, especially the stained glass windows.

At 1, we met up with our guide and a group of fellow tourists—about sixteen in total. Out of that group, we were the only Americans. There were people from Germany, France, Scotland, England, Australia, and India. The guide was very knowledgeable, and the tour focused on Oxford University and its unusual (by US standards anyway) college-university system.

I am still not sure how it all works, but from what we were able to understand, students apply to individual colleges within Oxford and study in tutorials with a tutor and just one or two other students in that college for their three years of undergraduate study. They produce papers each week for the tutors and have exams at the end of their first year and then at the end of their third year. Every college has its own library, church, and faculty, and the students eat and learn and live in their chosen college. But there are also some university-wide courses. I may have this all wrong. I still don’t know whether students have distribution requirements across several fields as in US schools. I also am not sure whether they take only one tutorial at a time or multiple courses in different subjects each semester. So if there are any Oxford experts out there who can explain this all, please let me know.

Our guide showed us many of the different colleges as well as some of the main libraries and other buildings.

House where Shakespeare stayed when he visited Oxford

Jesus College

Old bookstore

Sheldonian Theater

We enjoyed the comment about Bill Clinton

Bridge joining two parts of Hertford College

New College

Merton College

Corpus Christi College

Corpus Christi College

Radcliffe Camera

Bodleian library

Our guide pointed out the students who were finished with their last exam and the wild way they decorated themselves to celebrate the completion of their studies at Oxford.

When the tour ended, we walked a bit more and then made our way back to the train station, back to Kingham, and back to Bledington and the Kings Head Inn.  The following morning we left Bledington for the last stop on our trip to England, London.