The 1838 certificate, from which the extract below was taken, was among the earliest of its sort, coming only months after the formation of the General Register Office for England and Wales in 1837. This certificate celebrates the marriage of Peter Simon Myers, from Poland, to Londoner, Charlotte Isaacs, on the 12th of March that year. Peter and Charlotte are my great-great-great grandparents.
The census two years later shows that Peter and Charlotte had already begun their family, with son, Joseph. Peter's trade throughout his life was in shoe making, but by the time of the 1881 census he was recorded as "employer".
|Peter Myers||24*||Head||M||M||Shoe Maker||Born in 'Foreign Parts'|
Their daughter, Rose, born in June 1847, was the fourth of ten children, and was my great-great grandmother. Peter and Charlotte appeared to have spent most of their lives living in Leeds, Yorkshire, where the first eight of their children were born - but lived for a brief spell in London where they had their last two children, Edward and Emily.
2 Blossom Street:
|Peter Myers||44||Head||M||M||Shoe Maker||Poland|
|Elizabeth Myers*||40||Wife||M||F||Bishopsgate, Middlesex|
|Joseph Myers||21||Son||U||M||Shoe Maker||Houndsditch, London|
|Caroline Sherensky||19||Daughter||M||F||Leeds, Yorkshire|
|Isaac Myers||17||Son||M||Shoe Maker||Leeds, Yorkshire|
|Emanuel Myers||11||Son||M||Leeds, Yorkshire|
|James Myers||8||Son||M||Leeds, Yorkshire|
|Rosetta Myers||13||Daughter||F||Leeds, Yorkshire|
|Magnus Myers||5||Son||M||Leeds, Yorkshire|
|Esther Myers||4||Daughter||F||Leeds, Yorkshire|
|Edward Myers||3m||Son||M||Middlesex, Norton Folgate|
|Emanuel Sherensky||6m||Granddaughter||F||Middlesex, Norton Folgate|
A few years later and it's Rose's turn to get married to a Polish gentleman - a general dealer named Hart Abrahams, in 1865. As can be seen from Rose's birth certificate above, she should have been recorded as being 18 years of age when married, but has incorrectly been recorded as 17.
Hart's age is also a difficult thing to be certain of. His age on their wedding day is written as 20 years old, suggesting a birth of around 1845. His death certificate records his age at 48 in February 1895, suggesting that he might have been born around 1846 (assuming that he would've been 49 later in 1895). However, his age in the 1871 census is marked as 38, and in 1881 is clearly 49, suggesting he was born around 1831-32! The mystery remains currently unsolved.
Hart and Rose also had a large family (nine children) and their third child, Miriam (1871), was my great grandmother.
Below is an extract from Miriam's birth certificate. Note how Miriam's name has been misspelled "Mariam"? Because of this mistake, this particular certificate took a bit of finding, including purchasing the wrong one for another "Miriam Abrahams"!
Miriam appears in her first census in 1881 (below) as a nine year old, having just missed out appearing in the 1871 census.... she was born just ten days after that census was taken! In keeping with many families traditions of favouring certain names, some years later Miriam and Hyman named four of their children Rose, Lily, Hart and Minnie....
4 Gibraltar Walk (Shop):
|Hart Abrahams||49||Head||M||M||General Dealer||Poland|
|Rose Abrahams||32||Wife||M||F||Leeds, Yorkshire|
|Barnett Abrahams||13||Son||M||London, Middlesex|
|David Abrahams||11||Son||M||London, Middlesex|
|Miriam Abrahams||9||Daughter||F||London, Middlesex|
|Simeon Abrahams||8||Son||M||London, Middlesex|
|Ada Abrahams||7||Daughter||F||London, Middlesex|
|Lilly Abrahams||5||Daughter||F||London, Middlesex|
|Manasseh Abrahams||3||Son||M||London, Middlesex|
|Minnie Abrahams||1||Daughter||F||London, Middlesex|
Now in 1891, we can see Miriam as a young lady married to Hyman, and about to begin their own family - this time a more modest five children. Miriam, like her mother and grandmother before her, also married a man from Poland.
37 Pelham Street:
|Miriam Abrahams||20||Wife||M||F||Bethnal Green, London|
An extract from Hart's death certificate showing him to be only 48 in 1895.
Here is Miriam with her family in 1902
The children at the back are Rosie, Hart and Lily.
Seated are the parents Miriam and Hyman.
On Miriam's lap is Minnie and on Hyman's lap is my grandmother Esther, known to most people throughout her long life as "Hetty". She was my mum's mum.
All of Hyman and Miriam's children were given the last name of "Abrahams" on their birth certificates but at the same time, rather confusingly, the family officially went by the surname of Miller. (See the 1901 census extract below.) The name was almost certainly anglicised to help the family run business - Hyman was a master tailor.
26 Pemell's Place:
|Miriam Miller||29||Wife||M||F||Peckham, London|
|Rose Miller||8||Daughter||F||Peckham, London|
|Leah Miller||4||Daughter||F||Peckham, London|
|Hart Miller||3||Son||M||Peckham, London|
|Esther Miller||1||Daughter||F||Peckham, London|
At the time that this census was taken (31st March 1901) Miriam would have been three months pregnant with their last child, Minnie. Also, their second daughter, Leah, was known throughout her life as Lily.
The certificate above records the birth of "Hetty" (Esther) who would one day become my "Nanna"....
The first photo shows Hetty (known affectionately by my brother and me, as "Nanna Martin") as a thirty year old in July 1929. As you can see from the lower-left photo, my grandmother was still a lovely looking lady in her mid 70s.
On the right is Hetty's husband Arthur Martin. (Born - Arthur Nunes Martinez.) Unfortunately, I was only ten months old when he died in February 1966 and so I never got to know my grandfather and have no memories of him. My memories of Nanna Martin though, are plentiful and all happy ones. Hetty was the warmest and most generous and loving grandma that one could wish to have. Arthur's brother, Baron, also changed his name to Martin and coincidentally married Hetty's sister, Minnie.