Jacob was the brother of Abraham and so the children of Jacob and Rachel were Henry/Hyman’s cousins.
According to the 1911 census, Jacob and Rachel had married c1877/78. There is no British marriage record for them and we assume that they married in their home country before coming to England.
Over the years of the censuses, their places of birth varied from Germany to Russia or Poland. This may have been due to what was happening to their own country, presumably Lithuania, as per the letters of Henry/Hyman’s brother Lewis.
By 1881, Jacob and Rachel had become British subjects.
Examination of the censuses between 1881 and 1911 plus the General Register Office birth certificates and/or searchable birth database (which notes the mother’s maiden name) gives us the following:
Jacob Miller: born c1855, in Germany, occupation house painter and, later, paper hanger.
Rachel Miller: born c1855, in Germany, died aged 61, 1916, Leeds.
Dora: born 1880, Sculcoates, Hull, Yorkshire, England, mother’s maiden name Davison.
Hyman: born 1881, Sculcoates, Hull, Yorkshire, England, mother’s maiden name Horwich.
Ellis: born 1883, Hull, Yorkshire, England, mother’s maiden name Davis.
Isaac: born 1886, Hull, Yorkshire, England, mother’s surname Goldstein.
Lewis: (aka Louis) born 1889, Leeds, Yorkshire, England, mother’s surname Goldstone (presumably a simple clerical misunderstanding of the accent at the registration).
Emma: (aka Emily) born 1890, Leeds, Yorkshire, England, mother’s maiden name Goldstein
Samuel: born 1893, born Leeds, Yorkshire, mother’s maiden name Goldstein.
Betsy: (aka Bessie), born 1895, born Leeds, Yorkshire, mother’s maiden name Goldstein.
Abraham: born 1898 in Cardiff, south Wales, father’s name Robert, mother’s maiden name Goldstein.
Ellis’ birth appears as a handwritten addition to typed GRO index on FMP and doesn’t appear on GRO database. His mother’s maiden name was supplied by Ken Baxter of the Pearl-Baxter tree on Ancestry. His daughter in-law is descended from Dora.
Now, I am a simple family historian and I do not consider my needs to be too great. However, is it too much to ask that Rachel, the mother of these nine children, should have had her maiden name recorded with her actual maiden name rather than as Davison, Horwich, Davis (corruption of Davison?) and Goldstein x 6 (including the Goldstone corruption)?
One woman, at least three possible identities.
One woman, eight children fathered by Jacob, one supposedly by Robert.
Who was Rachel Miller?
And who was Robert?
I went back to the censuses.
1881: 5 Regent Terrace, Sculcoates, Hull, Yorkshire
Jacob aged 26, Rachel aged 23. Jacob was a painter. Both born in Germany but British subjects by then. With them was their daughter Dora, aged 1, born in Hull.
And four members of the Goldstein family, described as Jacob’s brothers in law, sister in-law and niece.
1891: 46 Concord Street, Leeds, Yorkshire
Jacob aged 35 and Rachel aged 27. Jacob was a house painter. They were both described as born in Russia Poland.
With them were six children, Dora, Hyman, Ellis and Isaac born in Hull, Louis and Emma born in Leeds.
Betsy Goldstein, aged 23, was lodging with them.
1901: 93 Albert Grove, Leeds, Yorkshire
Robert Miller, aged 49, and Rachel aged 42, Robert was a painter. They were both born Russia Polish subjects.
With them were nine children: Dora, Hyman, Ellis and Isaac born in Hull and Louis, Emma, Samuel, Betsy and Abraham born in Leeds. All were listed as children of Robert.
Hyman was a painter and Dora, Ellis and Isaac worked in tailoring.
Dora’s daughter Rennie was born at 93 Albert Grove, Leeds, in 1905.
With the family in 1901 was Myer Branski, aged 12, born in Hull, nephew of Robert.
1911: 93 Albert Grove, Leeds, Yorkshire
By 1911, Jacob was once again noted as the head of the household, aged 58, a painter and paperhanger.
Rachel was aged 54. they had been married 33 years and had 9 children of the marriage, all living.
With them were Hyman, Ellis, Emily (Emma), Samuel, Betsy (Bessie) and Abraham.
Dora had left for South Africa in 1902 and married Alfred Herman in 1904. They returned to England, where their first daughter, Rennie, was born in Leeds in 1905. Their second daughter, Nellie, was born in Glasgow in 1906, at 25 Morgan Street, Govan (in the district of Hutchesontown).
Why was Dora in Glasgow? Could she have been visiting relatives, an uncle or cousins? The 1901 census shows the address to be a tenement building with eight families living there, unfortunately none of them were named Miller.
However, in 1911 there was Aaron Miller, born c1866, living in the parish of Hutchesontown. Could he have been a younger brother of Abraham, born c1845 and Jacob born c1855? In a large family, a spread of 20 or so years between the oldest and youngest was not unknown.
Aaron’s wife was Hannah, also born in Russian Poland. Their children were Sarah, Annie, Gerty, and Isaac (all born in Ireland) plus Harry and Manuel, both born in Glasgow. The eldest daughter, Sarah, was aged 19.
Also in 1911 was Barnett Miller, aged 26, born in Russia, Kletsk. His wife was Fanny was born in Russia Vedz. Their children were daughter Nima and son Benjamin, both born in Glasgow. They were living at 39 Hutcheson Square, in the burgh of Hutchesontown. We know that Dora already had a cousin named Barnett, son of Abraham and Rose and that the children’s names often reappear between the families, so was this Barnett a cousin of Dora? Was he the son of Aaron and Hannah, born before they left Russia?
So yes, it is quite possible that Dora was visiting relatives in Hutchesontown when her daughter Nellie was born there. Did she go to introduce her daughter Rennie and to say goodbye, knowing that she would soon be emigrating to the US? Did Nellie arrive prematurely, whilst Dora was in Glasgow?
in 1908 Dora and her two daughter left England for the USA, to join Alfred, who had travelled the year before.
Phyllis Baxter, who is the granddaughter of Nellie, has the Pearl-Baxter tree on Ancestry and we have been in communication. She has supplied some family information which supplements my factual research and also the photo of Dora, her husband Alfred and their children, Rennie and Nellie.
Lewis aka Louis or Lew, had emigrated in 1910.
Hyman emigrated just a few months after the 1911 census.
Emily joined them in New York in 1912.
By 1915 Lewis, Hyman and Emily were staying with Dora, Alfred and their family in New York.
Abraham, aged 17, following the death of Rachel in March 1916, emigrated on 6 May 1916 to the USA. Unfortunately, he then disappears from sight. Phyllis wonders if he changed his name to Archibald, as she has an uncle Archie.
Bessie followed on 27 May 1916. She was sponsored by Ellis and her father Jacob travelled with her.
This left just Ellis, Isaac and Samuel apparently remaining in Leeds.
Ellis was living at home with Rachel and Jacob in 1911. He was single, aged 26, a tailor’s machinist.
Between 1911 and 1940 there were ten possible marriages, five for Ellis, three for Eli and two for Elias but only two of these were in Yorkshire. In 1934 an Ellis Miller married Sarah Taylor and in 1939 there was a marriage to Leah Lefcovitch in 1939. I ordered the earlier one but it was for somebody aged 22, born c1912 so clearly not the Ellis I was looking for.
It is possible that Ellis moved way from Leeds or married elsewhere but unfortunately the 1911 census is the most recent we have access to in the UK and we have to wait patiently to 2022 before the 1921 census is released.
There is a death record for Ellis Miller, aged 70, in Leeds in 1954. He would have been born c1884 so looks more likely to be the Ellis we’re looking for and I have ordered the death certificate though, unless the death was registered by a recognisable relative, there may be no way of knowing if this was the correct Ellis.
However, one of Phyllis’ cousins thinks that Ellis went to Australia.
Isaac appears to have disappeared. The last sighting of him was in the 1901 census when he was then living with Jacob and Rachel, aged 15, working in tailoring, as were Dora and Ellis.
We know that Dora and her cousin Henry/Hyman had travelled to South Africa in 1902. Did Isaac go with them? Did he stay in South Africa or, like Henry/Hyman, go on to Australia?
Phyllis thinks that Isaac died aged 96 in Australia but, without supporting information, it is only family legend.
However, she also writes that there is family still in South Africa, who were tailors and seamstresses.
Samuel is on the 1930 census in Buffalo, Erie, New York, with his wife Bessie who was born in New York. Samuel was 36 and had immigrated in 1924. His father, Jacob, was staying with him, having emigrated in 1916.
Abraham, Robert and Rachel
The problem with the censuses is that they only tell us where people were on one particular night every ten years so it is quite possible that they moved between the censuses.
We know that in 1881 the family was in Sculcoates, Hull. By 1891 they had moved to Concord Street, Leeds and was still at Concord Street, Leeds, when Samuel was born in 1893 and Betsy in 1895.
By 1901 the family had moved to Albert Grove, Leeds but had the family experimented with a move to Cardiff, during which time Jacob changed his name to Robert?
The trade directory for 1897 shows an R. Miller, a glazier in Cardiff. I can find no other census or directory records for this R. Miller.
Abraham was born at the same address in 1898, father Robert, mother Rachel.
Whilst the directory shows R. Miller to have been a glazier, Abraham’s birth certificate shows Robert to have been a house painter and journeyman, which fits with Jacob’s occupation on the censuses. It is the same occupation as that given on the birth certificate for Abraham’s brother Lewis in 1889.
It seems that Jacob and Robert were the same person and, for whatever reason the family made the move to Cardiff, it didn’t work out and by 1901, the family had returned to Leeds, though Jacob, at least temporarily, still used the name Robert.
By 1911 he had reverted to his name of Jacob and the family was still at Albert Grove, Leeds, where they remained at least until 1916, when Rachel died in March and Abraham and Bessie emigrated in May.
Rachel died on 14 March 1916, at 93 Albert Grove, Leeds. She was 61 (born c1855). Jacob, a master house painter, was present when she died and registered her death.
By then, four of their children were in New York and Abraham and Bessie were to follow within weeks.
It seems highly likely that Jacob decided to accompany his daughter when she emigrated, and to spend the rest of his days close to at least six of his nine children.
The ship SS New York left Liverpool on 27 May 1916, with both Jacob and Bessie on board. According to the passenger list, Jacob was 66 and Bessie was 19.
So far I haven’t tracked Jacob on the 1920 census but the 1930 census has him with his son Samuel and daughter in-law Bessie in Buffalo, Erie, New York. Jacob was then 78, widowed, and had immigrated in 1916.
1. Hull was a large port on the river Humber, the place where many people arrived from Russia and what we now call the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
It is clear that many immigrants stayed in Hull and made their home there. Others like Jacob and Rachel initially stayed in Hull but later moved to Leeds, about 60 miles almost due west.
2. Just to complicate matters, I came across naturalisation paper for Saul Miller, a wine merchant, of 48a Trafalgar Street, Leeds in 1915. He was born in Annisisik, in the province of Kovna, Russia on 22 December 1882. He was married to Ada and he gave his parents as Jacob and Rachel Miller, also Russian.
We know that ‘our’ Jacob and Rachel were in Hull 1880 when their daughter Dora was born. And that Hyman and Ellis were born in 1881 and 1883 so for Saul to have been their son, born in Kovna in 1882, Rachel would have had to return to Kovno for a few months, and then left him there.
We’ve accounted for the number of children which Jacob and Rachel had according to the 1911 census, all born in England. But it also says that Jacob and Rachel were married c1877/78. And we know Dora was born in 1880.
Could Saul have been mistaken in the year he was born? Was he actually born before Jacob and Rachel left Russia and he was left there with family members, perhaps to be brought over later, once they’d established a home? Perhaps the plans went wrong and Saul remained where he was.
Saul is on the 1911 census with Ada, both born in Russia but it is the first one on which they appear. He was 28, she was 35. They had only been married a year and Saul’s stepson, [step]daughter, sister in-law and three nephews and niece were staying with them.
Saul married Ada Robinson in Leeds in 1909.
They are together on the 1939 Register, living in Leeds. He was born on 22 December 1882, she was born in on 1 January 1877. Saul was still a wine and spirits merchant dealer.
Saul died in Leeds in 1966.
If Saul was the son of our Jacob and Rachel, it means that he was in Leeds in time to meet his parents before Rachel died in 1916 and Jacob went to the USA.
Or were his parents an entirely different Jacob and Rachel Miller?
So many ifs, ands or buts. So many questions. And no way of answering them. But perhaps Annisisik in Kovna would be a useful place to start looking when we employ a Lithuanian genealogist to investigate David’s roots further.