Benjamin and Isabella .. who?

We were recently contacted by a sharp-eyed researcher who suspected we had a duplicate entry for Benjamin Woolf. Normally, such duplications are relatively easy to look into, albeit administratively very much harder to rectify! But not so in the case of Benjamin Woolf.

In the first Family group we have his wife listed as Isabella Phillips. As does also the entry in Petra Laidlaw’s invaluable Anglo Jewish Database (ADJB) ID 3228. But neither of these listings show a marriage for the couple and, to date, none has been found. This is hardly surprising, as the family lived in the West End of London and were attached to the Western Synagogue where records are notoriously sparse. However, research done by descendants and the will of Abraham Rees  strongly supports the Phillips connection.

In the alleged duplicate family group, however, we also have Benjamin Woolf with much the same details but where wife is (Isabella?) Levy. And here, there is a Marriage record that is a good match for both date, place and Groom’s name.  We have checked our entry against Dr. Susser’s original transcription and we have copied it exactly.

This poses the following questions:

Firstly: Did Dr, Susser make an error in his transcription? Or did the Synagogue Secretary make an error in his contemporary entry in the Marriage Register? Since we cannot access the original manuscript, we are unable to investigate further.

Secondly: Did Benjamin Woolf marry twice? Or was there more than one contemporaneous person with similar dates and residences?

We’d love to have the time and the resources to do some extended research into this mystery but, apart from responding to daily queries from around the globe, we are currently processing over 100 new photographs from the West Ham cemetery: this task – the purpose for which was launched – and these must be our priority. So, for the time being, both Family Groups, and other possible linked duplicates. will remain on site. But if anyone out there has some positively sourced proof to support one or other of the marriages, we’d love to hear from you. Meanwhile. we would respectfully remind all researchers that, whilst we strive for accuracy, ultimately it is up to them to check and research the records for themselves. See our disclaimer: and also note that we do not provide a genealogy research service, free or otherwise.

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