An Englishman in New York – Success story

The SynagogueScribes and CemeteryScribes websites were born out of our personal interest in Anglo-Jewish genealogy.   We put our work out there on the Web in the hope that others will find it useful.  But forget about altruism: we do it because we love it!  And, of course, we are always delighted when we hear of success stories from researchers who have used the sites or, as in a recent case, when we were able to help a recent poster to one of the specialised forums and who did not know of our work, and had hit a seemingly inpenetrable brick wall.

The poster’s 3rd great-grandfather, Aaron Samuel, had evidently left London with his family for the United States around 1857 and, from there, she had successfully traced them until their deaths. On the UK side, she had located him, with wife, children and a named brother-in-law, Elisha Gottheil, in the 1851 Census, and with his father and sibs in the 1851 census.  And that was it.  No civil marriage had been found, and of course, Aaron’s birth in circa 1823 would have pre-dated the advent of mandatory civil registration in the UK.

Like her, we were unable to locate a civil marriage.   Nor did we find one on the SynagogueScribes website

Basic Search

Family Name = SAMUEL (or SAMUELS)

First Name = Aaron

Result = 0

But basic search identified an almost certain marriage for Aaron Samuel’s father, Lazarus.

Family Name = SAMUEL

First Name  =  Lazarus

Result = 2, of which one was for 1837 so much too late for him to be a father of Aaron born c 1824

Shows that Lazarus SAMUEL (Eliezer Lezer b. Moshe Jacob Aph\Akl\Aachen) married

Saratse NATHAN  (Sarah bat Meir Fishman) at the Great Synagogue London on 28 June 1815.

Assuming this is the correct marriage – and it seems safe to do so – we now have a name for Aaron Samuel’s grand father (Moshe Jacob) and the full name for his mother Saratse NATHAN

To see if we could find out more about Saratse’s family, we went to Advanced Search\Keyword and entered the word “Fishman”.  This produced 16 results, of which 3 had the family name of NATHAN.   We immediately ruled out the 1812 burial record for Elizabeth as she was a daughter of Solomon Fishman, whereas we were looking for a Meir Fishman.  That left Saratse’s marriage and one for an evident brother Simon Finding a sib, particularly a male sib, is always helpful as their records, both Community and Civil my contain additional information.

The lack of a civil or community marriage record for Aaron continues to create questions over the true identity of his wife, but this should be overcome if the poster orders civil birth certificates for one or more of their children.

In the meantime, we thought it might be helpful to find out more about the 1851  Elisha GOTTSEL Brother In Law Married M 30 1821 Shoemaker  b. Germany  so we conducted a further search in the SynagogueScribes database as follows.

Because of the uncertainty of the exact spelling of both his Family and First Name

We entered three letters only in each field

Family Name  = GOT

First Name = ELI

This produced one result which can be found at

From this we learn his wife’s family name and patronymic and, more importantly Elisha’s father’s Hebrew Name: Issachar Berel.  If Elisha is Phoebe Samuel’s brother, then that would indicate that she was nee GOTTSEL\GOTTSHEIL\variant spellings and that she, too, would have been bat Issachar Berel.

Another serious possibility arises, however that must be considered.

It may have been that Elisha GOTTSEL’s wife, Anne nee LEVY, was a sister of Phoebe SAMUEL.  Phoebe is shown on her tombstone as having been born in London and again on the 1851 census as being born in Whitechapel, whereas Elisha GOTTSEL who is only two years older than her, was born in Germany, so the jury is still out on this one and the Poster still has much work to do.

Harold Lewin ( Birth Records of the Great & Hambro Synagogues London, Second Edition. Harold & Miriam Lewin 2009. ISBN 978-965-91261-0-1) records the birth of their daughter Rose GOTTHEIL (Rahel bat Elia) on 18 July 1850.

The Poster might wish to obtain  the will of Elias Gottheil, died 1899 to see what, if any mention is made of additional family members and also his Naturalisation Papers  which can be ordered and downloaded online

We do not normally conduct research enquires but, since the Poster did not live in the UK and was, apparently, unaware of our websites, we were more than happy to introduce her to them and show her how she might use them to help with her research.  Our work in this respect was far from exhaustive and by some judicious use of the Advanced Search and Keyword options, she may find more of her ancestors therein.   She kindly provided us with a photograph of Aaron Samuel’s tombstone in Washington cemetery in New York and this can be found here.


Our records are regularly updated:  further BANCROFT ROAD\MAIDEN LANE burials are in the pipe line on

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