Family History - tales around the tree
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Blundell - Wigan & Wirral Boniface - Sussex Bradley - Suffolk & Essex Bustin - Oxford Campleman - Hull & SE England Catt/Cattley - Kent & London Copping - Kent, Margate Courtney - Wirral & Liverpool Cox - Dorset & Sussex Coyne - Ireland & Chester Curtin - Ireland, Midlands & USA De Normanville - France, London & South Australia Divall - Sussex & Lewisham Foot - Dorset Greenway - Sussex & London Griesel - Germany, London & Essex Grubb - Lewisham Holbrook - London & Essex Hopkins - North Shields, Wirral & Liverpool Hurst - Hounslow & Rhyl Jagger - Essex Laird - Surrey & London Lovel - North Shields Milleman - Holland, Kent, London & USA Molnar - Hungary & London Morgan - Devon Murray - Kincardineshire, London & South Australia Paver - Hull & London Pearl - Suffolk & Essex Rankin - Glasgow, Midlands & Canada Robson - Lewisham & London Skinner - Essex Smart - Essex, London, Canada & Seattle Starr - Norfolk & Westminster Still - Kent/Sussex, Essex Tales around the tree unrelated stories I’ve come across in the course of research and too good to ignore The Gallery revived School photos, Midhurst and Birkenhead & more
Saturday 15th June 2024 - How do you solve a problem like Mihàly? Mihàly Molnàr married Elizabeth Alice Cattley in Christ Church, Camberwell on the 21st of May 1888. He says he's a bachelor, aged 34, and working as a Furrier. His father, also Mihàly, is also a Furrier, and as he is not described as Deceased, unlike Elizabeth's father Isaac Cattley, he was presumably to the best of his son's knowledge, still alive. The witnesses to the marriage are Louisa Cattley, Elizabeth's mother and Henry Rossner. In 1891, Mihàly (now Michael), and Elizabeth are living at 268 Commercial Road in Peckham with their two daughters. He's 37, working as a Fur Cutter and gives his country of birth as Hungary. Their daughter Nellie Yren had been born on the 20th March 1889 at 70 Falmouth Road, Newington; Emma Louisa had been born on the 28th July 1890. A daughter Dolly Elizabeth was born in 1893 but she sadly died shortly after her fourth birthday. In 1901 Mihàly is lodging at 722B Old Kent Road and gives his age as 47, he's widowed and working in the Fur Trade (Furrier). Elizabeth had died the previous year two months after the birth of their son Louis Alexander, and in 1901 the children are living with their grandmother Louisa Cattley at 248 Commercial Road, Peckham, and Louisa's daughter Emma is working as a Furrier. 1911 finds Mihàly boarding at 21 Asylum Road, Peckham; his age seems to have been changed from 59 to 57, and he's still working as a Fur cutter. He does (incorrectly, but usefully) say he's married and has been for 25 years, with four children, three of whom are living, and they are still at 248 Commercial Road in Peckham with their grandmother Louisa Cattley; Louisa's daughter Emma and her granddaughter Nellie Molnàr are both working as Fur machinists at a "Fur Factory". Mihàly died on the 21st October 1913 in the Camberwell Infirmary from Pulmonary tuberculosis and exhaustion; his daughter Nellie Molnàr, now of 4 Engleheart Road, Catford, registered his death and she gives his age as 61, his address as 10 Lugard Road, and his occupation as Furrier journeyman. I can't find Mihàly on the 1881 census, so assume he arrived from Hungary after that date. Louisa Cattley and her daughter Elizabeth Alice are both working as furriers at the time of that census, so that must be how Mihàly met his future wife. It seems more than likely that Henry Rossner, who was a witness to the wedding, was the link; he was a wholesale furrier born in Hungary in 1844 and probably employed the Cattleys as well as Mihàly. Does the fact that Henry Rossner was a witness suggest a closer relationship with Mihàly than employer/employee? If only Mihàly had become naturalised I'd know as much about him as I do Henry who was registered on the 1st April 1876: his address was 52 Gower Street, he was aged 32, married with no children, and a subject of the Austro- Hungarian Empire, born in Mátészalka, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, Hungary. He married twice: Maud Ellen (Nellie) Levy in 1873 and Marion Nathan in 1880; his daughter Ellen (Nellie) Amelia Frances was born in 1879. His Hungarian parents, Joseph and Getel Rossner, were living with him in Hampstead in 1891, and he had a brother Leopold who was naturalised on the 28th June 1899 at the age of 51; living in Stoke Newington he worked as a Furrier and mantle maker. Henry Rossner's business partner, Joseph Klein, obtained his naturalisation certificate on the same day as Henry. Joseph was also Hungarian and was born in Nagy-Karoli, Szatsmar in about 1837. In 1871 he has a Draper's business in Marylebone High Street and by 1873 Klein & Rossner are trading as Furriers from 2 Cheapside, E.C. and advertising for a "Muff stuffer" - "one who understands her business thoroughly". Things changed early in 1881 when the partnership broke up: Notice is hereby given that the Partnership lately subsisting between us the undersigned Joseph Klein and Henry Rossner carrying on business as Furriers at 126 Queen Victoria Street in the City of London under the style or firm of Klein and Rossner has this day been dissolved by mutual consent. Dated this 10th day of January 1881. [London Gazette] The 1881 census, though, finds both men still working in the fur trade, both as Wholesale Furriers. In 1891 Joseph is working as a Furrier, as are two of his sons; Henry, still a Wholesale Furrier at the time of this census, would spend the 1890s fighting - and failing - bankruptcy. March 19, 1895 Discharge suspended for six years from the date of the conclusion of the Public Examination, viz., 26th June 1894. Bankrupt to be discharged as from 26th June 1900 Grounds named in Order for refusing an Absolute Order of Discharge. Bankrupt’s assets are not of a value equal to 10s. in the pound on the amount of his unsecured liabilities; that he had omitted to keep such books of account as are usual and proper in the business carried on by him, and as sufficiently disclose his business transactions and financial position within the three years immediately preceding his bankruptcy; had continued to trade after knowing himself to be insolvent; had contributed to his bankruptcy by unjustifiable extravagence in living; had within three months preceding the date of the Receiving Order, when unable to pay his debts as they became due, given an undue preference to one of his creditors; and had on a previous occasion made a Composition with his creditors. [London Gazette 23 April 1895] In 1901 he seems to be back in business as a Furrier (Manufacturer); in 1911 he has moved with his wife to Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, but says he is an Employer, a Fur manufacturer in the City of London. Widowed by 1921, aged 80 he is living with his married daughter Nellie Collins and her family in Islington, and describes himself as a Manufacturing Furrier working on his own account at 79 Knightrider Street, E.C.4. Henry, 75 (!), survived a serious road accident in Islington in 1927 when he was hit by a motorcyclist and thrown into the road. The motorcyclist died, though his pillion passenger survived, and Henry was taken to Hackney Hospital. Henry died on the 28th October 1937 and was buried in the West Ham Jewish Cemetery. Joseph Klein died on the 9th of April 1897 and administration was granted to his widow Jane, with effects of £184 12s 3d. Noticeably in 1901 Joseph's sons have abandoned the fur trade and are working as Clerks. Was it the fees that prevented Mihàly from naturalising? After the 1870 Naturalization Act it seems that the basic cost of a naturalisation certificate was £5 to which had to be added the declaration and oath fees (7 x 2/6d) plus any agent costs. Another aspect of this Act was that a British woman who married a foreign man would lose her British nationality, so as Mihàly never naturalised, Elizabeth Alice, and their children, became in effect Hungarian: a fact that I think affected the family right up to and beyond the First World War. Mihàly’s granddaughter Nellie wrote: “The War had been on for two years when I was born in 1916. My father was in the Army, and my mother who was Hungarian was afraid to go out because of bad feelings. I believe she relied solely on a kind neighbour to get everything for her. She told us afterwards that we lived mostly on turnips and bananas.” So what was Mihàly’s relationship with Henry Rossner? Was it possible that three Hungarian furriers met completely by chance in London in the 1870s/80s? Mihàly called his daughter Nellie, obviously out of respect for Henry's wife and daughter, and Nellie Yren Molnàr also had a daughter called Nellie which all suggests a personal connection. I would like to think that Henry Rossner had come to England as an established Furrier. From his business carried on in Hungary he saw the opportunities offered by the fur market in London, and went into business with Joseph Klein - who came from the same part of Hungary - taking advantage of his retail experience as a Draper. So could Mihàly’s father Mihàly have worked for Henry Rossner as a Furrier in Hungary? And did Henry Rossner offer his son a position in his new London company? Fur work was passed down through families and it continued in Mihàly's descendants into the 1930s. In the 1921 census his daughter Nellie, now married and with four children, gives her occupation as Furrier, working at home, and her daughter Nellie wrote of her mother Nellie Yren Molnàr: "Mum had been a Court Furrier before she married, and we were very proud of the fact that she helped to put the ermine on the Coronation robes that were on display in the London Museum. She still did a lot of fur work privately. [...] Mum always made all our clothes [...] everything was trimmed with fur. I remember we had fur muffs – a very good idea for the winter. [...] For a while after Mum died (29th April 1931), people who did not know would bring fur work for her. I took on some of the little jobs such as lining fox furs; I had helped Mum when she was alive so I knew how to do it." She also recalled using silver sand to clean furs. Does DNA help at all in finding Mihàly’s origins? I only have one Ancestry match that includes the name Molnar and there is sadly some doubtful research connected with this tree, and it has no shared matches. MyHeritage isn’t much help either: only one match with the surname Molnar with no tree, but a list of shared matches that do go back to Hungary. If you search on FamilySearch for Mihàly Molnars born in Hungary in 1854 with a father Mihàly there are dozens of hits - it is after all a common name translating as Michael Miller. Of all the ones I have followed up none have the occupation of Furrier, and most are tenant or peasant farmers. My Mihàly has been hi- jacked by several Ancestry trees claiming that he had already been married in Hungary in 1873, had two children born there before coming to London, marrying Elizabeth Alice Cattley and eventually dying in Camberwell in 1913. His son Mihàly from his first marriage went to America from Antwerp in 1910, and tracing him back through his family in Deregnyő, Zemplén, Hungary or Slovakia they are all variants of földművelő or farmers; and no DNA matches - yet. Thursday 9th May 2024 - Sometimes DNA does provide a solution One of my brickwalls was the identity of my 3x great grandfather John Robson. As he doesn’t appear to have married Susannah Divall, the mother of Louisa Frances Robson who was born in Lewisham in 1843 … Between June 1841 and March 1843 Susannah Divall had a relationship that culminated in the birth of Louisa Frances Robson at the end of December 1843 in Lewisham Village. Louisa was baptised on the 31st January 1844 and her birth was registered on the 8th February 1844. On Louisa’s baptism her parents are named as John and Susannah Rosina Robson, and Susannah, who registered the birth, names herself as Susannah Rosina Robson formerly Divall. On both occasions it says that Louisa’s father is John Robson, a coachman. Which is all perfectly as it should be, except that there does not appear to be any marriage for Susannah and John. I looked at several possible candidates for this John Robson, assuming his name hadn’t been just plucked out of the ether by Susannah as she consistently used the surname Robson and declared herself a widow on her marriage in 1861 to Charles Cater. Now Ancestry DNA matches connect me to the descendants of the brother of one of the likely candidates, and additionally to members of his mother’s family. This is the John Robson who was the son of John Robson and Martha Booker; their eighth child and fifth son who was born in Greenwich on the 23rd of January 1820. This takes the family up north to the Robsons in Easington and Sunderland, originally from Newbrough in Northumberland, and the Bookers, a mining family from Brampton in Derbyshire. Wednesday 13th March 2024 - Pikes & Rogers of Iping and Stedham I’ve been working over the last few months on my personal history. This is a piece of research that arose out of that; though it’s nothing to do with my family I think it may be of interest to Midhurst local historians, and any feedback on this would be much appreciated (email link at bottom of this page). Wednesday 5th April 2023 - Mistaken identities Read more … Sunday 12th March 2023- Daniel Napoleon Bennett Read more … Sunday 5th March 2023 - Casellis: Blockmakers and Banjos Read more … Monday 16th May 2022 - Coppings in Margate Read more … Thursday 24th March 2022 - The Rickling Skinners Read more … Tuesday 8th March 2022 - Jagger to Smart Read more … Thursday 18th November 2021 - Sidney Tuffrey 1865-1961 Read more … Thursday 2nd September 2021 - Wolvercote - Balls, Busbys and Bustins Read more … Friday 27th November 2020 - Curtins & Rankins Read more … Tuesday 5th October 2020 - Charlotte Cox Read more … Tuesday 29th September 2020 - Jessie Mary Woodward Read more … Tuesday 4th August 2020 - The Queen’s Arms near Dartington, and the Alsop family of Newton Abbot Read more …
With family members from most of the counties of England (also Scotland, Ireland and continental Europe, and probably Wales and the Isle of Man) this is a collection of stories about people whom I have found interesting. This page reflects my current research and the sidebar lists the main names already researched to a greater or lesser extent.

Mihàly’s daughter Nellie Yren

Molnar … possibly an engagement

photo that has become reversed

… and his granddaughter Nellie:

“everything was trimmed with fur”