Wednesday, February 24, 2016

London Pikholz: Part One - Morris

The plan for a London set of Pikholz blogs has been sitting on my desk for at least a year and now that I am scheduled to speak in London on the first of June, it's about time that I present them. The first two - Morris and Jacob - are mysteries. Today I'll introduce Morris. Jacob will follow, probably next week. (I am pleased to say that Morris and Jacob do not appear to interact, so I can write about them separately.) Steve Pickholtz has been intricately involved in this whole London project.

Rather than tell the story and show the documents, I am going to do it the other way round. I'll present the documents in chronological order and then discuss the likely scenarios.

No. 1: The June 1893 birth record of Moses Rywen Pikholz in Strzeliska Nowe.

Moses Rywen (Moshe Reuven) was born to Ryfke Fenster and paternity was affirmed (at the far right) by Samuel Pikhoz (sic). We know that several of the children of this Samuel went to Argentina and one ended up in South Africa. One of the descendants told me some years ago that there was a brother Morris, but no one seems to know what happened to him. Two other children in this family are unaccounted for, Jack and Golde and we have neither ages nor age order for any of the three.

No. 2: A 1901 census record
Line nine: Seven year old Morris Pichols, born in Cape Colony (South Africa).

No. 3: A 1911 UK census record
Line 13: Morris Pickholtz, age seventeen, wood carver, born Whitechapel London

No. 4: Passenger list UK to Canada 1911
Morris Pickholtz, age 18, Hebrew race, wood carver but stamped "farm labourer"

 No. 5: 1911 Canadian census, June 9, Blandford Township, Ontario
Line 34, Morris Pickholtz, born September 1892, farm labourer, British race

No. 6: Record of WWI medal

Morris Pickholtz was awarded this medal. He served in France during the First World War.

I wrote to the Ministry of Defense some years ago to inquire about who he is (birth date, birth place, parents etc.) and what he did to warrant the medal. I did not receive a reply.

No. 7: 1919 passenger list to Canada
Bottom row - Pickholt Morris, age 29, born in Canada, race British, farmer

No. 8: The marriage of Morris Pickholtz and Dora Deitch, December 1927

We have several items here. The British marriage record above which shows Morris to be 35 years old, a photograph of the couple, and the authorization by the London Beth Din (below). The authorization on the left is dated January 1928 and gives Morris' name as Moshe ben Shemuel. The one on the right which was not completed is dated the same as the civil document, has no mention of the wife and calls Morris "Moshe ben Yaakov.."

I corresponded with Dora's family but no one was old enough to know anything about Morris. They had no children.

No. 9: The death of Morris, 1933

Three items showing Morris' 1933 death at age forty. His death certificate (above), his grave (right) and the Burial Society record (below).

There is no new information on any of them.

Dora died in 1948 and is buried elsewhere.

So, we have nine items here. a Galician birth record which may or may not be relevant, two UK census records, one Canadian census record, two passenger lists, one WWI medal and the marriage and death records. We are talking here about one, two or perhaps three men with the same name, born in 1892-3.

The marriage and death records are the same person, as the same wife is mentioned in both.

The name of the father on the marriage record matches the Galician birth record (Samuel). Despite the fact that the second given name (Reuven) is never mentioned, I ascribe a high probability to that birth record as being for this man. I have no other candidate among the other Pikholz birth records.

The "one Morris" scenario says he was born in east Galicia, went to Argentina/South Africa and somehow ended up in London before age seven. Then after the 1911 census, went to Canada where he became a farm laborer instead of what he had been before - a wood carver. Back to UK to serve in WWI and back to Canada afterwards. Returned to UK, married and died a few years later.

The holes in that start at the very beginning, his going as a young child to the southern hemisphere. Three of his brothers indeed did go there, but only in the 1920s. So he was unlikely to be the child from Capetown in the 1901 census, even though I note that the South American sons of Samuel have no idea what happened to their Morris.

Then there are the inconsistent birthplaces. I can see if the Canadians mistakenly thought he was born in England, but the 1919 passenger manifest says he was born in Canada. And the 1911 UK census has him born specifically in Whitechapel London. (FreeBMD lists no such birth.)

And would the Canadian census have listed his nationality as Canadian when he was fresh off the boat? I wouldn't think so, but I don't know anything about Canadian immigration policies.

And the differing birth dates bother me a bit. If they were the only issue, that would be one thing. But it's cumulative.

Once "one Morris" breaks down, the options are not clear. Is Morris from cape Colony the same as Morris in Canada? Not likely. But then we have no obvious conflicts in events, only in information. We do not have two marriages or two deaths, for instance, and each one disappears in tandem with the "one Morris" scenario.

I'll have to give this a think. Maybe when we get to see the 1921 censuses for Canada and UK. Ideas and strategies would be appreciated.

Housekeeping notes
1 June 2016, 7:00 – Guild of One-Name Studies, Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, ORT House, 126 Albert Street, Camden, London, NW1 7NE

3 June 2016, 4:30 – Ontario Genealogical Conference, International Plaza Hotel, 655 Dixon Road, Toronto:
Seminar on Genetic Genealogy, by invitation only

5 June 2016, 10:00 – Ontario Genealogical Conference, International Plaza Hotel, 655 Dixon Road, Toronto:
Lessons in Jewish DNA: One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey

5 June 2016, 7:00 – Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto, location TBA
Beyond a Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove:

24 July 2016, 1:30 – JGS of Maryland Hadassah, 3723 Old Court Rd., Suite 205, Baltimore
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove

7-9 August 2016, TBA – 36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Seattle:
Lessons in Jewish DNA – One Man’s Successes and What He Learned On the Journey’s Lazarus Tool As It Applies to Two Kinds of Endogamy
Beyond a Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove

More in preparation. 'Nuff said.


  1. In 1932 Morris and Dora Pichholz [sic] appear on the electoral roll for 125 Christian Street, Stepney. They both have residence qualification and occupational qualification to register.

    1. Thank you. I have them on an election list but it's a single page with no date. Probably the one you cite.

  2. Also there is a Morris Pickholz, son of Annie (widow) of O. M. St., admitted to Hanbury Street School 20 Jun 1898, born 24 Jul 1893 (24.7.93). He previously had not attended school and left this school 23 Jul 1900. In the remarks column is 'Orphan Asylum'. O. M. St. might be Old Montague Street, Spitalfields

    1. Thank you. I know this Annie and she is part of next week's story. But I did not know she had a Morris. The birth date fits into the story above well. The really odd thing is the aborted marriage record which has his father as Yaakov. Annie's husband is recorded as Jacob.

      Where can I find this record?

    2. This is in Ancestry's London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840-1911

    3. Annie Pickholz death registration
      Apr-May-Jun 1900
      PICKHOLZ, Annie, age 32, Bethnal Green, vol.1c, p.120
      This would explain the discharge from Hanbury Street School and the transfer to an orphanage.

      I note that there is a 2-year old Becky Pickholz death in 1898 in Whitechapel. is she related?

    4. We have deaths for Annie (1900) and her husband Jacob (1898) with burials in Plashet - hers with a stone, his without. We also have Mary (aka Becky) born 1896, died 1898. This Samuel seems to be this couple's child. The odd thing (which I'll discuss later) is that we have a "Jacob S." in 1901 who appears to be that Samuel, despite the fact that Samuel's father is Jacob.

    5. Who is Samuel? I haven't come across him.

    6. Samuel is part of the "Jacob" story.

  3. THe 1901 census and 1911 census both have Morris in or associated with the Jews Hospital and Orphan Asylum, Norwood. So this is likely the same boy. Some records from the Hospital and Asylum are deposited at the London Metropolitan Archives but prior permission from the United Synagogue is required to consult them.

  4. There is a Dec 1914 record of Morris Pickholtz, farmer, 27, arriving at Liverpool from St Johns N[ew] B[runwick].
    The age is a bit out, perhaps a mistranscription of 21? But this would appear to be him coming back to England to enlist.

  5. Rifleman M Pickholtz, no.8411 of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, embarked for France 19 May 1915 and was discharged under regulation 392 on 23 Jan 1919.
    This is certainly the same man as the medal card you have. The discharge date would fit with the passenger list you have.

    I'm confident that there is one Morris Pickholz from the 1898 school entry through to the 1919 passenger list. The dates fit too well for anything else.

    1. Actually his discharge was under King's Regulation 392(xvi), which was: "No longer physically fit for war service"
      So he had probably suffered some injury or illness during his service.

    2. To add a little more detail: the roll for the British War Medal and Victory Medal shows him as a Private in the 9th Battalion King's Royal Rifles, followed by being a Corporal in the 7th Battalion and then the 18th Battalion KRR.

      The 9 Battalion war diaries are available butonly start on 1 May 1915, so they are not helpful in filling the gap between the Dec 1914 passenger list and the emarkation date. However a little detail of their movements is given by The Long, Long Trail

  6. In Apr 1923 he was back again, Morris Pickholt, age 34, arrived from St Johns NB into Liverpool intending to stay at 54 Kay Street, Sittingbourne, Kent. He was a fireman. Although his last permanent residence was Canada he intended to permanently reside in England.

    1. Thank you, Andrew, for all of the above. We obviously have work to do here. And perhaps the story of Jacob planned for next week is not as ready for prime-time as I had thought.

    2. A new twist, Andrew. After both the 1911 and the 1919 voyages from Liverpool to Halifax, there are border crossings into St Albans Vermont. They are the same years but without dates. Yet he was enumerated in Canada in 1911, not like a tourist or transient. And both the 1914 and 1923 voyages to UK are from Canada, not US. Of course those St Albans crossings may have been brief visits.

    3. To get from Halifax to Blandford where he was enumerated it looks as if he could go via Montreal and Toronto, or via Montreal to Albany NY and Buffalo. St Albans would then be the crossing point into the US. But he should also show up exiting the US at Buffalo or Niagara

    4. I do not see an index of such crossings on Ancestry.

    5. Images of the records are on Collections Canada, but they are not indexed.

  7. I am sure you already thought of this Israel, but what about probate or land records? Anything at all?

    1. Thank you, Ariela. Truth is I know nothing about UK land records and almost nothing about UK probate. But I'd be surprised if anything of note showed up in either. On the other hand, as Andrew has already demonstrated, I have alot to be surprised about here.

    2. I checked the England and Wales Probate and he does not appear under Pick*, Pich*, Pikh*. Nor does his wife.

      Land records are unlikely to be helpful, and they are not online.

  8. Here's a birth registration that could be relvant but it is about 6 months out from the two other dates we have:
    Jan-Feb-Mar 1894
    PECHOLZ, Morris, Whitechapel vol.1c p.297

  9. This appears to be the Morris in the 1911 census (No. 3 above) who was born in Whitechapel.

    I obviously have to go over all of these from the beginning. thank you so very much!