The Miller (formerly Abrahams) family

The 1838 certificate, from which the extract below was taken, was among the earliest of its sort, coming only months after the formation of the General Register Office for England and Wales in 1837. This certificate celebrates the marriage of Peter Simon Myers, from Poland, to Londoner, Charlotte Isaacs, on the 12th of March that year. Peter and Charlotte are my great-great-great grandparents.

Certificate extract

The census two years later shows that Peter and Charlotte had already begun their family, with son, Joseph. Peter's trade throughout his life was in shoe making, but by the time of the 1881 census he was recorded as "employer".

Leeds, Yorkshire 1841

Bridge Street:

NameAgeRel.M. StatusSexOccupationBirthplace
Peter Myers24* Head Shoe Maker Born in 'Foreign Parts' 
Charlotte Myers20 Wife  
Joseph MyersSon   
Certificate extract

Their daughter, Rose, born in June 1847, was the fourth of ten children, and was my great-great grandmother. Peter and Charlotte appeared to have spent most of their lives living in Leeds, Yorkshire, where the first eight of their children were born - but lived for a brief spell in London where they had their last two children, Edward and Emily.

Tower Hamlets, Middlesex 1861

2 Blossom Street:

NameAgeRel.M. StatusSexOccupationBirthplace
Peter Myers44 Head Shoe Maker Poland 
Elizabeth Myers*40 Wife  Bishopsgate, Middlesex 
Joseph Myers21 Son Shoe Maker Houndsditch, London 
Caroline Sherensky19 Daughter  Leeds, Yorkshire 
Isaac Myers17 Son  Shoe Maker Leeds, Yorkshire 
Emanuel Myers11 Son   Leeds, Yorkshire 
James MyersSon   Leeds, Yorkshire 
Rosetta Myers13 Daughter   Leeds, Yorkshire 
Magnus MyersSon   Leeds, Yorkshire 
Esther MyersDaughter   Leeds, Yorkshire 
Edward Myers3m Son   Middlesex, Norton Folgate 
Emanuel Sherensky6m Granddaughter   Middlesex, Norton Folgate 

A few years later and it's Rose's turn to get married to a Polish gentleman - a general dealer named Hart Abrahams, in 1865. As can be seen from Rose's birth certificate above, she should have been recorded as being 18 years of age when married, but has incorrectly been recorded as 17.

Hart's age is also a difficult thing to be certain of. His age on their wedding day is written as 20 years old, suggesting a birth of around 1845. His death certificate records his age at 48 in February 1895, suggesting that he might have been born around 1846 (assuming that he would've been 49 later in 1895). However, his age in the 1871 census is marked as 38, and in 1881 is clearly 49, suggesting he was born around 1831-32! The mystery remains currently unsolved.

Certificate extract

Hart and Rose also had a large family (nine children) and their third child, Miriam (1871), was my great grandmother.
Below is an extract from Miriam's birth certificate. Note how Miriam's name has been misspelled "Mariam"? Because of this mistake, this particular certificate took a bit of finding, including purchasing the wrong one for another "Miriam Abrahams"!

Certificate extract

Miriam appears in her first census in 1881 (below) as a nine year old, having just missed out appearing in the 1871 census.... she was born just ten days after that census was taken! In keeping with many families traditions of favouring certain names, some years later Miriam and Hyman named four of their children Rose, Lily, Hart and Minnie....

Bethnal Green, Middlesex 1881

4 Gibraltar Walk (Shop):

NameAgeRel.M. StatusSexOccupationBirthplace
Hart Abrahams49 Head General Dealer Poland 
Rose Abrahams32 Wife  Leeds, Yorkshire 
Barnett Abrahams13 Son   London, Middlesex 
David Abrahams11 Son   London, Middlesex 
Miriam AbrahamsDaughter   London, Middlesex 
Simeon AbrahamsSon   London, Middlesex 
Ada AbrahamsDaughter   London, Middlesex 
Lilly AbrahamsDaughter   London, Middlesex 
Manasseh AbrahamsSon   London, Middlesex 
Minnie AbrahamsDaughter   London, Middlesex 
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Now in 1891, we can see Miriam as a young lady married to Hyman, and about to begin their own family - this time a more modest five children. Miriam, like her mother and grandmother before her, also married a man from Poland.

Mile End, London 1891

37 Pelham Street:

NameAgeRel.M. StatusSexOccupationBirthplace
Hyman Abrahams24 Head Machinist Poland 
Miriam Abrahams20 Wife  Bethnal Green, London 

An extract from Hart's death certificate showing him to be only 48 in 1895.
Certificate extract

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Here is Miriam with her family in 1902

The Miller Family c1902

The children at the back are Rosie, Hart and Lily.
Seated are the parents Miriam and Hyman.
On Miriam's lap is Minnie and on Hyman's lap is my grandmother Esther, known to most people throughout her long life as "Hetty". She was my mum's mum.

All of Hyman and Miriam's children were given the last name of "Abrahams" on their birth certificates but at the same time, rather confusingly, the family officially went by the surname of Miller. (See the 1901 census extract below.) The name was almost certainly anglicised to help the family run business - Hyman was a master tailor.

Camberwell, London 1901

26 Pemell's Place:

NameAgeRel.M. StatusSexOccupationBirthplace
Hyman Miller34 Head Tailor Poland 
Miriam Miller29 Wife  Peckham, London 
Rose MillerDaughter   Peckham, London 
Leah MillerDaughter   Peckham, London 
Hart MillerSon   Peckham, London 
Esther MillerDaughter   Peckham, London 

At the time that this census was taken (31st March 1901) Miriam would have been three months pregnant with their last child, Minnie. Also, their second daughter, Leah, was known throughout her life as Lily.

Certificate extract

The certificate above records the birth of "Hetty" (Esther) who would one day become my "Nanna"....

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Hetty Arthur

The first photo shows Hetty (known affectionately by my brother and me, as "Nanna Martin") as a thirty year old in July 1929. As you can see from the lower-left photo, my grandmother was still a lovely looking lady in her mid 70s.

On the right is Hetty's husband Arthur Martin. (Born - Arthur Nunes Martinez.) Unfortunately, I was only ten months old when he died in February 1966 and so I never got to know my grandfather and have no memories of him. My memories of Nanna Martin though, are plentiful and all happy ones. Hetty was the warmest and most generous and loving grandma that one could wish to have. Arthur's brother, Baron, also changed his name to Martin and coincidentally married Hetty's sister, Minnie.

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