Re: Grandfather, Can anyone help? #general


Ann Rabinowitz
 

In respect to the continuing dialogue regarding whether the poster's
grandfather John Edward Freeman was Jewish or not, perhaps I can add my two
cents.

If one were to read the journals and reports of the missionary societies in
Great Britain, at the time, one would find that Jews were schlepped into
conversion, so to speak, with promises of food, health care, and other things
which would attract poor immigrants with terrible living conditions. A number
of these societies attracted people who were in work houses.

Some of these converts retained their new faith for the length of time it took
to partake of the needed benefits offered by the missionary societies. Others,
stuck with their conversions and many times married other converts. The men
Anglicized their names on many occasions, both the given and surnames, so that
it was sometimes difficult to determine who had been Jewish.

In the case of the situation which was posted, Mary Ann Freeman, age 32, and
her four children (Alice, age 13; John, age 6; Nellie, age 2; and Rosy, age 1)
were found in 1891 living with a single agricultural laborer, Charles Taylor,
age 29.

One thing which was seen right away is that Mary Ann's situation was not really
specified, i.e., she was not listed as a wife, other relative, or boarder.
Also note the large gap in age between her first and second children and the
various nearby villages such as Rainham, Romford and Barking where they were born.

It appears that Mary Ann may have lived a non-traditional life perhaps forced
upon her by poverty and lack of ready money, lack of or death of a husband, or
other similar reasons. It is possible that the supposed "Jewish" grandfather
may have been converted in the work house. Or, his antecedents, many years
before, had been Jewish and left no record of that.

One thing, for certain, is that Mary Ann Freeman stuck around the same rural
area and further records for her and her family may be found which could
enlighten whether there was a Jewish connection. The work house records may
be a good way to go to locate further data too and find out if Mary Ann had
been single when she had her son.

Ann Rabinowitz
annrab@bellsouth.net

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