Enquiring re Hirch SONNENSHTRAL #latvia



 I am trying to find some confirmation that my paternal grandfather - Hirch SONNENSHTRAL  (later known as Harry SONNENTHAL) - was born in Latvia, I believe in Riga, his year of of birth 1886 (1885?).


He was one of 8 children born to Abraham and Fanny Sonnenshtral? Sonnenthal? (the other children were Bloomah, Symie, Wolf, Louis, Nathan, David and Leah).  


Information I have found so far on the internet suggests he was born in Russia .... but I don't believe this.   I was always aware as a very young girl that my grandfather was from Riga - my father had told me so and I never doubted it.  My father even had a very old photo of the street in Riga where my grandfather lived; I remember the photo and have searched everywhere for it but unfortunately without success.

What also makes me doubt the internet is that my grandmother, Hirch/Harry's wife (Eva, nee Perper) was from Smyrna, now Izmir, in Turkey.  She came as a young woman to England where she met and married my grandfather.  I remember her well (she died in the 1980s) and even to look at her there was no mistaking she was from Turkey ..... yet the ancestry records I found online state she was apparently also, like my grandfather, born in Russia.  My father tells me he thinks Eva's mother was indeed originally from Russia but Eva was born and grew up in Turkey.


From my internet search it seems the surname Sonnenshtral is only found to be linked to Latvia.  I  looked on the Jewish Genealogy database and cannot find the surname as a mention under any country other than Latvia.


I knew my grandfather had come to England as a very young boy via Switzerland.


I know also that there used to be a town in Switzerland called Sonnenthal.  I tried to find it on a map many years ago when I had an idea to visit but could not find it; I then discovered it no longer existed (as was further confirmed to me by a then work colleague who had travelled to Switzerland to visit the Bally clothing/shoe factory which was situated in the neighbouring town). 


Both the British Naturalization Record and Oath of Allegiance for my grandfather give his name as "Hirch Sonnenshtral (Known as Harry Sonnenthal)" , the country of origin stated as Russia, and dated 11 August 1919.


I found it odd though that, on the birth certificate of my father who was born in 1922, my grandfather is listed as Hirch Sonnenshtral.  

 My grandfather died in London in 1970. 

I wonder if anyone can help me please to confirm that my grandfather's place of birth was indeed Riga. 


Kind regards

Helen Sonnenthal
MODERATOR NOTE: Please reply privately

 (I live in London, UK) 


Join main@groups.jewishgen.org to automatically receive all group messages.