Kehilat Middlesbrough Newsletter No 28 January 2013 page 14 ( of 17)
I came across your web site while helping my daughter with her Roots project for Jewish Studies. She attends a Jewish day school in Cape Town, South Africa.
My late grand father, Joseph Bernstein, was born in Middlesbrough on the 12th of October 1887. He was the youngest child of Aaron and Esther Bernstein (born Davis). My grandfather had 7 older sisters, one of whom I found in the marriage records on the site. She was Rebecca ( Becky) who married Barnett Haft.
I have a copy of his birth certificate, which states that his father, Aaron, was a glazier. He was obviously incapable of writing and signed the certificate with a X. In your records, at Rebecca's wedding, it says that he was a confectioner.
My grandfather attended St Paul's National school in Middlesbrough as there was no Jewish day school. After his Barmitzvah, he was put on a boat to join relatives in South Africa for a better life. I have a letter from the headmaster of St Paul's, dated 1 October 1903, which states:
“Joseph Bernstein was a most creditable scholar in these schools. He passed the 7th standard before he left , in December 1901.I always found him regular, punctual, polite,attentive and willing.I believe he is perfectly honest and trustworthy. Signed J.T.Joy. Headmaster”
A second letter is from Rev M.E.Davis on a Middlesbrough Hebrew Congregation letterhead, Brentnall Street, dated September 30th, 1903:
“I have much pleasure in certifying that Joseph Bernstein was formerly a pupil attending the classes in connection with the congregation, and that he has been personally known to me during the whole of his life prior to his departure for S.Africa, and that he has always been of irreproachable character, steady and industrious. Signed M.E.Davis, ministry”
Several of my grandfather's sisters remained in England which brings me to believe that here are possibly family members existing, that we have no knowledge of. Perhaps even descendants in Middlesbrough.
My grandfather passed away on the 31st of May 1983, at the age of 96. He did not forsake his roots, was pious and observant, humble and kind, a true gentleman of great worth.
Perhaps someone will find this information interesting
My name is Hilda Silver. Janine Renton gave me your details.
My Great Grandfather died on 24th April 1899 10 Iyar. He died at Kilburn Terrace, Durham His name was Woolf Gordon, son of Rev and Mrs Gordon and husband of Minnie. My late Father tried to find his grave without success and I, even with modern technology and information, can still not find where he is buried.
Can any of your readers help me? There seems to be no records in likely areas. Hilda M Silver London
[Ed note: We replied as follows:
We have rechecked the burial information on our website.
There is no record of Woolf Gordon in Middlesbrough, Stockton or Hartlepool cemeteries.
There was no Jewish cemetery in Durham - burials apparently took place in either Newcastle or Sunderland. The JewishGen website database has no record of a Woolf Gordon in either Newcastle or Sunderland.