52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #1 -Aaron L. Samuel

I have amended this post to reflect the new challenge presented by Amy Johnson Crow on her blog:  http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/challenge-52-ancestors-in-52-weeks/

Her challenge is to blog about one ancestor each week for the entire year. The challenge fits in quite well with my Birthday Blog posts and will encourage me to “fill-in” missing weeks each  month.

BTW – you can find a listing of some of the participants on the blog: Tangled Roots and Trees 


Aaron L. Samuel born January 4, 1824, is my third great-grandfather. Aaron’s name has been passed down to several of his descendants (My grandfather, Aaron Edgar later switched his name around, taking Edgar as his first name. My nephew’s middle name is also Aaron.) It is due to Aaron that our family is now living in the United States. He and his family immigrated to the USA in 1857 on board the packet ship Margaret Evans.

Aaron was the third of six children born to Lazarus Samuel and Sarasta (Sara) Nathan. His mother died ( or left the family??) somewhere between 1832 (Aaron’s sister Kitty may have been born that year) and 1841, as the 1841 UK Census listed Lazarus and four children living at 9 Marmon Street in London, England. (Older sisters Esther and Rachel were no longer living with the family.) This census lists him as working as a cigar maker.

1841England Census

Aaron next lived at 50 Bath Street in London, England, date maybe 1843. On November 19, 1843, Aaron married Phoebe Levy. The couple married at New Synagogue in London.

Using the 1851 UK Census we see that Aaron and his family were living at 47 Green Street. He is listed as a “cigar maker”. On this census we see the couple having 5 children: Catherine “Kate” (b.1844), Morris (b.1846), Lawrence (b.1847), Francis (b.1848), and David (b.1850).

Also living in the home were Phoebe’s sister Ann, her husband, Elias, their daughter Rose, and a servant named Mary Ann Bailey.

Things apparently were tough for the family. By 1854, a debtor’s notice was posted in a local newspaper.

Perhaps the financial difficulty led to the decision to leave England in 1857 and create a new life in America.
By this time the Samuel family consisted of Aaron, his wife Phoebe and eight children. Louisa “Louise” was born 1853 and Emmanuel was born in 1854.Their youngest child, John, was born in 1857. John would become my great-great-grandfather.

Aaron, his wife, and eight children left England in 1857. John was barely 9 months at the time. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to pack up your children and wife and travel across the ocean on a sailing ship.  From Liverpool, they traveled across the ocean on the ship Margaret Evans arriving in New York.
1857 Passenger Manifest – Margaret Evans
I wanted to learn a bit about what the trip may have been like. It seems it generally took around 5-6 weeks. I found one website with a transcription of an article from the Illustrated London News on Saturday July 6th 1850.While it is a bit earlier than my family’s travel, it is a contemporary account of the procedure needed to emigrate. Another article was more interesting; DIARY OF AVOYAGE IN 1857 FROM GREENHOW HILL,PATELEY BRIDGE TO AMERICA BY THOMAS BLACKAH ANDMEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY. The transcription of his diary provides a detailed account of the trip he endured, traveling from Liverpool, England to Canada on a ship similar to the Margaret Evans.

The packet ship Margaret Evans
The Margaret Evans docked at Castle Garden, America’s first official immigration center.  
Once arriving in America, Aaron and his family settled in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Their ninth child, Raphael “Ralph” was born in 1858.
Aaron secured work in the “segar” industry in New York in 1859. He is listed in the 1859 NY City Directory on page 700.
The 1860 US census notes the family as having a “Personal Estate” valued at $200. Aaron continued employment as a cigar worker in Hoboken, New Jersey. Aaron and Phoebe had their tenth child, a girl named Jane, just one month before the 1860 census.

Child number eleven, Israel was born in 1861.
IRS Tax Assessment lists from 1862-1866 list Aaron as working in Hoboken at 222 Washington.
This IRS tax roll from 1864 indicated that Aaron was returning unsold cigars for the week ending Sept. 17.

1863 – Civil war Draft Registration Book         

Although he was 39 years old, with 11 children, Aaron was still registered in the Civil War Draft records. I have no record of him actually serving however.
In 1864 their last child (#12!), Godfrey was born.
By 1866 he was a cigar salesman, still in Hoboken but located at 120 Bloomfield.

The 1870 US Census lists Aaron as a cigar seller a job he continued through 1870. Seven of their twelve children were still living at home.

By 1880, Aaron and his family were living in Brooklyn, NY at 439 Degraw Avenue. Listed as Erwin on this census, he continued working as a cigar maker. The home must have been quite crowded. Aaron and Phoebe had listed Jane, Israel, and Godfrey as children living in the home. Also residing in the same unit was their daughter Louisa, along with her husband Alfred Cohen and their four children, Three boarders were also listed as living with the Samuels.

The entry in the 1883 NYC Directory adds an “s” to the Samuel name, as did the earlier 1859 entry. This appears to be a common occurrence. The writer has found that the “s” appears inconsistently, which makes it difficult to absolutely confirmation the accuracy of some data.

This 1887 Brooklyn City Directory lists Aaron and his son, Godfrey working in the cigar industry and residing at 438 Warren Ave.

Aaron was still working in Brooklyn as a cigar-maker at age 63 when he died from “apoplexia” (stroke) on May 24, 1887. He also possibly had a brain tumor.

This headstone is presumed to be accurate. The dates for Aaron’s birth (Jan. 4, 1824) and his death (May 28, 1887) are consistent with other information found.

Aaron was buried at Washington Cemetery, McDonald Ave. in Brooklyn NY

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