Tag Archives: immigration

Family history

22 Oct

I don’t know much about my family history on my mother’s side – her grandparents were immigrants from what was then Russia, but is now Ukraine – and, the story goes, my great-grandmother never learnt to speak English, other than “My daughter vill pay”. She didn’t know that babies had to be registered, so my grandfather and his siblings didn’t have birth certificates – my grandfather chose 1 May (Labour Day) for his birthday and simply guessed that he was born in 1879. Great-grandmother Sarah was said to be 15 when she arrived in England, already with a baby.

According to my mother’s marriage certificate her name was “Kyzor (known as King)” although it’s spelled Kyzar on various census forms. (Understandably my grandfather changed Kyzor to King during the First World War.) One of my cousins has done some research, which I intend to continue at some point, and I’ve been collecting photographs with the object of making a book for my nieces and their children.

This photograph is of my mother, Frances, on the right, her eldest sister, Rachel, on the left, and the youngest, Jeanette, in the middle. Since the fourth sister, Sarah, who was born between my Mum and Jeanette, is missing I calculate that the picture was taken in 1919 or 1920 because Sarah died in the 1918/19 flu epidemic. That would make Mum nine or ten, Rachel, 15 or 16, and Jeanette, four or five. Their brother, Simon – in between Rachel and Mum – is unaccountably not included.