View Full Version : Alexander Moss..possible jewish roots...
22-08-2010, 9:08 PM
I have an ancestor called Alexander Moss. As I'm sure you all know Moss is a Jewish surname. I am trying to prove/disprove wether he was or not.
I have quite a few records of him. He was born early 1850, not sure of the exact year or place but i do believe this to be in the Stepney area. He married Harriet Horne 21 Nov 1880. She was not Jewish. On this it gives his father as William Moss, labourer. They had several children together. He also joined the army in 1877, served in the royal artillery for 12 years. On his attestion paper he has given his religion as Church of England. I have found him on most census' apart from 1861. In 1871 he was living in Friendly Place, Mile End, London. He was lodging, aged 19, a cigar maker, says here he was born in 1852 in Whitechapel. I have looked on a map dating to 1862 and friendly place is in quite a jewish area, containing several burial grounds and a hospital. I also understand that his profession was also one undertaken by Jews. Although not concrete proof, they could possibly link a connection, 2nd or 3rd generation maybe?? Does anyone here know how i can go about proving this??
Any help much appreciated,
22-08-2010, 9:16 PM
Have you had a look at "My Ancestors Were Jewish (http://www.parishchest.com/index.php?cmd=viewproduct&cat=&id=P81558&pageOffset=0)"? That should provide some assistance in where else you could look.
Edit: Forgot to say.....
Have you seen this birth registration?
Alexander MOSS, Stepney district, March quarter 1852, volume 1c, page 513
22-08-2010, 10:22 PM
I wouldn't assume he was Jewish simply because his surname was Moss. Lots of people called Moss weren't Jewish. Alexander and William are certainly names I haven't come across in the Jewish community. Although Jewish people did make cigars so did gentiles. There were lots of Jews living in Whitechapel (including my husband's Jewish branch of the family) but also lots of other nationalities and plenty of British people too.
22-08-2010, 10:30 PM
As I am a non Jew with Jewish ancestry I think you should be wary of fixing on the idea of Jewish ancestors until you find definite proof. Moss is just a surname. I would think that it was one that was used by Jewish immigrants when they tried to anglicise their names in order to integrate into english society Grun became green and so on.
Take your time and make sure the research is correct and if you do have Jewish ancestors they will become clearer to you when they feel like it.
22-08-2010, 11:09 PM
I can echo Ladkyis's words. I too am a non jew with Jewish ancestry. In fact, quite recently I discovered a relative who had all the "trimmings" of being Jewish (very Jewish sounding name, born in Austria, emigrated to UK and lived in Golders Green which is a predominately Jewish area in London). However, I recently received documents showing that was actually a Roman Catholic.
That taught me not to jump to conclusions without relatively concrete evidence..... very slapwristable....
23-08-2010, 12:23 AM
I appreciate that in this thread you are seeking explore the possibility of Jewish origins. But first can you please help us get a better handle on your Alexander MOSS?
He was born early 1850, not sure of the exact year or place but i do believe this to be in the Stepney area.
I see his army service record (which you already have), recording his marriage and the baptisms of his children. Also that he was a cigar maker when he enlisted in 1877 at the age of 21 years 1 month (so born 1856). This army record also states (rightly or wrongly) that he was born in Woolwich.
I also see Alexander MOSS in 1871, cigar maker, living in Friendly Place, Mile End, and born about 1852 in Whitechapel.
How sure are you that these are one and the same Alexander MOSS?
You say you have your Alexander in most censuses except 1861. Where does he say he was born in each of these?
Sorry if you've already explored all this on another thread, but I can't find it. :frown5:
23-08-2010, 5:46 PM
Hey thanks everyone. Yes the purpose of this thread is to determine whether he was or not of jewish descent. I dont think he was jewish, but possibly his father or grandfather was. As of yet these 2 are an unknown entity. The problem with his birth date is that it changes...alot, they are as follows.
1911, born 1857, stepney.
1901, born 1858, stepney.
1891, (family enumerated as mop) b.1855, middlesex.
1881, he was in the army, i believe i have found him at weedon barracks enumerated as Amos Moss b.1859 Woolwich.
The woolich thing is strange, he signed up in woolwich. This is definatly my guy as the marriages and births match up.
The 1871 census i am not 100% certain, although through the service record there is a link to mile end, something about his next of kin, possibly sister, nancy?? I also struggle to find anyone else. It is all very strange. What do you think?
23-08-2010, 7:27 PM
As previous postings have rightly said you can't make assumptions about possible Jewish roots just by surnames. Doreen Berger in her 'The Jewish Victorian. Genealogical Information from Jewish Newspapers 1861-70' records a number of Moss surnames with first names Clara,David, Edward,Elizabeth,Emanuel, Frances,George,Hannah,Isaac,Jeannie,John,Joseph,La wrence,Maria, Mathew,Maurice,Morten,Nathan,Philip, Rebecca, Richard, Rosetta,Samuel, Simeon all with accompanying family links. The GRO Records should indicate further details particularly parents names and earlier census links. If the family has Jewish roots then there are excellent sites such as Cemetery Scribes; Synagogue Scribes; JGSGB data bases; British Jewry Archives and data bases; JewishGen and others all of which can prove a great help tracing Anglo Jewish lines.
23-08-2010, 7:46 PM
As previous postings have rightly said you can't make assumptions about possible Jewish roots just by surnames.
While I'd fully concur with that, I don't think Shaun is making any assumptions. He's having difficulty finding his man, so he is exploring possibilities and keeping an open mind, like all good genealogists. :wink5:
Shaun, have you tried the 1852 birth certificate found by Jan (post #2 above)? If so, can you tell us exactly what it says, please? If not, it might be worth a look.
23-08-2010, 7:53 PM
I have a nephew called Alexander Moss. Nether he, nor his father nor grandfather are/were Jewish. Not to say earlier ancestors weren't, but as others have said, don't jump to conclusions because of a name!
23-08-2010, 8:15 PM
Hi. As Kerrywood has said, i am not making assumptions, at the moment there isn't much evidence for or against. Although i do understand that relying on the name Moss as an indication of Jewish heritage isn't conclusive,surely i have to rule it out methodically. As it stands the evidence for is his surname, he stated he was a cigar maker and i believe he was living in a possible jewish area. Evidence against is the fact he said he was C of E on his military attestion and the fact that Alexander and William are not jewish names. I do appreciate all opinions in this forum and it has been most useful, this thread needs to be taken at face value ie i am trying to find out if there is Jewish connecion,not presuming that there is and trying to prove it.
I have not tried the cert, i shall do if thats what you advise, just the 9.25 does hurt when it isnt the right one. I'll try them places Phillip.
18-10-2010, 2:01 AM
Moss can be Jewish. However Moss can also be also be an English or Scottish.But they have different origans. Jewish Moss derives from MOSES. "Moss" in northern parts of England and Scotland is the word for "the place where peats may be dug" (Chambers Scots Dictionary).The surname Moss in many parts of England and Scotland is derived from that word.
My Grandfather, born Joseph Moses, changed his surname to Moss when he left London in 1851. His elder brother,Nathan retained the Moses surname. His two younger brothers both dropped the "e" in Moses. David Moses became Dave Moss in South Africa and Isaac Moses became Isaac Moss in London.
I hope this helps you
04-10-2011, 7:34 PM
Alexander Moss was my great great grandfather. I'm stuck too - and have a horrible feeling that he changed his name and wasn't a Moss at all. If it's him on the 1871 census living in Friendly Place, where are his family? I have the 1852 certificate which shows his mother as Elizabeth Moss, father Isaac Israel. There's a link in that Isaac is also a cigar maker but there were an awful lot of cigar makers in the area at that time. I think that the 1852 birth is too early - Alexander is 22 on the 1881 census, got married in 1880 aged 21, died in 1921 aged 61. On other censuses his age is reasonably consistent, although his sign up papers for the army (1877) also give his age as 21. I have lots of details coming forwards - how are you and Alexander related? Maybe between us we can find out the truth (or something like it)
15-10-2011, 4:50 PM
Hello hello! Great to hear from you.
Sorry it's taken me a while, been busy doing a degree.
To be honest I've put down my genealogist note book at the moment while I've been studying. I will try and dig the info out, I've got loads of random stuff scribbled somewhere. If I remember there were quite a few Moss born in the years around then. I'm pretty busy for the next week or so, but if I get some time in the week I'll get the massive folder down!
The relation is: his daughter, Daisy Moss is my mum's Grandmother.Where is your connection? Feel free to email me: shaunquinn1987 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk
I'll help as much as I can :-D
All the best,
16-10-2011, 11:53 AM
My family name is moss we originated from lancashire and cheshire
the name moss means someone from a boggy ground or marsh
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