My Ramus Family tree

"For optimum view by mobile phone or other hand-held device, please click on the 'Text-Only' version at the bottom of this page"

(To any members of the Ramus family connected to this tree, please feel free to contact me at wolf_e_boy@hotmail.com , as I would love to find out more, and find collaboration works very well. Plus, not all I have is here, as there is just too much to put up without making it confusing to follow. I look forward to hearing from my distant cousins, we have a great history)

Family tree
The Ramus side

Whatever else you do when setting out to do your family tree, the very first thing is to ask your eldest relatives as much as you can, to go back as far as they can remember, because that's the most important part, getting the living memories which will hopefully get you started on the right road. Apart from that, you'll have to learn how to be a detective, spotting and following clues. All census reports that follow will be English census reports, unless otherwise specified.

I've thought long and hard about how to do this, in the end I've just decided to make a start and see where it goes. I've already done over three years of research into the Ramus family tree now, tracing its name back by records to Amsterdam, and David Van Joseph Ramos, born Amsterdam 27 March 1719, I hope eventually to go further back and trace the lineage to the 1400's down in southern Spain, which is where, as Sephardim Jews, my investigations suggest the European part of the Ramus family history begins. Obviously there are other branches of my family tree, which I'll integrate further on, but for now I'm going to concentrate on telling the Ramus story, and not just my direct ancestry, but the wider spectrum of the Ramii, their spread across Britain, and onto America.

Please remember, this is a work in progress, so check back occasionally for any updates, or additions.

Along the way as I've been discovering my heritage, I've unearthed some interesting mini stories, such as four Solomons sisters ending up as wives to three of Isaac and Martha's boys, Old Bailey trials adding a bit of flesh to the bones of the story, and a better understanding of a time in this country long since past as I investigate the different places and jobs that my ancestors occupied, from the Dickensian Field Lane setting of Fagins base in Oliver Twist where the Solomons sisters lived, their father, Emanuel a cigar maker, to Mecklenburgh and Russell Squares in a much more affluent part of London decades later, where Benjamin and Samuel Ramus, (who end up with Rose, and Sarah Solomons), are listed as 'Dealer in Works of Art' and 'Ostrich quill feather manufacturer' respectively. Not forgetting the huge story of Jewish settlement in London, and their effects, which are mainly positive, on the areas they inhabit. I had absolutely no idea of any Jewish heritage in my family when I started, so you can imagine my surprise to find a huge section of it being entirely Jewish.

The first big decision to make is whether I should start to tell the story from now back, which is the way I've discovered it, and would be quite easy to do, or to tell it from the furthest ancestors to now, which I believe would give a bigger picture and better understanding of our ancestry. That last line has probably answered any doubts I may have had as to which way to go.

I'll try and tie the other family lines together in an easy to follow manner once I've moved the Ramus name to a time close enough for all living family members to recognise. In between all of this, I'll be injecting other historical research I've stumbled on which I feel is relevant to the story, the first of which would have to be a brief history of the Sephardim Jews. Sephardim, or Sephardi, basically means they're Jews from the Iberian peninsula of Spain and Portugal, and in 1492, (the same year that Columbus set off on the trip on which he discovered America), some 200,000 of them were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain as part of the Spanish Inquisition, many being slaughtered in the process. A great deal moved on to Portugal, but after five years they too were forced to either convert to christianity, leave, or die, so by 1497 they were on the move again. Some made their way to Bordeaux in France where there was tolerance towards them, and also in Holland, with the Sephardi building their 'Great Synagogue' in Amsterdam in the 1670's. Renowned as good businessmen, they soon built up trading contacts and Amsterdam thrived rapidly, they would appear to have done just as well soon after arriving in London, within two decades having moved from the poorer quarters of the East end along the Thames, and up to the more affluent center and North of the city.

These are the most distant ancestors I have traced so far on the Ramus side:-

David Van Joseph Ramos, born Amsterdam 27 March 1719. Died 1781, buried at the Portuguese Israelite Cemetery, Ouderkerk.  Buried 4th Nov.
David is my 6 x Great Grand Father.
He married,
Ribca de Leao (Lion), born 1732 Amsterdam. Died 1799, buried at the Portuguese Israelite Cemetery, Ouderkerk. Buried 17 May
Ribca is my 6 x Great Grand Mother.

Their children were:-
Esther, born Amsterdam 1747
Isaac de David, born Amsterdam  27 May 1752 (See below)
Rachel, born Amsterdam 11 Feb 1756
Judith, born Amsterdam 9 May 1758

Isaac de David Ramos, born Amsterdam, Netherlands 27-05-1752. Died 1830 London, England. Isaac is my 5th Great Grand Father
Rosa de David Lopez Penha, born Bordeaux, France 1751. Died 16-05-1843 London, England. Rosa is my 5th Great Grand Mother

Originally I found some of these dates from another family tree, but I later had them confirmed by the Bevis Marks Synagogue records in London, a source that has helped me a great deal since I've been researching, so I'll explain the relevance of Bevis Marks now. Once I'd gone a few generations back with the Ramus family name, I was ordering birth, marriage, and death certificates to corroborate the information I had, as well as hoping for any new info the certificates may glean, and on the marriage certificates of many of the Ramus family in the 1800's, they were married, 'according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Jewish Religion', and performed by the Chief Rabbi of the Spanish and Portugese Jews Congregation. Bevis Marks is the oldest synagogue in Britain, and was built solely for the Spanish and Portugese Jews, or Sephardim Jews as they are known, and the interior decor, furnishing, and layout of the synagogue were influenced by the great Amsterdam Synagogue of 1677, the main Dutch Sephardim synagogue. This also produced another early revelation, growing up as kids, we always used to take issue with people that pronounced our surname 'Ramos', as they often did, only to find out since doing the family tree, that Ramos was indeed our ancestors surname on arrival to this country in the late 1700's.

(This next section was added this day, Wed 27 Aug 2014)

Along with so many other Sephardi Jews of their time, Isaac and Rosa Ramos would most likely have lived in the eastern quarter of Amsterdam, known as the, 'Jodenhoek', 'Jews Corner', on a bend in the river Amstel. The main, Breestraat, had become known as 'Jodenbreestraat', 'Jewish Broad Street', owing to the Jewish settlers who congregated there, starting with the Sephardim Jews, from the 1600's, escaping persecution elsewhere in Europe, and the whole area was a thriving market place as a result of the Jews conducting their business there. It was the partial tolerance of so called 'religious refugees' that made the Netherlands so appealing to the Sephardi from Portugal and Spain, and the wealth, trading, and financial knowledge they brought with them ensured they would be a boon to the economy. They were still barred from guilds, as Jews were in so many other countries in Europe, but their financial nous, and trading links around the world, would soon help increase Amsterdam's position as an economic hub, most notably with the Dutch East Indies Company. That said, there was still plenty of poverty among the Jewish communities, which encouraged many to move on to London, or New York in  search of the chance for a better life.


The area inhabited by the Amsterdam Jews, was prone to flooding from the Amstel, and disease was often prevalent, possibly as a result of this situation. 

The 'Nation'



Rosa had been born, 'Rosa de David Lopes Penha', 1751, in Bordeaux, a French city with a long history of Jewish tolerance, the Sephardic community there were known as the 'Portugese', in recognition of their flight from the Iberian peninsula. (The situation in Bordeaux was apparently considered the most favourable towards Jews compared with the rest of the France at the time). Isaac de David Ramos was born in Amsterdam on the 27th May 1752, son of David Van Joseph Ramos, and Ribca de Leao, their very names advertising their origins. (On some records, Ribca is called 'Ribca Lion', so on a hunch I checked Leao in Portuguese, and it happens to translate as 'Lion'). It's possible Isaac and Rosa met through some of the established Sephardic trading routes, or perhaps her family left Bordeaux for Amsterdam, in search of better opportunities. They had their first son, David, in Amsterdam on the 9th March 1778, followed by Abraham on 30th June 1779, but David died just two years later, child mortality not being uncommon. In 1786 they lost a son, Jacob, under two years old, while in Bordeaux, and had a son born there in the same year, Samuel.

This was a quite significant time for Jews in France, as the French authorities had recently issued a proclamation regarding the status of non Catholics in the country, and the Sephardim Jews in Bordeaux were sending their own delegation, Abraham Furtado, and Solomon Lopes Dubec, to speak with the French authorities and assure that, 'The Nation', (as they referred to themselves as Sephardim), would continue to enjoy the privileges that they had built up. The French aim was assimmilation, while the Sephardim maintained their position was, "A Portuguese Jew is English in England, Dutch in Holland, and French in France, but a German Jew is a German everywhere because of his customs from which he deviates rarely"-  from 'The Sephardic Jews of Bordeaux', by Frances Malino, quoting Abraham Furtado, and Salomon Lopes Dubec, during the times of Napoleonic France.
Is it possible that Rosa (de David Lopes Penha) Ramos, was related to Lopes Lubec?, certainly she was a Sephardim born in Bordeaux, so did they make the journey back to her place of birth for some kind of Sephardim pow wow about the new French proclamation? Events in France would soon overtake any local Jewish concerns, with the Reign of Terror just a few short years away, and would affect much of Northern Europe.


 By the time Isaac and Rosa took up the opportunity to leave Holland on  the 23rd June 1793, (just before the Reign of Terror began later that year), Rosa had lost four children in the previous four years, three unnamed, presumably soon after birth, and Salomon at seven months, who was buried at the Portuguese Israelite Cemetery at Ouderkerk, 12km south of Amsterdam on 7th February 1792.


Isaac and Rosa had taken advantage of a Dutch Government decision to pay Jews to leave the country, on condition they did not return for at least twenty years. Documents reveal that on the 23rd June, 1793, Isaac de David Ramos is listed as having left for London from Amsterdam, he is stated as being married, taking four children with them, and the amount they were granted being 150 HFl (Holland Florins) the old style currency of the Netherlands. 


Records from the Ouderkerk aan de Amstel cemetery for Portuguese Jews, coupled with Bevis Marks, London, records, show that the four children would have been Abraham 14, Moses 12, David 11, and Symon 4. Isaac's parents, David van Joseph Ramos, and Ribca de Leao, stayed, registered at the Ouderkerk cemetery as having died in 1781 and 1799 respectively.

 At this time huge numbers of European Jews were arriving and staying in London, mainly up the Thames and starting off around Whitechapel, Bishopsgate, and Aldersgate, but the Sephardim Jews were known to be the wealthier of the differing Jewish refugees, as opposed to the Ashkenazi Jews, (German/Polish Jews) that had been pushed out from much of eastern Europe with almost nothing to their names.

Symon Ramos, born Amsterdam, Holland 22-05-1789. Died 30th December 1846 London, England. Symon is my 4th Great Grand Father
Hagar de Joseph Acohen, born Holland, 1788. Died 26-01-1842 London, England. Agnes, (as she was known) is my 4th Great Grand Mother

Symon and Agnes had two sons, and judging by the Bevis Marks records, they had already anglicised the name to Ramus by now, as did virtually all the Ramos family that made their way to London, and many later to New York.
These are Simon and Agnes' boys:-
Isaac de Simon Ramus, born Whitechapel, London, 3rd Feb 1808. Died 25th Aug 1870 at 15 York road, Lambeth, Surrey. Isaac is my 3rd Great Grand Father
Abraham Ramus, born England, 22nd April1810. Died 1810 (may have lived 8 days)

From here on things get a little more interesting as I trace Isaac's life through the records available to me online. Birth, Marriage, and Death certificates became compulsory to register in 1837, and census reports became law in 1841, so from there on it's a good deal easier to find stuff out and verify it over time. For anything pre 1837, you must rely on the info supplied on census reports and certificates, for example, ages given on the 1841 census, and birth places from the 1851 census onwards. These aren't always completely reliable, but as you build up more info, you can soon get an idea of what's right, more or less.

Addendum:- I have since found Isaac Ramus listed in an 1834 and 35 UK Poll book for Brighton, living at Meeting House Lane, occupation- 'Clothier'. There is also a mention of a Mrs Ramus in an 1835 copy of the 'Brighton Patriot', a newspaper of the time, involved in a dispute with a girl by the name of Simmonds, and up before the beak as a result. Apparently Mrs Ramus (Martha) had given the girl a ticking off over something, then clouted her around the ear so she wouldn't forget it, the Simmonds girl made a complaint to the Justices. The magistrate asked the girl if she had been injured by the strike, to which she said, "no", so the magistrate then dismissed the charge. The Meeting House Lane area was mentioned, so I'd say it's a fairly healthy guess that it was Isaac Ramus' wife Martha, and just before the birth of their first son, Simon, who was born in Brighton in 1836 according to all following census reports.

On the 1841 census, I found an Isaac Isaacs, married to Martha, and with three sons, Simon, Jacob, and Samuel. All their birth dates tallied up with our family line, but it was only after I eventually got hold of Samuels birth certificate that I could be fairly certain it was my family. On the census report the address is Lion Square, Upper Mile End Old Town, Stepney, and Samuels birth certificate, born 6th December 1840, registered 16th January 1841, gives Isaac and Martha's address as being 10 Lion Square, Upper Mile End Old Town, Stepney. The certificate also gives Isaacs occupation at this time as being a Silk Dealer, and Martha's maiden name as Marks, so you can see the benefit of the extra information that certificates throw up. Unfortunately to this day I'm no nearer to finding anything out about Martha's parents, but I live in hope, maybe somewhere in the Bevis Marks records there lays that all important marriage record which may enlighten me. I had hoped that with Simon having been born in Brighton, I may have been able to trace some records of their time living there, and perhaps a marriage record, but not yet.
Isaac and Martha went on to have ten children of their own, with just Hymee, twin brother of Joseph, born 1845, not making it past the first year.

Here's the list of their offspring:-

Simon Ramus, born Brighton, 1836
Jacob/John Ramus, born 11-12-1837, Finsbury, London
Samuel Ramus, born 06-12-1840, 10 Lion Square, Stepney, London
Joseph Ramus, born 10-08-1845, 13 Ellen Place, St George in the East, London. Joseph is my 2nd Great Grand Father
Hymee Ramus, born 10-08-1845, ditto. Died 1845
Benjamin Ramus, born 06-05-1848, ditto.
Agnes Ramus, born 15-06-1850, St George in the East, London.
Alfred Ramus, born 1855, St George in the East, London.
Lewis Ramus, born Sept 1856, St George in the East, London.
Phoebe Ramus, born 1859, St Georges, Southwark, London.

On Joseph, and Benjamin's birth certificates, Isaac's occupation is listed as 'General Dealer', by the 1851 census he gives his occupation as being a 'Warehouseman'. By the time of that census, they're living at 13 Ellen place, Tower Hamlets, London, and Jacob, who will later change his name to John, is listed as being a 'Cigar maker'. By the time of the 1861 census, they're living at 100 Waterloo road, Lambeth, London. Isaac is now listed as a 'General Dealer', as is the eldest boy, Simon, while Joseph is down as being a 'Shoe Maker' at the ripe old age of 17. Jacob/John, and Samuel are not on this census, and I have been able to find no trace of them anywhere else around this time. The youngest five from Benjamin down, are all listed as scholars, (bar Phoebe who is only two by now).

On the 18th January 1869, Martha died from a Kidney disease at 15 York Road, Lambeth. Isaac is listed as being a 'Dealer in Drapery' on the death certificate, while the informant is named as J Ramus (John/Jacob) of 55 Charlotte Terrace, New Cut, Lambeth. Just eight months later and Isaac passed away too, on the 25th August 1870, this time his occupation was given as 'Warehouseman Master', cause of death, 'morbus cordis', and once again the informant is J Ramus of 55 Charlotte Terrace. After this John takes in the rest of his siblings that had been living with Isaac and Martha, and on the 1871 census, Alfred, Lewis, and Phoebe are living with him at 55 Charlotte Terrace, where he runs a Pawn brokers shop, with Alfred and Lewis listed as 'Assistants' in the shop, while Phoebe remains a 'Scholar'. Agnes doesn't appear in this census, nor can I find a record of her, although she would be 21 by now so it's not that unusual. From at least 1870, Joseph was in Ireland, which you'll find further on down the page.

I found this piece of information regarding John Ramus through Old Bailey records online, from 1870:-(just a small section of the trial)

'616. HENRY HIBBELL (23), and JOHN ANDERSON (26) , Burglary in the dwelling-house of John Ramus, and stealing therein eighteen knives and other articles, his property.
MR. BOTTOMLEY conducted the Prosecution; MR. BROMBY defended Hibbell and MR. STRAIGHT Anderson.
JOHN RAMUS . I am a pawnbroker at 55, Charlotte Terrace, Lambeth—about 2 o'clock on Friday morning, 10th June, I heard a noise of something smashing—I went down stairs and disturbed the assistant, who slept in the shop—we made a search but could find nothing—I went to bed again—the boy came to me, and in consequence of what he said I went down and waited at the door till a policeman came—when we opened the inside case we discovered that a hole had been cut in the shutter, and the plate-glass shattered—the goods were all distributed about—I missed about half a dozen knives and two or three meerschaum pipes—anyone could have reached them by putting an arm through the shutter—this is the plan of the panel that was cut (produced)—I was last to bed the night previously and the shop was securely barred then.'
John Anderson was found guilty and sentenced to, 'five years penal servitude'.

I've found no record of Simon for 1871, and Samuel by now is living in New Zealand, where he has two daughters while there, Rose in 1870, and Alice in 1874, I haven't been able to trace his first wife's name yet, but he is later widowed and returns to England with the girls. Benjamin also appears to have gone AWOL for this census, but turns up two years later for the second marriage to one of the Solomons girls, Rachael. They are married at 33 Middleton Square, Pentonville, under the 'Rites and Ceromonies Jewish religion', by Dr Benjamin Acton, Chief Rabbi of the Spanish Portugese Jews Congregation, witnessed by Simon Ramus, and J Ramus, on the 4th June 1873. Benjamin's 'Rank or Profession' listed as 'Dealer in Works of Art'. John had been the first of the Ramus boys to snag one of the Solomons girls, Fanny, marrying at the Albion Hotel, Aldersgate street, in London City, under the 'Rites and Ceremonies of the Jewish religion', by S J Roco, Minister for the Spanish Portugese Jews congregation, witnessed by Abraham Solomons, and Simon Ramus, on the 27th November 1872. Johns, 'Rank or Profession', stated as, 'Pawnbroker', while his address given as 55 New Cut, Lambeth, (this address is 55 Charlotte Terrace, New Cut, Lambeth[1871 census]), and Fanny's is 107 Aldersgate street.

I'll set out the Solomons girls family here, as they are also direct ancestors which you'll find out further on.

Emanuel Solomons, born 1810, St Katherines, London. Emanuel is my 3rd Great Grand Father.
married to:-
Amelia Barnett, born 1816, Shadwell, London. Amelia is my 3rd Great Grand Mother
They were married on 17th November 1841 at 89 Great Saffron Hill, Holborn, according to the 'Rites and Ceremonies of the German Polish Jews' by Aaron Levy, Emanuel's occupation given as, 'Cigar Maker', on the marriage certificate, and their, 'Residence at time of marriage', listed as, '7 Field Lane, Holborn'.

And their children:-

Fanny (named Frances), born 15-10-1842 at 7 Field Lane, Saffron Hill, Holborn
Rose (named Rosetta), born 1843, Saffron Hill, Holborn. (Haven't located her birth certificate yet!) Rose is my 2nd Great Grand Mother
Sarah, born 1845, Saffron Hill, Holborn
Rachael, born 7th June 1851, 7 Field Lane, Saffron Hill, Holborn

As we're up to 1871 with the Ramus family, (or my direct line of it at least), I'll bring the Solomons up to this time too.
In the 1841 census, Amelia Barnett is living at 7 Field Lane, Saffron Hill, with her mother, Rachael, born Middlesex, 1786. Rachael is my 4th Great Grand mother. Also living there are Amelia's sister, Sarah, born Middlesex, 1811, and Henry, born Middlesex, 1816. Henry is listed as being a 'General Dealer' in this census, while the women are all down as being of 'Independent Means'. There's no way of knowing whether Rachael is a widow or not as this information is not asked for in the 1841 census.

By the 1851, Emanuel is 'Head' of the family on the census report for 7 Field Lane, his occupation given as 'Cigar Maker'. Amelia listed as his wife, with their daughters, Frances, Rosetta, and Sarah, 8, 7, and 6, years old respectively. They have relatives staying with them, Barnett Barnett, born 1799, Shadwell, London, a 'Clothier', and Meyer Myers, born 1830, in the borough of Surrey, a 'Cigar Maker'. They also have a House servant, Mary Ann Hall, aged 20.

On the 1861 census, still at 7 Field Lane, Holborn, Sarah Barnett, Amelia's sister, is now listed as the 'Head' of the family, so I assume Amelia and Emanuel have passed away. Unfortunately tracing death records for a Solomons in London at this time is a bit like trying to find a Smith or Jones in the phone book now, thus far I've had no joy. The girls Aunt, Sarah Barnett is listed as being a 'Clothier and General Dealer' in this census, while the girls are all down as 'Makers' of something, I couldn't read what, but perhaps garments of some kind, which their Aunt Sarah would be able to sell as a Clothier and General Dealer.

To give you some idea of Field Lane, here is a passage taken from 'The Field Lane Story', which is available online, but I'm afraid I've not been able to find the name of the author.

['I The Beginning
In the Autumn of 1841 Mr Andrew Provan, the newly appointed London City Missionary to the Field Lane District of Central London walked the streets of his area with a heavy heart. The district, of which Field Lane, West Street and Saffron Hill formed the main thoroughfares, was a notorious one and had long been known as a criminal quarter. Charles Dickens was only portraying reality when in “Oliver Twist” he set Fagin's house on the corner of Field Lane, and the fictional Bill Sykes, Charlie Bates, Artful Dodger and their associates had many counterparts in the life of that part of London in those days. Small wonder therefore, if Mr Provan was dismayed as, taking care to avoid the dirt and filth which littered the pavements, he surveyed dilapidated buildings – dark unsanitary, verminous - which housed the miserable homes of London's poor. There were dismal attic rooms which accommodated two, three and sometimes even four families; and lodging houses where as many as thirty men women and children crowded into one foetid, unventilated room for a night's sleep. He saw men and women ill-clad degraded and slatternly, temporarily forgetting their misery in the cheap intoxication offered by the gin shops. He braved the hostile stares of bystanders as he nosed into narrow courts and alleys, the haunts of pickpockets, prostitutes, and other criminal classes' places into which the police dared to venture only in daylight and in pairs. But above all he saw the children – neglected, half-naked, hungry – quickly absorbing the evil which surrounded them and early forced into crime and vice by the struggle to survive.'

By the time of the 1871 census, Sarah Barnett and her nieces, Frances, Sarah, Rachael Solomons, and Esther Barnett, (perhaps a daughter of Henry Barnett, Sarah's brother in the 1841 census), are now living at 107a Aldersgate street, next door to the Golden House, a licensed drinking establishment, (7 Field Lane had been next to a Lodging house which became a licensed lodging house while they were there). Aunt Sarah Barnett doesn't have an occupation specified in this census, but her nieces are all listed as 'Feather Dealers'. Ostrich Quill Feather dealers, and manufacturers, are occupations which come up quite a lot in the family tree around this time, perhaps explaining the link between the Solomons sisters and the Ramus brothers.]

Rosetta had gone by now, she is in the 1870 United States Federal Census, married to Isaac Simmons, born London, 1837, and already with a daughter, Amelia, born, New York 1869. Isaac's occupation is listed as 'Feather Dealer', and his 'Value of personal estate' given as $500. Their second child, Joshua B, is born in 1871 in New York.

Here is Isaac and Rose' family line up:-

Isaac Simmons, born Middlesex, London 1837. Isaac Simmons is my 2nd Great Grand Father.
Rose Simmons, (see Solomons sisters above)

Amelia Simmons, born New York, USA 1869
Joshua B Simmons, born New York, USA 1871
Emanuel Isaac Simmons, born New York, USA 1873
Sarah Simmons, born New York, USA 1874
Fanny May Simmons, born 29 Clephane road, Islington, London, 29-05-1882. May is my Great Grand Mother

By the 4th March 1872, Isaac and Rose arrive back in New York with Joshua B, from Liverpool on the ship, 'Italy'. I can only guess as to why Amelia isn't with them here, and I haven't as yet found a record of their trip back to England, so it's impossible to say whether they left Amelia behind for the trip, or left her in England. Given the strength of family that I have gathered from my research, I'd probably lean towards them leaving her behind with friends for the trip. On the 1870 US census they are living with a Myer Myers, (1830, and stated as being English on that census), and his wife Rose, Myer is the same age as the relative Myer Myers that was living with the Solomons sisters on the 1851 census, (and I'd hazard a fairly healthy guess they are one and the same), so perhaps they left Amelia with them rather than take both their very young children on a trans Atlantic journey. Indeed I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn later on that the Myers and Simmons went out to America together in the first place.

Isaac and Rose had two more children while living in New York, Emanuel Isaac, born 1873, and Sarah, born 1874, but the family returned to England at some point, and show up in the 1881 census report with their four children, living at 29 Clephane road, Islington, London. Isaac's occupation is given as 'Manufacturer', and they have two servants, Rebecca Willgan, 'Nurse, domestic', and Alice Turner, 'Housemaid, domestic'.

Ok, time to bring the Ramus family up to the 1880's, so I'll start with Isaac and Martha's fourth eldest, Joseph, my 2nd Great Grand Father, his last mention was as 'Shoe Maker' in the 1861 census. He doesn't appear in the English 1871 census, and it took me a while to find out where or what he was up to in that decade, but once I'd located him and his family later on, I was able to backtrack, (with a reasonable amount of online help in Ireland), and trace their movements.

Joseph met up with Harriet Louisa Boulton, (nee Woodfin), sometime between the death of her first husband, Thomas Boulton, (b1812-died1863), and the birth of Alfred in Waterford, Ireland 1870, Joseph and Harriets first child together. They were also going by the surname Raymond for some reason that eludes me thus far.
Before I get into it I'll just do the family run down first:-

Joseph (see Isaac and Martha's Joseph further up)
married Harriet Louisa Boulton (nee Woodfin), born 27-09-1840, West street, Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Harriet is my 2nd Great Grand Mother.

Alfred Joseph Ramus, born 29-01-1870, Waterford, Ireland. Harriet Louisa's maiden name given as, 'Woodfin' on Alfreds birth certificate. Josephs, 'Rank or Profession', given as 'Comedian'.

Henry Joseph Ramus, born 14-06-1872, New Lane, Carrick on Suir, Tipperary, Ireland. Harriet Louisa lists her maiden name as, 'Boulton' on Henrys birth certificate, Josephs 'Rank or Profession' listed as, 'Comedian'. Henry is my Great Grand Father.

Louisa Martha Ramus, born 20-12-1875, Waterford, Ireland. Harriet Louisa's maiden name is given as, 'Boulton', Josephs 'Rank or Profession' given as Theatre Manager.

Albert Joseph Ramus, born 21-01-1877, 244 Buchanan street, St Rollos, Glasgow, Scotland

The only stated record of Joseph and Harriet being married during this period is on Bertie's(Albert Joseph) Scottish birth certificate, where it states that they were married on the 20th December 1867 in London. They later had a registrar wedding in Whitby, York, on the 15th November 1883, which confirms what I'd suspected, that they'd been 'living in sin' until then, a not unusual occurrence in those times.

{Harriet had three children from her first marriage, Thomas, (1859), Sarah Elizabeth, (1861), and Eliza Amelia, (1863), but I can only speculate on the circumstances which led to Harriet leaving them and going across to Ireland with Joseph. She would appear to have been raised in a rural area, without parental presence, raised by her Grand Mother, Sarah Davis, according to the 1841 and 1851 census reports, and married at only 15 years old,on 21-09-1856 at the parish church of Chipping Wycombe, (although they lie about her age on the certificate, saying she's 17, when she's in fact 6 days short of her 16th birthday), to Thomas Boulton, a butcher, born 22-06-1812, some 28 years her senior.}

Also, although all of Joseph and Harriet's children had the surname Raymond on their birth certificates, the family had reverted back to the name Ramus by the time of the 1891 Scottish census report, and lived out their lives as such. We can tell that they lived in Ireland for at least five years, with Alfred born 1870, and Louisa Martha born 1874, and from Henry's birth certificate, I noted that Joseph gave his profession as 'Comedian', while living in Carrick on Suir. Unfortunately, although there were census reports taken at that time in Ireland, a lot of them were destroyed during the 'Troubles' between the Irish and Britain, so none survive for that period.

By the time of the 1881 census, Joseph and Harriet are living at 74 Portsmouth street, Chorlton Upon Medlock, Manchester, with the children. Having lived in Ireland under the name of Raymond, the family continue with the assumed surname in this census, but the ages, names, and birth places of the children confirm beyond doubt, should proof be needed, that this is the Ramus family of my ancestors. Joseph's occupation is listed on this census as 'Picture Dealer', they also have a visitor, George H Turner, a 'Secretary' by profession, and two servants, Annie Brown, 19, 'Domestic Servant', and Eugeine Robertson, 'Nurse' aged 12(?). I don't believe it to be a coincidence that they had moved close to where the Manchester Regional College of Art building was, which dates back to 1880, with art dealing becoming synonomous with the Ramus name in the following years.

Other than the registry wedding of Joseph and Harriet in 1883, I have uncovered no further evidenciary records of their life until 1891, where they crop up on the Scottish census, living at 137 Renfrew street, Glasgow, just along the road from the Glasgow School of Art at 167 Renfrew street. On the census report, Joseph's 'profession or occupation', is given as, 'Picture Dealer', as is Alfred's, while Henry is listed as, 'Artist (painting)'. Louisa Martha has by now flown the coop, and living at 136 Sauchiehall street, Glasgow, married at the tender age of 16, to Sigmund Stern, a 'Working Jeweller' born 1863 Austria. Their eldest daughter, Sophie, was born 1893 in Scotland, and their next eldest, Doris, born four years laters in Manchester, so I assume Louisa Martha followed her Father, Joseph, away from Glasgow sometime between '93 and '97.

By now, events, names, and places, are growing, while the passage of time remains constant, so I'll attempt to bring all the information together without swamping the reader with an avalanche of disparate details. I shall however, have to trust that if you've got this far and understand who everyone is, and where they've been, that you'll be able to follow what comes next. You can always scroll back up in order to clarify things if you start to get a bit muddled.

Below is the stripped down family tree from my Grand Father, Reginald Joseph Isaac Ramus, and his ancestors. Hopefully this will give you something to cross reference with my tree story, and help make things a little clearer as you read through all the information, I hope!!

Image: Reginald J I Ramus, my Grand Father's, tree

The 1880's were a busy decade for the ancestral family, and a confusing time for this tree compiler, but worthwhile time spent and great fun detecting. John Ramus comes up as 'Head of Family', at 33 Middleton Square, in the 1881 census, (which was the same address that Benjamin Ramus and Rachael Solomons were married at in 1873). Having taken in his younger siblings after the deaths of his parents back in 1869/70, John and his wife Fanny (Solomons, married 1872) still have his sister Phoebe living with them, as well as Fanny's sister, Sarah Solomons, her Aunt, Sarah Barnett, and two 'General servants', Isabella Hope, 21, and Charlotte Kent, 36. John's, 'Rank, Profession, or Occupation' stated as being an, 'Ostrich Feather Manufacturer' by this census.

On that same census year, John's eldest brother, Simon Ramus, is now living at 15 York road, their deceased parents old residence, his profession is listed as 'General Merchant' and, 'Condition as to marriage', given as, 'unmarried'. Benjamin and his family don't appear in the 1881 census, but him and Rachael have a son, Alfred, registered in April of that year, a certificate I shall have to get, but his birth was registered in Islington, so it's a bit of a mystery as to why they don't come up on a census report for this time.

With Fanny May Simmons, (later known as just May), being born on the 19th of May 1882 to Isaac and Rose, the joy of their daughters birth was unfortunately followed by the death of Isaac just seven months later. On May's birth certificate, Isaac's occupation was given as, 'Ostrich Feather Manufacturer', Rose's maiden surname listed as 'Solomons', and their address, 29 Clephane road, Islington. Then only seven months later, on Christmas eve, Isaac Simmons dies from, 'Aneurism of aorta, suffocation from pressure 2 hours' as stated on the death certificate, and 'Signature, description, and residence of informant' is, 'J Ramus, Brother in law present at death, 29 Clephane road, Islington'.

Just a year and a half after Rose's husband, Isaac passed away, her sister Rachael died, on the 26th June 1884, at 33 Myddleton Square. Cause of death given as, 'Epilepsy, 12 years. Coma and exhaustion, 12 hours'. 'Signature, description, and residence of informant', listed as, 'B. Ramus, widower of deceased present at death, 33 Myddleton Square'. Benjamin's occupation stated as being, 'Ostrich Feather Manufacturer'. Seven years later, by the time of the 1891 census, Rose and Benjamin are living together with Rose's two boys, Joseph, and Emanuel, and Benjamin's boys, Lionel, Victor, and Alfred. Rose is still under the name of Simmons, and listed as a,widow, while Benjamin is stated as being, 'Head' of family, and listed as, 'widower'. It would appear that they've been together since quite soon after their bereavements, as they now have a son between them, Reginald A Ramus, born, London, 1886, according to the census, but I haven't been able to locate a birth certificate for Reginald. A, as yet, and confusingly, there is another Reginald A Ramus, but born 1889, son of Albert Isaac Ramus, a cousin.

{It turned out, that Benjamin and Rose' son, Reginald A, was in fact named 'Ernest Benjamin Ramus' on his birth certificate, keeping that name throughout his life, so I have no idea why they should have given such a completely false name on the census report, I only found out as a result of one of his line contacting me, giving me a name I could trace all the way back to Ernest}. Also, with Rachael having died in June 1884, and Ernest born to Benjamin and Rose by November 1885, it seems surprisingly soon for them to have got it on together, or maybe it just made sense.

Rose's youngest, May Simmons, aged 8, appears to be at a school in St Leonards road, Eastbourne on this census. Benjamin, and Rose's residence on this census is, '21 Mecklenburgh Square', their occupations given as, (Benjamin)- 'Retired Feather Manufacturer', (Rose)- 'Feather Manufacturer'.

Samuel Ramus, (widower), married Sarah Solomons, (sister to Fanny, Rose, and Rachael), on 22-08-1883, 'according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Jewish Religion', by, S. J. Roco, Minister of the Spanish Portugese Jews congregation, at 57 Russell Square, which was also stated as being Samuel and Sarah's residence. John, and Benjamin Ramus were witnesses on the certificate. Samuel's occupation was given as, 'Feather Manufacturer', which appears to have been a strong link between the Solomons girls and the Ramus brothers.

Henry Ramus, (1872, son of Joseph), my Great Grand Father, married May Simmons, (1882), on 21-12-1899, at the Registry office in the District of Pancras. Henry's, 'Rank or Profession', is listed as, 'Art Dealer'. Their residence is given as, '21 Mecklenburgh Square', which was Benjamin, and Rose's residence on the 1891 census. There are no family members as witness, but this may be because they have lied about May's age, she would only have been 17 at the time of the marriage. According to the law of the time, to be married under the age of 18 would require parental consent, but if a couple were to have been married in a proper ceremony without that consent, then it could not be undone. By the 16th February 1901, Henry and May had their first child, my Grand Father, Reginald Joseph Isaac Ramus, combining Henry's Father, and Grand Fathers names, as well as May's Father's name. Henry's 'Occupation' is listed as, 'Fine Art Dealer', and their address is, '4 Glenshaw Mansions, Priory road, West Hampstead'. They are still there for the 1901 census. Their second son, Neville Walker Simon Ramus, came along on the 4th February 1905, occupation and address the same as on Reg's certificate and the census.

It was only after researching the family tree for some time, that I stumbled across the reason for the 'Walker' in Neville's name. Henry had gone into partnership with William Walker Sampson, another Fine Art Dealer. Mr Sampson was born in Newcastle, son of a ships captain, but had made his way to London with his wife, Nellie Colston, (married 1887), and son Jack, born 1890. By the 1901 census, they were living at, none other than, '21 Mecklenburgh Square', Sampson's occupation given as, 'Fine Art Dealer'. The first time I found out about their partnership, was through www.artrenewal.org and the story of an art dealing, 'cartel' headed by Sampson, with Henry Ramus as his partner, here is an excerpt taken from Vernon Grovesnor Swanson's, 'J.W. Godward: the Eclipse of Classicism', :-

[As early as 1905 another London dealer, William Walker Sampson (1864- October 1929) then in partnership with Henry Ramus, began to advertise and offer J. W. Godward prints and originals. Sampson had begun his art trade career in 1887 and now self-styled himself as a "Wholesale Fine Art Dealer: The British Galleries" of 13 Air Street, Regent Street in London. W. W. Sampson & Son's specialty was selling "English and Continental Modern Art" to the trade rather than to private collectors. After the Godward's death Sampson begins to pay increased attention to the artist's work until his own death seven years later.]

Given that there is no record of the name, 'Walker' anywhere in the Ramus family until this point, I think it's fair to say that Henry and William were very close friends, as well as business partners, for Henry to give his second born son William's middle name. I have further information to confirm the strength of their bond to come.

While Henry had made his way down to London, his brother, Albert Joseph, (Bertie), sister, Louisa Martha (now Stern), and father, Joseph, had all remained in Chorlton Upon Medlock. In the 1901 census, Albert is still living with his father, Joseph, at 2 Norwood street, South Manchester, their occupations listed as, 'Picture Dealers', Alfred Joseph, though, disappears off the radar after 1891. Albert married Nellie Hague on 23rd April 1901, at the parish church, in the parish of Moss Side, (looks as if the Jewish religion is being played down, if not dropped), on the certificate, both Albert, and Joseph give their occupations as being, 'Regilders', perhaps something to do with Martha Louisa'a husband, Sigmund Stern, who had been a, 'Working Jeweller', on the 1891 Scottish census.

Albert and Nellie named their first born, Henry Joseph Ramus, (1901), people can draw their own conclusions, but I think it's a safe guess to say the name acts as a statement that they got on well as a family.

The first decade of the Twentieth century saw Isaac and Martha's boys start passing away, the first being John, who died on the 19th April, 1904, aged 67. In his will he left £28,761, 12 shillings, and 5 pence to his widow, Fanny, and Emanuel Simmons, Ostrich Feather Manufacturer. John had been present at the death of Emanuels father, Isaac Simmons, and it would appear the family friendship remained a close one after Isaacs death in 1882. Using an online money comparison calculator, I found that the amount John left in his will would be the equivalent in todays money of between £2,220,000 based on the retail price index, £11,900,000 based on average earnings, or £20,600,000 based on the share of Gross Domestic Product, either way it would appear the 'boy done good'! More importantly though, John seems to have been very much at the heart of the Ramus family throughout his life, continuously cropping up on certificates, and census reports, witnessing events, staying with relatives, and looking after relatives.

Next to go was Johns youngest brother, Lewis, who had married Annie Barnett. Lewis, aka Alf, died in the latter part of 1906, at just 50, Annie having gone just 3 years earlier. Lewis had given his profession as 'Artist', throughout his working life, and his two sons, Isaac Fernleigh, and Barnett Aubrey, both went on to become artists themselves, although to what level I cannot say. They both dropped their given first names in later life, choosing Fernly, and Aubrey, to register by.

In June 1910 it was Simons turn, aged 75, to get a visit from the Grim Reaper, the eldest of Isaac and Martha's children, I still hope to find some information regarding Simon, as he was born in Brighton, as a number of the extended Ramus family had been. Simon left a wife, Caroline, known as Marth, and four daughters, Marth, Marie, Agnes, and Revil. His working life had been split between, 'General Dealing', and 'Ostrich Feather Manufacturing'.

Later on that year, Joseph, (my 2nd Great Grand Father), died aged 65, of, 'Locomotor ataxia, diabetes mellitus, mental imcompetence, cardiac failure' as certified. His son, Henry, (my Great Grand Father), present at death. Joseph's profession given as 'Fine Art Dealer'. 'When and where died' on the certificate was, 23rd November 1910, 3 Pine Grove, Rusholme, South Manchester. Henry's address given as, '69 Canfield Gardens, Hampstead, London'.

Samuel, Isaac and Martha's third eldest, died on the 1st July 1911, only leaving his wife Sarah, £7 and 10 shillings in his will, suggesting perhaps that he hadn't been quite as successful a businessman as brothers. But that's nothing more than a guess, perhaps their wealth was tied up in property. By now, Benjamin, and Alfred, were the last of Isaac and Martha's boys alive, Benjamin and Rose, at the 1911 census, are staying at what appears to be a small hotel, or home of some description, for a large number of people of varying ages, having been living at flat c, 3 Maida Vale, for most of the preceding decade. They are described as having completed 26 years of marriage by then. Benjamin eventually died on the 28th January 1928.

Alfred emigrated to Canada, marrying Martha Rolley on the 8th December 1878 in Toronto. They are on the 1881 Canadian census, by now with a daughter, Elizabeth, born 1879, and in 1883 they had a second daughter, Christina Ramus. Having been contacted by one of Alfreds descendants, it would appear he went missing, never to be seen again. Alfred was a 'Brakesman' on the Canadian railways, and one day went to work, never to return. There is however, an Alfred Ramus that turns up in the US Federal census of 1901, in Seattle City,Washington, of English origin and parentage, but gives his date of birth as, April,1861, who knows, maybe the two are the same?.

Joseph and Harriet had travelled the British Isles quite extensively while raising their children, having Alfred, Henry, and Martha Louisa, all in Waterford, Ireland, betweeen 1870 and 1874, then Bertie in Glasgow in 1877, turning up at Manchester in the 1881 census, and back in Glasgow by the 1891 census, shortly before Harriets death in 1893 at Whitby, York. Although Joseph named his occupation on Henry, and Alfreds birth certificates as, 'Comedian', while on Louisa Marthas birth certificate, he was by then a, 'Theatre Manager', virtually all other reference to occupation from then on is as an art dealer, and the children would have doubtless at least picked up an education in the world of art as a result of their father's, and the wider family's interest in the field. So with that in mind, I bring you to the unfortunate demise of my Great Grand Father, Henry Joseph Ramus, 1872 to 20th July, 1911.

After a pretty poor nine months of seeing his father and two of his uncles pass away, Henry himself dies at the very young age of just 39, apparently as a result of an infection after having some dental work done.

Apparently, it appears likely that Henry got a cerebral abscess from his dental surgery, not uncommon pre-antibiotics, and the family called in Sir Victor Horsley, Queen Victoria's surgeon, and a 'pioneer of neurological surgery'  as the leading British neurosurgeon at that time to operate. 

The cause of death on Henry's death certificate, was given as, 'Cellulitis of cavernous tissue. Thrombosis of longitudinal sinus'. This extract from Wickipedia will give you an idea of what killed him,

'Cavernous sinus thrombosis (CST) is the formation of a blood clot within the cavernous sinus, a cavity at the base of the brain which drains deoxygenated blood from the brain back to the heart. The cause is usually from a spreading infection in the nose, sinuses, ears, or teeth. Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus are often the associated bacteria. Cavernous sinus thrombosis symptoms include; decrease or loss of vision, chemosis, exophthalmos (bulging eyes), headaches, and paralysis of the cranial nerves which course through the cavernous sinus. This infection is life-threatening and requires immediate treatment, which usually includes antibiotics and sometimes surgical drainage.'
I could hazard a guess that Henry got an infection from whatever dental work he was having carried out, and that that infection turned out to be fatal.

Henry was staying at the Felix Hotel in Felixstowe, where he died, his occupation listed as, 'Fine Art Dealer', and the, 'Signature, Description, and Residence of Informant', is given as a, '(couldn't read) Melville, Inmate', which I thought was a bit odd as they were at an Hotel.

Whatever the reasons for Henry's death, he now left a widow, May, with two young sons to bring up without a father, Reg, 10, and Nev, 6. (May herself was only 27 at the time). ln his will, Henry leaves May £8,317, 8 shillings, 8 pence, using an online, 'measuring worth' calculator, it estimates that this amount could be worth between £692,700 and £5,631,000, depending which criteria are used. Since then I've made some interesting discoveries which at least give an insight into life after Henry.

Just a few months earlier, Henry had filled out the 1911 census report for their house, 69 Canfield Gardens, Hampstead, giving his occupation as, 'Fine Art Dealer', his birth place as, 'Waterford, Ireland'. May's birth place was shown to be, 'London,(resident)', and her nationality, 'American,(parents)', (presumably because Isaac and Rose, her parents, had become citizens of the USA while they lived there). Other than Reginald, and Neville, Henry's niece, Sophia Stern, aged 18, was staying with them too, daughter of Sigmund and Louisa Martha Stern, Henry's brother in law, and sister.
They also had three servants, Agnes Morgan, 20, a Parlour Maid, Mary Morgan, 48, a Cook, and Minnie Coles, 24, a Housemaid. The household was stated as having 12 rooms.

Just six months after Henry died, Reginald and Neville were enrolled at Brighton College, in Eastern road, Brighton, on January 12th, 1912, as boarders in the 'Junior House', for the 'Junior School'. On their entry forms, it asks, 'on whose nomination?', to which, 'Dealer in works of art (no name given)', is written. Next to, 'Parent or Guardian', is written, 'W.W. Sampson, 13 Air Street, London W'. So clearly William Walker Sampson and Henry Ramus were a much closer partnership that just business colleagues. I should also point out here, that when William dies on 31st Oct 1929, he was at 122 Kings road, Brighton, so I'd say it's a reasonable possibility that Reg and Nev could have been visiting him on occasion throughout their tenure at the college, a bit like an honourary Uncle.

In July 1914, the boys were reported as having left the college, but there was no other reference to the matter, and they were back next term. Joyce Heater, the Brighton College archivist that worked so hard to find me all this information on Reg and Nev, thinks there's a good chance that their mother, May, pulled them out of school that summer because of the political situation at the time, and the imminent potential of war with Germany, not wanting them to be so near the coast in case of invasion. Clearly, as Joyce also summises, if that were the case, then a change of heart must have followed.
Reginald was only at the school for four years, leaving in December 1916, while Neville, being four years younger, stayed until December 1921. They both appear to have been very involved in sports during their time at the college, playing in the football and cricket elevens, rugby 15's, as well as doing well at boxing, rowing, and athletics, gaining favourable mention in the school notes for pretty much everything they threw themselves into. Sadly there are no photo's of Reg or Nev from this time, despite the fact pictures were indeed taken. The one image that Joyce did manage to dig up, believe it or not, had all Neville's team mates for the 1921 First eleven cricket team, with, 'N W Ramus, absent' written at the bottom corner of the photograph, which we were all absolutely gutted about after all the hard work Joyce had gone to. Nonetheless, I now know more than I ever dared wish that I might about Reg and Nev's young lives, not to mention all I've learned about my family history since starting out on this family tree.

I have a small amount left to add to this side of my tree, which will be Reginald's offspring, and the course of their lives as I've come to know through my research and endless questions asked of my dear old dad.

Image: 1921 1st Eleven. Neville Ramus absent!!

I have no records of Reg after he left school, until his marriage to Violet Annie Freear Read, on the 14th July 1923, they are my fathers parents. You may think this would be obvious, but it isn't,as you will find out. Reg and Violet were married at the Willesden registry office, London, Reg giving his 'Rank or Profession' as 'Director, Limited Company', naming his father as, 'Harry Ramus (deceased)'- 'Rank or Profession' given as, 'Fine Art Dealer'. Violets father was listed as, 'Harry Read (deceased), 'Rank or Profession' given as 'Master Butcher'. The ceremony was witnessed by, H. Read, (Harry Oliver, Violet's eldest brother), and E.Read, either her mother or aunt. Reginalds address on the certificate is, 21 Rutland Park Mansions, while Violet's is 9 Buckley Road.

Reg and Violet had three children together, listed here:-

Sheila Audrey Ramus, born 2nd October 1924
John Stuart Ramus, born 17th April 1927 John is my Father, (we call him Squire)
Michael Harry Walker Ramus, born 22nd December 1932

One of Squire's memories as a child, is of Reg and Boof coming into their rooms before they went off to the Chelsea Arts Ball, in fancy dress costumes, Boof in a long flowing dress and bonnet, Reg in an elaborate Georgian outfit, with ruffled collar and cuffs, and all very colourful. The Chelsea Arts Ball was an annual event that they went to every year, and we have a part of a photo, with Boof, her sister, Lilian (auntie Bill), and her brother, Frank's wife, Nellie, all in fancy dress, circa 1923. Unfortunately the photo was torn, I might guess perhaps that it was a reaction to having been deserted by Reg, and that it was he that had been removed by this action, but there's no way of knowing really. It's certainly a curious picture, with auntie Bill looking quite happy, but Boof looks distracted, while Nellie in her turban looks bordering on miserable, but again, who knows? Photo's capture a moment, but not necessarily the truth of the moment, I'd dearly love to have the rest of it to see what was missing

There are pictures of Reg and Violet with the children down in Littlehampton on holiday, which Squire remembers well, and at this time they were living just down the road from Hendon airfield, Northwest London, at Hendon Way, next door to John and Beryl Antill. At some point, Reg leaves Violet to run off with Beryl, and they marry in 1935, that same year, Violet marries John Antill. It's only after hearing the story that follows, that I could make some sort of sense of it.

Squire told me how John Antill was a violent man, often beating Violet, or 'Boof' as we knew her, he also hit the children, and threw things at them when he couldn't catch them. One day, Antill was giving Boof another beating, obviously causing a commotion as he went about his attack, while outside of their house a crowd had gathered, his reputation as a wife beater wasn't a secret. Next door there was a lady called Queenie Richards, who later became our Auntie Dickie, and she had heard the noise through the walls. Auntie Dickie was a fit young woman, a strong swimmer that counted cross channel swimmers as friends, and a very strong character too. She crawled out of her first story window, along the window cills and into Boof and Antills place, got the better of John Antill, then gave him two choices, he could go outside to the baying mob waiting to tear him apart, or he could leave out the back and never return, needless to say the gutless wife beater left out the back, and from that moment onwards, Auntie Dickie joined Boof in raising Sheila, John, and Michael, she also adopted Tim, who we would know as our Uncle Tim later on.

From this story, I could hazard a guess that Antill had been doing similar to his first wife, Beryl, and that somewhere down the line, she sought Reg as a shoulder to cry on, only for them to end up together at the expense of poor Boof. I doubt Reg would have envisaged the scenario where Antill ended up marrying the woman he had left for Beryl, but that is what happened. Thank heavens for Auntie Dickie!

Image: From left:- Nellie, Boof, and Auntie Bill. Circa 1923

Image: 'Johnny and Mike' Squire and Uncle Mike 1936

Image: Squire, Uncle Mike, and Uncle Tim circa 1945

William Walker Sampson

[3] William Walker Sampson (1864-1929) began his art trade career in 1887. W. W. Sampson & Son's specialty was selling English and Continental Modern art to the trade, rather than to private collectors. Working almost exclusively with the auction market, W. W. Sampson was called "champion of British Art at auction" in his obituary [Swanson, Vern Grosvenor. "J.W. Godward: The Eclipse of Classicism." Suffolk, UK and New York: Antique Collector's Club, 1997, p. 152-153].


The above information was the first link I found connecting my Great Grandfather, Henry Ramus, to William Walker Sampson, and as a result I began researching the Sampson family history, in the hope of finding more connections. I could never have imagined that it would lead me where it did, or that it would bring me all the way back to Brighton again.


William Walker Sampson was born in North Shields, Northumberland, although from my research so far, it would appear he was born out of wedlock, named William Walker when born, his mother being, Margaret Walker, eldest daugher of John Walker, and Mary Ann. Margaret had been born at Tynemouth, Northumberland in 1844.  On February 9th, 1869, Margaret married Charles Sampson, both of them aged 24 at the time, with Charles profession given as, 'Mariner', his father named as, Henry, whose profession was listed as, 'Grocer', while Margarets father, John, is listed as being a, 'Waterman'. They were married at the parish church of Tynemouth, Northumberland. 


On 4th September 1870, Charles Sampson and Margaret (formerly Walker) Sampson, have their first child together, Elizabeth, Charles profession is now, 'Merchant seaman'


The following year, in the 1871 census, Margaret is with her two children, Elizabeth being six months old, and William has been given the Sampson surname, Charles is presumably at sea, and they are living with Margarets mother, who is now Mary Ann Hoskins, so I guess she must have been widowed by then and remarried, she has her other two children, David, and Mary Ann Walker, all living together at Little Bedford Street, Tynemouth. A great deal of the professions listed in their census report neighbours, are sea based trades, such as, Steam boat Stoker, Ships master, Seaman, and Shipwrights. Tynemouth was also one the the many coastal points around the country that was deemed to require a coastal fortification, or 'Redoubt', as they were known, much like the one we have at Shoreham, which is currently being painstakingly restored.


In 1876, Margaret married James Ellery at Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, so I imagine Charles may have died at sea, as I have been able to find no death certificate so far. By the 1881 census, Margaret Ellery, as she is now known, is living at Beach Street, Benwell, Northumberland, and along with William Sampson, 17 years old, Elizabeth sampson,13, Mary Sampson, 7, she now has Rosana M Ellery by her new husband, so we can guess that Charles died sometime between 1874 and 1876. Their neighbours in this census are variously, coal miners, iron moulders, lead miner, and labourers. Margaret herself is listed as being a 'Laundress', while William is now a, 'Stationer', so it would appear he has been educated one way or another.


On the 7th August 1887, William Walker Sampson married Elizabeth Colston, daughter of James and Elizabeth Colston, a Scottish family from Dunse, Berwickshire. They both give their ages as 22, while William names his father as, Charles Sampson, profession- Ship Captain, Elizabeths father is named, James Colston, profession- Painter. They were married at the parish church of Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Elizabeths younger sister, Helen (Nellie) Colston is a witness on the certificate. Williams profession is given as, 'Clerk'.


In 1890, William and Elizabeth have a son, John (Jack), born Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, a certificate I have to get.

So to the 1891 census, and William is on his own, or rather, staying as 'Visitor', with John and Fanny Potts, at Bedford Lodge outside a boarding school. Williams profession is now given as, 'Solicitor', while John Potts is stated as.'Living on own means'. John and Fanny are shown to have been born at Wallsend, Northumberland, so it may be possible that this is where William knew them from. According to art historian, Vernon Grosvenor Swanson, William Walker Sampson began his art dealing career in 1887, so I wonder if his surroundings helped steer him in that direction.


Since beginning on this road of research into Sampson, I have discovered a lot of stuff about the murky world of Victorian art dealing, not least of which was the modus operandi of greasing the palms of butlers, valets, and other servants in a position to spill the beans on their wealthy employers, especially regarding the works of art in a lot of the country's stately homes. It is with this in mind that I mention now the 1891 census report for Williams wife, Elizabeth, where she, her sister, Nellie, and Williams sister, Lizzie, young Jack (John) Sampson, now six months old, and Williams aunt, Mary Ann Walker, are living at Temple grove, Mortlake, Surrey. Williams sister, Lizzie, now aged 20, is a Scullery Maid, his wifes sister, Nellie, is a Servants Hall Maid, his Aunt Mary is a cook/ housekeeper, while his wife, Lizzie, and boy Jack, are listed as Visitors. So far, so what?, I hear you ask yourselves, until you discover that the residence they are staying at is that of their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Fife, but not just any old Duke and Duchess, this Duchess was Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar, the younger sister of George V and the fifth daughter of a British monarch to be styled Princess Royal. Obviously it's only an assumption, but it's certainly fair to consider the possibility that a shrewd judge of situations might see an opportunity or two to advance his position in life, even if only by a bit of name dropping after the event. And from all the evidence I have discovered regarding W.W.Sampson, this was definitely a man that new an opportunity when he saw one.


It's around this time that the links between William, and my Great Grandfather, Henry Ramus, begin to come up. When Henry married May Simmons on the 21st December 1899, their address was given as, 21 Mecklenburgh Square, Henry stated as being an Art Dealer. In the 1901 census, William Walker Sampson, along with his wife and son, are now living at 21 Mecklenburgh Square, Williams occupation given as, 'Fine Art Dealer'. Living at that same address in the 1891 census, was Henry's Uncle, Benjamin Ramus, whose, by then de facto wife, Rose, was the mother of Henry's wife, May. (To catch up on that lot, scroll back up to the Ramus branches above). In the Post Office Directory of 1902, Henry Ramus is listed as, 'Henry Ramus &Co, fine art dealers', at 68 Wardour Street, whereas, in the Electoral Registers for London, William Walker Sampson is listed as living at 67 Wardour Street.


To add to the strength of the bond between William and Henry, when Henry and May have their second child, he is named, Neville Walker Simon Ramus (4th Feb 1904), the Simon being after Henry's Great Grandfather Simon Ramus, (22-05-1789 Amsterdam), and his Uncle Simon, (1836 Brighton, Sussex), Walker exists nowhere else in the Ramus family up to that point, so it's a fair guess that he gave Neville the middle name of his friend and business partner, William Walker Sampson, my Grandfather even passed the name on to my Uncle, Michael Harry Walker Ramus.


Following Henry's untimely death, probably as a result of infection following dental work, William went on to take up the job of Guardian to Henry and May's boys, Reginald and Neville, the story of which is told earlier in this write up, (scroll up). Two years after Henry's death, Sampson holds an auction, which is advertised in,

'The Manchester Courier, Saturday October 18, 1913'

On View
The Gallery:- Sale of a Valuable Collection of Oil Paintings and water-colour Drawings, being the last portion of the stock of Mr W.W. Sampson of 13 Air Street, London, W.,, sold owing to the death of Mr Henry Ramus, a partner in the firm, and comprising Examples of the Highest Importance, by Leading Deceased and Living Members of the Royal Academy and other Distinguished Painters of the English School.

CAPES, DUNN, & CO. beg to announce the receipt of instructions from Mr Sampson to SELL BY AUCTION on TUESDAY next, October 21st, 1913 at 12 O'clock, at the Gallery, No3 Clarence Street, Albert square, Manchester, an exceedingly Choice COLLECTION of PICTURES in Oil and Water Colours, including:-
( it goes on to list way too many to write here at the moment, but a veritable who's who of the top artists of the time, past and present)


For a while I wondered if that may be as far as I could go, when I discovered William in later years, had a second woman, Simeta Sampson, and he was living with her at the same time as being married still to Elizabeth, and listed as living with her too, at seperate addresses obviously. When Elizabeth died on the 4th May 1924, aged only 59, her son was present at the death at 31 Hornton Court, Kensington, and William listed as being her husband. Just two months later, and William has overcome his grief and married his other woman, Simeta Victoria Sampson. On the marriage certificate, William gives his address as 7 The Haymarket, which is next door to the Haymarket Theatre, and his occupation is Fine Art Dealer, they also have four witnesses at the ceremony, Charles Stone, Luigi Naintre, Harry Preston, and Philip H Rosenbach. After a bit of digging, I discovered that these were pretty high profile people, Harry Preston, later to become Sir Harry Preston, owner of the Royal Albion and Royal York Hotels in Brighton, and the man that engineered the birth of the speed trials at Madeira Drive in 1905, and Philip H Rosenbach, brother of Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach, the famous bibliophile that took this country by storm with rich Americans behind him, buying up the cream of the country's literature in the form of first editions, first folios, and anything at all of historical importance in the literary world, sailing back and forth across the Atlantic, first class aboard the the White Star Line, or Cunards finest ships of the time. Luigi Naintre was an Italian doing well in the restaurant business, worthy of a mention in Harry Prestons biography, having been in charge of Ciro's and Embassy clubs in Piccadilly.


Once I had discovered this link, I found a, “The Rosenbach Museum & Library”, in Philadelphia, and rattled off an e mail to them to see if they had any records of a link between their founders, Sampson, and my Great Grandfather, Henry. Sure enough there was a link, and then a book, A.S.W. Rosebach's, (Rosie to his friends), biography, which mentions William, or Bill, as they knew him, and how Bill would bid for them at Christies on accasions to keep their profile out of the picture. He was also part of Rosie's inner circle in London, mentioned in the biography as being one of a close circle invited up to Rosie's suite at the Carlton Hotel, one of the most fashionable hotels of the time, to celebrate Rosies latest victory at the auction rooms of Christies or Sothebys. Since then, Patrick Rodgers, and Kathy Haas, of the Rosenbach Museum & Library, have kindly retrieved and sent me copies of transactions and correspondence between Sampson, his second wife, Simeta, and the Rosenbach brothers, from as early as 1909, showing me for the first time, the names of Henry Ramus, and William Walker Sampson, together on headed paper under the title of, The British Galleries, Wholesale Fine Art Dealers.


And to round things off quite nicely up to this point, as I read through the transaction copies supplied, there among them was the name J.W. Godward, the very painter that led Vernon Grosvenor Swanson to study and write a history about, which in turn helped me discover the link between William and Henry, and on to so much more, which I hope to one day put together in a book, as there is so much more to write about this lot. I currently have three books on the go as I seek to find even more out, mainly in the hope I can add a good deal to the story of Henry, and his oh so short life.

Image: This is a copy of a transaction between W.W.Sampson and The Rosenbach Company, from 1909

Sir Harry Preston

I still couldn't be sure that the Harry Preston on Williams marriage certificate, was also the hotel proprietor of the Royal Albion, and Royal York Hotels in Brighton, friend to the Prince of Wales, (later to be King Edward the 8th, abdicating in 1936), organiser of the first speed trials held at Madeira Drive in Brighton in 1905, he even badgered the local council to put the new fangled Tarmac surface on it at the request of the Royal Automobile Club, so that these speed trials could take place at all. Harry also organised the first air race to involve Brighton and Shoreham, which started off at Brooklands racing circuit in 1911, so as you can imagine, being a Shoreham lad, I was pretty keen to make and prove this link to 'Our 'Arry'. A little jaunt up to the History Centre in the Royal Pavillion gardens helped seal the deal, they provided me with all they had, then went one better, and showed me two books written by Harry Preston, 'My Memories', and 'Leaves from an Unwritten Diary', inside which, was hidden the very proof I was searching for. In 1927, a group of some of the most eminent people in the country had decided to hold a dinner in honour of Harry, to be held at the Piccadilly Hotel in London, and they had arranged a silver salver to be made, and engraved with all their signatures, inscribed in the middle, 'Presented to Harry Preston by a few friends October 17 1927', (which also happens to be the year of Squires birth). Harry, in his books, had kindly listed all the names of the signatures, over one hundred of them, including H.R.H. Edward, Prince of Wales, and there also, was the name of William Walker Sampson, and when I saw the picture of the silver salver, there just below the date, was W.W.Sampsons signature, what better proof could I have possibly asked for.

I shall quote you here from his book, Leaves from an Unwritten Diary, at the top of page 339:-

'I have been honoured by the friendship and dear regard of so many sportsmen during the last half century that this part of my unwritten diary should contain some thousands of names and will be about a million words long. Two personal stories will explain something of my dilemma when I reflect upon my good fortune in having so many friends who meet on the common and glorious ground of sport. On March 6, 1927, a few of my friends came from town to Brighton especially to honour me with a dinner at the Royal York, where they, and I, had enjoyed happy and intimate hours, enriched by good talk and the sweet aura of one anothers good company. They presented me with a loving cup on which they had inscribed their names:', and he lists the names, again, W.W.Sampson is there.

Image: Sir Harry Prestons silver salver, presented to him by, 'a few friends', in 1927

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