The Yager Family

Note: All documental information supplied here is available in the public domain and thus may be researched by anyone with the intent to do so. Some information has been included for completeness rather than it being of benefit to the story. However, information that may be easily associated with living persons has been withheld even though that too is available in the public domain.  

Introduction: Both the Yager family name and some given names (especially Harry's), have been interpreted in various ways in official documents and lists. On the 1901 census the family name is interpreted as Yagher and Harry (actually Harris) appears as Hermann.  When Harry married, his surname was shown as Jaeger and then as Egher upon naturalisation.  These differences are to be expected especially with sometimes slapdash enumeration and foreign nationals, speaking with a strong accent, who often changed their names in an attempt to more easily fit in their newly found and adopted society. By 1911 though the family name was decidedly spelled "Yager" and Harris had definitely become Harry. Even though this has brought some difficulties in genealogical analysis other facts offer overwhelming support for the accuracy of these findings [see Note 1 below].

The Yager family born to to Austrian/Romanian parents Nathan & Esther, comprised Harris [aka Harry] (1878), Haia [aka Clara] (1880), Pinchas (1882), Barnet (1886) & Hinda (1887) all born in Romania.  Following countless other Romanian Jewish families escaping  increasing persecution, the family left Romania and travelled to England; first appearing in the UK on the 1901 census taken on March 31st, though when the family arrived in the UK is uncertain.  However, their daughter Haia had married Harry Abramovitz in Romania and the couple's second child, Jacob, was born there in about 1900.  If the whole family moved together, which is a likely but perhaps risky assumption, then we may deduce the Yager's arrival as not long before the census.  Granted, it could be that the Abramovitz's followed on, but I will hazard an opinion that they did not; though by 1903 the Abramovitz's had moved on to settle in Wisconsin.  In any case the Yager family is not found on the 1891 census.

They settled in Bethnal Green where Harry, his father and younger siblings re-started  their business as Cabinet Makers.

Harry became a naturalised British citizen on July 2nd 1907 (here is the National Archives record)

Early in 1902 (though maybe late 1901 due to the quarterly registrations), Harry married Sarah Charlotte (Lotte) Rothman at Mile End Old Town (here is the BMD entry) and had seven children; Bertha, Deborah, Solomon [aka Solly], Rose, Reuben, Matilda & Sidney Hyman.

The 1911 census has Harry and his family living at 55, Downs Park Rd, Hackney in a comfortable eight room house with a live-in domestic servant.  The census can be viewed here (census 2000 pixels wide) or downloaded here (census 6300 pixels wide) [see Note 2 below].

Harry and his family had several addresses, variously living at Amhurst Road, Hackney, Bethune Road, N16, Avenue Road, NW8 and lastly at 20 Milverton Road, Brondesbury where Harry died on April 11th 1946 aged 68.  His Will was probated on September 14th when his Estate of 57,542 9s. 9d. was passed to his son Solomon and his daughter Bertha Marcus.

Harry had moved from the family business and begun his own Cabinet Making business that flourished and was soon expanded into being a timber merchants and plywood manufacturer.  Harry founded, amongst several other businesses, the London Plywood Company in which his sons played leading roles.

Although he wound up his companies and became bankrupt (at least twice in 1907 & 1928) seemingly to avoid creditors, the family's timber businesses flourished and upon the collapse of Hall Lewis he, ironically, became a major creditor.  Seeing an opportunity for a business venture in which he had little experience, he negotiated the purchase of Hall Lewis's Park Royal located liquidated assets and started Park Royal Coachworks.

Harry and his sons Solomon & Reuben ran PRC for several years but Harry's last child, Sidney Hyman, seemingly did not take any active part in the PRC company.  PRC remained in the control of the Yager family until Harry's death on April 11th 1946 when the family decided to rename the business as Park Royal Vehicles and float the company in the October of the same year.

Harry was a very tall and slim man with ginger hair (a trait that ran in the family) and a commanding presence.  He was generous  giving dowries to his daughters and monetary gifts to his sisters upon their visits and was active in support of the local Jewish community resulting in him receiving the honour of laying the foundation stone for the Willesden District Synagogue and having a Hall at Stamford Hill Synagogue named after him.  Harry had significant financial resources with his own Investment Trust that owned much land, especially at Park Royal, including a plot adjacent to the PRC works that he developed as a Greyhound Race Track.  Harry and his sons, were well known for their extravagant & flamboyant ways; especially Reuben, a particularly colourful character, who was a regular gambler and thought nothing of losing 5000 in an evening! 

The children:

Bertha born 1903 at Hackney, married Morris Marcus at Hackney in 1922 and had two children.

Deborah born 1905 at Hackney, married Cecil Monk at Hackney in 1923 and had two children.

Solomon [aka Solly]: was born at Hackney 13th September 1907 and died at St John's Wood in 1977.  He married Ettie Tobias at Golders Green in 1929 and had one son. Along with his brother Reuben, he qualified as a light aircraft pilot in 1933.  He often travelled to New York.

Rose born 1909 at Hackney, married Harry Simmonds at Hendon in 1928 and had two children.

Reuben: was born at Hackney 15th August 1911 and died at Byfleet, Surrey on the 27th September 1950.  He married Ena Miller at Willesden in 1939.  Along with his brother Solly, he qualified as a light aircraft pilot in 1933.  But Reuben was a metaphorical high-flyer too and was known for his playboy lifestyle and his excesses.  He thought little of gambling and losing large sums of money, and perhaps it is indicative of this, that after being used to living in some very imposing homes, he lived the finalé of his tragically short life in quite modest surroundings.

Matilda (Tilli) born 1914 at Hackney, married Maurice Edelman (Labour MP for Coventry, Playwright, Author & Linguist) at Willesden in 1933 and had two children.

Sidney Hyman was born at Hackney in June Quarter 1916.  He married Julia Looman at Willesden in 1936 and had one daughter.  He died tragically early aged just forty on the 26th January 1957 at the Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York.  His Will was probated in London on the 5th April and his Estate of 94,402 14s. 9d. was shared between sister Bertha and two company directors. He did not take an active role in his father's Park Royal Coachworks instead he seemingly ran the Yager family's timber businesses.

Notes:

[Note 1] Prior to the 1911 census, all census lists were created from records supplied by the householder and interpreted by "Enumeration Officers" whose job it was to visit, collect, collate and make sense of the householders' records. Householders sometimes had difficulty with both literacy & numeracy or suffered the problems of translation and often the enumerator would assist the householder by interview and empirical observation, or worse, guesswork.  Also the "Enumerators" with limited time to complete their rounds could be slapdash and it is no small wonder that errors crept in.  The same issues are often found with other official records such as birth, marriage & death records.

The 1911 census was very different in as much as the records available today were the actual records as completed by the householder, so there is no third party "Enumerator" involvement and interpretation.  By 1911 there had been a significant increase in both literacy & numeracy and though translation problems still existed the 1911 census is thus to be considered a more accurate document.

[Note 2] ZIPPED files are compressed need to be UNZIPPED before use. Windows 7 has an unzip feature built-in and will automatically unzip the file upon clicking it; for other Microsoft OS a program such as the free 7-Zip will provide the necessary service. There are many other zip/unzip programs available that also support the Mac OS. Linux also has an zip/unzip feature built-in but it needs to be enabled.

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Page last updated 20th December 2013 -  Graham Hill