Adeline Philippa Jacobs

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Adeline Phillipa Jacobs

Information courtesy of Gerry Newnham and Roy Parker

Adeline Phillipa JACOBS was the missing child of Henry JACOBS and Ellen SILVERSTONE until her existence was revealed in the death notice for Ellen JACOBS (nee SILVERSTONE) which appeared in the Jewish Chronicle of 7th November 1913:

“JACOBS – On 6th November at 15 Hartismere-road, Fulham, Ellen Jacobs aged 78 mother of Kate Byrne, Lil Jacobs, Adeline James, Lizzie Carlisle and Lewis Jacobs. God rest her dear soul.”

(Adeline married Frank JAMES in Q1 1893.)

She was born in Brighton in Q1 1867 and this means that Henry and Ellen had children approximately every two years from Dec 1854 (Hannah, born in Kentucky, USA) to their last child, Lewis about 1872 and brings the total number of their children to 11.

The reason that she had not previously been identified is that she never appears in the Census with her parents and her existence was not, therefore, suspected. Although her birth was registered in Brighton, where many of Henry and Ellen’s children were born, there were several JACOBS families living there in the 1860’s. In 1871 Adeline together with Leah and Emmanuel are living with James & Emma GASTON at 45 Richmond Buildings, Brighton1. This was about the time of the birth of Elizabeth Constance and the three children are shown as “Nurse Child” (“Nursed Child”?). In 1881 Adeline is an inmate at the Jews Hospital and Orphan Asylum, Knights Hill Road, Lower Norwood2 and in 1891 she is a lodger (occupation – trim embroidress) at 34 Maze Pond, Southwark. By the 1901 Census she had, as stated above, married and was living at 17 Valmar Road, Camberwell3.

Her presence at the Norwood Orphanage raised the possibility that there could be some documentation regarding her admission that might reveal the circumstances of the family. Admission to Norwood was usually by a ballot of the subscribers, with those subscribing the highest amounts having the greatest number of votes. Lists of eligible children were prepared and ballots were held twice yearly, although urgent cases might be put to a special ballot. Many children did not even reach the ballot stage as their circumstances were not deemed sufficiently desperate or they did not pass the medical and other tests. The children needed to be reasonably fit – physically and mentally – and had to meet certain educational standards. Furthermore the children needed to provide evidence of their Jewish parentage and when printed voting lists were introduced these showed the child’s Hebrew name.

The archives of the Norwood Orphanage have been deposited at the Hartley Library at the University of Southampton. I therefore arranged a visit to see if any record of Adeline could be found. [See image below] The records that survive are patchy. Several Minute Books of various committees have been deposited but not all years survive and there are large gaps. Also, the petitions or memorials that were submitted by, or on behalf of, the parents, together with the documents such as birth and marriage certificates that needed to be produced do not seem to have survived, at least for the period in question. Fortunately, in the Minute Book of the main Committee (AJ19/B/8 – Minute Book, April 1875 to February 1895) I found that Adeline, along with a number of girls and boys, had been admitted by ballot on 14th June 1877. The information given for her is sparse, almost cryptic, but nonetheless informative:


Name Age Circumstances Family
Adeline Jacobs 9 deserted by father 8 children

(The headings are mine and are not shown in the Minute Book but are consistent with the information provided.)

She would have been 10 when she was admitted but it may be assumed that the process of getting her case to ballot would have taken several months and may have started well before her 10th birthday. The number of children in the family can be reconciled with the total number of children now known to have been born to Henry and Ellen as follows:


Child Born Age in 1877
Hannah 1854 23
Maurice Henry 1856 (est) 21
Sarah F 1859 18
Matilda Rebecca 1860 17
David 1862 15
Kate 1864 13
Leah 1865 12
Adeline Phillipa 1867 9 (as shown in Minute Book)
Emmanuel 1869 8
Elizabeth Constance 1871 (est) 6
Lewis 1872 (est) 5



Hannah and Maurice Henry had probably left home. Hannah married David MOSS BENJAMIN in 1878 and Maurice Henry was running a coffee house in City Road in 1881, marrying Sylvia SOLOMONS in 1882. It is not known if Sarah was still alive but she would have been old enough to leave home. Matilda was still living with her mother in 18812 and it is therefore reasonable to assume that she and the remaining younger children – 8 in total – were also still living with Ellen in 1877. Although many children were sent to work at the age of 14 it may be that there were other circumstances regarding the family that are not now known.

The most interesting part of the information about Adeline is that the family had been “deserted by father”. There has been much speculation about Henry and his two families and much research has already been carried out in attempt to show that the Henry JACOBS who had 7 children with Elizabeth Twine was the same Henry JACOBS that was married to Ellen SILVERSTONE. As no connection has so far been uncovered between the two families (other than family stories) the matter is still “not proven” but nonetheless there seems little doubt that he was the same man.

This three word comment does, at least, demonstrate that Henry was still alive in 1877 and means there is an overlap with the Henry JACOBS who fathered 7 children with Elizabeth TWINE. From the evidence available Alice (born 30 March 1874) and Clara (born about 1875) and possibly Charles (born about 1877) had all been born by 1877.

Although I did hope for more detail, even this meagre entry is still informative and adds further weight to the case for the two Henrys being the same person.

Conclusive evidence could be obtained by a yDNA test (preferably to at least 37 markers) taken by any direct male descendant of Henry JACOBS and Elizabeth TWINE. I am a direct male descendant of Henry JACOBS and Ellen SILVERSTONE (they are my great-grand parents) and I now have my yDNA results. A simple comparison of the two results should finally resolve the matter.


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