Michael Jacobs

From what I can gather Michael was born “Michael Jacobs”  and changed his name to “Alfred Michael Jacobs”…in the light of what I know now I wonder if the name change was to avoid past misdemeanours? 

Anyway the couple arrived in Melbourne on 18 November 1873 so they must have married and then immediately set sail.  They had three (not two) children :-

1. Henry Michael born 1874 – died at 1 yr and 10 months (according to the death notice in the papers) at 3 Bouverie Street, Carlton.

2. Zadock Alfred Jacobs born 1875 Melbourne ( haven’t tracked the exact date yet)

3. Rebecca Rose Jacobs born 26 November  1876 at 242 Drummond Street, Carlton, Melbourne.

At this time Carlton was a REAL working mans suburb of Melbourne….Alfred Michael lists his occupation as clerk (but I haven’t found any employment details to date).

In about 1878/9 Alfred (as he was then known), Leah , Zadock and Rebecca returned to England and things got worse. Leah sued for divorce upon the grounds of adultery, assault and inflicting upon her a veneral disease.  If you look at Ancestry you can see the trial papers in their divorce case….BUT not satisfied with all this Alfred/Michael undertakes a bigamous marriage in 1880 (under the name of Alfred Jacobs) . He was indicted at the Old Bailey on 26th April 1880 – Central Criminal Court. On Saturday May 1 1880 before Mr. Reader (case no. 416) “Alfred Jacobs pleaded guilty to feloniously marrying Lavinia Hughes, his wife Leah being alive – One month’s Imprisonment”(without hard labour).( Read the details at Reynold’s Newspaper – Sunday 4 April 1880 – paper states that “Alfred Michael Jacobs alias Alfred Jacobs alias Beba…so I do have the right person)

Regarding his divorce, Leah claimed that her husband committed adultery with a Hannah Cook whilst they resided in Melbourne, she provided the addresses and further stated that he assualted her by striking her on the face and body as well as inflicting her with a venereal disease….Alfred/Michael denied the charges claiming it was all fictious. Nevertheless the divorce was granted and Leah reverted to her maiden name of Schneiders; she obtained custody of the 2 surviving tiny children, who also used the name “Scneiders”. Rebecca, however, married under the name of Rebecca Rose Jacobs.

Now we need to find out what happened to Zaddock, Leah and Rebecca and did Alfred/Michael live with Lavinia Hughes after his release from gaol?  When and where did Alfred die…were there other women in his life?

I’m so sorry I couldn’t say that the couple lived an idealic life here in Melbourne, but at least it adds further colour to our family. I am sure Julia (nee Isaacs) Solomon would not have approved of this nephew!  

[Jenny Cowen]