Harry Braham Jacobs, Clara Samuel, Nathaniel Platnauer

This article is based on research done by Shlomo Zatanka and Dave Simpson [Aug/Sept 2015]

This information is what was known/believed at the time of writing


The main focus of this article is to try and establish what happened to Harry Braham Jacobs.

Harry Braham Jacobs was the son of David Jacobs and Matilda Rebecca Jacobs.

He appears in the censuses for 1861 and 1871 but no later ones.

He married Clara Samuel in 1881 in London.

They had four children, they then appeared to vanish.

Questions that we are seeking to answer

  • Did Harry die thus making Clara a widow and free to marry Nathaniel Platnauer?
  • Did Harry and Clara divorce?
    • I assume the answer is yes, because Clara’s subsequent marriage was carried out by the Rabbi.
  • Why, when she died, was probate granted to Henry Samuel, Merchant?
  • Did Harry remarry?
  • When and where did Harry die?

Debbie Bozkurt did some research in 2008 which indicted that Clara Samuel was a member of the well-known (in the UK) H Samuel, the jewellers, family. There is a snippet about this on the website – search for Platnauer.

There is some evidence to indicate that at certain times Harry was referred to as Henry B Jacobs and Harry Braham Janson.

During her research, Debbie had picked up that Clara remarried this time to Nathaniel Platnauer and they were living in South Africa.

Between Debbie’s research and 2015 I had not followed up on this project.

Then in August 2015 Shlomo contacted me as his wife descends through Harry Braham Jacobs.

Shlomo was able to give me the tree descending from Harry & Clara down to his wife Channah Leah.

Shlomo then provided what information he already had and we started work from there. Whilst Shlomo’s information was broader than Harry Jacobs, it is really only the Jacobs side of things that are covered in this article. Some of the extra information may well make it on to the site once this research is done. Shlomo has also provided a good number of photographs, most of which will appear in the Gallery in coming months. Those relating to individuals in the tree will also appear there.

The Search begins

Starting with the usual Internet searches, this brought up a number of hits, many of them with some incorrect data.

We then proceeded to use the usual sources for BMD etc. to confirm what had been indicated already.

We know who the four children of Harry and Clara were, but cannot find births, marriages or deaths for two of them: Nora and David. Although we do know that Nora married George Mansell.

From the photographs that Shlomo provided, it was possible to place the families in the UK or South Africa at certain time as the photographs were well annotated by Grace, daughter of Harry & Clara.

Some passenger lists and voting lists also helped establish time lines.

The focus for the timeline centres around the apparent end of Clara’s marriage to Harry and he subsequent marriage to Nathaniel.

1881       Harry Braham Jacobs marries Clara Samuel

1885       Grace Jacobs is born in London

1881 – 1888 Nora and David are born (based on them being in 1888 photo)

1888       Harry, Clara, Grace, Nora & David are in a photograph taken in London.

1889       Byron Jacobs is born in London

1895       Harry is recorded in a trade directory as having two properties in Bulawayo

1895       Grace & Nora feature in a photograph taken in Grahamstown, South Africa

1899       Clara Jacobs marries Nathaniel Platnauer

1901       Joyce Platnauer born.

1906       Platnauer family photograph in Lichtenberg, South Africa featuring: Byron, Nora, David, Grace, Clara, Nathaniel, Joyce, Natalie, Gloria.

So, based on this timeline we can make the following assumptions:

The Jacobs’ move, as a family, to South Africa took place after 1889 when Byron was born in London

The move was before 1895 when Harry is in Bulawayo and Grace and Nora are in Grahamstown [As we can’t find them in the 1891 census we could possibly assume that they moved prior to that.

The split from Harry and joining with Nathaniel took place between 1895 and 1899

Unfortunately, at the time of writing (8 Sept 2015) we have not been able to find any other information to clarify events.