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      Great grandfather, LEWIS RUDIMINSKI/LOUIS RUDDAMINSKY ((1841- 1906) came from Mariampol, Poland, which was part of Russia.  For a write up about Mariampol, click here.  Documents reveal that his first name was spelt Lewis as well as Louis. His last name was spelt several different ways as will be noted below. For clarification, he will be referred to as Lewis.    

       Through research a listing for a Rudamin family in Mariampol was discovered.  It reveals that Lewis's father was named Abram and that Abram's father was David.    The documents further reveal that Lewis had three siblings namely:  Bunia (b. 1836), Jankel (b. 1838) and Chana (b. 1839).  On these documents, Lewis is listed with the first name of "Berko Leyb" and also "Leyb  Ber".  Their father, Abram died when the children were very young. It appears he died the same year that the youngest, Chana was born.  Chana died around the same time.

       Lewis was married twice.  Once in Mariampol (Poland) and then again in Leeds, UK.  His first wife was Henia (Helen) Rubnick (her father's first name  is listed as Fiszel). They were married in Mariampol in 1852.  There were two children from this marriage namely:

               Abraham Lewis Rudiminski, who was born at Mariampol, Poland (Russia) on January 18, 1861 to Lewis and Helen Rudiminski.  It is unknown as to what happened to Abraham's mother, Helen but Abraham and his father Lewis immigrated to Leeds, UK (certificate of Naturalization Certificate No~A7628 issued on 28th August 1893).  Abraham (son of Bear Leib - English translation "Lewis" ) married Rachel Gross on January 8th 1879.  

                Fanny Ruddaminsky (1867- ) who married Morris Likht Fredman(Green) (1867-1936) in May 1886. Fanny and Morris emigrated to Philadelphia around 1891.  They had five children.  Abe Fredman (1889-1971); Joseph Fredman (1890-1910);  Max "Mort" Fredman (1894-1968); Richard Fredman (1896-1979); and Edith Fredman (1899-1925).  Abe had a son, Jay.  Jay has two sons, Jon Fredman  and Andrew Fredman and a daughter Lauren. Andrew is married to Kerry & she and Andrew currently live in Miami, with three kids ages 15, 13 and 10.    

      Lewis subsequently married Fanny Annie (1851 -1917) late Harris, formerly Vigdolsky     in Leeds, UK. A 1911 A 1911 Census of the family home at 33 Myrtle Street reveals that Fanny was born in CALVULL and that, at the age of 60, she was working from home as a Draper.   Their children, Abraham's and Fanny's (half siblings) were:  

                Esther (1869- ) father Louis, mother Fanny Rodiminsky, late Harris, formerly Vigdolsky.  Esther married John Jacobs, formerly known as Abel Barnet Giddernaski in August, 1889.  

                Sarah Etty (1870 - 1935) father Lewis, mother Fannie Annie Rudaminsky, late Harris, formerly Abraham. In 1894, Sarah married Harris(Harry) Bilson.  Research by the Bilson family reveals that Harry is the son of Morris (b 1835) and Goldie (b 1836) Bilson, both Russian subjects. Harry had an older brother, Marks (Max) who was born in 1865 in Kovno, Lithuania.  [Marks married Rose Landman b. 1866 from Kovno and they had five children all born in Leeds].   Brother Marks' British naturalisation papers of 1907 list Morris and Goldie Bilson as his parents. Morris and Goldie Bilson moved to Leeds where Rachel (b 1872),  Harry (b 1867) and Sam (b  1878) were born.  Sarah and Harry had five children namely Abraham (b 1897), Rose (b 1899), Jack (b 1901), George (b 1902) and Bernard (b 1908). Sarah and Harry and son Abraham travelled to New York on July 7th 1912 and the rest of the family joined them at a later date.  The  family photographs below are provided by Bruce son of George.  Bruce whose initials are BL - from "Beer Leib" or his great grandfather apparently.

Sarah in 1898

Back of Portrait

Moshe Bilson & wife in Leeds  

Back of Portrait

Sarah Bilson & baby Bruce



Harry Bilson, Leeds 1909

Harris Bilson arrival USA 1912

Sarah Bilson, Brooklyn 1924

 Hattie Dratwa  

Jack and George at beach


Bruce and Grandma Lena and Grandma Sarah, October 1951

 George, Jack, Rose, Barney & Arthur


                  David Harris (1871 -)  father Lewis  Ridaminsky, mother Fannie Ridaminsky.

               Michael (1874 -1934)    father Louis Ruddaminsky, mother Fanny Ruddaminsky, formerly Abraham. Michael Married Bessie Sherman in 1900 and they had three children namely,  Alfred Ruddaminsky (1899-1992), Frieda and Rosie.  Alfred married Lena Harris (1903 - 1992) in 1927 and had 2 sons Raymond (1931-2004) and Bernard (b 1928).  Raymond has two children Clive Lewis (b 1956) and Deborah (Lewis) Maloon  (b 1960).   Bernard has four children, Marsha (b 1953), David (b 1955) Sara (b 1957) and Michael (b 1967).  Clive Lewis has three children . Deborah (Maloon) has three children.  Marsha (Ross/Shonn) has three children. David has two children and three grandchildren.  Sara ( Wine / Mann)  has four children.  Michael has two children.  

              Joseph Morris (1872-1961)  father Lewis Rudaminsky mother Fanny Rudaminsky, formerly Harris.   He had two sons Frank Lewis and Frederick Lewis. Frank married Fay.  They did not have any children.  Frederick married Mary and they had seven children namely:Joseph, Leonard, Ronald (1931-2009),  Peter, Sylvia, Sandra  and Jacqueline.  Frederick and Mary had 34 children who called them Grandma and Grandad and at the last count they had well over 100 direct descendants.

   My name is Bev Barrass (nee Lewis)  I was born in  March 1956 the daughter of Ronald Lewis and the grandaughter of Fredrick and Mary Lewis (deceased) Great Grandaughter of Joseph Lewis. I have spent my hole life living and working in Leeds , I have been married to my husband Stephen for 27 years and we have 3 lovely daughters Rebecca (25) , Natalie (23) and Sophie (20). I  trained as a nurse at St James in 1974 and work as a nursing sister on the Children's intensive care unit at Leeds General infirmary . We are quite a medical family as my oldest daughter Rebecca  is a doctor and Natalie is a nurse fortunatly Sophie is studing at Nottingham Uni and wants to teach and Stephen is in finance so they try to keep us all "normal".  

               Isaac Ruddiminski (1876-1908)   father Louis Ruddiminsky, mother Fannie Annie formerly Abraham.  Isaac married  Leah Rosenbaum in 1912.

               Soloman Rudiminsky (1878- ?) father Lewis Ruddyminski and mother Fanny Ruddyminski.


Michael,  Samuel, Joseph Morris, Kaikai

seated: Richard Lewis, Abraham Lewis (?)

Dear Pam and Les, It is really lovely to be able to put another name to those we already know (I'm talking about the old photo of the six gentlemen) My father always said that one of the seated gentlemen either came from - or went to South Africa. I have a ring (a gold buckle ring) which - so the story goes - was given to my grandfather, Joseph Morris Lewis, by that same gentlemen.  The ring passed from my Grandfather, on his death to his youngest son Frankie then when Frankie died it was passed to my Dad and when my Dad died it came to me.  Best wishes  Peter and Margaret (Leeds, UK)

  My name is Sylvia, my grandad was Joseph Lewis one of the brothers on the photo, I got a letter from my oldest brother Joe, who my grandparents brought up, the info he sent me was, my grandad instigated the name change from Rudaminsky to Lewis, why,I dont know, apparently our great grandmother came to Leeds in 1888 from Russia with 7 kids, she was meant to be a widow, there were 5 boys,Joseph,David,Dobbie,Kilki,Ishky,and 2 girls,Rachel who was blind, and Esther,Esther came quite famous, she married a man from Hull and they became Lord and Lady Mayoress of Hull, my brother remembers meeting her as a boy at grandads,We cant find a Michael but maybe one of the names translates from Hebrew to Michael, we were also brought up with the knowledge that the Rakusenses were related to us somwhere down the line,But we were the forgotten people im afraid as my beloved grandad married out, but as a child many times ive acompanied my grandad to Shool, it being on the street where I grew up on Camp Road, Leeds,according to my big brother my greatgrandmum was a very kind lady, they moved to the Leylands where all the Jews lived back in the 1800s, she was known for feeding the very poor and starving, they would stand outside her door, Jews and Irish, and shed give soup and bread,theres supposed to be a mention of her in a book that someone wrote were trying to find it but are finding it hard as theres lots of books out there about that particular time. Well love I hope this bit of info helps, also I hope its accurate.Sylvia Miller nee Lewis.  (email:

RICHARD ISAAC LEWIS, Pam's father,  was born in Leeds, England on July 19, 1886.  He was the eldest son of Abram Lewis aka Abraham Lewis Rudiminski and Rachel (Ellen) (formerly Gross).    His siblings were Betsy Fanny (b 1881), George Joseph (b. 1889) and Simon Abby (b. 1891).  There was also a sibling Goldie Ruddiminskie- who was born to Abraham and Ellen in 1879, and died in 1881

On his birth certificate, his father, Abraham (who's signature consisted of "x") is listed as a slipper maker.  Their home address is listed as 29, Trafalgar Street, Leeds, County of York.  According to his certificate of Naturalization (No. 314911) Abraham lived at 29 Trafalgar Place from February 1887 till March 1891 and then at 5 Leeds Terrace, Leeds.

He immigrated with the family to South Africa in 1900. He married Lillie Herman on June 19, 1917 at the Great Synagogue, Hatfield Street, Cape Town.   They had a son, Jules.  Lillie passed away on June 29th, 1920.

Richard, Abby & George with Rachel  

 (child on Rachel's lap unknown)

Fanny's wedding to Harry Green

George, Richard, Geneth, Abby, Harry, Mona, Albert

Pearl, Barry, Gertie, Pam Rachel, Fanny

Maureen & Jules



   Richard, George,

Pearl, Gertie,

Barry, Pam

Gertie & Richard Lewis

Richard & son, Jules

                            Richard & Harry Green

                       tombstones Abe, Rachel and Fanny







     GERTRUDE, Pam's mother, was born Goldie Romaine on April 22nd, 1904 in Arthurs Road, Sea Point.  On Gertie's birth certificate, her father, Solomain Romain (d.o.b. 14/4/1872) is listed as being born in Russia. Her mother, Kate Romain (aka Edelman), (d.o.b. 16/11/1878) is also listed as being born in Russia.   note: Kate's passport lists both Kate and Soloman being born in Vilna, Lithuania.


Two generations

cousin Alfred Hofman, Pam with Soloman & Kate

Three generations

Gertie, Pam & Kate

Four generations  

Kate, Gertie, Pam & Lesley,

    Her mother, Kate, had an arranged marriage at 16 and was a simple darling much loved by all. She was also fey.  Two incidents that Pam remembers being told about Kate:

    In the early nineteen twenties or even earlier Kate's brother in America passed away and it took two months for the news to reach her.   When they came to break the news to her she said yes she knew because he came to say goodbye to her.   Everyone was astounded as she had the right time and date. 

    Also, after the big earthquake in San Franscisco Grandpa left his little family in Sydney and sailed to San Fran to see if he could get building work to help rebuild San Fran.   They were living in Sydney in a house the agent put them into.    Kate woke one morning and said they had to get out of that house that day.   Another house was found for them and she even left a note on the door for her brother in law giving him the new address.   That afternoon the boat came in and two other families were put in the house.   That night robbers came in and murdered these families, cutting every throat for their poor belongings.   Stranger than fiction.

Soloman's parents in England?

Kate & Soloman?

 The family in San Francisco

Kate & Soloman with Joe, Gertie, Anna, ? & Celia

Anna, Richard, Gertie, Kate & Soloman

Alfred, Celia & Pam

        After Richard died, Gertie raised Pam as a single mother.  She worked as a typist for a law firm and devoted her life to raising Pam.   Gertie met Alfred Fraenkl when Pam was a teenager.  Alfred had escaped from Germany with his parents.  Gertie waited until Pam was married and only then married Alfred on December 25, 1952.  Alfred was a devoted son, husband and grandfather to us.  He was the only grandfather we ever knew and he spoilt us to bits.

Alfred Fraenkl with his parents

Alfred - he is so hansome!

.... he is still so handsome!

Gertie and Alfred - wedding day

      We all loved Gertie very much.  Her essence is well captured in the Euology delivered by Rabbi Simon J. Harris of the Cape Town Hebrew Congregation in August, 1998:

 "Friends, I have to be guarded as to how I express this.  But on Friday I fell in love again.  And with a woman.  A lady I have never met.  And whom unfortunately I never shall.  Her name was Gertrude Fraenkl.   But she was known to all who adored her - simply as Gertie. And now I am yet another name on the very long list of  her devotees. Let me tell you why.  

     Gertie had a skill.  A gift that sadly many of us have lost. The ability to make others feel good.  She gave unreservedly huge amounts of uncomplicated, unconditional love.  And she pulled this off in a myriad of ways.  For instance, she would fix it that her grandchildren always beat her at scrabble.  but make no mistake Grannie could spell perfectly well.  in fact far better than the average individual.  Why? Because from the tender age of sixteen she had worked as a typist in a typing pool. Frequently serving the most prestigious law firms.  And this was long before the advent of computers and those wonderful inventions called spell-checks.  Actually had Gertie been born in the Nineties I have a suspicion that she probably would be heading some large corporation.   Because she was exceedingly capable.  

     Let me cite another example of the lovely sweetnesses that she did practice.  If her grandchildren were staying with her, Gertie would rise early, five o'clock to be precise, to start squeezing the oranges so that they all woke up to fresh citrus juice for breakfast.  When it came to presents Gertie would go on reconnaissance missions to scour the shops three months at least, prior to any birthday - to make sure she bought something extra special for everybody who was special to her.  And that by the way was a lot of people.  Because Gertie bore great affection for all her family and friends.  Indeed family was central to her life and in this respect she understood the essence of Yiddishkeit.  

  The rest my friends really is commentary.  Because why, why in the best sense, are other people jealous of our community? Because of the Gerties that we possess.  She radiated such warmth and it was completely from her heart.  The Rabbis teach the world is sustained by kind acts.  Gertie sustained the world with her beautiful deeds.

   Lesley told me:  when we emigrated she did not make us feel guilty although it did break her heart.  Because it just wasn't in her make-up to guilt trip.  On the contrary Tuesday mornings seven a.m. she would wake everybody up with her international calls.  We never berated her. You see she never quite got her head around the time differentials. But we, in the United States, we were just delighted to hear her voice.

   Pamela, Gertrude's only child told me the most hysterical, cute story that her husband Siggy used to relate to the children about their indomitable granny.  I say indomitable because she was a powerful force.  Verily a fireball of energy.  But slightly short of five feet. Small in stature yet a huge presence.  Here is the wondrous tale that Siggy spun.  Grandma Gertie was an avid shopper.  But the activity presented a serious problem.  Granny's bags would scrape the pavement. And all the eggs she bought were cracked as they slapped against the sidewalk.  Well, a formal complaint was made to the municipality. There were only so many eggs that could be sacrificed. The leading townsmen met and decided the following:  To accommodate Granny Gertie all the paper bags would be recut.  They would be produced wider but shallower. In addition the local town hall would purchase a nice new pair of special high-heeled shoes.  These two measures it was felt would save the egges and would be far lest costly than lowering all the pavements.  

   I had to tell this tale because it actually is the stuff of real great children's stories.  And it speaks of a loving family who immortalized their matriarchal head.  

She was in so many respects the quintessential super-gran.  Her fridge was always bursting.  You could swear it held more than its physical dimensions would allow.  Jason related to me what may sound like a simple incident.  but in fact it speaks volumes. He goes round to see grannie and she asks him: what would you like to drink?  Jason pipes up: a Coke would do nicely thank you. But on closer inspection although everything else including the kitchen sink was stuffed into the legendary fridge, there was not a Coke to be found.  And so Grannie popped out to the store to make sure her great grandson got exactly what he was looking for. But you have to understand - at this juncture, Gertie was 89.  

But that is the point my friends.  Nothing was ever too much for her.  Nothing was too much trouble.  She loved to oblige and she loved to treat.  Every night she would be going out and buying a grandchild or a friend a meal.  She loved to have fun.  she possessed a joie de vivre.  After her dear husband Alfred passed away, in her 89th year, she made a trip to the United States for Pesch and she insisted, she absolutely insisted that she would make the Matzo Ball soup.  And she made another trip to the USA at age 91.   

Lesley, the eldest of Gertie's grandchildren assured me: we are the faithful guardians of grannie's traditions: we only use the special prayerbooks for Seder night, the Haggadot, that grannie bequeathed to us. Passover was magical.  Twenty three of us crowded into a little flat in Sea point.  Alfred, Gertie's second husband was deeply religious.  Every Friday night without exception he attended the Garden Synagogue.  The Jewish holidays are to this day observed by all of Gertie's offspring, wherever they are in the world because of the wonderful, positive experiences that they all had as children.

And the cooking.  Wow - she was magnificent.  But the piece de la resistance was those incredible apple tarts.  And the patented recipe is preserved in grannie's original handwriting.  I shall not disclose to you where it lies.  This could still be key to the family fortune.  At 93 she was still producing them. Naturally to the highest standard.

Gertie worked hard all of her life.  Her first husband Dick died of a heart attack when Gertie was just 36 years of age.  But she waited until 1952 when her only daughter Pamela settled down and got married.  And then only did she remarry.  Gertie is survived by her daughter, Pamela and by her five grandchildren, Lesley, Richard, Terry, Cathy and Mandy and by seven great=grandchildren jason, Simone, Jacqui, Rykie, Kim, Bianca and Joshua.  May all of you only derive inspiration from the memory of a woman, who, I having never met, fell instantly in love with."


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