Israel Edward Funk is my wife's great grandfather. According to the 1911 Census he was born in "Thurland" (?Courland), Russia in about 1857. The same census shows that his son Walter was born in Berlin, but Walter's naturalisation papers say he was born in Polangen (Palanga), in Courland (now Lithuania). He married in Konigsberg in Prussia, and with his wife and two children came to the UK in between 1886 and 1889. Those two children were born in Konigsberg and others followed in the UK .
Adolf Funk was born in Palanga. His first child was born in 1874 so Adolf was probably born in the early to mid 1850s. He married in Berlin or Gdansk (his wife came from Gdansk), worked the HAPAG shipping company and died in Konigsberg.
None of this information necessarily connects these two people, but there is evidence of a connection :
- Letters to Ruth Funk during the war from her parents in Germany. Ruth was Adolf's grand-daughter and had come to the UK and stayed with Michael and Sarah Franks; Michael was Israel Edward Franks' son.
- Ruth Funk may have met Freda Funk (Michael's sister) in the 1930s.
If Ruth Funk came from Germany to stay with people of a common surname (albeit anglicised!) it's likely there is a family connection. We just have to find out what it is....
The most likely relationship is that Israel (also known as Isadore) and Adolf were brothers. We have no record of either of their parents. Possible sources are:
- Gravestones: Israel is buried in Newcastle and although there is a grave reference no other records exist and David Franks has tried in the past to locate the grave, without success. There is no stone at the indicated location. Adolf is buried in Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad) and there are no details on any online databases (eg the JOWBR on Jewishgen).
- Berlin records: I have applied to a Berlin register office for the marriage certificates of Edward and Charlotte Funk and of Adolf and Bertha Funk. I received a reply in November 2010 saying it would take at least 20 months to reply (with no promise of success).
- The Berlin Jewish Archives said they had no relevant records.
- Konisgberg Jewish community records - these are held in the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem. However, names are not indexed and the documents will be in German, so it would be a big task to find something in them. A list of the items in the archive are under the Documents section of this project (roughly translated from German by Google!). The name Funk does not, unfortunately, appear directly in the list. (see the list in Project Documents).
- (Added Jan 2013) Family or Army Draft Lists held in the Latvian archives - Polangen 1845, and Grobin District (of which Polangen was a part) 1868 and 1904. I am in contact with a researcher in Australia (Joyaa Antares) about these lists.
- (Added Jan 2013) The 1816 Lithuanian Revision List on JewishGen has Aizik and Rokhel Funk in Polangen. No idea if they are related to our Funks, but the later lists may provide a connection.
At the moment we are relying on some success from the Berlin register office or revision lists....unless other records come to light or there are new ideas.
Please feel free to correct or add to the information I have given above.
Jan 14th 2013 - Update on Berlin records: it's been over 2 years since I requested information from the Berlin register office. They said it would take at least 20 months to reply. I chased them up at the beginning of December but unfortunately I haven't had a reply yet.
16th September 2013 - Finally received a response from the Berlin register office, giving details of Israel Funk and Charlotte Stein's marriage and the names of thier parents (see their profiles). Unfortunately no records received of Adolf and Bertha Funk's marriage as theirs was perhaps ten years earlier. According to the register office there are no records prior to 1876 "because of the war". They suggest the Berlin Jewish Archive, but I have already tried them....