Avis Saltsman - Artist

Genealogy Pages - Origins Essay page 5

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Essay on my Origins - Version of May 1997 - Page Five

Precis of information from 'A history of Lancashire and Cheshire from A.D. 1540' by C.B. Philips and J.H.Smith. Period 1860 - 1920. follows...

"A leading role in industrial development was taken by educated men from a continental background. Sir Alfred Mond, founder of I.C.I. came from Germany in 1862, Ivan Levenstein set up in Manchester in 1864, Charles Dreyfus founded Clayton Aniline in 1881. These men and others had a scientific education in Germany or Switzerland and the chemical and die-stuffs companies relied on them. (My addition-In order for the printed cotton fabrics to sell, good designers were also needed).

The continentals were VIEWED WITH HOSTILITY, as they are in certain circles in England now, especially in the government. The old gentry resented the pollution and being politically and legally challenged. There were Tory/Liberal antagonisms intensified by legal disputes-town versus country. The continentals played a leading role in local government, in fact had a strong sense of civic responsibility."

FAMILY TREE OF MY FATHERS PARENTS. From research initiated by Peter Saltsman. ( on the index page).

What I knew at the time of writing this essay was misleading & I only elucidated the facts in May 2002. This is what I thought originally:-

"Mainrad (translation 'My wheel?') SALTZMANN

(Genealogist says could have been Mainhart translation 'My heart') Landed Proprietor, probably the last one to live in Germany up to the 1830's, one hundred years before my parent's marriage. "

The story of my search for the facts is not germane to this essay & is on this link.

The fact that my great grandparents Joseph Saltzmann and Ann Roylance were married in Manchester Cathedral and my grandparents Oscar Frederick and Caroline at All Souls, Manchester suggests that they were not Jewish.

At the age of sixty I have at last been given some clues as to why I never felt quite acceptable, particularly in Lancashire. I felt as an orphan might feel who did not know who their parents were and that my characteristics and enthusiasms (even obsessions, such as twentieth century art, education, particularly the importance of nursery education, 'kindergarten', which the damned English will stubbornly still not introduce in spite of the fact that it would be of immense benefit to the country, and community action/local government and what would then have been termed liberal political involvement) were somehow alien and strange. It makes me well able to understand the irrational prejudice my parents must have felt was in the air mainly due to my father's early experiences as an adolescent. Even though he was the third generation to live in England the irrational prejudices of the First World War caused even dachshunds to be lynched, as easily available scapegoats were few in most parts of England. What is surprising is that the name was not changed until just before they married in 1934, but then they probably felt they had no reason to be ashamed, which indeed they did not. He did say that perhaps they should have gone to America, without saying why.

This has sparked off months of speculation about the situation my parents were in and their feelings about it, especially during World War II with two young children and no idea of the outcome year after year. It has been a profound shock to me to realise that those people bombing me were from the same country as my ancestors. What confusion there has been in my mind after my sufferings in the war and now knowing this in retrospect, Am I an ally or an enemy? Whose 'side' am I on? This is what my father must have thought. He had a Lancashire accent of course, and probably, so did his father. What was he thinking as he watched the flames with me? According to the research carried out for my brother, Cyril's grandfather Joseph may have been the last Saltzman(n), with the second 'n' removed, to spend any time in Germany. He probably moved between the two countries and may actually have died abroad as his death certificate cannot be found. What is certain is that at thirty-seven he married a Lancashire woman, as did his son and three grandsons. Intermarriage and the introduction of genes from a distance strengthens the physical and mental abilities. The Queen Mother as an outsider must have done that for the Royal Family which of course has well-known German connections and in one notorious case, even Nazi sympathies.

When I was seventeen and in the lower sixth form at my girls grammar school, one of the English teachers (all of the staff were women) investigated the origins of our names and I was told that my name was Anglo-Saxon, meaning a woodman or charcoal burner. That would suggest my Saxon ancestors came over five or six centuries ago and I must have accepted that and dismissed it from my mind as I thought I had all memories of the war until recently. The most startling revelation from the newly-revealed family history was on the two marriage certificates' description of my great grandfather Joseph Saltzman (spelt with one 'n') as 'pattern designer' (1871) and my grandfather Oscar Frederick Saltzmann (spelt with two 'n's', 1897) as 'designer' . This fact had always been totally obscured in the family, in fact there had never been any mention of the German connection to me up to my mother's death in 1993, although my brother did the research in 1992, the year before her death. At first I thought that knowledge of the build-up of Nazism in the early thirties reached Lancashire slowly, but the fact that my father took out the 'z' from his name before they were married proves that they knew it was a factor.

My sister was born in 1950, with a dislocated hip which I, at the age of fifteen detected. Alyson was a year and a half old before she walked and I remember placing her on a table and measuring her legs against each other. One was longer than the other and I went in to tell my parents who were washing up. I will not describe all the treatment but she was able to attend school at five and do P.E. My mother always maintained that the doctor had asked her whether we had Welsh or 'Austrian' ancestry. He had most likely said 'German' and to the end of her life she never mentioned this possibility to me.

My Grandfather Ernest Stansfield sent a driver from his works who taught my mother to drive on the journeys to and from the hospital. Cyril had permanent angina and was at periods in pain every morning for up to two hours before he could go to work He employed some staff and carried on his business by phone until he could get to his office nearby. He was by then a surveyor, valuer and estate agent and work involved week-ends when people were enquiring about houses. He belonged to his professional association and went with my mother to their annual dinners. My mother went to London for the first time when she was forty on one of these occasions and they stayed at the Rembrandt Hotel opposite the Victoria and Albert Museum.

There are two very revealing photographs of me three years apart. One is a happy, smiling jolly little girl of eight and the other is two years after the doodlebugs, a shrivelled little mouse with huge owl-like glasses burying my face with rows of other eleven-year old in the secondary school hall. I was probably already twelve but look smaller than the others. I am unlucky enough to be an August birthday, so the first time I took the eleven plus I was very young and missed the high school by three places. It meant I also had a second chance and passed the second time. As an educationalist I am a fervent supporter of comprehensive schooling as had I not had the second chance my life opportunities would have been even more limited although I was exactly the same person. After my father came out of the army my parents arranged for me to be tutored by a friend who was a primary school headmaster. I especially remember him helping me with fractions with the aid of drawings of cut cakes. It obviously worked and I clearly remember being sent home one morning to tell my mother the result. She was standing in the driveway of our corner semi-detached with my grandmother and 'Auntie' Mary Hibbert. I said 'Av passed the scholarship' in my Lancashire accent.

See also Family Tree

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Contact: Avis Saltsman (or Saltzmann), 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY
+44(0)171 359 6294 or e-mail her

Last revised 21/5/2002
URL: http://www.art-science.com/Avis/Avis_family/Origins5.html

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