|The following observations by Charles Escoffery on his website (see Home > links)
My grandfather, Grandpa Grossmann as we always called him, was originally Jewish. I donít know anything about his father, Gabriel Grossmann, but I remember he told me his mother was Elizabeth Julia Bettelheim, of a well known family and related to the Esterhazys of Budapest, and that he had several brothers and sisters who had died when they were they were very young. His mother and father died when he was still a boy and he was brought up by his Aunt Regina Bettelheim, who owned and lived in a big forty-room palace in Budapest.50 According to my mother, who went to Budapest when she was 18, her Aunt Regina was so fat she could not walk and could balance a plate of food on the top of her bust.
Granpaís name was originally Samuel (Nagy) and his Aunt Regina called him Schmully. He was about 15 in 1848 when he left Budapest and walked to Constantinople, where he and his cousins learned trades because General Kossuth was there and helped them do this.
My grandfather learned to be a watchmaker and his cousins, the two Koritzchoners and Cohen, became jewelers. The Cohen cousin settled in Amsterdam and became a diamond merchant. In later years I met Henry Koritzchoner in Paris, where he was the foremost pearl appraiser. I saw him take pearls, one in the palm of each hand, and tell just how much they weighed and what they were worth.
The other Koritzchoner brother settled in London where he was an appraiser of jewels and antiques. He married there and had several daughters. There were twins, Charlotte, tall and dark, and Marie, short and fair. They were accomplished pianists, but their father would never let them play in public. Another of his daughters married Mr. Rosenthal, Secretary to the Rotschild banker of Germany.
I donít know how the Koritzchoners got out of Constantinople, but Grandpa was on a boat bound for England which was wrecked near the Island of Malta. He was cared for by an Anglican clergyman who converted him to Christianity and gave him the name of Alexander James Grossmann.
He got to England in 1851 and settled in Dover as a watchmaker, but went into photography and painting,51 and was shortly afterwards the second photographer after Daguerre. Queen Victoria appointed him official photographer to the Royal family,52 as well as Official Interpreter to the Cinq Ports of England.
I still have photographs taken by him early in the seconds half of the 1800s. I have one of my mother Julia Sophia53 taken in 1876 at the age of 18 with her sister Hannah,54 and another of her at the age of 15 which is absolutely beautiful.