Boock Family in New Zealand

Israel (Isaac) Boock

Photo of Israel, probably in his mid-twenties , taken in the late 1870s in Berlin, Germany - Photographic studio: Trapp & Münch
Young immigrant Israel Boock arrived at Wellington New Zealand on June 16 1879. The end of a 4 and half month journey, after leaving from Plymouth England on February 2 of the same year. aboard the New Zealand Shipping Company ship "Stad Haarlem". This ship was one of the first steamships on the New Zealand service and it sailed via St Vincent, The Cape of Good Hope, Port Chalmers, Lyttleton and finally Wellington. On the trip Israel was accompanied by the Jackson Family who also settled in Wellington. They were Isaac, (28) Rosa (27) Bertie (6) Sydney (4) and Laura (1). Israel was nominated by Mr Sidney Jackson, a painter of Hanning St Wellington. Israel's English address was recorded as c/o Mrs S P Chambers, 14 Barford St Birmingham, IM 15 348.

Boock family gathering; about 1910.
Back row Ernest, Ettie, David, Stanley, Harry
Front Row: Louis, Lily, Isaac, Bertram.
Although Israel, who soon became known as Isaac, left from England he was of Polish origin, born in Poland, February 1854 according to his own declaration when he was being interviewed by Constable Donald Ross many years later for his NZ naturalisation. For his naturalisation Isaac obtained a reference from Peter Fraser for New Zealand citizenship. Constable G E Callagan obtained a further statement from Peter Fraser, at that time Minister of Police, and later Prime Minister. On his tombstone and on his death certificate his father is named Michael. This name is also recorded on his Naturalization Certificate along with Israel's mother's name, Sarah. Unfortunately very little is known about Isaac's life before this but we will continue to research the Boock history.

The first record of Israel's life in Wellington is his "Application to Marry" form dated June 14 1880- almost a year from when he arrived in New Zealand. The details on the application show that Israel Boock, 26, bachelor of Wellington, applied to marry Lily Levy at the Synagogue, Wellington on 23 June, the officiating minister being N van Staveren.

The marriage certificate confirms these facts even though there are some spelling mistakes and Lily's age is recorded as 23 years old.

The register of persons naturalised before 1948 includes the information that on March 3 1938, Israel Boock, born 1854, Poland and now retired in Wellington, New Zealand, became a naturalised New Zealander.

Israel set up business in Wellington as a tailor, in Cuba St, as Isaac Boock. About this time he must have purchased what was to become the family home at 83 Aro St, Wellington. The building still remains standing, now converted to a bakery.

Israel must have been quite a character. He advertised in the local paper that he employed real men not nursemaids like his competitors in business! He died on August 4 1940 at the family home in Aro Street from cardiac failure. His death certificate contains many inaccuracies regarding dates. His age is given as 89. Based on the information we have he was born in February 1854 making him 87 when he died. The certificate also state he had lived in New Zealand for 65 years, however immigration and shipping records clearly show he had lived in New Zealand for 61 years by 1940. It further states his age as 27 when he married Lily - the marriage certificate records his age as 26.

Israel is buried in the Jewish section of the Karori cemetery in Wellington. Lily is buried close by. The inscription in Hebrew on his tombstone translates:
Israel Yehudah, son of Michael.

Lily Levi Bensheton

On November 4 1879, the ship "Wairoa" arrived in Wellington after leaving Swansea on July 18 the same year. Listed among the passengers was the Bloom family: Jacob, Leah, Lily and Laura. Lily is indeed Lily Levy who married Israel Boock within a year of her arrival. Leah was the sister of Lily's mother (Isabelle) and brought her niece with them on the long journey. Lily and Laura were lifetime friends as well as direct cousins.

Photo of Lily, perhaps in her thirties, taken in Wellington - Photographer: E.F. Cazneau
Life was difficult in Wales for Lily's family and this could have contributed to the reason that she accompanied her cousin on the long trip to New Zealand. Lily's father Yantub, had died the previous year and her mother had other children to provide for. They then made the move from Merthyr to Swansea.

Jacob and Leah were married in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales at the house of Yantub Levi (Lily's father) Leah's maiden name was Himes. Both Jacob and Leah Bloom's graves can be found in the Karori cemetery in Wellington, the city they made their home. Isabelle Himes daughter of Barnett and Anna Himes married Yantub Levi Bensheton at 16 Bury Street in St Mary Axe Parish London, England on 3 March 1852. David Piza was the officiating minister.

Lily probably met Israel Boock through their Jewish connections. They were married at The Synagogue, Wellington on 23 June 1880.

Lily died at the family home 83 Aro St Wellington on December 6 1925.

Lily is buried in the Jewish section of Karori cemetery Wellington. Alongside her is her friend and cousin Laura Foley (nee BLOOM) The inscription reads: Lily
Beloved wife of Israel Boock
Who departed this life on the 6th December 1925 aged 67 years.
-Sadly Missed-

Four of the Boock brothers who served in World War 1,
From left: Ernest, Stanley, Harry and Bertram.

The first NZ generation - Isaac and Lily's children

Isaac and Lily had 9 children,

  • Louis 1880 - 1949
  • Isabelle (Belle) 1882 - 1958
  • Esther (Ettie) 1883 - 1965
  • David 1884 - 1952
  • Bertram 1886 - 1918
  • Cecil 1887 - 1948)
  • Stanley 1890 - 1957
  • Ernest 1891 -1964
  • Henry 1895 - 1977
Esther David and Bertram did not marry.

Early death of Bertram

Bertram was the only New Zealand Boock to have died in either of the World Wars. He died at the Featherston Camp on November 10th 1918 aged 32 years after an outbreak of influenza.

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