8 thoughts on “Levi Groskop

  1. Thanks Bob, typo in my last comment, the football club should read THORNABY EXCELSIOR meaning excellent/superior, ever upward and higher. They won the Cleveland Amateur Cup on 30 March 1895 beating Boro Reserves, but Levi was not playing that day. The winners got gold medals, the losers silver medals; newspaper references Northern Echo and North Eastern Daily (not District) Gazette. A photograph of Levi Groskop as Port Talbot FC football captain in 1904 can be found on the online Welsh Newspaper Archive (National Library of Wales). Despite this new photograph, identifying Levi in the family photos on Picture Stockton is still hard.


  2. Hi Alan, I appreciate that you have been able to update the information you have on Levi Groskop(f) and have kept us all up to date on it. I have conducted a search for people called Groskop listed on the Yad Vashem www-site, Jerusalem, this being a database for Jews murdered during during the WW2 period. I found approximately 325 names of missing and presumed dead people with the name Groskop listed on this site. Some of these unfortunate people I assume, would have been Levi Groskop relations. May there dear souls rest in peace.

    I will mention briefly that most of these people prior to the Holocaust commencing were denied jobs, they were forbidden to work, they lived in villages with wood houses, no paved roads or highways, without piped water, gas or electricity and food was almost non-existent. This was because prior to World War 2 the Soviet Government quasi-dictatorship had passed laws that Jews could not take jobs, own land, or act as farmers, which meant they could not grow crops including corn for their own use and table..Knowing this one can understand why Levi Groskop and others left Russia during the 1882 – 1913 period, I have a great interest in your posts concerning Levi, who I believe lived in my hometown Thornaby on Tees. Keep up the good work.


  3. Mr Levi Groskop (1876-1958), his local football career, clubs played for, date ranges and grounds; although the newspaper records are not complete (North Eastern District Gazette, Northern Echo), especially for away games, and there are still further sources to check.

    THORNABY EXELSIOR FC, 12/6/1896, at the general meeting of the club at the Trafalgar Hotel, Thornaby, brother Frederick was re-elected team secretary. STOCKTON VULCAN FC, 23/10/1896-5/3/1897, this club may have been associated with the Stockton Vulcan Rivet Works. A teenage Levi worked as a rivet holder up at the nearby Ropner Shipyard, then progressed to a boilermaker. RENDEL FC, 16/10/1897, one appearance found, I could find nothing about this club.

    THORNABY FC, 23/10/1896 and 6/11/1897 to 23/3/1900. Newspaper quote 5/9/1899- Thornaby FC open their season tonight with a home match against Thornaby Utopians at the Peel Street ground, the match on Saturday is against Dorman Long. STOCKTON ANCIENTS FC, 1/12/1900 to 23/11/1901 at the Victoria Ground. Newspaper quote 27/8/1901-The bulk of last seasons players will again assist Stockton FC in the coming season including Groskop. Newspaper edits 23/11/1901-Stockton Saint Johns 2-Stockton Ancients 0, match played at the Trafalgar Street (South Stockton/Thornaby) ground of Stockton Saint Johns (some distant from Saint Johns, and an unexpected defeat for the Ancients-insert Alan B.). Groskop is always an excellent header of the ball, he cleared the goal line to loud applause, both Groskop and Lucas were badly handled at times.

    Levi Groskop was still in Stockton in late March 1902, but by November 1902 he had settled in Port Talbot and was playing for Port Talbot FC.


  4. Newspaper cutting from 22 October 1904. ‘FOOTBALL LEADERS, Levi Groskop, Port Talbot Football Club. As a result of a ballot taken at the annual meeting of the Port Talbot Association Football Club, Mr Levi Groskop was for a second year appointed captain. Mr Groskop, whose correct position is centre half, is a well-seasoned player, and can adapt himself with almost equal ability to any position. He possesses a powerful, well-set frame, standing 5ft 8in., and scales 11st 8ib. Since his advent with the Port Talbot team Groskop, by his active abilities and keen knowledge of the game has proved the mainstay of the Association code in the district. His form has always been consistently good, and even when opposed to the best talent has shone conspicuously. Prior to settling in Port Talbot (in 1902-insert Alan B.) Groskop had performed in some excellent company, having played for Stockton, of which team he was vice-captain; Thornaby, which team he captained for four years, during which the team ran into the semi-final for the cup. In connection with Thornaby Club Groskop holds medals as one of the players who won the Cleveland Amateur Cup, the Poole Challenge Cup, two medals for the Gazette Cup, the championship trophy of the Teeside League, and also the Teeside minor championship medal. He is native of Stockton (born Beech Street, 1876- insert Alan B)’.

    As a Stockton FC team regular, if Groskop had stayed, he would have won an FA Amateur Cup winners medal for the 1902-1903 campaign. Groskop managed to play for Port Talbot FC and Barry District FC for a while from autumn 1904, although he was still a resident of Port Talbot in 1906. In the 1907-1908 season an ageing Groskop was playing for minor Barry Island (United) FC, and by this time a likely resident of Barry Island. Mr Ivor Morgan another talented Stockton based player, also moved around the same time as Groskop to Port Talbot FC, and succeeded Groskop as the Port Talbot FC captain.


  5. If only history could speak we’d have an interesting story here… I suspect your relation Levi Groskop came from the Bialystock area of Poland known then as Lithuania. At first glance the names is Jewish, but relatively rare in the Jewish community, and it can be spelt, Grojskopf, Groskop, meaning something like ‘Goodhead’.

    Why come to England? The best and simplest explanation is: An English shipping company called The Wilson Shipping Line, from Hull, was advertising in Lithuanian/ Polish newspapers cheap passage to England and America, England cost £3.50 one way, and the USA £10.00, many chose to come to England for this low fare reason. They sailed from a port called Liepaja in Lithuania to Stockton or Hull. Incidently a Robert Groskop 1878, Leah Groskop 1880, and Magaret Groskop, age 21, in 1881, were registered in Stockton on these dates, what relation they are to Levi I don’t know. Any further news would be welcome on what you discover.


    • Dear Bob, the early family history and some superb family photos from another Bob in Canada are already on Picture Stockton (PS), search Groskop. I have made more progress with the family name in Poland than Stockton recently. With regard to Levi above, I would say he is the unknown top right in the main family photo on PS that contains the three sisters and eight brothers. I am open to be persuaded otherwise if anyone disagrees, since some brothers look very similar. One of Levi’s sons flew (for a while) in a famous Lancaster that survived 100 missions during the war.


      • Alan, my first impression was the family were Jewish, but a search reveals no Jewish burials have ever been recorded in the UK for anyone with the name Groskop, Grosjkopf or Groskopf. (www. Jewish Gen). A large number of people from Poland / Lithuania / Russian Communities did come to England and took up coal mining as a trade, and it’s a known fact that the City of Cardiff and Barry, Wales, have several small Jewish Synagogues whose founder members were immigrant coal miners but if there’s a connection I don’t know. Barry births, death and funeral records have not been put on the www, so nothing there to find.

        Something to bear in mind is in Russia it was the law that all boys had to be given a Saints name, meaning a name mentioned in the bible, and it was the both the Russian and Jewish custom to name the newborn after a deceased relation, so having a Jewish sounding name (meaning a biblical name can confuse researchers who don’t know this). May I suggest out of interest you have a look at the Ellis Island www-site, it contains details on 28 Groskop(f)s. At the end of the day it needs to be said ‘we are all related’, and I’m glad the Grospkop family arrived here and made a new life for themselves and by doing so missed the tragedy of WW2.


  6. Many thanks for posting this photo. Levi was a well-known local footballer, but surprisingly his image could not be positively identified from Stockton sources (until today). His brother Fred was secretary of the Thornaby club for a while. Levi was part of a team of young/teenage rivet preparers with a serious grievance that went on strike at Victorian Ropners bringing the shipyard to a halt. Ropners took them to court, but then let them off and the team returned to work. Presumably the grievance was also resolved.


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