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Sunday, 13 December 2009

Bancroft Road Jewish Cemetery - Restoration Update!

The good news keeps coming!

Today we received confirmation from Leonard Shear that the restoration work is definitely being undertaken by the United Synagogue Burial Society.

They will be levelling the ground, clearing all the rubbish, turfing the areas that need it, planting bushes and pruning the trees. All of this is ongoing and seasonal.

Then, once all this has been completed, the U.S. will collate the burials and photograph the tombstones.

As Leonard so aptly says "all of this work will take time but most importantly a start has been made".

We will continue to keep our readers informed of the restoration work and its progress. While the photo here shows the current state of the cemetery we are so looking forward to being able to bring you the 'before' and 'after' shots!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Bancroft Road (Maiden Lane) Jewish Cemetery - Restoration Project

**** The list has been updated and a further 40 names added, see here :
In Sept 2008 we received this email:
"I am delighted to see this website. About 30 minutes ago I was walking the streets of Bethnal Green, and to my horror I came across a Jewish cemetery which was in a bad state of disrepair. I took photos and as soon as I got home I emailed the Jewish Chronicle, now after a bit of research I realise it Bancroft Cemetery and I know it was bombed during the war and so was not necessarily vandalised. I am greatly encouraged by this project to see our heritage is preserved. Thanks for giving me a bit of hope. Susie Clapham"
We replied, drawing Susie’s attention to JEECS (Jewish East End Celebration Society) who have been interested in trying to provide assistance in restoring the grounds for some time.
Since then Susie has instigated an article in the JC (Oct 2008) highlighting the state of Bancroft Cemetery, joined JEECS and become a committee member along with helping to drive forward the restoration of Bancroft Cemetery.

There have been numerous articles and please for something to be done over the years so you can imagine our delight at hearing this week that plans are in motion, talks have taken place, and some agreement reached!
The first task will be to tidy the area, turn fallen stones, and turf the grounds. Following this, pieces of shattered tombstone will be collected and incorporated into a permanent memorial to commemorate every individual buried at Bancroft and whose tombstones have long since gone or been destroyed. Of course creating such a worthwhile memorial will require additional funding. We understand that an appeal is being set up and will bring you more details of this when we can.

With this in mind, Susie contacted us for help in finding the names of all those who were buried there, or at least as many as possible, an especially difficult task as the records were destroyed years ago.
Below is a list of those we have found so far, but do you know more? Were your ancestors buried there? Do you have any old photos showing the cemetery? 

Please leave a reply below with details of anyone you know was buried at Bancroft (Maiden Lane) Jewish Cemetery or the 'contact us'.

Abraham SOLOMON died 1st Sep 1811?
Abigail MOSES wife of Philip Moses of Swallow St, died 1814
Leah daughter of Phineas wife of Moses b Hayim died 1814
Michael LEVY of Borough Road, died 1815
Isaac ISAAC (Isaac b Hayim) of East St Marylebone died 1817
Samuel LAZARUS aged 68 died 1817
Moses HYAMS aged 54 died 1818
Emanuel ABRAHAM died 1823
Michael SIMONS died 1824
Maria HARRIS wife of Ephraim died 1824
Moses b Abraham Mordecai died 1824
Michael SIMONS 1824
Mirlah wife of Simon EMANUEL aged 64, died 1829
Jacob died 1830/1
Wolf PISER (Benjamin Zeib) son of Rabbi Nathan of Copenhagen died 1837
Ephraim HARRIS late of Marylebone lane, 1840
Simon EMANUEL of Marylebone Lane Simon b Menahem aged 82 died 1840
Isaac LEVY of Flemings Row aged 45 died 1844
Joseph LEVY of the Poultry died 1846
Samuel ISAACS died 1846?
Emanuel JACOBS died 1854
Alkia? wife of Mr [Mor...] Reuben .... died Sun 24 Sivan buried [Wed] 27 5619 (died 26/6/1859).
Abraham COLLIS died 1860
Hannah LEVY (wife of Aaron) died 1/11/1865
Hannah (Anna) BRAHAM (Mrs) died 28/10/1867
Kenandel b Jacob died 10/12/1866
Israel b Nathan died 4/9/1869
Louis KYEZOR buried 14/10/1869 [added 13/12/09 - H. Pollins, see source list below *]
Rev’d David JOSEPH died 11/8/1871
Dinah ANSELL (Mrs) stone setting 27/12/1874
Juliet ABRAHAMS of Holloway Road, 1875
Lewis HARRIS died 9/4/1877
Lewis SOLOMON stone setting 18/8/1878
Hyman Jonas MORELL died 20/8/1879
Caroline EMANUEL (wife of Simeon) died 15/12/1879
Hannah HART (wife of Aaron) died 4/3/1880
Juliet & Fanny MARKS, stone setting 27/2/1881
Joseph MURRAY died 5/5/1881
James JACOBS died 18/9/1881
Elizabeth MARKS (wife of Charles) died 2/11/1881
Hyam (or Hyman) AARONSON of 188 Kings Road, Chelsea died 17/3/1882 [added - H. Pollins] stone setting 18/2/1883
Alexander JACOBS died 1/3/1883
David DAVIES of 10 Green St, Leicester Square, stone setting 8/4/1883 [added 13/12/09 - H.Pollins]
Joseph COLLISS died 17/11/1883
Israel ABRAHAMS age 61, died 15/8/1885 15/8/1884 (fire) [corrected 13/12/09 - H. Pollins]
Julia MARKS (Mrs) 86yrs (Israel ABRAHAMS’ wife’s mother), died 15/8/1885 15/8/1884 (fire) [corrected 13/12/09 - H. Pollins]
Mark ABRAHAMS age 32yrs died 15/8/1885 15/8/1884 (fire) [corrected 13/12/09 - H. Pollins]
Lily ABRAHAMS age 19 yrs died 15/8/1885 15/8/1884 (fire) [corrected 13/12/09 - H. Pollins]
Simeon EMANUEL of 22 Store Street, died 27/11/1885
John JACOBS died 30/12/1885
Ann (Nancy) COLLINS of 44 Lower Marsh, Lamberth stone setting 11/7/1886
Leah LEVY (wife of Morris) of 81 Drury Lane, stone setting 15/8/1886
Mark COLLINS of 28 Broad Street, Bloomsbury stone setting 29/8/1886, died 7/5/1886 [14/12/09 date of death added - H. Pollins]
Lydia COLLINS (wife of Mark) died Jul 1887
Caroline SIMONS (wife of Moses)  died 1/9/1888
Philip JACOBS died 14/3/1889
Charles SOLOMON, musical composer, stone setting 27/7/1890, died 16/5/1890 [14/12/09 date of death added - H. Pollins]
Bernard WINKEL, Shamas of Maiden Lane Synagogue, stone setting 27/7/1890
Ernest LAZARECK, died 22/9/1890, stone setting 27/9/1891 [added H. Pollins]
Phoebe EMANUEL died 1892
Maximilian GONZAWA died 28/5/1892
Michael GABRIEL died 1894
Charlotte MORELL (nee MOSSEL) died 26/1/1894
Samuel (Unknown) died 23 Jan 1895
Julia ABRAHAMS (wife of Moss) died 1895
Hannah JACOBS died 21/2/1895
(unknown) JOSEPH died 1898
James S. LYON, theatrical upholsterer of High Holborn died 7/1/1898 31/12/1897 [amended - H. Pollins], Buried 2/1/1898 [added - H. Pollins] in a reserved grave next to his wife. Stone setting 11/9/1898 [added - H. Pollins].
Keila widow of ... bar Moshe .. Fri 26 Adar 5655. (22/3/1895)
Robert LYON (brother of James S. Lyon) died 11/9/1898
Moise MOCH of 18 Southampton Row aged 70, stone setting 14/2/1902
Philip PHILLIPS died 18th January 1918 in 91st yr as Minister Maiden Lane /Western Synagogues [added 14/12/09  - E. Samuel]
Abraham ben Isaac … [died] Sun [7] .. Elul? [buried] Mon 9 560[6]
Beila bat ... died [Wed / Thur] 6 Tishri 563[?] ...
Rosetta (Unknown)
Levi b Jacob HaLevi aged 67
David LEVY
Dinah LYON
Daughter of Rev Jacob MOSES late of Birmingham

Jewish Chronicle
The Western Synagogue through two centuries 1761 - 1961 Arthur Barnett
* Pollins, Harold; Rosewarne, Vic. Louis Kyezor : 'the King of Whitton', c.1796-1869 (Borough of Twickenham Local History Society paper, 82). Twickenham: Borough of Twickenham Local History Society, 2002. 44 p. ISBN 0903341751.
See here for our previous blog on Bancroft Cemetery.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Research outside UK & GenAmi

As our ancestors travelled and moved from one country to another before arriving in the UK we often need to obtain information from records held in other countries and sometimes we receive photos from cemeteries outside of the UK. Regular visitors to CemeteryScribes will have noticed that we recently added headstone photos from the small Jewish Cemetery in Landstuhl, Germany. We also have photos from Hong Kong Jewish Cemetery and will be adding, in the near future, headstone photos and plaques from Singapore Jewish Cemetery.

One website we always visit when needing help outside the UK is GenAmi, the Association of Jewish Genealogy. With their Head Office in Paris, France, associate members across Europe and beyond, they generally come up trumps.

Micheline Gutmann, GenAmi's president, explains their sole objective as being to help members know their ancestors and understand their history.

Their website is overflowing with information, articles, details of what's new, recent research trips, family trees, records, quarterly reviews and in addition to all this, their Forum where members can ask for help and help each other. There are over 9,000 posts, which gives an idea of how well used it is.


To keep on track with our Cemetery theme, GenAmi have also researched several parts of the Montparnasse Cemetery (Jewish Section) with details of burials in Divisions 5, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29 available to members. A fascinating resource, where I have been lucky enough to find several of my own families' burial details. These records include the date of death, birth, place of birth, spouse, plot details and when the plot was purchased.

While GenAmi do require a very small annual membership fee (30e) they also provide information to non-members see here and the site is available in English or French.

If looking for a nice Hanukah present for the genealogist in your family, membership of this fabulous resource may well be the answer!

GenAmi have provided information for the following family entries on CemeteryScribes:
TUCK family : ID:19908
LION family ID: I9918
BRUNSWICK family ID: I2957
BING-JACOB Rosine ID: I9919
MEYER Fanny (Jeanetta) (Feigla) ID: I2958
SAMUEL / WEIL family (F1940) ID: I8605
COHEN Abigail
COHEN Adelaide [Lydia b Chaim HaCohen]
COHEN Andrew Asher
COHEN Caroline
COHEN David Hyman
COHEN Elizabeth
COHEN Frances
COHEN Judah Hyman

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Announcing our new sister site SynagogueScribes!

The Cemeteryscribes website, (previously Cemetery Project) has now been running for three years and, from the number of hits and the regular flow of comments and contributions we continue to receive, we believe you have found it useful.

We now have over 10,000 individuals on the site and some 3,330 headstone photographs, with many more still to be processed and several new burial grounds still to be catalogued: enough to keep us busy for a few more years! But, to keep us on our toes, and to make better use of some hitherto unpublished, Burial records, we decided to launch a new sister site SynagogueScribes

This one-stop gateway to Anglo-Jewish community records will offer a unique and fully searchable database of London Ashkenazi Synagogue records, with the emphasis on pre UK civil registration, which began on 1st July 1837.

The database already contains the names of over 11,500 marriage partners, drawn from the major London communities, The Great, The New, The Hambro and the Western Synagogues: more than 1,500 Birth Records from the registers of the Great and the New Synagogues: and over 1800 Circumcision Records from two Mohel Registers.  And, finally, approx. 600, never previously published, Burial Records dating from 1774 to 1810.  These exciting new records, taken from one of two registers held by the University of Southampton Library Archives & MS dept., [Ref MS 116/107 AJ] are still being transcribed and many more will be added over the coming months.

We have already made several links to burials in Brady Street Cemetery. Many of these record the deaths of children and stillborn or miscarried births and, whilst they may not add materially to your research, they may help to explain apparent age gaps between children. The Jewish schoolmaster, Hyman HURWITZ of Highgate, suffered several such losses.

We have sometimes been able to connect a "missing" spouse to their partner. CemeteryScribes I7647 Samuel b. Zachariah was buried in Brady Street 1799-1800. We have not located a grave for his widow but, from the Burial Register, we now know she died some 9 years later [DPL 0563 Burial 1809 [2 Jul] Widow ZACHARIAH) of Samuel ZACHARIAH Samuel (Samuel b. Zachariah) Gun Street Spitalfields.

Our most positive "find" to date is the listing of the 1801 death of R. Feivel b. Abraham Goldsticker. This record not only fixes the date of death for one of the Great Synagogues earliest members (# 247 in Roth's list published in Vol VI of the Miscellanies of the Jewish Historical Society) but it also adds two further generations to the family of CemeteryScribes ID I2603 Avigdor ABRAHAMS, and perpetuates their highly specialised business as Gold Embroiderers. This record is not yet on SynagogueScribes but will be added when we next update the website.

We ought to point out that Synagogue Scribes is a database of transcribed records which are not open to amendment or expansion. And we regret that we do not offer a Message Board facility, nor can we act as a recipient or publisher of Personal Genealogies, Family Trees, etc. We would, however, be delighted to hear from you if you are able to link any of the new burial records to any of the tombstones recorded in

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The First Jewish Cremation in Britain - 1888

We have many entries on the CemeteryScribes database for individuals who were famous for their charity and good deeds , their professional and financial achievements, or their contributions to the Arts and Sciences, but this is the story of a person who was famed, not for his life, but for his burial.

Camillo Roth, a Viennese member of the London Stock Exchange, was born in 1846. He took British nationality in either 1868 or 1872; there are two entries for the same name on the National Archives website. Despite being a British Subject, we have found no evidence of a permanent domicile. In the 1871 Census he was lodging, alone, at a small hotel in Conduit Street and, thereafter, he seems to have taken up residence at Hatchetts Hotel in Piccadilly. His collection of paintings included works such as 'Charlotte and Sarah Hardy, the Daughters of Colonel Thomas Carteret Hardy' by Thomas Lawrence 1801, now to be found at The Cleveland Museum of Art. But whether these works of art adorned the walls of his rooms in Hatchetts Hotel, to be enjoyed on a daily basis, or whether they were stored unceremoniously in some dusty Bond Street Gallery cellar, remains a mystery. Like much else about this rather elusive man.

Camillo died at Hatchetts Hotel on 9th April 1888. We have found no mention of any family, either in London or on the Continent, so we may assume that it was his considered, personal and, for the times, highly contentious, choice to be cremated.

The cremation, which took place in Woking, Surrey was reported in the Jewish Chronicle in such detail as to make unpleasant reading; the reporter evidently torn between the twin emotions of disbelief and wonderment. The Crematorium at Woking had been built less than ten years earlier, so the practice was not widely known, but it was probably that this was the first ever cremation of a Jewish person in Britain that led to such morbid interest. Surprisingly, The Jewish Chronicle adopts a very moderate and enlightened tone on the general subject of Cremation, suggesting it would not be contrary to Jewish Law. And the 'Daily News', in its account of the cremation of Mr. Roth, reaches a similar conclusion, citing the fact that Mr. Lazarus of the West London Synagogue was present and Professor Marks conducted a service, as proof of its acceptability.

We can only wonder at the discussions that may have taken place prior to the agreement for the subsequent burial of the ashes at Balls Pond Jewish Cemetery, the first discussion of its type in the UK: would cremation be contrary to Jewish Law; remains artificially disintegrated rather than naturally returning to dust, versus the fact that these remains, or ashes, would be returned to earth as required by the Law.

The Jewish Chronicle reports that the Executive were guided by the Ministers regarding the interment when granting the application. The length of time between Mr. Roth's death on the 9th Oct, and the burial of his ashes some 5 days later, suggests the Ministers did not rush into a decision.

Mr. Camillo Roth was buried at Balls Pond. His tombstone holds no clues as to the turmoil that his choice of burial must have caused amongst the community, nor the notoriety that followed it. There is no mention in the inscription and any visitor passing by it would never know.

Tales from ChathamJewish Cemetery

There would appear to have been a couple of unusual burials at Chatham and, in one case, perhaps no burial at all.

In the middle of Jun 1786 Mr Levi Israel a silversmith in Chatham, and lease holder of the Synagogue, received a parcel sent to him from London. The parcel contained a small coffin with the body of a young male child aged between 7 to 10 days. The letter enclosed with the parcel asked that Mr Israel bury the child.

Sadly the Times article of Jun 26 1786 doesn't record the name on the letter and therefore there is no indication as to who the child's parents were, but we can imagine that they were from Chatham and perhaps travelling to London.

The article does however confirm that the baby was buried in Chatham cemetery by Mr Israel in the presence of a Constable.

According to records held by Medway City Ark, Levi Israel died between 1794 and 1808 and therefore would not have been alive at the time of the Abraham Abrahams affair. Had he been, I wonder if the decision would have been the same?"

It is said that, following his execution in August 1819, Abraham Abrahams was buried at Chatham cemetery. In the transcriptions of the legible tombstones at Chatham there was one Abraham Abrahams buried in 1800 aged 60 years, so obviously not the same person.

A search of the Times for 1819 brought up one quite detailed account of the execution of Abraham Abrahams. He, along with others, including Judah and Joseph Solomons were indicted as accessories before the fact in a burglary at Sheerness on 30th Jan. They were all being held at New-Gaol, Maidstone when the sentences for Judah and Joseph were commuted to transportation (transported 8th Oct on the Prince Regent). The sentence was reported as being the result of the evidence of the principal witness, Abraham Buckee, and 'corroborated by a long chain of 'circumstantial evidence'. Buckee, who turned King's evidence, received the Royal Pardon for his part in the burglary.

Joseph Solomons was Abraham Abrahams father-in-law and had brought him up from a child. He was allowed to meet with Abrahams at 6am on the morning of his execution but refusal was given for a minyan to meet and pray with the condemned man the previous night.

When Abraham's body was released it was placed in a coffin, with the intention of it being taken to Chatham for burial the same day. However, a letter was received from Dr Hyam of Chatham, stating that the body should be taken to Sheerness and not to Chatham. The hearse and attendants seem to have ignored this and made their way to Chatham but were refused entry on arrival. The result being that the coffin was eventually conveyed by water to Sheerness and interred there the next day.

The story of the trial and execution of Abraham Abrahams has been extensively covered in the book by Jeremy I. Pfeffer "From one End of the Earth to the other: The London Bet Din 1805-1855 and the Jewish Convicts transported to Australia: Sussex Academic Press.

Monday, 19 October 2009

GenPals Cemetery Project has new name and Site!

Great News!

We decided a while ago that with the success of the project our use of a spare domain name that we had available was not good enough and we have now created a brand new name and site for the Cemetery Project

And to go with our new site there's a new blog found at :

Recent additions include some photos, inscriptions and mini family trees from Bath Jewish Burial Ground, additions to Balls Pond Cemetery, West Ham Cemetery, Willesden Cemetery and coming soon Plashet Cemetery (section A).

Hope you all like our new site!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Stonemasons and Monumental Masons

A recent message on one of the forums reminded that for, some time, I had been mulling over a piece about Stonemasons.  Who and where were they? What were the particular skills of their craft? Was this a trade (or craft) that was handed down from father to son, or could any likely lad become apprenticed? 

It is believed that the early stones were carved by local, non-Jewish, stone masons and that the bereaved family would visit the mason, look round his work and select something that most closely matched their needs. Certainly it’s fair to say that there are symbols that are used both on Jewish headstones as well as Christian ones, and similar themes, in particular those representing a young life lost with broken columns, cut flowers, cut branches etc.

I wonder how they managed with the Hebrew inscriptions and whether that would explain some of the anomalies that crop up from time to time? Did the deceased’s family write out the Hebrew for the stone mason to try and copy?

It seems more likely that it would have been  the responsibility of a Synagogue functionary since, according to the Laws of the Congregation of the Hambro Synagogue published in 1844, the Rabbi of the Burial Society would check all inscriptions, before they were engraved, to ensure that the wording was correct and proper. In the event that  he allowed a stone or tomb to be set that contained an error, he would apparently have been liable to pay for any alterations or corrections; a powerful incentive to get it right!   

It would clearly be extremely difficult to trace these early masons but slightly simpler to find out about more recent practitioners

We have on site the details of James Samuel founder of J. Samuel and Son monumental masons who lived at Jews Burial Ground, Stepney according to the 1841 and 1851 census.

In 1873 J. Samuel and Son advertise as Monumental Masons and undertakers at 147 Sidney Street, Mile End. Established over fifty years (so before 1823) and providing headstones, tombs and monuments for all cemeteries, in stone, Aberdeen granite and marble, with the 'imperishable lead letters'. Although I doubt any one came back to complain I think its fair to say that the lead letters were not entirely imperishable.

Other's I have found are:

Barnett LEVY stonemason of Princes Street Coverleys Fields who had Sun insurance in Feb 1815.

In 1858 the partnership of John Lyons undertaker of 1 Alie Street, Goodman's Fields and Philip Levy, sexton and stonemason at Wellington Road Forest Lane was dissolved.

1861 the bankruptcy of Levi Lee 1 Carlton Road, Kentish Town.

1873 Barnett Levy monumental mason of 10 Sion Square advertises alongside J. Samuel and son in the Jewish Chronicle. A year later in 1874 there is E. Harris & Co at 1a Braumont Street, Mile end. E. Harris is advertising immediately below J. Samuel and son and includes in their advert "18 years at Messrs J. Samuel and Son"

In 1875 there is a change, E. Harris is now Harris and Barnett monumental masons. Their advert includes the "18 years with J. Samuel and Son".

1879 and John W Legge, sculptor of Aberdeen, advertises monuments and tomb furnishings, 'best quality from £5'. 

By 1883 there are three London stone masons advertising. A. Van Praagh  of Leman Street, Whitechapel along with J. Samuel and son, and Harris and Barnett monumental masons. All three saying that they provide designs on application.

1894 Directory has B. S. Polack of Bow E, Lincoln House, Lincoln Street, with his works at Gough Road, Stratford, adjoining the Jewish Cemetery: A. Van Praagh of 14 St Mark Street and works at Baron Sclater Street.: Harris and Son (rather than Harris and Barnett) at 1 Beaumont Street: and J Samuel and son at 147 Sydney Street.

Most of the above firms are clearly Jewish, but were the Masons employed to do the actual carving also Jewish? 

This is very much a work in progress and it would be greatly appreciated if any of you out there who have further knowledge of London Stonemasons and their history would make contact.

Sources: London Gazette, Sun Fire Insurance, Jewish Chronicle, Directory of Jewish tradesmen 1894.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

The fascinating story of Abraham Isaac, died 1733

Whilst searching on the National Archives website I came across the mention of a petition regarding an Abraham Isaac dated 1733. It didn't take me long to decide that I wanted to know more so I ordered a copy the next day.

The petition briefly tells us the story of what became of Abraham in mid May 1733, sadly there isn't a great deal of detail, leaving a lot to the imagination or, better still, further research!

Abraham was travelling to, or from, his home in Dukes Place in the City of London when on, or about the 16th May 1733, he died from a fall from a wagon on Barham Down.

Did this take place on what is today the A2 trunk road? Was this his wagon or possibly the mail coach? What caused him to fall? Was he attacked by a local highwayman such as the notorious 'Black Robin' known for shooting down coachmen? did the horse take fright, or the wagon hit a rock causing him to lose his balance? We will probably never know as there doesn't seem to have been an inquest.

However, we can learn a little about his family. He had at least one daughter. Her name was Eve and she was married to Jacob Isaac, a baker in St Mary Axe, London. Unfortunately no ages are mentioned, but just to add a little to the story, we could suppose that Eve was at least 20 years old given that she was married, she may of course have been older, and that perhaps Abraham was 20 when she was born, so it would place his birth in the late 1600's.

Abraham was probably travelling alone, at least not with friends or family or any one that knew him or his background. Presumably he wasn't carrying any papers either and therefore the village was unable to easily contact his family or, if they were able to, it took several months for the notice of Abraham’s death to reach them.

In view of the situation the decision was made to bury him and on the 16th of May 1733, Abraham Isaac was buried in the Church Yard of Barham. The local church would be St John's Church, noted for its magnificent beech trees, an ancient church going back to the 9th Century and mentioned in the Doomsday Book.

Sometime between May and Nov 1733 Abraham's family hears of his death and place of burial. His daughter Eve then petitions the Archdeacon of Canterbury, humbly praying for permission to remove the corpse of her father, Abraham Isaac, of the Jewish nation, from the Church Yard at Barham to be interred in the Jewish Burying Ground at Mile End, London. The decree is granted in court on the 8th Nov 1733.

There is nothing to say when exactly the body was moved or to which burial ground although the grounds in Alderney Road seem the most likely.

This contemporary record of a Jewish burial takes us to within 70 years of the Readmission of the Jews to the United Kingdom. It occurred only 35 years after the final purchase of the Alderney Road Burial Ground and over a decade before the acquisition of the Three Colt Yard extension. But Abraham and his pack, lying on the dusty Kentish road while, back in London his daughter anxiously waits for his return, is as vivid to me as if his story had just featured on the late evening TV News.

Friday, 7 August 2009

GenPals Cemetery Project has moved address to

When we started the cemetery project we had no idea how long it would last, how much we would be able to do and more importantly how successful it would be. So the data was placed as an additional file on a site I had been using for my own family history under the address

Some two years later, the site has grown enormously and is still growing so we decided the cemetery project deserved its own address!

GenPals Cemetery Project is now at if you have bookmarks for the old address they will no longer work.

There are a number of new entries for Balls Pond Cemetery and other cemeteries so please take a look.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Never leaving a stone unturned!

Half-a-day for the photography - then comes the real work.....

It's just over 4 months since we visited The Balls Pond Road Cemetery and we've been working flat out on processing the photos ever since. So why do we still have three times as many on our "to-do" list, as we have completed and uploaded onto the site? Well, some of that is down to the mundane demands of everyday living - like going to work, ferrying kids to school and old aunties to hospital, completing the tax returns and booking the car in for a service. In other words, the minutiae of life getting in the way of the serious business to which we, and this site are dedicated

Sometimes we may get caught up in a particular story that leads us down so many varied and interesting byways that, if we didn't call a self-imposed halt to our researches, they could be in danger of developing into a doctoral thesis.

With well over 2700 stones on site, we can now link people across centuries, cemeteries, countries and continents. We haven't yet transcribed Jacob Magnus died 1888 and buried in Balls Pond Road, but the links to him will take us to his distant cousins, Nathan Joseph Magnus, and Judith [Gitele} Joseph Magnus, both buried in Brady Street, and will connect to several other families on the way. The research could be extensive and the links will certainly be many and complex: it will be a fine calculation as to how much time we allow ourselves to spend on this one family

And, sometimes, we just get stuck. For several hours now I've been peering at a picture of a perfectly upright, undamaged stone with not a single visible character to denote who it memorialises. And, yes, I've tried every trick in the PhotoShop handbook - converting to negative, playing with the brightness and contrast. You name it, I've tried it. The stone refuses to give up its secrets.

With luck, we may be able to match it to one of the names recorded on the excellent Balls Pond Road Burial Ground site but we feel we would be short-changing researchers across the world, who may have a personal interest in this individual, if we didn't work overtime to uncover at least a trace of the original inscription. So another day passes and the unprocessed pile of photographs in the "in-tray" is still way higher than the few completed and ready to upload onto the site. We had hoped to have Balls Pond completed by the end of August - but, like an ill-functioning Government Department, I don't see us meeting our targets! With luck we'll be finished by the end of this year - that is, the secular one that finishes 31st December 2009, not the Hebrew one that finishes mid September!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Brady Street Jewish Cemetery - a success story!

When we first visited Brady Street Jewish Cemetery back in May 2007 we took photos of the memorial to Miriam Levy, a rare, perhaps unique, example of a Jewish memorial with a bust of a woman. This, presumably is an actual likeness of Miriam, who has been described as a welfare worker who opened the first soup kitchens in the East End.

Unfortunately our original photos were not especially clear; it was a very sunny day and the light and shade made reading the worn inscription almost impossible. So when we heard that Brady was to be opened for a day in April '09 we jumped at the chance of a return visit, eager to finally be able to read the full inscription. Well, hopeful at any rate!

Brady Street is normally locked and the visit was made possible by Babs, a British-Jewry member, who lives in Australia and had found the tombstone of her 5 x great-grandfather, Nathan Raphael (1726 - 21 Sep 1808) on GenPals website.

On her visit to Brady in 2008, she had been unable to find the tombstone so, when the opportunity to visit London arose in April '09, Babs contacted the United Synagogue and organised for the cemetery to be opened. Here is an extract from her marvellous family newsletter:
... the morning of Sunday, 19th April 2009, was set for a reunion of some distant cousins at the grave of their common ancestor - just over 200 years after his death! I suddenly became very nervous, what if I still couldn’t find the grave? I anxiously re-checked Gaby’s instructions and downloaded pictures of the tombstones she said were positioned either side of Nathan’s. Both these tombstones were quite distinctive, with relatively clear inscriptions. I felt reassured; surely I had enough information to ensure success this time round. At the very least, there were several other graves of family members to visit I told myself while trying not to hyper-ventilate.

..... our group decided it might be quicker to split up and search separately. It was not long thereafter that my eagle-eyed husband triumphantly announced “I’ve found it!” As one, my newly-met cousins and I rushed to the scene. The tombstones on either side, we all agreed, clearly matched those identified by Gaby as Nathan’s “neighbours”.
Sunday 19th April was a truly memorable day for me too, it was an absolute pleasure to meet Babs and know that we had helped her locate the burial place of her ancestor and especially to walk around the cemetery seeing descendants visiting the graves of their ancestors. I fully understand the need to keep the cemetery closed but seeing several groups of families paying their respects to the those that died many years ago was a wonderful thing: how long has it been since these graves have been visited by family members?

Babs' visit was particularly special, as she had brought some polished stones from the Orange region NSW, Australia, where Nathan Raphael's grandson and patriarch of the Australian branch of the family is buried, to leave as a token of her visit.

Here is a photo (copyright K O'Connor) taken by Babs' husband, with Babs, and family members John and Julia, the polished stones visible on the top of the tombstone.

My time at Brady was nearly up so we took some photos of Miriam Levy's memorial from as many angles as possible and this time we were successful: the details of the main inscription are now included on the entry found here. As yet the details of her life and her involvement with the East End soup kitchens elude us.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Co-incidences, WDYTYA, Dreyfus and Balls Pond Cemetery!

Genealogist should be used to co-incidences and synchronicity, but it still came as something of a shock when I suspended work on transcribing the stones in the Balls Pond Road Cemetery and switched on the TV to watch  the 1st  in the latest BBC series of Who Do You Think You Are.  

Davina Mcall's maternal French great great-grandfather, Celestin Hennion, was famous throughout France for revolutionising the French police service. But his name was to spread beyond his native land when,  putting his job and his reputation on the line,  he took a principled  and unpopular stand on the side of Capitaine Alfred Dreyfus in the lengthy trial that was to split French public opinion and still resonates today.  The pretext for the trial was treason. but the underlying cause was anti-Semitism. See more here.

And the synchronicity?  Well, Balls Pond Road is a Jewish cemetery, and the last stone I had transcribed before switching on the TV was for  the infant Alice Kate, daughter of Arthur DREYFUS born Paris 1836.  Dreyfus is not an uncommon name in France and uncovering a link between Arthur and Alfred will not be easy.   But that won't stop us trying!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

An application for a disinterment

George Eliot John (or David) Johnasson, was born in London on 4 February 1863 and was circumcised at 149 Sloane St, Chelsea by Rabbi Asher Ash, on 25th February - somewhat later than the usual seventh day following a birth. He was the only son of [Moses] John Johnasson and his Belgian born wife, Mathilde, and grandson of David Jonassohn of Usworth Hall Durham.

There may have been other causes for the delay, but the late circumcision could suggest the baby was rather sickly? Certainly, the child was to die on 21st February 1874, shortly after his tenth birthday. Evidently, a much loved child, the stone erected to his memory in the Balls Pond Road testifies to his "Gentle Spirit"

The death of the boy's mother was reported in the Times of Monday, Mar 21, 1887; pg. 1; Issue 32025; col A ad. on 19th inst at Paris, Mathilde, the beloved wife of John Johnasson Mathilde Johnasson died in Paris.

Some time between her death and 1890, John Johnasson remarried Alice, Belgian born like his 1st wife. No record of the marriage has been found; their daughter, Gladys Virginia was born Kensington Sep qtr 1890.

And it is around this time, in March 1889 that that John Johnasson made a request to the West London Synagogue to have his son disinterred for reburial in Kensal Green Cemetery. According to the report in the Jewish Chronicle, the request was refused as "being contrary to Jewish principles" [JC MARCH 29 1889 (Page:8)].

What prompted John Johnasson to make such am unusual and dramatic request? After all, the child was the grandson of a representative to the Board of British Deputies and Kensal Green Cemetery, whilst apparently inter or non-denominational, was not a consecrated Jewish burial place. For a father to voluntarily disturb the last resting place of his only beloved son, it must have been something very powerful.

We know little about either of John's wives; Mathilde born Antwerp circa 1838, died Paris 19th March 1887 and Alice V born Antwerp 1864 died Kensington Mar qtr 1933 and if anyone has any information regarding either of them, or the burial place of John Johnasson died Newcastle upon Tyne Jun Qtr 1907 do please contact us at

Thursday, 2 July 2009

English Law v. Jewish Custom and Practice Marriage with deceased wife's sister

English law regarding proscribed marriage partners was based entirely on those laid down by the Anglican Church and stemmed from Henry VIII's reformation of the English Church. These laws almost exactly correspond with those set out in Leviticus, which, whilst explicitly naming the parties forbidden to marry, makes no mention of a deceased wife's sister. Thus, the status of such a union was arguable until laws passed in 1835 rendered it illegal in England and Wales [It was to remain so until the law was repealed through the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act of 1907]. See here for more info.

As with all laws, however, those set on circumventing them would always find ways to do so.
On the death of his wife, Elizabeth, it seemed practical for John Michaelis Barnardo to marry her sister, Abigail, who had been in charge of the household since her sister's death. However, the Bill which was to permit marriage with a deceased wife's sister had not yet been passed, and according to the law as it stood it would have been illegal. By coming to London and by having the ceremony performed in a German church by a German pastor, John Michaelis was able to avoid the legal impediment to his marriage, for as a Prussian subject he was not bound by English law. The full story can be found here 'Birth and boyhood and the melting pot 1845 - 1866'.

The Wesleyan minister, William Morley Punshon (1824-1881) married three times. His first wife, Maria Ann Vickers of Gateshead, by whom he had 6 children, died of consumption in 1858 and was buried at Kensal Green. After her death, her sister Fanny came to live with Punshon to help care for his remaining children. Over the years, Punshon fell in love with her but, as it was illegal in English law, he was advised to send her away and marry someone else. Punshon, clearly a man of honour, decided his only course was to leave England. Invited by the Canadian Methodist Conference to become their President and, such unions not being illegal in that country, the couple were duly married in Toronto in 1868. More details available in a Biography here.

Jewish law imposed no such restriction and, indeed, it is specifically included in the list of those whom it is permissible for a man to marry. viz: His deceased wife’s sister, but not his divorced wife’s sister (unless the former is deceased already). provides a summary here.

But a combination of the passing of the 1835 Marriage Act and the introduction of Civil Registration in 1837, meant that Jews, along with the rest of their fellow citizens, would have had to go outside the country in order to enter a legal contract of marriage: Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels were the most likely destinations.

This would explain why no English marriage can be found for Ernst Falck who, on the death in 1877 of his first wife, Helene Samuel was to marry her younger sister, Matilda some time between 1877 and 1881.

If anyone has any information about this marriage, we should be pleased to hear from them.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Balls Pond Road London? Or Ayres Quay Sunderland? Which is the true burial place of David Johnasson?

The cemetery at Ayres Quay Jewish Cemetery in Sunderland, presently classed by Jewish Heritage UK as a "site at Risk" was closed in 1856.

However, a space was reserved for a memorial to David Johnasson, a local landowner, ship owner, owner of the Usworth Colliery, and a senior member of the community, who died in London on 25th July 1859.

Only a stump remains of the once imposing obelisk, raised in his memory by his children, but earlier photographs can be seen here.

David Johnasson (Jonassohn) appears to have been quite out of the usual run of early nineteenth century Anglo-Jewry.

A notice of his marriage in Hamburg to Charlotte, 2nd daughter of Mr. J Bouer of that city, appears in the Newcastle Courant on 15 July 1826, suggesting that, although still a young man, he was already an established figure in the North of England.

By the mid 1840's he was already the ow ner of an estate which included a fine property, Usworth House, later known as Usworth Hall and it was here that he sunk a Colliery which he ran for many years.

Pit accidents were far from rare at this time; how often this was due to lack of knowledge, and technology and how much to bad management, is hard to judge.

The raw facts reported by the Durham Mining Museum show that the one at Usworth on 5 June 1850 was caused by a naked flame resulting in the deaths of 12 men and one boy, from the 160 working the pit that day.

But the boss, David Jonassohn, was also possessed of a paternalistic streak. The Preston Guardian of 8th Feb 1851 reports:

".....Mr David Jonassohn and Partners have erected a large and commodious Chapel with school rooms for the alternate use of the Wesleyans and the Primitive Methodists".
In similar benevolent fashion, the following week, the Newcastle Courant reports that on the occasion of her marriage, the eldest daughter of D. Jonassohn Esq. of Usworth Place gave half-a-crown each (2 shillings and sixpence) to the poor widows and old people in the villages of Usworth and Usworth Colliery as well as £2 to the inmates of the Chester-le-Street workhouse.

David Jonassohn was still living at Usworth in 1851, but evidently moved to London some time prior to his death there on 25 July 1859. The stone, erected in his memory in the Balls Pond Road Jewish cemetery, is still standing.

In the English inscription, he is identified as DAVID JONASSOHN Esq. of Usworth DURHAM. and, this is repeated in the Hebrew inscription:

resident Durham

So, it would seem that, whilst his physical remains were laid to rest in London, his heart belonged to the North East of England.

Further information on the Jonassohn family can be found on Cemetery Project see here. Our thanks to Shaun for the use his photos.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

More Levy's than Cohen's on GenPals

A quick review of the numbers and names on GenPals Cemetery Project.

Since we launched the site with 500 entries back in Nov 2007 it has grown and grown!

There are now over 8,000 individuals listed, so we thought it would be interesting to look at the top ten family names:

  1. Levy
  2. Cohen
  3. Jacobs
  4. Harris
  5. Davis
  6. Nathan
  7. Solomon
  8. Hart
  9. Isaacs
  10. Moses
NB. Because we list women under their maiden names there are a large number with no family name on the site plus there are those where only the Hebrew name has been identified on the tombstone.

There are 7 individuals who died at the grand age of 100 years or more and 3 aged 99 years.

We are currently working on tombstones from Balls Pond Jewish cemetery in London and Nuevo Jewish Cemetery so expect the numbers to increase over the next month or so. Both of these cemeteries have been fully photographed as have Brady Street Jewish Cemetery, Brompton (Fulham Rd) Jewish Cemetery, Bancroft Rd Jewish Cemetery and Lauriston Road Jewish Cemetery.

We don't just cover London, see here for a full list of the cemeteries recorded on the site.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Restoration Projects: Make such a difference!

Who, in the Jewish establishment, is responsible for the Bancroft Road (Maiden Lane) Cemetery?

The argument has raged for over 100 years.

While that once historic burial ground has been reduced to a weed-covered desert and is now beyond restoration,

enthusiastic local activists have not only done, literally, ground-breaking work to restore the historic Deane Road Cemetery in Liverpool but have also mounted a campaign for Heritage funds which has resulted in a development grant of £13,800.

The wonderful work being done at Deane Road is described in photos here and the news of the development grant here on Louise Baldock's blog

For information on Bancroft Road Jewish Cemetery and a brief history see here

Thursday, 11 June 2009

GenPals Cemetery Project: Cut Off date

We have been asked many times why we do not include photos of headstones where the individual died after 1928.

We took the view when we started this project, that while we want to record the information that has been inscribed on headstones and make that information freely available, we would need to keep in mind the feelings of living decsendants and also whether the information could be used for identity fraud. While the detail is so useful for genealogy its the detail that can cause problems.

I feel sure that genealogists have realised that when asked for 'mother's maiden name' its best to make it up or use a spelling variation or not publish their immediate family details and of course many institutions have now moved away from that type of security question.

As far as we are concerned its better to be safe than sorry and trust that users and contributors to the GenPals Cemetery project understand, respect and accept that this is how it is.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Website error: Hannah Montefiore

Among the photographs kindly donated by Dr. Helen Fry, was one from the Exeter Jewish Cemetery for Hannah Montefiore, wife of Moses d'Ancona. The inscription on her stone reads

"Hannah relict of Moses Ancona daughter of Moses Montefiore died April 25 5599 ages 71.
From the Hebrew inscription: Hannah bat Moshe ...

In a moment of inattention, we placed her as a child of Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1886) and his wife, Judith Cohen (1784-1862) respectively, GenPals Person ID I7638 & I7637.
Keen students of this famous family will already have spotted two compelling reasons why this would have been a factual impossibility.
  1. Sir Moses and Lady Judith died without issue
  2. Hannah Montefiore D'Ancona died in 1839 aged 71, which would have made her some16 years older than the man we had designated as her father!
Hannah Montefiore is now with her rightful parents; one of the 17 children of Moses Vita (Chaim) Montefiore and his wife, Esther Hannah Rachah . And she is, of course, an aunt of the Sir Moses we erroneously designated as her father.

Sincere apologies to anyone who copied this data into their own research. Please revisit GenPals Cemetery Project and revise your files accordingly.

We will double our efforts to avoid any future errors but there are no cast-iron guarantees and it is always best to check data for yourselves, even when it appears on well-sourced and carefully researched websites such as

Friday, 5 June 2009

Workhouse burials?

A letter to the Hull Packet dated 29th Aug 1849 and printed in the Friday edition a couple days later describes the following situation.

Arnold Eichborn, a penniless cabinet maker, had died earlier that week. Due to the distance his body would have to be carried, the expense of interment was considerable, and had to be raised by the local Jewish community. The President Mr George Alexander applied to the workhouse for a coffin and was refused on the grounds that a coffin could only be provided if the burial took place in their cemetery, not if the burial was in a Jewish cemetery.

It raises the question and one I would be very interested to hear the answer to, of whether there were cases of Jews being buried in Workhouse cemeteries? It seems likely that there were, perhaps accidentally, perhaps due to lack of funds.

The City of London Burial records show, for example, Isabella Cohen who died on the 2nd Oct 1840 aged 3yrs at the Workhouse and buried St Mary, Whitechapel or perhaps Pho(e)be Solomons who died aged 84 on 19th Dec 1832 at the Workhouse, Cock and Hoop Yard and buried St Botolph, Aldgate.

Do you know more?

Note: FreeBMD Death Index records Arnold Eichborn as Arnold Ichborn Sep 1849

Monday, 1 June 2009

Beyond the high wall, Alderney Road Jewish Cemetery

It would have been around 1991 that I first visited the Jewish Cemetery in Aldernery Road, London E., the oldest Ashkenazi burial ground in Britain, dating from 1696\7. We came upon it, quite by chance, on our way back from the Tower Hamlets Family History Library in Bancroft Road. There was a door in a wall, a small sign, and a bell. We rang, not expecting an answer, but before long the gate was opened by an elderly woman, wearing slippers, followed by a large, mournful dog. She looked us up and down, nodded and let us in. For more than half an hour, we wandered, unimpeded, round the crumbling stones: just the two of us, under a blue sky, with the birds singing in the trees, and the deep, quiet layers of history beneath our feet. A magical experience! But not, apparently unique.

In 2001, a decade after our visit, the German author W. G. Sebald published his strange, disturbing and, ultimately, tragic novel 'Austerlitz'. A few pages before the end of this extraordinary book, is an unidentified photograph of an old Jewish cemetery and the following text:
......... And then he gave me the key to his house in Alderney Street.......And I should not omit, he added, to ring the bell at the gateway in the brick wall adjoining his house for behind the wall, although he had never been able to see it from any of his windows, there was a plot where lime trees and lilacs grew and in which members of the Ashkenazi community had been buried, including Rabbi David Tevele Schiff and Rabbi Samuel Falk, the Baal Shem of London. He had discovered the cemetery......only a few days before he left London when the gate in the wall stood open for the first time in all the years he had lived in Alderney Street. Inside, a very small, almost dwarf-like woman of perhaps seventy years old - the cemetery caretaker, as it turned out - was walking along the paths in her slippers. Beside her, almost as tall as she was, walked a Belgian sheepdog now grey with age who answered to the name of Billie and was very timid. In the bright spring light, shining through the newly opened leaves of the lime trees, you might have thought, Austerlitz told me, that you had entered a fairy tale which, like life itself, had grown older with the passing of time....."
When I read this sentence, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck! I have been back to the cemetery a couple of times since but, today, in the interest of security and conservation, all our old burial grounds are permanently locked and entrance is only possible by pre-arranged appointment : the mystery and the magic are still there, but you are unlikely to be alone and you may have to half close your eyes and ears before you can capture it.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Medieval Northampton Cemetery survey

We were delighted a week ago when Marcus Roberts, Founder and Director of Jtrails contacted us to offer further information for use on the GenPals Cemetery Project website, which we hope to be able to add soon.

Marcus supplied the definitive identification for the Northampton Stone in 1992, the only known example of a medieval Jewish tombstone in England.

The stone is on display at Northampton Museum and a couple of days ago the Northampton Chronicle and Echo reported that an archaeological survey of the site of the 13 century cemetery has begun. It is believed that the cemetery was in the town centre between 1259 and 1290. This is obviously a site of huge importance to Anglo Jewry.

Click here to read the full story.

There have been reports of a handful of other medieval Jewish stones, such as the one found in London Wall as described in Gentleman's Magazine in 1753, the original sketch of this stone is held at the British Library but sadly they all seem to have been lost, or have disappeared over the years.

For those readers who are able to get to the Northampton Museum, both the Northampton stone and their display on Medieval Jewish Northampton is well worth the visit.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Anglo-Jewish Genealogy's Frank Gent and his 300 mile bike ride

Frank Gent is one of the great servants of Anglo-Jewish Genealogy. It is thanks to him that, following the untimely death of that great proponent of Anglo Jewry, Rabbi Dr. Bernard Susser, that the latter's considerable legacy of Jewish Record transcripts, and other material, was not only saved for posterity but was catalogued and published on the Internet

Susser Archive here and here

It was also entirely due to Frank that my own publication, "Great Synagogue Marriage Registers 1791-1850" finally appeared in print.
[Author Angela Shire. Publisher Frank J Gent Call Number ISBN 0950843733]

Frank is currently recovering from serious health problems and, with his usual enthusiasm and determination, is planning to complete a 300 Mile Bike Ride from London to Paris in 2010 in aid of medical Research see here for details.

This would seem like a good opportunity for all of us in the world-wide family of Anglo-Jewish Genealogy to say a small thank-you to Frank for his invaluable contribution to our research whilst, at the same time, contributing to a very worthwhile cause.

All the best, Frank. We know you'll make it. And in record time, too!

To read more about Frank's build-up to the big event and to offer him your support, click here

Angela's databases of Synagogue Records etc., can all be downloaded from the British Jewry website She still has a few copies of the printed version which she would be happy to send for the cost of postage and packing only. Please use the contact us or leave a comment if you are interested in receiving a copy.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Book on Jewish Convicts transported to Australia and The London Bet Din

The recent Bank Holiday gave me the opportunity to catch up on some reading, one particular book stands out as being of great interest to visitors of

We receive numerous enquiries from genealogists in Australia looking for their ancestors' burial places in the UK. This book sheds another light on the lives of those transported to Australia and what provisions were made for the families they were forced to leave behind.

'From one end of the earth to the other' The London Bet Din, 1805 - 1855, and the Jewish convicts transported to Australia by Jeremy I. Pfeffer ISBN: 9781845193669 (p/b) 9781845192938 (h/b) click here for more info.

The Jews has been specifically exempted from the provisions of the 1753 Marriage Act. The effect of this exemption was to put the matrimonial causes of the Jews of England exclusively in the hands of their Rabbis and Dayanim for the next hundred years. No Bet Din (Jewish ecclesiastical court) anywhere in the world has left such a complete record of its transactions - matrimonial and proselytical - as that contained in the extant Pinkas (minute - book) of the London Bet Din from 1805 to 1855.

In all other matters, including the offences punishable by transportation, Jews were subject to the civil courts. Of the estimated 150,000 convict transportees shipped to the Australian penal colonies, some seven hundred were Jews. Matrimonial and related matters involving twenty of these miscreants are recorded in the Pinkas. Jeremy Pfeffer recounts the history of the London Bet Din during these years as revealed in the Pinkas record and relates the previously untold stories of this group of Jewish convict transportees and their families.

Jeremy Pfeffer writes in the preface 'I set out to discover eveything I could about convict transportees whose names appeared in the Bet Din records, the circumstances that led to their trials and convictions and the stories of their first years in their new Australian home'. He has succeeded in producing an account that is both scholarly and accessible and which brings the past to life through the true stories of ordinary people.


Sunday, 24 May 2009

Queen Victoria's courier, Joseph Julius Kanne

Queen Victoria arrived in Berlin early in the morning on 24th Apr 1888 to visit her daughter. Soon after she heard the news that:
"Poor good Kanne, who had a relapse a week ago after having recovered wonderfully from the first attack in March had become much worse and was in great danger" an hour later the Queen was advised of his death at his private residence in Dover Street, London. She wrote "for thirty years he had attended me on all my journeys, making all the arrangements in a most admirable manner. He used to think of every little thing for my pleasure and comfort and had a wonderful power of organisation. I can hardly realise that he is gone and he will be such a loss. All my children and people are so grieved".

Joseph Julius Kanne, the Queen's invaluable courier, director of her continental journeys was the son of Josephine Loewenfeld and Leopold Kann.

An article by Paul H Emden in the Jewish Chronicle 3 Oct 1947 tells that Josephine was the daughter of Moses Loewenfeld of Schoenwald who owned a distillery there. While Leopold's family were originally from Frankfort a Main, a wealthy and influential family.

Josephine and Leopold lived in Pilsen, after Leopold's death Josephine moved to Prague. She died in 1874 and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery there.

Joseph J Kanne was born about 1818 in Austria, he took British naturalisation in 1864 having seen active service in the Crimean War and had been present at the siege of Sebastopol.

He was buried at the Brompton Road Cemetery, although Jewish by birth he was not buried at the Jewish cemetery.

His epitaph reads: This stone was erected by the Queen and the Prince of Wales to mark their appreciation of the long and valued services of Joseph Julius Kanne. In memory of Joseph Julius Kanne, for nearly 40 years one of Her Majesty's most devoted servants. Died 24 April 1888 aged 70 years.

The London Gazette reported on 26 Jun 1888 that probate was granted on 13 June to Achille Vintras of Hanover Square, Doctor of Medicine. Dr Vintras was the founder of the French Hospital in London.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Interesting Headstone from Brady Street Cemetery

Well here goes with my first 'real' post. Its about an intriguing headstone we found at Brady Street. One of the more difficult to interpret as it included an Acrostic and a Gematria.

The inscription was transliterated as:

Creature of earth in his mother's bosom... His gathering comes now ...
His fineness with those who lack ...
Calling wisdom father and running from evil.
In the year 5538 [1788], he awakened the heart of his brothers, donated his money and was the head/chief to help.
The orphans of his brothers, fatherless children;
Joyous to begin and finish with bounty, running from contributor to contributor, calling out,
'Your brother is dead and you will abandon the children he left with you!
Awake and you will receive a good reward.'
... His lovingkindness will never be forgotten;
... on him praise and here will lie undisturbed;
At 60 years, taken live to his Father on the holy Shabbat and buried the following day, Sunday,
Nisan in the year 'raiser of the orphans' [5564/1804].

So the questions are, who was Yitzhak ben Yisrael Yaacov (Isaac ben Israel Jacob?)? do you know more about him and his good deeds? if so please let us know.

To see the entry on go to Yitzhak ben Yisrael Yaacov


Welcome to our blog.

We have started this as a place to publish items that would not really fit in with our main website which is a database of inscriptions from Jewish Cemeteries throughout the UK, including mini family trees created from a variety of sources. Along with general photos of the cemeteries and short histories.

So we hope they interest you as much as they do us.

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