Names: Places of origin or occupations or ?

Among the difficulties we encounter when transcribing old community records written in cursive Hebrew, is the appearance of words that have no apparent English equivalent and which usually, but not exclusively, relate to places of origin or occupations.

The script in this burial record dated  24 Dec 1804 for  a child of Joseph b. Abraham was relatively ease to decipher as the Secretary of the day wrote in  good clear script and the page was not disfigured with blots, smudges and scratchings out.  However, we were rather fazed by the letters following the father’s name Ayin-bet-yod-resh-shin-tet-resh-vav-yod-aleph  for which we could find no apparent translation.

A SynagogueScribes advanced search based on Hebrew Name = Joseph plus Father’s Hebrew name = Abraham  produced some 35 – 40 results, from which it quickly became apparent that the family name was ABRAHAMS and the letters completing the patronymic had previously been transliterated to read Ebarstrow or Ebarstrova.

A further search, entering variations on Family name = Abrahams and Father’s Hebrew name = Joseph, or spouse = Joseph etc.  produced  four Great Synagogue Burials where Dr. Susser had variously transliterated the Hebrew characters as ABERSTRAU\ABIR STREUE\ EBBIRSTOWE  and ABE RESTROY  

The online Jewishgen Shtetl-Seeker produced only one result that was remotely possible; the Polish own of Obra Stara, NW of Kalisz

We are not convinced that we have that identified the correct place. Or even that the letters do spell a place name.   If any readers of this blog can offer an alternative reading, we should be delighted to hear from you.

University of Southampton Library Two Registers of Burials at the German Jews Burying Ground Great Synagogue London 1776 – 1810 with interments at the New Cemetery Ducking Pond Lane Bethnal Green (Brady Street) from 1790 Archives & MS: Ref MS 116/107 AJ]

5 comments for “Names: Places of origin or occupations or ?

  1. Frank ATKINSON
    November 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Avram Ebarstrova (now Abrahams) was my G-G-G-G-Grandfather and trying to translate the Hebrew script had stumped many in Sydney. Best wishes, Frank.

  2. CemeteryScribes
    November 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Frank
    If you look at our sister site and run a Keyword search for Ebarstro (leaving off the ending of the word as spellings seem to differ slightly) then you get 8 results all with the family name Abrahams.

    Hope that helps,
    CemeteryScribes & SynagogueScribes

  3. Esther Kahn
    September 27, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Hello Frank and Gaby,
    I have come across this earier blog and discussion. Firstly, the name ‘EBER’, is usually connected with ‘hebrew’, or someone who is Jewish. Abraham came from the ‘hebrew tribe’, in the biblical sense.
    I am doing some independent research , and found Joseph Annesley was the son of Abraham Ebarstowa in Great Synagogue Marriage records online on synagoguescribes. Joseph was the first Jew admitted to practise as an attorney in 1770. He, and his brother Alexander( later also an atttorney), changed their name by Royal assent in 1784.There also seemed to be a Moses Abrahams, a brother I think he could be, who was articled to them. The father, Abraham is shown as an attorney or notary public as well.
    Moses changed his name to Thomas Willett and Joseph and he practised under the name of ‘Annesley and Willett’, in CHeapside London.
    I am wondering whether you are researching any other Abrahams, as there seems to be a link between a younger Abraham Abrahams, whose son, Michael was convicted in NSW in the 1830’s and sent to Tasmania. He is a relative of George Robert Nichols, grandson of Esther Abrahams.The younger Abraham practised law and his sons, Samuel, Benjamin and Joseph did as well and served articles with him.
    Phoebe Abrahams, wife of Abraham and mother of Michael(above) wrote to the Governor for clemency for him and cited him being a ‘relative’ of Nichols. Obivously, there does seem to be some connection with Esther Abrahams/Johnston.
    Abraham died in 1828, and is buried in the Brompton cemetery. His headsone reads ‘Abraham ben Abraham”…so his father is Abraham.
    I have connected previously, only briefly with family in England. They say that the Abrahams family seem to have been well established quite early on, and the men were engaged in law early on.
    It does seem more than likely with the story of Esther Abrahams that this is a connection . English writers have found that Joseph and Alexander’s parents were Judith and Abraham Abrahams, from the Aldgate area originally.
    It does seem likely that the family had German origins , given no details can be found in Bevis Marks records.he Bromptom cemetery was connected to the Western Synagogue which later became the ‘Reform Synagogue’. Many Germans were members, as well as many well established Sephardi families.
    There is much documentary evidence of all I have mentioned here.
    I would very much like to be connected up with you to share and discuss my research and to see if there are any connections to Esther Abrahams/Johnston
    It has proven an interesting journey through the legal history relating to Jews at this time. Many would have struggled to find someone to apprectice them, let alone the family being able to afford it. Then, if they were to be admitted, they would have to swear a Christian oath, which later was modified.
    If Abraham Abrahams/ Ebarstowa was in fact a legal practitioner, then the background must have been a wealthy one to have allowed all of this to happen.
    Records for this early time in London are very hard to come by, but from what I have read and researched, there does appear to be these connections.
    Please contact me, or Gaby, let me know how I can share this information.
    Best wishes and Shabbat Shalom,
    Esther Kahn Melbourne Australia

  4. CemeteryScribes
    October 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Many thanks for your reply, but we do have a couple of comments:

    You state:
    >……It does seem likely that the family had German origins , given no details can be found in Bevis Marks ecords.he Bromptom cemetery was connected to the Western Synagogue which later became the ‘Reform Synagogue’. Many Germans were members, as well as many well established Sephardi families< . This is incorrect. The Reform Synagogue [West London.Synagogue] owns the BALLS POND ROAD CEMETERY

    The Brompton Road Cemetery belongs to the The Western Marble Arch Synagogue

    This is an Orthodox Ashkenazi Synagogue,


  5. Esther Kahn
    October 9, 2013 at 3:00 am


    Thanks for sorting this out. We do find it a bit confusing here with these 2 cemeteries.

    best wishes,


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