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,...
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Tombstone Symbols – Cohen Hands

Tombstone Symbols – Cohen Hands

This is the first of a series of blogs we want to run on the various tombstone symbols we have seen so far. Here are some examples of ‘Cohen Hands’ the priestly blessing. This symbol indicates that the person buried is a Cohen; that is, a descendent of Aaron, the brother of Moses. The...
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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...
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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...
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Never leaving a stone unturned!

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...
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Brady Street Jewish Cemetery – a success story!

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...
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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...
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An application for a disinterment

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 John Johnasson and his Belgian born wife,...
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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...
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Balls Pond Road London? Or Ayres Quay Sunderland? Which is the true burial place of David Johnasson?

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...
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