24 May 2008

UK: Western Synagogue Cemetery

Gaby Laws and Angela Shire in London have announced they have completed photographing and transliterating more than 500 gravestones in the Western Synagogue (Brompton) Cemetery at Queens Elm Fulham, London.

Many of those buried in this ground were prominent persons, both within the Jewish community and in the wider society beyond. Where possible, we have added details of spouses and children, using corroborative sources such as census returns, wills and Jewish Chronicle announcements. We have also been able to make links with family members interred in Brady Street and Edmonton Western.

Genpals.com now includes the following completed cemeteries:

Brady Street, London - 580+ inscriptions
Lauriston Road, London - 160+ inscriptions
Edmonton Western, London - 160+ inscriptions
Happy Valley, Hong Kong - 81 inscriptions.

Earliest burials date from the 1790s. The site includes 1,584 headstone inscription and more than 3,900 individuals.

Search by name, cemetery or a variety of other parameters through "advanced search.

The site is well-done, searching is explained, cemetery histories are included. In the chart of statistics, we see that Solomon Benjamin was the earliest born in the database (1716); the longest lived male (aged 102, 1739-1841)) was Solomon Jacobs (Shelomo b Akiba or Shalom b Jacova, and the longest lived female was Elizabeth Leo (aged 99, 1753-1854. There are 968 families, 605 unique surnames.

There are also a few files showing examples of mason's mistakes and unusual inscriptions. I think I helped out with some mystery inscriptions from the Hong Kong Happy Valley Cemetery. The numbers on the three pictured gravestones were written using the Farsi/Arabic system, which I recognized immediately, and I provided my translations via the Contact Us feature.

Some numbers were somewhat mangled as could be expected by a Chinese mason who didn't know the strange characters. Hong Kong's community included many Sephardim originally from Baghdad, some via India and some from Persia, and the use of such numbers was common.

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