Fabulous New Blog Preserves Jewish History In Barbados

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Whereas a majority of the People of the Hebrew Nation, resident within this Island, have, by their humble petition, prayed for a Legislative Enactment to enforce the payment of certain taxes on (adjoinments ?) to meet the expenses of their Religious Establishment and to maintain the poor and indigent of their Nation: — And Whereas the Legislature of this Island being willing to carry the prayer of the said petition into effect:
It is hereby Enacted by the Honorable John Brathwaite Skeete, President of His Majesty’s Council and Communities as Chief of this Island, Chancellor, Ordinary, and Vice Admiral of the same…

Preserving Part Of Our Island’s History – Tombstone by Tombstone…

If only we could restore every graveyard on this island – not only for historical reasons, but for simple respect of those who have gone before us. Many of our graveyards and graves (even recent ones) are in a horrible state. I know of one incident last year where a child fell into a hole in a graveyard in the north and there were twenty or thirty such holes in the graveyard. You doan wanna look down them!

That aside, our Jewish friends have a project to restore and document their community’s graves and we wish that others would become inspired by their efforts.

Jewish Barbados Blog (link here)

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9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, History, Religion

9 responses to “Fabulous New Blog Preserves Jewish History In Barbados

  1. our heritage

    here is a group or race of Barbadians who care about their heritage and respect their past.

    Its a good lesson for all Barbadians

    The National Trust and The Barbados Museum are wonderful organizations but not supported enough by individuals and government.

  2. Biscuit

    It is a shame to see our history beeing neglected.
    when at one time part of the Jewish grave yard was use as a car park which mashed up the grave stones.
    Good on our Jewish brothers

    The Christain churches should do similar most have grave stones of interest .

    With heritage tourist on the incease and not forgetting the 20,000 + north Americans can trace their family line back to Barbados.

    It makes sense

  3. rumboy

    We as Christians could learn a lot from them.

  4. John

    Rumboy

    There is alot of genealogical information available on the web.

    The Mormon site at familysearch.org has for years provided a source of genealogical info. A surname is all that is needed. Most Bajans will find an ancestor here.

    The Anglican church registers for baptisms and marriages from the 1640’s to the 1880’s are searchable for Barbadian families. The service is free.

    Ancestry.com has also placed on line (there is a cost) the returns of 1834 in which the names of all slaves and slave owners are accessible and searchable.

    Ellis Island also has a searchable (free) database of immigrants who entered the US from all over the world, the Caribbean included.

    I have found on this site two great grandfathers moving their families to the US. One of them moved only his two eldest sons from Barbados I would guess to give them greater opportunities to jobs and to relieve the pressure on his family to support them. He then returned to Barbados to the rest of his family.

    It is also possible to access the US census on Ancestry.com (yearly subscription) and follow the progress of the families of immigrants up to the 1930’s. Many of us have cousins in the US and the world we have never met.

    I have not seen this site with Jewish names before. It should be great and fill one more hole as many families in Barbados have Jewish ancestry somewhere in the past. I know one line of mine does.

    Many Jews in Barbados intermarried and converted to Christianity and their names and families would have been recorded in two different places.

    …. however, the slave line in a family is difficult to trace. Although there are many instances of slaves, or ex slaves, being baptised, married or buried in the Anglican church going back to the 1600’s, there is usually only a christian name and no surname.

    It is only after 1800 that it is routine to see the members of the slave population being absorbed into the Anglican parish churches.

    The taking of existing surnames began in earnest from then as well. This makes tracing slave ancestors extemely difficult, but in some cases, not impossible.

  5. John

    Biscuit

    I have seen books published on Monumental Inscriptions in the West Indies from 1850. These are available in the archives and Museum library.

    More recently, a group has been going around collecting inscriptions from graveyards in Barbados.

    Some of their work is available on a website at:

    http://www.plantations.bb/index.php

    Also included is info on plantation ownership from the 1630’s taken from the Queree papers in the Archives.

  6. Jinx

    Are there any practising Jews in Barbados? Although I know there are sites like the synagouge, and the cemetery in town, I can’t say I’ve ever noticed anyone who is actually practising.

  7. David

    It is most interesting to see the catalogue of very old headstones, available for descendants to make comments, and for the record. Thanks to Barbados Freepress for drawing attention to it. I saw it on BFP first, though a friend emailed a link soon after.

    The newly opened Jewish Museum, at Synagogue Lane, Bridgetown is an interesting place to visit. The graveyard was catalogued and cleaned in anticipation of its renovation. Walking through the graveyard and going to the museum is an interesting thing to do. You don’t have to pay to see the graveyard, but please be respectful and do not deface/violate what has taken years to restore.

    Interesting to me is the catalogued way this first wave of Jewish immigration melted away to nothing from Barbados. Why did/do Jewish people (have to) move, and what forces/forced Jewish people to become the quintessential wanderers?

    Check http://www.yadvashem.org and input your own surname. Try it, it could be a positive exercise. Maybe there were Jewish people with your own surname who died in the holocaust. Yad Vashem is a huge database of documented occurrences, with scans of real docs, from real people, their certificates, letters, and other things.

    The local database of Bajan Jewish burials is very useful for those in other countries too. Maybe we in Barbados should start to think about doing this on a wider scale so these facts can be readily available on the internet. How could this be done? Perhaps through the history dept at Cave Hill and a special database/website created by continuing students?

  8. Eve

    David:

    Thank you SO MUCH for that link. My father was one hundred percent Jewish by blood and moved to Barbados just after war broke out in Europe.

    He implored his mother to come with him but she refused.

    I went to that link and found my grandmother’s name there. It stated that she had been transported from Vienna to a place called Litzmannstadt on November 02, 1941 and that she had thereafter perished.

    My father is no longer alive but how he anguished over the fact that his mother would not leave. She REFUSED to believe that anything would happen to her and no amount of my father’s entreaties could get her to change her mind so he fled the country. He always told me that he “could see the writing on the wall”.

    To see her name and the details of her demise published there shook me to the core but I thank you for the link.

  9. What a great service this is to the Bajan community and the world at large. I visited the Bridgetown synagogue and beautiful new museum in February and got a small taste of what Jewish life was in Barbados over the last four hundred years. This ‘blog that has been placed in the public view by the web publisher is truly incredible and expands the pool of knowledge about that time

    Thanks so much for making this information available.

    Neil Torczyner

    To answer a prior e-mail, the Synagogue website indicates that there are services there on Fridays.