Sephardic Jewish Ancestry
In the winter of 1803 in Amsterdam, a Jewish couple from London registered their intention to marry. After the civil registration of the banns, their names and details provided by the couple were hung on the front of the town hall, called the Pui. There passers-by could read who wanted to get married and possibly object. If that objection was not made, the marriage could take place three weeks later. Moses Lobo was 28 years old and lived at 148 Rapenburgerstraat in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam. He was accompanied by his father Isaac Lobo, a merchant and Public Notary, who was a witness to the registration. His bride-to-be was Sarah Azevedo, age 32, who lived at No. 3 Muidergracht over the busy Houtmarkt (wood market) situated on the canal, not far from where her bethrothed lived. Both of Sarah's parents had already died a few years earlier, and her witness was Moses Oliviera who also lived at No. 3 Muideraght. On 9 December 1803, the young Jewish man signed his name Matthew Lobo in the Marriage Register.
Moses (Matthew) Lobo's lineage went back six generations to Baruch Bento Osorio, of Lisbon, Portugal. Bento was among those Portuguese Jews who fled to Amsterdam during the time of the infamous Catholic Inquisition. Matthew's parents were cousins, Daniel Jessurun Lobo and Sipora Jessurun Lobo, children of two Dutch Jessurun Lobo brothers - David and Abraham. The story of our Sephardic Lobo ancestor Baruch Bento Osorio and the serendipitous way I learnt about him can be seen here.
Moses (Matthew's) wife Sarah Cohen D'Azevedo was the daughter of Moses Cohen D'Azevedo, and his second wife, Sarah Enriques Farro, both born in Amsterdam. Sarah's father, Moses Cohen D'Azevedo (circa 1726-1764), was Haham (Chief Rabbi) of the Bevis Marks Spanish and Portuguese congregation of London.
Moses (Matthew) and Sarah Lobo's first son Daniel Moses Lobo was born in Amsterdam on August 24, 1805. In 1806 the couple moved to Emden in Germany. From there the family emigrated to the Dutch colony of Suriname. On 15 December 1807 in Paramaribo, Suriname, their second son Isaac de Moses Lobo was born. Both sons would emigrate to Barbados in years to come. Daniel eventually left Barbados and settled in Philadelphia, where his son Moses Finzi Lobo became a prominent citizen known for his journalism. Isaac Lobo made the island of Barbados his permanent home.
From Suriname to Barbados
Isaac de Moses Lobo
Our family's Barbados story starts in the early nineteenth century with Isaac de Moses Lobo, born in Paramaribo, Suriname.
Isaac married Abigail Cohen D'Azevedo on 26 March, 1834 in Barbados. She was his first cousin. They shared the same grandparents, Amsterdam-born Moses Cohen D'Azevedo and Sarah Enriques Farro. Abigail was born in London, where her parents Benjamin Cohen D'Azevedo and Judith de Abraham de Paz settled and raised their family of eight children - Abigail was the youngest. Isaac and Abigail are my G-G-G-Grandparents.
Abigail's oldest brother was Moses Cohen d'Azevedo, also born in London. Moses was the owner of the well-known Receipt Book, dated 1813-1837, in the collection of The American Jewish Historical Society. This intriguing receipt book mentions several of my family's ancestors and close connections.
A description of the Receipt Book by The Centre for Jewish History: "Leather bound receipt book of approximately 200 pages, with 20 interleaved unbound sheets filled with signed transactions of voyage records in English of the commercial dealings of the brothers Moses and Isaac in the West Indies. Of note are vital statistics of the members of the family, and the record of a slave purchase. One of the interleaved sheets contains a record of the inscriptions on the monuments of the Battle of Waterloo. Among the merchants who signed the book are the following members of the Jewish community of Barbados: Abraham Rodrigues Brandon, Isaac Lopez Brandon, Hananel de Castra, Moses Mendes da Costa, Benjamin Elkin, Mozley Elkin, Abraham Finzi, David Lindo, Jacob Lindo, Raphael Lindo, D.M. Lobo, Isaac de Moses Lobo, Jacob Lobo, Hart Lyon, John Montefiore, Phin S. Nunes, Daniel Pass. Mention is made of S.E. Daniels, Sarah Finzi, Joseph Hart, Edward Aaron Moses and Sampson Shannon."
This fascinating historical document can be viewed in two parts by clicking on the following links:
Abigail and Moses had a brother called Menessah who died at age 33. I was touched to see his young age when I came across his grave a few years ago at the Nidhe Israel Cemetery in Barbados and laid a stone.
The Barbados Lobo Family
Our first Barbadian-born Lobo ancestor was Daniel Lobo, my great-great grandfather. He was born on 13 October 1840 to Isaac de Moses Lobo and Abigail Cohen D'Azevedo. Daniel was the fourth of Isaac and Abigail's five Barbadian children. His siblings were Moses, Benjamin, Miriam and Edward Burnett. It appears that the family lived in Swan Street, close to the Synagogue. On 28 August 1839, The Barbadian Newspaper announced the birth of Daniel's sister Miriam, born to Mrs. Isaac Lobo in Swan Street. Again, on 26 Sept 1849, The Barbadian Newspaper, carried this sad announcement: "Died. On Monday in Swan Street after an illness of only three days, Master Edward Burnett aged 6 years 3 months and 24 days, youngest son of Isaac Lobo." Four years earlier, a great tragedy had struck the residents of Swan Street who were mostly the Jewish merchant community. In 1845 when Daniel Lobo was just five years old, a disastrous fire ravaged Swan Street where they lived. The fire started at No. 20 Swan Street, the home and business place of his uncle Daniel Moses Lobo, father of Moses Finzi Lobo, Daniel's first cousin.
Following in his father Isaac de Moses Lobo's footsteps, my great-great-grandfather Daniel Lobo became a merchant. We have been told that he officiated in the Nidhe Israel Synagogue. However, while he was most certainly a congregant there with his family, so far I have been unable to find out the full extent of his participation in the Barbados Jewish community. Records show that Daniel relinquished his Jewish faith when he was only 29 years old and was baptised on the day of his marriage.
On 14 June 1870 Daniel Lobo was baptized at the Anglican St. Michael's Cathedral in Bridgetown. On that very same day, he married a Christian, Elizabeth Frances Ann Stoute, at St. Leonard's Chapel, St. Michael. As further records have shown, Miss Stoute was already six months pregnant with Daniel's child. Oral tradition tells us that for these reasons, Daniel was excommunicated from the congregation of the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and shunned by his people. Only his sister Miriam Lobo, whom he called Sissy, secretly befriended him and allowed him to visit her. One can only imagine the shame and scandal in the Jewish community!
Daniel's wife Elizabeth had seen sad times as a young girl. Six years prior to her marriage to Daniel, both of her parents had died within six months of each other. It must have been a terribly difficult time for Elizabeth and her seven siblings. Their father Samuel Stoute, had been a clerk at the Bridgetown docks who worked for merchants importing goods to the West Indies and exporting colonial goods. Her mother Sarah Frances Moore, owned a small property, but the family wasn't very well off. Barbadian historian Pedro Welch and genealogist Patricia Stafford had researched the Stoute family for the TV network NBC, tracing American celebrity Gwenneth Paltrow to Elizabeth's youngest sister, Rosamund Stoute. They had also contacted me for information. A link to that story can be found at the foot of this page.
At the time of their marriage, Daniel Lobo's mother Abigail had also died the previous year. The marriage register shows Daniel's occupation as Merchant, and young Elizabeth as Milliner. She was living in James Street, Bridgetown and he was also living in the city. On 2nd September 1870, just three months after their marriage, Elizabeth gave birth to their son at their home in Spry Street, Bridgetown. They baptized him Isaac Clement Milton Lobo, at St. Michael's Cathedral on 12 October 1870, the same year and place where his Jewish father Daniel had been baptised. This infant Isaac Lobo would become my great-grandfather.
Four years after their first child Isaac, Daniel and Elizabeth had a daughter, Edith Jane Rogers. It is here that oral tradition tells a very tragic story of my Jewish great-great grandfather. In 1976 his granddaughter Freida (Lobo) Jackson recorded the story in writing: "After his daughter Edith was born, he was a real downcast man, spurned by his people, rejected by his wife because after Edith’s birth she locked him out of her heart and bedroom. She said she already had to work at sewing and teaching dancing and did not intend to have more kids to work so hard. Poor Daniel, rejected by his wife and people, was a sad and forlorn man. He took to drink, got ill and was taken to the Poorhouse where he died to pneumonia and a broken heart." While I have no official documents to confirm this story, I do believe that like all oral family history, there must be kernels of truth in it.
Daniel Lobo died on 27 December 1903, just 22 days after the birth of his sixth grandchild, Lillian Isabel. His wife Elizabeth died two years later and they were both laid to rest at the Westbury Cemetery. They didn't live long enough to know that they would become grandparents to several more children born in Barbados to their only son Isaac Clement Lobo through his marriage to Lillian Boyle. Nor would they know that their only daughter Edith would leave the shores of Barbados and settle into a new way of life in America.
Isaac Clement Lobo
When he was in his twenties, my great-grandfather Isaac Clement Lobo fell in love with Lillian Alicia Boyle, a beautiful brunette. Isaac was known by his second name, Clement. Lillian's parents were Thomas Graham Boyle and Elizabeth Frances (Amey) Tryhane and they lived in Hindsbury Road, St. Michael at the time of her birth. Lillian had a younger sister and brother, Millicent (Millie) and Milton Boyle.
Clement and Lillian's romance blossomed into a Christmas wedding at St. Mary's Church in Bridgetown, on 22 December 1892, followed by the birth of a son two months later. On 26 February 1893 when Clarence Alfred D'Azevedo Lobo was born, Lillian was then 20 years old and Isaac Clement was 23. For the next two decades their family continued to grow, until their eleventh child, Freida, was born in September 1912. She arrived exactly nine months after her six-month old sister Daphne Freida passed away. That sad day was also Clement and Lillian's 19th Wedding Anniversary.
Isaac Clement Milton Lobo (1870-1943)
Lillian Alicia Theodora Lobo nee Boyle (1873-1962)
In December of 1942, Clement and Lillian celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary, but Clement passed away 18 days later on 9 January 1943. Lillian went on to live quietly in their home "Raeburn", in Hastings until she was 88, along with three of their children - Arthur, Hilda and Carmen. Arthur married late in life, after his mother had passed away, while Hilda and Carmen remained single all their lives. I was fortunate to have known them all.
A graphic chart of these three generations of our Barbados Lobo family can be seen here.
The Lobo Family home "Raeburn" where my great-grandparents lived and spent the last years of their life is the yellow house third left
Esmée Ione D'Azevedo Lobo
Clement and Lillian's eldest daughter was Esmée Ione D'Azevedo Lobo, my grandmother. She was the only one their eleven children to get married in Barbados and raise their family of five children there.
My grandparents Henry Garnet St. Hill and Esmee Ione d'Azevedo Lobo
on their wedding day - 18th December 1913.
They are at the Lobo residence "Moorehouse", 9th Avenue, Belleville, St. Michael.
Esmee's parents Lillian and Clement Lobo are standing behind her at the right, while Garnet's parents are on the left of the picture, behind the bridesmaids.
All of the bride's siblings are here, the youngest being the baby in the arms of her nanny.
Various records show Isaac Clement Lobo's occupation as Merchant's Clerk and as Merchant. In any case, he made a very successful career in the shipping business, and by all accounts, was well respected in the community. He traveled with his wife and daughters to the U.S.A on more than one occasion to visit his family who had emigrated there. Certainly by 1907, he had bought their spacious family home called "Morehouse" in 9th Avenue Belleville. He later purchased "Raeburn" on the Hastings coast, where he and Lillian lived with their unmarried children, and where he died on 9 January 1943 when he was 72. According to my mother, when Isaac Clement died, he left Lillian a very comfortable estate which comprised several properties. These included "Calcachima" - a seaside property located on the south coast next door to where the Accra Hotel is now, "Raeburn" in Hastings, "Moorehouse" in Belleville, as well as another property at the corner of 10th Avenue Belleville and Pine Road called "Govan." There are many entertaining tales to be told about cocktail parties and family gatherings by all of us who knew our great-grandmother Lillian Lobo and our great aunts and uncles whom we met at "Raeburn". We all remember that trap door in the kitchen floor of "Raeburn" that led down a dark, dank staircase of worn stone steps, finally opening on to the beach, close to the Ocean View Hotel. It was exciting for all of us who experienced with trepidation feeling our way down, the odd red crab scurrying away, and finally seeing the strip of bright sunlight and sound of the ocean, indicating we'd reached the beach!
Lobos and The Peddlers in Barbados
For now, I shall recount just one small but significant memory told me by my mother, Betty (St. Hill) Sheppard. My mother fondly recalls her visits to her Lobo grandparents when they lived at "Raeburn", Hastings and would spend a lot of time with them. She loved all the fuss and attention showered on her by her grandmother and especially her spinster aunts, who had no children of their own.
As a young child, she vividly remembers seeing a mahogany bookcase with shelves of several "special looking" leather-bound books which were written in Hebrew. Fascinated and curious about them, she asked what they were all about. She was told that they were her great-grandfather Daniel's Jewish books that he used at the Synagogue. Excited to think there was some precious heirloom somewhere in our family's possession, I asked my mother what ever became of the books. The story goes that nobody understood what they were about, and Judaism was not their faith. The old books were just sitting there, collecting dust. Around that time, there were Jewish peddlers who would come regularly to the Lobo's door in Hastings selling their goods. My great-aunts who lived there, thought it would be a nice thing to give away the books to these friendly Jewish itinerant salesmen. After all, the Lobos certainly had no use for them and they thought that one of these men might like to have them. Knowing my great-aunts Hilda and Carmen, I am sure they had struck up a friendly rapport with these gentlemen, and also purchased laces, ribbons and other notions from them, as Aunt Hilda was a gifted seamstress. She knitted, did fancy embroidery work and sewed most of my mother's clothes and various costumes when she was growing up. She even sewed her pretty organza wedding dress in 1943.
Daniel Lobo's 19th century Jewish books might very well have ended up in the homes of such gentlemen as Mr. Joe Kreindler or Mr. Henry Altman and are no doubt long gone. Now that I have learnt more about our family history, I rather love the idea of those Hebrew books belonging to my Sephardic Jewish ancestor being passed on to one or more of the first Ashkenazi Jewish settlers in Barbados. My dear, sweet old great-aunts would have been unaware of the significance of their gesture, but to me it was quite serendipitous.
Ripe Old Age
My great-grandparents Lillian and Clement Lobo at their home, "Raeburn", Hastings, Barbados
The family at Raeburn, Hastings, Barbados
Above: l/r standing: Colin Lobo, Beryl (Toppin) Lobo, Arthur Lobo (aka Shortie), Marilyn Lobo, Richard Lobo Hilda Lobo, Evan Lobo
l/r seated: Clarence Lobo, Lillian (Boyle) Lobo, Frank Lobo, Carmen Lobo
The four Lobo brothers at "Raeburn", Hastings, Barbados - l/r Colin, Arthur, Clarence, Frank
Colin married Barbadian Ivy Atkinson and Arthur married Barbadian Elene Bowen -neither couple had children.
Clarence married Barbadian Beryl Edith Toppin and emigrated to the USA, they had a son and two daughters.
Frank married Trinidadian Rita Stokes and moved to Trinidad, they had two sons and a daughter.
Isaac Clement Lobo's widow Lillian (in black) with three of her children, l/r Hilda, Carmen and Arthur at
Isaac's graveside, Westbury Cemetery, Barbados
On a visit to the Nide Israel Synagogue, Barbados - 2015
In the mikveh (bano), Nide Israel Synagogue Barbados - 2015
This was built in the mid-seventeenth century over a natural spring.
As the banyadeira she would have been provided with a house of her own within the compound of the Synagogue.
My research was done through:
Dutch genealogists in Amsterdam
Genealogy internet sites and Facebook groups
Visits to The Shilstone Library in the Barbados Museum, reference to "Monumental Inscriptions in the Burial Ground of the Jewish Synagogues at Bridgetown, Barbados" by Eustace Shilstone.
Visits to the Nidhe Israel Cemetery and Museum in Barbados
Visits to The Barbados Archives
Visits to the Barbados Nidhe Israel Synagogue and graveyard
Collecting and archiving family documents and photos, and interviews with
SAMUEL, E. (2013). Marriages at the Nidhe Yisrael synagogue, Bridgetown, Barbados. Jewish Historical Studies, 45, 163–171. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23720251
Cohen, C. J. (1910). Moses Finzi Lobo. Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, 19, 197–199. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43057861
Excellent Books about Barbados Jewish families:
THE SEPHARDI JEWS OF BARBADOS (1627 - 1934) - Simon Kreindler