Few of the abstracts on our site conceal quite so much romance and drama behind the dry, archaic, legal language in which it was written, as the Will of Jacques de Paiva who wrote his Will aboard the ship Beaufort en route to Madras, and whose widow subsequently became the mistress of mistress of Elihu Yale, Governor of Madras and said to be the founder of Yale University.
Certainly, none of the 30 new abstracts we uploaded onto the site today can compete with De Paiva on that score. But lack of “glamour” doesn’t mean lack of interest, and we think there is plenty in these latest additions to the site to interest Jewish Genealogists with both Sephardi and Ashkenazi ancestors.
Many of the individuals have links to families already on one or other of our sites: the death of Benjamin Abraham GOLDSCHMIDT and will NA1452. The marriage of Joshua JOSHUA NA1458 can be found here at and, thanks to information found in the will of Simon BENJAMIN NA1467, we have been able to add his wife, Rachel, as a daughter of Moses SOLOMON
Another individual with links across Anglo Jewry is Maurice da Costa. Originating from Switzerland, he settled in Margate around the beginning of the 19th Century, where he lived in some style at Lausanne House. In 1841, the widowed Maurice married Fanny Levi, daughter of Elias Levy of Portsea, and granddaughter of Benjamin Levi, one of the founders of the Portsmouth Jewish community. (A comprehensive set of Portsmouth records, researched and compiled by Henry Roche, is due to appear on this site very shortly) Lausanne House has long since vanished, but a tangible link to Maurice da Costa still exists in Margate today. Around 1835, shortly after he had sold a piece of farm land about a half a mile from the sea front, an extraordinary discovery was made: beneath the chalky ground lay a labyrinth of tunnels, elaborately decorated from floor to ceiling with millions of shells http://shellgrotto.co.uk/history/ Maurice da Costa died in London in 1854 and was buried in the Nuevo Cemetery at Mile End see here but his stone has not been located. It is highly improbable that he ever knew of the existence of the long-hidden grotto but, once again, a dry legal document has led us on a magical mystery tour.