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Book Notes: The Circumcision Register of Isaac and Abraham de Paiba (1715-1775). Bevis Marks Records Part IV, R. D. Barnett and Miriam Rodrigues-Pereira (eds.)

M. Benady

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Circumcision Register of Isaac and Abraham de Paiba (1715-1775). Bevis Marks Records, Part IV . Edited by the late R. D. Barnett and Miriam Rodrigues-Pereira (The Jewish Historical Society of England and The Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation, London 1991) viii + 149pp. ?I7-5? The Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation has very extensive archives which date back over three centuries. The work of transcribing these archives and making them readily available to researchers was begun by the late Dr Lionel Barnett who produced a history of the Congregation in the 17th century, illustrated by facsimiles of documents, that appeared in 1940 as Bevis Marks Records, Part I. In 1949 he published Part II which was a register of all the ketuboth recorded up to 1837. Part III, which listed all the weddings that took place during the long reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), was edited by Geoffrey Whitehill and published in 1973. Dr Richard Barnett shared his father's enthusiasm for making the records of the 378</page><page sequence="2">Book Notes London Congregation available to researchers, and took on the work of editing the present volume which is a most significant addition to Anglo-Jewish historio? graphy. As Professor Raphael Loewe tells us in his Foreword: 'When the Jewish Historical Society was founded in 1893, it considered one of its primary tasks to be the publication of the earliest known circumcision register of the resettled Anglo Jewish Community, compiled by Isaac Carriao de Paiba and continued by his son Abraham, which covers the years 1715-1775 ... It is, however, arranged in so complicated manner that it deterred address by earlier students ....' It required a scholar with the ability, patience and devotion to the task that Dr Richard Barnett brought, to edit this confused (and at times barely legible) register so successfully, and it is sad that Dr Barnett did not live to see the publication of this volume to which he devoted so many hours of loving care. At the time of his death the work was not quite ready and his successor as Honorary Archivist of the Congregation, Miriam Rodrigues-Pereira, has done admirably in completing it. The result of the successful collaboration between editors and designers is a handsome volume which is easy to follow. The book will prove invaluable to students of Anglo-Jewish genealogy as it lists many Ashkenazi, as well as Sephardi, names. There are also many intriguing indications of life among the poorer classes of English Jews in the 18th century, quite often not documented elsewhere. But perhaps the most valuable part of the work is the information it contains about the wave of New Christians who arrived in London during the 18th century, fleeing the Portuguese Inquisition. Dr Richard Barnett gives a short history of this movement in his Introduction and adds fascinating insights into some of the more significant figures involved. Among the leading figures in this exodus were Abraham (Fernando) Dias Fernandes, a native of Pastrana (50 miles east of Madrid) in Spain, who had moved to Lisbon; and Dr Samuel Nunes Ribeiro. Both were leading figures in the secret community in Lisbon, which was uncovered by the Inquisition in 1702 but finally managed to escape to England. Fernandes was subsequendy elected to the Mohamad of Bevis Marks Synagogue, and Ribeiro, after living in London for seven years, moved to Savannah, Georgia, and later died in New York. Dr Isaac Sequeira managed to retain his position as physician to the Portuguese Minister in London, although he was an active member of the Sephardi community. Miriam Rodrigues-Pereira promises, in an editorial note, to publish others of Dr Barnett's researches in this field, and this will be awaited with interest. It was, and remains, the custom in Portugal for the maternal surname (metronymic) to be placed before the paternal surname (patronymic) as an auxili? ary. When women marry they adopt their husband's patronymic, but retain their own patronymic as an auxiliary, in place of the husband's metronymic. This normally leads to fathers and sons having variations in surnames, though the full surname of the children will mirror their mother's. The entries in the register would seem to indicate that the members of the Bevis Marks Congregation adop 379</page><page sequence="3">Book Notes ted the English custom of fixed surnames from the moment they arrived in this country. (Confusion can arise where individuals did not conform.) In time the original metronymic would be dropped completely, as when the Paiba family dropped the Carri?o. In some cases there may have been an interven? ing stage where the metronymic changed its place and was relocated after the patronymic. But this could denote Spanish influence, since in Spain the custom resembles that of Portugal except that the metronymic succeeds the patronymic rather than preceding it. Confusion can also be caused where the patronymic is a weak or very common name like Lopez or Perez, and is dropped when the surname is shortened, rather than the metronymic which is retained instead. Miriam Rodrigues-Pereira has added an invaluable supplement on circumci? sions, marriages and female births taken from the offerings entered in the Syna? gogue Treasurer's Account Books for the period from 1679 to 1699. The publication of this handsome volume was made possible by a donation made by Kenneth Rubens, and it is dedicated to the memory of his mother, Gladys Priscilla Rubens, nee Paiba, and a descendant of the 18th-century mohalim. Alan Rose and I. D. Duque are among those who assisted in the compilation of the volume, and Walter Schwab has produced his customary masterly index. M. Benady</page></plain_text>