Points of interest

Children and infants

Child mortality in the 19th century was much higher than today. In Bath it was probably not as high as the 33% that was reported in the the City of London in 1849, however the number of child and infant graves that we can see now in the burial ground now (seven or so out of the total of about 60) probably gives a falsly low picture of child mortality.

Only two of the children have headstones, at least that survive: Minnie Tyler who died in 1898 aged 2 daughter of Simon Tyler, and Lewis Silverstone aged 4 son of Harriet and Simon Silverstone.

There are also six unmarked children’s graves edged with stones in the centre part of the burial ground, one of which was only uncovered in recent weeks while preparing for an Open Day (you can tell which one by the freshly dug earth). Without burial records, which are either lost or never kept, there is no way to know who these children were or when they died.

Researching the families of the adults buried here and their extended families gives us circumstantial evidence and in some cases we can make reasonable assumptions. So we think that the one of the children is Solomon Freedman, who died 1864 aged 2, the grandson of Solomon and Phoebe Wolfe. Two further possibilities are probably Reuben Goldsmid who died in 1877 aged under one year, the son of Maria and Lewis Alfred Goldsmith, and Myla Slofpoffski, who died in 1883 aged 1year 7months, the daughter of Kate and Marcus.

We also think that there were many other graves likely to be of small infants, around the edges of the burial ground against the walls, which was the conventional place to bury them.

One possibility is Maurice (Morris) Eckstein died 1893 aged 7 son of Simon Eckstein, master tailor of Twerton. Simon is a regular contributor to the Synagogue during 1892-3 as recorded in the surviving cash book.

The mystery of Miriam Somers
Daughter of Reuben and Annie Somers, Miriam died of tuberculosis on 5 December 1897 aged 12. Her brother Hyman predeceased her in 1893 and is buried in grave 24, so it is very likely Miriam is buried here. Is the recently recovered fragment (now in the cottage) part of her tombstone? From the remaining Hebrew we know it was the headstone for a female M-R—. However it also suggests that the owner had a husband, so she would have had to have been married very early. The other mystery is that Miriam is still recorded in the 1901 census aged 19. Did Reuben and Annie Somers rename their youngest daughter Rose, born in 1884, Miriam in her memory?

Child mortality

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