Exeter Synagogue Archive

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Lazarus Family of Exeter


[What follows is sundry extracts from many emails received from members of the Lazarus family and descendants. Please visit the http://lazarus.1afm.com (no longer active) website if you would like to contact these people.]

A photo of David Lazarus (1822-1895) which would have been originally taken circa 1892. David is standing behind his daughter Caroline and her husband Jacob/John Hyman and their 2 eldest children, Catherine (later Mrs. Rosenthal) and Deborah (later Mrs. Symons); three more children were born later. Jacob Hyman was prominent in the trade union movement having been Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall, and President on several occasions, and Secretary of the Eight Hours Movement.

I really appreciate the web-site. I did correspond with Rabbi Susser at one point and was eagerly awaiting publication of his Biographies of the Jews of the S-W of England. I do hope his notes will be recovered one day. I regret that I never had the chance to share with him what I have learned about my gr gr grandfather Frank Lazarus (s. of Mathilda Lyon and Lippa Lazarus of Plymouth), who married into a family who were among the founders of the Jewish community of Hartford Conn., USA, and who later returned to England. He was in the optical business and apparently had a business called Lawrence and Mayo, with a branch in India, and which is now one of the biggest and the oldest optical firms in India.

A couple of summers ago, with the help of a friend in Plymouth, I spent a day trying to find the cemetary on Hoe. No one seemed to know of its existance, but somehow we did locate it. I also spent time in the Plymouth library photcopying pages of Rabbi Susser's booklet on the tombstone inscriptions - what a treat to have them all on the web !!


My paternal great-g'father (David Lazarus) who arrived in Melbourne in the gold rush period of the early 1850s stated on his marriage certificate that he was from Exeter, England, and that his parents were Eleazer Lazarus and Julia Solomon(s). A bachelor, aged 35, when he married in Melbourne 20-12-1857 (therefore born 1822), he was a Jeweller & Watchmaker; his father's occupation was also Jeweller. David's wife was a 23 year old widow, Deborah Benjamin, nee Marks, from London. As far as I know, none of David's siblings emigrated to this country. However, from your records it was clear that various members of the Lazarus family - possibly not all related - were in Exeter in the period in which I am interested. David died aged 73, 13 June 1895 in Melbourne; his wife Deborah died at the early age of 41 of typhoid fever when her youngest child was only 2 years old.

My grandfather, Eleazer Jacob Lazarus, was one of the 9 children born to David & Deborah - 2 of whom died in infancy. He married "out", to the daughter of Scottish migrants, and my father was one of their large family. Unfortunately my grandfather died in 1923, 3 years before I was born so I did not have the opportunity to know him, but my older siblings found him a kind and loving person.


I did already know there was still a Lazarus family in Exeter in the 1850s because my brother, Reg Lazarus, on a visit to England in 1979 went to Exeter library where he found details in the 1851 census of Moses Lazarus (37 yrs.) Watchmaker, his wife, daughter Julia (10) and sons Barnett (12), Joseph (8), Samuel (6), Eleazer (3) and Nathan (2), and

Isaac Lazarus (34 yrs.) Jeweller, his wife, son Lewis (12) and daughter Julia (4).

The ages of Moses and Isaac suggest one or both could have been David's brothers (in 1851 he would have been 29). Reg also obtained their addresses from the microfilm. Though their probable homes were still standing, Reg said the shop where Isaac operated from was bombed during WW2 and had been replaced by a modern store.

To me, the absence of David's name from the 1851 census indicates either that he was temporarily absent, was living elsewhere or had left on his travels to this country.

In 1983 when my husband, Ken, and I were touring overseas we visited various towns, villages and counties in England, Scotland (and Ireland for Ken) relating to different lines of both lots of forebears (as well as visiting historic places, Roman ruins, scenic areas etc.). On 17 April 1983, a very quiet Sunday morning when just about everything was closed, we spent time in Exeter and Ken took slides in both Southernhay and Northernhay Sts. Exeter was on the 'must visit' list, but unfortunately I had a digestive upset from something I'd eaten the previous day so couldn't appreciate it as much as it deserved. Nevertheless I had the satisfaction of knowing I'd walked where some of my ancestors had walked in this gracious town.

During the 1980s I was a member of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, Victorian Branch, where Bev Davis, the Secretary, was very helpful. It was she who told me that Moses Lazarus was the President of the Exeter Congregation in 1851. She had Melbourne Jewish cemetery records which contained useful info, and she gave me the name of Mr. D'Arcy Hart who in 1982 did some Marks research in London and more or less just confirmed what I already knew of the Lazarus connection in Exeter. I had hoped to find out where and when David's parents had married, and when they or their forebears had arrived in England and from where.

An error has crept into the list of Exeter Synagogue tombstones online; the date listed for the tombstone of No. 29 (Row 5) 'Julia Lazarus wife of Eleazar Lazarus of this City' is 2nd Av 5596/1835. When I asked Frank in an email to translate '2nd Av 5596/1835' he did so, but pointed out it should be 1836 not 1835. I thought I'd made a typing error, but in rechecking the date online it does say 5596/1835. I presume it's also possible it should be 5595/1835? No doubt it depends whether the tombstone shows 5595 or 5596 - it would be good to have this clarified if Frank has time to do it.

y paternal great-grandfather was named David Lazarus; he had emigrated to Australia during the gold-rush period of the 1850s and married in Melbourne 20th December 1857. Information I have about him was gleaned from his marriage and death certificates. He was born 1822 in Exeter and was a 35 yr old bachelor when he married; occupation jeweller & watchmaker. He died in Melbourne 13th June 1895. His parents were Eleazer Lazarus and Julia (nee Solomons). David married a 23 yr old widow, Deborah Benjamin (nee Marks) - who then became Mrs. Deborah Lazarus - and they had 9 children, 7 of whom reached adulthood. I can give you their names if you are interested.


Although there is similarity in the names above with some of those you are researching, I don't believe that you are descended from my particular line. I have noted that in the Exeter memorial inscriptions No. 57 is for a David Lazarus who died in 1862, and No. 14 is for Betsey (wife of David Lazarus), 12th July 1848, aged 44. So it is obvious there was more than one David Lazarus in Exeter in that period who may, or may not, have been related.

It is not clear if my David was a brother of Moses or Isaac; without knowing the names of the parents of the latter 2 it is not possible to tell. Hopefully some documentary evidence might come to light to clarify this some day.

Anna Hassan, who by coincidence also enquired at Exeter about the Lazarus family a day after I sent my original email there, believes she is descended from Julia Lazarus, daughter of Moses Lazarus; possibly the name Myers Solomon might be known in her family.

The Exeter Synagogue Marriage Register online certainly shows a marriage on 8 August 1849 between Myers Solomon and Deborah Lazarus but gives no indication of the parents' names. As this date is after 1837, when English records were centralised, it might be possible to obtain a copy of the marriage certificate and perhaps this would give more information.

From another descendant:

I have found that my great great great grandfather is either David Lazarus, Isaac Lazarus or Moses Lazarus. (Moses was past president of congregation). I have found them in the Exeter Synagogue Minutes (and list of congregants) dating from 1850 to 1890. These were available on the internet. My great great grandfather is Myers Solomon who, at one time, was the president of the congregation. He married Deborah Lazarus. What I'm trying to find out is which Lazarus is her father.




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