Aaron Garsia and ancestors

Aaron Garsia, Sarah Ann Melhado and their ancestors.

Aaron has been given a special place in this account of the Genealogy of the Garsia family because he is the earliest ancestor of whom we have certain knowledge and also because he represents the point from which stems a great flowering of the family tree as he fathered at least nineteen children.

Unfortunately we have been less successful in determining Aaron’s roots. We know the names of his parents and paternal grandfather, but beyond them we have no information. The name Garsia clearly indicates a Spanish ancestry (where it is usually spelt with a ‘c’) as does the name of his wife (Sarah Ann Melhado) indicate a Portuguese origin. Their first names indicate that they were Jews at this stage. There is very little specific information about our family at this time but a lot of general information about the Diaspora of the Jews from Europe following the introduction of the Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century and, for many, their subsequent settlement in the New World.

In these circumstances all we are able to do is to draw together some general information about the Jewish peoples in the Caribbean area at the relevant time and leave it to the reader to speculate about where the Garsias and Melhados fit in. But first I set out the information we have about Aaron and Sarah Ann and their parents. I have also drawn some rather arbitrary boundaries to exclude some members of the family from this part of the tree where other researchers are in a much better position to describe it.

The facts we have about Aaron are as follows:

  • He was born on 23 October 1785 in Jamaica of parents Jacob Garsia de Paz and Esther Brandon. 1)His birth record appears in the International Genealogical Index thus: Given name: Aaron Surname: Garsia.     Male.      Birthplace: Jamaica, West Indies.    Birthdate: 23 Oct 1785.           Death/burial date: 3 July 1848.           Father’s given name: Jacob Father’s surname: GARSIA (alias) DePAZ.           Mother’s given name: Esther Mother’s surname: BRANDON.       Source of information: First American Jewish Families; Americans of Jewish Descent
  • At the age of twenty one Aaron Garcia was admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England on May 2, 1806. His name appears in the Members’ Lists from 1812 onwards, his address is always given as Kingston, Jamaica. The last entry is in the 1842 list; in 1844 his name appears on a list of ‘Members who have made no return of their respective places of residence, in compliance with the request of the Council’. The College has no information about his studies or country of origin, though clearly he was born well before 1800… 2)From a letter dated 1999 Nov 10 (DOC No. 119) from the Deputy Librarian of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. I phoned the Deputy Librarian to ask if the gap between 1806 and 1812 was a period of training. The answer was that the exam would have been passed in 2006 but for some unknown reason his name was not included in the lists until 2012.
  • He fathered at least nine children, by various partners, and had them baptised in the Anglican Church in Kingston, Jamaica.  3)Aaron had relationships with at least four partners by whom he had at least nine children and these are all recorded in the baptism records of the Church (volumes 1 to 4) and have been filmed by the Mormons on film numbers 1291761 and 1291763.
  • The nine that we have found recorded in the Church records are:
  1. Matilda Garcia daughter of Susanna Listor a free Mulatto 4)Mulatto is defined as: half white half African black., born 29 July 1810.
  2. George Garcia son of Jane Morrison, born 27 August 1821.
  3. Richard Garcia son of Henrietta Bravo(?) a free Musteo 5)Musteo is defined as part Indian part African black or sometimes white., born 23 June 1824
  4. Susanna Garcia daughter of Henrietta Bravo(?) a free Musteo 6)Musteo is defined as part Indian part African black or sometimes white., born 23 June 1824
  5. James Dawson Garsia son of Jane Morrison, born 9 October 1823, baptised 23 September 1825
  6. Alexander Garsia son of Ann Galley (marked as not married), baptised 7 February 1826.
  7. Henry Garsia son of Ann Galley (of Hanover Street, not married), born 18 Dec1827.
  8. Charles Young Garsia son of Ann Galley (as above), born 8 December 1829.
  9. Edward Bullock Garsia son of Ann Galley (as above), born 20 November 1831.

It is noticeable that of these nine children only two are girls. This raises the possibility that there were unrecorded girls because he may have been less interested in baptising his female children. In this he was probably following the general procedure of the time.

In anticipation of their slaves being granted freedom slave owners were required to register ownership. In 1817, 1823, 1826,1829 and 1832 Aaron reported the following ownership of slaves:

In 1817 – four slaves described as of colour – negro

In 1823 – six slaves (four the same as in 1817) described as colour – negro and sambo

In 1826 – six to seven slaves (only two the same as in 1823) described as colour – negro or sambo

In 1829 – six to seven slaves (only two the same as in 1826) described as colour – negro or sambo

In 1832 – eight slaves of whom three belonged to Sarah Ann (four others had the same names as in Aaron’s previous returns) described as colour – Mulatto, negro or sambo.

The returns also report on their ages (which run from one year to forty seven) and give details of purchase, sale, place of birth etc. Other descriptions include:

Creole of Jamaica and African Eboe nation – the most common being Creole.

Note that in one case in 1823 the slave ‘James’ was acquired ‘By deed of gift registered by Jacob Garsia Depass as Rebecca Garsia 1817 and 1820′. 7)This information was found at the National Archives, Kew where it had the reference numbers: TI71- -76, -83, -91, -99, -107 and -114. Also 00apr10.rtf.

  • He married Sarah Ann daughter of Dr, Emanuel and Lunna Melhado at a Jewish ceremony in the ‘Kahal Kadosh Shaare Hashamayim’ (Holy Congregation Gate to the Heavens) Sephardic Synagogue in Kingston on 18 August, 1830. 8)Synagogue records through Al Phillipps (8 Aug. 2000), see below under Aaron’s ancestors where other contributions from him are noted. Also announced in the local newspaper Jamaica Courant) on 20 August 1830 thus (under ‘Married’): ‘In this City, on Wednesday Evening last, by the Rev. I. Lopez, Dr. A. Garsia, to Miss Sarah, eldest Daughter of Dr. E. Melhado.’ DOC421  At this time Aaron was forty five years old while Sarah was only twenty. His son Edward Bullock by Ann Galley was born fifteen months after he and Sarah Ann were married.
  • By Sarah he had a further ten children, all of whom were baptised in the Anglican Church in Kingston thus 9)These are all recorded in the baptism records of the Church (volumes 1 to 4) and have been filmed by the Mormons on films numbers 1291761 and 1291763.:
    1. Adelaide Sarah Garsia, born 26 June 1831.
    2. Wilhelmina Sophia Garsia, born 25 June 1832.
    3. Willoughby Marston Garsia, born 13 February 1834, he was baptised along with his two older sisters on 18 August 1834.
    4. Edwin C.B. Garsia, born circa. 1835.
    5. Christopher Garsia, born 25 February 1837.
    6. Michael Melhado (Clare) Garsia, born 1 November 1838.
    7. Alfred Charles Garsia, born 13 January 1840.
    8. Emma Anne (Anita) Garsia, born 8 January 1842.
    9. Carolina Alethia Harvey Garsia, born 4 February 1844.
    10. Alicia (Alice) Garsia, born 8 December 1845.
  • Aaron announced the birth of his son Willoughby Marston in the local newspaper 10)The Watchman and Jamaica Free Press of 15 February 1834. (99dec7.lwp) under ‘Births: In this city [Kingston] on Thursday 13th inst. To the wife of Dr. A. Garsia of a son and heir’.
  • He gave his son Willoughby Marston a Bible on 28 April 1839 11)His Bible (The Authorised King James version published in Oxford 1836) was found by Joy among our books. The fly leaf is inscribed “Willoughby M. Garsia. From his affectionate Father. April 28th 1839.” [WMG would have been just over five years at this time and maybe had been newly confirmed as a member of the church.] There is underneath a note in a different hand thus: “My dear and much respected Father died on the 3rd July 1848.” This date of death is the same as that inscribed on his tombstone and confirms his identification.
  • In the years before he died Dr Aaron Garsia was in co-partnership with Dr. Richard Chamberlain, Health Officer for Kingston. 12)Ahdrade’s ‘A record of Jews in Jamaica’, page 135.
  • He died on 3 July 1848 and was buried in the ‘Spring Path Burial Ground’, Kingston. (Also known as ‘The Strangers’ Ground’. It was levelled for building development in 1934). The inscription read: “Sacred to the memory of Doctor Aaron Garsia – Born the 23rd October, 1785; died the 3rd July, 1848. He was a good Samaritan; the poor man’s friend; and the sick man’s comforter” 13)The “Spring Path Burial Ground” was at the corner of Darling Street and the Spanish Town Road, generally referred to as “The Strangers’ Ground,” area 204,147 sq. ft., or 4a, 2r and almost 30 p. The land was levelled at the close of 1934, and the tombstones and monuments were removed. A plan of the Cemetery showing the location of all graves; and the position of all tomb-stones and monuments with legible inscriptions was recorded in the Island Record Office on 20th February, 1934, at Liber N.S. 433, folio 198. Aaron was buried in the southeastern portion of the ground. The tomb of red brick with full length white marble tablet, was in excellent state of preservation when I inspected it on June 15, 1924. (The grave is numbered 5 on the Plan). This is taken from Ahdrade’s ‘A record of Jews in Jamaica’, page 135. The relevant section is headed: ‘Partial list of Epitaphs on Tombstones of Jews who have been buried in cemeteries other than Jewish consecrated grounds. County of Surrey, Parish of Kingston’.
  • After Aaron’s death Sarah Ann left Jamaica with all their family, who ranged in age from three to seventeen, and settled in Britain with most of them.

Aaron’s ancestors.

  • Aaron’s grandfather was called Moses Garsia. 14)I am grateful to Al Phillipps for an extended correspondence concerning his records on the Depass family. Unfortunately aol have closed his website, along with others, for unexplained reasons. In his email of 4 August 2000 he reports that on looking through some of his notes from the Synagogue Kahal Kadosh Shaare Hashamayin, Sephardi, Kingston, Jamaica he found a record of the marriage of Aaron and Sarah on 18 August1830 and of the birth of Dr Aaron on 23 October 1785, son of Jacob c.1760, son of Moses Garcia c.1735. Other information included in Al’s notes is as follows: On 9 September 1818 Moses married Sarah Monsanto; on 14 July 1820 Moses died; on 22 July 1832 Jacob’s wife Sarah died; on 21 February 1840 Jacob died.
  • There is a Jacob Garsia de Paz listed as a Jewish slave holder in Kingston in 1817. 15)Appendix VI of Faber’s ‘Jews, Slaves and the Slave Trade’ Note that Aaron had acquired a slave as a gift that had belonged to Jacob Garsia Depass (presumably his father – but note that the female mentioned is not his mother – but see note below regarding Jacob’s marriage to Rachel Israel Ricardo) before 1823
  • A Jacob de Paz is listed as a householder in Kingston in 1705 16)Appendix VI of Faber’s ‘Jews, Slaves and the Slave Trade’
  • From ‘History of the Jews of the Netherlands Antilles’ by Isaac and Suzanna A M Emmanuel. Chapter 21 ‘Doctors, Surgeons, Dentists and Pharmacists’. Under Surgeons: Jacob Garcia de Paz in 1760 he is encountered as a surgeon in the service of the community in which he continued till his death on 20 May 1774. After his wife’s death he married Rachel Israel Ricardo. … He was the widower of Sarah de Mondechay Penso who left him five children: Rachel, David, Mordechay, Isaac and Abraham. Their son Isaac died in May 1816.
  • Jacob Garcia de Paz married Rachael Israel Ricardo on 24 Jan 1762 Curaçao, Netherland Antilles 17)IGI 1993 edition, Version 3.02.
  • Al Phillipp’s notes show that Jacob died on 21 February 1840.18)see note attached to the line above ‘Aaron’s grandfather was called Moses Garsia’
  • A note without reference gives the names of the four siblings of Aaron thus: Rebecca, Bethsheba, Isaac and David. Aaron appears to have been the first born.
  • It has been suggested that Aaron’s mother Esther is the daughter of Isaac Brandon and sister of Abraham who was born in England in 1765 and died in Kingston, Jamaica circa 1813 19)email from Angela 26 Sept 2000.

Sarah Ann and her parents:

  • As already noted Sarah’s parents were Emanuel and Lunna Melhado. We don’t have an exact date for her birth but, based on records noted below it must have been in 1810. Emanuel was born on 16/17 Dec 1779 in England.20)See DOC 133 He was a physician and surgeon and married Luna, born c1793. From the 1830’s he and his wife Luna lived in Spanish Town, Jamaica. Emanuel died as the result of an accident on 6 Jan 1834 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery, Spanish Town. Luna whose second name appears also to have been Melhado, maybe a cousin, died on 25 June 1853 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Montego Bay, Jamaica. 21)see DOC 133
  • Peter Brunning 22)I am grateful to Peter for his help with this branch of the family. (DOC417). His website is here has researched the Melhado family and has found a copy of Judith Melhado’s will 23)See DOC 417 which shows she is a sister of Luna, Sarah Ann’s mother. Further details of this branch of the family are to be found on his  .
  • There is (was!) a photograph of Sarah Ann which we have seen and which appears to have been mislaid inscribed on the back thus: ‘Sarah Melhado of Chile (born 1815) wife of Dr Adrian Garsia.’ In a different hand is: ‘W.M. Garsia, born 1834’. 24)This is mentioned in an early version of Thelma’s book (TRK98, Chap. IV, p. 1.) 
  • She was involved in a law suit in London in 1856. Sarah took Daniel Melhado to court over the non payment of a loan when she gave her address as 11 Westbourne Park Terrace. Nowadays Westbourne Park Road (no Terrace) is located just north of Notting Hill. 25)See 04Sep24.doc
  • On 6 November 1856 at the marriage of her daughter Wilhelmina Sophia at the Trinity Church, Paddington, Middlesex Sarah Ann was a witness. 26)See DOC 330
  • She is listed in the 1861 Census in Scotland living at 4 Forth Street, Edinburgh. 27)See DOC 337
  • I have a record of her as a witness at the marriage of her daughter Carolina Alethia Harvey Garsia on 21 Nov 1866 at Woodston, Southampton. 28)See DOC 131 She did the same for her other daughter Emma Anita Garsia on 25 Oct 1876 at Hove, Sussex. 29)see DOC 132
  • She is recorded in the 1871 census as follows: 3 Caledonia Place, Bristol. Sara A. Garsia, widow, aged 61, supported by son, born Jamaica. Living with her are three of her children — Willoughby M. Garsia, son, unmarried, aged 37, income from foreign securities, born Jamaica; Emma Anne Garsia, daughter, unmarried, aged 29, born Jamaica; Alicia E. Garsia, daughter, unmarried aged 25, born Jamaica30)See DOC 244. It is interesting that here they are living in a lodging house occupied by eleven people with the first described as a lodging house keeper.
  • In the 1881 census I found Sarah Ann Garsia aged 71 living at Portsea (near Potsmouth) born in Kingston, Jamaica. In the enumerator’s return she was marked as ‘mar’ but this crossed out and ‘W’ inserted.
  • Sarah Ann Garsia’s death certificate shows her dying (at the same hotel as WMG was living in in 1881) on 1888 October 9. Under ‘Occupation’ it is recorded that she was the ‘Widow of Garsia M.D.’ with no first name. 31)See DOC 78

 

References   [ + ]

1. His birth record appears in the International Genealogical Index thus: Given name: Aaron Surname: Garsia.     Male.      Birthplace: Jamaica, West Indies.    Birthdate: 23 Oct 1785.           Death/burial date: 3 July 1848.           Father’s given name: Jacob Father’s surname: GARSIA (alias) DePAZ.           Mother’s given name: Esther Mother’s surname: BRANDON.       Source of information: First American Jewish Families; Americans of Jewish Descent
2. From a letter dated 1999 Nov 10 (DOC No. 119) from the Deputy Librarian of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. I phoned the Deputy Librarian to ask if the gap between 1806 and 1812 was a period of training. The answer was that the exam would have been passed in 2006 but for some unknown reason his name was not included in the lists until 2012.
3. Aaron had relationships with at least four partners by whom he had at least nine children and these are all recorded in the baptism records of the Church (volumes 1 to 4) and have been filmed by the Mormons on film numbers 1291761 and 1291763.
4. Mulatto is defined as: half white half African black.
5, 6. Musteo is defined as part Indian part African black or sometimes white.
7. This information was found at the National Archives, Kew where it had the reference numbers: TI71- -76, -83, -91, -99, -107 and -114. Also 00apr10.rtf.
8. Synagogue records through Al Phillipps (8 Aug. 2000), see below under Aaron’s ancestors where other contributions from him are noted. Also announced in the local newspaper Jamaica Courant) on 20 August 1830 thus (under ‘Married’): ‘In this City, on Wednesday Evening last, by the Rev. I. Lopez, Dr. A. Garsia, to Miss Sarah, eldest Daughter of Dr. E. Melhado.’ DOC421
9. These are all recorded in the baptism records of the Church (volumes 1 to 4) and have been filmed by the Mormons on films numbers 1291761 and 1291763.
10. The Watchman and Jamaica Free Press of 15 February 1834. (99dec7.lwp)
11. His Bible (The Authorised King James version published in Oxford 1836) was found by Joy among our books. The fly leaf is inscribed “Willoughby M. Garsia. From his affectionate Father. April 28th 1839.” [WMG would have been just over five years at this time and maybe had been newly confirmed as a member of the church.] There is underneath a note in a different hand thus: “My dear and much respected Father died on the 3rd July 1848.” This date of death is the same as that inscribed on his tombstone and confirms his identification.
12. Ahdrade’s ‘A record of Jews in Jamaica’, page 135.
13. The “Spring Path Burial Ground” was at the corner of Darling Street and the Spanish Town Road, generally referred to as “The Strangers’ Ground,” area 204,147 sq. ft., or 4a, 2r and almost 30 p. The land was levelled at the close of 1934, and the tombstones and monuments were removed. A plan of the Cemetery showing the location of all graves; and the position of all tomb-stones and monuments with legible inscriptions was recorded in the Island Record Office on 20th February, 1934, at Liber N.S. 433, folio 198. Aaron was buried in the southeastern portion of the ground. The tomb of red brick with full length white marble tablet, was in excellent state of preservation when I inspected it on June 15, 1924. (The grave is numbered 5 on the Plan). This is taken from Ahdrade’s ‘A record of Jews in Jamaica’, page 135. The relevant section is headed: ‘Partial list of Epitaphs on Tombstones of Jews who have been buried in cemeteries other than Jewish consecrated grounds. County of Surrey, Parish of Kingston’.
14. I am grateful to Al Phillipps for an extended correspondence concerning his records on the Depass family. Unfortunately aol have closed his website, along with others, for unexplained reasons. In his email of 4 August 2000 he reports that on looking through some of his notes from the Synagogue Kahal Kadosh Shaare Hashamayin, Sephardi, Kingston, Jamaica he found a record of the marriage of Aaron and Sarah on 18 August1830 and of the birth of Dr Aaron on 23 October 1785, son of Jacob c.1760, son of Moses Garcia c.1735. Other information included in Al’s notes is as follows: On 9 September 1818 Moses married Sarah Monsanto; on 14 July 1820 Moses died; on 22 July 1832 Jacob’s wife Sarah died; on 21 February 1840 Jacob died.
15, 16. Appendix VI of Faber’s ‘Jews, Slaves and the Slave Trade’
17. IGI 1993 edition, Version 3.02.
18. see note attached to the line above ‘Aaron’s grandfather was called Moses Garsia’
19. email from Angela 26 Sept 2000
20. See DOC 133
21. see DOC 133
22. I am grateful to Peter for his help with this branch of the family. (DOC417). His website is here
23. See DOC 417
24. This is mentioned in an early version of Thelma’s book (TRK98, Chap. IV, p. 1.) 
25. See 04Sep24.doc
26. See DOC 330
27. See DOC 337
28. See DOC 131
29. see DOC 132
30. See DOC 244
31. See DOC 78