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Diamonds and coral

  De Castro Story - The Principal Family Lines - Solomon - 2

Solomon 1681-1761

1681 Born we do not yet know where.

1710 Married Rachel Bravo, daughter of Abraham Bravo of Bayonne France. The marriage is registered in the Bevis Marks Synagogue. from a note on the Keith tree it is reported he settled the sum of 20,000 pounds on his wife when he married. If this is true and we are talking of 1710 then this was a huge sum of money. We must not of course forget that it was David's father who would have provided the dowry.

1723 the book "Tryal of David Cohen Henrigues" mentions Solomon as living in Capel St Dublin. This book was found in Ireland round the 1900's and is apparently in the University in Dublin. A way must be found to have this examined to see what the reference is as it will posibly throw some light on why Solomon was living in Ireland with his family.

1725 On 17th June Samuel son of Solomon was born in the Parish of St Mary's Dublin. This birth was one of two de Castro births recorded in the special register established by the Royal College of Heralds in 1747 to record the births of the Disenters. (His brother Daniel born in 1733 is likewise recorded. Why the other members of the family were not also registered we do not know.)

1732 - 1740 was Secretary of the Portusese Community in London

1740 Died buried in the Jews Burial Ground at Mile End in St Dunstan's, Stepeny. He is also reported to have died in 1761. I tend to believe the former date is correct as it is repeated on page 303 of Gedalia Yogev,s book.

His "Will" is reported to have been written in Portuguese and on some trees is given the reference P.C.C 161 Browne

It is not known where the birth date was found. It was added to some trees after they were typed. If not an inspired gues by some person then either some birth record was found or his age is given when he died or was married. I suspect the latter as no person has ever been able to say Solomon was English born.

That he was married in 1710 is documented in the Bevis Marks Synagogue. Rachel Bravo came from France, or her father was said to be from France. Bravo is said to be a Spanish and Portuguese name.

When two people married in those days especially if they were titled or were wealthy, then the marriages were organised to the mutual benefit of both families. The wishes of those being married were not taken into account. In most cases a contract was drawn up to set down the conditions that were entered into when the marriage was organised.

In the Jewish church at the time these Aramaic marriage contracts occasionally mention the dowry in sterling though the more usual practice was to specify this in the currency of the fourth century Babylon and to discreetly omit to mention the rate of exchange employed.

Thus when we read of a dowry of 20,000 pounds being given we must take this into account.

D.J.Steels states

The "London Magazine" and the "Gentleman's Magazine" frequently reported the marriages of members of prosperous Jewish families. There is abundant evidence to indicate that eighteenth century journalists were highly optimistic in estimating the dowries and e states of those whose marriages and deaths they thought worthy of report, but their testimony is useful in determining the date of the marriage even though they frequently made mistakes in the names of the parties and other details.

So we know where and when and to who Solomon was married. The amount of settlement was recorded some place posibly in the pres, however it is hoped the marriage contract exists and that a translation can be obtained as apparently they gave a great deal of information even if the values expresed were in ruzim's.

In most writings of the early Jewish settlers in England mention is made of their wealth. If the dowry figure is correct then these comments about the community being wealthy cannot be an over statement. Solomon was described in one text as a diamond merchant but I do not know the source, however as the coral trade usually ended up with the coral being exchanged in India for diamonds that were normally sent to London for sale then the description probably fits. We have no record or any idea what Solomon was up to in Ireland in 1725 when his son Samuel was born. It was obviously not a busines trip as in those days he would have been unlikely to take his very pregnant wife and no doubt young family with him.

There are two dates given for Samuel's death, one as 1740 and the other as 1761. If he died in 1740 then he was not about to make use of the register at the Royal College of Heralds in 1745 to register two of his children's birth. From Steels book there were a number of forms that the registration could take place. If the actual entries could be sighted then the form of entry could be examined and it could be established if Solomon was alive at the time.

It is recorded he is buried at the Jewish Cemetery at Miles End. Within the genealogy movement there is a lot of time spent by members transcribing the details from head stones in cemeteries. If this cemetery has been transcribed then it is posible we could find what members of the early family are interred there. Often additional information is available in the stones that can add to the picture. Such a record is being looked for. The marker if any will be probably written in Hebrew or the like. It is reported that Solomon's will was originally written in Portuguese and there is the reference to this document. It suggests the document has been sighted and could be found again. Again these documents often throw additional light on proceedings of the times. There is no mention of daughters in the tree. While it is posible there were none, it was the custom when researching families to omit the females, as they were not part of the direct line.

It is only of general interest to know if there was any and certainly no indication of any attempt to track their respective families. A reasonable amount is known about Solomon and it is posible a deal more could be found out.

  De Castro Story - The Principal Family Lines - Solomon - 3


The only record that can be found of Daniel, Solomon's brother is that he shows on the Leo tree, and here it is reported he was married to a Laretto. In the marriage records from the Bevis Marks Synagogue there is reference to Jacob son of Daniel de Castro being married to Leah Lamera in 1745. Leslie Clouston found that Daniel de Castro was secretary of the London Sephardic Community in 1735.

  De Castro Story - The Principal Family Lines - Solomon - 1

David also son of David ??

There is posibly a third brother as in the Bevis Marks Synagogue Marriage records is the marriage of Luna daughter of David de Castro to Benjamin son of Jacob Levy Barrios. Now at first glance it would seem that Luna was a daughter of David and Sister of Solomon and Daniel. However this marriage took place in 1730.

It was the usual custom for the marriages to be arraigned, romance played no part in these proceedings. It was also the custom for the marriages to take place when the girls were 14 - 18 years old. Rarely did they take place outside these ages and if they did then it was probably a second marriage.

Not many people know that in early English law it was the lawful right of the father to chose his daughters husband and if the father died then this right pased to the eldest son. This was the law and it was carried out to protect the families good name but more importantly to add to it wealth. It is also posibly not realised that the dowry that came with the bride was retained by the bride presumably so the husband did not have to look after her.

If Luna was the sister of Solomon and Daniel and if she was born say within 10 years of Samuel then she would have been between 40 and 60 years old in 1730 when she married. Old maid !! in those days she would have been expected to be great-grandmother. The alternative is that she could have been the daughter of a brother of Solomon called David. We do not know Daniel's birth date however if the children were named in patriarchal precedence then Solomon was older than Daniel, and if there was a third brother David then he would have come before Solomon, which would have meant he was born before 1681. If he married and had Luna then she most certainly would have been old enough to marry in 1730. It is for this reason I suspect that Solomon and Daniel had a brother.

This speculation will posibly never be able to be proved unles the marriage contract still exists and some supporting detail is given.

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