Burial Information

by Saul Marks


Adult Burials

There are four known sources of data containing names of those interred in Deane Road Cemetery. These are:

1. Album of Photos Taken by Sam Lipson 1979

These photos were commissioned in November 1978, during one of the several earlier attempts to restore the cemetery. At the time, the vast majority of the foliage had been removed, and many tombstones were totally or partially visible, unlike today. The album contains photos of 312 tombstones, covering the years 1838-1914, with one later burial, in 1929.

Samuel Bernard Lipson (1922-97) was a professional photographer in the Liverpool Jewish community, with a studio on Prescot Road. His ancestor Sarah Mogdon was buried at Deane Road in 1903 and her stone was one that he photographed. It is not known whether he knew at that time that she was his great-grandmother!

2. Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation Death Register 1875-1982

This huge volume lists deaths in the congregation in the period 1875-1982, and those whose names are found therein are buried at various cemeteries across Liverpool, including Deane Road, Green Lane, Rice Lane, Broad Green and Lowerhouse Lane. Most of the first 25 entries include a grave reference number in Deane Road but, after that, there is no evidence to suggest that the deceased are buried there. The period up to 1904, when burials at Deane Road stopped (except for those with reserved plots) contains approximately 980 entries.

3. Deane Road Burial Register 1837-1876

The original “Burial Registry” (sic) book, which is held by Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation, covers the years 1837-1876. It appears to have been filled in contemporaneously, with spaces left for people with reserved plots. Each plot is given a grave reference number and there are various indications of the location of each grave, such as the commencement of burials on a new row. This source contains 642 entries, including reserved plots as yet unfilled by 1876. I am very grateful to Joe Wolfman, community archivist, for making me a duplicate photocopy of this source.

4. Digital Images of Deane Road Cemetery Register 1837-1919

This burial register was fully indexed by Berny Goodheart in Mar 2000 as part of his work for the Liverpool Jewish Genealogy Service (LJGS), and covers the period 1837-1919, including burials in reserved plots. It appears to be a secondary source, compiled from earlier burial registers, including the above 1837-1876 burial registry, and contains 1,723 entries. Although the cemetery appears to be far too small to hold 1700 burials, it would appear that approximately 900 children are buried without grave markings, many being stillbirths or only a few weeks or months old. I am very grateful to Arnold Lewis for providing me with a copy of this source on CD-ROM.


Children's Burials

The children’s entries in the last source have yet to be added to the main register which contains information from the other three sources but can be searched via the CD-ROM. In fact, the whole subject of children's burials at Deane Road is somewhat complex, as shown in the burial register.

There appear to be several sections with different titles. Each title is transcribed below, with a description of the contents of each:

“Adults and children buried facing the mortuary”

Seven graves, numbered 1-7, comprising four adults and three children. Only No 2 is dated (1838). It could be assumed that these are all early burials from the late 1830s, possibly buried in the north-west corner of the cemetery, outside the route of the path.

“Ground facing the water closet (adults and children)”

Five graves, numbered 1-5, comprising three adults & two children. Nos 3-5 are dated (1846, 1848 & 1849 respectively). Perhaps these graves are in the south-west corner?

“1st section children”

This section numbers each grave & denotes the beginning of each row, as follows:

            Row     Numbers         Total   Dates

            1           1-164               164      1837-65

            2          165-183           19        1865-67

            3          184-213           30        1867-70

It is most likely that these graves are in the section against the back (west) wall of the cemetery, but there is no evidence as yet for this. There are tombstones for Nos 127 & 133, which are on the right-hand side of the cemetery, behind adult section B, close to the path. These would both fall into “Row 1” above, which makes it very difficult to understand where these rows started & finished. There may be many children’s burials, & indeed tombstones, in the north-west corner, where the ground rises.

The beginning of the tenure of Isaac Benjamin as gravedigger in 1865 is noted in this section.

“Commenced to bury at the left hand side of the ground, next to the wall”

This appears to be a different section of children’s burials, covering the years 1870-92. The first number in the section is 214 and seems to cover at least up to & including Number 454 (241 graves), which appears at the bottom of page 128 of the register.

Page 129 is entitled “4th section children”, but seems to be a continuation of the previous section, so the fourth section might include all graves from Number 214 onwards, or only some of them, or none of them! In the “Row No” column of page 129, there is written vertically “First row against the west wall”, covering Numbers 459-471, but I suspect that this description covers all the graves on page 129 & perhaps some before that. It’s impossible to tell, just from this burial register. But we can certainly see here that there was a shift at some point in the late 1880s or early 1890s, from burying at the left hand side to burying at the back again.

It is very unlikely that there were more than four adjacent rows of children’s graves on this left-hand section.

The rest of this part of the register is listed is good order, assuming we take the numbering from the top of page 129:

            Row     Numbers         Total   Dates

            1           455-481           27        1892-93

            2          482-513           32        1894-95

            3          514-544           31         1895-97

            4          545-574          30        1897-99

            5          575-644          70        1899-1904

The precise annotation of the beginning of each row does suggest that the back section was thought of in quite specific terms, with perhaps different sub-sections, although the fifth row is twice as long as the ones before it. It might be two rows, with the beginning of the sixth not annotated, but it could also imply that burials continued either away from that location or even under the path. There are tombstones for a couple of girls (Nos 542 and 547) which are in the north of the back section, to the right of Joshua Van Oven’s monument. No 542 is right at the edge of the modern path & that’s near the end of Row 3 in this section. It may well be that either Rows 1 & 2 or Rows 4 & 5 of this section are underneath the modern path, with the original path running immediately behind the adult graves in Row A 01. This may also explain the little tombstone of Adolph Meyer Samuels (No 572), which is propped up against the back of one of the graves in Row 1. This stone’s original position would have been near the end of Row 4 in this section. It may have been moved to lay the modern path, either in the mid-1990s or much earlier. Perhaps there’s a base somewhere, into which this headstone fits?

“Children under four weeks and stillborn are not buried in the children’s row”

This statement is repeated at the top of every page of the final section of the register. None of the graves listed are given numbers, but there are 246 graves listed over the next 14 pages, plus one leg!

Some general comments

Burials of children out of sequence

Several of the graves listed in the register are noted as being buried away from the current section.

Burials of children in the adults’ section

There are two very small bases of children’s stones next to the Barned graves at A 02.31, which may indicate the deliberate burial of unrelated children next to a childless couple. The right-hand base bears No 530, which the register names as Benjamin Ginsburg, who died in February 1896. Cemetery founder Israel Barned & his wife, next to whom they’re buried, died in the 1850s & reserved their plots, presumably in the late 1840s, judging by the death dates of those around them. These little child burials were obviously much later. The adult burial on the other side of these children, at A 02.32, is Ellis Samuel Yates, who died in 1849 so, again there seems to be no obvious relationship with the Ginsburg family.

The cemetery register actually places a man named Casper Isenberg in plot A 02.31. He died in the infirmary in January 1849, so he was already in the grave when these children were buried there in the late 1890s! Casper was almost certainly a pauper who never had a tombstone, so perhaps gravedigger Benjamin Wood thought this plot was empty. This raises a number of other questions. For example, why were these children not buried in the children’s section? Clearly a conscious decision was made to bury them elsewhere, but not, as in other cases, to be close to other family members. Why did Wood not come across Casper’s bones when digging the children’s graves, realise his mistake and dig a new grave for the children elsewhere? Perhaps he did discover Casper’s bones but chose to go ahead with the burial there anyway? Or perhaps it was a long-term protocol that children weren’t buried as deep as adults, meaning that he never realised that Casper was there...!

Burial of adults in the children’s section

The burial register on page 39 marks out five adult graves, numbered 683A to 687A inclusive, under a sub-heading “Commenced to use the side of the south walk” & with a note saying “These graves are on the side of the south walk at bottom end.”

The burials took place between June 1897 & January 1898, with no reason given for this little diversion from normality. Looking at the context of the burials before and after these five, it would appear that the prevailing strategy for adult burials at that time was to work from south to north, along each row of the centre section, then the three corresponding graves in Section B on the right-hand side, starting at the wall and working back to the path. When they had completely filled Row 23 in June 1897, they began burying at this rather unusual location, before returning to begin Row 24. Perhaps there was a small amount of space there that was known to be empty, or perhaps this was a new scheme which was prematurely abandoned.

Total figures

In total, there appear to be 902 children’s burials, plus one leg. That ties in well enough with the figures I calculated (probably from the same register) in 2005 or 2006, of approximately 824 adults & 900 children, making 1,724 burials in total.