Exploring the origins of Simon Barrow #64 1709-1801 required challenging a strong Barrow family myth - that Simon Barrow was the son of a Moses Barrow. One version of this fiction is that Moses arrived in Barbados around 1700 and married a local Lousada (eg ref 33); another is that he was the eminent Moses Baruh Lousada whom the Barrow Family Tree fictionally shows married a 'senorita Lousada' but who inconveniently died in 1699 (which was 12 years too early to father Simon Barrow!). The myth is further exposed by Simon Barrow's will which makes a bequest to the children of his Prague brother taken in conjunction with the Sep 2012 issue of Sephardi Bulletin which contains an account of Joseph Barrow's efforts to honour this bequest of his father. The Prague brother could not be contacted, but as remembered by Joseph Barrow, the brother's name was 'Gedalia son of Baruh' and further, the inscription on the grave of Simon's wife Bella - who died in 1773 aged 53 when Simon was 64 - refers to him as Shimon bar Baruch - which clearly establishes his Ashkenasi origin according to Edgar Samuel and shows that his father was not named Moses but Baruch.
The origins of his wife Bella, or Bailah Montefiore according to family records, yields a major clue as to how Simon Barrow got to Barbados. Bailah Montefiore #928 1720-73 was about the same age as, and was possibly a sister of Moses Vita Montefiore #445 who migrated from Livorno to England in 1752 (after at least one preparatory visit) and who started the English Montefiore clan in 1753. We have not established that they were in fact siblings, but in any event it seems likely Simon Barrow travelled from Livorno via London to Barbados with his wife around the same time. His sister with her husband Isaac Levi (see next paragraph) perhaps accompanied them. The Simon/Bailah marriage produced 9 children including a son Haim Barrow 1744-89 who died in Barbados, so Baruch (presumably the eldest son being named after his grandfather) would thus have been born around 1742. This suggests that the Simon/Bailah marriage took place (in Livorno) around 1740. Later, the travel to Barbados from England of Eliezer Montefiore before 1797 when he was married in Barbados, may have not have been entirely accidental. For if our suggestion is correct, Bailah was Eliezer's aunt; of course, she died in 1773 when he was 12, but left Eliezer many Barbados cousins. His wife Judith Joseph Levi was a granddaughter of Simon and Bailah and hence it seems that Eliezer married a first cousin once removed.
There is a record in Shilstone (ref 61) of a Rebecca d Barbados 1829 - she is described only as 'a wife or daughter of Simon Barrow' and as having died 24 May 1829 without a gravestone. However because of his age 64 (when his wife died) and the lack of further children it is likely there was no second wife. In any event there is no doubt that Rebecca was his daughter - she was actually buried in the Nuovo Cemetery Mile End on 26 May 1829 and lived in London before she died as can be seen from her will extract in which case her entry into the Barbados burial register arose by mistake - eg by reserving a gravesite and never retracting it. Bevis Marks Records Part 6 shows her to have been choosy about her gravesite having selected one site at Mile End, then rejected it in favour of another next to her brother Joseph. The wills of Simon (and Joseph) Barrow of Barbados refer to a brother-in-law (or uncle) Isaac Levi of Amsterdam and in her will Rebecca Barrow makes clear that Abraham Isaac Levi of Amsterdam was a cousin. This means a sister of Simon Barrow married Isaac Levi who probably ended his days in Amsterdam though we have not found a record of this nor of the death of his wife, Simon Barrow's sister.
The Barrow Family Tree suggests that an Isaac Levi of Barbados was the father of Jacob Levi who married a daughter of Simon Barrow. This daughter was Eve who when widowed married Joseph Levi. Her grand-daughter Esther Hannah Montefiore married Isaac Levi who became an executor of the will of Rebecca Barrow. In total there were 5 Barrow/Levi marriages which are explicated in our resolution of the ancestry of Judith Joseph Levi where we suggest that Isaac Levi of Amsterdam came to Amsterdam from Barbados (coming there with his brother-in-law Simon Barrow from Livorno), that the 2 husbands of Eve Barrow were sons of Isaac and hence brothers and also her cousins, but that the 4th and 5th Barrow/Levi marriages had a Portsmouth Levi component in addition to the Livorno Levi orgin of the first 3 Barrow/Levi marriages. We broadly illustrate all this here.
Frustratingly there were red herrings in our examination of the ancestry of Simon Barrow of Barbados:
We noted that ref 54 describes Simon Barrow as 'of Amsterdam' in the context of the marriage of his grand-daughter Judith Joseph Levi to Eliezer Montefiore, but during this period in Amsterdam he would have been an octogenarian who then had to travel back to Barbados only to die in 1801 aged 92. This seems an unlikely scenario and if it has any reality it may refer to an earlier brief visit (for which we have no evidence) to Amsterdam of a younger Simon Barrow perhaps just after his wife died in 1773.
Another note implies Simon Barrow died in 1797 or 1798 but we also doubt the veracity of that account because gravestone data shows Simon Barrow died in 1801. His Barbados will was proven only 13 days after his death - but this remarkably short time alone does not allow any conclusions to be drawn other than that his survivors - probably his son Joseph - had done some meticulous planning and would have had plenty of time for this as father died very old.
We are left to wonder if the inability of both Simon and Rebecca Barrow - father and daughter - to write their names in English (their wills show only their mark) was a factor in leaving such a confusing paper trail.
But we have not dismissed one aspect of Barrow family mythology - their Lousada ancestry - and have developed some ideas on the suggested Baruch Lousada ancestry of the Barrows. Similarly we have suggested a possible early link between the Barrows and the Pressburgs which provides a context for the 1808 marriage of Simon Barrow of Bath and Tryphena Esther Lyon de Symons as well as a picture of their Ashkenasi ancestry.