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14 September 2011

From Spain to America, the family of Isaac Harby

Much has been written in this blog about the migration of Jews from Spain and Portugal, to Europe and eventually the Caribbean and then to the southern United States. Another wonderful example of this is the biography of Isaac Harby, which is contained in the collection. The biography, which was contained in the family bible was written in Isaac Harby's own handwriting. In his writings he first discusses his families beginnings, where he writes,

"My ancestors fled to Spain and then Portugal, where they remained until the pestilence of the inquisition drove them to Africa"

He further adds;

"I find my grandfather, Isaac Harbie, about the middle of the 18th century, employed in the business of a lapidary at Fez in Morocco and in his barbarian majesty's good confidence."

He then talks about the birth of his own father, Solomon, when he writes;

"Of this issue six children were born, the youngest of whom was Solomon, my father, born in London, 1762."

Then writing of their arrival in the United States he states;

"Solomon Harby emigrated to America and remained three years at Jamaica from 1778 to 1781. He married Rebecca Moses at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1787. She was the daughter of Myer Moses, a rich and patriotic Israelite who assisted his country during the Revolutionary struggle."

Like so many others, the Harby family travelled from Spain to Portugal, then to Africa and London before their journey to America by way of Jamaica. Further proof how important it is for all those researching early American Jewish families to carefully study the records of the Caribbean. The records of Isaac Harby and his family have now been added to the Knowles Collection- Jews of North North America database and will be available after the next update.

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