Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Trial of Uriah Moses (part 1)

Old Bailey Online is a great resource for information if you have family who were tried at the Central Criminal Court in London, better known as The Old Bailey. One of the convicts in my family, Uriah Moses, was tried at the Old Bailey on 10 January 1798. Old Bailey Online provides a copy of the original trial document plus a transcript of the trial.
The report of Uriah's trail is detailed, though some statements are contradictory. Like most documents used for family history research it is important to read the document thoroughly as there may be information that could be easily overlooked. I had included the main information provided in the trial in my 52 Ancestors post on Uriah Moses elsewhere in this blog. However since then my brother has been doing some research on Uriah and found a possible lead from the trial proceedings.

Currently I am doing the University of Tasmania Writing Family History course so for the first assignment, which was to be no more than 250 words, I submitted the following piece in the Discovering the Hidden Past discussion group:

Discovering the hidden past – Who was Kitty Jacobs?
At the Old Bailey on 8 December 1797, Kitty Jacobs was called as a character witness at the trial of Uriah Moses. 

Seventeen year old Uriah had been arrested for stealing 7 silk handkerchiefs, 30 yards of lace and 58 yards of calimanco from William Holmes’ Drapers Shop in Whitechapel.  Using a diamond to cut a hole in the shop window, Uriah (probably with the assistance of other boys according to the trial notes) grabbed the goods and took them to the lodging house of Ann Benjamin. During the robbery Uriah cut his hand on broken glass and Ann Benjamin gave him a shawl to wrap around it before he went to Guys Hospital for treatment. Uriah was later arrested at the hospital.

At the trial Kitty Jacobs stated that Uriah worked with her husband at her glass shop in Petticoat-lane for three years, several years previously, and that she considered him honest.  

 I had always accepted this as just a witness statement but recently a transcript of a Great Synagogue record for the marriage of Kitty (Keila) Moses to Henry Jacobs in June 1793 was made available online. Could Kitty Jacobs therefore be related to Uriah? Perhaps she was a sister or an aunt.  This has opened up a new area for investigation which may lead to information about Uriah and his family in England.

A postscript: Uriah was transported to NSW where he successfully ran a number of businesses in the Hawkesbury region.

The next step in this investigation will be to look at the trial notes again more carefully in order to collect all the clues that may provide, not just information about the crime but also about the people who Uriah knew and worked with. This may result in an insight into Uriah's life in London before his arrest and if we are lucky provide information about members of his family.

Synagogue scribes provides a collection of transcripts of Jewish records including some of the  records of the Great Synagogue in London.

Future posts will provide information about the Jewish community in which Uriah was possibly involved.

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