Naftali Bar Giora's "A Note on the History of the Synagogues in Cochin" (1958) is an important reference for the study of synagogues in Kerala, unfortunately the text is in Hebrew and I didn't have access to this work until recently. I wish to discuss his narrative on the Jewish cemeteries of Cochin in detail. He describes about four Jewish cemeteries in Cochin;
1) Pallit Todam (i.e. Palli Thodam)-behind the Thekkumbhagom synagogue;
2) Pallit Parambu (i.e. Palli Parambu) -nearby " Beit Cherian";
3) Beit Khavarot Hadash (i.e. the New Jewish Cemetery)-south of Ernakulam;
4) "Cherian Parambu"- also Beit Khavarot Hadash where only Paradesi Jews are buried.
The first cemetery: Since this cemetery is reported behind the Thekkumbhagom synagogue, it is the one referred by Hallegua. Bar Giora records that the cemetery was not functional anymore, however unlike Hallegua, he claims that it was used by both the Malabari and the Paradesi communities. The oldest tombstone: "Isaac bar Abraham"-died on Wednesday, 20 Sivan 5331 (i.e. 23 June 1571).
The 2nd cemetery: He cites the cemetery being used by all three communities (Paradesi, Kadavumbhagom and Thekkumbhagom synagogues) and wast located near "Beit Cherian Cemetery" which is the current Paradesi cemetery. This would indicate that the 2nd cemetery, the "Palli Parambu" is the Malabari Jewish cemetery where the tomb of Nehemiah Motta is located. The oldest tombstone: "Leah Bat Mosheh Belilah" who died on 5300 (i.e. 1540).
The 3rd cemetery: "The New Jewish Cemetery" south of Ernakulam is in fact the current old Jewish cemetery in Convent Junction. Bar Giora reports two set s of burial in the cemetery- i) people who died of an epidemic in 1790, and 2) the Bene Israeli Officer, "Samuel Ezekiel Divekar" who was released from the captivity of Tipu Sultan by the efforts of Ezekiel Rahabi-the wealthy Jewish merchant of Cochin -burial date: Wednesday, 14 Kislev, 5557 (i.e. 14 December 1796). He also adds that Samuel Ezekiel Divekar was the only Paradesi Jew buried in the cemetery.
The 4th cemetery is the current Paradesi Jewish cemetery. Bar Giora's reference is-"new cemetery", near the 2nd cemetery, and exclusively used by the Paradesi Jews. The name "Cherian Parambu" for the Paradesi cemetery is unusual, may be he was confused with the "Cheraman Parambu" in Kodungallur.
Thus, according to Bar Giora, the oldest tombstone in Cochin belongs to a woman named Leah Bat Mosheh Belilah (d. 1540) buried in the cemetery near Paradesi cemetery, i.e. the Malabari Jewish Cemetery, and the oldest tomb in the cemetery behind the Thekkumbhagom synagogue is in the name of Isaac bar Abraham" (d. 1571).
Following my recent (September, 2019) correspondence with Prof. Barbara Johnson, she shared a valuable information regarding the local name of the site where the cemetery was located. The empty area behind the Paradesi and Thekkumbhagom synagogues was called "Mupatti Munnam"-the significance of the name is unknown.