04 January 2007

Surfing in Jamaica for Jewish records

Surfing in the Caribbean is not exactly my style, but the next best thing is surfing the Internet for Jewish resources in that region.

The Caribbean has had a Jewish presence for centuries. On nearly every island there were Sephardic Jews: They owned Hebrew-named plantations, and were merchants and traders with fleets of ships. On some islands, they were later joined by Ashkenazi merchants.

An excellent book on the subject is The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean by Mordechai Arbell, a former Israeli diplomat who spent years in the region. He has tracked down forgotten cemeteries, spoken to contemporary descendants still on the islands and tracked others to New Orleans and elsewhere. The book is filled with maps, lists and resources.

Jamaican Family Search has extensive Jewish resources. Some are for public viewing, others require paid subscriptions. If your family has Caribbean connections, particularly Sephardic, consider a short-term subscription.

Here are some names for each resource.

-Ashkenazi Congregation, Kingston 1788-1906: AKIN, FRANKS, GATES, KAHN, LEWIS, LYONS, MAGNUS, REUBEN, SAMUELS, WORMS.


-Sephardic Congregation, Kingston, 1809-1902. Some births, marriages and deaths: AARONS, CORINALDI, DACOSTA, DELEVANTE, DELGADO, DOLPHY, FEURTADO, HENRIQUES, IFFLA, LOPEZ, MENDEZ, MOTTA, NIETO, RODRIQUES, SANGUENETTI, VAZ. ALIMEYDA, CORREA, D'AZEVEDO, DE PASS, EDANA, HYMAN, ISAAC, MADURO, OHEB, PEREIRA, REBEIRO, SILVA, YIMENES.

-Amalgamated Congregation and United Congregation of Israelites, 1883-1993. Some births, marriages and deaths: ALBERGA, CROSSWELL, DELGADO, DEPASS, FARMER, KAUFMAN, LINDO, MCCORMAC, NUNES, WHEELER, ABENDANA, ISAACS, LAWTO, WOLFE. ASHENHEIM, BARHAM, CROSSWELL, DACOSTA, DOLPHY, EBEL, HOFFMAN, IFFLA, LYONS, MADURO, MEYERS, MEYERS, NINES, ROSENBAUM, SALMON, STINER, TAVARES, WOLFE.

-Index to Jewish births, marriages and deaths, Montego Bay and an extensive lodge name list 1818-2000.

-Synagogue leadership from the 1850 Jamaica Almanac. Synagogues include the English & German Synagogue (Shahar Yosher), Spanish & Portuguese (Shahar Ashmamaim), Spanish Town (Nevey Shalom), Montego Bay (Beth Yahacob). The Hebrew spellings are those used in the Almanac.

-Jamaican Jews buried in New Orleans, include AARONS, ADOLPHUS, BENJAMIN, BONITO, BRANDON, DACOSTA/DECOSTA, DAVIDSON, D'AZEVEDO, DE MEZA/D'MEZA, DUKE, HENRIQUES.

-Transcriptions and some photographs: Tombstones, Jewish cemetery, Falmouth

-Extracts from A Record of Jews in Jamaica by Jacob APM Andrade, including Tombstones, Will extracts, Patents, Naturalizations, and other items.



Enjoy your surfing !

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