20 August 2007

Ohio: Ancestry adds 19,000 Jewish marriage records

Ancestry has just added 19,000 Jewish marriage records extracted from the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Marriage Application and Return volumes in the county archives. The majority of records (1837-1930) are from Cleveland, an early important Jewish community.

Data includes the bride's and groom's names, ages, birthplaces, occupations, parents' names, marriage date, bride's residence, any previous marriages, book and page of register record and name of celebrant.

The records were identified as Jewish if the officiator was identified as a rabbi or if the surname of one or both of the parties was identified as a common local Jewish surname.

In this database, I located many of my TAYLOR (this branch changed the name from Talalay to Taylor) family with Mogilev, Belarus origins.

Click here for more information on the database.

On May 5, 1839, 19 emigrants left Unsleben, Bavaria, Germany for Cleveland, led by Moses Alsbacher, to join a fellow Unslebener, fur trader Simson Thorman, who had settled earlier in the village on Lake Erie. They brought a Torah scroll and, by 1850, there were two congregations, Anshe Chesed formed in 1846 (Fairmount Temple) and Tifereth Israel (The Temple) opened in 1856; both adopted the Reform format. The first rabbi was Isadore Kalisch.

Many settlers were peddlers, others cigar rollers, while still others were in dry goods, or butchers and bakers, and clothing manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing were also popular occupations.

B'nai B'rith converted (1868) a health sanitarium to care for the Civil War's Jewish orphans. The Hebrew Relief Society (1875) followed and became the Montefiore Home for Aged and Infirm Israelites in 1882. The Young Women's Hospital Society (1892) began to raise funds for a Jewish hospital (Mt. Sinai), which opened in 1903.

By 1880, the community numbered some 3,500 mostly of German origin. Eastern European Jewish immigration followed, and more social services were established by the Cleveland Section of National Council of Jewish Women and the Council Educational Alliance. The Federation of Jewish Charities was established in 1903, uniting eight agencies.

By the 1920s, the city's Jewish population was about 90,000 in several neighborhoods, and cultural life included a Jewish center, famous Jewish leaders; Orthodox, Conservative and Reform synagogues; a Yiddish theater, Workmen's Circle, Socialist Farband Center, schools and yeshivas as well as an excellent public high school.

Jewish leaders included The Temple's Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, who took the pulpit in 1917; Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner of Euclid Avenue Temple served from 1925-58; Rabbi Solomon Goldman of B'nai Jeshurun and Anshe Emeth; and educator Abraham H. Friedland headed the Talmud Torah and the Bureau of Jewish Education.

Today, more than 81,500 Jews live in Cleveland.

For more Cleveland Jewish history and some historic photographs, click here.

This story is also on the JTA site here.


  1. One of my favorite Jewish entertainers- Mickey Katz- was from Cleveland. I grew up on Mickey Katz's klezmer parodies of popular songs, and still listen to his music! I bet the marriage records of Mickey and his wife Grace are in these records. In case the name Mickey Katz isn't familiar, he is the father of Joel Grey and grandfather of Jennifer Grey.
    Judy Simon

  2. Hi, Judy,

    I didn't know that!

    Thanks for another Cleveland connection!


  3. In case anyone cares, the village in Bavaria is Unsleben (not Usleben). We have folks from the same small village.
    Eliezer in wet Oregon

  4. Hello, Eliezer,

    Thank you for making that correction. I do care and will change the spelling to Unsleben in the story.

    With best wishes,