18 May 2010

UK: Original Record site for Jewish research

Our international geneablogger community continually shares useful information.

Tracing the Tribe saw The Original Record spotlighted on Chris Paton's Scottish Genealogy and realized it might be useful for Jewish research. Thanks, Chris!

Although searches are free, scanned records are not - each costs £4-6. There are special rates for purchasing all records for a specific surname. 

Whenever I check out a new site for Jewish content, my fall-back search is COHEN - and there were some 472 hits.

When the search was complete, this popped up:
Buying all 472 results of this search individually would cost £2,548.00. But you can have free access to all 472 records for a year, to view, to save and print, for £100. Save £2,448.
This seems like a good deal. Only a little quibble: Perhaps Tracing the Tribe doesn't understand British humor, but paying £100 isn't exactly "free" access.

That said, however, the free access [at a cost of £100] gives you an entire year of access to all those scanned records.

Begin your search using the first two letters of the surname, such as CO or TA. You may refine that search by selecting a year range, such as 1570-79 or 1800-1809.

After clicking on the two-letter category, the next page will show all names in the database beginning with CO, for example. This may be very useful for those searching for unusual spellings. One of the first rules of Creative Spelling is to change vowels around within a name. You may also search using wild cards, a good way of finding variants.

As just one example (not from The Original Record, which had only one contemporary listing for the name) TALALAY has been found on passenger manifests, census records, and other record groups as TOLOLAY, TOLALEY, TALOLAY and many others among some 30 documented spellings of this seemingly very simple phonetic name.

Records including this quintessential Jewish name range from Official Papers (1697, 1700-02, 1703-4 ), Cambridge University graduates (1760-1846); Masters of Clerks and Apprentices as well as Clerks and Apprentices (1775, 1782, 1783, 1784, 1785, 1787, 1790, 1792, 1793, 1794, etc. ); Deaths, Marriages, News and Promotions (1776, 1777); Bankrupts (1786-1806), 1797 Universal British Directory provincial sections; Lawyers, law officers and clerks in London (1791); Traders and Merchants in London (1791); Deaths, Marriages and Accidents (1802-1803); Freehold voters (1802), Inhabitants of London (1805), Deaths (1808), Owners of Merchantmen [ships] (1822), Debtors, School students, Aliens Traced/Wanted/Apprehended By Police (1923), Convicted Criminals, Irish Medical Practitioners (1926).

And that's only some of what's on pages 1-38. There are a total of 48 pages of results, ending with a 1958 list of telephone subscribers in Cambridgeshire and elsewhere.


There were also COHEN variants including KAG (such as KAGAN) and KAH (KAHAN, KAHAINE), KOH (KOHAN), KOG (KOGAN) and others. As most researchers know, while it is likely many people with these names and variants are Jewish, that is not a guarantee.

On the other hand, having the opportunity to view so many historic 16th-17th-18th-19th century records, sounds like an excellent idea for those interested in Jewish genealogy and history. I wish I had access to them.

This resource will also prove helpful to Sephardic researchers, as it offers name variants for common Sephardic names, such as MENDOZA or PEREIRA.

Searching MENDOZA produced 52 hits (1540-1957), covering manuscripts, pirates, soldiers, spies, traitors, ambassadors, Netherlands, official papers, people in the news, apprentices and clerks, masters of apprentices and clerks, inhabitants of London, prisoners, social announcements, school students, police records and Navy officers. MENDOSA: four records (1540-1588); MENDOZE: one record, an 1854 bankruptcy.  MENDOUCA: one missing person/kin record, 1880.

Searching PEREIRA, produced 125 records, 1540-1958; PEREIRA-MENDOZA, three records,  (3, 1939-51; PEREIRAS, two records, and PEREIRO, one.

Yes, there was a TALALAY (our cousins who lived in London), but no DARDASHTI.

It is certainly worthwhile looking over the names and viewing the variants. A certain spelling of a rare name may provide a clue to your missing link.

Make sure to wear your Creative Spelling hat!

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