29 September 2006

BOOK: The Jewish Victorian

Looking for your family's English branches and mysterious American and Down Under clues?

The Jewish Victorian: Genealogical Information from the Jewish Newspapers 1861-1870 by Doreen Berger, contains all birth, marriage and death records published in the London Jewish Chronicle and Jewish Record, including obituaries, wills, unusual deaths, murders, university degrees and other news items from the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities.

In the pages of this book, a community lives through kidnapping, conversion, blackmail, libel and slander actions, suicides and tragic accidents, epidemics, and achievements of Jewish students at major universities, marriage grants to young couples, education, concerts, fundraisers, hiring of communal leaders and rabbis, and announcements of dancing classes for children and adults.

While intimate details of ordinary families fill its pages, there are also lengthy entries on well-known clans like Adler, Montefiore, Sassoon Rothschild and De Sola.

Berger’s first volume covered 1871-1880 and a third will cover 1881-1890.

“It is hoped that genealogists will be able to make connections to many other families,” she says. For any researcher whose families connect to the UK during these years, these volumes are invaluable.

The book also includes announcements from the Jewish Emigration Society, which assisted individuals and families moving to America and Australia.

Berger, a consummate researcher, has been unable to track down the original records from the society. She has researched the group for a book she's writing - a biography about the Rothschild ladies from Georgian England through the eve of WWII.

Among the announcements:

* To Australia, 1867-8: domestic servant Miriam Abrahams, 19; cigarmaker Lewis Abrahams, 17; and tailoress Ellen Abrahams, 15; Samuel Alexander; insurance broker F.E. Jacobs, wife; and Lewis Lyons.
* To America, 1867-8: Reuben Abrahams, wife, son; Hannah Jacobs, three children; Henry Lee; carver-gilder Isaac Martin; stickmaker Michael Massurus; cigarmaker Judah Miller, wife, two children; dealer Yael Goldsmid, 17; and Benjamin Goodman, wife, two children; cigarmaker David Jacobson, 30, wife, three children; Amelia Mendelsohn, married, four children; tailoress Julia Phillips, 24; and widow Eliza Poznaski, 30, one child, New Orleans.

* Lewis or Louis Alexander of Fleet Street was appointed the first Jewish postmaster in 1868.

* From America, Hon. J.P. Benjamin, former senator of the United States, was appointed Secretary of War in the cabinet of President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States of America in 1861, his escape to the West Indies and the UK in 1865. He studied law in England, was admitted to the Bar, appointed Queens Counsel in Lancaster in 1869.

Ordering information: Robert Boyd Publications, 260 Colwell Drive, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 5LW, UK. Email: boydpubs@ntlworld.com
"The Jewish Victorian: Genealogical Information from the Jewish Newspapers 1861-70;" 400 pgs; £29.95, airmail P&H £11.
"The Jewish Victorian: Genealogical Information from the Jewish Newspapers 1871-80;" 600 pages; £34.95, airmail P&H £15.

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