24 October 2008

UK: Sephardim on incoming passenger lists

Celia Male, in London, is one of today's Jewish genealogy research stars, who often focuses on Sephardic information. She has just sent me this report on the UK Incoming Passenger Lists (1878-1960) just released on Ancestry.com.

I believe they will be a boon to Sephardic researchers with ancestors in the Caribbean, USA, South America, Antipodes, India, Burma, etc etc.

Whereas Jewish genealogists looking for the arrival in the U.K. of their families from Eastern {and Western} Europe from the late 1800s onwards will probably be disappointed, many Sephardic records are in fact there as the database shows passengers picked up at various ports of call in the Mediterranean and other areas of the world.

Celia notes that the "small print" of this release provides the following:

1. The database is an index to the Board of Trade's passenger lists of ships arriving in the UK from foreign ports outside of Europe and the Mediterranean from 1878-1888 and 1890-1960.(NB: two years are missing.)

2. The database is an index to the Board of Trade’s passenger lists of ships arriving in the UK from foreign ports outside of Europe and the Mediterranean. Exceptions to this are vessels that originated outside of these areas but then picked up passengers in European or Mediterranean ports en route.

Thus, says Celia, such ports as Haifa, Port Said, Suez, Tangiers, Casablanca, Tripoli, Beirut, Brindisi, Lisbon, Naples, Gibraltar and Istanbul are included. Many of these are listed as transit stops and passengers are listed.

And, she writes, it explains "why I am there in 1945 with my parents and brother travelling from Alexandria to Southampton on a troop ship return with thousands of British troops from the Far East. It also explains why you can see a BROMBERGER travelling from Haifa."

Celia's research has unearthed many Sephardic names in this database, including among others: ABECASSIS, ADES, ADUTT, ALHADEFF, ANZARUT, ARBIB, BELLELI, BENATTAR, DWEK/DOUEK, FINZI, HATCHWELL (was HACHUEL), HENRIQUES, MIZRAHI, MONTEFIORE, SHASHOUA (as variant), ZILKA/ZILKHA and more.

Importantly, writes Celia, "They come from far and wide - it really is exciting to check them out." Her opinion is that "this database will be a very valuable resource for Sephardic research.

Caveat: The lists are searchable, but to see the manifests readers must subscribe to ancestry.com

Celia has also discovered other database tips, which readers should take into account when constructing a search:

If you enter a country into the port of departure field you get no response, i.e., Japan or Egypt - but enter Yokohama or Alexandria and you find the passengers.

However, there are discrepancies - If you enter Hamburg as Ports of Voyage you get over 55,000. Now try the same with Hamburg Port of Departure you get 1,597 passengers and they start with three passengers in 1902. I cannot believe that no ships ever stopped there before to pick up passengers.

Now try Genoa - you get nearly 1,571 with Port of Departure starting in 1928. With Ports of Voyage you get 137,272 starting in 1890. Many of these could have come from the Middle East as I know people from Egypt often travelled to Genoa and changed boats.

Conclusion: as with all databases one has to zap around and never take anything for granted. Careful researchers often discover things others do not know.

Celia suggests researchers try searching only by age or by port - such as Haifa, Port Said, Suez, Tangiers, Casablanca, Tripoli, Beirut, Brindisi, Lisbon, Naples and Gibraltar. Using Istanbul, she located ALHADEFF, a famous Sephardic family from Rhodes.

She adds that Odessa is mysteriously linked to Montreal and sadly shows very few, as does Danzig, although Bremen has many entries and, as expected, Piraeus also has many entries.

On a personal note, Celia says that for the first time, she knows the exact date her father returned to London from a year in New York, working for a bank listed as his address on the 1926 manifest. Following a Constantinople assignment, he was sent to Alexandria in 1927, and that's why her family is on the 1945 manifest noted above.
"This database will be a bonanza for many of us."

And that's why Celia is a star! Thank you, Celia.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Great work and thanks for the update.
    I am the Jamaican Jewish families genealogist in Jamaica. I look forward to linking with any equiries on families who can be found to have migrated to Britain.
    Similarly I will be looking for people who have "disappeared and may have gone to the UK.
    Ainsley Henriques ainsley@cwjamaica.com