14 September 2009

Israel: IGS databases added

One benefit of joining a Jewish genealogical society is to gain access to member-only sections of a society's website. Just two examples would be the sites of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB) or the Israel Genealogical Society (IGS).

In the case of IGS, the member-only section provides information of interest to researchers who live around the world today. A new addition is the 1915 Tel Aviv Census database, built by Rose Feldman and Mathilde Tagger.

Tel Aviv's historical archives include a 1915 census from the first Hebrew city, when it was under the Ottoman Empire control. It was conducted six years after a lottery for land plots was held April 11, 1909, among the Ahuzat Beit Association members. That date is now considered the official date of the city's founding. It is not known who planned this census or for what purpose it was conducted.

Census fields for residents included: surname and given name, occupation, source of income, mother tongue, number of persons at the residence, address, and if the person was an actual resident of Tel Aviv.

There is also information on the home itself: number of rooms, "bath" room, rent, and owner's name. If rooms were shared, the other names are mentioned. Some people are listed without residence data.

In 1915, the census counted 2,679 individuals, who spoke nine languages; half spoke Hebrew and Yiddish.

Conducted in Hebrew, of course, the census has now been translated into English and in a searchable format for the benefit of worldwide researchers. A search will yield results for owners and tenants. Note that some of the Hebrew names in the original census differ from their contemporary spelling. Thanks for this database go to Rose A. Feldman and Mathilde A. Tagger.

If you are already an IGS member, find the Census here. To join the IGS, find information at the site link above.

The society's publicly accessible resources include the recently updated database of Memorials for Vanished Communities.

Stage two of this database provides the addition of streets in Neot Afeka (in northern Tel Aviv), Ramat Hasharon and Netanya which are named after various communities.

Readers with information on additional streets, synagogues, buildings or forests named in memory of vanished communities, are invited to email Ellen Stepak to coordinate photographing of relevant plaques, signs, memorials, and other informative details.

Additionally, IGS is asking for volunteers to help with the Varshavsky Muhktar Project transcription. These ledgers contain part of Jerusalem's Jewish population following the Montefiore 1875 census.

For more information (or to join the transcription team) on the Varshavsky Ledgers or other public or member-only databases, contact Rose Feldman.

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