08 October 2010

Scotland: Jewish history

ScottishGenes, a great blog written by Chris Paton, has a guest post written by the well-known Jewish genealogist Harvey Kaplan of the Scottish Jewish Archives Center.

Chris covers everything connected to Scotland, and Tracing the Tribe was very happy to see Harvey's post, which is a must for anyone who had Jewish ancestors in Scotland.

... The first Jewish community was established in Edinburgh in 1816, then Glasgow in 1823. Later in the 19th century, communities were also set up in Aberdeen and Dundee. There are five places which once had a Jewish community, but no longer: Ayr, Dunfermline, Falkirk, Greenock and Inverness. Jews in Scotland have generally lived in an atmosphere of tolerance, respected by the Presbyterian Scots as the ‘People of the Book’. Scotland is one of the few countries with no noticeable record of antisemitism.

A wide variety of source material awaits those researching Scottish Jewish family history. Obviously, Jews appear in the indexes of births, marriages and deaths in Scotland since 1855. Because Scottish birth certificates give the date and place of marriage of the parents, the certificates of children born here to parents who were married in Europe often provide a clue to town/country of origin. Another clue might be provided by census records - especially for 1881, 1891 and 1901.
Harvey's post lists naturalization records, city directories, passenger lists and other records. He mentions the misspelling of immigrant names.

The Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, located in Garnethill Synagogue (Glasgow, Scotland) collects and preserves material related to the Jewish history in Scotland. Items include synagogue registers, burials, subscription records, organizations, membership lists, newspapers, photos and more, including the Historical Database of Scottish Jewry with records on nearly 35,000 Jews in the country.

For more information, read the complete post at the link above, access the Center's website or send an email.

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