Build your family tree

From 1837, everyone was (in theory) included in civil registration, and you can trace your family lines through the generations.

Pay particular attention to variations in names and spellings, to places of birth on census returns, and where family marriages are taking place – with which synagogues were your ancestors associated?

You might also explore the context of your census returns by looking at surrounding streets and houses and deciding whether your ancestors lived in a characteristically Jewish area, and whether they were living, dying and marrying solely within that community.

You can supplement the civil registration records, and explore the period before they begin, with synagogue records, which may contain such illuminating documents as marriage contracts, which often provide the place and date of birth of those who were born abroad.

You might also find births, marriages, betrothals, deaths and obituaries reported in the Jewish Chronicle, which can now be consulted online, which may help to pinpoint dates, names and spellings as well as family relationships. Cemetery records might also provide a few useful details.

Jewish ancestors (1800s)
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French ancestors – notaries' records
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