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16 September 2010

Cigar makers of London

As we do more and more research into Jewish families, it becomes quite clear that certain areas dominate various industries. A simple search of census records through the late 1800's shows that one of those areas was the East End of London. This area, namely Spitalfields, Whitechapel and Bethnal Green, is the home to the tobacco industry and most of the Cigar Makers in the British Isles.

Being a cigar maker in London, meant working long hours, at a low wage. It was work that was repetitious, day in and day out. The largest group of these workers were cigar makers were immigrants from the Netherlands. The 1881 Census belows shows a typical immigrant family that has settled in Spitalfields, with dad and his four sons working as cigar makers.

This was by no means the only family like this, this example fits hundreds of other families, many of whom were immigrants from the Netherlands. These immigrant workers not only worked together but lived together, they can be found on the census as neighbors of one another.
The records of these families can be found in The Jews of The British Isles.


  1. My great grandfather Abraham 'Alfred' Levy was a cigar maker. I believe his brother Samuel was too. Their grandparents, Joseph and Rosetta came to London from the Netherlands after 1811 as their daughter Rebecca was born in Amsterdam in 1811 (1851 census)

  2. the second name on that isn't jewish though can they have non jewish names/ i have found in my mums side they where cigar maker one side mother an father one from liverpool other from london

  3. This article is very good & informative. I have gain so much information from this blog. I like your blog. Thanks for the post. I am waiting for your new post.
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  4. Has anybody run into a Myers family, cigar makers, that emigrated to North America?