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24 January 2012

Austria, Vienna Population Cards, 1850-1895 at

For those researching their Jewish ancestors in Austria, especially Vienna, there is a great database available at FamilySearch, in cooperation with the Vienna City and Provincial Archives, has produced the database of Austria, Vienna Population Cards, 1850-1895.

The images to the records are also part of the collection are also included. A search for Israel Antler yields the following record. It includes the date and place of birth, when he arrived, his location and religion.

Clicking on the original image yields the document below.

For those who are researching those who lived in Vienna or the many who travelled through the city this is a wonderful source for identifying more information about those ancestors.

12 January 2012

The Jews of the Bahamas

This year marks 520 years since Christopher Columbus, became the first to eye the New World. Perhaps more importantly to those with Jewish ancestry is this year also marks 520 years since the first Jew set foot in the New World. That piece of history belongs to Luis De Torres, who served as the interpreter for Columbus, when they arrived at San Salvador.

De Torres was obviously an educated man who was credited with being fluent in many languages, including, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew. At the time of the voyage he was officially a Catholic, having had to hide his Jewish life because of the fear brought on by the Inquisition. That fear most likely played a great role in his leaving with Columbus.

Even with the arrival in the New World in 1492, the Bahamas were not truly settled until the early 1600's when the British settled the Islands. The 1700's were a time when not a large community of Jews were there, but those that were tended to be successful residents of the Islands.

The largest groups of Jews to arrive in the Bahamas, didn't do so until after the first World War, when Nassau became home to Jewish families from Eastern Europe and the British Isles. As more Jews came to call the Bahamas home, community's spread north toFreeport. Today, the Jewish population probably doesn't exceed 300 or so, however they do have there own synagogue.

09 January 2012

Netherlands Births and Baptisms, 1564-1910 part 2

A little update about the previous post is in order. The collection of Netherlands Births and Baptisms, for 1564-1910 is actually a collection of various databases. One of those databases is the Netherlands, Gelderland Province Civil Registration, 1811-1950, which includes the records of the Glucksteins.
This collection has the images of the records. The records will need to be translated, but they are still a great tool for anyone doing their family history work. The record below is for Joseph Gluckstein, mentioned in the previous post.

A special thanks to Taco Goulooze for this information. Its nice to have people looking out for me. The above database can be found at

Netherlands Births and Baptisms, 1564-1910

I have written at various times in this blog about the Gluckstein family, who were cigar makers who left the Netherlands and made their way to London where members of the family established the J. Lyons and Co.. A truly remarkable family, whose members continue to leave an incredible legacy all over the world.
Because of the many records that include the family members, there are over 150 Glucksteins listed in the Knowles Collection- Jews of the British Isles, as well as many other related families. However, finding the family in the records of the Netherlands has not always been as fruitful a search. Now, its possible to find some of those Dutch families with the help of
In the Historical Records Collections section of, the following collection can be found.

A search of the database found the records of five children of Lehman Gluckstein and his wife Helena Horn. They are Joseph, Alexander, Salomon, Harry and Bertha. Although the images of the original documents are not shown, the information, such as for Joseph below, gives the FHL Film Number where the documents can be found.

While the record is not complete for the entire country, in fact this couple had at least one more of their eleven children born in the Netherlands, it is a great way to jump family back to the Netherlands, and to fill in those missing family members. Since www.familysearch is a free database, what can be lost for trying?

05 January 2012

The Jews of the Philippines

The Jewish history of the Philippines begins with the Spanish Inquisition of the 1500's. These Jews had 2 choices, be forced into Christianity or flee the country to avoid death. Many of these Jews fled Spain to settle in the new Spanish colonies, such as the Philippines.
Those early settlers who fled to the Philippines soon found that it did not guarantee them the freedoms they sought. In the 1590's at least 10 of these Jews were tried and jailed by the Inquisition. Because there was no established tribunal in the Philippines, these court cases were conducted in Mexico City, Mexico. These cases led most of the Jews to practice their faith in secret, in fact the laws of the time would not have permitted any kind of a public Jewish community. This led to there being no organized community until the late 19th century.
The first group of settlers who arrived in the late 1870's were those from Alsace who were escaping the conditions left after the Franco-Prussian War. Some of these Jews were prominent businessmen who were very influential in future business ventures in the Philippines. This was the perfect time for them to establish themselves in the country because the opening of the Suez Canal brought more business from Europe. This also allowed more Jews to arrive which only made the community stronger. Jews from places such as Turkey, Egypt and Syria soon began arriving.
The freedom to be openly Jewish finally came to the Philippines in 1898, when as a result of the Spanish -American War, the United States took control of the islands from Spain. This was truly the beginning of the Jewish community. With the United States in control, many Americans travelled to the Islands. Many were military who stayed after the war, but there were also merchants, teachers and many other trades. The Jewish community in Manila became home to the largest group of Jews in the early 1900's.
In 1901, two men who would become very influential in the Philippines, Emil Bcharach and Morton Netzorg, arrived in Manila. These two men became very successful and were very generous, strong backers of the Jewish people. In fact the synagogue, Temple Emil and the community center, Bachrach Hall, were financed by the Bachrach family and bore his name. The population in the Philippines before 1930, probably never exceeded 500 people.
The period between the mid 1930's and mid 1940's was time that brought the majority of the Jewsto the Philippines. Some of these were the Jews fleeing Shanghai, which was discussed in an earlier post. These German and Polish Jews no longer felt safe living in their new home, having already fled Eastern Europe. The government and people of the Philippines were instrumental in thousands of Jews being able to flee the war. Eventually about 1500 Jews were able to flee Europe and settle in the Philippines. The Jewish population grew to between 2,500 and 3,000. The bravery of the people of the Philippines will long be remembered. Today the Jewish community in the Philippines probably is no more than 500 to a thousand, mostly located in Manila.