INTRODUCTION

Jewish Surnames in 18th & 19th Century Insurance Policies formerly at London Guildhall Library

Researched and collated by the late George Rigal

 

Brief notes on the arrangement of the Text

Surnames are arranged in alphabetical order. Where there are variations in the spelling of a surname they are amalgamated under the most common one with the variations noted. In the case of Solomon/Solomons/Salaman etc., the script makes it difficult to tell the spelling intended so all the variations are grouped together in one under ‘Solomon’ with the apparent reading of the surname noted.

Forenames for each surname are also arranged alphabetically. Where no forename is given, the entries are placed before those with known forenames. Partnerships and companies, which do not have forenames, have been dealt with in the same way. Policies that can be positively linked to each individual are grouped together. Where they are a number of individuals with the same name, they are placed in the sequence of the first date found for each person.

Only policies which are linked by cross references are placed together within a group. Where there is some doubt as to continuity, policies are separated and the forename repeated.

A number of people were insuring at more than one address. In such cases policies for each address are separated within the entry. Frequently there would be both a trading and a residential address or, alternatively, two trading addresses. Insurers of residential addresses are usually described as ‘Gent.’ or ‘Gentlewoman’.

All addresses where no town is given are in London.

The decision as to whether a name is Jewish or not is subjective. However in 99% of names there is little doubt. There will however have been an appreciable percentage of Jewish names that have not been picked up. Where there is any doubt names are included rather than excluded. Some doubtful names are marked by queries. From 1813 some policies taken out by Jews had a special Jews clause, which appeared more frequently as time went on. It appears as the words ‘Jews Clause’ at the end of the policy or it is given in full, being some variation of ‘No goods paid for which are stolen or lost by removal at or in consequence of a fire or alarm of fire’. This is an added confirmation of identity.

When more than one name appears on a policy details are given in the entry for each person. This text does not indicate the sequence of names, which is of interest as names normally are in order of seniority. Where a female policy holder marries and her policy is transferred to her husband she has not been listed separately under her new married name.

Policy numbers frequently repeat within a group for two entirely different reasons. Hand in  Hand Insurance allocated a policy number to each house and it remained constant, normally being renewed every seven years, regardless of who was in occupation. The Sun insurance policy numbers stayed with the individual insurer and reappear in the endorsements as he or she moved from one address to another. The Sun had no fixed period for renewal.

Many policy registers and endorsement books have not survived, so many changes of address will have been omitted in the period up to 1815. Each endorsement is noted at the foot of the main policy entry as a figure group indicating the endorsement volume/page. The earliest policies are dated 1690 and policies ledgers are not available in most series after the mid 1860s. There is no indication on most policies as to how long they continued in force. From notes of claims on some policies, it can be seen that they continued for as long as sixty years from the date of issue.

George Rigal

Jewish Surnames in London Registered Insurance Policies      How to Locate a Policy

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