THE LONDON JEWS DATABASE (pre-1850)
This is a database of names addresses and some other information about
Jews who lived in London, UK, in the first half of the nineteenth century.
It has been compiled principally from London trade directories of the period,
with a few other sources, such as subscription lists and some printed
obituaries. During this period, many smaller tradesmen literally
"lived above the shop" or worked from their homes.
Thus a majority (but not all!) of the business addresses given in directories
were also residential addresses. There are some limitations.
The names were culled from many publications just by recognising Jewish names.
Obviously, there were Jews with non-Jewish sounding names and non-Jews with
Jewish sounding names, so there is some room for error.
Many of the directories employed agents to gather information.
However, most agents were reluctant to canvass for names in the slums of
Victorian cities. Directories rarely listed all families in
multi-occupied houses. They tended to emphasise the craftsmen,
traders and professional inhabitants. Few labourers or domestic
servants were included. The directories tend to be more complete
in their coverage of business and commercial activities and are often the
only reliable source available.
This database of over 9,000 entries was collected over a period of some
years, and there is still additional material which was collected in notebooks
before the advent of the personal computer, and has yet to be entered.
It is intended that updates will be forthcoming.
Much work went into gathering this material, which is being made available
to JewishGen on condition that it is not reprinted or used for commercial
purposes. Those who find it interesting or useful may wish to show their
appreciation by a modest charitable contribution to South Shore Yeshiva,
William Street, Hewlett, New York. This school is producing students
who will keep the Jewish flame and tradition alive for future generations.
Users will obviously want to query by surname.
A less obvious method is to record the streets that people lived in and
then query by street address, using the "Global Text" search type.
This will reveal who (if in the database) lived there earlier or later.
Sometimes businesses were passed on to relatives.
These are the sources which were used:
Alexanders Hebrew Rituals, published in 1819, is an early book explaining
the tenets of the Jewish religion in English. It has a subscription list
that includes names and addresses.
Andrews directory of 1790 is early and includes mainly the better class of
This is an eclectic selection of marriage records taken from volume three of
Bevis Mark's published records. Records included, from 1839 to 1860,
were chosen because they are connected with families already included in
Boyle's directory was published in 1800. It has a limited selection
of Jewish merchants.
This is a listing of watch and clock makers and the year (from 1769 to 1847)
is the year of commencement of each person's activities in this field.
The Gentlemans Magazine. This is an important source of earlier
British obituaries. It includes some Jews, surprisingly of all classes.
Entries here cover the period 1788 to 1853.
William Holden issued an earlier Triennial business. His directories
of 1799, 1801, 1802, 1805, 1809 and 1814 were used in the database.
He went out of business in 1814.
These are a selection of family announcements and other advertisements
that were printed in the London Jewish Chronicle.
The Jewish Chronicle carried only limited advertising and
announcements until the tax on advertisements was abolished in 1853.
However, the records included in the database are selected from the years
1844 to 1869.
In 1817 Andrew Johnstone published a four part directory of London that
included an alphabetical arrangement of London streets and that also listed
the names and occupations of each householder, an alphabetical list of people,
and one of trades arranged alphabetically with the names of persons engaged
in each trade. This was the most comprehensive directory of it's time
and includes many Jewish tradesmen, shopkeepers and artisans.
The directory was not a financial success, however, and was discontinued
after the second edition in 1818. Both the 1817 and the 1818 editions
were consulted for the database.
Henry Kent issued directories of London merchants from 1734 to 1771.
Afterwards, this directory was published by others until it was discontinued
in 1827. Directories for the years 1795, 1800, 1814, 1818, 1820,
1825 and 1827 were consulted for the database.
The David Levi Machzor of 1807. At the end of volume 6 (Shavuos)
there is a subscription list, with names and addresses.
James Pigot, who started his career as an engraver in Manchester, produced his
first national directory in 1820. In 1839 he formed a partnership with
Isaac Slater, but withdrew from London directories in 1840 because of
competition from Kelly (see below). His directories were successful
with information collected by personnel canvass. They included more
Jewish shopkeepers, tradesmen, artisans and others that any previous
directories. The editions of 1824, 1827, 1828, 1832, 1836, 1839 and 1840
were consulted and provided material for the database.
This is the London Post Office Directory, which was taken over in 1835 by
Frederick Kelly, who was then chief inspector of the inland letter carriers.
Originally (and controversially) he used Post Office employees to gather
information. They circulated forms on their rounds and sold directories
on commission. Eventually, Kelly's directories bought or destroyed
all rivals, being issued annually until the Second World War.
Volumes consulted for the database include 1841, 1846, 1849, 1860, 1861
Robson's London directories were discontinued because of competition from
Kelly. Years consulted for the database were 1820, 1823, 1828, 1830,
1831, 1835, 1839, 1840, 1841, and 1843. A hard copy of the 1830 edition
is in the Tower Hamlets local history library in Bancroft Road, Mile End.
This directory was issued in 1844.
These are references that were printed in volume 29 of the Transactions
of the Jewish Historical Society of England.
This directory was published in 1822.
The Universal British Directory, compiled largely by John Wilkes was
issued in five volumes at irregular intervals between 1790 and 1799.
The records in the database are tken from a volume published in 1798.
This is the Voice of Jacob, an Anglo-Jewish newspaper published in
London from 1841 to 1846. The database includes some obituaries,
advertisements and other announcements.
This directory was published in 1790.
This is an interesting and comprehensive directory that includes detailed
listings of streets in the Jewish area of East London. Material
from directories for 1852, 1853 and 1855 is included in the database.
The New York Public Library has hard copies.
These are burials in the Bancroft Road cemetery of the Western Synagogue
which were listed in a book about the history of the Western Synagogue.
The Bancroft Road cemetery was severely damaged by a direct hit from a bomb
in the Second World War. Most tombstones were destroyed and the
burial records were lost. The burials were of people who died
between 1811 and 1854.
For additional data on the Jews of London, see
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Data Copyright ©1999, 2002 by
Latest revision or update: 15 January 2004 (WSB)