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ViewMate Posting VM 73054

Submitted by David Aylward

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Information Picture Question
Category: Translation - Other
Approval Date: 4/28/2019 2:17 PM
Family Surname: Levy
Country: England
Date of Image: 1851
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This image (1 of 2) relates to my gt gt grandfather Henry Levy and his marriage to Catherine Michaels. I believe it to be in Aramaic and would very much appreciate help in translating it into English. They were married in the Great Synagogue Dukes Place London. I know that Henry's father was Levy Levy but would love to know if any other relations are mentioned as well as any dowry. Many thanks, David

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On  Response 
4/29/2019 3:36 PM This is a wonderful Ketuba; you are lucky to have it.

I cannot translate Aramaic very well, but here is what I can tell you.

The groom's Hebrew name was Tzvi; his father -- as you indicated -- was Levy. The bride's Hebrew name was Chaya, and her father was Shimon. No family names are mentioned, but both father's were Levites.
No other relatives are mentioned in the main text. I cannot read the full names of the witnesses; one had the first name of Shimon, and the other had the first name of Aharon. The witnesses would presumably not have been close relatives; they appear to have been important members of the synagogue (the first seems to have been the secretary of the congregation).

The bottom-most signature is that of the groom ["Tzvi, son of Levi, the Levite, the groom. The name written over his is hard to make out. It almost looks as if the first name reads something like "Kasiras", which might represent Katherine, although her name in the Ketuba is given as Chaya. The second word is a phonetic representation of the Hebrew word for bride.

As far as the dowry goes: As you say, this is written in Aramaic, and it uses the standard text for Ketubas; the dowry in such documents was also pretty much standardized, and fell within a range of amounts that could be filled in. You can see the standard text here: http://www.jewishcelebrations.com/wedding/Orthodox/KetubahText.htm. In the case of the ketuba that you have posted, the amounts were 100 zuzim, then another 50 silver pieces plus an additional 50 silver pieces, totaling 100 silver pieces.
The marriage took place on a Tuesday [which, by the Hebrew calendar could also have meant Monday evening after sunset], the 15th of Tamuz of the year 5611 [which corresponds to July 15th, 1851, if it was Tuesday, or July 14th, if it was Monday night].
4/29/2019 4:13 PM This is a Ketuba (marriage contract mandatory by Jewish law).

Date: Tuesday the 15th of Tammuz 5611 (July 15 1851)
City: London
Groom: Tzvi son of Levi the Levite
Bride: Chaya daughter of Shimon the Levite
Apparently the text is in a form written for previously married woman, standard Ketuba text with standard required dowry for previously married woman.
Witness 1: Shimon son of Yechiel, secretary and trustee ...
Witness 2: Aron G... the levite, .... and trustee of above community

Added under the witnesses:
With handing the pen
Tzvi son of Levi the Levite the groom

Followed by the signatures:
Henry Levy
Catherine Michaels
July 15 5611/1851
4/30/2019 10:04 PM just a small note about the date: in london, on that date, the next hebrew day would have started about 9:00 pm. it's unlikely that they would have started a wedding later than 9:00 pm on a weekday, when people would have needed to go to work the next day. also, note that the 15th of the hebrew month is a full moon, which would make it easier and safer to go home afterwards - a nice touch even if it wasn't intentional.
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