Amsterdam, Netherlands

Province: Noord - Holland
Coordinates: 52° 21′ N, 04° 55′ E

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Preface and objective

These pages are intended to encourage those who had Jewish ancestors living in Amsterdam during the 18th and 19th Century, to contribute to a pool of common genealogical information in this area of research for the benefit of all.

My research since 1994 has been largely into Dutch families who were established in London before the introduction of compulsory UK registration of births, marriages and deaths in 1837 and for those families that arrived from Holland soon after and before the mass immigration from Eastern Europe from 1880 onwards began.

For anyone interested in the sociological and well as the purely genealogical I can do no better than to recommend the reader to a book based on her PhD thesis by Karina Sonnenberg-Stern entitled Emancipation and Poverty: The Ashkenzi Jews of Amsterdam 1796-1850, St Martin's Press (ISBN: 9780333985366; Publication Date: January 2000; Formats: Ebook (PDF); Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; Series: St Antony's Series).

I quote from her publisher's description:

This book is the first comprehensive study examining the impact of emancipation on the lives of Amsterdam's Jews. The enactment of equality in 1796 failed to provide these Jews with similar rights and opportunities as the non-Jews; two-thirds of Amsterdam's Jewish community remained poor for much of the nineteenth century. Even though the declaration of emancipation should have provided the Jews with legal and social equality, the Dutch authorities continued to retain their perception of the Jews as a separate and different group of predominantly uncultured paupers and never made it their priority to remove all restrictive measures.

I have concentrated on Ashkenazi families since the records of the minority Sephardic Community of Amsterdam are excellently documented on the Internet and in elsewhere.

I have accumulated within these narrow parameters a database which contains over 11,000 names and hope that following the publication of these webpages I shall be able to find linkages to other researchers data and to this end I appeal to visitors to these pages to contact me if they are researching or have data relating to Dutch Jewish ancestors known to be living in London before 1891.

There is a great tendency to pursue patrilineal ancestry and the descendants of female members of ancestral families are lost to us. For instance after much sweat and tears we may be fortunate enough to have found a direct ancestor on the 1851 Whitechapel census and discover to our delight that our great-grandfather had 5 sisters all of whom may (or may not) have married - but who did they marry and when, how many children did they have, when did they die?… those questions are very hard to answer or in the case of a very common Jewish name is almost impossible. Thus we all have third and remoter cousins who remain unknown to us.

Content last updated Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 11:48 PM US Eastern Daylight Time

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Compiled by Aubrey Jacobus
Updated January 2024
Copyright © 2014 Aubrey Jacobus
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