|Jewish Wedding in Aleppo, Syria in 1914|
Record keeping by the government in many of areas where Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews lived simply didn’t exist before the 1920s. With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after WWI, the new governments in those areas began to keep records of things like births and marriages, but how does one research family events that occurred earlier? The short answer is, unfortunately, with difficultly. Since the governments did not systemically keep track of events, you must look to the local Jewish communities and their own records, if they exist.
That said, one of the more interesting projects to assist a specific community with family research is the Sephardic Heritage Project, which has indexed a number of important collections of vital records from Aleppo, Syria, including:
- Aleppo Britot – More than 7500 circumcision records dating from 1868-1945
- Aleppo Marriage Database – 1354 records – For the most part, the data covers 1847-1850, 1868-1877, and 1893-1934. However, we included a few records found in 1811and 1855 that were derived from Ketubot manuscripts.
- Aleppo Eulogies Database – Deaths in Aleppo, Syria, covering sporadic entries from periods as early as 1716 -1946
This effort has been led by Sarina Roffé, who founded the project in 2004, and had overseen the collection and translation of records in Israel and New York. You can read Sarina’s description of the Aleppo Jewish community in her JewishGen article The Jews of Aleppo.
Note that these databases are all hosted on Jeffrey Malka’s SephardicGen web site. For general information on Sephardi/Mizrachi genealogy, I recommend starting with Jeffrey Malka’s Resource Guide on the Israel Genealogy Research Association web site.