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British Proteges and Subjects


The British Consulate in Jerusalem opened its doors in 1839 as a result of increasing interest in Eretz Israel by European missionaries that coincided with the onset of immigration by Jews especially based on nationalist reasons.



The British Consulate in Jerusalem opened its doors in 1839 as a result of increasing interest in Eretz Israel by western powers and missionaries in the fragmentation of the "sick man of Europe", the Ottoman Empire . The imperialistic reasons of the western powers for setting up consulates in Eretz Israel coincided with the onset of immigration by Jews especially based on Zionistic reasons. On the other hand, Ottoman rule was severely weakened due to the Egyptian invasion of Eretz Israel. Eventually, the Ottomans re-conquered the land but were so weakened that they were coerced into authorizing the activities of European powers in the country. England was one of the most active powers in Eretz Israel.
With the outbreak of WW I in 1914, the British Consulate had to close. The Consul burnt one part of the archives, but the remaining part was moved to the American Consulate until the USA joined the war against Turkey, at which point the archives were then moved to the Spanish Consulate. At the end of the British Mandate in 1948, the archives were transferred to the Israel State Archives. Unfortunately, even more damage was incurred during the Israel War of Independence.
In addition to various types of correspondence, the Israel State Archives and the Archives Department of the Jewish National and University Library hold lists of British protégés and subjects of Eretz Israel that were registered, not only in Jerusalem, but also in Jaffa, Haifa, Safed, Nablus and Hebron.
The Israel Genealogical Society has indexed two lists that contain diverse information on Jews. One document found in the Israel State Archives is # 786/3 and the second document, is # 1513, found in the Jewish National and University Library. The two documents were combined into one database, even though details in each document were different. The italicized names signify that they are found in both lists.   Sometimes whole families are registered and sometimes one can only find heads of families. Many of the Jews were Russians who rejected their Russian citizenship or were from North Africa, especially from Algeria, who rejected their French citizenship. When the term "foreign" is used, it refers to non-British. The lists are in English, and the spelling of the names is as they are in the lists. Therefore there can be a number of different ways to spell one name like: Benjamin or Benyamin; Amzalak, Amzallag and Amzalag, or Yussef and Yossef.
Explanation for some of the columns:
In the column following "Country of Birth" comes the "British Consulate Data" information.
The first column give information on the registration:
If the document number starts with 1513, there can be multiply listings. You will find the certifcate number preceeded by #, and after it the year of the listing.
If the document number starts with 786, only the first yearof registration appears.
In the next column comes information on former registations, sometimes even including the place of registration. # comes before the certificate number, and then the year.
In the columns after that comes information about the former consulate where the people were registered. Not all the people in the document had this information listed for them.
Project Coordinator Mathilde A. Tagger
Dec 2007


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