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1839 Census of Eretz Israel & 1840 Census of Alexandria


Introduction to the 1839 Census
The digitization and translation of the 1839 census of Eretz Israel Jewish population is based upon the publication of A Census of the Jews of Eretz Israel (1839) published in 1987 by the Dinur Center at the Hebrew University[1].  The use of Excel for the basis of the transliteration allows, in addition to the database, a demographic analysis of the population by many parameters, giving a comprehensive picture of the Jewish population in Eretz Israel and immigration from various countries to Eretz Israel.[2]
Due to the format of listing the members of a whole family in one line (usually), most of the "missing information" pertains to married women.  The wives are not listed, but "inferred" in the 1839 census because the head of the family unit is listed as being "married". In the other censuses the name of the wife is usually given. 

Distribution of Population by Family Status and Gender of 1839 Census[3]
Family Status
#
Sub-total
Family Status
#
Sub-total
male head of household
1847
 
male child
882
 
male engaged
0
1847
stepson
4
 
wife
1658
 
grandson
6
 
widows
971
 
male orphan
294
1186
female engaged
1
 
female child
671
 
female divorced
3
 
step daughter
8
 
female deserted
1
 
grand daughter
2
 
mother
7
 
female orphan
145
826
elderly mother
3
 
child (gender not stated)
35
 
mother-in-law
6
2650
orphan (gender not stated)
26
61
 
 
 
TOTAL
 
6571

Distribution of Places of Birth by Geographic Bloc in 1839 Census [4]
Eastern Europe Communities
437
Eretz Israel
816
Mediterranean Basin Communities
1298
Oriental Communities
34
Western Europe Communities
18
Total
2603
 
Distribution of Places of Birth by Country [5]
Country
# of People
Country
# of People
Country
# of People
Algeria
218
Hungary
1
North Africa
73
Austria
6
India
3
Poland
29
Belarus
189
Iran
1
Romania
50
Bosnia
30
Iraq
23
Russia
10
Bulgaria
97
Italy
17
Serbia
17
Croatia
2
Kurdistan
4
Slovakia
4
Egypt
5
Latvia
3
Syria
95
England
1
Lebanon
51
Tunisia
12
Eretz Israel
816
Lithuania
45
Turkey
363
France
3
Macedonia
30
Ukraine
87
Germany
4
Moldava
4
Yemen
3
Gibraltar
1
Morocco
33
 
 
Greece
269
Netherlands
4
Total
2603

 
Patterns of Settlement or Congregations
One of the advantages of a database is that it allows data mining, which enables the finding of information that isn't seen by the naked eye reading a list of names of people in a book. Through analysis of the 1,787 people with places of birth outside of Eretz Israel the following pattern of settlement can be seen. The table is of groups of immigrants according to the listing of the place of birth and where they settled in Eretz Israel. The presentation of the information in this format enables the emergence of a pattern of settlement. The list includes only groups of at least 13 people in the town. The choice of 13 was arbitrary, in that it is greater than the number of people needed for a miyan, and even if one to three of the 13 were widows or orphans under the age of 13, the group would still have had a miyan in which they could pray according to their own customs.
Patterns of Settlement
Country
of Birth

Town
Kollel
# of
people

Country
of Birth

Town
Kollel
# of
people

Algeria
Acre
Sephardim
14
Macedonia
Jerusalem
Sephardim
30
Haifa
Sephardim
21
Morocco
Safed
Sephardim
12
Safed
Sephardim
102
North Africa
Jerusalem
Sephardim
54
Tiberias
Sephardim
58
Romania
Safed
Hassidim
28
Belarus
Hebron
Habad
35
Serbia
Jerusalem
Sephardim
17
Jerusalem
Prushim
118
Syria
Jerusalem
Sephardim
35
Tiberias
Russia
19
Nablous
Sephardim
22
Bosnia
Jerusalem
Sephardim
21
Safed
Sephardim
14
Bulgaria
Jerusalem
Sephardim
89
Turkey
Hebron
Sephardim
15
Greece
Jerusalem
Sephardim
247
Jerusalem
Sephardim
331
Italy
Safed
Sephardim
14
Ukraine
Safed
Hassidim
28
Lebanon
Sidon
Sephardim
51
Tiberias
Volin
24
Lithuania
Jerusalem
Prushim
41
 
 
 
 

1840 Census of Alexandria
From the documents available, it seems to be the only commissioned by Montefiore outside of the administrative Ottoman boundaries of Eretz Israel[6], although the city of Sidon in Lebanon was included in the 1839 census of Eretz Israel. The reason for this being that many Jews from Safed found refuge there after the 1837 earthquake that destroyed the city. 
The information collected on the residents of Alexandria is similar to that of the 1839 census of Eretz Israel. An outstanding difference is the registering of the age, which for the majority ends with a 5 or a 0. In the Eretz Israel census the ages registered seem to be more specific.
 
The population of Alexandria is more homogenous than any of the cities of Eretz Israel. All of the residents are Sephardim, with most of them born in Alexandria. A few of the residents were born in Safed, Sidon, Thessaloniki, Tripoli and Morocco. But since the place of birth is only given for the head of the household it is hard to give exact numbers for those born outside of Alexandria. An in-depth analysis of this census can be found at:
 http://www.nebidaniel.org/documents/E-MONTEFIORE_CENSUS.doc
 
Project Coordinators: Mathilde A. Tager, Rose A. Feldman, Billie Stein
Dec 2008 



[1] A Census of the Jews of Eretz Israel (1839): (MS. MONTEFIORE 528), Jerusalem, The Dinur Center, The Hebrew University (Hebrew).
[2]  Hollingsworth, T. H. (1969) Historical Demography, London.
[3] Feldman, R.A., (2008). A new look at the 1839 Montefiore census of Eretz Israel. Shemot, 16, (2), 13-16.

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