Tumular inscriptions in the cemeteries of Algiers



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Publication Cercle de Généalogie Juive 2008,

The context

In Algeria, before 1830, Jews are not writing, if we except religious books, generally published at Leghorn. Family events such as births, weddings, deaths are not recorded. The mohels (circumcisers) had no registers and there are no memorbuch. Until the French administration introduced the official registration in mid-1836, sources for genealogy are very scarce.
Except partial data found in a few books written by travellers, diplomats or officers and a few scraps of information found in le Moniteur Algérien, we know only three books devoted to the Jews :
Les juifs dans l’Afrique septentrionale, by Abraham Cahen, found on Gallica, Le livre d’Or des Israélites Algériens by Haddey-Devoulx, recently republished by CGJ, and les Inscriptions tumulaires des anciens cimetières israélites d’Alger by Isaac Bloch, that we republish now, with an index.
Isaac Bloch who was Chief Rabbi of Oran, from 1878 to 1882 and Chief Rabbi of Algiers up to 1890, describes forty-eight gravestones that he discovered at the Saint Eugène cemetery, and give the translation of the epitaphs written in Hebrew. The oldest tomb is the tomb of Juda Khallac deceased in 1620, the most recent one is that of Isaac Aboulker, who died in 1815.

The book

In this book, Isaac Bloch sometimes gives historical information concerning people mentioned on the gravestones. For this purpose he has, among others, exploited the archives of the Spanish consulate of Algiers, which provides a certain vision of the Jewish community of Algiers at the beginning of the 19thcentury.
Although it contains rather few data on the family links of the people mentioned, this book presents a tremendous interest since it yields numerous dated landmarks on the Jewish community of Algiers during nearly two centuries. As such it is a precious help for any research on Algiers at the end of the 18th and in the first half of the 19th century