Jewish population density in Glasgow in 1901
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem has published an interim report of its research into the demographic and genealogical profile of Scottish Jewry since its inception almost two centuries ago. Among other things, the initial results, throw fascinating light on the origins of the families who came to Scotland, mainly from Eastern Europe during the 19th century.
This ambitious project was awarded a Heritage research grant from the Rothschild Foundation, and is sponsored by both SCoJeC and the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council. It has made extensive use of online sources from the National Records of Scotland, and of the rich records held by Scottish Jewish Archives Centre. In addition, large-scale digitisation of directories, public reports, newspapers, and out-of-copyright books, has revealed previously unknown references to Jewish people in Scotland. New light has been shed on the development of both the Glasgow and Edinburgh communities, while some long-standing but untested assumptions about the numbers and settlement patterns of Scottish Jews in general have been challenged and corrected.
One extraordinary aspect to emerge is extremely high turn-over of Jews in Scotland throughout the 19th century – in any given decade a majority of the Jews in the country moved on elsewhere, either within the UK or to foreign parts, only to be replaced by gradually increasing numbers of new immigrants. Despite the high degree of fluidity within the community, it grew from a score or two at the beginning of the 19th century to just under 9,000 in 1901.
Beyond the intrinsic interest of tracing the community’s roots and branches, the outcome of the research will be unique: the most complete series of systematic datasets of 19th century Scottish Jewry ever assembled, and the first countrywide demographical and genealogical study of a self-standing Jewish community of some import.
Click here to read the interim report.
Click here to read Two Hundred Years of Scottish Jewry: A Demographic and Genealogical Profile.