JTS Digital Library: View the ketubot collection

Reader Bob Rubin Mayo asks about the international ketubot (Jewish wedding contracts) collection at the Jewish Theological Seminary Library.

He wants to know if they have been translated into English, are indexed, or how one would search for a family member’s ketubot?

The answers to the first two questions are yes and yes, and the answer to the third is below.

Tracing the Tribe previously posted about the JTS Digital Library when it launched in February 2008.

Access the International Ketubot Collection here. It contains 441 Jewish marriage certificates, imaged, translated and indexed.

The certificates come from many Italian cities, Jerusalem, New York, Dubrovnik, Philadelphia, Turkey, Corfu, North Africa, India, London, Syria, Germany, Netherlands, a large Persian collection, Bukhara, Algeria, other US locations, Salonika, Egypt, France, Morocco, Czechoslovakia, Gibraltar, Poland, Trieste, Yemen, Latvia, Prague, Iraq, Romania, Austria, Galicia, Russia and other locations.

Scroll down to “Ketubah Collection” and click. In the drop-down menu, choose the ketubot collection in the top box, and then write a family name in the bottom search box. Added note: Since most ketubot do not list family surnames, searching for the given name of bride or groom may bring back more relevant results. And since Jewish naming patterns consist of repeating the given Hebrew names of past generations, there may be considerable links down to contemporary generations.

Here is the information on a ketubah from Venice, pictured above, dated 5451 Sivan 9 or June 6, 1691.

There are numerous fields, including description of the artistic decorations and the names in Hebrew and English translation of bride and groom, languages, style of script, etc.

The two columns of text are separated by a spiral column and surrounded by a wide border of large flowers and clusters of grapes. A large panel above the text contains a framed depiction of Jerusalem. Winged angels at top blow trumpets, from which hang banners bearing the two families’ coats of arms.

There are various fields with information about each ketubah, including groom, bride and witnesses.

In this case, the groom is Isaac, son of Samuel Salom (=Shalom); the bride is Rachel Pinso, daughter of Abraham, son of Israel. The two witnesses are Isaac Pesah, son of Menahem b. Elijah, and Moses Magioro, son of Daniel.

This is a wonderful collection both from the decorative viewpoint as well as a Jewish genealogical resource. Take a look at the collection and view the diverse styles illustrated.

Do check out the other digital collections at the link above; you might find even more information on your families of interest.

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