JCR-UK and Gibraltar Part Two

I live most of the time in Spain only thirty minutes by car from Gibraltar.  I discovered that Gibraltar is a territory of the United Kingdom and has been since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.  Gibraltar passports and driving licenses have UK stamped across them and it is strange when one goes across the border to find traditional English policemen (albeit many with Spanish accents) and red buses.

It was with that thought that I decided to approach the Gibraltar Jewish Community to find out if they might be willing to allow their records to go online. An appointment was made with their archivist, Mesod Belilo, and with fear and trepidation I went to meet him expecting to be thrown out on my ear.  Far from it.  Mesod is a wonderful and knowledgeable man who was quite delighted at the idea that more Sephardim would be able to find ancestors amongst the couple of hundred thousand plus records held in the All-UK database (www.jewishgen.org/databases/UK) and personally had great foresight to realise how invaluable the records would be to worldwide genealogists.  First though he had to persuade the Board of the Community.  After quite a number of visits I finally signed the agreement with them last week. 

JCR-UK has a new tab at the top, Gibraltar, to join England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Channel Island and the Isle of Man.  The four synagogues which opened in the 18th and 19th centuries and which are still active are represented on the site with photographs. 

There are photographs of a few graves of the Jewish evacuees who died whilst in Northern Ireland during Word War II.  The non combatant inhabitants of Gibraltar, some 10,000 to 11,000 , were first evacuated to Morocco but were shortly thereafter sent back and then went to England and from there some to Northern Ireland and a few others to Jamaica.

The first tranche of vital records are in the All-UK database and will be joined by many more once they have been transcribed.

I do hope that there are many of you who will look at the Gibraltar web pages and search for records amongst the Gibraltar population of a couple of centuries ago.

Louise Messik

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