Bulgaria Jewish Records

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Bulgaria
Jewish Records

Introduction

Most of the archival material of the Sofia Jewish community was burned by the community itself before Jews were deported from the capital during World War II. However, death registers for Sofia are held both in the synagogue and in the Jewish Plot Office of the Municipal Cemetery. The records cover a period of at least 100 years; the first registration date unknown.

In the municipal government administration, vital records exist from 1878, the year Bulgaria became independent. For Sofia, which included half of the Jewish population in 1948, these records are kept in Rayonen Obshtinski Savet (municipal district councils). It is not possible to obtain copies of birth, marriage, or death certificates by mail. These certificates must be requested in person, although it is possible to hire an attorney or notary to do the task. Small fees are required for each certificate. The Family History Library has microfilms of civil registration for the districts of Sofia, Pazardzhik, and Plovdiv that begin in 1893. These images are available on the FamilySearch Catalog. [1]

Archives and Libraries

The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem (CAHJP)
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram
P.O. Box 39077
Jerusalem 91390
Phone: +972 2-658-6249
Email: cahjp@nli.org.il
Website: cahjp.nli.org.il

The CAHJP holds microfilmed group passports of the immigrants who arrived in Israel from all Jewish-Bulgarian communities between October 1948 and May 1949. Unfortunately, the lists are not arranged alphabetically and some pages are illegible. The archives also has lists of immigrant surnames by ships and various records for different time periods from a number of communities in Bulgaria. They also have records from a few Jewish communities.

The Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center
Tel Aviv University
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv
Carter Building, 3rd floor, rooms 318-319
Israel
Phone: 03-6409799
Email: diaspora@post.tau.ac.il
Website: www.tau.ac.il

The Diaspora Research Center holds the results of a 1990-94 project that collected photographs and documentation on Bulgarian Jewish archives, cemeteries, institutions, religious objects, neighborhoods, private and public libraries, and synagogues. The project includes a systematic photographic record of the archives of Jewish communities kept in the State Archives in Sofia. The collection includes the archives of all the Jewish communities from the 16th century until 1960.

Ben Zvi Institute
Ibn Gabirol St 14
P.O. Box 7660
Jerusalem 9107601
Israel
Phone: +972 2-539-8888
Website: https://www.ybz.org.il/?CategoryID=278

The Institute has an expansive collection of manuscripts and rare books pertaining to the history, life, and culture of Jewish communities under Islam. The Bulgarian-language daily newspaper, Izraelski Far (1949-1998) may be found here. The Institute also has the full collection of the Annual (formerly Godishnik), which were published by the Shalom Organization of the Jews of Bulgaria since 1966. The Annual includes many biographies.

National Library of Israel
Edmond J. Safra Campus
Givat Ram, POB 39105
Jerusalem 9139002
Israel
Phone: 074-733-6400
Email: reference@nli.org.il
Website: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/nlis/en

The Library may hold the Bulgarian-language daily newspaper, Izraelski Far (1949-1998). It also holds the full collection of the Annual (formerly Godishnik), which were published by the Shalom Organization of the Jews of Bulgaria since 1966. The Annual includes many biographies. [2]

Online Sources

There is a Bulgarian genealogical discussion gropu at www.genealogy.com.

Printed Sources

  • Tagger, Mathilde A. "A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames in Bulgaria: A Window on Its History." In: Avotaynu Volume XXV, No. 4 (Winter 2009), pp. 12-17. [FHL INTL. 296.05 Av79 v. 24].
  • Arditti, Benjamin. Vidni evrei v Bulgaria (Well-known Jews in Bulgaria). Tel Aviv: s.n., 1969-1973. This book includes 124 biographies for 89 different persons (some women) who played a role in Jewish communities. It covers approximately 1850-1970. The biographies are about both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, are written by different persons (including the editor), and are classified in alphabetic order renewed in each volume. Photographs are included. All of Arditti's articles end with bibliographic notes and is a good genealogical source especially because Bulgarian Jews use patronymics, meaning their father's name follows the given name. Surnames included are: Adroke, Aftaliyon, Aladjem, Alfasa, Alkalay, Almosnino, Alshekh, Arditti, Arie, Arueti, Asseo, Asher, Assa, Azaria, Aziel, Bakish, Bali, Barukh, Bassan, Bashmutski, Behar, Belkovsky, Ben Shushan, Benmayor, Bentsion, Benun, Benyamin, Berakha, Bidjirano, Daniel, Dankovits, Davidov, Erenprays, Eshkenazi, Farkhi, Gabe, Geron, Graciani, Haimov, Hananel, Herbst, Isakov, Israel, Kalev, Kalmi, Kamerman, Kaneti, Katalan, Khezkiya, Koen, Kordoba, Koso, Krispin, Levi, Menahemov, Meshulam, Mevorakh, Mezan, Miko, Mushonov, Navon, Nitsani, Ovadia, Pardo, Pasken, Perets, Pipo, Piti, Rabiner, Rimalovski, Romano, Rozanes, Ruetel, Semo, Shats, Shekerdjiyski, Shishedji, Sidi, Surudjon, Tadjer, Tsadikov, Ventura, Yasharov, Yosef, Yosifof, and Zilbershtain.
  • Arditti, Benjamin. Yehudei Bulgaria - Kehilat Shumla (Jews of the Bulgaria-Shumen community). Tel Aviv: s.n., 1968. This book has four chapters that deal with the history of the community from the beginning of the 18th century till 1948, when the massive aliyah to Israel began. The last chapter consists of alphabetically arranged biographies of individuals well known in the community. Includes list of family names current in Shumen (with their origins and meanings), 60 Sephardic names and five Ashkenazi, a list of 54 teachers at the local Jewish School, biographies of the nine Shumen Jews who earned a diploma from the Ecole Normale Orientale de Paris of Alliance Israélite Universelle, chronological list of 28 Jewish soldiers from Shumen killed during the Bulgarian wars (1912-18), and soldiers killed during the Israel War of Independence in 1948.
  • Sack, Sallyann Amdur and Gary Mokotoff. Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. Bergenfield, N.J.: Avotaynu. 2004

References

  1. Genealogical Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Outline for Genealogical Research in Bulgaria,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1982.
  2. Genealogical Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Outline for Genealogical Research in Bulgaria,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1982.