Jewish Notarial Records
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In countries outside the British Isles and North America, notaries perform the services typically offered by lawyers, solicitors, and attorneys in those areas. The duties of notaries vary from country to country, but one responsibility they usually have is copying important documents such as wills, land and property transactions, marriage and other contracts, and custody records of minor orphans.
Of particular interest to Jewish research are the notarial records of western European and Latin American countries. These records have been kept for centuries; for example, the notarial records in Spain date back to the 1200s.
Notarial records are recorded in the language of the country where the notary lived. The records are seldom indexed and therefore difficult to use, but they include many important genealogical documents. As these records become more widely known, additional indexes may be available. An example of an index of notarial records is:
- Fleury, Jean. Contrats de mariage Juifs en Moselle avant 1792: recensement à usage généalogique de 2021 contrats de mariage notariés (Marriage Contracts of Jews in Moselle since 1792: List for Genealogical Research of 2021 Marriage Contracts from Notarial Records). Plappeville: J. Fleury, 1989. (FHL book 944.3825 V29f). WorldCat entry. Includes marriage contracts from Metz and the department of Moselle, which is part of Alsace-Loraine. It includes bride and groom indexes.
Because many countries licensed their notaries, notarial records are often considered the property of the government. In some countries notaries may have retained their own records or passed them on to their successors. Notarial records are most often found in local, state, and provincial archives and repositories.
The Family History Library has some notarial records for a few countries. For additional information, see the national or state Wiki page for the area where your ancestor lived, or check for these records under the topic "Notarial Records" at the nation or state level in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog.