Introduction to the 1839 Census
The digitization ו- translation of the 1839 census of Eretz Israel Jewish population is based upon the publication of A Census of the Jews of Eretz Israel (1839) published in 1987 by the Dinur Center the Hebrew University. The use of Excel for the basis of the transliteration allows, in addition to the database, a demographic analysis of the population by many parameters, giving a comprehensive picture of the Jewish population in Eretz Israel and immigration from various countries to Eretz Israel.
Due to the format of listing the members of a whole family in one line (usually), most of the “missing information” pertains to married women. The wives are not listed, but “inferred” in the 1839 census because the head of the family unit is listed as being “married”. In the other censuses the name of the wife is usually given.
|Distribution of Population by Family Status ו- Gender of 1839 Census|
|Family Status||#||Sub-total||Family Status||#||Sub-total|
|male head of household||1847||male child||882|
|female engaged||1||female child||671|
|female divorced||3||step daughter||8|
|female deserted||1||grand daughter||2|
|elderly mother||3||child (gender not stated)||35|
|mother-in-law||6||2650||orphan (gender not stated)||26||61|
|Distribution of Places of Birth by Geographic Bloc in 1839 Census |
|Eastern Europe Communities||437|
|Mediterranean Basin Communities||1298|
|Western Europe Communities||18|
|Distribution of Places of Birth by Country |
|Country||# of People||Country||# of People||Country||# of People|
Patterns of Settlement or Congregations
One of the advantages of a database is that it allows data mining, which enables the finding of information that isn’t seen by the naked eye reading a list of names of people in a book. Through analysis of the 1,787 people with places of birth outside of Eretz Israel the following pattern of settlement can be seen. The table is of groups of immigrants according to the listing of the place of birth ו- where they settled in Eretz Israel. The presentation of the information in this format enables the emergence of a pattern of settlement. The list includes only groups of least 13 people in the town. The choice of 13 was arbitrary, in that it is greater than the number of people needed for a miyan, ו- even if one to three of the 13 were widows or orphans under the age of 13, the group would still have had a miyan in which they could pray according to their own customs.
|Patterns of Settlement|
1840 Census of Alexandria
From the documents available, it seems to be the only commissioned by Montefiore outside of the administrative Ottoman boundaries of Eretz Israel, although the city of Sidon in Lebanon was included in the 1839 census of Eretz Israel. The reason ל- being that many Jews from Safed found refuge there after the 1837 earthquake that destroyed the city.
The information collected on the residents of Alexandria is similar to that of the 1839 census of Eretz Israel. An outstanding difference is the registering of the age, which for the majority ends with a 5 or a 0. In the Eretz Israel census the ages registered seem to be more specific.
The population of Alexandria is more homogenous than any of the cities of Eretz Israel. All of the residents are Sephardim, with most of them born in Alexandria. A few of the residents were born in Safed, Sidon, Thessaloniki, Tripoli and Morocco. But since the place of birth is only given for the head of the household it is hard to give exact numbers for those born outside of Alexandria. An in-depth analysis of this census can be found at:
Project Coordinators: Mathilde A. Tager, Rose A. Feldman, Billie Stein
 A Census of the Jews of Eretz Israel (1839): (MS. MONTEFIORE 528), Jerusalem, The Dinur Center, The Hebrew University (Hebrew).
 Hollingsworth, T. H. (1969) Historical Demography, London.
 Feldman, R.A., (2008). A new look the 1839 Montefiore census of Eretz Israel. Shemot, 16, (2), 13-16.