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  • User's Guide
    Jewish Marriage in Amsterdam 1598-1811


    The registers
    The 15 238 records used for the present book were found in 119 registers of intended marriages which are part of the DTB series in the Amsterdam Municipal Archives, D standing for doop=baptism, T for trouwen=marriage, and B for begraven=burial.
    The archive numbers are the following:
    DTB 640-660 (Church, 1795-1811)
    DTB 665-761 (Civil, 1597-1795)
    DTB 1000 (Register of marriages,1621-1630)
    The last column of each entry in the various indexes contains a reference to the relevant DTB register and the particular page where the couple in question are to he found.

    Names
    Both first and family names of Sephardim as well as Ashkenazim have been standardized. This means that all the various forms of the name Isaac, for example, such as Ysak, Itzik, etcetera, are spelled as Isaac, and all the spellings of Sarfaty
    - Serphatim, Sarphati, and others - are to he found under Sarfaty.
    The reason for this decision is that practically all these variant spellings are due only to differences in interpretation on the part of the clerks who recorded them, not to any actual differences in the names involved.
    Prefixes like "de", "da", and "van" have been placed after the main name, so that prefixes do not influence the alphabetical order.
    Ashkenazi names have been reduced to those forms that occur most frequently or that most closely resemble the forms used today. The same is true of Sephardi names, although here some use was made of the "Registro geTal alphabetico da livros de Quetuboth" which is also in the Amsterdam Municipal Archives, and which was previously indexed by the present authors.
    In Ashkenazi names it may be difficult to tell the function of a second or third part resembling a first name. A well-known problem is, for instance, the name Levi. Isaac Levi may be interpreted as Isaac son of Levi (Leib, Leon), or Isaac of the tribe of Levi. If Isaac's father appeared as a witness and his name was Abraham Levi it is clear that the Levi part of Isaac' s name must not be interpreted as a patronymic, but we cannot be absolutely sure in Abraham's case. For this reason all second names clearly not meant as patronymics have been classified in our indexes with the family names. Where the record gave no such clue the name was interpreted as patronymic. This means that many first names used as family names, especially in the case of witnesses, are to be found with the patronymics, In all cases of first names that were used as family names by the 18th century (such as Boas or Daniels) it is obviously advisable to consult both indexes.
    The spelling of places of origin has been adapted as much as possible to present-day norms.

    Dates
    The dates given in parts I and 11 refer to the year in which the intended marriage was registered -the exact day and month are to be found in the actual record, not reproduced here -and to the approximate year of birth, arrived at by subtracting the age of the bride or groom from the date of the entry without taking account of the month. The stated ages frequently turn out to be inaccurate, so the indicated year of birth should not be taken too literally.
    Where the column for the year of birth shows only a dash ("-"), the person in question did not state his or her age. For second or later marriages the register did not require a person's age to be entered, and our indexes do not give a year of birth in such cases, even if the first marriage took place in Amsterdam and the relevant entry does contain the person 's age. For second or later marriages no witnesses were required either.

    Abbreviations
    Part I uses some abbreviations in the last column:
    A - stands for alias
    It means this couple are entered under two (or more) names. The alias does not always refer to both bride and groom, but may belong to only one of them, or to one of the witnesses. These are all Sephardim.
    N - means non-appearance
    These couples registered their intended marriage, but for reasons unknown did not appear to have it confirmed. If the registration was renewed some time later the couple in question are entered in our indexes only for the second, definitive, registration. The N is thus used only for those couples who do not reappear in the registers at a later date.
    X - indicates that the bridegroom signed his name in Hebrew.
    Y - indicates that the bride signed her name in Hebrew.