The French conquest of Algeria occured in 1830, the French protectorate over Tunisia and Morocco in 1881 and 1912 respectively. Thus, the conditions of genealogical research in Algeria are slightly more favorable.
Jews were established in Algeria for centuries when the French arrived in 1830. The
immigrant Jews fleeing Spain and Portugal in 1492 were mixed with
ancient Jewish communities already established here since immemorial
The Jews were then subjected to dhimmi status, which imposed a situation of humiliation. The end is set to this status with the French presence in 1830 when Jews become "French subjects" : Marriages, Births and deaths are then registered in town halls from 1836. And later, marriage contracts were drawn up by notaries.
There was a deep evolution of the traditional lifestyles and a rise of the Jews in the social scale.
With the senatus-consulte of July 14, 1865 under Napoleon III, the Jews' access to citizenship is easier: an individual request must be made. A lot of Jews living in Algeria become French citizens. Naturalization records for that period can be viewed at CARAN, which is a valuable source for genealogy. (See the procedure for obtaining a folder in the Members Corner)
400 names are listed in the Record of indigenous Jews of Algeria by the French naturalized Senatufconfultum, made by Marc Aboudharam (see the CGJLibrary, B111)
However, the most important step is the integration of the Jews within the French community with the Cremieux decree of October 24, 1870 which declare the native Jewish as French citizens. Their civil and personal status are now governed by French law.
34 574 Algeria Jews become citizens, but no individual file!
Under the Vichy regime Cremieux decree is repealed in October, 1940. It is restored by de Gaulle in October, 1943.
After the Evian Accords in March 1962, a prelude to the independence of Algeria, nearly all Jews leave the country and the vast majority choose France. Others leave for Israel, Spain or South America.
From 1836 to 1962 vital records were established in two copies in metropolitan rule. On the accession of Algeria to independence, such records are kept in Algeria where they are stored. The
Foreign Ministry has undertaken between 1967 and 1972 on microfilm
reproduction of part of these records, about two-thirds. Several cities are completely missing, some cities have lack of information.
How to get a vital record
1905-1962: apply online https: / / pastel.diplomatie.gouv.fr / dali / default.htm
Since the beginning of 2009 it is possible to obtain vital recors by Internet (See procedure in the Members Corner)
An aid in searches can be made by two of our members in Marseille (See procedure in the Members Corner)
Our member Fernand Deray identified nearly 15 000 vital recors of Jews in Constantine (9 900 birth records, 1 200 marriages, 3 600 death records).
substantial work, which covers 1843-1895, was conducted between 1990
and 2000 from microfilms deposited in CAOM (Overseas Archive Center) in
Aix en Provence. Fernand Deray noted completeness information on acts,
it has sometimes been supplemented with material from other sources.
Note that some acts that appear today on the CAOM website were not on microfilm in 2000.
Two access levels are available on our website:
- Free access gives the number of acts in response to a request: Click here
- Restricted access to members in "Members Corner" provides the detailed information.
Our members Jacob Benzazon and Charles Benitah have carefully analyzed the weekly newspaper Le Courrier de Tlemcen between 1863 and 1933. They have extracted all announcements concerning the Jewish Community of Tlemcen.
have of course found birth, marriage and death announcements but many other
pieces of news : burglaries, bankrupts, school prices, banns, elections,
Restricted access to members in "Members Corner" provides the detailed information.
the establishment of the Protectorate, and after its repeal in 1956,
there are diplomatic representations and therefore consular archives :
vital records duplicates are submitted annually by consular posts in
the Vital Records Central Service, but full information is reserved for
100 years, the microfilm is sent to the Center of Diplomatic Archives
in Nantes, 17 rue de Casternau, BP 44036 Nantes as well as archives of
the Quai d'Orsay, 37 Quai d'Orsay, 75007 Paris. They are then free
From 1915 until 1956, is located in Nantes similar records to those in force in France and subject to the same rules.
At the beginning of the Protectorate, between 1881 and 1900, vital records are very fragmentary. Then, until the end of the Protectorate, they prove almost complete (without reliable annual tables). Otherwise, what has been said to Morocco is valid for Tunisia.
On the Bob Cassutto website, in addition to research in Tunisia : "The Marriage records of the Portuguese Jewish Community of Tunis in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries". Click here to go to this website.
Vol I (1788-1823) (original number 2 / 10, 1962 people, 198 names), click here
Vol II (1853-1878) (original number 5 / 10, 1962 people, 229 names), click here
Vol III (1843-1854) (original number 4 / 10, 929 people, 139 names), click here
Genealogical information for each name.
There were originally 10 volumes, and only 3 were found! What happened to the other 7?
Jacob Benzazon has these 3 volumes and can help those in need.
More than in other regions, mutual assistance is necessary for North
Africa research. Other members have explored these sources, and also
sources that we have not mentioned. Join us and enjoy their experience.
By joining the Cercle de Généalogie Juive, you will attend to specialized groups. A "North Africa" group has opened in Marseille. The Paris group, led by Jacob BENZAZON, meets several times a year (see Meetings).
The AGM website www.geneagm.org/ABCDfrm.htm gives the list of naturalizations between 1830 and 1920 for people born in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco (or elsewhere) with date and place of birth, but without the reference files. The CGJ can help you check these folders if you join (see Members Corner )
If you visit our Publications section, sub-heading North Africa, you find books on this subject, published by the CGJ.