Aaron Rosenberg <a-j.rosenberg@...>
My grandfather, Aaron KESTEL, was born in Brody in Novenber, 1860. His
parents were Chaim KESTEL and Golde Leah SIKULER. The only other child
surviving to adulthood, Chava, was born about 1871. The only European
document that has been handed down in the family is Chaim and Golde Leah's
marriage certificate, dated February 9, 1880, some ten years after my
grandfather's birth. So, although there is no question that my
grandfather's parents were marriage, it was not officially registered until
some 20 years after the fact.
The issue of why Jewish marriages were not officially registered has been
discussed before. But I am still do not completely understand the
cirumstances. Susan Wynne, in her book, cites an onerous tax on Jewish
marriages until the 1830's and a general distrust of the civil authorities.
But births (including circumcisions) and deaths were generally registered
in the books kept by the official rabbi. And what would have been the
reason for registering the marriage in 1880? Was there actually a
religious ceremony accompanying this registration? Wynne cites the need
for official documentation as a reason for registration, particularly for
emigration purposes. But my grandfather did not emigrate to America until
I'd be interested if anyone has additional insights or examples.
Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
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