Use of the term "Color" in late 19th century and Early 20th century NYC Birth Records #records

Steven Bloom

I have noticed the term "Color" used in Late 19th century and Early 20th Century birth records of New York City. Since I have only seen two such records up close for my relatives, I can't make general conclusions. For one of my cousins, George Schaffran, it gives "Color" as "White ." For another relative, William Bloom/Blum, who by dna tests I know was of Eastern European Jewish extraction, it says he was "Colored."  

In such records, is this term referring to what we commonly think of as "race" today?  If so, is "Colored" categorizing a person into what we would commonly think of as a "Person of Color" today, such as Black/African American. Afro-European, etc., Asian, Hispanic and others, or is the term meant to be more general?  Some of my relatives now are saying that since many people didn't consider Jews of that time  to be really White, they would have no problem calling them "Colored" on a birth record. I have my doubts about that.

I'd appreciate opinions on this, no to much on that last matter, but on whether NYC records of that time tended to call Jews "White", "Colored" or something else. 

Thank you for your insights,

Steve Bloom
Central Virginia, USA

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