Re: Possible marriage in London #unitedkingdom #records


Hello Yvonne,

1866 was in the middle of the term of office of Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler, who was very strict when it came to authorising marriages in orthodox synagogues. The archivist at the United Synagogue Beth Din in London explained the situation thus:


"To marry in a Orthodox Synagogue one needs the Chief Rabbi's permission (authorisation). To get that one must prove one is Jewish. One proves one is Jewish by presenting one's own parents' ketubah (marriage contract). This proves one is a result of a Jewish union. But therein lay the problem. If one had fled one's home country one might not have access to one's parents' ketubah. So, the Chief Rabbi would decline his authorisation. He was VERY strict about it, there was no arguing or having people vouch for you; without that ketubah you could forget it! So, without his authorisation no approved minister would perform a Jewish marriage. Some couples went to the registrar or even a parish church, but some thought that being married by any Rabbi (authorised or not) was what should happen. So, a clandestine marriage (stille chuppah) was performed. An unauthorised (though probably perfectly bona fide) Rabbi would perform the ceremony. In the eyes of God the couple were legally married, but in the eyes of the law, they were not. No records of these marriages were ever made. Years later the couple would sometimes have a second marriage for the sake of their children, either at the registry office or in a church. Others probably never bothered."

Only an approved minister would have been permitted to issue an official marriage certificate. He would have sent copies to the Superintendent Registrar and the General Register Office for official registration.

One further point; not until 1875 was the penalty for not registering the birth of a child.

I hope this helps ... albeit in a disappointing way.


Justin Levy

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