The Notarial Archive of Cervera, Catalonia: a source for the study of Jewish genealogy, migrations and life in the Middle Ages
Cervera is a Spanish Catalan town with a rich cultural and Jewish past. From the beginning of the 14th century there was an established Jewish community, which survived the Black death (1348-49) and various restrictions imposed on it by the nobility and the Church, but not the Expulsion in 1492. Well-known historians have done interesting work on specific subjects covering short periods of time of the life of the Jews in Cervera but until now there has been no extensive study of this important medieval Jewish community, utilizing primary sources.
The present research project, proposed by Maria Jose Camps Surribas of Barcelona, will examine the period from the 14th to the 16th centuries, utilizing the Notarial Archive of Cervera, a new and exciting source. It will look in depth at the town’s Jewish population from three principal perspectives:
- Historical Genealogy – all Jewish families referred to in the archive will be traced, from the earliest documents (14th. century) onwards.
- Onomastics – the names of the Jews and Conversos appearing in those documents will be studied.
- Migration Studies – Cervera was a important crossroad on the routes leading from France, Barcelona and Girona to Lleida, Zaragoza and the rest of Spain. Many Jews coming from France and various locations in Spain settled in Cervera – and, conversely, Jews from the town moved on elsewhere.
Click here for the final report on this project
Click here for a description and evaluation of this project, as published by Dr. Jeffrey S. Malka in AVOTAYNU, xxvii, 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 47-49.