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Collection of the Center of Documentation and Investigation of the - page 26 / 36





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Our databases have been developed by means of some unique documental series. This has allowed us to expedite researcher’s work since searching for some information through certain key words saves lots of time.  


The database is the result of an investigation by the Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico. The Immigrant Registry of the Ministry of the Interior is kept in Gallery 2 of the National General Archives. These registries contain information from the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century.

Form F4 could be obtained in various manners: in first place upon arrival in the country. Those under age at that moment got it at 16. It could also be obtained at a Consulate (Marseilles, for instance) and they would come in with that document in hand. Every time that somebody came back into the country, a new registry was opened; that is the reason for some people to have several entries.

The registries contain detailed information of every person, such as date, place of birth, date of entry into the country, place of entry, religion, place of residence in Mexico, country of origin, nationality, languages, etc. On the other side, the physical and racial characteristics of the person were inscribed like height, weight, racial group and sub racial in some cases. The document includes a photograph of the immigrant.

Obtaining the information was a difficult process because, in the first place, we were searching for nationalities that are considered Ashkenazi, among which the most important were Poland, Russia, Germany and Lithuania. Later we processed the data of the Sephardic and Arabic speaking communities to fill out the pattern, but we realized it was necessary to have the registry of the Jews coming from the United Status, Cuba and Spain, because it was a large number besides presenting a different migratory current.

The database contains registries from the National Registry of Foreigners of the National General Archives, which is divided into 23 nationalities with information generated between 1876 and 1950. The information allows us to find out who arrived, from where, when, via what place, their skills, the number of languages spoken, etc. It has 13,100 registries. It presents immigrants of the various community sectors, divided into 23 nationalities: Polish, Russian, French, American, Syrian, German, Lithuanian, Cuban, Spanish, Lebanese, Austrian, Bulgarian, Egyptian, Dutch, Iraqi, Swiss, Turk, Rumanian, Palestinian, Hungarian, Greek, Czech and Belgian.

Today this database has turned out to be extremely important. The 13,100 registries found in the National General Archives have become a very valuable tool because it helps students prepare a report called “Roots” and children of immigrants present it as proof to request another nationality as well.


The origin of the relatively recent establishment of Sephardic Jews came about after 1860 when President Benito Juárez sanctioned religious tolerance in Mexico. This process continued favorably by the concessions granted to foreign investors by Porfirio Díaz. However, it was only in the 20th century when Mexican newspapers broadcast the advantages of this land in Turkey, that some Jews began to consider the possibility of immigrating to Mexico.  

Mexico had developed various economic activities that embraced a huge list of trades such as diamond cutters, film producers, exporting agents, physicians, lawyers, chemists, cabinetmakers, mechanics, sales agents, textile designers, furriers, diamond manufacturers, mechanical engineers, economists, pharmacists, painters, alcohol producers, musicians, dentists, financial agents; dealers in automotive parts, in steel, in attire, in electrical articles; sweater manufacturers, of stockings, overcoats, beds and mattresses and milliners; canned goods manufacturers, etc.

The problem lay in getting a job. In the old towns most Jews had been artisans, small merchants or agricultural workers. Because there were very few ways of earning a living, they realized that

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