Birth record books in Brașov
As we wrote about in previous postings (here and here) during a short scouting trip to Brasov last year, civil record books can be of interest to more than just genealogists. If the scribe completed them comprehensively, they have the potential to reveal all sorts of interesting details about the community. In particular in southern Transylvania, where relatively little has been published whatsoever on local communities and few documents exist attesting to Jewish communal life prior to the mid-19th century, entries in civil record books can aid researchers in reconstructing, to an extent, the birth of the community and its early years. In Brașov, for example, the birth book shows that many Jewish families lived in the surrounding villages, a fact that is all but forgotten today. The first birth record book that exists (1851-1873) records families living in Tartlau (Prejmer), Tatrang (Tărlungeni), Csernatfalu (Cernatu, today incorporated into Săcele), Hosszufalu (Satulung, also incorporated today into Săcele), Tohan (today part of Zărnești), Bodola (Budila), and even as far away (and isolated) as Klosdorf (Cloasterf) (see image 1). A cursory survey appears to indicate that the village of Bodila had the most Jewish families (see image 2 listing three mothers from Bodila in a row); this village was also the residence of a Hungarian noble family. Since Jewish residence was severely restricted until the mid-19th century, it is likely that the families in Bodila were under the employment of the nobleman and received residency protection through him. Over several generations these village Jews moved to Brașov and today their presence in these villages has been long forgotten.