The Israel State Archives holds a special collection of Ottoman population censuses carried out in Palestine from 1875 until the end of World War I. The census forms were bound together in the form of "Nufus books" (books of the souls) and provide raw data on the size and changing composition of the population of Palestine at this time. Most of those registered were Ottoman citizens: Muslims, Christians and Jews, who were divided into various sects and communities. Special "books" were devoted to the registration of foreigners who did not hold Ottoman citizenship.
The collection consists of 465 volumes, written in Ottoman Turkish, which have been numbered, catalogued and divided into six groups: basic books and drafts, foreigners, mukhtars (village heads), regional units, army and tax collection. It reveals the mosaic of religions and cultures which characterized Palestine at the end of the 19th century and for many years to come.
The Israel State Archives has published a guide to this collection which is on sale to the public. The guide includes an introduction giving the historical background to the collection, photographs, indexes and appendices to help the reader search the collection and to make it more accessible.
Edited and introduced by Jonathan Pagis
Jerusalem, Israel State Archives, 1997
Price: 60 NIS, reductions for students, members and pensioners of the Civil Service and libraries.
To buy the guide please mail email@example.com