What's in 48,000 names? A slice of Irish history

By Sandy Rashty, October 5, 2012

Those with Irish-Jewish roots can trace them back to 1700 though a comprehensive archive compiled as a labour of love by a Dublin businessman.

Irish Jewish Genealogical Society head Stuart Rosenblatt spent 14 years accumulating data, resulting in 17 volumes containing 48,000 names of people with Irish-Jewish backgrounds. He has presented the volumes to Dublin’s Irish Jewish Museum.

Mr Rosenblatt, 68, claims that “where there’s a Jewish person there’s an Irish connection. There is so much information tucked away in hidden places.”

Although the project was “too much work for one man, if you want something done, do it yourself. I’m now considered the authority for all things Irish and Jewish and the Irish-Jewish social facilitator.”
His database includes birthplace, school, marriage and job details of those who lived in communities such as Belfast, Dublin and Cork.

He recalled being able to tell a 98-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky “her whole family history back to Dublin.

“I often get inquiries from people who have been brought up as Roman Catholics, but have heard rumours about their Jewish background. We’ve done a search and found out that they do have a Jewish background.”

Mr Rosenblatt receives 20 inquiries daily through the genealogical society site, which is a division of the Irish Jewish Museum. The database is updated in December and July.

He also contributed to the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? when actress Rashida Jones — the daughter of Michael Jackson’s producer Quincy Jones — traced her Jewish roots.

Praising Mr Rosenblatt’s contribution, Dublin Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Zalman Lent said “it was an obsession — a good obsession by one person.

“Mr Rosenblatt receives no funding of any description and yet over the past 14 years, these 17 volumes have been researched and printed.”

Gregory O’Connor of the National Archives of Ireland said it was wonderful to see so many people using the volumes to research their family heritage. The research would be the only comprehensive record of the Irish Jewish community.

Debby Briscoe presented Mr Rosenblatt with a framed certificate for a circle of trees planted in his name in Israel.

Last updated: 5:51pm, October 5 2012