Le projet SION-Digit a pour objectif de rendre accessible une grande quantité de sources archivistiques concernant des Juifs dans le triangle géographique de Venise, Bordeaux et Amsterdam, entre c. 1500 et 1700. Les sources relèvent essentiellement des archives notariales. Le but du carnet est de publier régulièrement des annonces et articles, mettant au courant ses lecteurs de nouvelles découvertes, des ressources numériques créées par SION-Digit, des débats et rencontres autour du projet, ainsi que des publications le concernant.
About the project
The project SION-Digit consists of locating, cataloguing, digitizing and transcribing a representative corpus of notarial deeds revealing everyday-life, objects and transborder transactions of Jews, 1500-1700, within the geographical triangle Venice-Bordeaux-Amsterdam. The majority of these lives still go unnoticed due to the dispersal of notarial records absorbed within larger, Christian, administrations. SION-DIGIT aims to create the resource for tracing persons, objects and texts and reconstruct the spatial and temporal networks within which they existed. The notarial deeds from the cities’ different repositories are presently hard to find or impossible to access and online reproduction by the institutions unlikely to happen. While scholarship has acknowledged the existence of interconnected charity networks it remains uninformed of many everyday life details. SION-DIGIT will organise, reproduce and transcribe a representative set of records from different institutions. It aims at enhancing their accessibility through an Open Access searchable database and a suite of analytic and statistical tools.
Disclosing archives, specifically notarial records, from early modern Jewry’s main urban centres Venice, Amsterdam and Bordeaux, during the period 1500-1700, SION-DIGIT will address a major gap of present-day scholarship. These involve information on transborder exchanges in relation to individuals’ everyday life, from literacy and intellectual transfers to estate property. Lacking systematic analysis of notarial deeds as a major source, analysis of cultual and cultural objects’ dissemination, of wealth-distribution and inheritance is still missing important elements. Notarial deeds contain information on objects that represent any form of ‘wealth’, both intellectual and material. SION-DIGIT aims at resolving complications stemming from archival preservation and decoding (challenging accessibility and readability, dispersal and incomplete or inexistent indexing and cataloguing), affecting the exploration of notarial records.
While we are aware of the connections between Venice, Amsterdam and Bordeaux through a charity system (see for ex. Bodian 1987), we are in dire need of archival data, especially from before 1660, on other types of transactions allowing historiography to fill those gaps. Moreover, the study of records in Jewish community archives has been isolated from collections within state and town archives, thus truncating these records’ meaning. Conversely, studies isolating deeds integrated into the larger governing – Christian – system blur their meaning. This long-unperceived binary but complementary administrative presence partly reflects the double status of Jews, turned into Conversos, the first period after the expulsion of Spain and Portugal (1492, 1497). SION-DIGIT will offer an archival collection that is complementary to the Pinkasim Project. The latter harvested and prepared digitized versions of 1500-1800 communities’ minute books of Ashkenazic Europe and northern Italy for open-access publication on the National Library of Israel’s website.
SION-Digit will address the current need for data and knowledge regarding Jewish lives, counterbalancing the isolation and furthermore extremely scarce pinkasim material surviving for the cities and period here taken into consideration. SION-DIGIT’s approach will unearth new constellations of texts and people, as well as hitherto unnoticed links in European Jewry and wider European culture. Producing a large and unprecedented dataset in the field of early modern Jewish and urban network studies alike, saving these archives and data from their current dispersed character, resolving material problems of accessibility and readability, SION-DIGIT will unearth and reproduce the material in such a way that it offers a new archival repository that allows serial analysis and reconsidering main-stream narratives of the complex and nuanced role of early modern Jews.