A mystery solved…

We now know for sure what the mystery document is, that turned up unexpectedly at Buxton Pavilion Gardens. (See https://recordoffice.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/what-does-this-document-say-how-did-it-end-up-in-buxton/). It’s the birth certificate of a very well-travelled missionary (http://en.messianicjudaismwiki.com/wiki/Jonas_Theodor_Meyer).

Archivist Juliane Galle, based in Dublin (and who is, I should add, available for freelance work), responded to our request for an explanation of the document with the following transcription and translation.

Der frühere Lehrer, jetzige Licentiat der Theologie
Theodor Jonas Mayer
ist in hiesiger Stadt am dreißigsten Januar einstausend achthundert und achtzehn (30 Januar 1818) ehelich geboren; Das wird aus dem Grund der von den Vorstehern geführten Gemeinde-Geburtsliste seinem Antrage gemäß hierdurch obrigkeitlich unter dem Stadtsiegel bescheinigt.

Crivitz, den 24sten August 1850

Der Magistrat Rönnberg

The former teacher, now Licentiat of Theology
Theodor Jonas Mayer
Was In this town on thirtiest January eightthousand eighthundred and eighteen (30 January 1818) legitimately born: this is therefore noted in the by the principals kept Birthregister of the county according to his application authoritatively under seal certified.

Crivitz, 24 August 1850

[signed] The Magistrate Rönnberg

Our fullest thanks go to Juliane. We are still unsure of what Mayer/Meyer’s birth certificate was doing under the kitchen floor, though! Perhaps that part of the mystery will remain unsolved…

5 thoughts on “A mystery solved…

  1. Pingback: Another linguistic mystery | Derbyshire Record Office

  2. MEYER, Theodore Jonas(1819-1894) German scholar who journeyed through orthodox Judaism, atheism, back to Judaism which he studied zealously. An earnest inquiry into the New Testament came to faith. While a Hebrew tutor in Scotland, he was selected to be the missionary to the Jews at Galatz, Moldavia, then Austria, Bohemia, Hungary. Finally asPresbyterian missionary in Italy, he nurses those dying in a cholera epidemic until he also falls prey to the disease in 1866. Barely surviving, he rushed to the aid of the Italian Protestants during a massacre at Barletta. As he becomes a peacemaker between Catholics and Protestants, his presence changed the climate of despair and persecution into one of hope and recognition of Italian Protestants whose rights were officially vindicated. Later he writes about what his own background taught him about justification by faith: “I was brought up in the fear of God by my parents, who were pious rabbinical Jews…. I sought to appease Him, and to earn His mercy, by work and prayer…. But with all this I still felt uneasy, and always believed that I had not done enough.” He spent the remainder of his life as a missionary to the Jews in Amsterdam and in London.


  3. Thank you, Anne. The theory that he used the birth certificate as part of the naturalisation application seems very plausible. As does the idea of losing the certificate while on holiday – what a nuisance.

  4. There is a family tree for Theodor Jonas Meyer on Ancestry which gives his death as 14 March 1896 in Jersey and his occupation as Presbyterian Minister and Missionary to the Jews (1881 census record). He was a naturalised British subject, married to Jane Anne who came from Ireland. Their daughter Margaret was born in Ireland, and Rosamund and Maximillian in Italy. When the 1861 census was taken he was staying in Edinburgh and was already naturalised. It seems possible that he obtained a copy of his birth certificate in conjunction with his naturalisation application. There is an Alien arrivals record for a Theodore Meyer arriving from New York in 1842, but this may not be the same person.
    Perhaps he lost the certificate while on holiday in Buxton?

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