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This project focuses on the Jewish families who settled at Alliance Colony in Vineland, New Jersey and the surrounding communities including Brotmanville, Rosenhayn, Carmel, and Norma.

The First Settlers of Alliance, NJ, who arrived in 1882: Eli & Ethel Abramowitz, Eli & Feigeh Bakerman, Moses & Ethel Bayuk, Abraham & Channah Leah Berman, William & Beckie Cohen, Hersh & Jennie Coltun, Joseph & Rachel Diamond, Jacob & Rebecca Ecoff, Chaim & Bessie Goldman, Nissan & Molka Greenspan, Abraham & Duba Grutsky, Simcha & Sarah Helig, Joseph & Yenta Kleinfield, William & Lizzie Kolman, Zurach & Esther Konowitz, Hersh & Rivka Kutzibow, Isaac & Golda Krassenstein, Labe & Bayla Kuden, Simcha & Pearl Luborsky, Israel Hersh & Esther Levin, Leapa & Toba Levinsky, Berel & Leah Levinson, Labe & Toba Riva Levinson, Henry & Rose Levy, Sholom & Pearl Luberoff, Chaim & Sarah Mennies, Labe & Rachel Moyd, Israel & Feigeh Opachinsky, Lazar & Mindel Perskie, Jacob & Golda Rosenberg, Yonah & Anna Rosenfeld, Jacob & Anna Rosinsky, Joseph & Feigeh Rothman, Joseph & Deborah Rudnick, Solomon & Frima Salonsky, Moshe & Ruchel Serebrenick, Chaim Hersh & Sima Liba Silberstein, Hersh & Rose Silberman, Lazar & Bessie Staver, Eli & Riva Gitel Stavitsky, Moses & Bayla Strasnik, Pesi & Brucha Tolchinsky, Naphtula & Deborah Yosep, Joseph & Rose Zager.


The Alliance Colony began with the creation of Am Olam, a group of Jews in the Russian Empire who had a desire to create Jewish agricultural communities in the United States. The desire to create these agricultural communities was founded in the idea that Jews were discriminated against because of a large amount holding 'unproductive' jobs, whereas creating agricultural communities would curb this issue and show Jews could work 'productive' jobs. While pogroms were certainly a factor which influenced the group, Haskalah played a much bigger role in influencing the creation of Am Olam. Am Olam was founded in 1881 before the assassination of the Czar, but after the assassination the group quickly began getting colonies created in the United States. Colonies were created in Louisiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Arkansas, Oregon, and elsewhere. The Alliance Colony, founded next to Vineland, New Jersey, was the first successful colony.

The first settlers of Alliance arrived in the summer of 1882, thanks to the help of philanthropic organizations from around the World. Local farmers in Vineland assisted these new settlers in clearing the land, building houses, and learning how to work the soil.

Online Records

New Jersey Probate Records, 1678-1980

These records are what you will mostly find in the Salem County Court House. Click the browse through link and then choose Salem. None of this information is indexed so to go through it you must do it page by page.

  • Naturalizations - Most of the original settlers have their naturalization record listed under 'Petitions for Naturalization 1888-1895'. Very little information is listed other than the name of the petitioner, their country of origin, their witness, the date, and the court-house clerk. On October 22nd, 1889 about 70 members of Alliance went together to the Salem County Court House to file these petitions, an event which multiple books and articles note in the history of the colony.
  • Wills - A scanned book index of the Wills collection is available listed under 'Will index 1804-1970'. The index is listed in order of when the Will was 'proven'. The index shows the deceased person's name, the name of the executors of the estate, the book and page number of the Will, and the date the Will was filed. These hold all sorts of information about the family, often listing relationships which can't be proven through vital records or census records.

New Jersey, Births, 1670-1980

These records hold many of the births from Alliance and is a searchable index. While you can't see the actual record the indexed information gives you a specific birthdate. The names seemed to have been spelled phonetically, so surnames and proper names often have awkward spellings. A few births in the colonies seem to have been recorded twice with different years in these records and many of the births from the early years do not appear.

New Jersey, Marriages, 1670-1980

These records hold many of the marriages from Alliance and is a searchable index. The indexed information is available online but images are available at Family History centers, Family History affiliate Libraries, and to any LDS members. Names are often spelled phonetically, so expect different spellings of both proper names and surnames. A lot of the marriages are listed in Alliance, NJ so doing a search for marriages specifically in Alliance may be a good way to look at the information if doing a search isn't turning up anything.

New Jersey, 1885 NJ Census, Salem County, Pittsgrove

This 1885 New Jersey census is the earliest snapshot of the entire community of Alliance. The community was simply called "Jew Settlement" and counted 51 households from p.64 to p.71 (image 34 through 37). The names are spelled phonetically, in a way that shows the enumerator was likely unfamiliar with Jewish/Russian/Slavic surnames, so it may be easier to find your family by looking through each page instead of using the FamilySearch search function. It is possible that people living in the community at this time are missing from the census, but because there has never been an official list of everyone who has lived in the community it cannot be determined if anyone is missing.

Books about Alliance

  • "Back to the Land: Alliance Colony to the Ozarks in Four Generations" by Ruth Weinstein- buy
  • "A Farmer's Daughter:Bluma" by Bluma Bayuk Rappoport Purmell - buy
  • "Jewish Agricultural Colonies in New Jersey 1882-1920" by Ellen Eisenberg - buy
  • "Immigrants to Freedom: Jews as Yankee Farmers! (1880's to 1960's)" by Joseph Brandes - buy
  • "Jewish South Jersey" by Leonard f. Vernon and Allen Meyers - buy
  • "Immigrants in Industries: Part 24 - Recent Immigrants in Agriculture" by U.S. Government Printing Office, 1910
  • "Migdal Zophim (The Watch Tower): The Jewish Problem and Agriculture as Its Solution" by Moses Klein, 1889
  • "The Agricultural Activities of the Jews in America" By Leonard George Robinson, 1912 - buy

Newspaper Articles


Aug 5, 2021 - SJ Jewish Farm Debuts CSA Amid Challenges by Sasha Rogelberg - The Jewish Exponent
Sep 16, 2020 - In Salem County, farming links Black and Jewish families — and history by Kevin Riordan- The Philadelphia Inquirer


10 Nov, 2019 - Jews fled persecution to settle in this piece of N.J. Their story is being told again by Chris Franklin - NJ Advance Media
3 Oct, 2019 - Stockton Opens Center to Preserve Jewish Farming History by Matt Silver - The Jewish Exponent
Jul 25, 2017 - A New Generation of Jewish Farmers Sees a Fertile Future in South Jersey by Kevin Riordan - The Philadelphia Inquirer
Jul 20, 2016 - Memories of Jewish Agricultural Colonies in New Jersey by Jackie Fishman - The Dayton Jewish Observer
Aug 5, 2015 - We Bought an Average Farm in New Jersey. Or So We Thought by Molly Staub - The Forward
Jan 29, 2012 - Jewish Cemetery Offers Look at the Region’s Ethnic Past by Phil Dunn - Today's Sunbeam


Sep 23, 2007 - Jersey; Preserving the History of a Colony by Kevin Coyne - The New York Times
Sep 18, 2007 - Historic Community Celebrates Its Past by Joshua Cohen - The Forward
Jun 22, 2005 - The Last of the Jewish Farmgirls by Andy Newman - The New York Times


Jun 24, 1984 - State's Jewish Colonies in Danger by Austin P. Mohrbacher - The New York Times


Aug 4, 1932 - Story of "American Chalutzim" told at 50th anniversary celebration - Jewish Daily Bulletin


Oct 14, 1922 - "South Jersey Tragedy - On The Yiddish Rialto" by Gershon Agronsky - The Advocate: America's Jewish Journal, Volume 64


Apr 8, 1917 - Jewish Colony Debt Free - The New York Times


Sep 6, 1909 - Hebrew Farmers a Success - Utica Daily Press
Apr 17, 1908 -
Jews Going Back to the Soil -
The Paterson Morning Call
Apr 12 and 19, 1902 - The Autobiography of an Immigrant by Jacob Kotinsky -
Saturday Evening Post
Oct 29, 1901 - Jewish Colonies in New Jersey -
The Evening Post


Jul 6, 1893 - "Colonies Agricoles" by Daniel Levy - Archives israélites de France. Vol.54 N°27
Oct 29, 1891 - Colonies in New Jersey - The Evening Post
Jul 26, 1891 - Russian Jews as Colonists in America - New York Herald
Aug 17, 1890 - Will They Make Farmers? by Amos J Cummings - The Sun
Mar 14, 1890 - The Growth of Jewish Colonies by M.S.I. - The Jewish Messenger


Mar 1, 1885 - "Les Colonies Agricoles de Amerique" Vingt-Cinquieme Anniversaire L' Alliance Israélite Universelle
Mar 2, 1883 - A Visit to Vineland - The Jewish Messenger
Feb 1883 - The Estelleville Riots - The Jewish Messenger
Nov 3, 1882 - Russian Refugees - New York Herald
May 19, 1882 - Russian Emigrants - The Jewish Messenger



Audio Interviews