The Ottoman Civil Registers as a Source of History: The Civil Register of the Village of Shawbak as a Case Study

Hind Abu al-Sha‘ar


This article is a study of the village of Shoawbak in southern Jordan during the last years of Ottoman rule, based on a source that has not been studied before – the civil register that the government used in its census of the inhabitants, both men and women. I used a new methodology to study this source, which I found to be a rich source for studying the social conditions of the inhabitants and their total number. Civil registers were an important source for the government in their efforts to register individuals for military service and to confirm the right of the state to collect taxes. The study shows that all the residents of Shoawbak were farmers and that in 1913 there were 236 households with 1083 inhabitants, both men and women.


Shoawbak, Jordan, Civil register, Ottoman

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