Imperial decree of 20 July, 1808, concerning Jews with no fixed first or family names

Author(s) : NAPOLEON I
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Bayonne, 20 July, 1808

ART. 1
Those amongst our subjects who follow the Hebrew religion, and who, up to the present, have not had fixed surname or first names, shall be ordered to adopt one in the three months following the publication of this our present decree, and to make a declaration of the fact before the civil status officer in the commune where they live.
ART. 2
Non-French Jews who come to live in the Empire and who are in the situation described in article 1 are ordered to complete the same formalities in the three months following their entry into France.
ART. 3
Names from the Old Testament and names of towns are expressly forbidden. The only names permitted are those authorised by the law of 11 Germinal, An XI. 
ART. 4
The consistories are asked to make a list of the Jews in their community and to check and to communicate to the authorities that the individuals on the list have fulfilled the conditions prescribed in the preceding articles.
They shall also be asked to discover and communicate to the authorities the Jews who have changed their names but which are not in conformity with the dispositions of the above-mentioned law of 11 Germinal, An XI.
ART. 5
Those excepted from the dispositions of this decree are the Jews of our states and non-French Jews who come to settle here and whose first and surnames are known and have always been used, regardless of whether these first and surnames were taken from the Old Testament or from the towns in which they lived.
ART. 6
Those Jews mentioned in the previous article who wish to keep their first and surnames are nevertheless ordered to make a declaration of this; to wit: Jews from our states in front of the mayor of the commune in which they live; and non-French Jews before the mayor of the commune in which they intend to live; all within the time limit mentioned in article 1.
ART. 7
Those Jews who have not complied with the formalities prescribed in the present decree within the time limits mentioned will be expelled from the territory of the Empire: as for those who, in some public act or by some private obligation, arbitrarily change their name not in conformity with the dispositions of the law of 11 Germinal, will be punished according to the law, potentially as forgers, depending on the case.
ART. 8
Our Grand Judge Minister of Justice, and our ministers of the interior and of religion are charged inasmuch as it concerns them with the execution of the present decree.
By the Emperor:
The Minister Secretary of State, signed Hugues B. Maret

Source: Bulletin des Lois 1808

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