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Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy
by Gary Mokotoff

More than 3,000 copies sold. It is not a beginner’s guide. A beginner’s guide to Jewish genealogy would undoubtedly take many more pages and cost much more. Instead it is a getting started guide meant to convince the reader that tracing one’s Jewish ancestry can be done.

The resources described are primarily Internet resources. The Internet has revolutionized family history research. What used to take days or weeks now takes minutes or hours because of the wealth of resources on the Internet.

It describes in detail such resources as JewishGen, Morse One-Step site, FamilySearch, Ancestry.com and many more sites. It alerts the readers to what types of documents of their ancestors will aid in their research—such records as birth, marriage, death, Immigration, census and naturalization records.

Special focus is given to two problems often uttered by neophyte Jewish genealogists: (1) My name was changed at Ellis Island and (2) I do not know the town my family came from.

7" x 10" 96 pp. softcover $14.50 
 


Contents

INTRODUCTION vii
IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU 1
Four Myths of Jewish Genealogy 3
GET STARTED BY INTERVIEWING PEOPLE 4
Ask for Documents 4
Ask for Photos 4
RECORDS OF YOUR ANCESTORS 8
Vital Records 8
Federal Census Records 10
Non-Federal Censuses 13
Naturalization Records 13
Passenger Lists 14
Other Resources 15
JEWISHGEN: THE INTERNET HOME OF JEWISH GENEALOGY 18
Searching JewishGen Databases 19
STEPHEN P. MORSE ONE-STEP SITE 26
A Strategy for Using the Morse Site to Search the Ellis Island Database 27
SOME OTHER ONLINE GENEALOGY SITES 31
FamilySearch and the Family History Library System 31
Routes to Roots Foundation 33
Jewish Records Indexing-Poland 34
SephardicGen.com 35
Museum of Family History 35
FamilyTreeDNA.com 36
FindaGrave.com and Billion Graves.com 36
Cyndi's List
36
Association of Professional Genealogists 37
COMMERCIAL ONLINE GENEALOGY SITES 38
Ancestry.com 38
MyHeritage 39
American Joint Distribution Committee 40
Findmypast.com 40
Fold3.com 40
JewishData.com 41
WorldVitalRecords.com 41
IMPORTANT NON-INTERNET RESOURCES 42
Jewish Genealogical Societies and Annual Conference 42
Avotaynu 45
HOLOCAUST RESEARCH 46
Shoah Victims’ Names Database 47
International Tracing Service (ITS) 48
Yizkor Books 49
Other Resources 49
SPECIAL PROBLEM: MY NAME WAS CHANGED AT ELLIS ISLAND 50
SPECIAL PROBLEM: FINDING YOUR ANCESTRAL TOWN 53
GETTING STARTED PROPERLY 56
Genealogy Software 56
Cite Your Sources 58
Standards 58
Maintain a Research Log 58
GLOSSARY 59
APPENDIX A: HOW TO SEARCH ONLINE DATABASES 61
APPENDIX A: DAITCH-MOKOTOFF SOUNDEX SYSTEM 63
APPENDIX B: CASE STUDY– THE PATERNAL HISTORY OF BERNARD MADOFF 68
ILLUSTRATIONS 77
Birth Record 78
Marriage Record 79
Death Record 80
Death Index: 81
Russian Census 82
Passenger Arrival Record 83
Census Record 84
Petition for Naturalization 85
Tombstone Inscription 86
Page of Testimony (Holocaust) 87
Holocaust Document: 88
JewishGen Discussion Group 89
JewishGen Family Finder 90
Consolidated Jewish Surname Index 91
Social Security Death Index 92

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