Databases on the Internet
genealogy. Two major events shaped Jewish life of the
past two hundred years: migration and the Holocaust.
Few Jews today live where their ancestors lived a century
or two ago. As a result many Jews believe they cannot
trace their family roots because:
These statements are myths.
Jewish genealogy today is highly organized and therefore
help is available to dispel these myths. There are many
resources available to help you trace your Jewish family
- My family name was changed (at Ellis Island)
- No one in my family knows about the past
- No one is left alive to tell me about my family's
- All the records were destroyed in the Holocaust
- My town was wiped off the face of the map
- Databases exist on
the Internet to get you started
- There are more than
80 genealogical societies throughout the world
where you can meet other persons tracing their
- There are books on
Jewish genealogy; Avotaynu is the leading supplier
of these books
- There is a strong
presence of Jewish genealogy on the Internet
JewishGen Family Finder. The most valuable database to assist
you is the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF). It is a list of surnames
and towns being researched by more than 55,000 Jewish genealogists
throughout the world. Go to the JGFF
site and see if any other genealogists are researching your
family name. In most cases, it will give you the person's e-mail
address so you can contact the individual and jump start your research.
If you know the town from which your family came, also use JGFF
to see if others are researching your town. A word of caution before
using JGFF. The same name can be spelled different ways in different
countries, so when you use JGFF change the SEARCH TYPE from Standard
to the Daitch-Mokotoff
Consolidated Jewish Surname Index. The next step is to locate
reference material that contains information about your family
name. Go to the Consolidated
Jewish Surname Index and key in your family name. It will make
you aware of up to 42 different sources of information that contain
your family name. When the information is displayed by CJSI you
will only see codes next to your name. Scroll the screen down to
see what these codes represent and they will link to other places
on the Web that will give you a more detailed description of the
source and how to access the source (an Internet database, a reference
book, etc). Be sure to research all spelling variants of your name
that are shown.
Family Tree of the Jewish People. The final Internet database
worth looking at is the Family
Tree of the Jewish People. This is a database of family trees
that have been submitted by Jewish genealogists. It contains more
than 2 million individuals. Members of your family may already
be on other researcher's family tree and this database will link
you up with the researcher.
Jewish Genealogical Societies
There are some 80 Jewish genealogical societies in the world. If
there is one in your area, we strongly recommend that you join
the society. At their meetings you will be able to discuss your
research with experts that can point you in the right direction.
A complete list of societies is available at http://iajgs.org/Member-Index.htm.
Books, Maps, Microfiche, Videos
Avotaynu is the leading supplier of works of interest to Jewish
researchers. We have published books on names, towns, getting started,
and a host of other topics. Browse our web site to see what we
offer. We have made it simple to order our products with a shopping
cart system. Start at the Avotaynu
Home Page and browse our Book, Journal, Microfiche, Maps, Other
books and CD-ROM Web pages. If you are unsure what to buy, click
the Recommendations button to see what we recommend.
We saved the best for last. It is also the one area on the Web
where you can spend hours looking at the wealth of information
available. JewishGen supports the JewishGen Family Finder and Family
Tree of the Jewish People previously mentioned. But there is much,
much more. Subscribe to their Discussion Group and you can post
a personal message that will be read within 24 hours by more than
5,000 Jewish genealogists throughout the world. Maybe one of them
can answer your query. Go into the Discussion Group archives to
see if any questions have been asked (it goes back to 1993) that
may be of interest to you. The JewishGen environment is too huge
to describe here. Just go to the JewishGen
Home Page and browse, and browse and browse.
Good luck in your research!
Please do not contact Avotaynu with questions about your personal
research. We are not geared to handle inquiries of that nature.
Instead, contact your local Jewish
genealogical society or post a message on the JewishGen Discussion
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