Jewish History Resources
Assistance for Jewish Genealogists:
Organizations, Publications and Other Guides
Before beginning a family history project, genealogists are encouraged to identify the resources available for organizing and tracking the details of their project. Local public libraries can provide a great introduction to genealogical publications and reference services. A number of sources are also designed specifically to guide Jewish genealogists. To begin Jewish genealogical research, we suggest the following:
- Contact a local chapter of the Jewish Genealogical Society for assistance in beginning or continuing a family history project. A directory of Jewish Genealogical Societies in New York State is available in the Directories of Service Providers section of this guide.
- Contact local synagogues and community centers for information on congregational and community records and published histories. A brief introduction to published sources on synagogues and community histories is available in the Additional Resources section of this guide.
- Identify major Jewish archives and historical societies with collections relevant to New York State. For example, the American Jewish Archives (AJA) of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio preserves the records of a number of congregations and organizations established in New York. A guide to the collections of the AJA is available on their web site.
- Consult publications written specifically to help Jewish genealogists work through the often complicated task of compiling a family history. In particular, genealogists should consider Arthur Kurzweil's From Generation to Generation: How to Trace Your Jewish Genealogy and Personal History, revised in 1994 and Dan Rottenberg's Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy, reprinted in 1995. An introductory bibliography is available in the Additional Resources section of this guide.
- Finally, the Internet abounds with web sites dedicated to Jewish genealogical research. The premier site is JewishGen, which provides connections to discussion groups, research tools, information sheets, and links to related organizations. Additional Internet resources are identified in the Additional Resources section of this guide.