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Genealogical databases, websites, and bibliographies to aid users in the pursuit of their family history and origins. Last Updated: Jul 22, 2024 11:34 AM

General Guides to Jewish Genealogy

Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy VREF 929.10924 AVOT
Sack S.A. & Mokotoff G., Avotaynu, 2004
This definitive research guide was written by 60 of the leading experts in the field. More than half of the book is devoted to researching individual countries of ancestry with detailed information including the history of the Jewish presence in the country; what records are available; how to access them; addresses of repositories and other institutions; bibliography; and internet addresses. In line with its unique importance for both novice and experienced researchers, the reference collection of every library in the FCPL system owns a copy.

From Generation to Generation VREF 929.10924 K
Kurzweil, A., Jossey-Bass, 2004

Since it was first published in 1980, this book has inspired thousands to pursue Jewish genealogy. Kurzweil makes extensive use of his own family stories and research activities, whetting readers’ appetites and helping them to appreciate the immensity of the available resources. This edition includes new chapters on how Jewish genealogy is different from other genealogy, internet resources, names, Holocaust research, immigration, overseas research, and cemeteries.

Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors VREF 929.10924 KRAS
Krasner-Khait, B., Heritage Quest, 2001

More than a general primer, this book focuses on the Jewish experience, enhanced with many illustrative examples from the author’s family history and research activities. It guides the user through the myriad publications, archives, institutions, and websites that hold the key to finding the most hard-to-find ancestors. An excellent bibliography and convenient help notes are included.

Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy VREF 929.10924 MOKO
Mokotoff, G. & Blatt, W., Avotaynu, 1999

Exposing the reader to the basic techniques, this small volume is more of a pre-beginner guide. Although most of the advice is general and remains relevant, computerization and other developments since publication in 1999 are not addressed.

How to Trace Your Jewish Roots VREF 929.10924 DAVI
David, Rabbi J., Citadel Press, 2000
Aimed at the novice Jewish genealogist, this book enables the user to create a four to the six-generation family tree with relative ease. Included are helpful illustrations and document forms; also, references to books, the Internet, and research resources for those who want to investigate at a more sophisticated level.

My Generations — A Course in Jewish Family History VREF 929.10924 KURZ
Kurzweil, A., Behrman House Inc., 1983
Designed as a family history album to which users are invited to add their own family information and visual records, the book provides a model for young genealogists to construct a family record. Written by a pioneer in Jewish genealogy, the book includes many interesting photographs and explanatory text relating to Kurzweil's own family.

European Places and Records - General

Where Once We Walked VREF 929.347 MOKO
Mokotoff, G. & Sack, S. A., Avotaynu, 2002

This work identifies 23,500 towns in Central and Eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust. It pinpoints each town’s location by providing the exact latitude and longitude and the direction and distance from the closest major city. Also included are pre-Holocaust Jewish populations and citations for as many as 50 books that reference each town. The apparatus includes an Index to Nearby Towns and a Soundex that helps the user locate a town if the spelling is uncertain.

Shtetl Finder VREF 929.347
Cohen, C. G., Periday Co., 1980
Although supplanted by the more comprehensive volume above as a tool for locating places, this book remains of value for the considerable information it provides about people and events in the communities.

An Ancient Lineage – European Roots of a Jewish Family VREF 929.10924 GELL
Gelles, E., Vallentine Mitchell, 2006
A detailed account of how the author uncovered the European roots of his family, extending from medieval Iberia to Italy, Vienna, Prague, Cracow, Vilna and beyond.

See also The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust Under Holocaust

Russia (Incl. Poland, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine)

History of the Jews in Poland and Russia VREF 305.8924 D
Dubnow, S. M., Avotaynu, 1918 (first printing)
A reprint of a famous history of the East European Jews, from their earliest presence at the time of the Greeks to the early 20th century. It discusses in detail the Khazars, the rise of Polish Jewry, the Cossack rebellion of 1648, the rise of Hassidism, false Messiahs, creation of the Pale of Settlement, and Jewish life under the czars. Dubnow was a proponent of Autonomism, which propounded the idea that Jews are a nationality by virtue of their common cultural, historical and spiritual identity.

Jews in Poland-Lithuania in the Eighteenth Century VREF 305.8924 H
Hundert, G. D., University of California Press, 2004
This scholarly work, by one of the leading historians in the field, focuses on what was then the largest Jewish community in the world. It considers the relations of Jews with the state, their role in the economy, the popularization of Kabbalah, and the rise of Hassidism.

The Polish-Lithuanian State, 1386-1795 VREF 943.802 S
Stone, D., University of Washington Press, 2001
Covering the four century existence of the vast state, this work provides considerable information about the Jewish and other ethnic communities that coexisted with the Poles in this multi-ethnic commonwealth.

Jewish Roots in Poland VREF 929.3438 WEIN
Weiner, M., Routes to Roots Foundation & YIVO Institute, 1997

This book is a lavishly illustrated work by a leading genealogist known for organizing trips to Eastern Europe through her Routes to Roots organization. It is at once a memorial to the lost communities of Poland and a guide to records in state and local European archives. A detailed study is given to more than two dozen leading communities including striking vintage and modern photographs.

Jewish Bialystok VREF 305.8924 W
Wisniewski, T., The Ipswich Press, 1998
The book includes a history of Bialystok and nearby towns, foot and auto tour itineraries, cemetery information, biographies of notable Bialystokers, travel basics, an extensive bibliography and a glossary.

Jewish Vital Records, Revision Lists and Other Jewish Holdings VREF 929.3479 JEWI
In The Lithuanian Archives

Rhode, H. Sack, S. A., Avotaynu, 1996
Vital records from as early as 1808 and all revision lists from 1795 are indexed here. Altogether, there are 12,000 entries for more than 220 towns in the Russian gubernias of Kovno, Vilna, and Suwalki. Exact file references make it easy to order searches through the Lithuanian Archives or independent search services.

A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Lithuania VREF 929.3479 AARO
Aaron, S., The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, 2005
A practical guide that tells what type of records were created, which survived for each of the three gubernias into which Lithuania was divided, how to access them, what information can be found, and what information is available on-line. Beginners are advised how to identify their ancestral shtetl and suggestions are given where, outside Lithuania, information can be found. A useful appendix lists the old names of Lithuanian shtetls and their modern equivalents.

The Litvaks-A Short History of the Jews in Lithuania VREF 947.93 L
Levin, D., Yad Vashem, 2000
This handsomely produced and well-illustrated volume by one of the foremost historians of Lithuanian Jewry includes material on 14th-century certificates of civil privileges, self-government, the Vilna Gaon, and the great yeshivot, national movements, education, Holocaust, and postwar Lithuania. The book includes a lexicon of Lithuanian towns showing their Yiddish and modern spellings, statistical tables, sample documents, photographs of Jewish life, maps, and a bibliography.

The Jews of Lithuania 1316 – 1945 VREF 305.8924
Greenbaum, M., Gefen Publishing House, Ltd., 1995
This book deals with seven centuries of Lithuanian Jewry, including the “Golden Age” of the great yeshivas; the contending forces of Bundists, Zionists, Socialists, Maskilim, Yiddishists, and Hebraists; the competing political affiliations of the inter-war years; and, the destruction of the community with Lithuanian complicity.

Jews of Kopcheve VREF 305.8924 A
Leivers, D., Avotaynu, 2006
This work combines the cumulative knowledge of the Jews who once lived in this small Lithuanian community.

There Once was a World VREF 947.93 E
Eliach, Y., Little Brown & Co., 1998
This highly detailed chronicle of the 900-year life of the shtetl of Eishyshok, now on the Lithuania-Belarus border, was written by a foremost Holocaust scholar. The book provides an in-depth view of the social life of a typical East European Jewish community with the harrowing story of its destruction.

The Road from Letichev – 2 Volumes VREF 947.7 C
Chapin, D. A. and Weinstock, B., Writer’s Showcase, 2000
This book presents the history of a district of Podolia, Ukraine through the eyes of those who lived there. Letichev was the home of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hassidic movement. Separate chapters cover the early history; rabbis, religious institutions, health and welfare, food, folksongs, education, occupations, farm colonies, military, law and order, pogroms, immigrants, Zionism, the Holocaust, and the post-World War II environment. An index identifies more than 8300 individuals mentioned in the text.

Kaminits-Podolsk & its Environs VREF 947.78K
Rosen, A., Sarig, H. and Bernstein, Y. eds., Avotaynu, 1999
This volume is a translation of a memorial book written by Holocaust survivors and other former inhabitants of this Podolian town. The essays and articles, including personal narratives, cover the history, geography, way of life, and the ideas and ideals of a segment of Ukrainian Jewry.

Anna’s Shtetl VREF B DIEN
Coben, L. A., The University of Alabama Press, 2007
Memories of a woman who lived in the Ukraine from 1905 to 1919, experiencing the violent turbulence of World War I and the Russian Civil War. The scope and particulars of shtetl life are detailed from a woman’s point of view.


Finding Your Jewish Roots in Galicia: A Resource Guide VREF 929.3438 WYNN
Wynne, S. F., Avotaynu, 1998
Focusing on the historic Austro-Hungarian province, the book provides information on the area and its Jewish population, vital records and other sources, notes about particular towns, etc. See also next entry.

The Galitzianers –The Jews of Galicia 1772-1918 VREF 929.3438 WYNN
Wynne, S., 2006
A substantially revised version of the title above, this work provides readers with additional information about the geopolitics of the region, key events, and the overall context for the way people lived. Included are state-of-the-art strategies and resources for conducting research in Poland, Ukraine, and Israel.

Grandeur and Glory – Hod Vehadar — Vol 1 Eastern Galicia A — O VREF 943.86 W
Wunder, M., Lukin, B. & Khaimovich, B., Inst. for Commem.of Galician Jewry, 2005
Subtitled Remnants of Jewish Life in Galicia, this volume was developed from thousands of photographs of the remains of synagogues, Torah study centers, mikves, and other communal buildings, and cemeteries. Historical descriptions include the year the general community came into existence, how far back the official records date, when a village became a town, and when Jews first settled or their presence was first recorded.

Genealogical Gazetteer of the Kingdom of Hungary VREF 929.3439 AUSL
Auslander, J., Avotaynu, 2005
Information is provided about more than 12,000 towns within the 19th-century borders of the Kingdom of Hungary. Specifically, the gazetteer lists alphabetically the towns as they were named in 1877 together with the county/district, alternate names, current name and country, and population by religion. If there was no local house of worship, the town where each congregation worshipped is given. Searches can be done by current name, former name, or alternate name.

Between Galicia and Hungary: The Jews of Stropkov VREF 305.8924 A
Amsel, M., Avotaynu, 2002
Working from source materials in Slovakian, German, Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Hungarian, the author traced the story of the Jewish community of this Slovakian town. Extensive details are provided on the fate of community members.


History of the Jewish Community of Schneidermuhl: 1641 to the Holocaust VREF 305.8924 C
Cullman, P. S., Avotaynu, 2006
A scholarly, highly detailed study of a Jewish community that was absorbed by Prussia in the 18th-century partitions of Poland. Detailed chronologies of the members of the community are included, establishing the ultimate fate of the bulk of the people who lived there during the Holocaust.

Legacy VREF 929.243 FRAN
Frank, W. L., Avotaynu, 2003
Subtitled: The Saga of a German-Jewish Family Across Time and Circumstance, this exhaustively researched 900-page history focuses on a family of small-town Jews engaged in such livelihoods as a horse, cattle, and feed brokerage in rural Baden. In addition to its value as a work of family history, it can serve as a model for others with such diligence to organize, write, and illustrate their own family narrative.

The Naturalized Jews of the Grand Duchy of Posen in 1834 & 1835 VREF 929.3438 NATU
Luft, E. D., Avotaynu, 2004
This book names the inhabitants, with domicile and profession, who were naturalized under a liberalized code. Much lengthy analysis is provided including about professions.

German Empire Name Change Gazetteer — 2 Volumes VREF 910.3 K
Kredel, O. and Theirfelder, F., Avotaynu reprint, 2005
First published in 1931, this name-change gazetteer identifies virtually every town in pre-World War I Germany and Austria-Hungary that was ceded to other countries. Town names are given in two sequences: Old German name to new name and new name to old German name.

American-Jewish Communities and Records - General

The Jewish People in America is a definitive book series sponsored by the American Jewish Historical Society that takes a multidimensional view of social and political history. It was first published in 1992 and reissued by The Johns Hopkins University Press. The individual volumes listed below cover more than three centuries of Jewish history, from the earliest settlement in 1654 to the present age:

VREF 305.8924 F., A Time for Planting 1654-1820, Faber, E.,
VREF 305.8924 D., A Time for Gathering 1820-1880, Diner, H. R.
VREF 305.8924 S., The Third Migration 1880-1920, Sorin, G.
VREF 305.8924 F., A Time for Searching 1920-1945, Feingold, H. L.
VREF 305.8924 S., A Time for Healing –Since WW II, Shapiro, E. S.

Tradition Transformed – The Jewish Experience in America VREF 305.8924 S
Sorin, G., The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997
The author emphasizes how the Jews in America have acculturated rather than assimilated, maintaining their unique ethnic characteristics yet becoming part of the mainstream. This concise volume discusses their religion, movement into trade and commerce, domestic and international political commitments, and contributions to education and culture.

Reference Library of European America – volume 2 VREF 305.809 R
Gale Group, 2001
This volume includes an extended article on Jewish Americans, with coverage of such topics as European life; immigration waves; settlement, acculturation and assimilation patterns; traditions and beliefs; health; language; family and community dynamics; religion; employment; political traditions; individual contributions; organizations.

American Jewish Year Book --- years 2005 & 2006 VREF 305.8924 A
Singer, D. Grossman, L., editors, American Jewish Committee
Two year books from an annual series that chronicles developments in areas of concern to Jews around the world.

Shores of Refuge — A Hundred Years of Jewish Emigration VREF 305.8924 S
Sanders, R., Henry Holt and Company, 1988
Drawing on archival materials, this work is a scholarly and richly anecdotal account of the world that the European Jews left behind and the worlds they entered on five continents. Much coverage is given to the operation of the new charitable agencies that were founded to meet the pressing needs of the emigrants in the century beginning in 1881.

First American Jewish Families VREF 929.3735 TER
Stern, M. H., Ottenheimer Publishing Inc, 1991
The book provides the family trees of every family of Jewish origin established in America before 1840.

My Future is in America VREF 920 M
Cohen, J. and Soyer, D., NYU Press, 2006
A treasure trove of Yiddish autobiographical gems, this collection of immigrant narratives provides a glimpse into the experiences of East European Jews who arrived in America from the 1890s to the 1920s. The Introduction places the writings in a historical and literary context.

Dispersing the Ghetto VREF 305.8924 G
Glazier, J., Michigan State University Press, 2005
This monograph deals with the efforts of the established and secure members of the Jewish community to reduce growing anti-Semitism by creating employment for ghetto dwellers across the country in the belief their presence would be less salient and they might Americanize more quickly.

Special Sorrows VREF 325.73 J
Jacobson, M. F., University of California Press, 2002
Subtitled The Diasporic Imagination of Irish, Polish, and Jewish Immigrants in the United States, this work delineates the centrality of U.S. supporters from these groups to national liberation movements abroad and details how such movements shaped immigrant life.

Migration from the Russian Empire: Jan 1875 – June 1891 VREF 929.347 MIGR
Lists of Passengers Arriving at U. S. Ports (6 volumes)
Glazier, I. A., editor, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1995-98
During the later years covered by these volumes, Jews represented the largest single ethnic group that left Russia for the United States. Passenger lists are arranged chronologically, with an index at the end of each volume that makes it very easy to determine if an arrival record exists for a given individual.

The Russian Consular Records Index and Catalog VREF 929.347 SACK
Sack, S. A. Wynne, S. F., Garland Publishing, Inc., 1987
This volume, arranged by émigré name under the Soundex system, involves records created by Russian consular offices in the U.S. between 1849 and 1926. Although not specifically limited to Russian Jews in America, the vast majority of the records in fact relate to ethnic Jews. Matters dealt with in the underlying correspondence include requests for help in locating lost family members, issues relating to the fulfillment of a military obligation, etc. The work was inspired by Jewish genealogists and compiled under their auspices.

American Jews in World War II - volume 2 VREF 929.3 73 AMER
Dublin, L. I. Kohs, S. C., National Jewish Welfare Board., 1947

WWII service personnel are listed with their ranks and military awards. Users should be aware that there are very many omissions.

New York City

The Time that was Then VREF 305.8924 R
Roskolenko, H., Dial Press, 1971
Subtitled: The Lower East Side1900—1913, this work is an affectionate memoir from the author’s childhood and authoritative history of the Jewish Lower East Side.

The Downtown Jews VREF 305.8924 S
Sanders, R., Harper & Row, 1969
This account of the Jewish Lower East Side around the beginning of the 20th century is organized around the life of Abraham Cahan, the flamboyant and imaginative editor of what became one of the largest circulation newspapers in America, the Jewish Daily Forward.

Quarantine! VREF 614.5 M
Markel, H., The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997
Subtitled East European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892, this work by a professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases describe the social impact of the typhus and cholera epidemics that swept the city. The author follows the immigrants, from their squalid existence in Russia to their passage in steerage and then into the quarantine islands of New York.

A Fire in Their Hearts — Yiddish Socialists in New York VREF 335.09 M
Michels, T., Harvard University Press, 2005
This book examines the defining role of the Yiddish socialist movement in the American Jewish experience. Arguing against the view that socialism and Yiddish culture arrived as Old World holdovers, the author demonstrates that they arose in New York in response to local conditions.

Genealogical Resources in New York VREF 929.3747 GENE
Guzik, E. M., Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc., 2003
This volume, arranged by borough, provides in-depth information about 50 archives and 32 government agencies holding records of genealogic interest for a city from which much of the American Jewish population traces their beginnings in the country. Included are descriptions of holdings, information on geographic scope, years covered, and finding aids.

Marriages and Deaths in The New York Herald 1835 — 1870 (3 Vols) VREF 929.3747 MAHE
Maher, J. P., 1987/ 2000
These volumes index 42,240 marriage announcements and 165,175 death notices that appeared in the pages of a leading New York newspaper. While relatively few East European Jews had settled in New York by the years covered, there were then well-established Sephardic and German-Jewish communities in the city.

New York – State Censuses & Substitutes VREF 929.3747 DOLL
Dollarhide, W., Genealogical Publishing Co., 2005
Until 1925, New York State conducted a census separate from the federal census. An annotated bibliography of New York censuses, census substitutes, and selected name lists in print, on microform, and online is provided.

Aid to Finding Addresses in the 1890 New York City Police Census VREF 929.3747 JENS
Jensen, H. M., Heritage Books, 2007
The 1890 Police Census is of special value because the Federal Census records have all been lost. For those who already know their ancestor’s home address then, a cross-reference to a census book is provided that can be viewed on microfilm at a Mormon Family History Library.

Biography of a Tenement House in New York City VREF 720.9747 D
Dolkart, A. S., The Center for American Places, Inc., 2007
This volume discusses the history and architecture of a tenement building on the Lower East Side in relation to the changing social fabric of the area.

Our Brooklyn, New York Ancestors — 1796 and Beyond VREF 929.3747 EDDL
Eddlemon, S. K. and R. A. V., Closson Press, 2005
In alphabetic order, the book lists citizens of Brooklyn gathered from directories, sheet music, event programs, newspapers, annuals, receipts, ship manifests, and other vital records.

The Graveyard Shift VREF 929.3747
Inskeep, C., Ancestry, 2000
Subtitled A Family Historian's Guide to New York City Cemeteries, the book provides information on burial grounds within the city as well as nearby Long Island and New Jersey.

Washington, Virginia and Maryland

Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community VREF 305.8924 J
Apelbaum, L. C. and Turman, W., Jewish Historical Soc. of Greater Wash., 2007
Drawing on the rich Historical Society archives, this lavishly illustrated volume records the unique history and role in the religious and national life of the sixth-largest Jewish community in the U.S.

Capital Collections VREF 929.10924 C
Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, Inc., 2007
Subtitled Resources for Jewish Genealogical Research in the Washington, DC Area, this handbook provides guidance for those performing research in Washington at the National Archives, Library of Congress, Holocaust Museum, Museum of American Jewish Military History, DAR Library, Family History Centers, and the National Library of Medicine. Coverage is also given to libraries and other resources in nearby Maryland and Virginia, as well as synagogues and cemeteries in the area.

Jewish Baltimore VREF 305.8924 S
Sandler, G., The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000
This very well illustrated volume, rich in anecdotes and inspirational stories, provides a wide-ranging history of the Baltimore region’s German Jewish and Russian Jewish communities from the 1850s.

Chapters on the Jews of Virginia VREF 296 G
Ginsberg, L., Cavalier Press, 1969
This history covers the colonial and ante-bellum periods, social structures, Jews in Masonry, and the Levy Family’s relationship with Monticello. Separate chapters are devoted to the individual Virginia communities.

Richmond’s Jewry VREF 975.5451B
Berman, M., University Press of Virginia, 1979
From personal interviews and archival research, the author has compiled a scholarly history spanning the years from 1769, when a Jew is first known of in the city, through 1976.

Moses Ezekiel --- Civil War Soldier, Renowned Sculptor VREF B EZEKIEL
Cohen, S. Gibson, K., Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 2007
The life and career of Ezekiel, born in Richmond and the first Jewish cadet at VMI, who went on to win the coveted Prix de Rome and knighthood for his sculptures.

The South (ex. Virginia)

West Virginia Jewry: Origins and History – 3 volumes VREF 305.8924 S
Shinedling, A.I., Maurice Jacobs Inc., 1963

A detailed history of the Jews of West Virginia and their communities from 1850 to 1958, including a comprehensive index to help those with roots in the state seek out references to their families.

A Portion of the People - Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life VREF 305.8924 P
Rosengarten, T. D., University of South Carolina Press, 2002

This work focuses on Jewish life in South Carolina from the l7th century to the contemporary world. In 1800, South Carolina was home to more Jews than any other place in North America. This scholarly work explores the complex relationship of Jews and the South.

Mordecai Family the Last of the Jews? VREF B
Berman, M., University Press of America, 1998
This study of a Southern Jewish family, and its progressive abandonment of Judaism, recognizes the unique situation of the Jews of the South in the face of such forces as agrarianism, race, fundamental Protestantism, environmental change, and internal developments in the Jewish communities over time. The author concludes that Jewish awareness of the dangers threatening its continued existence is the first step in ensuring survival.

The Jewish Confederates VREF 973.715 R
Rosen, R. N., University of South Carolina Press, 2000
The author reveals the breadth of Southern Jewry’s participation in the Civil War, the strength of commitment to the Confederate cause, and the sacrifices Jews made to prove their loyalty including embrace of the Lost Cause after 1865.

Judah P. Benjamin --- The Jewish Confederate VREF B BENJAMIN
Evans, E. N., The Free Press, 1988
As the first acknowledged Jew in the U. S. Senate and later a principal cabinet secretary in the Confederate government, Benjamin achieved greater political power than perhaps any other Jewish American. The book probes the dilemma Benjamin faced in being Jewish in the virulently anti-Semitic South of the mid-19th century.

Judah P. Benjamin --- Confederate Statesman VREF B BENJAMIN
Meade, R. D., Louisiana State University Press, 2001
A reissue, with new forward, of an earlier biography of Benjamin than the volume above.

Other U.S.

Jewish Communities on the Ohio River VREF 305.8924 S
Shevitz, A. H., The University Press of Kentucky, 2007
Relating specifically to the small towns on both banks of the Ohio River, this detailed history shows how Jews shared regional consciousness and pride with their neighbors, created business and family networks, and fostered religious pluralism in the local culture, economy, and civic life.

Jewish Genealogical Resources—Mid-Atlantic States VREF 929.373 PRE1
Preisler, J. H., Closson Press, 1999

Names and addresses are provided of Jewish cemeteries, funeral homes, synagogues, and other institutions from New Jersey to the Carolinas.

The Jewish Quarter of Philadelphia VREF 305.8924 B
Boonin, H. D., 1999
This book, which covers the period from 1881 to 1930, gives the story of the East European Jews who settled in the area of Society Hill and Queen Village. Photographs are included of Yiddish theatres, steamships, immigrant banks, rabbis and other leaders, synagogues, etc.

Immigrant Associations

A Brotherhood of Memory: Jewish Landsmanshaftn in the New World VREF 305.8924 W
Weisser, M. R., Basic Books, Inc., 1985
This book provides a richly anecdotal account of the organizations of fellow townsmen that provided members economic help, advice, and a psychic haven in the new world.

Jewish Immigrant Associations and American Identity in New York, 1880 – 1939 VREF 305.8924 S
Soyer, D., Harvard University Press, 1997
This work examines how Jewish immigrant hometown brotherhoods transformed old-world communal ties into vehicles for integration into American society. Focusing on New York, where some 3,000 associations enrolled nearly half a million members, the study explores the organization and a full range of activities and demonstrates the importance to the immigrant generation.

A Credit to Their Community VREF 334.22 T
Tenenbaum, S., Wayne State U. Press, 1993
Subtitled Jewish Loan Societies in the United States 1880 — 1945, the book details the crucial role that loan societies played in immigrant life.

Area Congregations

History of the Jews of Petersburg 1789-1950 VREF 296 G
Ginsberg, L., 1954

This detailed history of the Jewish community includes a membership list of the Brith Achim Congregation (1950) and local burials.

The History of the Arlington-Fairfax Jewish Congregation VREF 296.65 H
Bash, Rabbi M. I., editor, 1997

Unpublished 9-page manuscript tracing the congregation from its founding in 1940.

Temple Rodef Shalom-The First Twenty-Five Years 1962-1987 VREF 296.6 K
Kenny, R. W., Associations International Inc., 1988
A history of the Falls Church congregation including interesting statistical data and membership lists.

Beth el Hebrew Congregation 1859-1984 VREF 296.6 B
Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 1984
A profusely illustrated book on the Alexandria congregation.

The Assembly VREF 296.6 R
Rabinowitz, S., Ktav Publishing House Inc., 1993
This volume is subtitled A Century in the Life of The Adas Israel Hebrew Congregation of Washington, D. C. Particularly interesting from a social history standpoint is the schism that resulted from the introduction of Reform elements in the services.


The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust - In 3 volumes VREF 909.049 E
Spector, S., New York University Press, 2001
The fruit of more than three decades of labor, and based on a 30 volume encyclopedia published by Yad Vashem, these volumes profile more than 6,500 once-thriving communities in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East that were destroyed or otherwise touched by the Holocaust. Precise locations of settlements are given, and the developments of the villages, shtetls, and cities are traced with details of the culture, politics, and faith of the inhabitants. The book is extensively illustrated, with a foreword by Elie Wiesel.

USHM Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors — 4 volumes VREF 929.373 BENJ
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2000

These volumes enable the user to research survivors by surnames, by location during the Holocaust, and by place of birth and town before the war.

How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust VREF 929.3479 M
Mokotoff, G., Avotaynu, 1995

This monograph reflects sources of information about victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Some of the material has since become dated with the availability on a computer of the Yad Vashem records in Israel. However, the detailed listings of materials in various archives remain of value.

From a Ruined Garden – The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry VREF 940.5318 F
Kugelmass, J. and Boyarin, J., ed. & translators, Indiana Univ. Press, 1983
A translated anthology of vivid writings about pre-World World II life in Eastern Europe and during the Holocaust years, selected from various yizkor (memorial) books.

Edlund, T. K., Avotaynu, 1996 VREF 929.343 EDLU
The German Minority Census of 1939
In May 1939, the Nazi government in Germany conducted a census whereby families with at least one Jewish parent were required to complete a return. The book identifies microfilms that can be consulted at LDS Family History Centers or at the Holocaust Museum in Washington.

Jews-Officers in the Polish Armed Forces 1939 — 1945 VREF 929.3438 MEIR
Meirtchak, B., Avotaynu, 2004
Details are provided for 4,976 Jewish officers in the Polish Armed Forces with the circumstances of their deaths if known, including those murdered by the Soviets at
Katyn. The introductory sections provide much useful information about Polish Armed Forces in Exile who fought the Nazis after the fall of Poland.

Every Day Remembrance Day VREF 909.049 W
Wiesenthal, S., Henry Holt and Co., 1987
For each day of the year, events dealing with the persecution and murder of the Jews are chronicled. From the Index of Places in the volume, it is possible to quickly locate the relevant events and their dates for each locality. Much information is included about the Holocaust as it touched the ancestral towns of Jewish genealogy researchers.

Sephardic and Israel

Sephardic Genealogy VREF 929.10924 MALK
Malka, J. S., Avotaynu, 2002
This work guides the reader through the history of the Sephardim, describes the origins and meanings of common Sephardic family names, and lists genealogical resources in the countries inhabited by the Sephardic Jews.

Search Your Middle Eastern & European Genealogy VREF 929.1 HART
Hart, A., ASJA Press, 2004
This work is aimed at those with roots in the former Ottoman Empire, whose ancestral census records were prepared in Turkish using Arabic script. The work teaches the steps needed to perform research online and in records, censuses, population registers, notary records, and other sources.

Until The Final Solution--- The Jews in Belgrade 1521-1942 VREF 949.71 L
Lebel, J., Avotaynu, 2007
This volume is a highly detailed history of the primarily Sephardic Belgrade community with an extensive appendix covering institutions, books printed in Belgrade, names of Belgrade Jews, etc.

A Guide to Jewish Genealogical Research in Israel VREF 929.35694 SACK
Sack, S. A., Avoteynu, 1987

This guide recognizes that every English-speaking Jew of European ancestry probably has relatives in Israel. The book is intended for both the experienced genealogist visiting Israel to do research and the tourist who has not previously tried to trace the family. This work was written in 1987, and sections such as that relating to Yad Vashem's records are out of date.

See also Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames under Names and Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel under Sourcebooks.


Guide to the Yivo Archives VREF 909.049 Y
Mohrer, F. and Web, M., YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 1998
A comprehensive finding aid designed to facilitate access to the YIVO Archives. The organization’s materials are wide-ranging, from records involving sweeping developments in the Jewish world to documents dealing with minute matters of daily life. An index makes it possible to perform quick searches to identify collections where the specific subject matter can be found.

Sourcebook for Jewish Genealogies and Family Histories VREF 929.10924 ZUBA
Zubatsky, D. S. & Berent, I. M., Avotaynu, 1996
A comprehensive bibliography of published and unpublished Jewish genealogies, family histories, and individual family names compiled from books, newspaper and journal articles, encyclopedia entries, family papers, and family trees. More than 22,000 sources are given, enabling genealogists to determine primary sources on Jewish families in a variety of times, places, and backgrounds.

Finding our Fathers-A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy VREF 929.10924 ROTT
Rottenberg, D., Random House, 1977

A reprint of one of the earliest guides to Jewish genealogy published three decades ago. The book is described in the preface as a historic artifact now, not as a guidebook to be followed. The latter half is essentially a sourcebook that possibly contains entries not found in the volume above.

Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel VREF 929.35694 TAGG
Tagger, M. A. and Kerem, Y., Avotaynu, 2006
The purpose of this work is to reveal the wealth of resources on Sephardic Jewish history and genealogy in Israel. The book is divided alphabetically by country.

Polish Sources at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People VREF 305.8924 S
Volovici, H., Medykowski, W., Assouline, H. and Lukin, B., Avotaynu, 2004
Arranged geographically according to the region and then alphabetically by community name, the book catalogs mostly less accessible material and the archives where they are housed.

Library Resources for German-Jewish Genealogy VREF 929.343 ELLM
Ellman-Kruger, A., Avotaynu, 1998

This work covers library resources in the German cultural milieu, including areas outside of present-day Germany. It offers the beginning and experienced genealogist general advice on where and how to find published research sources. The book describes information found in monographs, periodical articles, family histories, genealogies, autobiographies, and biographies.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy - volume I Sources in the U.S. and Canada 1 VREF 929.10924 ENCY
Kurzweil, A. Weiner, M. editors, Jason Aronson Inc., 1991
Detailed descriptions are provided of information available at various repositories in North America and how access can be gained.


Latter Day Leaders, Sages and Scholars VREF 929.10924 ROSE
Rosenstein, E. and N., Computer Center for Jewish Genealogy, 1983
A computerized biographical index of more than 5,500 rabbis from the 18th to early 20th centuries, with information extracted from ten noted sources. Alphabetized by first name, surname, and town, the source of every entry is cited so that further information can be gleaned about an individual.

Eliyahu’s Branches VREF 929.24793 FREE
Freedman, C., Avotaynu, 1997
Many families of Lithuanian origin preserve a tradition of descent from the Gaon of Vilna. Based on years of research, Freedman identified some 20,000 descendants of the Gaon and his siblings with their exact relationships. One chapter explains the reasoning behind some of the links that are based on oral tradition and scant documentation.

DNA Testing

Where to Find Your Arab-American or Jewish Genealogy Records VREF 929.10924 HART
Hart, A., ASJA Press, 2005
A work largely aimed at encouraging DNA testing in initiating genealogic research.

When Scotland was Jewish VREF 941.1 H
Hirschman, E. C. & Yates, D. N., McFarland & Co., 2007
Based on the authors’ wide-ranging research in records and from other evidence, they conclude that much of Scotland's history and culture from 1100 is Jewish. Much is based on DNA evidence that has produced an abundance of matches between Scotsmen and Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews.


A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire VREF 929.4 B
Beider, A., Avotaynu, 1993

Based on 6 years of systematic archival research, this work identifies 50,000 Jewish surnames from the Russian Pale of Settlement excluding Poland and provides their meanings and the specific localities where the names were found. The introductory section provides a wealth of information about the naming process during the early l9th century.

A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland VREF 929.4 B
Beider, A., Avotaynu, 1996

Companion to the above volume, the book provides information on 32,000 surnames from the portion of the Russian Empire designated the Kingdom of Poland.

A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia VREF 929.4 B
Beider, A., Avotaynu, 2004
In the same format as Beider's other works on surnames listed above, this volume provides information on about 25,000 surnames used by Jews in Galicia. For each name, the author gives the districts where it appeared, the etymology, and variants. The book includes an analysis of the origin and evolution of Jewish names in Galicia.

A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames VREF 929.4 M
Menk, L., Avotaynu, 2005
The book identifies more than 12,900 Jewish surnames found in the German territories during the first half of the 19th century or earlier, together with variant spellings. Also given are the locations where the individuals or families lived and the year in which the name was initially found. Introductory sections include a short history of Jewish surnames in Germany; the concentration of specific surnames in some areas; tables showing the numbers of Jews in various territories; and pre-17th century surnames. In addition, places with identifiable Jewish 19th-century populations are listed with their location and numbers of Jewish inhabitants.

A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names VREF 929.4 B
Beider, A., Avotaynu, 2001
The work contains over 15,000 given names all of which were derived from 735 root names. For each name, the author provides a description of the origin of each name with a list of derivatives and variants, showing how the variants came about. The extended introduction addresses the origins, structure, pronunciation, and migrations of Ashkenazic given names. This work can be useful in tracing back to a time before the use of surnames, as it places specific given names in certain areas at particular time periods.

Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames VREF 929.4 F
Faiguenboim, G., et al, Editora Fraiha, 2003
This dictionary presents spelling variants, geographical locations, etymology, and sources were found of 16,000 Sephardic surnames. The first section provides a brief Sephardic history and explanations of Sephardic onomastics. Generally modeled on the work of Beider (see above), important modifications were made in consideration of the very different history of the Sephardim and the development of their names. Included are listings for Christianized Jews, Conversos, Marranos, Italians, and Berbers.

The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names VREF 929.4 K
Kolatch, A. J., Jonathan David Publishers, Inc., 1984
Modern English and Hebrew names are given together with an analysis of their meanings and origins. The more than 11,000 main entries are biblical names suitable for use and practically all names in use in Israel. Hebrew names are transliterated into English and are also written in Hebrew script. In one section, names are grouped according to their meaning for use by those seeking to name a child.

A Dictionary of Jewish Names and Their History VREF 929.4 K
Kaganoff, B. C., Schocken Books, 1977

This very accessible work provides the sources and meanings of hundreds of Jewish surnames and given names.

Jewish Personal Names VREF 929.4 G
Gorr, Rabbi S., Avotaynu, 1992
This brief but learned work explores the diminutive forms and derivations of a number of Jewish names. The work is intended for the general community, not specifically for the trained scholar.

Russian-Jewish Given Names VREF 929.4 F
Feldblyum, B., Avotaynu, 1998

This work, based on a book published in Russia in 1911, includes 6,000 given names used in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. A dictionary of root names provides the etymology and variants. The book is organized into three sections: a historical overview, a list of Hebrew sacred names and their sources, and a cross-index of familiar Jewish names to the original Hebrew.

Jewish Surnames in Prague VREF 929.4 B
Beider, A., Avoteynu, 1995

Several hundred years before Ashkenazic Jews were required to adopt surnames, the Jews of Prague had adopted family names. This brief monograph identifies 700 surnames from the city with the etymology of each name.

Language Aids

A Guide to Reading Hebrew Inscriptions and Documents VREF 929.10924 WENZ
Wenzerul, R., The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, 2005
The book is designed to allow the user who has difficulty reading or understanding Hebrew to compare the Hebrew on a document, photograph, inscription, or another source with the information in the Guide. All Hebrews in the book have English explanation, translation, and transliteration. The apparatus includes the Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew vowels, numerical values, Jewish calendar conversion tables, formula to convert Jewish and Gregorian calendar years, Hebrew given names, and Yiddish terms. Users are told how to read headstones and understand the meaning of symbols found there.

In Their Words — Volume I: Polish VREF 929.1 SHEA
Shea, J. D. and Hoffman, W. F., Language & Lineage Press, 2007
Subtitled A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to …Polish Documents, this work includes numerous examples of documents that the researcher will encounter while researching ancestors in Poland. The work includes an extensive Polish vocabulary.

In Their Words – Volume II: Russian VREF 929.1 SHEA
Shea, J. D. and Hoffman, W. F., Language & Linkage Press, 2002
Subtitled A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to ….Russian Documents, this work includes numerous examples of documents that the researcher will encounter while researching ancestors who lived in the Russian Empire. The work includes a lengthy list of terms encountered in records and a listing of given names in Cyrillic.

Following the Paper Trail VREF 929.1 SHEA
Shea, J. D. and Hoffman, W. F., Avotaynu, 1994
Similar in character to the two volumes above and by the same authors, this volume guides users in the translation of documents written in various European languages including, of particular interest to Jewish genealogists, German, Romanian, Polish, Russian and Hungarian.


A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries VREF 929.10924 MENA
Menachemson, N., Avotaynu, 2007
The most comprehensive cemetery guide to date, the work provides historic, legal, traditional, and mystical information developed from schools of learning, site visits, and experts in forensics, genealogy, and monument preservation. Included are chapters covering famous Jewish cemeteries, burial places of famous Jews, frequently asked questions, and a glossary.

A Field Guide to Visiting a Jewish Cemetery VREF 929.10924 SEGA
Segal, J. L., Jewish Cemetery Publishing LLC, 2006
Since Hebrew inscriptions are similar, this book enables users to unlock the secrets of the inscriptions on Jewish tombstones in North America, Europe or Israel. The material in the book represents the author’s observations culled from about 50,000 monuments at about 100 Jewish cemeteries.

See also The Graveyard Shift under American-Jewish Communities, New York City.


Avotaynu International Review of Jewish Genealogy VREF 929.10924 AVOT
Issues for period 1985-96 on CD-ROM; also, selected issues from 1985 to 1989 in hard copy. All issues beginning 2003 are in hard copy.

Toledot - The Journal of Jewish Genealogy VREF 929.373 TOLE
Bound copies of issues from 1977 to 1982.

Search – International Journal for Researchers of Jewish Genealogy VREF 929.373 SEAR
Issues from fall 1981 to spring 1990.

Mishpacha - Quarterly Publication of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, Inc. VREF 929.10924 MISH
Issues from winter 2008.


The following map reprints, all from Jonathan Sheppard Books, cover regions of Central and Eastern Europe where Jews settled and once lived in substantial numbers:

The Early Germany Map Group VREF 911.43 G
Includes: Germany circa 1760; two views of Germany -1766 & 1780; a new map of Germany divided into its circles (1805).

The German Empire: 1875 VREF 911.43 G
A two-sheet set that identifies in detail the major and minor states and kingdoms that made up the German Empire.

The Russia Map Group VREF 911.47 R
Includes: Russia in Europe — 1845: The Black Sea Settlements Prior to 1918; West Russia — 1835; South-West Russia — 1860.

The Poland Map Group VREF 911.438 P
Includes: Poland — 1799; Poland — 1817.

The Lithuania, Latvia & Estonia Map Group VREF 911.479 L
Includes: The Baltic States — 1845; The Russian Baltic Provinces — 1914.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire Map Group VREF 911.436 A
Includes: The Austrian Empire (circa 1875); The East-Central Provinces — 1844;
Hungary and Part of Siebenburgen (Transylvania) — 1845.

The Czechoslovakia Map Group VREF 911.437 C
Includes: The Kingdom of Bohemia with Silesia, Moravia, and Lusatia — 1794; The East Central Provinces: Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia — 1844.

The Eastern Europe World War I Era Map Group VREF 911.47 E
Includes: The Russian Baltic Provinces -1914; Eastern Europe – 1915; The Carpathians, Romania, and Part of the Balkans — 1916.


American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives
Collection of documents and photographs from the World War II era. Photo gallery, names index.

Arolsen Archives – International Center on Nazi Persecution

This site contains the world’s most comprehensive archive on the victims and survivors of National Socialism with information on about 17.5 million people. Contains documents on the various victim groups targeted by the Nazis. A comprehensive collection of concentration camp documents, former prisoner/D.P. camp records, death notices, etc.

Books, Journal, articles, “Five-Minute Guide to Jewish Genealogy Research.”

The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network
Site “brings together the databases and digitized archival material of a wide range of archives. New material is being added on a regular basis.

Consolidated Jewish Surname Index
Avotaynu, a publisher of books and magazines on Jewish genealogy, presents an index to information on nearly 700,000 surnames that appear in forty-two different databases. Names are indexed by sound rather than spelling.

Focus on Argentina. Includes basic information on how to do Jewish Genealogy. Cemeteries, immigration records, Yiddish given names, marriage, and burial records.

History of Jewish Communities in the Ukraine
Focus on small disappeared Jewish communities of central Ukraine. Astounding site.

Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, DC's Holocaust Museum includes links to archives and tracing services for Holocaust victims.

International Tracing Service
The archives of the International Tracing Service documents the fate of Holocaust victims.

The Jewish Cemetery Project (Barbados, WI)
The Jewish cemetery in Bridgetown, Barbados is believed to be the oldest Jewish graveyard in the Western Hemisphere with citations dating back to the 1660's.
Databases, mailing lists, discussion groups, and more. Be sure to try the Gazetteer, which will help you locate towns in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, even if you don't know the correct spelling. The Yizkor Book Project facilitates access to yizkor books which memorialize people and communities destroyed in the holocaust.

Jewish Heritage Europe
Web portal to news, information, and resources concerning Jewish monuments, cemeteries, and heritage sites all over Europe.

The Jewish Sentinel (Chicago)
Access over 2,000 issues of The Sentinel which was the premier Jewish weekly in Chicago published from 1911 to 1996. The Sentinel reflected the changing Chicago Jewish community, covering not only local issues but also national and international Jewish news.

New York Public Library Yizkor Book Collection
The New York Public Library has digitized 650 Yizkor books.

This site contains tools for finding immigration records, census records, vital records, and for dealing with calendars, maps, foreign alphabets, and numerous other applications.

Tracing the Tribe Facebook Group
Facebook group devoted to Jewish Genealogy.

United States Holocaust Museum
The collection includes oral history, books, photos, film, video and audio recordings, objects, and ephemera.

Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
The Holocaust Resource Center serves as a repository for the collection of the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and memoirs written by survivors after the war. It includes a photo archive and databases of victims & names, the Righteous (rescuers), deportations and films.

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