How to Trace Your Jewish Family History
Kurzweil, Arthur. From Generation to Generation: How to Trace Your Jewish Genealogy and Family History. Foreword by Elie Wiesel. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2004 929.1 KURZWEIL
Mokotoff, Gary. Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 1999. 929.108 M72G
Rottenberg, Dan. Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy. New York, Random House, 1977. 929.102 R74F
Addition suggested by Cary Aufseeser.
Sack, Sallyann Amdur. A Guide to Jewish Genealogical Research in Israel. rev. ed. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1995. 929.108 SACK
Key Reference Book
Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. Edited by Sallyann Amdur Sack and Gary Mokotoff. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2004. R 929.1 A96S
Joseph, Samuel. Jewish Immigration to the United States from 1881 to 1910. New York: Arno Press, 1969. 325.24 J77J
Auswandererhafen Hamburg: Emigration Port. Hamburg, Germany: Medien-Verlag Schubert, 2000. 943.515 EMIGRATION
Walker, Mack. Germany and the Emigration, 1816-1885. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1964. 325.243 W15G
What’s Available in Boston
Blatt, Warren. Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area. Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston: Boston, 1996. R 929.108 BLATT (also circulating copy)
European Research by Place
Cohen, Chester G. Shtetl Finder: Jewish Communities in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries in the Pale of Settlement of Russia and Poland, and in Lithuania, Latvia, Galicia, and Bukovina, with Names of Residents. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1989. 929.1 COHEN
Mokotoff, Gary. Where Once We Walked: A Guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1991. R 940.531 M72W
Key reference for finding Jewish place names in Europe. Indexed by pronunciation.
Researching Family Names
Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. David L. Gold, special consultant for Jewish names. A Dictionary of Surnames. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. R 929.42 H19D
This reference work includes a large number of Jewish, Russian, and German names. Especially useful is the index which includes variants, equivalents, derivatives and cognates. The introduction includes information on Jewish family names, surnames in the Soviet Union, surnames of Eastern Europe outside Russia, and surnames in German-speaking countries.
Languages (for Genealogists)
Shea, Jonathan. Following the Paper Trail: A Multilingual Translation Guide. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1994. 929 S53F
Languages covered include Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latin, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
Shea, Jonathan. In Their Words: A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to Polish. New Milford, CT: Language and Lineage, 2000. 929.107 SHEA v.1
Shea, Jonathan. In Their Words: A Genealogist’s Translation Guide: Russian. New Milford, CT: Language and Lineage, 2003. 929.107 SHEA v.2
Sharing Family History with Children
Beller, Susan Provost. Roots for Kids: A Genealogy Guide for Young People. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2007. J 929.1 B41R
This book is set up so that a child can work with an adult to learn about collecting family history and stories. Neither need to know anything about doing a family genealogy. Both can learn together.
Taylor, Maureen. Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors: A Step-by-Step Guide to Uncovering Your Family’s History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. J 929.1 T21T
Wolfman, Ira. Climbing Your Family Tree: Online and Off-Line Genealogy for Kids. New York: Workman, 2002. J 929.1 WOLFMAN
Ancestry Library Edition (In Library Only)
Ancestry Library Edition allows you access to more than three billion names using a number of different records that it provides online. Once you find a transcribed record through Ancestry’s “Search” function, the database often allows you to click onto a photographic copy of the original record. Never rely on a transcription when you have access to an original record. There can be major discrepancies between the original and the transcription. Another Ancestry tip: their section on federal census records allows a search for neighbors. This is often very useful for finding additional family members. If you are looking for recent immigrants, it also helps you find other people from the town or village of origin. People coming to a strange country often settled around other people they knew or who shared the same culture. Ancestry does not allow the library to provide remote access, so it must be searched here at the Newton Free Library.
American Ancestors: Member Website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (In Library Only)
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), founded in 1845, is the nation’s oldest and largest genealogical society with a research library of over 200,000 volumes. Even if you do not have New England ancestors, you will find that NEHGS is an important resource for helping you to track information about your family history. If you do have New England ancestors, it is a treasure trove that you must check.
This database provides most of what is available to its members online to anyone using one of the library’s computers. Here you will find extensive family resources, including databases, how-to articles, research columns, bibliographies, free queries, and discussion groups. You may also browse through the online book catalog for New England, New York, and other regions. This site is not limited to the New England area as its new title suggests. Non-members can access some sections of the American Ancestors site from home. Anyone working within the library can access the database as though you were a member. Check with a librarian if you need help.
America’s Obituaries and Death Notices database contains the largest and most comprehensive online collection of newspaper obituaries and death notices published from 1980 to the present. Each obituary or death notice is indexed by the name of the deceased person. In addition, the text of each obituary or death notice is searchable, making it easy to find other categories or leads such as a place of residence, occupation, names of family members, or other personal information. There are over 29 million listings. Not all newspapers are included. For a list of newspapers and the dates covered by each, click here.
Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston
JewishGen: The Official Home of Jewish Genealogy
Steven Morse: The One-Step website
Addition suggested by Cary Aufseeser
Tracing the Tribe