What’s Jewish About Jewish Genealogy?

April 1st, 2018 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

TITLE: What’s Jewish About Jewish Genealogy?
TIME & DATE: Friday, 04 May 2018, 4:00 p.m.

You’re researching a Jewish family who lives in the US. You have acquired their naturalization papers, which includes the name of the ship and the date on which they arrived. It also includes the birth place in Europe. None of the people in this family appear on the manifest of the ship and the town is unidentifiable. How can that be possible?

In this session we will discuss the particular challenges often encountered when researching Jewish families,, and look at some tools to help in the search. We will discuss name changes, challenges posed due to languages, ways to locate mysterious towns, unique information that can be found in cemeteries, and more.

There has been a Jewish presence in the United States since the colonial period. This session will primarily focus on the challenges of researching Jews who arrived in the US beginning in the 1880s from Eastern Europe, although it will touch on Jewish immigrants from Central Europe and from the Mediterranean countries. We will examine the changing maps of Europe, the languages used by the immigrants, and how those languages affected both the names and the places from which they came. This session will benefit anyone who struggles with research pertaining to Jewish genealogy, whether they are beginning researchers or more experienced. Some of the information, such as identifying places, may be of more general interest.

NOTE: Janette will be at the Conference all week, and is available for one-on-one chats. Email her at jsilverman@ancestry.com to schedule a time.

Dr. Janette Silverman is a Senior Genealogist / Research Team Manager at AncestryProGenealogists, specializing in Jewish genealogy. Because Jewish genealogy involves so many different cultures, countries, and languages, as well as non-Jewish members of Jewish families she finds herself to be a generalist in many different areas.