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JewishGen is the primary internet source connecting researchers of Jewish genealogy search worldwide. JewishGen is committed to preserving Jewish heritage for current generations and those to yet to come. This site is geared for those researching their Jewish ancestry with a wish to connect to other Jews throughout the world. JewishGen has obtained records and information specifically for that purpose, free of cost, in an easy user interface.
JewishGen is a non-profit organization affiliated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage – a living Memorial to the Holocaust. The site was founded in 1987 as a bulletin board for users that were interested in Jewish genealogy. Here are few key features of JewishGen:
- Driven by volunteers
- 14 million records
- Yizkor Books – aims to translate Yizkor (Holocaust memorial) books into English
- ShtetLinks –aims to create virtual Yizkor books online
- Special interest groups – focuses on historic regions of origin
- ViewMate- post photographs and documents online
- Family pages – researchers can create their own family webpage
- Discussion groups
JewishGen has access to over 35 databases of information from various countries around the world. The JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF) is a database of ancestral towns and surnames currently being researched by Jewish genealogists worldwide. Enter the name of an ancestor to access the database or submit information of your ancestors for inclusion into the database, so others can access your information.
The Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP) is a project to combine the collection of Jewish family trees. This is a powerful resource for those that want to connect to individuals researching the same Jewish family branches. You can upload your own family tree and search the actual FTJP database for information.
JewishGen also has a Communities database where you can search for a Jewish community within a country. There are also options to narrow your search in three ways modern country, inter-war country, and pre-WWI country. You can even input the capital city of the relevant country and the latitude and longitude of the selected city.
One of the best features of this site is the Holocaust Database. This database is a collection of information about Holocaust victims and survivors. It contains more than 2 million entries, from more than 150 reliable datasets. This is an ongoing project with thousands of new records added yearly.
JewishGen has a board worldwide focus, with database collections form America, Lithuania, Hungary, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Poland, Romania, Israel, Belarus, Germany, Ukraine, South Africa, Latvia, Austria/Czech, and Great Britain. Support is also available in Hebrew, French, Spanish, and English.
JewishGen has many other resources available on their site. You can access these resources through the research tab under JewishGen hosted projects. This section includes links to sites and projects helpful to the Jewish genealogy researcher. In this section you will find links to the following resources:
- Jewish Records Indexing – Poland
- Missing Identity- helping child survivors of the Holocaust find their identity
- The Forgotten Camps - The history of Nazi Concentration Camps
- Ellis Island Foundation Database
- Jewish Genealogical Societies
More on Genealogy
The JewishGen site is easy to understand and has a searchable format that provides results relevant to your search.
JewishGen is a wonderful genealogy search site that provides a place for those wishing to research their Jewish heritage. It has competent search databases, great support, and easy navigation.
We gave JewishGen a lower overall rating only because it targets such a small portion of the world population.