JewishGen Home Page

First Timer

Welcome to JewishGen!
Our website is designed to make your research easy.  As this is your first time on our site, we recommend that you follow a few simple steps that can save you countless hours later.

JewishGen has created a series of
five-minute webcast videos, to help you
start your genealogy and get to know us.
  1. Prepare For Your Search (for USA researchers)
  2. Navigate JewishGen
  3. Find Your Ancestral Town (for USA researchers)
  4. Communicate with Other Researchers:
    1. JGFF: The JewishGen Family Finder
    2. FTJP: Family Tree of the Jewish People
    3. JewishGen Discussion Groups
  5. Special Interest Groups and Hosted Organizations:
    1. Jewish Records Indexing - Poland
  6. Jewish Genealogy Websites & Organizations:
    1. Jewish Genealogy Websites - Part I
    2. Jewish Genealogy Websites - Part II

Step 1.  Interview Family Members
Before you begin researching more than 20 million records on JewishGen, make sure that you interview your family and relatives who may have information on your family.  Most people do not offer information unless they are asked for it.  Click here for helpful ways of interviewing family members and friends.

Step 2.  Take the JewishGen Basic Genealogy Course
Our interactive online Jewish Genealogy course will teach you methodology, research techniques and how to organize information for proper analysis.  This course is offered at various times throughout the year, and when it is available, you should take it as it will ensure that you travel on the right path and perform your research in the correct areas.  Click here to register and learn more.

Step 3.  Register for the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF)
The JGFF allows you to tell other family researchers what family names and ancestral towns you are researching.  If other people are researching the same information, they can contact you.  For example, you can tell people the name of the family you are trying to learn about.  If other people are also researching that name, they will be able to contact you.  There is no concern about privacy, as everything can be submitted anonymously unless you choose to publicize your name.  Likewise, you can also see the town and family names that other people are researching and contact them.  Currently, the JGFF has more than 500,000 entries and has helped thousands of people connect with relatives and learn about their family.  Click here to register and learn more.

Step 4.  Join the JewishGen Discussion Groups
The JewishGen Discussion Groups are read and contributed to by thousands of researchers around the world.  On the discussion group, people ask questions, provide helpful hints and help others.  In addition to general topics, there are also discussion groups that focus on specific geographic areas and interests within Jewish genealogy.  Click here to join and learn more.

Feel accomplished? You should.  By this point, you have learned a lot about your family (through interviews) and understand a little bit better how JewishGen works, but you are now just getting started with your search.  You will soon realize that Jewish genealogy is ongoing – there is constantly more information being discovered and placed online.

Unfortunately JewishGen does not have the manpower to offer individualized research assistance, but we do have extensive (and continually updated) InfoFiles that are categorized by subject and country.  These InfoFiles can significantly help in your research and also provide information about what life was like for your ancestors.  Click here to view the InfoFiles.

We are glad you have decided to embark on this journey and we wish you the best of luck with your research.  We are constantly working to make new data and information available, so be sure to check back often!


Selected JewishGen Resources and Research Tools

  • Yizkor Book Project
    Aims to translate Yizkor (memorial) books, predominantly written after the Holocaust, into English.  There are currently hundreds of completed or partially translated books online.

  • KehilaLinks Project
    Aims to create “virtual” Yizkor Books online, by creating specific pages for towns and uploading information such as pictures, maps, personal recollections, and research data.

  • Family Pages Project
    Aims to allow family researchers to create their own webpage for free in order to help connect with relatives and learn about their history.

  • ViewMate Project
    Aims to allow users to post photographs and documents online, and request help in translating or identifying information.


Selected General Databases

  • Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP)
    A compilation of searchable family trees, submitted by more than 5,000 Jewish genealogists.  Contains data on more than five million people.

  • JewishGen Communities Database
    A database containing information on more than 6,000 Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, together with Jewish population figures, historical town names and jurisdictions, inset maps, and links to JewishGen resources.

  • JewishGen Gazetteer
    A database containing the names of all one million localities in 54 countries in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.  The data is based on the U.S. Board on Geographic Names databases.

  • Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR)
    A database of names and other identifying information from cemeteries and burial records worldwide, from the earliest records to the present.  More than 1.9 million records.

  • JewishGen's Holocaust Database
    A collection of databases containing information about Holocaust victims and survivors.  It currently contains more than two million entries.


Selected Country Databases

These “JewishGen Country Databases” contain historical records from the countries specified below, including birth, marriage and death records, census records, military records, etc.  These databases are continual works-in-progress, and new data is added regularly.


Selected Regional Special Interest Groups

Last Update: 18 Mar 2013   WSB
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