JewishGen, Inc.
12 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1100
Houston, Texas 77046
Fax: (713) 522-7599


For further information: Susan E. King ( (713) 522-7599 (FAX)
Warren Blatt (

Date: June 30,  1998

The JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF) has reached a milestone since going online for interactive data entry and searching just one year ago. As of today, over 6000 individuals have submitted data via the JewishGen website. In the last year, we have mre than doubled the data collected during the prior 15 years.

The JewishGen Family Finder is available for searching, entering and modifying data online at our website, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Data is updated instantaneously and is available immediately for subsequent search requests.

The JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF) is a database of surnames and towns currently being researched by Jewish genealogists worldwide. It contains ancestral surnames and town names, and is indexed and cross-referenced by both surname and town name.

The JGFF is a networking tool, designed to connect genealogists with similar research interests. Its purpose is to allow people who are researching the same surnames and towns to share information with each other. All Jewish genealogists and those who are interested in their heritage are encouraged to participate.

The concept for the JGFF began In April 1982, when the New York-based Jewish Genealogical Society published a 37-page typewritten roster of ancestral towns and surnames being researched by 83 members of the society. This was the genesis of what became the "Jewish Genealogical Family Finder". Gary Mokotoff, a member of the society, computerized the list and expanded the JGFF by permitting contributions from any person who was researching their Jewish ancestry, even though not a member of the New York group. Mokotoff elected to maintain the JGFF under the auspices of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. from 1982 until 1996, turning over profits to the society. Printed copies of the JGFF were distributed to the various Jewish Genealogical Societies throughout the world semi-anually, and the JGFF was also made available to the public on microfiche.

In 1991, the JGFF was made available on several dial-up computer bulletin boards (BBSs), in a project developed by Susan King. In 1994, the JGFF was made available on the Internet, via a World Wide Web and e-mail retrieval system developed by Warren Blatt for JewishGen. In 1996, a new online system was developed for JewishGen by Michael Tobias, which included the ability to enter and modify entries online.

In 1996, ownership of the JGFF was transferred from the Jewish Genealogical Society (New York), to JewishGen, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, in order to make the data more widely available. It was renamed to the JewishGen Family Finder. Mokotoff continues as editor of the JGFF. Printed copies of the JGFF continue to be available, and researchers may now search and submit data online via the WWW.

As of March 31, 1998, the JGFF contained over 70,000 entries, submitted by over 7,900 Jewish genealogists worldwide. The database contains over 26,000 different surnames, and over 8,000 ancestral town names.

Date Researchers Entries
1990 1300 20,000
1991 1500 22,000
1992 1700 24,000
1993 2000 28,000
1994 2300 30,000
1995 Jun 2400 31,000
1995 Dec 2600 32,000
1996 Jun 2600 32,000
1996 Dec 3,500 40,000
1997 Mar 4,200 47,000
1997 Apr 4,600 49,000
1997 May 4,700 50,500
1997 Aug 5,400 54,000
1997 Oct 6,600 58,000
1997 Dec 7,400 61,400
1998 Mar 9,500 70,000
1998 June 11,350 80,300

For more information on the JewishGen Family Finder:

JewishGen, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. The JewishGen website averages over 1,000,000 hits a month. Tens of thousands now utilize the internet services of JewishGen, spanning all continents.

For more information: