(Many of these are not specifically focused only on Jewish research, but nonetheless are of exceptional interest)
Prepared by Hal Bookbinder, JGSLA Director
1Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse (non-profit)
“In the “old days” genealogical research was done by traveling great distances and then going through dusty archives or using microfilm readers. But the advent of the World Wide Web has changed that. Today much of the data useful to genealogists has been put on websites and can be accessed from the comfort of home. Unfortunately, many of these websites are not easy to use. And those that are don’t always offer all the versatility that is possible. For that reason I have created alternate ways of accessing some of these websites. In addition I have developed some of my own databases and programs to facilitate doing genealogical research.”
This site contains thousands of databases. They have “… partnered with JewishGen®, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the American Jewish Historical Society and The Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation, Inc. to create the world’s largest online collection of Jewish historical records.” This fee-based commercial site can be accessed for free from a number of libraries (including UCLA), the LA Public Library and from the LA Family History Library on the campus of the LDS Los Angeles Temple.
“Avotaynu, Inc. is the leading publisher of products of interest to persons who are researching Jewish genealogy, Jewish family trees or Jewish roots. The books we sell are meant to assist you in your research—from beginner guides to books about Jewish surnames.” See below for access to a list of links from Avotaynu.com.”
Ellis Island (non-profit)
Provides information about immigration through the port of New York and search of the Ellis Island Database. As so many of our ancestors passed through Elis Island, it is of unique interest. You can also access the Ellis Island and Castle Garden databases through the www.stevemorse.org website which provides additional search capabilities into this data.
FamilySearch (non-profit – provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
“Our records span billions of names across hundreds of collections—including birth, marriage, death, probate, land, military, IGI extracted, and more.”
Fold3 (commercial – available as a free benefit to JGSLA members)
“The web’s premier collection of original military records.” Hundreds of primarily military collections including records. Along with records for many of America’s earlier wars, their collection also includes records from the Dachau, Flossenburg and Mauthausen concentration camps, WWII Army Enlistment Records, WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Cards, WWII Missing Air Crew Reports, WWII US Air Force Photos WWII Navy Muster Rolls and WWII Nuremberg Interrogation Records.
Godfrey Memorial Library (commercial – available as a free benefit to JGSLA members)
“The purpose of the Godfrey Memorial Library is to promote the study of family history by: Inspiring individuals in all sectors of society to study their heritage and their own place in history; Supporting educational activities that create enthusiasm for family research; and Making genealogical and historical resources available to all on a national and international level by continuing the expansion, modernization, and distribution of the collection of print, electronic manuscript and other information media as technology develops.”
Google, Bing, and other search engines
Don’t overlook the obvious – search using the terms in which you are interested (e.g. “Jews in Bavaria”, “map of Medzibozh”, “Family Group Sheets” or “How do I research xxxxx?”).
“The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) umbrella organization coordinating the activities and annual conference of more than 70 national and local Jewish genealogical societies around the world.” The Jewish Genealogical Yearbook is posted on this site and contains links to the websites of all Jewish Genealogical Societies worldwide.
Infobel (no fee, but may link to sites which charge)
Infobel links to phone books from countries all over the world. Some require a city or area as well as a surname. One of the UK directories (192.com) to which it links, as a teaser shows other occupants of the same location. To get more details you need to pay a fee. But, just seeing the other occupants may confirm whether this is the person for whom you are searching. Another link is to the Israeli directory, Bezeq. While an English front end is offered, the look up returns listings in Hebrew. However, I did find an on free line phone directory for Israel entirely in English and verified it by looking up relatives there, http://www.israelpb.com/
Italian Genealogy Group (non-profit)
While it is not the intention of this list to provide access to the various genealogical groups (use the websites below with links to hundreds of specific websites), an exception is made for the Italian Genealogy Group as it is not one that you would think would be of interest to genealogist pursuing his/her Jewish roots. However, this group has indexed various NYC records including NYC Death Indexes, 1862-1948, NYC Groom Indexes, 1864-1907, NYC Bride Indexes, 1871-1937 and NYC Births, 1880-1909.
“Jewish Data is one of the largest professionally compiled Jewish Genealogy resources of its kind currently available. We have over 500,000 Jewish Genealogy records including images of Jewish Tombstones, school yearbook pages and Citizen Declaration documents. New Jewish Genealogy records are added on an ongoing basis. View records from around the world and submit your local Jewish Cemetery records and photos to help increase the Jewish Genealogy records and provide information for other Jewish Genealogy seekers.”
“Our free, easy-to-use genealogy website features thousands of databases, research tools, and other resources to help those with Jewish ancestry research and find family members.” The SIGs (Special Interest Groups) webpage connects you to organizations which provide extensive data bases of records related to its area of interest. It includes links to both JewishGen SIGs (like Austria-Czech, Jewish-German, Hungary and Ukraine) and hosted SIGs (like JRI Poland, Gesher Galicia, LitvakSIG and Suwalk-Lomza SIG). While you can link to any of the following from the JewishGen home page, for your information they are shown below:
Jewish Genealogical Society Los Angeles (non-profit)
Along with information about past and future programs, Los Angeles area resources, indices to our library collections and on line copies of JGSLA’s award winning Journal, RootsKey, the website provides free access for member to three commercial databases, JewishData, Godfrey Library and Fold3. These databases are described separately in this list, including their direct, fee-based, link. One can access them at no charge through the members’ portal on the JGSLA web site.
Library of Congress (government)
“Today’s Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. The collection of more than 151 million items includes more than 34.5 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 66.6 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world’s largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.”
MyHeritage (commercial – but with extensive free database access)
“Genealogy, also known as Family History, is an exciting hobby enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. Here at MyHeritage.com, our goal is to provide you the best tools for genealogy and family history research – whether you are an experienced genealogist or a beginner who wants to see what genealogy is all about. Genealogy, also known as Family History, is an exciting hobby enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. Here at MyHeritage.com, our goal is to provide you the best tools for genealogy and family history research – whether you are an experienced genealogist or a beginner who wants to see what genealogy is all about.”
National Archives/Genealogists (government)
Provides access to a range of federal records of interest to genealogists plus tips on getting started, military records research, census research, immigration research and land records research. It further provides instructions for requesting information from the national Archives and its branches.
Organizations which offer annual conferences on genealogy:
“Routes to Roots” database search by Miriam Weiner (non-profit)
“Much of the data, compiled over the past 25 years, was originally published in Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova and Jewish Roots in Poland (both authored by Miriam Weiner). Since the Ukraine/Moldova book is out of print and there are no plans to reprint it, it was determined that the best way to maintain and disseminate the archival database was to post the information on this website with periodic updates.” Consider first reading the introduction at http://www.rtrfoundation.org/ for background on what is contained in the databases and how to use it.
SIGs, ARGs and BOFs
Most Jewish-oriented SIGs (Special Interest Groups) and couple of ARGs (Area Research Groups) can be linked to from one of the following JewishGen pages: http://www.jewishgen.org/
State and Local Governments on the Net
In your search you will invariably want to connect with government websites at the state, county or local level across the country. This website contains extensive links to such websites, grouped under “State Government”, “Local State Government” and “Topic Pages for all 50 States”. If you are looking for the link to a county, click on the state’s name under the “State Government” heading. If you are looking for a city or village, click on the state’s name under the “Local State Government” heading.
“We are a group of volunteers working together to provide free genealogy websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. This Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free genealogy access for everyone.Organization is by county and state, and this website provides you with links to all the state genealogy websites which, in turn, provide gateways to the counties.”