Genealogy Basics: Jewish Research Advice for Beginners

Jewish genealogical research has become more popular in recent years than it was in the past. Historically, genealogy has been primarily a gentile pursuit (except in Biblical times, when knowing your Jewish tribe and ancestry was important). With the re-establishment of Israel, however, there has been a renewed interest in Jewish genealogy, as the rabbinate in Israel requires a strong level of proof of Jewish ancestry to determine a person’s status as legally Jewish.

If you are just getting started in researching your genealogy, whether for citizenship purposes in Israel or just out of curiosity as to your family history, here’s how to get off to a strong start with your research...


Passenger and Immigration Research Basics: How to Find Your Ancestor’s Entry Into America


Most Americans have immigrant ancestors at some point in their family history. The only exceptions are Native American families who never married or had children with people from other societies. This means that you more than likely have numerous immigrant ancestors. Trace almost any branch of your family, and you will eventually find one.


Researching passenger and immigration records can tell you a lot about your immigrant ancestor, and give you information to use to study the family further back in that ancestor’s country of origin. Ship’s passenger records were kept for ships going to America all the way back to the earliest days of colonization. More recently, immigration records of people entering the United States from other countries have been kept in America. Depending on which record source you use, you may discover a variety of things, such as...