Tips & Resources for Online Genealogical Research
Using the Internet to Find Your Ancestors
First, talk to your relatives and get as much information as you can...births, marriages, deaths, burials — who, when, where.
The following list has some great web sites for you to start searching for your ancestors:
The best web site for persons researching Jewish ancestors is JewishGen. Note: It will be necessary for you to register on JewishGen in order to use certain databases and functions.
Read the Getting Started Guide, which is an excellent and concise guide to Jewish genealogy research for those starting out, and it has links to the pages suggested below.
Check the JewishGen Family Finder and search for your family surname(s) and/or the ancestral towns and cities associated with your family.
Then click on Family Tree of the Jewish People and search for your surnames and ancestral towns. It is quite possible that someone has already done research on your family and has posted information at either of these web sites.
Search the JewishGen discussion group archives for both the family surname(s) and ancestral town name(s).
Use the JewishGen Shtetl Seeker to locate your ancestral towns in Europe. It will give you the map coordinates of the towns and, if you click on any town name, a map giving the names of the nearby towns which you can use for another JewishGen archives or family finder search. Also, Shtetl Seeker will allow you to search for ALL towns in any given radius (distance) from your ancestral town(s) and will list those towns giving the coordinates of each one and its distance and direction from yours. You can then go back to Family Finder and search for your family names in each of these nearby towns.
Check out the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) Archives. These are discussion groups/forums whose interest is in exchanging information, ideas, methods, experiences, and resources for a specific geographic region of origin.
You will gain much by joining the local Jewish Genealogy Society of Georgia and attending its meetings. The group has a collection of reference books and periodicals which should be very helpful to you.
Yad Vashem in Jerusalem has put online their complete computerized database which consists of about half, or three million, of the total number of Jewish Holocaust victims. You may search for your relatives who perished during WWII, or add information about relatives, at http://www.yadvashem.org/wps/portal/IY_HON_Welcome.
Consider subscribing to Avotaynu, the Journal of Jewish Genealogy www.avotaynu.com. They also have a free monthly Email newsletter, Nu? What's New? that is very informative. Avotaynu is also the leading source for buying books related to Jewish genealogy.
Family Tree Maker www.familytreemaker.com is a great genealogy software program that is very user friendly. Without any extras it costs about $29.95 plus shipping. You will also find it at most retail outlets that carry a decent variety of software.
If you don’t want to buy a genealogy software program, go to http://www.ancestry.com/save/charts/ancchart.htm for blank forms that can be downloaded and printed. You will need to print an Ancestral Chart and many Family Group Sheets. You need one of the latter for each married couple. Each form has spaces to list all children. Always use the maiden surname for all females.
Check out http://stevemorse.org for many wonderful and easy to use one-step links for searching several web sites such as Ellis Island Immigration, U.S. Census, Social Security Death Index, and one to find the birthday of almost anyone.
Rootsweb http://www.rootsweb.com is a great site with many useful links. Social Security Death Index and California Death Index are especially useful to many researchers. To find the California Index click on Index of all search Engines and Databases, then Records from Federal and State.
Cyndi's List http://www.cyndislist.com has over 240,000 links relating to genealogy in general, including Jewish.
The Mormon Church Family History Center genealogy web site is http://www.familysearch.org. At this site you can search for your ancestors in the world's largest family history library. Their collection includes an extensive amount of records that are of interest to Jewish researchers. Most of the information is on microfilm and can be ordered for viewing through any of the Mormon Church's local Family History Libraries.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) web site is http://www.archives.gov.
Check out http://www.archives.gov/genealogy for genealogy research; http://www.archives.gov/research_room/genealogy/ research_topics/jewish_american_research.html for Jewish-American History Research; and for immigration records, go to http://www.archives.gov/research_room/genealogy/ research_topics/ immigration.html.
http://www.brbpub.com/pubrecsites.asp is a web site with links to free government public records that are available online. This site has links to a series of extensive databases, arranged by state, with in-depth profiles of over 26,000 government and private entities involved with public records.
http://www.crarg.org/search-holocaust-records.php will bring you to the Czestochowa-Radomsko Area Resarch Group, which finds, translates, and types Holocaust survivor lists and death lists from around Poland. This database, with over 1/4 million records so far, covering hundreds of towns, consisting of more than 100 separate projects, is one of the largest on the web.