Researching Jewish ancestors and looking for a little guidance? Avrum Geller, Member of the Executive Council of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc, provides six tips for getting started on the right foot.
1. Call or visit the very oldest persons in the family and interview them about the family history you have in common. Do this first! And you will want to be in contact again, and to keep expanding the people you contact in the family, because in genealogy the more you know, the more questions you have.
2. Go to the website www.jewishgen.org. JewishGen is an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage–a Living Memorial to the Holocaust, and is a partner with Ancestry. There are many useful JewishGen features, but perhaps the most useful is the FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions. This provides a detailed primer on methodology and resources for conducting Jewish genealogical searches in detail. Read through the FAQ and refer to them often.
3. Through the JewishGen website, register for the JGFF: Jewish Genealogy Family Finder. This will provide you a way to be in contact with and to be contacted by other people researching your family surnames and your family towns of of origin. Update your listings as you learn more about your family and its origins.
4. Use the One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse to conduct most of your online searches. The customized search engines here for conducting searches on other genealogical websites are superior to the resident ones.
5. Subscribe to the JewishGen Discussion Group. Subscribe to Regional and Topical Special Interest Groups that relate most closely to your family background and genealogical interests. Consider making a contribution to JewishGen and to its hosted organizations in order to best support their work, and to best support your work by being able to use special search capabilities and to access additional proprietary information available only to supporters.
6. Become a member of your local Jewish Genealogical Society, such as the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. in New York City. Take advantage of unique online resources, attend its meetings and conferences, and meet other people sharing your interests in Jewish Genealogy.