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Finding your Jewish Roots

Posted by Iris Hami on Mar 27, 2014 11:35:03 AM

Six Tips to Start Finding your Jewish Roots

Jewish Roots jerusalem Israel wailing wallFamily history can be a fascinating thing and Jewish genealogy has become a very popular hobby over the past few years. There are many web sites offering suggestions on how to search and organizations have been founded around the topic, like the Jewish Genealogical Society. These can be great resources as you begin your search.

The Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

We hope the steps outlined below will make your search for your Jewish roots much easier.

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Jewish Roots document records Flickr: featheredtar / Creative Commons / via Flickr: 2302651444


Talk to your relatives. Look through documents and take notes of names, dates and places mentioned in important paperwork, family heirlooms, obituaries and other records.

You can start with yourself, such as your name and its significance in your family.[/box]

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Jewish Roots jerusalem Israel document records Wikipedia: Ycdkwm / Public Domain


Once you’ve gone through family paperwork and explored the resources you’ve found in your first search, you’ll need to verify what you’ve found and focus on what you want to know. Some suggest choosing one relative to start your research, and after you’ve verified information, decide what else you want to know. It may be helpful to record the conversations so you can focus on the conversation and think of relevant questions rather than take too many notes. In this manner, you can refer to the recordings later or take more detailed notes. Have a conversation! Ask for stories![/box]

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Jewish Roots jerusalem Israel ellis island research records Library of Congress / Public Domain / Via Wikipedia


Using the background information you’ve already obtained, read through research that others have completed. Review the history of the location where your relative once lived. There may be compiled records available at organizations like those previously mentioned. There are several locations that have a variety of records on hand. Consider Ellis Island which has a lot of records or Jewish genealogical special interest groups.[/box]

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Jewish Roots jerusalem Israel synagogue scrapbook history Boston Public Library / Public Domain / Via Wikipedia


You’ve gone through all that work and extensive research to learn about your ancestors. Turn that work into a family heirloom of your own. Gather you clippings, notes and documents. Arrange them in a book or binder to share with your family. You’ve done the work once, and your heirloom can become a family treasure or a compiled work for other family members to begin their own genealogical study.[/box]

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Jewish Roots jerusalem Israel cuisine ancestors Try some of the delicious cuisine!


If you conducted your search with the idea of just getting to know more about your family and you’re finished at that point, that’s fine. If you find that your search has sparked other desires –like one to travel and see where your ancestors lived, that’s great too. It’s up to you to decide whether you’ll take a trip like that or not. After you’ve verified the information and before you head out on a journey of family exploration, make sure you’re comfortable with the veracity of the information and that you trust the source.[/box]

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Jewish Roots jerusalem Israel tel aviv travel View of Tel Aviv


If your research sparked the desire to explore your ancestral homeland, make sure you choose a travel agency to help you plan your trip. Many agencies offer trips to Israel, but not all provide the same level of service. Gil Travel can help you create a customized tour of Israel that explores the areas where your ancestors lived. Contact Gil Travel today to find out more about their travel and trip planning services.[/box]

Topics: Culture and Heritage, Enlightenment, Jewish Heritage