Don't let the challenges of Jewish genealogy unravel your roots research. Use these seven strategies to strengthen your connection to your family's past.
If you’ve started researching your Jewish ancestors, you might’ve heard that all the records were destroyed, or that Ellis Island clerks changed your family’s surnames, essentially cutting you off at the genealogical pass.
Don’t believe the rumors. In reality, there’s not a single documented case of an Ellis Island official changing an immigrant’s surname (learn the truth behind this common mistake
). Archives hold impressive collections of records. And a wealth of online resources can help you fulfill the goals you probably share with every Jewish family historian: to learn the fate of lost branches, create memorials for relatives without resting places and connect with distant kin around the world.
That’s not to say Jewish genealogy is easy. Cultural differences, language barriers, religious persecution, forced conversion and genocide have created black holes in every Jewish family’s history. But those roadblocks needn’t stop you from discovering and honoring your past. With these seven research strategies to guide your genealogical journey, you’ll find that your family’s ties are stronger than any outside forces.