24 Must-Read Jewish Genealogy Books
9/28/2009
Get your Jewish family research started with these great references.
Jewish genealogy isn’t 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 Jewish genealogy books to guide your journey, you’ll find that your family’s ties are stronger than any outside forces.

The books are organized by research focus for easy browsing. Avotaynu sells many of these titles; visit the Web site for more books and resources. Visit my blog, Tracing the Tribe, for updates on the latest Jewish genealogy resources. You can also search WorldCat to find the title at a library near you.

For beginners

  • Abraham's Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People by Jon Entine (Grand Central Publishing)
  • Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy edited by Sallyann Amdur Sack and Gary Mokotoff (Avotaynu)
  • A Field Guide to Visiting a Jewish Cemetery by Rabbi Joshua L. Segal (Jewish Cemetery Publishing)
  • Finding our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy by Dan Rottenberg (Genealogical Publishing Co.)
  • From Generation to Generation: How to Trace Your Jewish Genealogy and Family History by Arthur Kurzweil (Jossey-Bass)
  • A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries by Nolan Menachemson (Avotaynu)

For Sephardic and converso researchers

  • Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia by Alexander Beider (Avotaynu)
  • Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames, 2nd edition, by Guilherme Faiguenboim, Paulo Valadares and Anna Rosa Campagnano (in Spanish, Fraiha, available through Avotaynu)
  • Sangre Judia by Pere Bonnin Aguilo (in Spanish, available through www.casadellibro.com)
  • Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews by David Gitlitz (Jewish Publication Society of America)
  • Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World by Jeffrey S. Malka (Avotaynu)
  • To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico by Stanley M. Hordes (Columbia University Press)

For Eastern European and Ashkenazi researchers

  • A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names: Their Origins, Structure, Pronunciation, and Migrations by Alexander Beider (Avotaynu)
  • A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames by Lars Menk (Avotaynu)
  • A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland by Alexander Beider (Avotaynu)
  • A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire by Alexander Beider (Avotaynu)
  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust edited by Shmuel Spector and Geoffrey Wigoder (New York University Press)
  • Genealogical Gazetteer of the Kingdom of Hungary by Jordan Auslander (Avotaynu)
  • German Name-Change Gazetteer by Otto Kredel and Franz Thierfelder (Avotaynu)
  • History of the Jews in Russia and Poland by Simon M. Dubnow (Avotaynu)
  • Jewish Personal Names: Their Origins, Derivation and Diminutive Forms by Rabbi Shmuel Gorr (Avotaynu)
  • Jews of Lithuania: A History of a Remarkable Community 1316-1945 by Masha Greenbaum (Gefen Publishing House)
  • Russian-Jewish Given Names: Their Origins and Variants by Boris Feldblyum (Avotaynu)
  • Where Once We Walked: A Guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust by Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack with Alexander Sharon (Avotaynu)
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