Must-Read Jewish Genealogy Books

By Schelly Talalay Dardashti Premium

jewish genealogy books

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.

For beginners

For Sephardic and converso researchers

  • Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia by Alexander Beider (Avotaynu)
  • Dicionario Sefaradi de Sobrenomes (Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames) by Guilherme Faiguenboim, Paulo Valadares and Anna Rosa Campagnan (Avotaynu)
  • The Forgetting River: A Modern Tale of Survival, Identity, and the Inquisition by Doreen Carvajal (Riverhead Books)
  • Guidebook for Sephardic and Mizrahi Genealogical Resources in Israel by Mathilde Tagger and Yitzchak Kerem (Avotaynu)
  • The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean: The Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Settlements in the Caribbean and the Guianas by Mordechai Arbell (Gefen)
  • The Journal of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Crypto Jews (Florida International University)
  • Juggling Identities: Identity and Authenticity Among the Crypto-Jews by Seth D. Kunin (Columbia University Press)
  • Sangre Judia (vols. 1 and 2) by Pere Bonnin Aguilo
  • 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)
  • Sephardic Horizons journal
  • 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)