If you have very little information, begin with:

  • Passenger Records
  • Naturalization Records
  • Census Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Social Security Application, and
  • Passport Records

Jewish immigrants often “Americanized” their names. Further, they used a lot of nicknames and derivatives of their real name

  • Hint: Search with initials and last name to maximize your chance of finding your relative

To find a Jewish ancestor’s town of origin (“shtetl”), look to their grave and local synagogue. Jewish immigrants often formed societies based on their hometowns and members frequently bought lots in cemeteries

A lot of areas where Jewish individuals originated from had shifting boundaries. It is not unusual for people to identify with other areas than the one named in official documents

Galicia (province of Austria) – Now in Poland and Ukraine

  • Gesher Galicia is a Galicia research group
  • Records are scattered
  • Jews avoided registration of marriage. Children are often listed under their mother’s surname as illegitimate

A number of Jews immigrated to Mexico. Search the 1930 Mexico National Census and the Brazil Immigration Cards on FamilySearch

Since the 1950’s, the International Tracing Service has researched and documented the fates of millions who suffered persecution during the holocaust


  • Social organizations made up of immigrants from the same region.
  • The Landsmanshaft helped immigrants transition from one area to another, helped immigrants learn English, find employment, learn culture, find financial aid, created burial societies
  • Most Landsmanshaft’s published journals or newsletters, kept minutes, dues books and receipts, helpd special programs
  • Burial Society – would buy sections within a cemetery and sell plots to its members
  • TIVO’s Landsmanshaftn Collection
  • Burial Society Database

Hebrew Newspapers

Historical Jewish Press

Useful Websites

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