Getting started with
your family history
Tracing your roots is a rewarding hobby, but it can sometimes be overwhelming.

Here are some steps to help get you started:

BOOKS TO READ
Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy: 2010 Version by Gary Mokotoff.
Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy by Sallyann Sack and Gary Mokotoff.

CONSULT YOUR FAMILY -- ESPECIALLY OLDER MEMBERS
Ask for family names, ancestral towns, dates of arrival, port sailed from, port of arrival. If possible, tape record or film your interviews.

Ask for copies of photographs and documents such as naturalization certificates, birth, marriage, death certificates, etc.  

START YOUR ONLINE RESEARCH –
Depending on when your family arrived in the United States, look for them in the Federal Census, beginning with 1930 and working backwards.

CONSULT RECORDS AT THE FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY
For records that are not available online, a trip to the local Family History Center may be necessary.  Microfilms can be viewed which contain such information as U. S. census records, passenger arrivals, naturalization records, city directories, and vital records as well as records from Poland, Hungary, Germany, England, France and other foreign countries.

JOIN A GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
Founded in 1982, the San Diego Jewish Genealogical Society meets monthly at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla. Meetings are planned to meet the needs of the novice as well as the more experienced genealogist. Members share materials, research methods and ideas, and successes or failures in research.

Guest speakers talk on subjects of interest.

MEMBERSHIP in the San Diego Jewish Genealogical Society includes:

BORROWING PRIVILEGES FOR SDJGS LIBRARY
Books and other materials may be borrowed for a period of one month. The SDJGS Library includes many valuable resource books, maps, gazetteers and atlases, plus newsletters and journals from Jewish Genealogical Societies worldwide.  There is also a collection of audiotapes, videotapes, CDs and DVDs of past lectures and other genealogically related material. 

ACCESS TO MEMBERS’ ONLY SECTION of SDJGS website. 

USE OF COMPUTERS, for online resources, at meetings.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE JEWISHGEN FAMILY FINDER 
This is a database of over 115,000 ancestral surnames and 18,000 ancestral towns being researched by over 90,000 genealogists in the United States and around the world.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE FAMILY TREE OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, a project of JewishGen to centralize the collection of Jewish family trees.


INFORMATION ABOUT ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL JEWISH GENEALOGICAL CONFERENCES 
Past conferences have been held in Boston, Chicago, Jerusalem, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Toronto and Washington, DC.

SDJGS is a member of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical  Societies, the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the California Genealogical Alliance.
SDJGS is a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization.