Sign In Forgot Password

Genealogy Corner

Yefim KoganGenealogist Yefim Kogan is a long-time member of Knesset Israel. He has assisted many Jews of Ashkenazi origin as they explore their roots and has led workshops at Knesset Israel. Below please find some of the resources he has shared with participants. Enjoy finding out about your ancestry!

Join two Zoom classes in December - December 7 & 14, 7:00 p.m. For login information, visit and mouse over the relevant dates. The first class will focus on The second on deepening your research with other databases and resources. Participants should feel free to preview the resources and begin researching in advance of class.

Here are the handouts shared in those classes:

Handout December 7

Handout December 14

In its narrowest sense, genealogy is the study of the ancestry and descent of a person, family, or a group, the study of family ancestries and histories. Sometimes it takes the form of a person’s family tree or a chart showing the relationships and descent of an individual, group, or genes. I see genealogy in a broader sense: researching your family’s past, to discover when and where members of your family lived, their professions, hobbies, and culture; learning the history of places (countries, provinces, towns, villages) where your ancestors lived; finding family stories, and not only from your direct family, but also stories from their neighbors (Jewish and not Jewish), people from the same villages, towns, and streets; and finding the origins of Jewish surnames. The Torah offers many examples of genealogy, going back as far as Adam (Genesis 5:1).

To start researching genealogy, first ask family members about their past: surnames, names, father’s name, mother’s name, maiden names; names of villages, towns family lived, professions, approximate dates of births, marriages, emigration, etc. Also collect family photos, even if no one knows who is in the picture, and family letters, regardless of what language they were written in. Look for family memoirs, the stories people wrote about their lives and encourage people to write them.  If writing memoirs proves too hard, you can also interview relatives and record their stories.

I recommend that everyone who is interested in researching genealogy begin this process of collecting the necessary information, then join our classes where I will explain to you how to use different sources of information.

For starters, you may explore the main source of Jewish Genealogy –, including features like Family Finder (JGFF), Town Finder, Yizkor Books, Burial Registry (JOWBR), the KehilaLinks websites, ViewMate, Research Groups by regions, Holocaust information, search features, and discussion groups

To go deeper, visit additional sources of Jewish Genealogy: IAJGS – International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies ( ), Routes to Roots Foundation (, Yad Vashem (, International Tracing Service (ITS) of Bad Arolsen, Germany -, and the American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center.

I look forward to sharing these resources with you to help your family research.

You may reach Yefim at:



Sat, May 18 2024 10 Iyyar 5784