Thursday, November 5, 2009

Synagogue Records from Europe

Have you access to synagogue records in Europe for genealogical research?

Our Library holds a selection of "Pinkasim" or community record books (manuscripts), which usually list births, marriages and deaths, for individual towns in Eastern Europe.

You can find them listed in our catalog by doing an ADVANCED SEARCH In LIMIT SEARCH TO choose the FORMAT of manuscripts. Search the word: pinkas or פנקס

To cast a wider net, do a BASIC SEARCH. Specify SUBJECT BEGINS WITH from the drop-down menu. In the text-box, type: pinkasim .

Some of the listings you retrieve will be community record books with vital statistics.
For example:
Pinkas of the Venice synagogue (1611-1833)
Memorbuch from Mainz, Germany (1586-1837)

You will also retrieve listings of record books of various types of organizations:

Pinkas min ha-Havurah Magide Tehilim u-Gemilut Hasadim (Kiev, 1895)
[record book from the society of those who recite Psalms and perform acts of loving kindness]
Pinkas Hevrah Mishnayot (Siladi, Romania, 1907-1933)
[record book of the Mishna society]
Pinkas Ozer Dalim (Venice1641-1726)
[record book of those who help the poor]
Minute Book of the Budapest Chevra Shas (1907-1932)
Pinkas nedarim (Mantua, Italy, 1753)
[record book of vows]
Pinkas hevra kadisha (Lissa, Poland, 1833-1854)
[record book of the burial society]

One of the special collections in the JTS Archives is the French Jewish Communities Record Group, including documents from 1648-1946. This collection holds many record books, such as a Taxes roll of the Jews in the district of Metz in 1785.
This collection is described in An Inventory to the French Jewish Communities Record Group (1648-1946) by Roger S. Kohn (1991) Z6373 F7 Y47 1997

Holocaust survivors from many European towns have published memorial books which include local histories, lists of former residents who were killed, and lists of those who survived. The JTS Library holds many such memorial books. The New York Public Library has a collection of digitized yizkor books.

Other resources for Eastern European genealogical documentation are:
The Genealogy Institue at the Center for Jewish History

Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova; Pages From the Past and Archival Inventories, by Miriam Wiener et. al. (1999) DS 135 U4 W45 1999

Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages From the Past and Archival Inventories, by Miriam Wiener et. al. (1997) CS877 J4 W45 1997

Some Archival Sources for Ukrainian-Jewish Genealogy, compiled by Aleksander Kronik and Sallyann A. Sack (1997) DS135 U4 K76 1997

Sources on Polish Jewry at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People. Compiled by Hanna Volovici, et. al. (2004) Z6373 P7 S68 2004

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