Articles

The Israel Genealogy Research Association [IGRA] electronically publishes peer reviewed articles. We invite articles for submission, which may be about any subject that touches global Jewish genealogy, most especially those that will improve research skills, or open new streams of research from which the reader can learn. Articles must not have been published previously.

You are encouraged to send your articles electronically to: articles@genealogy.org.il, including a short biography of just a few lines and a photo of the author. Please note that all material published by IGRA becomes the property of IGRA and may be reprinted only by the written permission of IGRA. Any websites noted in the article should use the format http:// . In addition to links within the article, we encourage you to include visuals: photographs and/or illustrations should be sent individually as .jpeg or .png files at a resolution of 300 dpi, along with their captions. Please limit your article to 4,500 words, use font Ariel 12, spacing 1.5, and the format should be .doc (a Word document). The bibliography for your article should be standard and complete, including the publisher, the date, and the place of publication.

The History of the Friedman Family Interwoven with the History of Motza & Eretz Israel: 100 Years of Our Friedman Family in the Land of Israel, by Ellen Stepak
May 4, 2020
The History of the Friedman Family Interwoven with the History of Motza & Eretz Israel: 100 Years of Our Friedman Family in the Land of Israel, …

Hitting the Jackpot! by Garri Regev
March 1, 2020
In my “spare time” I volunteer at the Genealogy Center at the National Library of Israel. For seven years now there have been sessions twice a week …

Military Resources in Eretz Israel for the Genealogical Sleuth, by Rose Avigael Feldman
January 29, 2020
For thousands of years Eretz Israel has been the crossroads of invasions and an arena for wars, but documentation of individual Jewish soldiers and …

The Jews of Simferopol, by Esther (Herschman) Rechtschafner
December 12, 2019
Simferopol is the largest city in the Crimean peninsula with a Jewish community dating from 1240. Esther Rechtschafner, the author, has researched it …

Ada Holtzman - on the third memorial of her passing, by Ellen Stepak
October 1, 2019
Ada Holtzman (1951-2016) was born on Kibbutz Evron, where she was buried. She had a tremendous influence on the Jewish genealogical community, mainly …

From Rotenburg an der Fulda to Huntington, Indiana and Points in Between, by Ellen Stepak
July 25, 2019
Beginning with the history of my maternal ancestors In Hesse, I will follow my maternal family though generations, and migrations, until my parents, …

The Urban Jewish Population in Eretz Israel from 1839 – 1948: Censuses and Voters’ Lists, by Rose A. Feldman, Database coordinator for IGRA
January 18, 2019
Until the founding of the State of Israel the Jewish and Arab populations had separate ruling bodies under the British government. This is the reason …

The People of the Book, by Chanan Rapaport
December 10, 2018
The Jews are known as the People of the Book = עם הספר = Ahlil-Kitab. Are they worthy to be called also "The People of the Books and Libraries".…

Finding My Lysiec Family by Jeffrey Knisbacher
October 14, 2018
My father Max KNISBACHER (Menahem Mordechai) of blessed memory, born April 7, 1913 in Berlin, passed away on June 2, 1995 in Baltimore. Amazingly he …

A Cautionary Tale  or  A Genealogist's Nightmare, by Ingrid Rockberger
July 14, 2018
I recently re-read The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal and gave a wry chuckle when I read that one day, when de Waal is quite advanced in …

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Forum, by Dr. Chanan Rapaport
April 23, 2018
Dr. Rapaport wrote, "I was searching for the origins of a known reputable Ashkenazi family, and I found them". About three years ago I was …

Chronicling America: Aaron Tissenbaum 1903, by Jeffrey Knisbacher
March 4, 2018
Sometime late last year I was alerted to or offered a new app for my Android Samsung Galaxy 3 cellphone called Old News USA. I downloaded it and …

Zefat, 16th and 17th Century CE Epitaphs from the Jewish Cemetery, by Yosef Stepansky
February 3, 2018
In loving memory of my mother, Batsheva Friedman Stepansky z"l, whose forefathers arrived in Zefat and Tiberias 200 years ago and are buried in their …

דבר מצחיק קרה לי בדרך לפורום, מאת ד"ר חנן רפפורט
December 24, 2017
,מחקר מרתק על גילויים חדשים לשורשי משפחת רפפורט דבר-מצחיק-קרה-לי-בדרך-לפורוםDownload rappaport ד"ר חנן …

Jewish Life in Bessarabia Through the Lens of the Shtetl Kaushany, by Yefim A. Kogan
October 30, 2017
Very little, if anything, is written about mestechko, the small towns or townlets in Eastern Europe with fewer than two thousand Jewish residents.  …

Theatrical Ancestors, by Daniel Wagner
May 28, 2017
Comedians are unusual characters. Quite a few of them populate my paternal line and this short article will clarify what I mean. In their profession, …

My Grandmother's Medical File Was Found in the Archive of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, by Ruth Marcus
March 12, 2017
About one year ago I had a telephone conversation with Dr. Nirit Shalev-Khalifa, who was the curator of an exhibition entitled "Jerusalem: A Medical …

Yagolnitzer Connection [part 2], by Jeffrey Knisbacher
January 24, 2017
Part 2 Thus far this discussion has revolved exclusively around five people: two known Jagolinzers, Fischel and Keyla, Fischel's suspected brother …

Yagolnitzer Connection [part 1], by Jeffrey Knisbacher
December 24, 2016
Introduction This paper describes recent research on a very large and prominent immigrant family in Rhode Island and beyond, many from the area of …

An Inspiring Visit to Yad Vashem
December 7, 2016
On September 14, 2016, the Raanana and Petach Tikva IGRA groups, in conjunction with Zvi Bernhardt, Deputy Director of Reference and Information …

Finding My Cousin Zara, by Eli Rabinowitz
November 3, 2016
I met my first cousin Zara [Zara Zeldin Smushkovich], known to us as Sofka, in late 1975 on Kibbutz Tzora.... Read Eli Rabinowitz's search, trail …

Shimon Peres Shimon Peres in the All Israel Database
September 29, 2016
Shimon Peres (from Wikimedia Commons) Sadly this week former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres passed away. Many parts of his …

Aggressively and Strategically Breaking through the Brick Wall, by Dennis Weiner
September 12, 2016
The majority readers of this article are relatively well experienced genealogists so there will be no need for me to define or explain the basics of …

From Rachel's Tomb to Billion Graves: The Inscriptions on Jewish Tombstones, by Esther (Herschman) Rechtschafner
April 3, 2016
Being an active member of IGRA, I have become acquainted with "Billion Graves".  For over a year I have been transcribing the epitaphs on tombstones …

Ava “Sherlock” Cohn got me going! The Story of a 19th-Century Photo, Documents, and some Incomplete Family Lore, by Peter Tarjan
January 14, 2016
Reprinted from BRANCHES (December 2014), newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami, and with the author’s permission. When …

IGRA's First Project with the Israel State Archives: Marriage & Divorce Certificates during the Mandate Period in Palestine, by Rose Avigael Feldman
December 6, 2015
In the fall of 2014 the Israel State Archives approached the Israel Genealogy Research Association [IGRA] with a request to build databases of …

In the Footsteps of Hugo Rosenthal in Grodno, by Ruth Marcus
October 16, 2015
Introduction In October 16, 1914, less than three months after the beginning of WW1, Hugo Rosenthal, a Jewish German soldier, was taken prisoner …

The Value of Old-Fashioned Rosh Hashanah Cards, by Ingrid Rockberger
September 11, 2015
How many email or Facebook Rosh Hashanah greetings have you received this year? New Year Card Those who send these 'cards' spend time clipping …

Kolel and Yeshivah Voting Lists, by Shalom Bronstein
August 8, 2015
One of the many IGRA projects is to make available to researchers the names found on lists published in the early part of the 20th century by the …

Enjoying Your Online Volunteering, by Irv Cantor
June 27, 2015
I perform online volunteer work for IGRA and enjoy it very much. I have worked on just a few projects, however some were quite large in scope. The …

Finding Aron David Baum, by H. Daniel Wagner
April 24, 2015
A condensed form of this article appeared in Avotaynu XXX (3) Fall 2014, pp. 40-45, and the present version is published here with permission. In …

My Visit to the Minsk Archives, by Yechezkel Schatz
March 20, 2015
Last year’s trip to the Chernigov archives uncovered plenty of information about my grandfather and his family. As is always the case in family …

Searching the Montefiore Censuses, by Billie Stein
February 11, 2015
Background Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) was one of the most prominent Jewish philanthropists in the 19th century.  After making his fortune …

Mathilde Tagger 1933 - 2014, by Jeff Malka
January 26, 2015
Mathilde Tagger 1933 - 2014. Her memory is a blessing. Mathilde Tagger passed away in Jerusalem on December 27, 2014 and on that day the Sephardic …

דורות מוחלטים של יעקבי, מאת ד"ר חנן רפפורט
December 20, 2014
כדי לקרוא את המאמר - לחצו על הלינק מטה דורות מוחלטים של יעקבי מאמר זה פורסם באנגלית בשם Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale באתר העמותה למחקר …

A Monumental Conundrum, by Hank Skirball
November 5, 2014
In 2008, I received a letter and photographs from my cousin, Peter F. STRAUSS of Oakland, California. The letter was from one of his genealogy buff …

Beirut, Berlin and a Small Town in Lithuania, by Ralph Salinger
October 12, 2014
In 1982, two weeks after the birth of my first daughter, I found myself fighting in the First Lebanese War. My parents [refugees from Nazi Germany] …

WWI and Its Aftermath in Ivanik and Pinsk, by Ellen Stepak
August 31, 2014
Before World War I, the Polesian city of Pinsk was in Czarist Russia. The city had a strong Jewish majority. In 1897, there were approximately 21.000 …

Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel: Part Two – The British Administration of Eretz Israel - second half by Rose A. Feldman
July 20, 2014
The first half of this article is available at - Part Two – The British Administration of Eretz Israel - first half 1939 Employment & …

דולניק – האיחוד המשפחתי בסנט פטרבורג, מאת מרים גיל
July 2, 2014
לאחר חילופי מכתבים ותמונות, גישושי היכרות, שיחות בסקייפ, השלמת פרטים חסרים (שהיוו "חורים שחורים") זה אצל זה, כל שנותר היה להיפגש עם מירה (1944) …

Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale, by Chanan Rapaport
May 19, 2014
A major goal of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center is to develop scientific research tools and technologies for …

The Domiciles of my Direct Forebears, by Esther Rechtschafner
April 13, 2014
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is an excellent example of genealogical methodology.  The author shows intellect, patience, persistence, creativity, …

History and Geography As Crucial Factors In Determining Where to Look for Baltic-Area Archival Records—with Emphasis on Latvia by Martha Lev-Zion, PhD
March 13, 2014
History and Geography reprint from Avotaynu This is a reprint of the article History and Geography As Crucial Factors In  Determining Where to …

Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel: Part Two – The British Administration of Eretz Israel - first half, by Rose A. Feldman
March 8, 2014
Kefar Azar Introduction When researching your female ancestors as you go back in time, do you hit a brick wall? This need not be. As more is …

הביקור שלי בארכיון בצ'רניגוב, מאת יחזקאל שץ
January 5, 2014
לפני זמן לא רב חזרתי מביקור מוצלח מאד בארכיון בצ'רניגוב, וברצוני לשתף אחרים בחוויות שחוויתי שם. אני מקווה שהסיפור שלי יספק מידע לגבי הפעולות הנדרשות …

Enjoying the IGRA Occupation Databases, by Esther Rechtschafner
December 9, 2013
Recently, I was checking family names on the some of the various IGRA databases.  My father had relatives, from the H.Gerschman family who had come …

מחקרי הגניאלוגיים, מאת אסתר רמון
November 12, 2013
התחלתי את חקר משפחותי עם משפחת הומבורגר מקרלסרוהה, המשפחה של סבי מצד אמי. היה בידי העתק של הפריבילגיה שקיבל אבי המשפחה, היהודי לב הומבורגר מהומבורג …

Selected Lectures on Genealogy: An Introduction to Scientific Tools, עורך: פרופ' דניאל וגנר
October 17, 2013
Selected Lectures on Genealogy: An Introduction to Scientific Tools עורך: פרופ' דניאל וגנר הודפס במכון ויצמן למדע 204 עמודים Selected Letures …

Book Reviews, by Irwin M. Pikus
October 17, 2013
Selected Lectures on Genealogy: An Introduction to Scientific Tools, edited by H. Daniel Wagner, Printed.  Rehovot, Israel: Weizmann Institute of …

The IGRA Voters' List Project, by Dr. Martha Lev-Zion
September 19, 2013
The Israel Genealogy Research Association [IGRA] has been feverishly working on obtaining as many Israeli records as possible to database as an aide …

The Shtetl of Dolina and the Origins of the Weinbergs, by Rabbi Dr. Norbert Weinberg
September 7, 2013
The Jews of Dolina, Galicia ( now Dolyna, Ivano-Frankivsk region,Ukraine) trace their origins back to the times of the Polish kings who had …

Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel: Part One – The Ottoman Empire Period, by Rose A. Feldman
July 10, 2013
Introduction When researching your female ancestors as you go back in time, do you hit a brick wall? This need not be. As more is discovered about …

Finding Tante Fanni, by Jeanette R. Rosenberg
May 11, 2013
No matter how experienced we are as genealogists, we probably all have brick walls in our personal genealogical research.  Here is a short …

Discovering our Past: The Good, the Bad and the Sweet by Michael Salzbank
March 18, 2013
My genealogical journey began, I imagine, like many others begin, while sitting shiva for a parent. In my case it was my mother who had passed away …

New Strategies in German Jewish Research by Karen Franklin
February 14, 2013
From a lecture to the Colorado Jewish Genealogy Society January 14, 2013 I recently began working on a project to organize 50 years research …

Images of the Holocaust
January 1, 2013
(Note: This article, having been edited by the IGRA editorial board, was published as modified simultaneously in Mishpacha Volume XXXIII, Issue …

Hebrew genealogy terms
December 11, 2012
English Phonetics Hebrew Search chipus חיפוש Name shem שם Given Name shem …

Vabolnik Revisited: A Cemetery Documentation Project
December 8, 2012
by Ellen Stepak The cemetery is located just outside of the village of Vabalninkas, known by its Jewish inhabitants as Vabolnik, or Abolnik. …

גנאלוגיה באיתור יורשים לרכוש
November 17, 2012
 גנאלוגיה באיתור יורשים לרכוש , מאת מיכאל סטרוד תחביבי כעיסוקי הינו איתור יורשים לנכסי נדל"ן נשכחים (לכאורה) בארץ ישראל אשר בעליהם אינם מודעים לרכוש …

Elvis Presley’s Jewish Ancestry
August 29, 2012
Goodness… It’s been 35 years since the King passed on. According to an article in Tabletmag.com, Elvis’s great great maternal grandmother was …

Israelis who lectured at the 32nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Paris 2012
July 20, 2012
Israelis who lectured at the32nd International Conference on Jewish GenealogyParis 2012 Alexander AvrahamYad VashemName lectures Behar Doron …

Jewish Cemeteries in Jerusalem
July 8, 2012
Jewish Cemeteries in Jerusalem by Mathilde A. Tagger From antiquity, people have chosen a place outside the village or the settlement for burying …

History, Fiction and Genealogy
May 20, 2012
 History, Fiction and Genealogy by Hank Skirball Genealogy - An account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor; …

My REZEKNE
March 31, 2012
My REZEKNE by Esther Rechtschafner Introduction A few years ago, a cousin of my father wrote me that my paternal grandmother was born in …

Visiting Grandpa Tuvia in America
March 7, 2012
Visiting Grandpa Tuvia in America Miriam Gil (1) 'Soon I'll meet my Grandpa Tuvia' (2) as once again the thought crossed my mind like a mantra …

Internet Genealogy - Feb 2012 Article Thumbnail Free Article from Internet Genealogy Magazine
February 23, 2012
We are happy to offer a free article from Internet Genealogy magazine each month on our web site to registered users (registration is free). You can …

(Moyal) שם המשפחה מויאל
February 21, 2012
שם המשפחה מויאל (Moyal) מטילדה א. טג'ר באמצע המאה ה19 עלתה לארץ משפחת מויאל ממרוקו ובהמשך נמנתה בין המשפחות הספרדיות הבולטות של הישוב במאה …

Using Newspapers and Land Registries to Find People
February 10, 2012
1943 Palestine Post Legal Notice Historical Newspapers Maariv Notice The following are examples from Davar [i]– published in Eretz Israel …

Pamela Weisberger Chutes & Ladders: Innovative Approaches to Genealogy
February 6, 2012
Chutes & Ladders: Innovative Approaches to Genealogy Pamela A. Weisberger © 2013 Are you eager to connect the dots, score points and populate …

Passover Break – Fifth Episode
December 28, 2011
H. Daniel Wagner A few years ago, at Pesach time, I published a 4-part article in Sharsheret Hadorot which recounted short stories of relevance …