The SephardicGen Database Collection

IGRA is proud to announce the “Sephardic collection commemorating Mathilde Tagger, Jeff Malka, and SephardicGen”. We are grateful to Jeffrey S. Malka, M.D. for making part of this extensive collection available to IGRA to incorporate in the AID – All Israel Database.

Dr. Jeff Malka was instrumental in providing material to the Sephardic SIG which he continues to develop and enhance. He has lectured at the US Library of Congress, multiple genealogy conferences and Jewish genealogy societies in Canada, US, Spain and Turkey. Dr. Malka is author of several articles on Sephardic genealogy in Etsi, the journal of the Sephardi Genealogical and Historical Society, and is author of several chapters in Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy and created the SephardicGen website.

Descended from a long line of Sephardic rabbis, Dr. Malka’s grandfather was chief rabbi of Sudan from 1906 to 1949. In researching his own family roots, Dr. Malka has accumulated unique expertise in the resources available to Sephardic genealogists.

Dr. Malka worked in a close partnership with Mathilde A. Tagger z”l, a specialist in Sephardic research, especially names (onomastics) in the Sephardic world. She single-handedly created many of the databases on from materials Dr. Malka helped locate. Mathilde was born in Tangiers, Morocco. She had an MA degree in Library and Information Sciences from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was Chief Librarian of the Atmospheric Sciences Department, Hebrew University and then the Scientific Advisor for Special Information Projects at the Ministry of Science and Development. She was a founding member of IIJG and served for many years on the Institute’s Executive Committee.

It is hard to imagine carrying out Sephardic genealogy work without consulting the work of Dr. Jeff Malka, whose pioneering work in Sephardic genealogy has assisted researchers for decades. Whether reading his book Sephardic Genealogy (honored in 2002 as Best Judaica Reference Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries), or consulting his site SephardicGen, his work permeates the world of Jewish genealogy. In addition to his other credits, Dr. Malka wrote IGRA’s Sephardic Genealogy Resources page back in 2012, shortly before being honored by the IAJGS with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

One of the great contributions of Dr. Malka’s SephardicGen web site has been its original searchable databases. These databases cover over two dozen countries, including birth and marriage registers, Holocaust victims, cemetery records, census lists, victim lists, and more. The great majority of these databases were amazingly indexed and created by a single person, Mathilde Tagger. Mathilde Tagger was another pillar of Sephardic Genealogy. Along with Yitzhak Kerem she wrote the Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel in 2006. In 2007 she was also honored by the IAJGS with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Mathilde was also a founder of IGRA, and contributed greatly to its success. One of her most enduring contributions, however, are the many databases she researched and indexed for SephardicGen.

Mathilde passed away in 2014, creating a gaping hole in the world of Jewish genealogy. Even after her passing, her contributions continued with the posthumous publications of her books Dictionary of Sephardic Given Names and Dictionary of Bulgarian Jewish Surnames. Her loss was particularly difficult for IGRA and SephardicGen, two organizations that she contributed to with her time and effort.

It is because of this close connection between Mathilde and both IGRA and SephardicGen, that IGRA is grateful to be able to also host a portion of the SephardicGen databases on our site. Dr. Malka has graciously allowed IGRA to host these databases to insure they are accessible for many years to come, and to the most people possible.

The scope of this collection offers an amazing resource to all Sephardic Jewish researchers. A list of the SephardicGen databases that will be accessible through the IGRA database search is included on the List of SephardicGen Databases page. To search these databases, you can search the IGRA Database as usual and results from these databases will now be part of the search results.

August 2020