Ashkenazi, or Ashkenazic Jews (Ashkenazim, plural) are the largest identifiable Jewish culture whose ancestry goes back to Eastern Europe.
In the Middle Ages, Jews settled in the Rhine River valley and in neighboring Northern France. They gathered into self-sustaining communities tied together by language, religion, and tradition and staunchly maintained their Jewish identity.
In the 17th century, persecution mounted, driving the Ashkenazim farther and farther eastward into areas of modern-day Poland, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Moldovia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Belarus.
Many of their records are being gathered into the Knowles Collection at FamilySearch. Genealogical research on Ashkenazi Jews is aided by understanding their migration paths, record keeping systems, language, and traditions developed over time.
The Ashkenazim Research for the Eastern European Jewish community may include numerous languages, cultures, and record sets.