Jewish Records in the FamilySearch Catalog
The key to finding Jewish records in the Family History Library’s collection is the Family History Library Catalog. The catalog describes each of the library’s records and provides its call number. The catalog is available on both microfiche, and as part of the FamilySearch computer program on the Internet at:
Both the fiche catalog and Internet catalog are available at the Family History Library, most Family History Centers, and some other libraries and archives.Because there are several different versions of the catalog, including the one that is available on the Internet, there are several different ways to search. Be creative when using the catalog.
The Internet version of the Family History Library Catalog has eight types of searches:
- Place Search
- Surname Search
- Keyword Search
- Title Search
- Film/Fiche Search
- Author Search
- Subject Search
- Call Number Search
The Family History Library Catalog on microfiche is divided into four major searches:
- Locality Search
- Subject Search
- Surname Search
- Author/Title Search
One of the most effective ways to locate Jewish records in the fiche catalog is by Subject Search. Many Jewish records are found under the subject headings Jewish History and Jewish Records. Other subject headings that should be searched include: Church Records, Civil Registration, Concentration Camps, Genealogy, Holocaust, Inquisition, and Minorities. All these records have geographical tracings, which enables you to choose the record by place that is appropriate to your research.
Another effective way to locate Jewish records is by the Place Search. The Place Search lists records according to geographical area. The records are listed by the name of government jurisdictions from the largest to the smallest reference. Different countries refer to these levels by different names; however three levels are generally used in the Family History Library Catalog:
Largest: Continents, regions, or countries
Middle: Countries divided into administration areas such as states, provinces, counties, and departments
Smallest: Each administrative area divided into local areas such as parishes, municipalities, townships, towns, and cities
An exception to this system is the United States and Canada, where the state or province is listed on the largest level, the county on the middle level, and the town or township on the smallest level.
For example, in the Place Search look for:
- The place where an ancestor lived, such as:
- EUROPE (by continent)
- GERMANY (by country)
- AUSTRALIA, NEW SOUTH WALES (by country, state)
- FRANCE, BAS-RHIN, ROSENWILLER (by country, department, parish)
- POLAND, GDANSK, GDANSK (by country, county, city)
- CHILE, TALCA, MOLINA (by country, province, municipality)
- Then choose the record type you want, such as:
- JEWISH RECORDS
- CIVIL REGISTRATION or VITAL RECORDS
- EUROPE – EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION – INDEXES
- This search by continent lists the Württemberg emigration index.
- GREAT BRITAIN – JEWISH RECORDS
- This search by region lists the Isabel Mordy collection of Jewish pedigrees.
- UNITED STATES – CENSUS – 1890
- This search by country lists the surviving 1890 census or population schedules.
- GERMANY, BADEN – CENSUS
- This search by country and state lists the 1939 non-Germanic minority census for that state.
- ILLINOIS, COOK, CHICAGO – JEWISH RECORDS
- This search by state (United States), county, and city lists synagogue and other Jewish records in Chicago.
The Keyword Search, found only in the Windows version of the catalog, is an easy and effective way to search for Jewish records. This powerful tool allows you to search for records using keywords.
For example, you may type in "Jews census" or "Census of Jews" to locate census records that are unique to the Jews. Circumcision records can be found using the keywords "Jewish records" or "circumcision." The key words "Church records Jews" locate synagogue records of Jews in Quebec, Canada, that were turned in as part of civil registration.
You can also do a wildcard search using "Jew*." This search brings up all the records in the Library that have this word (including Jewish and Jews) in the title, in catalog notes, or in a catalog reference citation.
Use several different keywords or combination of keywords in looking for specific record sources. The way they are listed or described in the catalog affects how you find them by Keyword Search.