Jewish Societies

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Jews are members of many types of societies. You may be able to obtain help with your family history research from the following types of societies:

  •  Family associations - Many family organizations are gathering information about their ancestors and descendants. Some organization are gathering information about all individuals with a particular surname.
  • Fraternal organizations - These types of societies, associations, and lodges include people with common interests, religions, or ethnicities. Membership records and other records that they generated may be useful in tracing your family history. Examples of fraternal organizations include Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (Freemasonry), Knights of Pythias, and Order of Odd Fellows. Lineage and hereditary societies - Lineage and hereditary societies are for people or their descendants who were associated with prominent individuals or events, for example National Society, Daughters of the AmericanRevolution (DAR), and Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). They generally are involved in educational, cultural, social, and other programs to preserve the documents and memories of the past and often maintain libraries and museums that can help you in your research. Most publish a periodical or newsletter.
  • Historical and genealogical societies - These types of societies may have records and services to help you with your research. Many countries throughout the world and each state and most counties in the U.S. have organizedsocieties. They generally collect historical documents of local interest, publish periodicals, and have special projects and compiled indexes. The Federation of East European Family History Societies (FEEFHS) includes individuals as well as genealogy societies, heritage societies, surname associations, book or periodical publishers or besellers, archives, libraries, institutions, and other groups. One of their goals is to share information about new developments and research opportunities in Eastern and Central Europe. Included in their Internet site are notices of new publications put outby its member societies; information about the services and activities of FEEFHS and their member societies; and online databases of pertinent resources. Many of these databases include Jews while some are Jewish specific. For membership information, contact them at:
Federation of East European Family History Societies
P.O. Box 510898
Salt Lake City Utah 84151-0898

If there is a research outline for the country or state where your ancestor lived, see “Societies” in this outline to find out more information. In addition to these general types of organizations, many societies were formed specifically for Jews. These societies are generally located in areas with a significant Jewish population. Some focus on Jewish genealogy and are able to help members with genealogical research. Others focus on local
Jewish history or a common place of origin. Many publish helpful journals and newsletters.