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Recommended Material for a Jewish Genealogy Library

Avotaynu is asked from time to time to assist organizations who want to start a genealogy library. Below is our recommendation for purchasing books shown in priority order. Select the items from top to bottom to the extent of your budget. All are available through Avotaynu. If you would prefer discussing your selection, phone us at 1-800-AVOTAYNU (286-8296). Outside the U.S. call 475-202-6575.

Click on a title for additional/ordering information


  1. Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy. Primer for Jewish genealogy. $16.50
  2. Avotaynu Guide to  Jewish Gnenealogy Out of print. Buy through Amazon.
  3. Annual subscription to Avotaynu. Magazine of Jewish genealogy keeps you current on latest resources. $38.00/year
  4. Where Once We Walked: A Guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust (WOWW) . Gazetteer of 23,500 towns in Central and Eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust. $85.00
  5. Sourcebook for Jewish Genealogies and Family Histories. Jewish genealogies and family histories, both published and unpublished, for more than 10,000 family names. $45.00
  6. Sephardic Genealogy. Comprehensive guide to Sephardic research. $45.00 
  7. Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries, Comprehensive guide to Jewish cemetery practices including chapter on how to read tombstones. $39.00

Very Useful

  1. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames From the Russian Empire. Landmark work on 50,000 Jewish surnames from the Russian Empire showing etymology, districts of the Empire where they appeared and variations of the names. 
  2. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. More than 25,000 Jewish surnames from Galicia showing etymology, districts of Galicia where they appeared and variations of the names. $85.00
  3. Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames. 13,000 German-Jewish surnames from the area that was pre-World War I Germany. $89.00
  4. Following the Paper Trail: A Multilingual Translation Guide. Helps translate vital records (and other documents) for 13 European languages. $29.00


  1. A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names. Comprehensive history and dictionary of names. $85.00
  2. Genealogical Gazetteer of the Kingdom of Hungary. Information about more than 12,000 towns within the 19th century borders of the Kingdom of Hungary. $46.00.
  3. Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames. A compilation of 17,000 surnames presented under 12,000 entries. $50.00.
  4. Russian-Jewish Given Names: Their Origins and Variants. More than 6,000 variants of Russian-Jewish given names of the 19th and early 20th centuries. $35.00
  5. Jewish Personal Names. 1,200 Jewish given names showing Hebrew/Yiddish variants. $15.00
  6. In Their Words: A Genealogists Translation Guide - Russian. Detailed translation guide to Russian documents. $35.00
  7. Genealogical Gazetteer of the Kingdom of Hungary. Information about 12,000 towns in 19th century Kingdom of Hungary.. $46.00

Compiled Genealogies
Compiled genealogies are published family trees, in the cases below, listing tens of thousands of persons, from the earliest ancestor to living persons.

  1. Vilna Gaon: Eliyahu's Branches: The Descendants of the Vilna Gaon and His Family 20,000 descendants of this great rabbi and scholar. $69.50

Useful to Selected Researchers

  1. Bulgaria: Dictionary of Bulgarian Jewish Surnames.  $20.00
  2. Germany: Library Resources for German-Jewish Genealogy $20.00
  3. Germany: Diaries of Bernhard Cahn: A Man of His Time. $29.00 Life in Germany in the 19th century.
  4. Germany/Poland: History of the Jews of Schneidemühl: 1641 to the Holocaust. $46.00
  5. Lithuania: Jewish Vital Records, Revision Lists and Other Jewish Records in the Lithuanian Archives Complete inventory of holdings. $35.00
  6. Lithuania: Jews of Kopcheve. $35.00
  7. Poland: Polish Sources in the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People. Annotated inventory. $25.95
  8. Poland. Jews-Officers in the Polish Armed Forces 1939-1945. $30.00
  9. Poland: History of the Jews in Russia and Poland. One of the great histories of the Jews of that area. $39.50
  10. Poland: Naturalized Jews of the Grand Duchy of Posen in 1834 and 1835. List of 5,173 Jews. $34.95
  11. Sephardic: Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel. $45.00
  12. Slovak Republic: Between Galicia to Hungary: The Jews of Stropkov. Yizkor book for this town. $35.00
  13. U.S.: Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn. Buildings that were former synagogues. $26.00
  14. U.S.: Lost Synagogues of Bronx/Queens. Buildings that were former synagogues. $26.00 
  15. U.S.: Lost Synagogues of Manhattan. Buildings that were former synagogues. $26.00

Less Useful

  1. Deutsch-fremdsprachiges Ortsnamenverzeichnis. Name-change gazetteer of  pre-World War I German and Austro-Hungarian Empire. Where Once We Walked should satisfy most needs. $89.00
  2. Chinese Exile. Experience of one Jewish family in Shanghai during the Holocaust period. $25.00 

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