5 things you will learn from our ‘Genealogy Resources at the Center for Jewish History’ webinar


The Center for Jewish History (CJH) comprises archives from five organizations: American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Their collection of Jewish records helps preserve Jewish history and culture, and contains abundant genealogical and historical information.

On March 22, J.D. Arden—a genealogy & reference librarian with the Center for Jewish History and professor at Long Island University—led a webinar about navigating the CJH’s collections. 

Here are five questions the webinar answers:

1. What kinds of genealogical resources are available through the CJH?

The Center for Jewish History has a plethora of resources as one of the largest repositories of Jewish records outside of Israel. Mr. Arden details some of these collections and resources, including Research Guides, the NYC Synagogue Map, YIVO’s Landsmanshaftn Collection, and AJHS Incorporation Papers.

2. How do I know which collections to look through?

Each collection has specific information, so some collections will be more relevant than others. Mr. Arden describes each of the aforementioned resources and how to locate relevant collections.

3. What can searching the catalog tell me?

The CJH’s catalog provides information on individuals, places, and institutions. Mr. Arden will show how to best utilize the catalog to reveal new information and relevant leads for your research.

4. Why would someone request record digitization?

Many records are hosted online thanks to the CJH’s digitization work. However, you may find interesting records that haven’t been digitized yet. Mr. Arden describes how to request digitization of archival material to benefit your research and research that comes after you.

5. Why should I explore the CJH archives?

The Center for Jewish History has many unique resources that are not available elsewhere, and its staff has worked hard to make these records accessible. These records will help you discover unique information about your Jewish ancestors.

NYG&B members can watch this webinar on-demand in our webinar library. 

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Outline for “Genealogy Resources at the Center for Jewish History” Webinar

The outline below includes an overview of many specific topics covered in the webinar and the approximate timestamps you can use to navigate to each section.

  • Introduction: Information about the presenter and presentation outline (0:32)
  • Information about the Center for Jewish History (2:33)
  • Accessing the Center for Jewish History’s resources (3:58)
    • One central catalog
    • Resources tab
  • Searching the Catalog (5:04)
    • How to use the search function
    • Refining your search
    • Finding record details
  • Example of a catalog search (7:17)
  • Deriving a Bibliography from the Catalog (8:12)
  • Digitizing Books (8:59)
    • Examples: Bris registers from Morocco and Germany
  • Information on their Genealogy Coffee Break series (10:22)
  • Using the Resources Tab (12:45)
    • Research Guides (13:20)
    • Family History Collection (14:42)
    • HIAS Information (17:51)
    • NYC Synagogue Map (19:15)
      • Incorporating JewishGen (22:06)
      • Incorporating the CJH catalog (22:59)
    • YIVO’s Landsmanshaftn Collection (24:08)
    • People of a Thousand Towns Database (29:10)
    • AJHS Incorporation Papers (31:04)
  • Requesting Digitization of Items (34:15)
    • Why one might request digitization
    • How to request digitization
    • Setting up an account (36:32)
  • Reaching Out for Questions (37:04)
  • More Information about Genealogy Coffee Break events (40:40)
  • Speaker’s Contact Information (42:49)
  • Question & Answer Session (43:31)

Watch the webinar