September 18, 2023
Michael Waas, MA, has been appointed as a scholar in residence at The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B). Mr. Waas will research the documentation of Jewish families in the NYG&B’s materials and produce the first-of-its-kind survey of NYG&B resources available for tracing Jewish heritage from colonial times to the present in New York State.
“Despite this immense body of research material within the NYG&B’s collections, formal scholarship has yet to be conducted to evaluate and promote its use for tracing Jewish families in New York,” said D. Joshua Taylor, President of the NYG&B. “Michael’s timely work to document Jewish residents in our materials will serve as a critical resource moving forward for those pursuing their Jewish heritage in New York City and throughout New York State from colonial times to the present.”
For more than 150 years, the NYG&B has gathered materials documenting New York families. Its scholarly journal, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (The NYG&B Record)—the second-oldest genealogical journal in the United States—has included transcriptions, abstracts, and compiled genealogies for many of New York’s earliest families. Additionally, the NYG&B’s library collected original and compiled material beginning in 1869. Today, these collections reside at the New York Public Library, where they are accessible to researchers.
As scholar-in-residence, Mr. Waas will examine the NYG&B materials at the New York Public Library and online; evaluate them for Jewish scholarship; and produce a detailed list of resources available for tracing Jewish families in New York State. Specifically, Mr. Waas will survey and review manuscripts and print collections (including original records, transcriptions, and compiled genealogies); all published issues of The NYG&B Record, including more than 150 years of genealogical and biographical scholarship; online collections and articles on the NYG&B’s website; and lectures, articles, and other relevant items located in the NYG&B’s internal archive.
“The NYG&B recognizes the immense contributions and impact of Jewish families on New York’s history, but many individuals are unaware of the records that shine a light on these stories,” said William C. Hallett, Chairman of the NYG&B. “This pivotal project will open up a trove of resources for promoting research and publishing scholarship in the field of Jewish history throughout New York.”
Following a competitive application process, Mr. Waas was chosen as the scholar-in-residence. Mr. Waas is a historian of Jewish communities globally and a professional genealogist. He is co-founder of Hollander-Waas Jewish Heritage Services, which assists people in their family history research, including Holocaust records and documentation; DNA test interpretation and evaluation; early American families; probate and estate work; and emigration and citizenship records. Mr. Waas received a Master of Arts degree in Jewish History with a specialization in Sephardic Studies from the University of Haifa and a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a specialization in Historical Archaeology from New College of Florida. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Society for Sephardic Studies, the Association for Jewish Studies, and the European Association for Jewish Studies.
Mr. Waas begins his term as scholar on September 18, 2023, under a 12-week appointment with the NYG&B. The scholar-in-residence project at the NYG&B is made possible through a generous grant from Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.