Researching Jewish Ancestors in Ancestry LE  

I’ve got good news and bad news for persons researching Jewish ancestors. The good news:

There are a lot of record collections in Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) that feature Jewish ancestors.

The bad news:

Many of those record collections are listings of victims of the Holocaust.

Somewhat heartening, however: five of the top ten Jewish record collections (in terms of sheer numbers) are not records of Holocaust victims.

These searches (case doesn’t matter) produce lots of record collections:

    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews 101 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews holocaust 82 record collections

One way to narrow search results is to add a geographic term to your query. These searches produced the following results:

    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews austria 6 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews england 3 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews france 6 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews germany 34 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews hungary 9 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews lithuania 7 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews poland 30 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews ukraine 9 record collections
    SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—KEYWORD jews new york 8 record collections

I stumbled across a number of interesting, unexpected record collections. A great example:

U.S., WWI Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921

These questionnaires were sent out by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Office of Jewish War Records as part of an effort to document the service of Jews in the American armed forces during World War I. The questionnaires came in 2- and 4-page versions, though both forms asked for mostly the same information. The longer forms were typically sent to officers, casualties, or next of kin.

The forms asked for this information:

    present and legal address
    parents’ birthplace
    education
    occupation
    branch and unit of service
    rank and promotions
    how the soldier entered the service
    dates entered and left service
    length of time overseas or afloat
    whether wounded/killed
    honors received
    last unit
    station or ship
    actions participated in
    names and addresses for other Jews served with

These records are searchable via name, residence, birth year, and birthplace.

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

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