Genealogy Forms, Help, Links, Searches, Software, Tools
Genealogy.com calls it "Fiddler on the Roots". That is, researching your [Jewish] family history. The learning curve can be daunting; the wealth of online sources and information, overwhelming; the process, arduous; the family infomation you gather, voluminous.  But the rewards can be priceless.

Selected from a huge
, confusing mass of information, the following genealogical learning materials, forms, links, reading materials, software and starting points for research are a well-rounded introduction to genealogy and family history research.  These links should provide the core-key information you need to know, ease what can be a confusing project and help organize you. While sources move, come & go, we are confident that this directory contains every primary source, link, site or primary guide..."the best of the bunch"...when there are multiple options available. While slanted toward E. European, Jewish names/persons/places, the procedures and many of the sources or links are appropriate for any genealogy research in any area, by anyone.

Emphasis here is on free resources, but some of links are to genealogy sites that are only partially free. However, we advise that you exhaust every free resource before commiting yourself to spending money to obtain information that may be available at no cost. Contrary to the boasts of some sites, no single source is all-inclusive of the vast amount of information or data available on-line or on-site.  In fact, you will find links, below, to sites that specifically aim to "keep genealogy free"...and, while it might seem contrary to the concept of "free", these, mostly volunteer, sites merit your donations. You will also find that most links are to individual docs or resources, to minimize that problem of circular links to links to the same links. However, a few links lists (such as free courses & lessons) are included.

Note, please: No copyright infringement is intended. Original copyright holder, in every instance, retains their full rights regardless of their site, asset or work-product having been listed or reproduced here. Copyrighted documents should be read online, not downloaded, to avoid copyright infringement. We are not responsible for the content of individual sites. Use them at your own risk. And please notify us of dead, moved or new sites you think we should be aware of. 


Ashkenazic Family Names

Beginning Jewish Genealogy - 12 Steps

Cooking Up a Family Cookbook

Dating Old Photographs-One   Two   Three   Four

Decoding Jewish/Russian/Polish Surnames

Free Genealogy Articles/Lessons, Genealogy.com

Generations: "He's not my uncle?"

Genetics and Genealogy Articles

E European Gen Research FAQ

Jewish Genealogy Wiki, in Hebrew

Many Roads: Hundreds of Genealogy Classes

My Cousins - Another Chart For Determining Your Relationship to Another Person

Oral History Interview Questions & Suggestions:
Set One   Set Two   Set Three   Suggestions

Starting Your Family History Research

Surnames & Origins - Several Explanations

Center for Jewish History (cjh.org) & Other Genealogy & Regional Research Guides

All CJH Guides    JewishGen Guides

Belarus/White Russia (Bialystok-Grodno-Minsk)


Finding Burial Places

Finding Your Ancestral Town

Holocaust Research

Italian (not cjh) Research Guide   Italian Genealogy
JRI-Poland Guide, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish

Jewish Names Resources

Lithuania (Vilnius, Kovno, Lida, etc)

Maps Resources

Poland (Warsaw, Wyszkow, "Ostroveh", etc)

Rabbinical Genealogy

Sephardic Research Guide   Sephardim.com
So. Africa    Ukraine

US  Naturalization  Census  Records

LDS/Mormon Jewish Genealogy Guides: (See)

Genealogy Learning Center, Videos, Slides Audio

How Do I Start (searching family records)

Jewish Genealogy Outline

Tracing Jewish Ancestors


Other Regional Links

Jews, By Country

Jews of:  Africa   Asia   Australia   (from) Egypt

Caribbean   Cuba;   (from) Egypt    Far East

India     Latin America       

Location-Specific Jewish Gen Links,

Jews in Eastern Europe   Polish Jews Website

Jewish Genealogy Wiki, in Hebrew


Biographical Outline Form
Cemetary Transcription Form
  Family Artifact Record and Notes
Family Group Record
Passenger Arrival Record Form
Property Transfer (Deed) Notes Form
Research Calendar
Research Extract
Traditions Recording Form
Geneological Pedigree Chart
Geneological Rose Chart

When collaborating with other relatives, avoid duplication of family history research efforts by keeping records of who is searching for what AND who has found what specific information.

1-Step Search, Steve Morse
Avotaynu Jewish Surname Index
Avotaynu Databases, Complete Listing
  Castle Garden / Ellis Island Records
Free Records Search (USA)
Genealogy In Time - Surname Search
Genealogy Indexer, E. Europe Search
Jewish-Gen All Database Index   
Jewish-Gen Holocaust Database
Jewish-Gen Shtetl Seeker
Jewish Records Indexing - Poland
  LDS/Mormon Family History Centers 
MyHeritage (Mega)Search
US Census Records (thru 1940) new
US Military Grave Locator
US Naturalization Links new   NY/NJ
US Social Security Death Index
US Vital Records, All     New York Only
Yad Vashem Database


  Not-For-Free Genealogy Searches
Ancestry.com     RootsWeb
Blitz Information Center
Archives Dot Com
FAST Genealogy Service
Fold 3 - US Military Records
Routes to Roots Foundation (some free info)


Creative Writing, Utilities, Data Storage
Free Creative Writing Course
Convert Case Utility
Distance Calculation Between 2 Cities
Files Anywhere - Free Online Data Storage
Google Earth - maximum mapping tool

Hebrew - Gregorian Calendar Conversion
Zotero - Collect, Organize, Share Research Notes


Windows Software

Paint.NET - Free Photo-editing software:  Easy, multifeatured

 Family Tree Builder  -  Easy, full-featured, multilingual. Free & Paid Versions (See below)
GRAMPS - Gen.freeware - SEE BELOW


MAC Software

COMPOSITOR  -  Photo-Editor

SEASHORE Free Photo-Editor

Gene Macintosh Genealogy Software  -  Genealogy Software (up to OS9)

SeeGEDCOMX  -  Genealogy Software (OSX)
GRAMPS - Genealogy freeware


Multiple-OS Software:

BYGONES  -  Genealogy Note-keeper: Windows or MAC

"GIMP"  -  Photo-editor for Windows or MAC. More features, but less intuitive  than paint.NET.

GenealogyJ Family Tree/GEDCOM Javascript browser viewer (See below)
GRAMPS: See Windows/Mac Links


Online Translators, Alphabets/Language 

Hebrew  Ital/Spanish  Lithuanian  Polish  Russian  All Languages 

Alphabets: Lithuanian  Polish  Russian  Ukraine "Jewish Languages"
History of the Cyrilic Alphabet

Non-English Pronunciation
Yiddish Basics


Non-Categorized Links
Am I Jewish? 
Misc Freeware Family Tree Software
Research Possibilities Example - Olenberg.org Clans
Synagogue Scribes


ADDITIONAL JEWISH GENEALOGY ASSETS / Jewish LINK LISTS, Other ARCHIVES / Repositories --- Large Reading Assets
Ancestors-PBS,   American Jewish History Bibliography   Archives - History of the Jewish People,    Czestochowa-Radomsko Area Research Group,   Cyndi's List-Jewish Gen. Links,    Fed of E. European Family History Societies,   Encyclopedia of Genealogy,   Int'l. Assoc of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Links,   Jewish Genealogical Society,   JewishGen-GenealogyJewish History Resource Center,    Jewish Internet Portal - Genealogy,     Jewish Web Genealogy Index,    Repositories-Primary,  Repositories-Other,   Tracing the Tribe - Blog,   Yizkor Books Online - UntranslatedTranslated,   
Large Assets:  DNA-Genetic Genealogy, Genealogy Online/Dummies,  Jewish Names-Galicia, Phila. Genealogy Resources,  Jewish Names-Russia
Misc General - Jewish History, Genealogy & Knowledge Sources;  ENCYCLOPEDIAS;  NEW! &/or NON-CATEFORIZED LINKS / RESOURCES
American Jewish Historical Society,    American Jewish History Biblio. (BIG),    Animated County Boundries Over Time,   History of the Jewish People,    Jewish Cooking,    Jewish Encyclopepia,    Jewish Virtual Library,   Library Source List Example,  Maven_Search-Jewish Web Directory;    Museum of Family History - Maps,   MyJewishLearning,  National Genealogical Society,   US Digital Library Links,   US GenWeb - Keeping Genealogy Free,   US Holocaust Museum,    US Library of Congress Digital Collections,    Unclaimed Holocaust Assets,   US National Archives,   YIVO Encycl of Jews in E Europe,   World GenWeb Project,      

Comments on LDS Jewish Records & Genealogy Guides for Non-Mormon Genealogy Researchers:
The free, helpful, genealogical guides and Audio/Video/Slides course from the LDS/Mormon Church, above, have been created by the church in connection with its genealogy archival & research efforts, for Jewish, and other, genealogy researcher.

The Mormon Church has the belief that people can be baptised or, in their words, "sealed" to their children & descendants after death. Because of their preoccupation with this belief, they have
, for over a hundred years, made an extensive, worldwide effort to track down records of every person that has ever lived by microfilming millions of individual records, or record indexes, of births, deaths, marriages, etc.  

You may disagree with their philosophy, or vehimently protest what some people consider to be a "conversion" of their dead ancestors without their consent.. Nevertheless, the church's efforts have preserved, and made accessible, an enormous number of these worldwide records. Like it, or not, it is hardly possible to make an effective genealogy search of the extant records without taking advantage of their free, or inexpensive, resources and data.  


GenealogyJ is a free script that will work with most web browsers, and in nearly any computer that permits running Javascripts, to display Gedcom files, the generally accepted geneology data file standard.  It is not fancy, but will suffice if you do not have a geneology program.  Download the 2nd file in the GenealogyJ download list (less than 1 megabyte) to your computer's "desktop" or anywhere that you will be able to find it.  Locate the file and "click" it to decompress it into a directory.  Copy your GEDCOM file (file extension: .ged) into the same directory & rename it "full.ged".  Download/"save-as" this file:  family.html into the same directory.  Open that file in the local directoryfamily, with your browser.  That's all there is to it.

Family Tree Builder (FTB) is a FREE program for the Windows operating system, developed in Israel, that lets you view or "build" family trees. (You can pay for a version with expanded features, but many users will find that the free version is quite adequate.) There is room for much more than names & birth/marriage/death dates. You can download and install your own copy of (FTB) by clicking our home page link for it.   Especially nice about FTB is that it is bilingual.  Enter information in Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, Spanish. etc, and it will translate your entries into the corresponding English section.  

With a copy of the current family data file, you will not need to start with a blank page!  Registered members, of this family site, can request the Family Data File from the webmaster, and download it to their computer's desktop. Or, you can use a GEDCOM source file of your own. Then, the GEDCOM file can be imported into FTB in just a minute.  With that file imported into FTB, the user will be "off and running" with a lot of family history (in our case, nearly 500 family members and ancestors "found" since 2008) already in place!  GEDCOM is the standard format for genealogical data and any file in that format will work with FTB and most other geneological software with no problems.

HINT 1: When viewing a family tree at the myHERITAGE, a wider view is obtained by moving the "generations" slider, at the top of thepage, to the right.  
HINT 2:  To get from one family "branch" af a HERITAGE "tree", to another "branch", you will have to find the connection between the branches, usually the connection is an ancestor (parent, grandparent, etc) or a marriage that connects the two family branches.  (It makes sense once you try it.)  The other option is to find the ancestor or relative that you want to view, in the list at the left.  
HINT 3: (See "Security", below) The online family tree hides some information about living relatives, for their protection.  You will find much more complete date if you request the family file and install it locally on your home computer.
NOTE:  In the Family Data File, a bit less than 10% of the ancestors are "place holders" that are not specifically identified.  These unknowns are necessary because they are the "link" between branches. We might want to show brothers whose names we know, when we don't know the parents' names. But, obviously they had parents!  So, in that case, we would show the parents without the names we don't know.

Share Your Findings:  If you enter data or details, that you have collected and which was not in the original data file, you can click "FILE", and "Export GEDCOM" back to your desktop. If you then email the file to the webmaster, your version of the file can be merged with other data and the new, bigger file can be made available here AND at myHERITAGE.com so everyone can share it!  If you get more information in the future, you can request the most current data file again, and import it into FTB again! (And then export/email your modified file to the webmaster once more.)

SECURITY:  The online version of Family Tree Builder shows living persons as "private".  Names and contact information are not listed. Also, any family data file, that is posted online, will always be an abridged version of the full data file, with street address, phone information and email addresses expunged from it. The file that is available, on request from the webmaster, to registered family members, not "censored".  By the way, in general, every attempt has been made to protect your contact information on our website.  It will not be intentionally supplied to anyone else without your prior permission, to protect your personal security.  But, you can always email another family member who has registered at Olenberg.org by clicking on the user profile in the List of Users.  When you do that, only you and the person you emailed will have each other's email address.

We are concerned...about the security of your identity and confidential information.  As you can see, above, efforts have been taken so that the family data file protects your confidentiality.  Many further security steps you can take are to be found in a security article in the general help file directory.

GRAMPS:  Open Source (Free) Genealogy Software for Windows, Mac, Linux
Freeware for Mac:  When this page was originally written, about 2008, there were no attractive or full-featured free genealogy software programs for Mac or Linux operating systems. That has changed with GRAMPS and probably some other software available now. Gramps might not be quite as easy to use as FTB, but it is close. It is full-featured and available in versions for Windows, Mac, Linux (FreeBSD, Solaris, Ubuntu, etc). The webmaster is still "playing" with Gramps, but it looks quite fine so far, especially for a universal & free program.  Installing on the Linux or Unix-like operating systems does take some computer savvy, but there are quick install versions for Windows and Mac OS-X. To learn about the features of the program, click "GRAMPS" above. To get to the download pages for Windows or Mac, click the operating system name above-right. If you need information about installing the Linux version, contact the webmaster for hints on finding further info, or search the Gramps website...but, you are somewhat on your own for the details!  

2008-13, Olenberg.org, All Rights Reserved
Revised: OBS 06-19-2008 / 06-07-2009, / 6-28-2013

Copyright Notice Clarification:  Some of the above links are to other websites and others open copies of documents from other websites.  In the latter case, no copyright infringement is intended by making such copies available here.  In every such case, the only intent is to provide easy access to good information and the original source of the document has not been obscured in any attempt to make the information appear to be our own creations.  On the contrary, we thank the original authors and invite our website visitors to visit and support the original sources of those documents.