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29 March 2011

Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB)

I am often asked, "How is the best way to start researching a Jewish family?". My reply is always the same, begin by contacting your local Jewish Genealogical Society, and share in the wealth of information and knowledge that they have available. For those living in the British Isles, or researching families who came from there, they are most fortunate to have one of the best societies available to them. The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, or JGSGB is indeed one of those societies that others strive to be. Began in 1992, the JGSGB has 4 very simple objectives, which are:
* To help one another to learn and discover more about genealogy

* To encourage genealogical research

* To promote the preservation of Jewish genealogical records and resources

* To share information amongst members

While it is easy to write down your objectives, what is most impressive is how the Society puts their words into actions. The JGSGB has one of the most incredible websites where everything is available to researchers. That site (shown below) can be found at

The records available on the site, including the 1851 Anglo-Jewry Database, are worth far more than the cost of a membership, yet they are but a small part of the benefits of belonging to the society. A few of the other benefits, include access to their Library and Resource Center and copies of Shemot, which is the society journal.

Regardless of how long one has been researching his or her family, it is always nice to get together with others with the same interests. The JGSGB is a leader in providing outlets for this to happen. In addition to the annual Manchester Regional Conference, which will be on May 8th of this year, and the annual London Conference, which will be on the 30th of October, the society has a calendar that appears to have something going almost weekly. Included in those events are the Special Interest Group (SIG) and Regional Group meetings.

The society has seven regional groups including; The Chilterns Group, East of London, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford, South Coast and South West London groups. These provide a great opportunity for members to get together and help one another. If your interests are more specific, there are 6 SIG's for research help. They are; Anglo-Jewish, Dutch, Eastern European, German, Sephardic and South African.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain is a great place to begin your research. If you have any questions, visit the website, or contact them directly. If nothing else, you will meet some of the nicest people. If your in London in October, please come to the conference and say hello, it's always nice to meet new genealogists.

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