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JewishGen Family Finder Search

The JGFF search form provides you with several options: search-by-surname, search-by-town, search-by-surname-and-town; and variations of those basic searches using exact spelling, starts-with, contains, and sounds-like matching.


To search for other researchers who are seeking ancestors of the same surname or town of origin, type a surname and/or town in the appropriate space in the form.

  • To search for people researching a particular surname, type that surname in the Surname box.
  • To search for people researching a particular ancestral town, type the name of that town in the Town box.
  • If you wish to combine searches to find surname X in town Y, then fill in both Surname and Town spaces.

You can also filter your searches by country.  Please note that the country filter works only on modern country borders, which are often irrelevant for Jewish genealogical research.

Search types:

For each search, you can choose one of four different types of matching, for Surnames and Town names:

  • Is Exactly (Standard) — match on exact spelling only
  • Starts With (Wildcard) — match based upon a prefix
  • Sounds Like (D-M Soundex) — match based upon a name's sound
  • Contains (Partial Text) — match based upon text matching anywhere within a name

Is Exactly:

Selecting the Is Exactly option will search for all instances of your surname or town based upon exact spelling only.  For Surnames, this option is not very useful, since surnames were rarely spelled consistently in historical records.  For Towns, you can also opt to use the Town Synonym database, if a specific country is chosen.

Starts With:

Selecting the Starts With option will let you search for all combinations of your surname or town based upon your input prefix.  For example, selecting the Starts With option for the name "Stein" will match all names that start with the letters "Stein", such as: "Stein", "Steinberg", "Steiner", "Steinman", etc.

Sounds Like:

Selecting the Sounds Like option will let you search for all similar-sounding names, according to the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex systemFor example, "Rosenstein", "Rozenstine" and "Rojzensztejn" will all be searched if you request a Sounds Like search of "Rosensteen".


Selecting the Contains option will let you search for all data records which contain that text anywhere within the surname or town field.  For example, selecting the Contains option for the name "Blatt" will match "Blatt", "Blattman", "Blattenberg", "Feinblatt", "Greenblatt", "Steinblatter", etc.

JGFF FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about the JGFF
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Last Update: 15 July 2016   WSB
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