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The JewishGen Communities Database and JewishGen Gazetteer

The JewishGen Gazetteer:

The JewishGen Gazetteer
The JewishGen Communities Database
Mapping Functions

The JewishGen Gazetteer is a database containing the names of all localities in the 54 countries of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.  The data is based on the U.S. Board on Geographic Names databases.

For each locality, the search results will display:

  • The place's name(s), with the native name in bold.
  • The coordinates — latitude and longitude.
  • Links to maps (see Mapping Functions, below).
  • Country — the country in which the locality is located today.
  • Distance/Direction from reference point.
  • 10 miles radius — a link to display all places within a 10 mile radius.

The U.S. Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) provides geographic names information from the Geographic Names Database (GNDB).  GNDB foreign geographic names information is used to prepare country gazetteers of feature names approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (USBGN).

Feature coordinates provided in the GNS are sufficiently accurate for map finding purposes.  However, these coordinates were derived from map sources of varying scales and accuracy.  Some coordinates were read by hand to the nearest minute; other coordinates were entered reading to the nearest second.  While due care was taken to read and enter coordinate data as accurately as possible, GNS coordinates cannot be considered accurate in an absolute sense.

There are known errors in the databases.  If you suspect there are errors in the results of your searches, please contact Michael Tobias.

The database contains more than 2.4 million localities.  Click here for a detailed table of the JewishGen Gazetteer's data contents.

The JewishGen Communities Database:

The USBGN data used by the JewishGen Gazetteer is a great tool, but it has several drawbacks as a locator of historical Jewish communities, namely:

  • it lists too many places, the vast majority of which did not have any Jewish population.
  • it does not contain any historical or jurisdictional information, which could help identify the correct locality — especially problematic when there are dozens of localities with the same or similar names, and when country borders have changed.
  • it does not contain Yiddish town name synonyms.

The JewishGen Communities Database uses a different set of data, which has been compiled by JewishGen.  This database contains information on over 6,000 Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, together with Jewish population figures, historical town names and jurisdictions, inset maps, and links to JewishGen resources.  Click on the JewishGen icon in front of the each town name to see a full page of information about that Jewish community.

For more information, and a comparison of the “JewishGen Communities Database” and “JewishGen Gazetteer”, see the page About the JewishGen Communities Database.

Mapping Functions:

In the JewishGen Gazetteer, we display maps via links to MapQuest, Expedia, MultiMap, and Google Maps.  Once a map is on screen, you can zoom in and out as you wish.

In the JewishGen Communities Database, we display inset maps, from both MapQuest and Google Maps.  You can switch between the two maps by clicking on the radio buttons beneath the map.  Within the maps, you can zoom and pan using the mouse.

Release Notes:

About the JewishGen Communities Database
Last Update: 20 Oct 2011  
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