Early American SIG:
A JewishGen Special Interest Group


Last Update: 14-Sept-2006


First Posting


Marvin Weinberg (RecordsAccess@aol.com
John Lowens (GerSig@aol.com

Webmastering Help:
Joshua Levy (joshualevy@yahoo.com


To join go here: http://lyris.jewishgen.org/ListManager
To post (if you are already a member) email here: earlyamerican@lyris.jewishgen.org.
To view past postings: http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~sigspop
(Select "Early American SIG", but leave search words blank to see all of our old postings.)


We now have web pages organized by city at http://easig.pbwiki.com.

These pages are wikis, so they are easy to update or extend. You need to get the password from the Early American Webmaster (email at left). You do not need to know HTML to add to these pages. You can use a simple word processor.


Genealogists who are researching early Jewish immigrants to the US (pre-1880) have a different set of challenges and issues from the majority of Jewish Genealogy researchers. Unlike the majority, we do not have complete immigration records, nor living relatives who might remember "the old country" or what town the family came from. We may be 150 years or more removed from European roots. Most immigrants pre-1880 were spread out among small towns and rural areas in the south and midwest and blended in with their non-Jewish neighbors rather than collecting in urban areas and keeping their culture. For these reasons, many times our research methods and resources have more in common with standard American genealogy, but with a few twists.

The purpose of this SIG is to be a resource for genealogists researching families who came to the US before the larger immigration wave of the 1880s and later. We share our knowledge and methods with each other by answering queries on the SIG mailing list as well as through links on our web pages. The web pages are organized geographically (by state) in order to give advice and information that is as specific as possible.

Your First Posting

There is no hard and fast rule about your first posting. However, it builds community spirit if you post a short message saying who you are researching (so that others can help you) and what sort of researching you have done in the past (so that others can get help from you).

Because email messages are archived, it is possible for new members to read, even months later, what you are interested in, and help you out. This is one of the real powers of the net.

Mailing List Policies

The complete JewishGen rules are at: http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/rules.htm

A short list of rules follows below:

  1. YOU MUST SIGN YOUR POST: All messages must be signed as follows:

    Name + USA city of residence + state of residence or
    Name & non USA city of residence + nation of residence.
    First Name Last Name City State or Nation E-mail ! NOTHIING MORE !

    Please do NOT include full mailing address, telephone or fax numbers or company name in your signature. This is to prevent our list from being attractive to and used by companies or individuals who wish to collect such information for commercial purposes.

  2. FAMILY NAMES - Family names (surnames) of people you are researching in both subject line and body text should be written in ALL UPPER CASE characters. Example: (George WASHINGTON) Use of all upper case for other text should be avoided. Use the * symbol to add emphasis to *important words* in your emails.

  3. A MEANINGFUL SUBJECT LINE IS REQUIRED - Write a SUBJECT LINE for each message that you send to us. Your subject line should give readers an idea of the content of your message.
    Seeking MOSES family - Beerfelden GE Baltimore 1760 to 1890.

    If you are responding to a previous posting, your subject line should begin with RE: (subject line of previous post) + qualifier if needed. Example:
    Re: Seeking MOSES - Beerfelden Baltimore: GerSig Archives will help!

  4. NO COMMERCIAL, POLITICAL OR FUNDRAISING MESSAGES will be accepted, except from JewishGen itself.

  5. PLAIN TEXT ONLY, MIME, HTML and MIXED MULITPART messages will be rejected for technical reasons. For help with PLAIN TEXT go to: http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/PlainText.html

5 Easy Ways to Start Researching Early American Jewish Genealogy

The 1880 Census to see if your ancestors were here, then.

Register at JewishGen's Family Finder, to link up with people researching the same names in the same places as you. Also check out their American Databases (at least two are early american). Finally, you can look up burials at JOWBR's US area (with 600+ cemeteries and 200k+ burials).

Use Joe Beine's "wee-monster" Emigration and Immigration web page to find out when and how your relatives came to the US.

The genealogies from Rabbi Malcolm Stern's book First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654-1988 are on line within the AJA web site.

Join and then post a query to the Early American JewishGen mailing list. (Of course!)


5 Easy Ways to Help Others Researching Early American Jewish Genealogy

Register at JewishGen's Family Finder, to link up with people researching the same names in the same places as you.

[Suggest Something!]

[Suggest Something!]

Register at RootsWeb's Books We Own, to help others benefit from books that you have.

Join and then reply to queries in the Early American JewishGen mailing list. (Of course!)

Early American Jewish Genealogy Web Links

Genealogy Web Links

(There are many other pages of genealogy links. This is just to get you started.)

Early American SIG is A JewishGen Special Interest Group