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The Genealogical Research Division of

The Forward: Seeking Relatives (1920-1960)

Compiled and translated by Chana Pollack
Archivist for The Forward.


This database, created through a joint partnership between JewishGen and the Forward, contains records relating to information from the Forward: Seeking Relatives advertisements, which were published in the Forward between the years 1920-1960, when it was one of the most widely read newspapers in the country. The original back issues of the Forverts newspaper from which these were derived, are archived and available to the public online through the National Library of Israel. (The Forward is still thriving today, in English and Yiddish, at

These listings and similar ones reveal much about the Forward’s dedication to family reunification. Since its founding, the Forward has dedicated column inches and editorial talents to helping Jewish refugees and new immigrants find safe havens. The Forward published one- or two-line advertising notices from those seeking to find friends, townsfolk and relatives who could help them relocate from life threatening situations such as pogroms and wars. Frequently, these calls for help were also the way contact was established across vast geographic distances, enabling news of survivorship to be received. Many times, individuals were heard from who, due to various difficult circumstances, had been thought lost or worse.

This has been part of the Forward’s legacy since its first edition in 1897, generally known in Yiddish as the kroyvim gezukht or Seeking Relatives feature. By World War II, the Forward was therefore well positioned to help  Eastern European Jews get in touch with family members in the United States and, along with several critical Jewish social service agencies, assisted Holocaust survivors in their efforts to reconnect with missing relatives after the khurbn  as the Shoah is known in Yiddish.

The collaborative project’s goal is to publish the names of individuals mentioned in those Forverts Seeking Relatives advertisements, along with the sparse but valuable data that accompanied their names. 

To learn more about the Forward and to read an article about the history of the Seeking Relatives feature in the Forward by award winning journalist Andrew Silverstein, please visit:

The Forward


As of July 2023, there are approximately 500 entries in the database, which include the following fields:

  • Name/Submitter
  • Seeking
  • Last Name
  • First Name(s)
  • Father's Name:
  • Mother's Name
  • Siblings:
  • Prior Name(s)
  • Birth Year/Locale
  • Country of Origin
  • City of Origin
  • State/Province of Origin
  • Current Location
  • Resided in America Since
  • Trade/Occupation
  • Last Heard From
  • Submitted by
  • Date Published in Forward
  • Notes:

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