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Yiddish Research: Genealogy Reference Books

Yiddish research guide covering general resources, article and books, folklore, genealogy, linguistics, literature, music and dance, oral history, theater, film, radio, translation and student resources.

Genealogy Reference Books

Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names: Their Origins, Structure, Pronunciation, and MigrationsBergenfield, N.J.: Avotaynu, 2001.

--. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 2004.
--. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland. Teaneck, NJ : Avotaynu, 1996.
--. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire. Teaneck, NJ : Avotaynu, 1993. Updated edition, 2008.
These books give etymologies of names, variants, lists places they were commonly found. Given name dictionary also lists variant pronunciations and gives short summary of name history.


Cohn-Sherbok, Dan. An Atlas of Jewish History. New York: Routledge, 1994.


כּהן, בערל. ספֿר הפּרענומעראַנטן : וועגווײַזער צו פּרענומערירטע העברעישע ספֿרים און זייערע חותמים פֿון 8, 767 קהילות אין אייראָפֿע און צפֿון־אַפֿריקע

Kagan, Berl. Sefer ha-prenumeranṭn : ṿegṿayzer tsu prenumerirṭe Hebreishe sforim un zeyere hos ̦ mim fun 8,767 ḳehiles ̦ in Eyrope un Tsofn-Afriḳe.
This book (available online) of "Hebrew subscription lists" is organized by town name and lists books whose publication was supported by town residents. In the books themselves, names of supporters are listed.


Magocsi, Paul R. Historical Atlas of East Central Europe. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993.


Mokotoff, Gary, et al. Where Once We Walked. 2nd edition. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2002.
An index of shtetlekh throughout Eastern Europe, with cross-references by variant names and spellings. Gives exact latitude and longitude and Jewish population in last pre-War census.


פנקס הקהילות : אנציקלופדיה של היישובים היהודיים למן היווסדם ועד לאחר שואת מלחמת העולם השנייה

Pinḳas ha-ḳehilot : entsiḳlopedyah shel ha-yishuvim ha-Yehudiyim le-min hiṿasdam ṿe- ad le-aḥar shoat Milḥemet ha-olam ha-sheniyah. Yerushalayim : Yad ṿa-shem, rashut ha-zikaron la-Shoah ṿela-gevurah, 730- [1969-

The encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust. Editor in chief, Shmuel Spector ; consulting editor, Geoffrey Wigoder ; foreword by Elie Wiesel. Jerusalem : Yad Vashem ; New York : New York University Press, 2001.
The Hebrew original and English edition (with summarized translations) document Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and beyond. The English edition includes photographs.


Universal Jewish Encyclopedia. Eds. Isaac Landman et al. New York: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, 1939-1943. (10 volumes)
This encyclopedia specialized in biography and lists many individuals not in Encyclopedia Judaica.