Editor’s Note: Rachel Fisher is Director of the Genealogy Institute of the Center for Jewish History, located in New York City. (See the end of the article for address and contact information.) In this article, she describes the resources of the Center, especially those relevant to Galician genealogy. Readers living near, or visiting, New York City may find a visit to the Center worthwhile.
The Center for Jewish History opened officially in October of 2000. It embodies a partnership of five major institutions of Jewish scholarship, history and art: the American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The Center serves the world- wide academic and general communities with combined holdings of approximately 100 million archival documents, a half million books, and thousands of photographs, artifacts, paintings and textiles—the largest repository documenting the Jewish experience outside of Israel.
The Center and its partners created a family history department, the Genealogy Institute, to assist family historians in identifying and accessing relevant materials in the libraries and archives; to educate the public about Jewish family history research; and to create programming on family history and its connections to the broader sweep of Jewish history.
The genealogical resources at the Center are too vast to list here in entirety. To learn what is available for genealogists, one can consult the collection of Genealogy Institute fact sheets, available on the Center’s website at www.cjh.org/family. Fact sheets list the major genealogical resources at the Center and provide answers to common questions about genealogical research, such as “How do I find my ancestral town?” On the website, you will also find a virtual exhibit of genealogical resources at the Center, a complete list of the Genealogy Institute reference collection and electronic resources, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about genealogical research at the Center.