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Where to start?

 Marlena Esterson

You should start collecting the basics (English, Hebrew and/or Yiddish names, as well as the given name in their home country, nicknames and whom they were named after), dates of birth, marriages, divorces and deaths. Where did your ancestors live, are living,moved to or from? Find out about their synagogues, family traditions, occupations, family traits and family stories. Try to collect photographs, old letters and documents (ketubot, marriage licenses, citizenship & naturalization papers, military records, birth & death certificates, etc).

The next natural step is to find census reports for you family members. You can also look old phone books (major libraries have many copies of old phone books from all over the world) and phone directories (these not only list the head of the family, but the names of everyone living in the house at that time and their occupations.

Did you know that...

Eastern European Jews average stature is from five feet one inch to five feet three inches? This means that they are the most stunted of the Europeans, with the exception of the Hungarian Magyars. The shortest were the Galicians, tallest and sturdiest, the Romanians.

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