Tag Archives: giving back

How you can help

I want to thank everyone who has already submitted new resources to add to the B&F Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy, and everyone who has shared links to the site. It has been gratifying to see how many people have been using the site, and have been submitting new resources. Since the launch I’ve added hundreds of new resources, many submitted by users.

The encyclopedia is intended to be crowd-sourced, with users submitting the bulk of the information. I look at the 11,000+ links I added at the beginning as priming the pump, and I hope the site will grow through user submissions over time to be much larger. It’s amazing how many resources are out there, and since no one can be an expert on every location around the globe, this site relies on the expertise of its users to fill in the missing pieces. Note that if you click on the Add a Resource link at the bottom of every encyclopedia page, it will actually fill in the Country and Province fields for you based on which page you are on (not cities though).


Submitting new resources isn’t the only way to help out, however. The encyclopedia was designed to be interactive. For any resource on the site, you can write a comment about your experience using it. If it’s a book you’ve read, write a review. If it’s a site you’ve found information about your family on, write what you found and how you found it. Know tricks for searching a specific site? Share them. Is a site in a language other than English, then you can write instructions on how to use it in English. Let’s share our communal knowledge about all of these resources, and help more people use them effectively.

I also welcome your comments on how to improve the encyclopedia. I have a page set up to allow the discussion of how to improve the site. Please join the discussion.

If you find a mistake on the site, please let me know. I’m thankful for the user that pointed out South Africa was missing (it wasn’t that I didn’t add South Africa, it was a bug that caused it not to show up). I’ve also run across other strange things like books that had the wrong cover images linked to them. Sometimes links from the same resource (such as the web site and its associated Facebook page) show up on separate lines instead of on one line. I want to know about even small problem like that, as I want everything to be perfect (of course), but also sometimes seemingly small problems are really just the tip of a much bigger problem. For problems on the site, send me a message through the Contact page.

Lastly, you can share links to this site. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, in mailing lists, and even on Pinterest (you’d be amazed how much traffic this site gets from Pinterest). If someone is looking for Jewish genealogy resources for a specific country, send them a link to the country page on this site. It’s actually pretty easy to figure out the links even without going to the main page. The site is organized so the link to a country is simply https://bloodandfrogs.com/encyclopedia/ followed by the country name, so the link to Poland is:


and the link to the United States is:


Note that spaces in country names are replaced with dashes. Of course, you can just go to the front page and see the list of all the countries and copy the link from there. All encyclopedia pages also have links to all countries in the right sidebar. For links to provinces and states, you need to go to the country that province or state is in to get the list. For Polish towns, you can go to the Polish Cities page, or go to the province pages linked to from the main Poland page.

So thank you again for everyone’s help in making the encyclopedia a success. Let’s keep working together to improve it, expand it, and make it an even better resource for Jewish genealogy.

A look at progress on the USHMM records indexing

Back in May I wrote about how the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.com had teamed up to index some of the USHMM’s millions of records online. The indexes would be created via volunteers using special software provided by Ancestry.com, and the indexes would be be freely available on Ancestry.com (although not the images which would only be viewable on site at the USHMM itself). This project was dubbed the World Memory Project (similar to their existing volunteer indexing project the World Archives Project) and the first results were introduced some months later.

The World Memory Project currently has over 2400 volunteers and has indexed over a million records. The databases that are currently available include:

All of the databases can be searched at once through the main search page.

Volunteer Opportunity at the JDC

Back in May, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (known as the JDC, or simply the “Joint”) launched an online archive web site called Our Shared Legacy which contained scanned documents from the JDC archives with over 500,000 names. Those documents included lists and cards that showed how the JDC helped Jewish refugees during and after the Holocaust to immigrate to various countries around the world (in addition to other relief efforts, including before WWII). See my article from the launch in May for more information on the online archive itself.

Since May the JDC has continued to scan and index more files from their physical archives and add them to the archive web site. In order to assist in getting these records up quicker, the JDC is looking for volunteer indexers who can contribute a day or half-day per week in time, in the JDC offices in either New York City or Jerusalem, to help with the indexing effort.

This is a really great opportunity if you’d like to help make these genealogically significant records available online. The JDC has really created a unique resource, going far beyond what most similar organizations have provided online. It is particularly impressive that they have made all of the high-resolution images available to download on their web site. If you live in or near New York City or Jerusalem and you’d like to help make these records available to people online, this is a great way to give back to the genealogical community and the Jewish community as a whole.

The full request for volunteers follows. Contact Naomi Barth at the e-mail address below if you’re interested in volunteering. Let her know you heard about it here.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is seeking Indexing Project Volunteers for an exciting opportunity to help with a forward- thinking archive endeavor to index historic lists. The volunteer will have the opportunity to engage with primary source material regarding The Joint’s work since 1914.

This project is perfect for those with an interest in genealogy, Jewish or general history, transnational migration, the non-profit sector, library science or archival work.

Position Requires:
• Interest in history and the treasures of the JDC archives
• Working as a reliable team player
• General computer skills
• Foreign language skills helpful but not necessary

A full day or half day per-week time commitment is required. Volunteer work must be completed on site at JDC’s NY or Jerusalem offices. All training and supervision will be provided.

Please send inquiries to:
[email protected]
Indexing Project Coordinator

Please enter “JDC Archives Indexing Project Volunteer” in the subject line.