Tag Archives: IGRA

A look at new Israeli databases

As mentioned previously I have been involved in the past year in building a new genealogy website in Israel, genealogy.org.il, for the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). The site has already been recognized as one of the top 40 international genealogy sites by Family Tree Magazine. One of the big issues I’ve had to deal with recently was upgrading the site to deal with high number of users. The original server the site was on was not able to handle the numbers of users we were getting, and we’ve now moved the site onto a much better server that can handle the site, and allows us to easily add capacity as needed (something impossible on our last server).

While I’ve been working on the nuts and bolts of the site, certainly the reason the site has been so successful is not my work, but more the work of the many IGRA volunteers, led by Rose Feldman, who have been adding dozens of new databases to the site. Their productivity is frankly mind-blowing. Since we launched in January of this year, Rose and her volunteer army have added nearly 50 new databases to the site, and more are coming on-line all the time. Think about that – they are adding more than a database each week. This is only the beginning.

Databases are categorized into three time periods:

  • Ottoman Administration (pre-1917)
  • British Administration (1917-1948)
  • Israeli Administration (1948-)

For those researching Jewish relatives, these databases can help pinpoint where a relative may have been living at specific points in time, and can lead you in new directions in your research. Some records include the person’s exact address.

Databases include things like voter lists, lists of registered lawyers, accountants, doctors and nurses, candidates for various elections, phone books, burial lists, etc. There are over 60,000 records in the database now, and each record contains multiple pieces of information.

The current databases include:

Ottoman Administration (-1917)

  • List of Students & Staff of Gymnasia Haivrit, Yaffo 1908-9
  • Kollel List 1912 Safed (population register of families receiving funds “haluka“)
  • Safed Burials 1433-2000 from the new cemetery and part of the old cemetery

British Administration (1917-1948)

  • Births in African and Asian Protectorates for the Years 1916-1940
  • Drishat Shalom (Regards) 1919
  • UK Passport requests made in Safed 1921- 1951
  • Donors from UK for Safed Old Age Home run by Simcha Shulman 1924-1929
  • First National Conference of Edot Hamizrah in Eretz Israel – Protocol 1925
  • Nurse Certification 1923-1948
  • Earthquake Donations 1927
  • Voters’ List for Haifa 1928
  • Queries about Land Registries 1928-1929
  • Queries about compensation for loss of property during the disturbances of 1929
  • Voters’ List for Municipal Council Petah Tikva 1930
  • Members of Agricultural Organizations in Petah Tikvah 1931-1936
  • Voters’ List for Municipal Council Petah Tikva 1932
  • Voters’ List for Municipal Council Safed 1932
  • Galician Kollel Safed 1932
  • Voters’ List from Petah Tikva for the 18th Zionist Congress 1933
  • List of Sephardic Males in Safed 1934
  • Award of Silver Jubilee Medals 1935
  • Rehavia Address Book June 1935
  • Deaths in African and Asian Protectorates for the Years 1936-1940
  • Members of the National Youth Aliyah Committee of Hadassah 1937
  • Members of the Histadrut Hamorim (Teachers’ Council) 1939
  • List of Teachers of the Dept. of Education of Havaad HaLeumi 1940-41
  • Candidates for the 1941 Hahistadrut Haklalit
  • Candidates for the 1941 Va’adat Hapoalot (The Women’s Workers’ Council)
  • Hebrew Soldiers of the Yishuv who fell and perished in World War II 1940-1945
  • Refugees in Mauritius 1944-45
  • Swiss Aliyah Requests 1945
  • List of Donors for Repairs of Mikva in Safed 1947
  • Yahrzeit List from the Safed Old Age Home
  • List of people who have files in Beit HaMeiri in Safed

Israeli Administration (1948-)

  • List of registered doctors 1948-1957
  • List of Candidates for the First Knesset (C0nstituent Assembly) 1949
  • Candidates for the 1949 Hahistadrut Haklalit (General Council Elections)
  • Candidates for the 1949 Moatzet Hapoalot (The Women’s Workers’ Council)
  • Candidates for the 1949 Histadrut Hahaklaim (Farmers’ Council)
  • Candidates for the 1949 Histadrut Hapekidim (Clerks’ Council)
  • Candidates for the second Knesset elections 1951
  • Practical Nurses 1951-52
  • List of Candidates for the Third Knesset 1955
  • Authorized People to act as Accountants 5716 (1955-56)
  • List of Persons Authorized to Act as Lawyers in Civil Courts in 1956
  • Authorized People to act as Accountants 5717 (1956-57)
  • Candidates for the 1959 Histadrut Hapekidim (Clerks’ Council)
  • Candidates for the 1959 Histadrut Hahaklaim (Farmers’ Council)

Some databases that are coming online soon, include:

  • Rehavia Address Book June 1937
  • Candidates for the 1959 HaHistadrut Haklalit (General Council Elections)
  • Candidates for the 1959 Va’adat Hapoalot (The Women’s Workers’ Council)

The best news is that the launch of a new advanced search engine for these records is coming online very soon (as in days). Few genealogy societies, if any, will have the kind of advanced search capabilities we will have on the site. It’s an exciting time for researching genealogy in Israel.

To stay up-to-date on the launch of the new search engine and on the ongoing launch of new databases, follow IGRA on their Facebook Page (facebook.com/israelgenealogy) or via Twitter (twitter.com/israelgenealogy). Of course, if you want to comment on the web site and where it can be improved, you can always comment here and I’ll see what I can do.

Around the World in 40 Blogs

Family Tree Magazine  recently published  their list of the top 40 international (outside the United States) blogs, titled Around the World in 40 Blogs, and one of them is the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) site (genealogy.org.il):


As some of you may know, I built most of that site late last year and early this year for IGRA. It’s rewarding that something I spent so much time and effort on is being recognized. If you haven’t checked it out, or haven’t seen it recently, I recommend going to the site and seeing what’s there. There are videos and articles and dozens of searchable databases with information you cannot find anywhere else online.

New Genealogy Society in Israel (and major new website)

Earlier this month a new genealogy society launched in Israel, called the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). They are taking a new approach, with a large focus on their online presence, genealogy.org.il, which they are positioning to become a major hub of both Israeli and Jewish genealogy. In these days where so much genealogy research happens online, this new society is starting with the idea that their online presence is the center of the society’s work, and is working to make their site useful not only for those in Israel researching their families, but for people around the world who have connections to Israel, or even those who can take advantage of the many unique archives in Israel that have records of interest to Jewish genealogists worldwide.

The Israel Genealogy Research Association was founded by some of the leading genealogists in Israel (including three past presidents of the Israel Genealogical Society, current and past members of the IAJGS board, and contributors to the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy), and you can expect that there will be a lot of great content on the site as time goes on (in addition to the great stuff already there). There are resource guides for different countries, videos of lectures, and live webinars are coming soon.

Some of the founders of the new society include, in alphabetical order:

  • Rose Lerer Cohen, co-author of The Holocaust in Lithuania 1941–1945: A Book of Remembrance, past editor of Sharsheret Hadorot and professional genealogist.
  • Rose Feldman, who ran the IGS website for nine years. She has lectured at IAJGS conferences, annual seminars of the IGS and their branch meetings. She will be responsible for developing databases for the new society.
  • Daniel Horowitz, chief genealogist of MyHeritage.com and member of the IAJGS Board of Directors. See his Resource Guide on Jewish Research in Latin America (free registration required).
  • Martha Lev-Zion, past member of the IAJGS Board of Directors, founder and president of the Negev Genealogical Society and past president of the Latvia SIG of JewishGen.
  • Esther Ramon, founding president of the Israel Genealogical Society and first editor of Sharsheret Hadorot.
  • Garri Regev, past president of the Israel Genealogical Society.
  • Jean-Pierre Stroweis, past president of the Israel Genealogical Society and member of the academic committee of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy. See his Resource Guide for researching Jewish Ancestors in Poland (free registration required), as well as a video of him being interviewed (in French) about genealogy in Israel on the web site.
  • Mathilde Tagger, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), member of Founding Committee of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy, author and lecturer on Sephardic genealogy.
  • H. Daniel Wagner, co-chair of the 2004 IAJGS conference held in Jerusalem, member of Academic Committee of International Institute for Jewish Genealogy. See his new article Passover Break – Fifth Episode (free registration required) on the web site.

This is only a partial list of the founding members of the new society. I have also been involved in the creation of the society’s web site, genealogy.org.il, which explains a bit while my posts to this blog have slowed down lately.

If you have any interest in Israeli genealogy, or even just Jewish genealogy, I suggest checking out the new site (genealogy.org.il) and registering to insure you receive updates on what is going on on the site.

If you use Facebook (facebook.com/israelgenealogy) and/or Twitter (twitter.com/israelgenealogy) I also recommend you follow the new society through those services as well. The new group tries its best to answer questions on the Facebook page, and sents out links to interesting resources through its Twitter account on a regular basis.

So do me a favor and go to genealogy.org.il, register for the site, take a look around, and let me know what you think in the comments below. Think the site needs to be improved? How? Think it’s great? awful? groundbreaking? boring? Let me know.

Want to contribute something to the site? Send me an e-mail, or send a note through the site’s Contact Us page.