The Leo Baeck Institute staff encourages and welcomes genealogists researching Jewish ancestry among German-speaking communities in Europe to utilize its collections and contribute to its holdings. LBI is currently working to improve access to collections used by family historians and expand resources to aid in their use and will announce new programs and resources over the course of 2015.
If you are a novice to family research we strongly suggest that you contact first The Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History. The Genealogy Institute provides general reference assistance and can suggest strategies and sources for your research. The Genealogy Institute also offers a series of fact sheets to answer frequently asked questions and to list the primary resources available at the Center, including the LBI Family History Research Guide.
Our collections include many kinds of materials of use to genealogical researchers, including family trees, family histories, memoirs and Jewish community histories (See for example the German Minority Census of 1939). All geographic areas where German was spoken are included in the scope of the collections.
Ele Toldot – These are the Generations
The Leo Baeck Institute is proud to hold and share “Ele Toldot” (“These are the Generations”), the burial records of the Jewish community of Frankfurt am Main, reaching as far back as to the year 1241 in the Middle Ages. These ancient records from the Jewish community of Frankfurt am Main (the originals are held by the “Stadtarchiv Frankfurt”) have been made accessible by the lawyer and genealogist Shlomo Ettlinger in a most ingenious way to find one’s ancestors. The material is divided into three parts, containing lists of the Jews of Frankfurt by date of death, along with biographical information; men by surname; women by first name; and supplementary lists of baptized Jews.
Jüdische Familienforschung – Jewish Family Research (Periodical. Berlin, Germany: 1924-1938)
Stammbaum – The Journal of German-Jewish Genealogy
Family historians may also be interested in Stammbaum, the only English language publication of German Jewish genealogy. Published since 1992, it has attracted an international readership of professional and amateur genealogists, and facilitates the exchange of helpful and sound information, techniques, sources, and archival material. It includes human interest and anecdotal material, which add verisimilitude to genealogical data. While Stammbaum focuses on Germany, its scope also includes Austria, Switzerland, Alsace, Bohemia, and other areas with linguistic and historic relevance.
Genealogical reference services
If you identify collections in the online catalog that are of interest you but which have not yet been digitized, and you are unable to to visit the Institute, you are welcome to send inquiries using the form at www.lbi.org/ask. A librarian or archivist can provide further information about the contents of the collection or photocopy the materials for you. Remember the following points when making an inquiry:
- Include complete information on family tree or town of origin so that we can understand your request.
- Ask specific questions and keep them simple.
- Please be patient. Average time to respond to inquiries is 4-6 weeks (this includes e-mail inquiries).
Standard reproduction charges apply to this service. Please note that we can not completely reproduce collections or memoirs. Also brittle, fragile or oversize materials will not be scanned under any circumstances. The Leo Baeck Institute can not guarantee that scanned materials will contain information specifically relating to your family.
Visiting the LBI for family research
Before you plan your visit, look for your area of genealogical interest or for your family name in the online catalog of the Leo Baeck Institute. It might be available online, and you will discover your ancestors in Bohemia, Hesse or any other part of German speaking Europe from the comfort of your own computer.
When visiting the Institute, please come prepared and plan adequate time for your visit. Bring your family tree (if you have one) and information on where your family came from. Please note the Institute’s hours, holiday schedule, and other visitor policies.