The First Steps in Starting Your Genealogy

Standards in Citation

Read the book entitled "Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian" by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This is even more important than interviewing all known living relatives. If you do not know how to properly record and source your information, your interviews will not be recorded in a way that you can later reference factually. The book will instruct you in both the sound analysis of evidence and the correct form of citing your sources. For further guidance on proper citation, you can refer to "Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Third Edition", also by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Standards in Starting Research

Once you understand the guiding principles of the book, you are prepared to investigate. Contact your living relatives and document everything that you are told. You never know when a place, a name or some other seemingly irrelevant fact will be the key to unlocking something years from now.

Standards in Software

There are many excellent programs available, some are better in certain aspects than others. Find one that you like that supports the standards and methodology of your research. Also check to make sure it can produce reports in the format that you want and possibly support additional languages, like Hebrew or Yiddish.

Standards in Data Entry

When you start entering your data into your software you may find that you will benefit from using certain common notation forms. This will allow you to more readily collaborate with others that share your conventions.

  • Alphabet (English, Hebrew, Cyrillic, etc.)
  • Names
  • Dates
  • Geographic Locations
  • Victim of the Holocaust
  • Media

Please review the list above and share your thoughts and ideas about methods and syntax that might be beneficial to the Jewish Genealogical community as a whole.

Ethical Standards & Halacha (Jewish Law)

There are various ethical issues that may arise while conducting your research. Do you continue to research? Do you publicize, document or cover-up? The Society recommends that you consult with the authority that gives you guidance in other matters of Jewish law to have a foundation from which to form a decision. Good luck, as these questions are always difficult to cope with.

Standards of the Society - Agreeing to Disagree

Please remember that while we might not all agree on some or all of these recommended standards, that is all they are - recommendations. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Standards of the Society - Diversity

On Yom Kippur we recite the Al Chait (confession of our sins). One of the last confessions is
וְעַל חֵטְא שֶׁחָטָאנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ בְּשִׂנְאַת חִנָּם
For the mistakes we committed before You through baseless hatred
The commentaries understand this to mean:

  • Was I disrespectful toward Jews who are not exactly like me in practice or philosophy?
  • When I disagree with someone on an issue, have I let it degrade into a dislike for the person?
  • When I saw a fellow Jew do something improper, did I hate only the deed, or did it extend into a hatred for the person himself?
Brooklyn is home to Jews of every background. The Society focuses only on the study of genealogy and how to help those involved in this endeavor. All those with an open-mind and an open-heart are welcome.