Ancestry.com has a category under the title Jewish Records, but I'm interested as to how it works exactly. Does anyone who is known to have been Jewish show up in the records, or is there something I'm missing? Maybe it has to do with other users on the site assigning a person the status as a Jew.

What exactly makes a record "Jewish," anyway? For instance, census records show up in the Jewish Record Collection, but why do they, when the U.S Federal Census does not include one's religious alignment?

  • Have you looked at what individual collections make up the category? Some of them seemed specific collections.
    – AdrianB38
    Jul 6, 2017 at 10:01
  • Please add a search link to the category you are referring to. I don't see a link to "Jewish Records" in the categories shown on the main search page. My answer addresses the "Jewish Family History Collection" which is in the links under "More Collections" on Ancestry's US home page.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 8, 2017 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


The JewishGen collection search page has a banner at the top which describes the special collection:

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See the Ancestry blog's post, New Jewish Family History Collection on Ancestry.com (Posted by Ancestry Team on October 29, 2008 in Collections, News), and Ancestry.com and JewishGen to Provide Online Access to Millions of Jewish Historical Documents posted on August 20, 2008 by Juliana Szucs on 24-7 Family History Circle for the initial press release.

At the bottom of this page, there is a box with links for all Jewish collections on the site.

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Looking at the list, it seems that the included are either specifically related to Jewish history, or contain records for geographic areas where Jewish communities are located. Support articles such as Finding Jewish Records focus on explaining how to use the resources. I was not able to find any kind of "white paper" describing the selection criteria for the special collection.

Looking at Ancestry's About the Database section on the search page for the individual databases will give more information about the records in the database, who holds the original records, and why they were created.

For more information on the organizations which have partnered with Ancestry for this collection, see:

For background information, see the Ancestry Wiki article Overview of Jewish American Research, which originally appeared in "Jewish American Research" by Gary Mokotoff in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, and the related articles in the series (see the sidebar).


The Jewish records section includes many records that have non-Jews in them. I have several family members who show up in the Jewish archives section, being featured in a US Census; however we know they weren't Jewish. The record did have a Jewish family on it, so apparently anyone on that record's page is included. Their description at the top of the Jewish Records page doesn't tell you this. So be careful when using it, unless searching for an ancestor you already know to be Jewish who would benefit from the extra sites this part of Ancestry adds into the search options. It does include some great resources, and you may even find a family member on a Jewish record you weren't expecting; but if the record isn't from a specifically Jewish source, don't jump to conclusions if a record bearing their name pops up in this section of ancestry.

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