P.O. Box 610366
Newton, MA 02461-0366
866-611-5698 (toll free)


Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Boston

This page is a brief summary and update of the contents of Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area, by Warren Blatt (Boston: Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, 1996), a 275-page hardcover book.

Contents:


National Archives - New England Region

380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA 02452-6399   (781) 647-8100
Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm, Weds 8:00am-9:00pm; 1st Sat 8:00am-4:30pm (microfilms only)

  • Federal Census Records, 1790-1920, for the entire United States, with all available indexes.
  • Passenger Arrival Lists for Boston, 1820-1936, with indexes for 1848-1891, 1902-1906, 1906-1920.
  • Passenger Arrival Lists for New Bedford MA, Portland ME, Providence RI, Galveston TX.
  • Canadian Border Crossing records, 1895-1954.
  • Naturalization Records for New England states:
    • All courts: copies and full index, 1791-1906.
    • Federal Courts: original records for later dates.
    • Connecticut: all state and local courts.
  • WWI Draft Registration for New England States.
  • World War II War Crimes Records.
  • Military Records.
  • Russian Consular Records.
  • Records of Federal agencies in New England.


Massachusetts State Archives

220 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125 (617) 727-2816
Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00, Sat 9:00-3:00

  • Massachusetts Vital Records: Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1841-1910.
  • Passenger Lists for Boston, 1848-1891.
  • Naturalization records:
    • Massachusetts state and local court abstracts, 1885-1931;
    • County court Naturalization records.
  • Probate records - Massachusetts county courts.
    • Wills, administrations, adoptions, name changes.
  • Massachusetts State Census - 1855, 1865.
  • Massachusetts town records.
  • WPA Historical Records Survey, 1930's, including church and synagogue records.
  • Records of Massachusetts state agencies: medical examiner's reports; state hospitals, prisons, institutions, etc.


Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics

150 Mt. Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02125-3105   (617) 740-2600
Mon-Fri 9:00-12:00 and 2:00-4:30.

Massachusetts Vital Records: Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1911-present.
(for earlier records, see Massachusetts State Archives).

- Alphabetical indexes in five-year compilations.
- Some birth and marriage records restricted.
- Certified copies: In Person: $12.00 each; By mail: $22.00 each.
- $6.00/hour research fee.


Boston Public Library

Copley Square, Boston, MA 02117 (617) 536-5400
Mon-Thu 9:00-9:00, Fri-Sat 9:00-5:00

Social Sciences Department:

  • Reference books, encyclopedias, dictionaries.
  • Atlases and gazetteers.
  • Genealogical how-to and reference works.

Microtext Department:

  • Over 3,500 Newspaper titles on microfilm.
  • City Directories for all major U.S. cities, to 1935.
  • Massachusetts Vital records, to 1895.
  • Boston City Directories, 1789-1978.
  • Boston City Residents Lists (Voter Registration) to 1959.
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for New England.
  • Telephone Books: Boston 1902-1996, major American cities, 1976-date.
  • Federal Census records, New England, 1790-1920.
  • Passenger Lists:
    • Boston 1820-1918 (indexes 1848-91, 1902-20).
    • New York 1820-1897 (index 1820-1846).
    • New Bedford MA, Portland ME, Providence RI.
    • Holland-America Line, 1900-1940.
  • Massachusetts County Probate records.
  • Military and Veteran's Records for New England 1789-1903.


Hebrew College Library

160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459   (617) 559-8600
Mon-Thu 9:00-9:00, Fri 9:00-5:00, Sun 9:00-3:00

100,000 volumes, covering all areas of Judaic studies.

Microfilm collection includes:

  • Boston Jewish Advocate, 1905-present.
  • Jerusalem Post, 1948-present.
  • Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (AJGS) microfiche collection:
    • Gazetteers of Eastern Europe.
    • Indexes to Russian Consular Records.
    • Indexes to U.S. State Department Passport records, U.S. Jerusalem Consulate records.
    • Name changes in Palestine.
    • Publications of Jewish Genealogical Societies.
    • Jewish Genealogical People Finder.
  • Family History Library Catalog.


State Library of Massachusetts

State House, Boston, MA 02133   (617) 727-2590
Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00

Reference services are located on the third floor in Room 341,
Newspapers and periodicals are on the fourth floor in Room 442,
Special Collections are in the basement, Room 55.

  • City Directories for Massachusetts, 1789-date.
  • Complete telephone directories for Massachusetts, fifty state capitals, and other major cities.
  • Massachusetts city and county atlases and maps.
  • Massachusetts newspapers and indexes.
  • Massachusetts local histories.

Online catalog.


New England Historic Genealogical Society

101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116 (617) 536-5740
Tues-Sat 9:00-4:45; Weds & Thurs till 8:45pm. Closed Mondays.

A research library of over 200,000 books, focusing on New England family and local history. Oldest and largest genealogical society in U.S., founded in 1845.

  • Reference books on every aspect of genealogy.
  • Published Passenger List Indexes:
    • Germans to America, 64+ volumes, 1850-1892
    • Migration from the Russian Empire, 6 volumes, 1875-1891
    • Books on Dutch, English, Greek, Irish, Italian, Swedish, and other passengers
  • City Directories for New England cities and towns -- best collection anywhere!
  • Land records, deed maps, and probate records for New England counties, to 1900.
  • College classbooks for hundreds of schools and universities
  • Vital records on microfilm:
    • Massachusetts -- all records and indexes to 1900; indexes 1901-1970s
    • Vermont -- all records to 1908
    • New Hampshire -- all records to 1900
    • Rhode Island -- all records to 1900; Providence -- printed indexes, 1870-1945
    • Maine -- all records to 1956; index to 1983
    • California -- death index 1940-87; marriage index 1960-85
    • Oregon -- death index 1915-1970
    • Washington -- death index 1907-1979
    • Florida -- marriage, divorce and death indexes
    • Ontario -- births 1869-96; marriages 1873-1910; deaths 1869-1921
    • ... and many others.
  • Canadian Census, complete, 1841-1901.
  • Tens of thousands of published family histories.
  • LDS Family History Center.


Harvard University Libraries

Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 495-2411
Mon-Fri 9:00-9:45, Sat 9:00-5:00, Sun 12:00-5:00

Oldest library in the United States, and largest university library in the world.

  • Huge Judaica collection (closed stacks)
  • Russian City and Business Directories.
  • Over 500 Yizkor Books.
  • Holocaust victim and survivor lists.
  • Harvard Map Collection.
HOLLIS = Harvard OnLine Library Catalog -- telnet to hollis.harvard.edu.


Brandeis University - Goldfarb Library

P.O. Box 9110, Waltham, MA 02254 (781) 736-4685
Mon-Thu 8:30-12, Fri 8:30-8, Sat 10-8, Sun 12-12

  • 120,000 volume Judaica collection, open stacks.
  • Genealogical handbooks, collected genealogies.
  • Biographies, autobiographies, dictionaries.
  • Histories of Jewish communities.
  • Extensive collection of Yizkor Books.
  • Scholarly periodicals; local Jewish newspapers.
  • 19th-century American Jewish periodicals.
LOUIS = Brandeis OnLine Library Catalog -- http://alice.mainlib.brandeis.edu:4505/ALEPH or telnet to louis.brandeis.edu.


Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts

1320 Centre Street, Suite #306, Newton Centre, MA 02159   (617) 244-6509
Mon-Thu 9:00-5:00, Fri 9:00-2:00

  • Burial records for over 86,000 individuals in 82 Boston area Jewish cemeteries.
  • Can provide cemetery maps and directions.


American Jewish Historical Society

160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459   (617) 559-8880
Mon-Thu 9:00-5:00, Fri 9:00-2:00

The AJHS holds over 80,000 books and 6 million archival items pertaining to the history of American Jewry.

  • Jewish family histories and genealogies.
  • American Jewish communal histories.
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Boston - arrival records, 1882-1929.
  • Chevra Kadisha records, Boston and Fall River.
  • Publications of U.S. Jewish historical societies.
  • Manuscript collections on New England Jewry.

See Avotaynu XI:3 (Fall 1995) for a major article on genealogical resources at the American Jewish Historical Society. This article is available on-line here.

See the AJHS Manuscript Collection Catalog, available online at JewishGen.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Hayden Memorial Library, Building 14S, 77 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
(617) 253-5685
Mon-Thu 8-12, Fri-Sat 8-8, Sun 12-12

Science Library's Map Room has an extensive map collection, including detailed maps of Eastern Europe. Other maps are available at Rotch Library.


National Archives - Pittsfield

100 Dan Fox Drive, Pittsfield, MA 01201-8230   (413) 445-6885
Mon-Fri 9:00-4:00; (Weds to 9:00pm, Sept-May)

Located in the Berkshire Mountains two hours west of Boston, this federal repository has copies of all of the same microfilm records as the National Archives, New England Region, plus:

  • Complete Passenger Arrival Lists for the port of New York, 1820-1957, with all available indexes.
  • Passenger Arrival Lists for Philadelphia.
  • Published passenger arrival index books.
  • WWI Draft Registration Cards for New York State.


LDS Family History Centers

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Mormon Church operates the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the largest genealogical library in the world, and over 3,500 Family History Centers worldwide, including five in the greater Boston area:

  • Weston -- 150 Brown Street   (781) 235-2164
      - Tu 6-9, We 7-9, Th 7-9, Fr 9-3, Sa 9-3
  • Lynnfield -- 400 Essex Street   (781) 334-5586
      - We 6:30-9:30, Fr 10-2, 2nd & 4th Sa 10-2
  • Foxboro -- 76 Main Street   (508) 543-0298
      - Tu 10-2, We 7-10, Th 10-2, Sa 10-4
  • Worcester -- 67 Chester Street   (508) 852-7000
      - Tu 7-9, We 10-2, Sa 9-1
  • Tyngsboro -- Pond View Mall   (978) 649-9233
      - Tu 10-2, We & Th 10-2, 6:30-9, Sa 10-3

The collection includes over two million reels of microfilm, including thousands of reels of 19th-century East European Jewish vital records, from Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Belarus, and Lithuania. Microfilm may be borrowed from Salt Lake City for a small fee.

The Family History Library Catalog™ (FHLC), the catalog of the holdings of the library in Salt Lake City, can be searched online at www.familysearch.org. Guidance on their holdings relating to Massachusetts can be found in the FHL Massachusetts Research Outline.


Prepared by , October 1995.
Updated Jan 1996, Nov 1996, Mar 1997, Jun 1997, May 1998, Oct 1998, Nov 1998, Dec 1998, Apr 1999, Oct 1999, Feb 2000, May 2001, Aug 2001, Feb 2003, Apr 2003.