Re: How to search with very little to start with #general

Roger Lustig <julierog@...>

Dear Doug:

The only stupid question is the one you forget to ask. Welcome!

SALING and SALINGER (people sometimes added or dropped the -ER almost at
random) are indeed surnames used by Jews. In Germany, when Jews adopted
surnames at the beginning of the 19th century, several families in the
region around Berlin chose that name. It was also found elsewhere.

To find out where, register what you know (names, towns) with the
JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF) at
That will let the Jewish-genealogy world know of your interest, and will
also allow you to connect with a dozen or more other researchers who are
working on those names! The one thing better than doing research:
finding someone who's already done it, or something like it.

On your own, trace what you can of your grandmother's family: who,
where, when. Was she an immigrant? How about her mother? Did she tell
stories about hearing (or even speaking) foreign languages? What
stories *did* she tell? What was her address when she was young? Did
she belong to a church? Just gather info for now and see where it
leads. Sooner or later you may well come upon a way to find her
ancestors who came to America.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Roger Lustig
Princeton, NJ

Welch Douglas wrote:

I hope this is not a naive-sounding or too general
question. I have never done any Jewish genealogy but I
have done quite a bit of Native American genealogy and I
know how whacky sounding the newbies can be.

Some years ago my grandmother mentioned to my father that
she had some Jewish heritage in her family. This had not
been known to us but my father didn't inquire in detail
about it at the time. She died shortly afterward (she was
in her 90s) and there are no other living family members
to ask that we know. We are wondering how we might go
about researching such a connection for genealogical

I'm not prepared with names and dates, unfortunately, at
this very moment but my initial question is pretty
general. In looking at her immediate family tree, nothing
jumps out at me as looking like an obvious Jewish surname
so it's hard to know where to start.

Her mother's maiden surname was Saling and I have seen
this mentioned as a possible Jewish surname on some name
origin lists. I have poked around in the FAQ and found
some references to surnames books but I didn't really see
anything pertaining to my overall question.

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