JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Jewish Genealogy Library #general

Roger Lustig

That's a really tough question, and getting tougher all the time.

But first, some general questions:
* How many of your members use the library?
* When, how often and for how long?
* How useful are the Orange County libraries and other
publicly accessible ones nearby?
* What regions or special topics have your members been
particularly interested in?

One reason choosing books is more difficult is that more and more
books are appearing on-line or being supplanted by other on-line
resources -- and who knows what's next?

For instance, in the past a good European gazetteer -- or one for
each of several countries -- would have been considered essential.
Now we have the "JewishGen Gazetteer" and "JewishGen Communities
Database", plus several other sites online, and lots of historical
ones to download. (, the Polish Digital
Libraries federation, has two of these just for Silesia! One >from
the 1840s, one >from the 1860s, and both are breathtakingly detailed,
down to the numbers of livestock in each village.)

I looked at the library shelflist on your JGS's web site.
(Only about 75 different books there, not counting multiple editions,
etc. -- wonder what the others are) One of the books there --
Dubnow's history of Jews in Poland & Russia -- is available as
a GoogleBook. So is Graetz's history of the Jews, English edition
My specialty is Germany. I see about 8 books specifically devoted
to that region, and can't argue with the inclusion of any of them.
The only regional one is Edward Luft's Posen-surname book.
There, too, the companion volume is on line (at dLibra):
Heppner & Herzberg's book on the Jewish communities of Posen
(in German). If there's interest in other regional books,
the key works (all in German) include Paul Arnsberg on Hessen,
R. Bernhard Brilling on Middle Silesia (the most erudite and
historically aware of all of these, I'd say); Gerhard Salinger's
recent books on Pomerania and West Prussian communities; and
so on.

For research in what once was East Germany and Prussia east
of the Oder (i.e., now Poland) the 9-volume set of archival
inventories of Judaica by Jersch-Wenzel et al. is indispensable
but also prohibitively expensive. UCLA has the whole set, I think.
USC has the E. German parts, UCSD the Polish ones.

A few items are out of date. Ellmann-Krueger & Luft's guide to
German library resources has been superseded by Ellmann-Krueger's
far more extensive, very searchable CD-ROM bibliography.

One general-genealogy book I've often used is Christina K Schaefer's
"Guide to Naturalization Records of the US". But even here --
it's 16 years old -- many of the papers in question are online now;
-- I've generally used it at the FHL in Salt Lake City, which must
have 30 copies on various shelves.

There's another book with a similar topic, by Loretto Dennis Szucs.
I don't know it. It was published a year after Schaefer's.
One needs Schaefer or something similar for the how and why of
the records, but the FHL online catalog will point one to the
microfilm numbers, etc.
What's not on line so much is modern works of general history,
cultural information, etc. -- assuming one wants to go beyond
the Wikipedia level. But here you'll need to find out what your
readership/membership is interested in, working on, wanting to
know more about -- and what the local libraries don't have
enough of.

Roger Lustig
Princeton, NJ USA

On 1/22/2014 11:53 PM, Michelle Sandler wrote:
What are the 100 best books for a Jewish Genealogy Library?
The Orange County JGS has started a library and I want to
make sure I have the right books in the collection.
We have 115 books in the library and all of Avotaynu magazine.
Book and magazine donations gratefully excepted.

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