Many researchers have been writing in asking to be added to the list of Family
Research Groups on our Active Research Groups page at our Website. They are
also asking how this can assist them in their research.
Let me explain a little about this category which has been included in
addition to the Uyezd (district) and Shtetl (town) Research Groups which have
organized primarily to purchase and translate genealogical documents from
various sources, including the Lithuanian Archives.
The family research groups are not designed to be a substitute for the
JewishGen Family Finder. You should begin your search there for people who
share your surname.
They have been designed as a link to existing family research groups - most
with many fellow researchers and very large family trees (or many related
smaller trees) all over the world. They have already acquired a great deal of
genealogical information. Some hold reunions of cousins >from all over the
world, publish newsletters and have written or are in the process of writing
books. They have the ability to raise funds to purchase and translate large
amounts of documents, or to pay for private research fees to search for their
surname in towns where they know many of their shared ancestors came from.
Before asking to be listed in this category, you should have already searched
the JewishGen Family Finder and begun to communicate and work with a number of
other Litvaks who are researching your surname. Because of the tremendous
number of people who have the same surnames, establishing a Family Research
Group without having first traced your ancestors to one or more places, and
without having found other Litvak researchers who share your family name,
will not be very useful. On the other hand, once these "preconditions" have
been met, exchanging information and sharing resources within an extended
Family Research Group can be extremely rewarding.
I would like to invite some of the coordinators of large existing Family
Groups to share their experiences in the Digest.