Tracing Yichus

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  • #1548726

    Vorka Chassid
    Participant

    Hello all,

    Does anyone know Jewish companies that can trace your yichus? I’ve always wondered if my family tree has anything interesting it. Baruch Hashem we’re descendants of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov, I am just curious as to what might be between them and us. Much of my family history was lost as my grandparents were young during the war and family wiped out.

    I think I saw a sign in Boro Park once about yichus/geneology. Thanks!

    #1549095

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I think they can trace up to about the year 1800, Most records still exist from Europe

    #1549115

    akuperma
    Participant

    1. If you are an Ashkenazi, and unless you are descended from a gadol, it is unlikely you can trace your ancestry much before the adoption of surnames, since there were not all that many records.

    2. Using scientific evidence, together with Humash, I can safely say I am descended from Adam Ha-Rishon, and I am a bit nervous from what all the other people are descended from.

    #1549136

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Mayonai shel Torah brings Rabbi Meir Premislan on זה א-לי ואנוהו if someone recognizes his G-d by himself that is beautiful, but א-להי אבי וארממנהו if he praises himself by the G-d of his father without recognizing Him by himself is only a sign of elevation, haughtiness גאווה. Shteig on your own with the help of your father. Yichus is not really necessary.

    #1549147

    yitzchokm
    Participant

    laskern

    It may not be necessary, but it’s nice to know we didn’t evolve from apes.

    We have a very rich history and knowing that some of the major players of our past are our ancestors is comforting and encouraging.
    for example, many of us are grandchildren of Dovid or Rashi. You can teach you kids that the next time they’re struggling with something, that they are no different than their grandfather Dovid. Or that they have a connection to the prince of Torah, Rashi.

    #1549148

    Midwest2
    Participant

    Google “Jewish Genealogy” and you’ll get a whole list. I would check out any service before sharing information with them, though. Ancestry.com has a Jewish genealogy section, and there’s the Jewish Genealogy of Maryland, which ought to be active for frum, since Baltimore has a large frum community. Check it out – I did my own family a while ago and it was very interesting. The Mormons used to have a family research site for missionary purposes, although I think it’s been renamed or something. Just check things out first. Good luck!

    #1549166

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Rashi says that the prayer of tzadik who is the son of a tzadik is greater than a tzadik who is the son of a rasha. Why? A tzadik whose father is a rasha thinks that compared to his father he has done enough but a tzadik son of a tzadik will say מתי יגיעו מעשי למעשי אבותי when will my actions reach my fathers actions as mentioned to say in the Tana Debai EiIyohu.

    #1549182

    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    There is another benefit in knowing the yichus. The Chasan Sofer explains the gemora in Berochos where Rav Akiva was not selected as the nasi because לית ליה זכות אבות he doesn’t have the zachus from his yichus. So what? It brings to haughtiness, גאווה. He thinks that he is being helped because of his own zachus. Teaching us the need for yichus not that c’v Rav Akiva would use that for his elevation but it should not give that impression. Also, when needed, he can pray to be helped in their zachus.

    #1549195

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    In addition to several excellent Jewish Genealogy services that do excellent online research at surprisingly affordable costs, its also useful to obtain a report from one of the three major DNA testing services that will provide a reasonably accurate profile of the geographic and racial typing of your family line. I’m aware of several litivish friends who discovered some really “un-litvish” DNA types in their family histories.

    #1549213

    Joseph
    Participant

    ghd, did the lab results from your swab indicate Philistine or Celtic origin on your part?

    #1549429

    trauring
    Participant

    There are many sites online that can help you trace your Jewish genealogy. One site that I run is called B&F: Jewish Genealogy and More, which has lots of articles you can read on how to get started. There are also paper forms you can print out and fill with older family members to try t figure out what your family already knows, and what you need to research. A very important site is JewishGen which has lots of information. Depending on where your family is from originally, there are many other sites to check out. I’m happy to help if you contact me via my site.

    #1551909

    Vorka Chassid
    Participant

    Thank you everyone for your answers.

    I am familiar with the non-Jewish genealogy websites. There are pro’s and con’s about them all, and Mormons do sketchy things with the genealogical information they gather. I am not very interested in doing the research myself. And I feel a Jewish researcher would know what to look for better. I am also not interested in the DNA testing, as I don’t really want to give my DNA information over to a corporation, and that doesn’t really help anyway. My cousin took one already and he got 99% ashkenazi and 1% persian.

    Part of our problem is that the mesorah in our family was lost about what towns our family was from, and any geneaological information as well. I know one or two towns we lived in before the War, but I think they migrated to the city from somewhere else. That’s what I’d like a researcher to find out.

    Yichus is just interesting to know, if theres any to have at all. Of course, yichus is a bunch of zeros, it is up to you to make a 1. only then does yichus go from being 0000 to 10000.

    #1551908

    Vorka Chassid
    Participant

    Thank you everyone for your answers.

    I am familiar with the non-Jewish genealogy websites. There are pro’s and con’s about them all, and Mormons do sketchy things with the genealogical information they gather. I am not very interested in doing the research myself. And I feel a Jewish researcher would know what to look for better. I am also not interested in the DNA testing, as I don’t really want to give my DNA information over to a corporation, and that doesn’t really help anyway. My cousin took one already and he got 99% ashkenazi and 1% persian.

    Part of our problem is that the mesorah in our family was lost about what towns our family was from, and any geneaological information as well. I know one or two towns we lived in before the War, but I think they migrated to the city from somewhere else. That’s what I’d like a researcher to find out.

    Yichus is just interesting to know, if theres any to have at all. Of course, yichus is a bunch of zeros, it is up to you to make a 1. only then does yichus go from being 0000 to 10000.

    #1551910

    Vorka Chassid
    Participant

    Is it really easier for sfardim than ashkenazim to trace yichus?

    #1551977

    Joseph
    Participant

    Sephardim were kicked out of Spain in 1492. Why would it be easier for them?

    #1552000

    trauring
    Participant

    There’s a list of researchers specializing in Jewish genealogy here:

    Link removed

    Depending on when your family came to the US, there are a few ways to research where they came from in Europe. I have an article on this topic that can help you find the records in the US that mention the towns of birth in Europe – Finding Information on US Immigrants.

    For the most part I would say that it is not easier for Sephardim to trace their family history than it is for Ashkenazim, but in some cases it is possible for them to trace back further than Ashkenazim. As was mentioned above, for the most part Ashkenazim can only trace back about 230 years when surnames were introduced in the many of the countries where Ashkenazim lived. Unless you descended from a well-known rabbinic family that had already assumed a surname earlier and kept records of their history, it’s hard in most cases to find records dating before the 19th century. In many areas where Sephardim lived they did adopt surnames earlier, so in those cases it may be possible to research further back, but in many cases there also are few records in those same places making it impossible to research. Spain itself does actually have records dating back 500 years, but it’s not so easy to connect the dots all the way back to those records. Some people have actually done it, however.

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