NYG&B to roll outout first-of-its-kind service to trace Jewish heritage

Michael Waas, NYG&B's new scholar in residence, will be pouring over thousands of records that will make it easier for Jewish New Yorkers to find out more about their family history.

Shakti Denis and News 12 Staff

Sep 21, 2023, 2:23 AM

Updated 306 days ago

Share:

New York City has become home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society holds a part of that historical legacy in its extensive collection of records sitting inside the New York Public Library.
"It's millions of pages, it's thousands of manuscript collections and books, and then it's thousands of online materials as well," said Joshua Taylor, president of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. 
However, they say they don't know what information is in the records. 
"We know we have a lot of records, a lot of documents, what we don't know is how many of those records can be used for those tracing Jewish families," Taylor added.
So over the next three months, Michael Waas, NYG&B's new scholar in residence, will be pouring over thousands of records -- and putting together a comprehensive guide that will make it easier for Jewish New Yorkers to find out more about their family history.
"Nobody has ever surveyed their entire collection for specifically any materials related to Jewish families in New York state," Waas told News 12. 
He also hopes it will help scholars and academics further their research on New York's Jewish population.
"Our hope and my hope is that this project opens more records and more pathways for New Yorkers of Jewish descent to discover that past, that's what we're all about," said Taylor. 
Waas's findings will be made available to the public at the end of the project, although the exact format is still to be determined.


More from News 12