Jewish tombstones are an invaluable source of genealogic information. Tombstone inscriptions can provide the deceased’s Jewish religious (“Hebrew”) name(s), original or alternate versions of family surnames, maiden surnames, the names of the deceased’s parents, his or her place of birth, age, profession, rabbinic lineage, community activities, even the names of living family members. But there are common problems that make it difficult for researchers to accurately translate and interpret Jewish tombstone inscriptions.
Using examples from Jewish tombstones, the presentation will focus on building skills in understanding an inscription’s context, determining the accuracy of the information presented, Jewish naming conventions, recognizing Kohain and Levite status and symbols, identifying rabbinic status, interpreting honorifics, and understanding Hebrew calendar dates and abbreviations. The presentation will also suggest best practices for on-site cemetery visits and tombstone photography.
This program is made possible by support from the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation.
This virtual program costs $5 per person. It’s free for Jewish Genealogical Society members. Please register online.
This program is a collaboration between the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Heinz History Center. The program is free for JGS-Pittsburgh members and $5 for the general public. To become a member of the JGS-Pittsburgh and receive a free membership code, please visit their website.
For more information, please contact Eric Lidji at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An attorney and genealogist, Robin Meltzer assists families in obtaining legal records, discovering nontraditional information sources and interpreting documentary evidence. Robin is an administrator of “Tracing the Tribe: Jewish Genealogy on Facebook,” co-founder of the Jewish Community of the 15th Ward, Syracuse New York Facebook group, Associate Producer of the documentary films “Stories from the Syracuse Jewish Community” and “People and Places of the Syracuse Jewish Community,” and a former vice-president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW). She lectures on topics in Jewish genealogy and research methodology and has appeared on the cable television program “Tracing Your Family Roots.” Robin has written articles on Jewish genealogy and local history appearing in several publications, including Avotaynu, Mishpacha, The Galitzianer, and the Jewish Observer of Central New York.