10 December 2008

Canada: Ancestry's Jewish records

Ancestry.com recently posted more than 300 Jewish record collections from 14 countries, from JewishGen. As of December 9, these records are now also available on Ancestry's Canadian site Ancestry.ca.

Canada represents the fourth largest Jewish community in the world, and northern researchers will benefit from the availability of some 10 million freely accessible records that will be available upon completion of the project during 2009.

More than 370,000 Jews reside in Canada, ranking behind only Israel, the US and France, while Toronto (14th) and Montreal (19th) are both listed in the ranking of metropolitan areas with the world's largest Jewish populations. Records in the collection include yizkor books; birth, marriage and death records; and more.

Under the new agreement, millions of JewishGen historical records will now be made available for free on Ancestry.ca, including, among others, the Holocaust Database, Schindler’s List, Yizkor Books (memorial books from Holocaust survivors), The Given Names Database, birth, marriage and burial registries from 14 countries and JewishGen ShtetlSeeker, which helps identify the location and spelling of historic Jewish villages in Europe.

Of course, Ancestry. com and Ancestry.ca also offer major resources of seven billion names in 26,000 historical collections, such as census and immigration records to assist in tracing Jewish ancestors.

According to the press release, the records hold details of the ancestors of famous Canadian Jews:

Historically, some of Canada's leading figures in science, medicine, business and the arts have been of Jewish heritage. Canadian Jews have also won seats in all of the provincial legislatures, served as mayors of Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, Kingston, and Winnipeg and have been judges in Canadian courts at all levels.

Famous Jewish-Canadians who may appear or have ancestors within this vast collection include:

- Politicians and civil servants - Bora Laskin, the first Jew appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1970, Dave Barrett, the only Jewish premier in Canadian history 1972-1975(British Columbia), Stephen Lewis – former UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa

- Authors and entertainers - Mordecai Richler, Leonard Cohen, William Shatner, Lorne Michaels, Seth Rogen

- Business leaders - Izzy Asper, Moses Znaimer, Isadore Sharp

To learn more about this important agreement with JewishGen, or if you would like a sneak peek of the Jewish collections that will be available on Ancestry.ca, click here.

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